Written by Victor Gischler
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli
Spoilers: Dracula dies…again.
As a balance to the triumph of good that is The Heroic Age, Marvel uses The Death of Dracula to jumpstart a vampiric antagonistic force. Killing off Dracula is rarely a big deal in itself. Few characters are as resilient and regularly return from the cold clutches of death as the lord of all vampires (just ask Buffy). However, Dracula’s death marks a regime change as Marvel vampires move to the offensive.
The plot itself isn’t too original. Vampires tired of the old regime of hiding in the dark shadow of night and man revolt and take power. Looks like someone watched the Blade movie (and Blade 2 and Blade Trinity). The catch is this is happening within this new Heroic Age (or more so in X-Men books). I never really felt Marvel vampires really meshed well with the rest of the Marvel U, but if there’s a time to try them again, this is probably it.
Unfortunately, the biggest weakness of this otherwise interesting vampiric coup-de-tat in a superheroic world is probably the whole reason it’s happening in the first place. There’s too much vampire crap out right now. In the Twilight-inspired current vampire craze, Death of Dracula and its subsequent repercussions fade into the mass of blood-sucking material in a saturated market.
What Marvel has on its side is a well-developed society in the vampire world. The vampire kind are split up into several different tribes with different physical and behavioral characteristics, from very human-like shy and peaceful farmers to monstrous blue and slimy Atlanteans to late 1880s Russian soldiers. Yet they’re all vampires in the basic traits, such as the weaknesses to stakes and sunlight. I only wish there is more effort to flesh these kinds out, explain more of the differences between these different tribes, either more in the narrative or in a back supplement. Still, that information isn’t necessary to the book, and some of it is pretty obvious (the Atlantean Sect is either from Atlantis or Atlanta). Guess we’ll have to wait for the vampire edition of the Marvel Encyclopedia for more.
The story has potential to start something entertaining and challenging for our heroes, but it’s marred by saturation and a generic start.
This book is very clean and detailed. I really enjoy the different character designs for the different vampire clans. Not necessarily the designs themselves but that each clan has its own unique styling, ranging from regular human designs to more monstrous and unique concepts. Some are goofy, but the effort is nice. If only they didn’t have bright, glowing orange eyes all the time.
However, the Dracula family itself could use some style tips. Dracula himself looks ripped out of a Castlevania game with his medieval-ish red suit of armor and cape. Xarus’s belted sholderpads and spiky blond hair look at home in a Final Fantasy game. The worst offender – and oddly most contrasted in the family – has to be Janus, where Camuncoli couldn’t help but rip off Angel (from Buffy, not X-Men, in case you were wondering). At least he’s not Robert Patterson.
It’s a decent story drowning in the current vampire fad, but at least it looks nice.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10