Archive for Dracula

Friday Night Fights: Drac Whack!

Why, hello there, October! You’re the best month of the whole year, yes, you are! The weather is cooler, the leaves are changing, and most importantly… Haaaaaalloweeeeen, the best day of the year! So what’s that got to do with Friday Night Fights, especially this early in the month?

Well, simply put, I like to plan ahead. So I went looking for a good fight to save for Halloween. And I found too many of them! Way, way too many. So instead of saving a whole bunch of them for future Halloweens, I’m gonna devote all of this month’s Friday Night Fights (and probably the day after Halloween, too) to monsters and horror. Shall we begin?

Tonight’s battle comes to us from September 2009’s Captain Britain and MI13 #15 by Paul Cornell, Leonard Kirk, and Jay Leisten, in which Faiza Hussain must face the vampiric might of Count Dracula himself!





Ya wanna hear something really, really weird? Something that’ll put the creep into your bones and make you question the nature of reality itself? Neither Faiza Hussain nor Dracula — two absolutely wonderful characters who appeared in highly acclaimed comics — are currently being published in any Marvel comic books. Oooo-weeeeee-ooooo…

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House of Dracula


Captain Britain and MI-13 #14

Last issue, Dracula killed everyone. This issue, he realized that it was just too blasted easy — he’d been trapped in the demon Plotka’s magical room of wishes that gives the illusion of the perfect life. So MI-13 is still alive, and the vampires haven’t achieved their victory yet. In fact, they’re way, way far off from victory, because the Brits now know Dracula’s plans, they’ve got ringers aboard the vampires’ ships, and Spitfire hasn’t actually been mentally dominated. British forces wreck the vampires’ ships and deal some heavy losses, but the vampires aren’t finished yet. Dracula still has Faiza Hussein’s father, and Dr. Doom has just given him Meggan, Captain Britain’s ex-wife, who now calls herself Gloriana.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great action, great characterizations, a great resolution to last issue’s cliffhanger. Just one more issue of this series left, so hold on to yer hats.


JSA vs. Kobra #1

The international nihilistic terrorism organization Kobra makes a few first strikes against the Justice Society and against Checkmate, the international espionage outfit. Unhappy with Kobra’s continuing existence, the JSA decides to strike back, capturing and interrogating a number of Kobra agents. Kobra makes an attack on a church that draws out the Justice Society, but it may have all been a false-flag attack.

Verdict: Ehh, I dunno. Doesn’t seem that bad, but is this really something we need a miniseries for? I’ll reserve judgment for an issue or two.

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Robots and Monsters and Vampires, Oh My!

Atomic Robo and the Shadow from Beyond Time #1

Atomic Robo, the wiseacre, action-packed atomic-powered robot created by Nikola Tesla, is back for another pulp-flavored adventure, this time set in 1926. Robo is studying for his physics doctorate when he gets some unwelcome visitors — fantasy/sci-fi/horror author H.P. Lovecraft and weird-phenomena researcher Charles Fort. Many years ago, Lovecraft, Fort, and Lovecraft’s father worked with Tesla to banish a cosmic horror from Earth, but it’s coming back — or it’s been here all along… With Tesla unavailable, can Robo help Fort and Lovecraft before it’s too late?

Verdict: Thumbs up. First, anything that teams a snarky robot with Charles Fort and H.P. Lovecraft is guaranteed to appeal to me. And though this issue is extremely talky, it’s also a great deal of fun. The first few pages, with Lovecraft gibbering along with his over-the-top pseudo-racism about Robo’s pygmy ancestry, is extraordinarily funny. If the rest of the story is as good as the first issue, I’ll be glad to come along for the ride.

Fin Fang 4 Return! #1

This has its genesis in a story a few years ago where a bunch of giant monsters from Marvel’s ’50s era, Fin Fang Foom, Googam, Elektro, and Gorgilla, decide to reform, are reduced to human size, and take up jobs in the human world. So here we’ve got this short anthology of stories — first, the Hulk’s pal Doc Samson tries to psychoanalyze the quartet of monsters. Next, Fin Fang Foom’s job as a chef at a Chinese restaurant leads to an unexpected cure for baldness and an equally unexpected loss of the cure for baldness. After that, Gorgilla goes time-traveling and save Abraham Lincoln from assassination; Googam tries to get adopted by a Hollywood starlet to fund his quest for world domination; and the robotic Elektro gets mistaken for a completely different Electro. Finally, there’s a reprint of a Christmas story as Fin reluctantly teams up with Dr. Strange’s assistant Wong to stop Hydra’s giant evil Santa Claus robot.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yes, it’s silly and inconsequential. I like stuff that’s silly and inconsequential.

Captain Britain and MI-13 #12

Dracula and his army of vampires are continuing their war on England and MI-13. Spitfire, because of her vampiric heritage, is helpless to resist Dracula’s orders and is forced to kill a civilian in Dracula’s castle on the moon. The rest of the team, meanwhile, is trying to track down a magical artifact — the skull of Blade’s old friend Quincy Harker, enchanted to prevent vampires from entering Britain unless they’re specifically and individually invited. Unfortunately, Dracula’s centuries of unlife have made him one of the greatest military minds ever, and he’s thinking several steps ahead of MI-13.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good bloodsucking fun. My only regret about this one is that Dracula isn’t nearly as pompous or long-winded as he was in the classic ’70s series “Tomb of Dracula.”

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Scream, Dracula, Scream!


Captain Britain and MI13 #10

Dracula has returned to the Marvel Universe, making his plans against MI13 while the team, unaware of the Vampire King’s machinations, spend some time developing their intra-team relationships. Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom are clubbing in Soho and picking up on tourists. Spitfire and Blade (with his ridiculous, ridiculous hair) are partying and romancing near Hyde Park. The Black Knight has gone to Wakanda to get the Ebony Blade, and he and Faiza discuss their knight-steward relationship. But all the good stuff in this issue belongs to Dracula. You’ve got Dracula’s meeting with Doctor Doom, you’ve got Dracula’s magic/scientific headquarters on the moon, you’ve got Dracula launching guided vampire-missiles on London. And you just want more and more, because Dracula is sooo cool.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Every scene with Dracula in it is a solid winner, and the scenes without Dracula are still pretty good. If I’ve got any complaint, it’s that Dracula isn’t quite the arrogant, loquacious  aristocrat that he was in the classic 1970s series “The Tomb of Dracula.” Still, he hasn’t even had a chance to have a good ranting monologue yet, so maybe that’s coming in the next few issues.


Crossed #3

The maniacally homicidal Crossed don’t figure as much into this issue — they show up at the beginning, but soon disappear. The focus this time is on how bad things have become with civilization in collapse. The small group of survivors are attacked by another group of humans — a schoolteacher and her former students, who have been surviving by attacking people and eating them. After the teacher’s death, the survivors are left with a band of six children to care for. They don’t have the resources to keep everyone fed, and they don’t trust that the kids won’t, at some point, decide to go back to eating people. Is there a good solution out of this?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A somewhat less violent issue, though the moral issues involved are still plenty traumatic. We also get a bit more detail about the survivors, which is something that’s been lacking previously.

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The Monster Show

What’s that ya say? Tomorrow’s Halloween? Well, by gum, let’s dig up some nice monstery comics and see how they look?

Hellboy: In the Chapel of Moloch

Hey, Mike Mignola is back writing and drawing Hellboy again! The technical term for this is: “totally sweet.” Hellboy investigates a case where an artist of middling talent takes up residence in a spooky church and sculpts up a honkin’ huge statue of a demon called Moloch. And the statue actually bleeds when you cut it! Turns out the church was the headquarters, centuries ago, of a Moloch-worshiping cult, and the forces of Hell still have influence here. Will Hellboy go for a simple, quiet exorcism? Or a great deal of smashing and breaking and shooting?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Man, it’s great to see Mignola drawing Hellboy again. He ain’t lost a trick, either — this is spooky, moody, eerie — and yeah, very action-packed stuff. And the writing remains top-notch. Mignola drags up all kinds of creepy historical and semi-historical tidbits to help move the story along. A cult that roasted babies alive? A saint who fought in the Crusades even though he’d been decapitated? Ooky, and fun. More please, Mr. Mignola.

Monster-Size Hulk

Four different stories as Hulk fights… MOOOONSTERRRRS! We get one where Hulk takes on Frankenstein’s Monster, possibly even returning him to standard Marvel continuity. The second story features Werewolf by Night. The third one is a short little two-page comedy starring Marvel’s classic giant monsters. The last one is neat — mostly text by Peter David, with a couple of illustrations, as the Hulk takes on Dracula himself.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I loved the one with Frankenstein, and I thought the story with Dracula was outstanding. This is the Dracula from Marvel’s classic ’70s series “Tomb of Dracula” with a ruthless, megalomaniacal, grandstanding Count Dracula — a character I’ve long enjoyed.

Marvel Adventures: The Hulk #13

Marvel’s all-ages books all seem to be exceptionally good, and this one is a lot of fun. The Hulk tangles with the Living Pharaoh, and he’s managed to enslave most of Marvel’s heroes by turning them into mummies! And they’re pretty creepy mummies, too! Can Hulk, Rick Jones, and their pet monkey (Um, what?) figure out a way to stop the Pharaoh in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m impressed that they managed to make what’s basically a kids’ version of “Marvel Zombies.” Yes, it’s a little scary, but still fun.

The Goon #29

Skinny is back from the dead as Mr. Wicker — he’s basically a wood-covered, burning zombie. Yeah, takes all kinds. And the orphans get a new playmate — Merle the Werewolf’s son, Roscoe the Werepup. Roscoe claims to be able to fart and whistle at the same time — we’ll see if this amazing talent eventually becomes useful.

Verdict: Thumbs up again. This one has zombies, werewolves, wood monsters, and more. Great, if slightly crude, Halloween reading. But you wouldn’t want the Goon to be anything but.

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