Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shatterer of Worlds--Rescuer of Rats


Comic book matchups that had you scratching your head--
but still made you curious about how the fight would turn out.

Welcome to another installment in a series of posts we could only call:



You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard this battle was going to happen:



I mean, good grief. Why didn't they just have Dazzler meet Galactus or something.

Oh, wait.


Sigh. This company has no shame.



Let's see now. A being possessed of cosmic power that gives him control over matter and energy--against a being who can be destroyed by sunlight or a wooden stake. What a page-turner this is going to be.

Although, given how often the Surfer trips over his own morals, we could at least count on Dracula to be able to confound him with his powers. Dracula has also faced overwhelming odds before and come out on top, so this kind of story--while not exactly compelling--could at least pique your curiosity.

Let's start with a dramatic entrance by the Surfer--sicked on Dracula by a satanic coven whose influence unfortunately addles the Surfer's fighting abilities. At least he can still burst through artwork nicely:



The Surfer is appalled that his initial attack almost kills Dracula's wife and unborn child. Dracula suggests they move their conflict outside, where the battle begins in earnest. At least on Dracula's part. The Surfer is moving like he's half asleep:



As you can see, the coven's control over the Surfer is hampering him at every turn. But just when you think he can't be humiliated any more than he's been, I have only one word for you:

Rats.



I can just hear artist Gene Colan's conversation with writer Marv Wolfman at this point: "You want me to have the Silver Surfer attacked by--rats. You did say rats." You almost want to see a giant hand descend and grab the Surfer--with Galactus on the other end, saying, "You were the herald of Galactus, for cripes sake. Have some dignity, will you??"

Anyway, Dracula continues to outmaneuver the Surfer, with the Surfer's efforts amounting to little more than damage control:



Thankfully, the battle winds down soon afterward. Not because of a TKO, but because--of all things--Dracula has grown bored with it.  At this point, I know the feeling:



The Surfer confronts Dracula one more time once his head clears, but Dracula's wife convinces him that Dracula will later meet a more fitting fate, which the Surfer senses truth in--and he departs.

Despite this odd diversion--which was clearly meant to boost lackluster sales--the stories featuring Dracula's wife are really quite fascinating and well told, taking up the bulk of the rest of the book's run of 20 more issues. And on the whole, as I've mentioned before, Tomb Of Dracula is excellent reading. This particular story wasn't exactly his finest hour--and it certainly wasn't the Surfer's--but aside from the few pages of the battle, the issue fits decently within the wife's storyline. The Surfer, by the way, had his own brushes with poor sales--which means we'll be seeing stories from his own book featured here soon enough.


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