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Cover Date: July 1973
Cover Price: US $ 0.20
Issue Tagline: None.
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 20 pages
Story Arc(s): Add/remove story arcs to this issue
On the docks of London, a young couple is trying to spirit off to America when they are attacked by a pair of vampires who refer to themselves as part of Dracula's Legion. Before they can feed on the couple however, they are attacked by Blade, a vampire hunter armed with wooden knives. Blade easily over powers the vampires, stabbing them in the heart with his knives, effectively staking them and killing them instantly. After the battle, Blade is confronted by Quincy Harker and his daughter Edith. Quincy scolds Blade for brashly killing vampires who are part of Dracula's minions, as they could have led the vampire hunters directly to Dracula himself. Blade simply scoffs at Quincy and departs, telling the old vampire hunter that he will hunt by his own methods and kill Dracula on his own terms. Elsewhere on a private cruise shop that has been rented out by the rich Gabriel Trulaine, Trulaine has a special surprise for his guests: Count Dracula. This is really Dracula, however the vampire lord leaves all present to believe that he is merely an ancestor who suffers from a rare blood disease and requires blood transfusions. After charming his guests (especially the ladies) Dracula retires to his room with his slave, Clifton Graves. When Graves wonders why Dracula doesn't simply destroy all aboard the ship, Vlad angrily explains that he intends to exert his will over the wealthy and influential people aboard the ship to suit his own ends. Spotting a woman whom he was charming earlier, and needing a quick feeding, Dracula lures the girl somewhere private and drinks some of her blood. He then takes the girl back to his room and charges Clifton with watching her as Dracula intends on draining her dry after he is finished his appointed task and leaves to rejoin the other guests. First, Dracula takes control of the ship, hypnotizing its captain and getting the passengers attention by giving the ship a quick jolt. Confronting the gusts, Dracula reveals his true vampire nature and boasts about how he will make all aboard his slaves. When one of the guests attempts to shoot Dracula, the vampire lord laughs off the attempt on his life and throws the man overboard. Dracula then begins ordering the passengers loyalty, totally unaware that Blade has tracked him to the ship and is now secretly boarding it. Dracula's plan backfires when one of the passengers pulls out a crucifix and trains it on him, causing the vampire king pain, allowing for the passengers to rush him. Meanwhile, back in his quarters, his intended victim revives -- and in a hypnotic trance thanks to Dracula's vampire bite -- knocks Clifton out and leaves the room seeking to find her "lover", Dracula. Topside, Dracula manage to escape the passengers by turning into mist and flying away from the cross and demands that they deliver his ultimatum or die. Their response comes in the form of Blade, who reveals himself to Dracula and challenges him. The two lock in battle, and Dracula finds that Blade is himself a skillful fighter. However, Dracula manages to over-power Blade, however his attack is distracted when the woman reaches him and calls out his name, with Clifton Graves following behind bellowing apologies over letting her go. Furious at this distraction because it allowed Blade to break free and regain his footing, Dracula throws the girl at him. Dracula then tells all aboard that he ordered the captain to plant explosives aboard the ship and then flees leaving them all -- including Clifton Graves, to perish. As Dracula escapes in his bat form, Blade ushers everyone to jump overboard leaving only the pathetic Clifton Graves behind begging his master to come back for him. When the ship explodes, all the passengers are safely away from the ship except for Clifton Graves who is seemingly killed in the explosion. Dracula departs vowing to get revenge on Blade in a battle which the vampire killer will not return from alive.
by Nick Peron
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