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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Vampire Trouble

The guest appearance of Dracula in Defenders #95 was largely symbolic, drawing attention to aspects of different members of the team.

As a physician turned sorcerer, Dr. Strange found himself delivering some discouraging news. As a belated side effect of the serum that gave Nighthawk super powers combined with the mystic bonds that had restored him to life when he joined the Defenders (#14), Nighthawk now suffered paralysis during the day. Only after dark did he return to health.

Under the circumstances, it was easy to draw comparisons between Nighthawk's nocturnal inclinations and those of a vampire. Defenders #95 even described Nighthawk as swooping down like a man-sized bat as he flew over to greet his teammates. But the vampire parallels ended as soon as Count Dracula himself showed up that evening to do battle against the Defenders.

Although Gargoyle had only recently joined the team (#94), there were no doubts about his allegiance to the side of good. While other Defenders stood dumbstruck over Dracula's arrival, Gargoyle was the first to fight back.

The magic of Daimon Hellstrom revealed that Dracula was not acting of his own accord. Demonic forces had compelled him to hunt down the heroes. Casting out the evil spirits returned the legendary count to his usual blood-sucking self, while readying Hellstrom and the other Defenders for an inevitable final conflict against the netherworld (Defenders #99).

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 95. May 1981. "The Vampire Strikes Back!" J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Don Perlin and Joe Sinnott (artists, assists by Giacoia & Milgrom), Diana Albers (letterer), George Roussos (colorist), Al Milgrom (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief).

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