Esteban Maroto once again provides a pen and ink cover for this issue of Dracula, featuring Wolff taking on an enemy while a woman watches.
As usual Wolff opens up the issue in "The Return of Sadya" by Esteban Maroto. Katerina is captured by Sadya, the torturer for the witches of Ginza. Katerina is taken away by winged creatures to Sadya's stronghold. Katerina's father believes Wolff is their only hope, and works on casting a spell on him so he will awaken. Wolff appears at Katerina's cell, but he is in fact a monster, the Polingur, a hideous spined creature. Polingur carries the unconscious Katerina to Sayda. Katerina's father continues his spell on Wolff. At Sadya's stronghold, the Polingur dies and Wolff appears. Wolff carries Katerina off to safety while harpies kill Sadya.
Next is Agar-Agar in "The Martian Visitors" by Alberto Solsona. Fred Barber and his girlfriend Constanza tell Agar-Agar that Xanadu has been invaded by strange beings from outer space. Agar-Agar makes her way back there, finding the capital deserted and the city covered by weeds and vines. A martian takes her captive and brings her to his flying saucer. The martians keep saying the same thing, to reach for the skies or she'll be blasted full of holes. Agar-Agar realizes that the martians receive TV signals and are basing their words on that. She causes the TV signals to go away and the martians go away. Agar-Agar is greeted by her remaining sprites as the story ends. Yet another lackluster story, but at least the designs on the martians was interesting and a bit darker than the usual fare for this series.
The issue wraps up with "The Face" by Enric Sio. A model, Pamela, has many pictures of her taken. The photoshoot over, she heads home. When the photographer, Frank, starts developing the photos however, he finds a strange occurrence, that her face and body appears completely blank in all of them. The only thing that appears is the clothing that she is wearing. He and his colleague find the photographs still interesting and believe it will work, but still wonder what is going on. Frank calls up Pamela saying it will be a hit, but it is revealed that her entire face and body have gone blank in real life as well. A strange, but rather non-scary feature from Sio this time.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
First is "The City in the Clouds", the latest Wolff story by Esteban Maroto. Where we last left off, Wolff had met Katarina and her father. Katarina tells Wolff how many of her people died during the journey to here from the swamps. Katarina speaks of the magic of her father, which Wolff doesn't care for, thinking strength is all that is needed. Katarina says she and her father have watched over him all this time and the two kiss. After supposedly having sex, Katarina asks Wolff to give himself to her father and let him turn him from the barbarian he is into one of the most powerfel men in the world. Wolff agrees to it even though there is a risk he could die if the magic fails. Katarina's father starts casting spells on Wolff which causes him to fall into a deep sleep. Suddenly their home is attacked by Sadya (last seen in issue 2), who arrives riding a large bird and accompanied by vultures. Here the story ends, to be continued next time. I'm surprised with how little action we saw in this story given how much of it we typically see in the Wolff stories.
Next is Agar-Agar in "The Forest of Life and Death" by Alberto Solsona. Agar-Agar says goodbye to the blue prince and meets a red haired man named Fred Barber. He says he was living a normal life in the U.S. but suddenly woke up in this world. The two sleep on the ground for a while but when they wake up, vines have grabbed them. Some plant like women try to seduce Fred, with no success. Agar-Agar is taken away from some bizarre looking humanoid creatures known as Entlings and held prisoner along with another woman who is in love with Fred. The creatures are about to kill her and Fred, but Agar-Agar breaks free and turns them into normal trees. Agar-Agar heads off with Fred and his lover as the story ends. "Entlings" are clearly a reference to Ents from the Lord of the Rings. As usual, this is a weak and boring story with an expected ending. The art is at least a little better than usual.
Monday, April 20, 2015
First up is Wolff, in "The Daughter of the Witch" by Esteban Maroto. Where we last left off, Wolff's latest companion, Galadra had been slain. Wolff continues on and hears the scream of a woman, attacked by some lizard-like men. Wolff fights with them, but the woman tells him its useless as their wounds heal immediately after suffering them. Wolff grabs the woman and flees with her. He is under pursuit by the lizard-men however, who are riding beasts. The two of them get on the woman's horse, Bassora and she says they can fly to her father's castle. The woman says her name is Katerina and she brings him to a castle in the sky that looks like a serpent's head. Inside she introduces Wolff to her father, who Wolff recognizes as wearing witch's garbs. The father says they fled to the sky, but their people are sterile and hence his race is dying. Katerina wonders if Wolff can be their new hope, as does her father. It will be interesting to see if these new characters will remain a part of the story longer than the 1-2 issues at most that other characters have.
Next is the latest Sir Leo story, "The Cat", by Jose Bea. Sir Leo has never had time to have a pet, but is taking care of Jolyon, a cat that belongs to a friend of his. Jolyon has large, scary green eyes and Leo feels himself drowning in them. Jolyon starts speaking into his brain and Leo sees some very cruel images as Jolyon proclaims his hatred of humans, most especially his owner Mehitabel. Jolyon continues on and on about how he would like to kill his owner, children that have come across it and others. Jolyon, knowing that it won't be able to do this itself, orders Leo to head out with a gun and kill people for her. Leo instead shoots Jolyon, saying that he wouldn't have been able to do it had her lust for death not been so great. He thinks about how he doesn't need to go out of the way to find evil and how he'll explain this to Mehitabel. He pets another cat, who thinks about how foolish Leo is; all cats have such powers but they are not all as paranoid as Jolyon. For those who don't like cats or are scared by them, this story is in line with such thoughts.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
First up is Wolff in "Mother of Waters" by Esteban Maroto. Mitra, the mother of waters calls for Wolff to come closer to her, but Wolff refuses, saying he takes no orders from anyone. Having been denied for the first time, Mitra sweeps Wolff and Galadra into another dimension. Wolff awakens, surrounded by half-lizard, half-human creatures who have captured Galadra. The creatures sacrifice Galadra to Wolff's dismay and he breaks out of his chains. He fights the creatures, defeating them and embraces Galadra's body. As the story ends Wolff cries over her body and the narration says it is the only time in his life he had done so. The usual fare for the Wolff story in this issue, although we continue to get some strong art, especially on the final page.
Next is Agar-Agar in "Even Heroes Get Tired" by Alberto Solsona. Agar-Agar and Endymion travel into the paradise of Arcadia and its lovely garden. Soon Superbat, a man that looks like Superman arrives. Agar-Agar heads off with him and says goodbye to Endymion. Superbat flies her through the air of Arcadia to his temple, which looks like a super-advanced globe in the sky. Superbat promises to give her his autograph but heads out for a little while saying there is something he must attend to. Agar-Agar starts sensing that he isn't to be trusted, and is correct. She creates a double of herself while she is gone, made out of Marvelite, a substance fatal to superheroes. When Superbat returns he grows weak then melts. Some very obvious references to Superman in this story, and "Marvelite" is certainly a reference to Marvel. As usual, the Agar-Agar story is the weakest one here.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The issue starts off with the latest Wolff story, "The Manuscript of Rep-Tah" by Esteban Maroto. A woman wakes up Wolff, telling him she found him by a pack of wolves and a mutilated body of a lovely girl. She says she is Galadra of the moon and needs to remain hidden from the witches. She asks Wolff to help her. They head through a swampy area and dive into the water. There they are found by a humanoid creature riding an aquatic beast. Wolff fights and defeats it. Wolff and Galadra make it out of the water into a cavern where she admits she shouldn't have been hard on him earlier. There they come across Mitra, the mother of waters as the story ends. We continue to get some good art here by Maroto although the start of the story was confusing since Galadra looks just like Rulah from the previous story.
Jose Bea takes an issue off, and we instead get "The Messenger" by Carlos Giminez. Giminez appeared only rarely in Warren magazines, with four appearances (one uncredited), and all such stories were originally sourced from elsewhere. This is a fairly simple story, with no dialogue. A man rides through some scary looking woods to deliver a letter. Along the way we see evil faces in the trees. Many more appear and tree limbs pursue him, but he escapes from them. He eventually makes it to a castle. A stone faced man opens the door for him and leads him to a room inside where he finds Dracula! After 6 issues of this magazine we finally see an appearance of the titular character.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
This issue will seem a bit familiar to Warren readers, with 2 stories that were eventually reprinted in Warren magazines a few years down the line. This issue is back to 4 stories, although Agar-Agar continues to be absent and we get a second, stand-alone Esteban Maroto story instead. Enrich as usual provides this issue's cover.
Wolff begins the issue in "The Lady of the Wolves" by Esteban Maroto. Wolff, having been turned into a werewolf at the end of the last story, wanders the desert and passes out. When the full moon passes he returns to his normal form. The legendary woman Rulah, who is daughter of Segnar, father of wolves and Lamia the she-wolf appears, with several wolves accompanying her. She tells her wolves to feast upon Wolff, but none do so and he awakens. Rulah tells Wolff of how the men who once accompanied her have all died. The two kiss and Wolff stays in her bed-chambers for many days and nights. Rulah eventually tells him he must flee, as it is the full moon. Rulah has him caged. She heads outside where she herself turns into a werewolf. Wolff turns into a werewolf as well and breaks out and the two fight. Another decent story for Wolff, although by this point his original quest to find his wife Bruma is being completely ignored and he has spent his time with multiple other women.
The issue wraps up with "Karen" by Enric Sio. A man, Mark, is obsessed with the titular character, a woman who he is in love with, but whose father refuses them to be together. Mark takes her photo and writes to her, but stays away, despite obsessing over photos and clothes of her's. A couple of years pass and Karen comes to see him, for real. But Mark tells her that the pictures and clothes of her he has obsessed over are better than the real her. He says he wants to stay in love with his dream and flees. The final page has a splatter of blood which makes one wonder if Mark got in a car accident while leaving, although the final panel does show him alive. A non-supernatural story from Sio here (although several of his has been), with his best art yet.
Saturday, April 4, 2015
First up is the latest story in the Wolff series, "The Night of the Werewolf" by Esteban Maroto. The first page of this story was used as the cover for the Dracula book published by Warren. The red sorceress has disappeared, and Wolff stays in the woods where he hears drums of a Wolf Cult, as well as a scream. Nearby, Tanit, high priestess of the cult performs a sacrifice as Wolff watches. Tanit senses Wolff and several men, wearing wolf pelts come after him. Wolff fights and defeats them. Tanit stabs herself as Wolff approaches her alter and changes into a snake which attacks him. Wolff manages to kill her, but turns into a wolfman as the story ends. "Wolff" finally features the creature that inspired the series' name; this story features some similar artwork to that later used by Maroto in "A Most Private Terror" from Creepy 52, a story that also featured a werewolf-like creature.
Next is "The Mummy", another stand-alone story by Jose Bea. This story takes place in London in 1750. A man named Lord Harrington and his hunchbacked assistant Cornelius steal a perfectly preserved mummy (that of Nefer, son of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony). Harrington speaks with colleagues at a dinner who are wondering about the theft, telling of how he has performed experiments to halt death and decomposition. Having discovered that the Egyptians had mastered halting decomposition he has secretly stolen the mummy. He dismisses any talk about the spirit of a person having left them once they have died. One of Harrington's dinner guests sneaks into his mansion where Cornelius kills her. Harrington has her life force drawn out of her, which he injects into the mummy. Harrington believes he'll be able to create an army of the dead and conquer the world. The mummy awakens, but its hands detach from its body and immediately strangle Harrington. This story has a rather abrupt ending, but some very good art by Bea, in particular the introductory page, which is a full page spread of the streets of London in 1750. Also, the mummy is a scary one.
Last up is "Alice" by Enric Sio. Not much of a plot to this story, but a hilarious ending. The titular character lives alone in a home where there is a lot of creaking and cracking in the floor, walls and ceiling. As the story continues, the walls start cracking and water seeps through. The window breaks as well. Alice thinks that she will be safe if she hides in the fireplace, only for it to collapse on top of her, crushing her. Again, not much of a story here, but the idiocy of the main character and the funniness of it makes up for it.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
First is Wolff in "The Sorceress of the Red Mist" by Esteban Maroto. Wolff finds himself before a deserted city and mounts a horse that is waiting there for him. A large snake-like creature pursues him and wraps itself around him. The sorceress of the red mist intervenes however, and Wolff revives. The sorceress appears before him and asks him to love her. Wolff asks if he will ever see his wife Bruma again. She shows that his tribe is in the Swamps of Ginza. A skeleton warrior appears that Wolf fights, getting some assistance from the sorceress. Using the tip she provided him, he destroys it. The sorceress appears before Wolff in the flesh and they embrace. Three days pass and Wolff says that he cannot desert his people. The sorceress disappears. Despite its double length, I don't feel like much happens in this story. Maroto's art is good, but I feel that the story is going all over the place, and is being used more as a vehicle to show various creatures and fights for Wolff than to provide much of a plot.
The issue wraps up with "Eloise" by Enric Sio. A man visits the grave of his deceased lover, Eloise, who died 6 months ago. The man says he'd give his life to be with her, even just for an hour. Suddenly the grim reaper appears and grants him his wish. Eloise appears and the two spend time together on the beach. But the hour quickly passes and Eloise wanders off into the horizon. The man starts panicking, wondering if it was even real. The grim reaper appears and the man flings himself over a cliff. While his body dies, his soul is forced to suffer an eternity of falling. Another good effort by Sio, this is the best work of his yet and quite a bit better than his first 2 stories.