Superman VS Dracula movie
Unlike Marvel, with its successful Tomb of Dracula series, DC never integrated a specific iteration of Dracula into their superhero universe. However, once the loosening of the Comics Code allowed for them, vampires of all different sorts certainly found their way into the pages of DC’s comics, but there was never a definitive Dracula that existed alongside Superman, Batman, and the rest. As such, the DC heroes have encountered a handful of different Dracula-esque characters through the years. Once such example can be found in 2002’s Superman #180.
Though featuring a take on a classic monster character, this issue is as much of its time as X-Men #40 was a goofy Silver Age story.
Rominoff targets Superman because he wants to enslave the hero to lead his army against General Zod, current ruler of the nearby fictional country of Pokolistan. This issue was published in 2002, and this General Zod isn’t the one most people are familiar with from Superman II and Man of Steel (that is, a Kryptonian military leader with ties to Superman’s past), but rather one of the various stand-in characters using that name that the Superman creators rolled out during this era when DC was still gunshy about bringing back too many of Superman’s pre-Crisis trappings (eventually, they gave up, and amongst others, the “classic” version of General Zod returned to the comics).
The issue also came out shortly after the events of “Our Worlds at War”, a massive Superman-centric crossover story that saw Superman leading Earth’s heroes in battle against an alien force determined to destroy the planet. In the course of that story, Lois’ father died, and in this issue, Loeb & Johns try to wring some pathos out of that having the bewitched Lois lash out at Superman for failing to save her father. It all rings a bit false, especially in a story that’s otherwise just trying to be a fun Dracula pastiche.
The build-up to the fake General Zod and the use of “Our Worlds at War” to lend the story some emotional weight keep it very clearly tied to the era in which it was published. Unfortunately, that keeps it from being as fun as it otherwise could have been, especially when the best part of it occurs at the very end, setting up a storyline that never comes to fruition: a new iteration of the Creature Commandos, featuring Elizabeth, a werewolf, Frankenstein’s Monster, and some version of the Mummy and the Gill Man. Had this issue focused more on that kind of thing and been less tied to plot points of some very specific (and mostly forgotten) stories, it might be more well remembered today. Or, at least, a more entertaining Monster Mashup.
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