Superman (vol.2) #180 (May, 2002)
That night, Lois is awoken by a calling of her name. She gets out of bed and walks, as though in a trance, toward the window where she is met by a thick fog… which she steps out into… and which brings her safely to the ground. Clark wakes up as she leaves.
Outside, Lois continues walking through the castle grounds as pairs of glowing red eyes follow her every step. She is suddenly snapped back to reality, just in time to be jumped by a pack of werewolves. Luckily for her, Superman just happens to be in the neighborhood.
He makes short work of the wolves, while Count Rominoff reveals himself (not like that, pervs) to Lois. He asks if she brought “him”, as his bared fangs approach her supple neck. Again… luckily for her, Superman is nearby. He swoops in and nabs her, while the Count expresses pleasure that the Man of Steel is in “his land”.
Superman brings Lois back to their room… and it seems as though she is back in her trance. She appears to not know that Superman and Clark are one in the same. She tells Superman to let her go… which, lemme tell ya, ain’t all that smart when you’re a few stories up. She unleashes some pent-up frustration with big blue over some goings down during Our Worlds At War, when Superman chose to save Wonder Woman’s life rather than her father Sam Lane’s.
The following morning, Lois has no recollection of what happened the night prior. There is also no physical evidence of Lois’ trudge through the moors. Maybe Clark’s crackin’ up… but we’ve got no time to address that, there’s an interview to conduct!
We meet with the Count in the wine cellar and Lois does her gig. Rominoff expresses frustration and anxiety over a pending border dispute with General Zod. While this is going on Clark peruses the bottles. He finds that rather than having brand or vineyard names… they all appear to have formal personal names and years of birth and death, for example… Clark grabs one that reads “Greenwalt, Mr. David – 1949-1999”. Very curious…
We check in on Jimmy and Elizabeth… and she’s really putting the moves on everybody’s pal. She calls him cute… so cute, she could eat him up! Hey, guess what… she’s a vampire too…
Lois and Clark get dressed for dinner, and Clark reveals that the wine bottles are actually full of… to nobody’s surprise… blood! Well, she ain’t buying it… and even gives her husband the dreaded “Whatever“. C’mon, Lo… your man can tell the difference between blood and wine. Lois heads to the dining hall and talks aloud to herself about her dopey husband’s blood-wine-theory. She just happens to say this within earshot of the Count… who finally reveals himself to be Dracula!
Well… ahem… luckily for her, aw forget it… Superman bursts into the room for the big rescue. Unfortunately, he makes eye-contact with big Drac and falls into a trance. The Count beckons him to come forward… and so he does. He reveals that he only allowed Lois to conduct the interview because he knew that where she goes… Superman follows. Ya see, he wants a vampiric Superman to lead his army in his skirmish with Zod… and so, he sinks his teeth into our Man of Steel.
This doesn’t work all that well for Dracula. If he’d have done his homework, he’d know that biting into Superman is akin to taking a bite out of the Sun… ya know, with Supes’ being a living solar battery and all. Got a joke for ya… whattaya call a bus-full of vampires biting Superman? A good start. B’dmtish.
Dracula turns to dust… as he does, and moments later scared-rabbit James Olsen bursts into the room. He’s freaking out about almost being bit himself… I’d figure young Olsen would take any action he could get… The trio hop the next plane outta town, and we see that the army Superman would have been leading was the Creature Commandos.
This issue itself didn’t really rock my socks, but I gotta say that I’m still a sucker for this time in Superman’s history. The whole post-Y2K and through the Our Worlds At War story was, in my opinion, a pretty neat time for the Super-books.
This issue was a bit of a throwaway… but did play into some of the subplots of the time. General Zod was something of a Dr. Doom figure… if I’m remembering correctly. He had his own eastern European country… which, was evidently a point of contention for our ol’ pal Dracula.
The Lois-Clark relationship has been written as pretty strong… outside of that whole Superman was sleeping with the Parasite thing from a bit earlier. Here we learn that Lois has some pent up feelings in regard to her husband choosing to save Wonder Woman during the war rather than her father. I believe Sam Lane actually died in Our Worlds… but, I’ll concede it’s been ages since I’d last read it. All I know is that he is part of Lex Luthor’s cabinet… and I don’t remember seeing much of him in the later 2000’s.
The art here is a lot better than I’d remembered. I recall not really digging Churchill’s Marvel work… I felt it was overly-lined, and often fell prey to the Liefeldian “scowl of the seven-hundred teeth” syndrome. While this is awfully line-y, it’s nowhere near as offensive as I thought it would be. Over the years, Churchill’s art has really grown on me, I believe he recently wrapped up on the New-52 Teen Titans… though, again… I’ll concede that it’s been quite awhile since I’ve checked out his earlier-Marvel stuff. It’s definitely possible that I may find myself digging that nowadays too.
Overall, a neat little one-off… we get to witness a pretty clever way for Superman to take down a vampire. It’s totally a comicky gimmick, but I liked it. It’s so obvious, while at the same time, really outside the box, ya know? This one’s worth checking out…