July marked the rebirth of the X-Men comic book franchise, and issue #1 took off with a story arch centered on a struggle against vampires. These blood-sucking creatures have occasionally mingled with these mutants over the years, but according to the book’s writer, Victor Gischler they’re staking their claim in the Marvel universe in a big way, appearing in other book titles as well.
It begins with a one shot comic titled, “The Death of Dracula”, where we are introduced to the vampire world and it’s leaders. A number of races or sects of vampires exist; among which include Nosferatu, Charniputra (gargoyle like monsters), Purebloods, Trykes (parasites), Atlanteans (water-dwellers), Anchorites (outcasts), Moksha Sect (seers), Sirens (all female seductresses), Mystikos (business and technology leaders), and warrior sects Krieger and Claw. Dracula acts as the Diplomatic leader of the various clans and is joined by his two sons, Xarus and Janus. However, Xarus takes bold action and beheads his father, leading all vampires in a unified force to take over the world. Unfortunately this hostile takeover seems ill received and even Janus has his doubts. Few are privy to the secret that Xarus has teamed up with the Mystikos clan and possess specially designed crystal technology rendering it’s wearer impervious to the deadly sunlight. Armed with this technology Xarus and his minions begin destroying his opposition. If it were not for the Siren clans leader, Alyssa, hiding a crystal in Janus’ pocket, Janus would have met the same fate. Instead, Janus escapes with his piece of technology and must hide from his brother’s forces until he can decide what to do next.
This story is followed by X-Men #1 in which a deadly virus is unleashed turning both human and mutantkind into blood-suckers. Upon further investigation, the X-men discover vampires have already formed a safehouse filled with weapons and supplies. The heroes formulate a plan and work on developing a vaccine in time and stop the virus from spreading. Unfortunately, they must act quickly as they watch one of their own, young Jubilee, slowly transform in front of their very eyes. Issue #2 introduces the original vampire day-walker, Blade, to the mutants as they infiltrate the newly discovered vampire base. Blade helps the mutants capture one of the vampires and bring it back to their lab. Blade informs the group that Dracula is dead with Xarus now uniting them as their leader. Meanwhile, Jubilee escapes the safety of the lab unable to resist the chilling call of her undead makers. In X-Men, Issue #3, the team with the help of Prince Namor (also known as the Sub-Mariner) brings Dracula back to life by reuniting his severed corpse. Fortunately for the mutants, Dracula is more concerned with seeking his own revenge and leaves the scene. Elsewhere Jubilee seems delighted with her newly found undead power and plots with Xarus to bring her most trusted teammate, Wolverine, into their clutches. Little do the vampires know that Wolvie is coming to them freshly inoculated with some sort of injection that Cyclops and the others have put their trust in. Let’s hope it’s strong enough to combat Jubilee’s bite!
There has also been some stellar promotional artwork for this mutant vampire craze. Take a look at some of these tasty treats by artist Mike Mayhew:
This is not the first time these Marvel heroes have battled these supernatural forces of darkness. Storm recalls her brush with Dracula years ago when he attempted to claim her as his bride as seen in X-Men Annual #6 (published in 1982). Her insights and first-hand experience might prove an advantage, but only time will tell as this sinister plot unfolds. And just for the fun of it, let’s take a trip down memory lane. Check out some artwork featuring a few of the X-men’s previous encounters with vampires: