Death of Doctor Strange has been a delightful event complete with delightfully entertaining one-shot tie-ins. Case in point, Danny Lore and Dylan Burnett tell a tale involving Blade who is now a sheriff for Dracula, who has taken up shop in a town near Chernobyl. With Doctor Strange Dead, new threats emerge that require the powers of keen minds.
This issue opens with a great opening that recaps the time Dr. Strange and Blade took on Dracula. It’s a reminder of how Blade feels about the greatest vampire who ever lived, and that their new arrangement isn’t the best of times for either. Rendered in a punk style with fabulously bright colors by Mike Spicer, the book has an edge to it that suits the attitude of its characters.
That attitude runs high throughout, as Lore opens with Blade miserable in a sprinkler shower of blood in a likely reference to the first Blade movie. Blade is soon confronted by young vampires who don’t know a thing about respect. It’s these younglings, and their inability to follow orders from Dracula himself, that ends up making a conflict with a threat from another dimension all the more dangerous. Blade is written very well by Lore — in fact, it might be the best depiction of the character in some time. They clearly understand Blade and it’d be dope if we could get more Blade stories from Lore in the future.
Lore nails Blade’s attitude and discomfort with his new role and establishes he’s not backing down from the job either. Lore also does a good job establishing the borderline jovial nature of Dracula as he kind of loves the position Blade is in. Lore tests them both when a threat could take them, and all of what Dracula has built, down in an instant. On the surface level there are obvious conflicts afoot, but deeper down there is a message here about clear minds even when you hate each other. Lore capitalizes on the complicated dynamics of these characters.
“Surface-level” is the key phrase, though, since it’s not entirely clear what this book wants to be. It reads like an ongoing Blade book with Dracula as his annoying neighbor or boss, and yet it’s a Death of Doctor Strange tie-in. The tie-in aspect isn’t very strong, making this more of an excuse to explore these characters and the youngling vampires more than anything else. That’s totally valid, but it muddies how you might approach the issue.
The art by Burnett is fabulous, capturing the way-too-chipper Dracula well throughout and the annoyed look of Blade as needed. Some creatures pop up that have inspiring character designs, too, and the action leans into the kinetic energy of Burnett’s lines.
Death of Doctor Strange: Blade is a fun issue that revels in the pure joy Dracula is having juxtaposed with Blade’s reluctance to be there at all. It’s not a must-read tie-in to the main event, but it offers up some cool creature design and further exploration of Blade’s new role as Dracula’s sheriff.
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