Nightstalkers #16-18 (1994): Varnae dies; series ends

And another weak series ends.  Marvel will be launching a bunch of miniseries in the back half of 1994, after clearing a bunch of crap off the deck.  Blade’s solo book will take the place of this series though, and it’s a wise choice: Nobody has heard of Nightstalkers, but by 1994 Blade was already a cult hero (and one of the few African American characters who could serve as a headliner).

In these last issues, the team of vampire hunters finally take on the big bad: Dracula!

Actually, no.  It’s a clone, made by Hydra.  And to Marvel’s credit, they don’t do a bait-and-switch on the covers.  No mention of Dracula. BUT IS IT A CLONE?????

It becomes even less clear, by the way, when Blade’s solo book starts up and this guy seems to really be Dracula. So, I’m tagging as Drac.

As this final story unfolds, Hydra blows up the Nightstalkers’ offices—destroying their vamp-busting wares in the process.  The members, who have been arguing since issue #1, finally agree they can’t work together.  A bunch of ongoing threads and backstories are resolved.  Hannibal King reunites with the original Tomb of Dracula cast.  And there is a suggestion that the actual Dracula will resurrect at some point in the near future, which gives an excuse for Blade to keep hunting and killing vamps in his own book.  Oh, and at the very end, it looks like Frank and Hannibal are dead—and Dr. Strange feels guilty about it.

A very strong final three issues—better than any that preceded them.

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