Hello, my friends. Our yearly thirst for Halloween is halfway quenched, so let us continue our blood hunt as I delve into another issue of…
So far, our featured Belmont has enjoyed wedded bliss. However, that joyous occasion has been put aside due to the Bartleys’ successful resurrection of an age-old evil named Dracula. After our heroes learn about this demonic return due to the family tomb getting decimated, they manage to get some additional help when the Totyan trio arrive with a signature family weapon. Despite a plentiful cast of characters to combat Dracula, two are left behind for their safety. However, they ultimately decide to hunt down the Prince of Darkness by themselves. As such, let’s start to venture further with our featured issue…
After Issue 3 opens with a narrative hook of Illyana hanging off the side of the Carpathian Mountains for dear life, we then shift to three hours ago where she and Viktor were on their own trek in order to face Dracula themselves. She then leads the young lad on an alternate path towards the castle in order for avoid detection from her husband’s party. Unbeknownst to her, a group of bats are flying through the night sky and one of them sees her coming.
Through the creature, Dracula sees this from his fortress. It’s then revealed that Sona has been sleeping with him. However, he then slaps her away before grabbing her neck to remind her that she’s nothing more than a servant to him.
Over on the outskirts of Dracula’s castle, Christopher and company arrive at the front gate. Just then, the torches go out and the horses become spooked as a group of vampire corpses rise up from the ground, causing our heroes to fend them off. During the scuffle, the undead fiends push Gaspar’s horse over and pin him underneath his steed. Fortunately, Christopher and Pascha come in to save his life.
After Deimos manages to fire a few arrows into the corpses’ heads only for them to not be slained, Gaspar recovers to protect the loyal butler. From there, Christopher wraps the battle up by entwining one of the corpses in his whip. Because of its unique make-up (which I’ll discuss later), it sets the undead foe on fire before Belmont kicks it over to the rest of the fiends as they burn to death.
Meanwhille, Illyana and Viktor arrive at Dracula’s castle. However, they have to walk upon an unstable bridge across a deep chasm in order to reach their destination. If that wasn’t bad enough, they’re greeted with high winds as they try to cross. As such, Viktor nearly falls off as Illyana manages to grab his arm. However, the bridge starts to give way. She manages to grab onto the side in order to save herself and Viktor, but Dracula notices this as he becomes a man-bat and flies off to intervene.
Back with Christopher and company, the remaining corpses proceed to decompose. Gaspar believes that because their foe has yet to reach full strength, the fiend has called off this attack due to something else grabbing his attention. Just then, Christopher hears his wife screaming in the distance as he rushes off to save her. Meanwhile, Illyana tries to help Viktor get back up. However, her efforts are interrupted by the arrival of Dracula who proceeds to grab and lick her face. Viktor manages to intervene by stabbing the vampire’s leg, but the Lord of Darkness responds by throwing Illyana down the chasm before grabbing Viktor and biting his neck.
As Mrs. Belmont regains consciousness, she sees the young lad’s bitten corpse descend down the pit before the shock knocks her out as Dracula manages to grab her. Later, Christopher arrives to save his wife. However, he gets knocked back by the famed vampire as Issue 3 ends with Dracula flying off from his castle with Illyana in his grasp.
After two issues of establishing our main players and the conflict to come, we finally have some action to kickoff our build-up towards the climax. There isn’t really any further character development here since it’s mainly our heroes looking to converge on Dracula in order to bring his tyranny to an end. Really, the most we get is from the Lord of Darkness himself, since he displays a pair of his supernatural powers. Not to mention, he may be thankful to Sona for bringing him back to life, but that’s all. There’s no further respect to her and he doesn’t see her as worthy enough to even become one of his brides. Like the other issues, the tale moves fairly quickly throughout its 22 pages. While it can make for a light read, there’s also not much else in terms of narrative substance. By this point, one would hope that even the Belmont’s family weapon (the Vampire Killer) would have received a description as to what its made out of since it has destructive power over the un-dead. In terms of the series’ chronology, the famed whip was created by an alchemist named Rinaldo Gandolfi in the year 1089 (since the 2003 game “Lament of Innocence” takes place in 1094) after his daughter named Justine became a vampire and ended up killing his wife & son. Through time, it became even more powerful after Sara Trantoul (Leon Belmont’s fiance) was cursed with vampirism and she sacrificed herself to make the whip “whole”. Of course, that detail hasn’t popped up (and I doubt that it will at any remaining point of the story). Still, it’s a nice detail that I’d thought I should bring up to anyone reading this. Back to the featured issue at hand, the artwork is still mainly solid and compliments the flowing plot. There’s some fairly good detail on the characters and while the backgrounds for this issue are mainly one color per panel with rushing action lines, the various scenes are established in order for the dynamic movements of the various actions to shine, especially with our plot reaching an escalating level of fear, tension and uncertainty of what’s to come.
Overall, this is a fairly-engaging middle chapter. With a fair amount of established detail, it does a good job of building towards the climax with its action, thrill and a display of our main characters getting an opportunity to display their skills with some genuine humor on the side. Although its mainly a piece of the larger narrative, it definitely keeps its reader engaged throughout with a brisk pace complimented with competent artwork. Either way, it’s enjoyable throughout. Until next time, see you around the C-Cubed!
Castlevania (created by Hitoshi Akamatsu) is owned by Konami.