“Familiar Bloodlines” Castlevania: The Belmont Legacy #5

Happy Halloween, my friends!  The spirit of the season is fully in the air and pumping hard in our veins.  As such, I welcome you to the final part of our look at the mini-series known as…

Our Title Card!

While I encourage you to check out the previous four parts of my review for further details, here’s what happened so far.  Christopher Belmont is newly-married to Illyana, but their wedded bliss is put on hold due to Dracula being resurrected.  Three representatives of the Totoyans (a family that the Belmonts have a history of respect towards) help join the fight.  However, Illyana is left behind with Viktor Totoyan for their safety.  Shortly after the main group leaves, Lady Belmont and the young lad make their way to Dracula’s castle by themselves.  However, Viktor is turned into a vampire and Illyana gets kidnapped.  Afterwards, the young lad proceeds to bite his grandfather, Gaspar, on his neck before temporarily retreating.  Despite his worsening condition, his newfound ability let’s him see what Dracula sees in order to help rescue Illyana.  Afterwards, Viktor returns to strike back.  Pascha has to kill off her brother and manages to help subdue her grandfather in order for them to learn where Lady Belmont is being kept.  From there, we finally reach our final chapter for the year called…

Castlevania-Belmont Legacy #5!.jpg

Originally released on July 20, 2005, this concluding issue sold 4,895 copies on it’s initial run.  If we add up the previous issues, then the entire five-part series sold 27,822 copies over its original five-month run.  With our sales statistics out of the way, let’s dive in and see how this tale reaches its thirst-quenching end.

Issue 5 opens with our heroes scaling the Carpathian mountainside with Gaspar guiding them to Dracula’s whereabouts like an otherworldly bloodhound.  Deimos has their former ally by a chain that’s wrapped around his neck, but he loses his grip after a piece of the cliff that he was climbing on gives way.  Christopher manages to to save him while Pascha throws a dagger and pins her former grandfather to prevent him from escaping.

Over at the cave, the imprisoned Illyana is confronted by a naked Sona whose body has been beaten and abused.  Despite that, she’s still loyal to her dark master.  Illyana is able to rile her up after disregarding her feeble threats before Dracula has to break up their arguing.

Back at the mountains, Pascha reaches the top and begins to reach out to help her comrades up.  Unfortunately, Gaspar uses this moment to yank the chain out of her grasp.  She runs after him as Christopher and Deimos are forced to continue their journey.  Pascha then rejoins them a short time later after failing to get her demonic grandfather back.

Back at the cave, Dracula shifts into his human form as he casts Sona aside.  From there, he bites his lip and proceeds to give Illyana a bloodied kiss before his supernatural senses helps him catch an approaching arrow.  As such, the final battle begins as Christopher uses his whip to pull a stalactite down onto his foe.

Meanwhile, Deimos tries to free Illyana, but Gaspar jumps in and shoves the faithful butler aside.  However, it turns out that there’s still some humanity in him as he frees Lady Belmont from her imprisonment before telling her and Deimos to flee.  While Dracula shifts into man-bat form and carries Christopher out of the cave, Pascha fends off Sona before decapitating her with her sword.  Sensing an adversary coming up behind her, she’s able to stab the enemy, only to realize that it was her grandfather.  With his soul now freed, Gaspar thanks his granddaughter before departing to the great beyond.

Meanwhile, Dracula reaches a high-enough altitude to drop his foe.  Fortunately, Christopher wraps his Vampire Killer whip around the fiend’s neck.  As Dracula starts to burn, Lord Belmont manages to guide his adversary back towards the cave.  As he falls off, the dying fiend flies right towards Illyana.  She gets hit as he dies in a fiery explosion, but she emerges in fine condition.  Just then, she realizes that her husband is in trouble as she rushes towards the cliff.  With out heroes fearing the worst, they’re suddenly approached by a familiar whip wrapping around the protruding edge as Christopher manages to climb back up and give his wife a loving kiss.

We then cut to the Belmont Manor six months later as we learn from a dinner conversation with Illyana that Pascha now lives with the Belmonts.  Christopher then arrives as he and wife lead their friend to a surprise.  Once they arrive at Legacy Cemetery, Pascha discovers a tombstone placed next to the Belmont tomb honoring her deceased grandfather and brother.  And so, the series ends with a pregnant Illyana feeling a kick from her unborn baby.  However, the fateful kiss from Dracula may have played a factor as the fetus develops glowing red eyes.

Castlevania-B.L. #5-Die, Monster!.png

As a final chapter to this mini-series, there’s a fair amount of build-up towards the final confrontation as our heroes trek through the final length of their journey to reach Dracula.  However, while the climax itself is rendered in a competent & mainly-satisfying way, a constant problem throughout the series continues to rear its ugly head here.  Because there’s not much story detail here, the pacing is fast and makes the comic breeze by very quickly.  Also, for what’s supposed to be a final battle, it can ultimately be summarized in a few sentences:  1. Dracula’s attention is acquired as he stops an approaching arrow.  2. Christopher uses his whip to pin a stalactite onto Dracula.  3. Dracula recovers and grabs Lord Belmont in order to fly up and ultimately drop him from a great height.  4. Christopher recovers and uses his whip to burn Dracula to death.  I know that within the series’ timeline (not counting the “Lord of Shadows” games, since those weren’t around) that this isn’t the first time that a Belmont family member has gone up against their greatest adversary, but one would assume that Dracula would have remembered his past failures and take greater measures to prepare himself for the final battle.  He does let Illyana alive, but one would have assumed that she would have been used as a bargaining chip.  Besides, she’s not even the one who defeats Sona in the end.  It would have been nice for her to team up with Pascha in taking down the deceitful Lady Bartley, but she sadly falls into the damsel in distress role since she’s ultimately rescued by the butler and even a vampiric Gaspar (I’ll touch up on that in a brief moment).  Also, it’s safe to assume that because Dracula shared a bloodied kiss with her, some of his blood worked its way into her fetus and it’s setting up something huge with her soon-to-be son Soleiyu.  Sadly, there was never a follow-up story.  We also don’t really get to see her in action, with the exception of a war with words against Sona.  All of the female butt-kicking gets done by Pascha.  Despite her and her fellow family members being originally created for this series only, she does a fair amount of combat throughout.  However, they never appear at any point within any video game series (as far as my knowledge and research goes), so we know too much about her or her family, outside of the fact that they’ve helped out the Belmonts in past battles against Dracula.  It’s sort of a shame, since it would have been nice to have Pascha in an actual Castlevania game and have her background become more fleshed out.  Finally, Gaspar manages to escape from Christopher’s group.  However, he doesn’t head to his vampire lord to warn him about our heroes arrival.  Even when he reappears, he’s still able to retain what little humanity he has to free Illyana before he attacks unsuccessfully attacks his granddaughter.  That’s mainly minor in the grand scheme, but it feels somewhat weak in its execution.  Despite my complaints, it’s still a fun and enjoyable read.  The artwork is still top-notch and without any troubling flaws that I could find, the characters are still enjoyable to follow and the story never comes close to being too complicated to follow.  It’s essentially a standard good-vs.-evil supernatural story, which is both good and bad.  Seasoned Castlevania fans may find this series lacking in meaty details, but casual fans like myself will most likely get more enjoyment out of this.  Either way, both sides should receive some entertainment out of this series, no matter what time of the season it is.

Our #5 Cover!

Overall, this is a fairly good conclusion to the series and fine as a whole piece.  While lacking in important plot details and motivation that the previously reviewed “Lake Erie Monster” and “Dracula vs. King Arthur” contains thus resulting in a near-breakneck pace, the series still has some entertainment value that’s supported by some nice artwork & a good color palette, likable characters, engaging set pieces and some decent action scenes that’ll satisfy some the blood-thirsty souls of some readers.  It’s a competently-made tale which fans will mainly find a certain level of enjoyment, even though it doesn’t take the fullest of advantages of its license.  Anyway, that’s all for this year’s Halloween review.  Until next time, see you around the C-Cubed!

Castlevania (created by Hitoshi Akamatsu) is owned by Konami.

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