Superman 344 – Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster in Metropolis

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Paul Levitz joins Wein, Swan and Chiaramonte for a supernatural story in Superman 344 (Jan. 80) as Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster cause problems in Metropolis.

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In his journalist capacity, Clark Kent is sent to take part in a seance, held in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the death of renowned mystic Roland Randall – based on the annual seances held on Harry Houdini’s death day.

The psychic for the seance is a blind woman, Cassandra Craft.  The story intentionally avoids making her previous role in the DC universe clear, but she had not appeared since the final issue of the Phantom Stranger’s comic a few years earlier.

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The Dracula and Frankenstein monster in the story are meant to be the real ones – or at least the inspirations for them, with the monster being the slave of the vampire.  After a first round with Superman, which they were unprepared for, Dracula sets his sights on the hero, as his super-powerful blood would substantially increase the vampire’s powers.

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And with Superman vulnerable to magic, there is a good chance that the two of them would prevail.

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It’s only the appearance of the Phantom Stranger on the final page that saves the day.  Curiously, despite his past romantic relationship with Cassandra Craft, he avoids all contact with her in this story, although she seems to be aware that the Stranger was there.

The Phantom Stranger had last been seen in Brave and the Bold a year or so earlier, but returns very shortly in the Super-Star Holiday Special, while Cassandra Craft must wait a decade for another appearance, in the Phantom Stranger’s Showcase tale in Action Comics Weekly.

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