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Marvel Universe 

Vampire Hunters

 

Universe
Marvel Universe

Base of Operations
Various, including the Harker estate, London, England

First Appearance
Tomb of Dracula #3 (1972)

Current Members:



For centuries, brave men and women have taken up arms against vampires, some such as the immortal Ulysses Bloodstone or the 17th-century hunter Jonas Cray carving out still-remembered legends; but the greatest leaders of vampire hunters have been those born into and raised by the van Helsing family. The van Helsings' particular enmity towards Dracula, the lord of vampires, began in 1465, when Dracula slew Hans, lover of Rache van Helsing. Rache raised her son to avenge Hans, and this vendetta endured for centuries. By the late 19th century, Dracula's foremost foe was Abraham van Helsing, latest of the family line and an occult specialist. Abraham took a personal interest in Dracula's destruction when his wife Elizabeth became one of the vampire lord's victims.


Decades later, in 1890, Abraham was summoned by his former pupil John Seward to help treat Lucy Westernra, a victim of Dracula who was slowly becoming undead. Abraham did all that he could to prevent her transformation but failed. He subsequently led her fiancé Arthur Holmwood to destroy her while she rested in her coffin. As Abraham, Holmwood and Seward searched London for Dracula alongside their friends Quincy Morris and Jonathan Harker, they discovered that Harker's wife, Mina, had been visited by Dracula and had drank of his blood. Abraham took advantage of her psychic connection to Dracula in order to discern his movements, and they tracked him back to Castle Dracula. Jonathan and Morris seemingly slew Dracula, but Morris died from his wounds. The Harkers named their son Quincy in honor of him. Later, the revived Dracula slew Abraham in 1899 and Jon Harker during World War I.

Jon Harker's son, Quincy, continued the fight against vampires, including the revived Dracula, across the next century. While at an opera house with his wife Elizabeth in 1945, Quincy was flung from a balcony by Dracula, breaking his legs. Quincy, confined to a wheelchair from then on, equipped the chair with a powerful arsenal of weapons, including poison-coated wooden darts and garlic-coated nets. He also trained his German Shepherd Saint to fight vampires, protecting the faithful hound with a collar studded with silver crosses. Due to repeated vampire bites, Quincy aged extremely slowly and suffered from light sensitivity. Elizabeth, however, never got over her encounter with Dracula, eventually committing suicide. When Dracula took revenge on the van Helsing family by killing the parents of young Rachel van Helsing, Quincy saved the girl from Dracula, taking her under his wing. Rachel grew up to become a true successor to the van Helsing mantle and pursued Dracula across the globe, usually wielding a crossbow. While trailing Dracula in India, she met Taj Nital, whose throat had been slashed by Dracula in combat, rendering him mute. Taj became a member of Quincy's team.

One of Quincy's agents, a Scotsman whose son had been killed by Dracula, tracked Dracula to his castle and drove a stake into the vampire's heart before dying himself. Dracula lay dormant for years until his castle was visited by Frank Drake, a human descendant of Dracula's who had come to sell the family property, having no idea that the stories of Dracula were real. Drake's friend Clifton Graves inadvertently revived Dracula, who drove Graves mad and made him his servant, also vampirizing Drake's girlfriend Jeanie. Forced to slay Jeanie, Drake was haunted by his experiences. He attempted to commit suicide by flinging himself from a bridge in London but was saved by Rachel and Taj, who recruited him into their ranks, eventually introducing him to Quincy Harker himself. Drake was often cowardly in battle in comparison to the fiery Rachel and the stoic Taj, but over time, he found his courage, and fell in love with Rachel.

Quincy's band often encountered Blade, a vampire hunter whose viciousness made cooperation difficult. Blade had led his own team of vampire hunters -- Azu, Orji Jones, Musenda, and Ogun Strong -- but all but Musenda had been slain by Dracula, so Blade preferred working alone. Blade considered Quincy's team too soft, but repeatedly found that he needed their resources. Other allies of Quincy's team included Scotland Yard's Inspector Chelm, psychic investigator Kate Fraser, vampire detective Hannibal King, and sorcerer supreme Dr. Strange. Quincy's daughter Edith was an early associate of the team, but Dracula turned her into a vampire and Quincy had to destroy her.

The nebbish writer Harold H. Harold once saved Dracula's life in order to obtain an interview with him, but eventually realized his error and aided the vampire hunters in several adventures. Unfortunately, Harold saved Dracula's life again after he had been impaled on a wooden fence post by Howard the Duck, and Dracula turned Harold into a vampire as his reward. An unrelated vampire-hunter, cowboy Francis Leroy Brown, was hired by the father of Dracula-victim Mary Jo Bentley to avenge her death. Brown attacked Dracula when he was briefly returned to human form, managing to shoot him twice before being hurled to his death off of a roof. After many close attempts on Dracula's life, Quincy engaged in a final confrontation with Dracula at his castle, activating a bomb with a 30-second countdown. This time Quincy succeeded in slaying Dracula, but the bomb exploded before he could behead him and Quincy died in the explosion.

Dracula returned for vengeance on his enemies, vampirizing Rachel and using her as a pawn against the X-Men. Rachel ultimately regained some of her will and aided the X-Men in slaying Dracula, then allowed herself to be destroyed by sunlight. Devastated by Rachel's death, Frank Drake joined with Hannibal King and Blade in assisting Dr. Strange with the recovery of the Darkhold so that its Montesi Formula could be used to destroy Dracula. Although Dracula bested all three of his old foes, Dr. Strange succeeded with the spell, destroying Dracula and all of the Earth's vampires -- including Harold H. Harold. Only Hannibal King was spared, as Dr. Strange was able to restore his humanity. Drake, King and Blade formed a detective agency together and faced other supernatural threats, such as the cult of the Darkholders. Drake eventually married Marlene McKenna, but the mystic Gregor Smirnoff had her temporarily possessed by Rachel van Helsing's spirit and restored Dracula to life once more. Drake and Blade joined with the vampire hunter Katinka in opposing Dracula yet again. Katinka later worked with paranormal investigator Judiah Golem.

With vampires again on the rise, Drake, King and Blade found more work for their agency, Borderline Investigations (also known as the Nightstalkers). King became more vampire-like due to the weakening of the Montesi Formula, and Drake adopted the Exorcist (nicknamed "Linda"), a gun which could destroy supernatural targets. They fought menaces such as HYDRA's D.O.A. operatives and the Lilin, and joined with the Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch), Dr. Strange, John Blaze, Morbius and the Darkhold Redeemers as the Midnight Sons. Tragically, Taj Nital re-entered the trio's lives, but had been transformed into a vampire by the first lord of the vampires, Varnae, to destroy them, and had to be slain by Blade. While battling Varnae and Bloodstorm (a clone of Dracula), the Exorcist gun overloaded, and Drake and King were seemingly killed. Instead of perishing, Drake, King and Bloodstorm were apparently merged into a new host body for Dracula. When Dracula assumed full control of his new body, he drove King and Drake out. Drake was horribly injured from the ordeal and was sent to a hospital. There, he retreated into himself, having become so dulled by the trials of his life that he no longer cared about himself or anyone else.

Recently, Noah van Helsing, born Noah Tremayne and adopted by August van Helsing, gathered many of the world's greatest vampire hunters to oppose Dracula and thousands of vampires that had gathered at Castle Dracula to perform the Ritual of Ascension, which had been discovered by August's father Jeremiah. Noah's recruits were Blade; Divinity Drake, seemingly a part-vampire descendant of Dracula; Benjamin Soloman Alomii, a technology specialist from Guyana; Michiyo Watanabe, a Japanese swordswoman; Lucas Telling-Stone, a mute Native American spell-caster; and Enzo Ferrara, formerly of the Vatican, an all-around specialist in the occult.

Noah's team suffered many casualties despite the aid of the Mortuus Invitus, vampire warriors who rejected their bloodlust. Ultimately, Divinity was revealed to be the sorceress Aamshed, the creator of the Ritual Dracula had sought to perform, and her magics destroyed Dracula and all of the vampires gathered at his castle. In the end, only Blade and Telling-Stone survived the battle.


Contributors: Zeraphyne, Jstephens and Ohitsme