A Surprisingly Good Read
I honestly didn't pick up this issue with high expectations. Usually, this sort of things turns out pretty mediocre, but the Death of Dracula was definitely an exception to that trend.
Janus, the eldest son of Dracula, is our main character, and Victor Gischler uses him to great effect as a gateway for readers into the vampire culture of the Marvel Universe. Now, I really know very little about Marvel's version of Dracula and its history of vampires, but I get the feeling that Gischler's version of things matches up very little to what Marvel has done with vampires in the past. I can't say that particularly bothers me, because Gischler seems to have put a lot of thought into his version of things with some really interesting results.
The intrigue and suspense in this issue are intense. The actual death of Dracula comes fairly quickly, and what this issue really proves to be about is which of Dracula's sons takes power. Throughout the issue, there is really this sense that anything can happen because the only character of note you think would be safe is killed in the beginning. It makes for an entertaining ride all the way to the final page.
One thing I really have to question is the drastic redesign of Dracula here. Why? It is true that Marvel has typically gone with a rather generic interpretation of Dracula's look, but I don't see the point in giving his look a complete overhaul for a story he quickly dies in. It does more harm than good to that story, because it is such an abrupt change. On top of that, the design itself isn't even impressive and looks like bad concept art for a Castlevania video game. This is really a minor gripe, but I would have given this a full five star rating if the Dracula who died actually looked anything like Dracula.
This issue leaves me more hopeful and interested in the upcoming X-Men storyline with mutants clashing against vampires. However, I'm not sold on it. Reading this issue alone, I would never guess it is building towards a big story with the X-Men. Mutants vs. vampires remains such a random idea to me that I need more convincing, but I am at least more open to it after reading this issue.