I was surprised there was a Volume 4 of the "Essential Tomb of Dracula" because once they got to the end of the run of the Marvel comic book mostly written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Gene Colan, I figured that was it. But there were some black & white magazines being put out at the same time and it is largely the Dracula stories from those titles that are collected here. However, there is also the original pencil art for the pages that Wolfman and Colan had to excise from "Tomb of Dracula" #70 when the finale was finally decided to be a double-issue. Half the pages have dialogue and there is an issue break, so you can have some fun figuring where these pages would have gone. But at least fans of the comic book get a little something new here even if they are familiar with all of the reprints.
What we have in Volume are stories from issues #2-6 of "Tomb of Dracula" magazine, "Dracula Lives" #1-13, and "Frankenstein Monster" #7-9. However, the neat thing about this collection is that the stories are, for the most part, arranged "chronologically" according to the "life" of Dracula. After an article on "Bloodline: A Probable Outline of the Career of Count Vlad Dracula" compiled by Peter Gillis we go back to 1452 with the Marvel origin of the character in "That Dracula May Live Again" by Marv Wolfman and Neal Adams. There are six stories from the 15th century, another dozen before Stoker's "Dracula" in 1890, a three-part encounter with the Frankenstein Monster in 1898 (already reprinted in the "Essential Monster of Frankenstein"), and then 20th century stories from 1903, 1926, and 1944 (the Nazis meet Dracula) before we get to "Today" and the final eleven stories.
This is an uneven collection of stories, which is to be expected with other Marvel writers and artists getting into the act in telling Dracula stories. The best of the bunch are "Sanctuary" by Roger McKenzie and Colon, the Adams drawn story mentioned above, "Suffer Not a Witch" by Roy Thomas with art by Alan Weiss and Dick Giordano, the Civil War tale "A House Divided" by James Shooter and Colan (okay, any time Colan draws a Dracula story it just looks so much better than, say, Frank Robbins), the short "Bounty for a Vampire" by Tony Isabell and Tony DeZeuniga," and "A Night in the Unlife" by Gerry Conway and Alfredo Alcala." But "This Blood Is Mine," a story that has Dracula meeting up with the Countess Elizabeth Bathory, is particularly disappointing as do most of the attempts to introduce the Count into a particular time and place (e.g., the Fascist Rome of 1926 passing for gangland Chicago).
This has to be the last volume in the collection and it certainly qualifies as complete from my perspective. I appreciate having "The Tomb of Dracula" completed, but if they would just get further along with the "Essential Fantastic Four," "Essential Thor," and "Essential Daredevil" I could be even happier.