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Rachel Van Helsing

Real Name: Rachel Van Helsing
Occupation: Vampire hunter, parapsychologist, anthropologist, university professor
Identity: Publicly known
Legal Status: Citizen of the United Kingdom with no criminal record
Other Aliases: None
Place of Birth: Unrevealed, presumably in or near London, England
Place of Death: (as a living being) Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York State, (as vampire) Cornwall, England
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Abraham Van Helsing (great-grandfather, deceased), parents (depicted but names unrevealed, deceased)
Group Affiliation: Quincy Harker's band of vampire hunters
Base of Operations: London, England
First Appearance: TOMB OF DRACULA #3
Final Appearance: X-MEN ANNUAL #6

History: Dr. Rachel Van Helsing was the great-granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing, the legendary vampire hunter whose successful struggle against the vampire lord Dracula was chronicled in Brain Stoker's book Dracula. (Some texts erroneously refer to Rachel as Abraham van Helsing's granddaughter.). As a child Rachel witnessed Dracula murdering both her parents in revenge for his defeat by Abraham van Helsing. Rachel was thereafter raised by Quincy Harker, the leader of an organization of vampire hunters, who was Dracula's most persistent adversary in the Twentieth Century. On Rachel's sixteenth birthday Dracula confronted her, placed her under his hypnotic control, and would have bitten her had not Harker arrived in time and driven him away.

Rachel van Helsing earned a PhD in anthropology and became renowned at a young age in both this field and in that of parapsychology. But her principal career was that of a vampire hunter. She was trained in hunting vampires by Harker himself and quickly became the most formidable member of his team of vampire slayers.

It is not known when and under what circumstances Van Helsing first battled Dracula. Sometime later, Dracula led a large number of vampires in an attack on the people of the village of Jajpur, India. Firing a wooden arrow from her favorite weapon, the crossbow, Van Helsing slew the vampire that mortally wounded the boy Adri Nital Then she drove off Dracula himself when he tried to kill Adri's father, Taj Nital. In gratitude to Van Helsing and in order to take vengeance for the death of his son, who himself became a vampire, Taj Nital joined Harker's band of vampire hunters and often accompanied Van Helsing on her missions.

Van Helsing and Nital prevented Dracula's descendant, Frank Drake, from committing suicide after Drake had destroyed his fiancée Jean, whom Dracula had turned into a vampire. Drake became van Helsing's ally against Dracula, and Drake and Van Helsing soon fell in love with each other. Van Helsing introduced Drake to Harker, and Drake became a full-fledged member of Harker's organization of vampire hunters.

Van Helsing clashed repeatedly with Dracula over the following years. During one encounter, Dracula caused bats under his mental control to claw Van Helsing's face, leaving scars that never entirely healed.

The love between Drake and Van Helsing continued over these years, but their relationship was an uneasy one, complicated by Drake's feelings of inadequacy as a vampire hunter and Van Helsing's emotional inhibitions.

Harker finally slew Dracula and died himself during a confrontation with the vampire lord in Transylvania. Harker left behind a letter for Van Helsing urging her to try to find happiness in her relationship with Drake. Thinking Dracula destroyed forever, Van Helsing and Drake tried to make their relationship work, but ultimately they parted, not without deep regrets.

Needing a change in her life, Van Helsing took a leave of absence from her teaching position at England's Oxford University and became a visiting professor at Bard College in New York State. There she was taken by surprise and attacked by Dracula, who had been resurrected yet again. Dracula killed Rachel, who then became a vampire under Dracula's control. He made her his consort, and she served as his ally in his subsequent clash with the mutant adventurers called the X-Men.

During his battle against the X-Men, Dracula was unable to maintain the concentration he needed to keep the strong-willed Van Helsing fully under his mental control. Hence, Van Helsing reasserted her own will and was appalled at what Dracula had made her. She hurled a spear through his heart and then, despite the intense pain to herself, brandished a crucifix to render him immobile and unable to pull the spear from his body. As a result, Dracula perished, his body turning to dust except for his skeleton. (Sometime after Van Helsing's own demise as a vampire, though, Dracula was resurrected yet again.)

Having taken her vengeance, Van Helsing wished to end her existence as a vampire. Knowing that being reduced to dust by the rays of the sun, which would soon rise, would be slow and extremely painful, she asked the X-Men to give her a quick, more merciful death by driving a stake through her heart. The X-Man Wolverine complied with her request. Rachel died peacefully, smiling as she watched the sun begin to rise. She was dead before the sun began to reduce most of her body to dust. Months later, Frank Drake avenged her murder by Dracula by playing a major role in assisting the sorcerer Doctor Stephen Strange in casting the spell that destroyed Dracula and all other vampires on Earth, seemingly permanently.

Height: 5 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 135 lbs
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blond

Strength Level: As a living human being Rachel Van Helsing possessed the normal human strength of a woman of her age, height, and build who engaged in moderate regular exercise. As a vampire she possessed superhuman strength, enabling her to lift (press) about 1 ton.

Known Superhuman Powers: As a living human being Rachel Van Helsing had no superhuman powers. As a vampire she possessed the supernatural abilities and limitations common to vampires.

Other Abilities: Rachel Van Helsing was highly skilled in archery using the crossbow.

Weapons: Rachel Van Helsing's preferred weapon in combating vampires was the crossbow, with which she shot wooden tipped arrows. Piercing a vampire's heart with wood is fatal to the vampire.

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