Friday, November 20, 2015

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) # 67

Cover Artist: Javier Saltares
Published: Jan. 1991
Original Price: $1.25

Title: Acts of Vengeance, Part 4: "Uneasy Alliance"
Writer: Howard Mackie
Artist: Mark Texeira
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Clem Robins
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco

Wolverine, still feeling the effects of the drugs in his system, holds Brigitte hostage, attempting to get answers to his questions. Though he only intends to scare her, Wolverine's actions are viewed differently by the Ghost Rider, who has just entered the room with Brigitte's father, Yuji. The two vigilantes briefly begin to fight, until they are separated by Yuji. Brigitte then leaves the room, ordered by her father to find her brother, Sean. Moments later, the group is attacked by a cadre of Deathwatch's ninjas. After fighting off a large number of the assassins, Yuji, Wolverine, and the Ghost Rider are confronted by two sword-bearing twins, who tell them that they have captured Brigitte, and they want the sensei's son in return. Yuji restrains his two comrades, wanting to know the status of his daughter first. The twins throw down Brigitte's severed pony-tail, and again demand the whereabouts of the son. Wolverine and the Ghost Rider both advance toward them, but the twins, apparently mutants, touch their sword blades together and produce a blast of energy that caves in the ceiling of the building.

A few minutes later, Wolverine and the Ghost Rider crawl from the rubble, agreeing to do things Yuji's way. At that moment, Yuji's son, Sean Watanabe, enters, telling the two vigilantes to call him by the name Brass. Sean then says that they need to act quickly, and that Deathwatch's men have kidnapped Jack D'Auria from the hospital, causing the Ghost Rider to fly into an anger fueled rage.

This issue is reprinted in the Ghost Rider/Wolverine: Acts of Vengeance special edition.

This issue of MCP also contained stories featuring Poison, the Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man.

Podcast Review: Inner Demons Episode 8 - "Ninja Clown Machine" (Click to Listen)

Wolverine and Ghost Rider are reunited, this time as uneasy allies, while "Acts of Vengeance" rolls forward.

One positive thing I can safely say about this story, despite the constant ups and downs in quality, is that Howard Mackie writes a good Wolverine along with his Ghost Rider creation. The character hadn't quite descended into the cliche he eventually became when this story came out, and Mackie fills him with the right amount of cynical humor to counter balance against his gruff personality. Something else that Mackie does well, during the reunion of Ghost Rider and Wolverine, is immediately bring the two to blows again without having it turn into another fight between them. These are two characters not known for their patience or willingness to sit down and talk things out, so it makes a lot of sense for them to attack each other on sight once again. Thankfully, though, this is the last of such scenes in this story, finally cementing it as the team-up story it's billed as.

Unfortunately, Ghost Rider really doesn't get to do much but stand around and look menacing in this chapter as parts of the plot are explained around him. But in typical Mackie fashion, the plot elements that needed explanation are danced around with vague clues instead of real answers. We're halfway through this story already, people, and I expect at least an idea of what's supposed to be going on.

Texeira and Candelario continue to improve on their shared art duties, but there still remains the irritating lack of backgrounds to most of their panels. It's easy to tell that this entire story was done as a last-minute rush job, because I know Texeira is capable of so much more even when paired with an incompatible inker like Candelario.

We're four chapters down with four more to go and this story keeps teetering back and forth between good and bad. Care to guess which way it's eventually going to fall?

Grade: C+