Friday, April 1, 2016

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) # 91

Cover Artist: Sam Keith
Published: Oct. 1991
Original Price: $1.25

Title: Servants of the Dead, Part 2: "Chase In the Dark"
Writer: Howard Mackie
Artist: Guang Yap
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Fernando Mendez
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco

Having entered the tunnels beneath Cypress Hills Cemetery, Ghost Rider finds Cable trapped to the cave wall and the young girl being dragged away by the Grateful Undead. Ghost Rider frees Cable, and the two heroes are splattered with the girl's blood, thrown by the Undead as a warning for them to stay away. The two men follow the Undead to a huge cavern, where the mysterious underground group have set up an ambush. Using rocket launchers from the cliffs above, they herd Ghost Rider and Cable to a nearby wooden bridge. When Ghost Rider's motorcycle crosses the bridge, it collapses, sending both of them down into the chasm below.

This issue is reprinted in Ghost Rider and Cable: Servants of the Dead # 1.

This issue of MCP also contained stories featuring Wolverine, the Impossible Man, and the Beast.

Ghost Rider meets Cable in this second chapter of "Servants of the Dead".

It's actually a bit of a novelty that the two heroes meet in this issue and DON'T immediately fight one another. It's honestly refreshing, with Ghost Rider his usual "obsessed with vengeance" self teaming up with the utterly-professional Cable and just getting on with the task sans the typical misunderstanding. That's how most of the Ghost Rider team-up stories in MCP handled things, so I'm glad to see that Mackie at least forgoes that formality here.

Story-wise, there's really not a whole lot to talk about. There's a good exchange between Ghost Rider and Cable, where the latter asks just who it is they're fighting for considering neither of them even know the young girl they're trying to save. They're both heroes and the innocent need protecting, that's all there is to it. Again, it's refreshing to see a story where neither lead character has a personal investment other than just doing their jobs. The Grateful Undead are still just shadowy ciphers, for it does seem a bit strange that an underground death cult would have bazookas ready to use.

Guang Yap is the artist on this arc, and I happen to really enjoy what he's doing here. It's obvious why he never became a major name, his work isn't flashy or stylistic enough in these early pre-Image Comics days, but he tells the story well without letting his artistic flourishes get in the way. The only unclear part is when the heroes are splashed with blood, which is drawn as rocks that splatter when they hit. Not rocks covered with blood, mind you, but rocks that actually "sploosh" into red puddles. I don't get that sequence at all.

"Servants of the Dead" isn't groundbreaking, and though this chapter doesn't do much beyond putting Ghost Rider and Cable in the same space, it's still an enjoyable story that will get much better as it moves along.

Grade: B