Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) # 119

Cover Artist: Joe Madureira
Published: Dec. 1992
Original Price: $1.50

Title: And Let There Be Light..., Part 1: "The Door"
Writer: Paula Foye
Artist: Alexander Morrissey
Inker: Ken Branch
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Fred Mendez
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco
In an alley in New York City, a dragon-like creature named Grimbat appears via a dimensional doorway, looking for his future queen. He immediately finds Cloak and Dagger, the latter of the two he has watched from his home world of Zianon. Grimbat snatches Dagger away, saying that he needs her light, and knocks Cloak unconscious with a single blow. When an innocent bystander happens by, Grimbat slashes at him, bathing the alley with blood. As Grimbat and Dagger retreat through the dimensional door, he tells her that she is to be his bride and rule beside him. Cloak awakens and immediately wonders where Dagger has disappeared to. With his darkness beginning to consume him, he engulfs some innocent teenagers and afterward feels remorse for draining the life of someone who didn't deserve it.
Several blocks away, the Ghost Rider senses the spilling of innocent blood and quickly makes his way toward the man slashed by Grimbat. He finds Cloak and immediately attacks him, believing him evil. Cloak defends himself, absorbing the Rider's hellfire into his void of darkness. He explains to the Ghost Rider that Dagger has been kidnapped through a doorway by a creature who wanted her light force. The Ghost Rider agrees to help, while a small group of people stared dazedly at the spot where the doorway had been. Grimbat then returns, wanting to capture the Ghost Rider as a light source as well. As Grimbat pulls Ghost Rider through the gateway, Cloak grabs hold, determined to rescue Dagger.
Ghost Rider last appeared in Ghost Rider/Captain America: Fear. 
Cloak and Dagger have previously encountered the Ghost Rider in Cloak and Dagger (1988) # 19, despite this story being written as if the duo and Ghost Rider had never met.
This issue of MCP also contained stories featuring Wolverine/Venom, Wonder Man, and the Constrictor.
If you thought it couldn't get any worse after the Ghost Rider/Iron Fist storyarc in Marvel Comics Presents, I simply have to point to "And Let There Be Light..." as an example of just how badly a writer can fail to grasp the Ghost Rider's character. This is easily the worst MCP story to feature Ghost Rider, and it's a testament to how poor a writer Paula Foye was.
It's obvious that Foye has not a clue about the 90's incarnation of the Ghost Rider past the superficial aspects that any passing comic reader would know. In fact, she makes several glaring errors that lead me to believe she was actually writing the 1970s Zarathos incarnation of the Rider, right down to having the character fire blasts of hellfire - a power explicitly not used by the Dan Ketch incarnation. Even the Ghost Rider's attitude and speech leans more toward the more evil and wicked Zarathos, and it certainly detracts from the story when such glaring errors are abundant in the script.
Of course, it's not that great a story to begin with. It seems that Foye was more interested in writing a Cloak & Dagger story, with Ghost Rider only added as a prerequisite for MCP. Despite having met before, Cloak and Ghost Rider undergo the stereotypical "heroes fight one another over a misunderstanding and then team-up against their common foe". It's weak padding at its most blatant. Grimbat is also a stereotypical monster/villain, but we'll talk more about him in subsequent chapters.
She also paints Cloak in an uncharacteristically negative light when he blames a group of innocent teenagers for being "evil punks" simply because he has to feed. He blames his actions on Dagger's absence, but it more correctly shows that Foye's version of the character is nothing more than a vampire with little remorse for anyone but his partner - which is far from the truth in Cloak's established history by better writers.
Alexander Morrissey's artwork is simplistic and frightfully dull, doing nothing to enhance the weak script. This is a terrible opening chapter, and I'm afraid it doesn't get any better from here.
Grade: F