Saturday, November 19, 2016

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) # 140

Cover Artist: Fred Harper
Published: Oct. 1993
Original Price: $1.50

Title: Fellow Travelers, Part 4: "Throne of Blood"
Writer: Len Kaminski
Artist: Reggie Jones
Inker: Fred Harper
Letterer: Ul Higgins
Colorist: John Kalisz
Editor: Richard Ashford
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco

While the Masters of Silence fight against an army of undead creatures, the Ghost Rider is held paralyzed by a mystical parchment affixed to his head, helpless to aid his allies. The Masters realize that if they are to survive they must free the Spirit of Vengeance, and each of them throw their swords toward the Rider. The blades pass across the Ghost Rider's head, shredding the parchment and freeing him to fight. With the spell broken, the Ghost Rider enters the battle against the monsters.

Upstairs, Tsin Hark kneels down before a pool of blood and invokes his gods of the outer darkness, calling them to rise from their eternal slumber. He adds incantations written in fire on ashes to the pool of innocent blood and asks his gods to grant his request. As the shadows in the pool begin to change and move, Hark smiles and says "yes!".

Back downstairs, Ghost Rider and the Masters of Silence continue their battle, and shortly are the only ones left standing amidst the bodies of their undead enemies. They begin to search for Hark, finding a curtain behind the madman's throne. As they enter Hark's chamber, they find him standing before the blood pool. Rising from the depths is the army of darkness, a battalion of skeletal warriors clothed in ancient armor.

This issue of MCP also contained stories featuring Iron Fist, Wolverine, and Spellbound.

"Fellow Travelers" continues on with its paper-thin plot built around a series of action sequences, and surprisingly the quality of the first three chapters is held firm.

There's really not much else I can say about this story that I haven't covered in previous reviews. The plot is completely inconsequential, with each 8-page chapter being just one fight scene after another. There was a brief respite from the constant action in the last chapter, which went through the motions of explaining the motivations of the villain, Tsin Hark, and with that out of the way there's not much else to do but have the heroes fight their way to the end.

But as I've said, this story is still hugely enjoyable despite all the reasons why it shouldn't be. Len Kaminski successfully keeps the multiple action sequences from being too repetitive, upping the ante with more and more dangerous paper tigers in each chapter. First was ninjas, then a fight between the heroes, then the undead vampire creatures, and now - at the end of this issue - a horde of skeleton warriors. There's also just enough variation in the motions of the each fight, with the Ghost Rider's imprisonment in this chapter giving a nice little spotlight on his co-stars without it seeming forced.

We're also still getting treated to some wicked artwork by Jones and Harper. These guys can illustrate a fight scene like nobody's business, and each chapter of this story just looks better and better. I'm really warming to their interpretation of the Ghost Rider, and he looks fantastic in this chapter.

So, yeah, it's the same as before, but done in an excellent way. I'm enjoying "Fellow Travelers" more than I probably should.

Grade: B+