Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) # 105

Cover Artist: Sam Keith
Published: June 1991
Original Price: $1.50

Title: "Doorway to Darkness, Part 5: Enter the Realm of Gorn"
Writer: Howard Mackie
Artist: Rick Leonardi
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Freddy Mendez
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco

Gorn is confronted by Dr. Strange and Ghost Rider, who have fought their way through the demon's minions to rescue Kevin.  Dr. Strange recognizes Gorn as a minor demon and that his realm is actually under the rule of Mephisto.  Ghost Rider steps forward and beats Gorn savagely while Dr. Strange protects Kevin.  Gorn reveals that Kevin's mother was a member of a cult of worshippers that were going to sacrifice the boy to open a doorway to Earth for Gorn to enter.  When Kevin's father attempted to stop the sacrifice, the mother killed him by throwing alcohol in his face while he was smoking, burning him to death.  Strange transports himself, Ghost Rider, and Kevin out of Hell just before Mephisto arrives to confront Gorn, possibly destroying the minor demon in the process.  Back on Earth, Kevin agrees to lead Strange and Ghost Rider to his mother to bring the boy's pain to a conclusion.
This issue of Marvel Comics Presents also contained stories featuring Wolverine/Nightcrawler, the Thing, and the Young Gods.

The heroes have their first and final battle with Gorn, answering some of the outstanding questions about the story in the process.

Gorn is an interesting character with a fantastic design, and I'd love to see him make a come back in a future Ghost Rider story (as unlikely as that may be).  I really love the idea of him presenting himself to be this all-powerful demon that rules his own dimension but is actually a big, fat fraud.  When Dr. Strange is giving a verbal dressing-down and saying he only vaguely remembers the name, that knocks the winds out of your villain's sails pretty handily.  So the reveal that Gorn was really just a lesser demon trying to escape Hell is handled well, and it puts the previous chapters in a new perspective.  It wasn't the heroes that Gorn was trying to manipulate, it was a frightened little boy, who minor demon or not would of course be intimidated and frightened by him.

The artwork by Leonardi and Palmiotti continues to be top-notch work, with the aforementioned fantastic character design for Gorn and the way they handled the other characters.  Ghost Rider looks great under their pens, and though he still kind of looks out of place, their Dr. Strange looks good as well.  It was nice seeing Strange get a nice double-splash page, since he's been a bit overshadowed by Ghost Rider throughout this story.

I'm still liking "Doorway to Darkness" quite a bit, and I like the twist on the demon villain trope.
Grade: A