Monday, December 6, 2010

GHOST RIDER & CABLE - September 1992

Servants of the Dead

Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Guang Yap (penciler), Bud LaRosa (inker), Janice Chiang (letters), Fernando Mendez (colors) (No credits appear in the issue. lists the credits based on those printed in the original Marvel Comics Presents stories.)

Summary: While hunting Masque, Cable falls through a hole and lands in an underground world. There, he rescues a young girl from the Grateful Undead cult. Ghost Rider follows Cable underground when he notices the commotion. The Grateful Undead summon an ancient god to execute the heroes, but it can’t survive their attack. A new cult, the Warriors of the Dead, emerges and punishes the Grateful Undead for summoning the god. The Warriors follow Cable and Ghost Rider, demanding the girl. Soon, the Warriors are beckoned by their god. The “god” reveals himself as a human magician, who once used his necromancy to honor the dead. He’s disturbed by the direction his followers have taken. The girl is revealed as a reanimated body intended to be their god’s bride. The magician allows her to return to a natural death, and Cable and Ghost Rider return home.

Continuity Notes: After wading through an underground river, Cable is grateful he doesn’t have a “short-circuited bionic part.” This was written before Cable was retroactively revealed as the techno-organic virus infected Nathan Summers, and was considered a standard cyborg. The retcon explanation for these comments is that he added conventional bionic parts to his body to confuse people of this era.

Production Note: This is a $3.95, sixty-four page one-shot that reprints the Ghost Rider and Cable serial that ran in Marvel Comics Presents #90-#97. There’s no indicia or credit box, and the logos from the splash pages and next issue blurbs have been removed. One of the introductory narrative captions actually leads into the characters’ names, which of course aren’t there anymore because their logos have been erased.

Review: When I first discovered this comic a few weeks ago, I knew I had to buy it. How could I in good conscious run a ‘90s-themed comics blog and ignore this? As it turns out, the most ‘90s element of the comic is the cover. Guang Yap’s subdued art is about as far away from Sam Keith’s exaggerated cover as you can get, and while the story deals with death cults and angry gods, it’s quite tame. Still, it’s Cable, in what I believe is his first starring role, teaming up with the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider, and that’s certainly of an era.

Because the story originally ran in Marvel Comics Presents, each chapter has to be eight pages long, the required length of all of the MCP serials. Reading all of the chapters together could be a jerky experience, but with the exception of a few bumps, the flow works reasonably well. Due to the original eight-page format, something has to happen every few pages, which gives the book a breakneck pacing that works to the story’s advantage. The most obvious tell that this was originally a serial would be the abrupt shift in villainous cults. The majority of the story focuses on the Grateful Undead (a name someone apparently found clever enough to let slide through), before we’re suddenly introduced to a second death cult that also has an angry god and wants to kill Ghost Rider and Cable. The story still moves so fast, though, the change in villains doesn’t have a particularly negative impact. It’s an entertaining action comic, from back in the days when Cable didn’t mind shooting someone in the face (which absolutely happens here), Howard Mackie comics made a modicum of sense, and people actually cared about Ghost Rider. It’s not deep, but it certainly surpassed my expectations.


wwk5d said...

I dunno, I like that cover...Cable's hands are bigger than his guns lol

Adam Farrar said...

Marvel Comics Presents was one of the first comics I regularly bought when I was getting into comics and I still like it. I really enjoyed Sam Keith's Wolverine run. Do you have any plans to delve into that? There were also short serials on Nightcrawler and others X-people I've forgotten.

G. Kendall said...

I'll try to review the one-shots that reprinted the MCP serials, like the "Blood Hungry" Wolverine comic.

You can see all of Kieth's covers for the serial starting here:
Most of them are pretty cool.

PeterCSM said...

"The retcon explanation for these comments is that he added conventional bionic parts to his body to confuse people of this era."

Haha, I do that all the time with my coworkers. Gotta keep 'em on their toes!

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