As part of Marvel Comics’ 80th anniversary celebration, many titles have been revived, and Marvel Comics Presents is one that has made the return. Originally this title ran from 1988 to 1995 and would be home to some off-beat stories featuring various Marvel characters. Wolverine, Venom, and Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch) were mainstays of the book, and usually got the cover spots. Now the book has returned with a third volume and here we dive into the issue, so let’s get some SPOILERS!
The first story features Wolverine and continues Charles Soule’s time-spanning epic of facing the Truth. In issue #1 of this series, Wolverine was at a WWII battle and saw a woman, Marie, unleash a demon called the Truth, and the two of them would eventually stop the demon. However, he would return every 10 years or so — so this was now Wolverine’s and her mission. He would eventually fight this battle through time with Marie’s descendants. Here we are now in 1995 and Talisman has to warn Wolverine that the Truth is coming again and they need to stop him. Luckily, he has the X-Men with him for this round.
Artist Paulo Siquira does an amazing job giving us some ’90s renditions of the X-Men and hopefully we’ll see him work with the Mutants again in the future. This story will attract a lot of headline articles because we see the X-Men get slaughtered by the Truth. Once we are in battle, you see Cyclops get taken down, Colossus get hurt, and Jean Grey in shock from all the pain and death that she is picking up mentally. Tailsman is targeted by the Truth and he snaps her neck as she is the only magic-based person there who could stop him. Then the Truth goes on to kill Storm and it’s just up to Wolverine and Colossus to fight on…luckily they are joined by a blonde woman warrior who happens to have claws like Wolverine. Colossus asks if he knows her and Logan replies that this might be his daughter…to be continued.
This first story is the one that will get you to collect this volume as it has only ever been run in this volume of MCP. I enjoyed it and it also caused me to go back and read the previous issues to see what is happening. I enjoyed it at face value because it’s just a fun read — not something that will have a major impact as some of the other sites will have you believing with the “Death of the X-Men,” but it will provide a neat situation for Wolverine and the creative team to face with upcoming issues. So let’s move onto the second story with Deadpool…
Since this is the ’90s and this is a Deadpool story, it has to poke fun at itself and the market of that era. Tim Seeley and Reilly Brown have made a fun, entertaining one-off story that just slaughters the values and practices of the publishers of ’90s comic books. We start off with Deadpool going out on the job and trying to take down Raze (who is sporting a Stone Temple Pilots shirt, very awesome) and Raze just tosses DP aside into a comic book shop on #NCBD…yes, Wednesday has always been special to us comic book fans. Deadpool learns about how much money is being made and sees a spoof comic called “Force Pack” — picture the Power Pack family, all buffed out like Cable.
With that idea, Deadpool decides to make his own comics from his own publishing company, Get Some Press. Deadpool sets up shop on top of Four Freedoms Plaza (home to the Fantastic Four) and wants all the other companies to have to look up his skirt to see his amazing ideas, hopefully. Wade goes on about how as Editor-in-Chief he will mass produce comics and the will always be #1s since those sell the best. Hopefully Tim Seeley still has a job after this self parody, but it makes for some great laughs. Eventually DP over-saturates the market with useless variant covers and no real story, to the point where the comic book shop owner has to kill a rat for dinner with a glow-in-the-dark die-cut cover.
This was just pure comic book fun in the style of Deadpool. Reilly Brown does a great job of sneaking in some 1990s Easter eggs with his art and we get to see Chromium suit Deadpool along with a song in the style of “We’re in the Money,” but good luck singing that. In the end it looks like Deadpool learned his lesson that good looking covers with no story don’t sell, so there is only one more thing to do: add more characters! This was just a laugh riot to read and sets the stage for the next story featuring Ghost Rider.
Ed Brisson is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers when it comes to bringing characters back, and he once again works his magic with Danny Ketch. I highly recommend you pick this issue of MCP up for this story, as in the Avengers book by Jason Aaron there will be a storyline coming up called “Challenge of the Ghost Riders.” We’ve been teased with some pages in Aaron’s Avengers and a page in Donny Cates’ Guardians of the Galaxy. So here is the next stop on this race.
We meet up with Danny Ketch at his newly owned bar, The Fadeaway Pub, in Brooklyn. It’s hard to gauge the time period on this as it isn’t mentioned, but with Danny’s thoughts I would firmly place it in modern continuity of now. Danny is drinking and dealing with the rough hand life has dealt him by being a Rider and all the craziness that comes with it. Luckily he is drinking as that help ease the pain of transforming into the Ghost Rider…somewhere there is evil tormenting the innocent.
Ghost Rider rides over to Cypress Hills Cemetery, which is where his troubles all began, to find a funeral going on and all the guests are being driven to despair by Wallow, one of Danny’s rogues. Danny isn’t scared of him and just wants him to leave the people be so they can grieve in peace and chases Wallow off onto a bus. Danny orders the people off the bus and offers his pain and sorrow over to Wallow…which Wallow willingly takes, but this causes him to become physical. So now, Ghost Rider can really get to work. The Penance Stare returns and makes quick work of Wallow and sends him to hell. Danny rides off lamenting about how hard life is and how easy Spider-Man has it, which is really saying something.
The last page is the best…Wallow was sent to hell and he finds himself in front of the new king of hell, Johnny Blaze. Yup, that’s right, all the way from last year’s Damnation event by Donny Cates and Nick Spencer, we saw Johnny Blaze take over hell and now it’s time for that story to unfold in “Challenge of the Ghost Riders.” This has me hyped and it was a well written story about the pain Danny Ketch is going through and how he desperately just wants a normal life. I really felt for the character and Ed Brisson just nailed it. Plus, Juan Frigeri’s art was amazing! The transformation and Penance Stare were amazing, and then to see Johnny Blaze on the throne of hell was just such a great cliffhanger ending.
I would highly recommend picking this issue up, as the Deadpool and Danny Ketch Ghost Rider stories were great by themselves — you don’t have to read anything before them to have a good time, and they were just great character moments. The Wolverine story is the harder one to get invested in, as that is the main story of the book, so of course it is a chapter that will be continued from its many parts. Top notch art by all three artists and a great anthology book for characters that need a feature. Get yourself a copy for sure if you are enjoying Jason Aaron’s Avengers, enjoyed Doctor Strange Damnation, or you’re just a Ghost Rider fan, as this will play out big in the next couple of months.