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Marvel Comics Presents #5

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2008
By: Bryant Frattalone

Guggenheim, Gage, Hagan & Koslowski
Wilkins, Chin, Johnson & Di Vito
Marvel Comics
Plot: Detective Dolan is hunted by a new super-group who apparently our dead John Doe was a part of. Ka-Zar defends the Savage Land again. The Wrecking Crew breaks out. Michael Pointer’s story is still pointless.

Commentary: In order as they appear…

1) "Vanguard" – I missed last issue but the intrigue keeps on coming. The name Vanguard is brought up again as Blade the Vampire Hunter steps into the story. He’s been sent to Korea (by who is yet unknown) to apparently eliminate a nuclear scientist. Before he’s dispatched the scientist says two things: “Vanguard” and “We know.” Is Vanguard the name of the group Blade and the other motley characters we are introduced to this issue belong to or is it something else still? Blade is in communication with Micromax a size changing mutant (who I believe first appeared in the pages of the original Excalibur (the good one) if I remember correctly) who is at the scene of the crime that this story started with. We learn from Micromax that the dead guys name is Craft. Yelena Belova is apparently on the same team Blade and Micromax are a part of. Yelena is now beautiful again. Last I knew she was horribly scarred after an explosion over in New Avengers and working for SHIELD as was Blade. Is that who they are working for? Last up comes Dominic Fortune who is hunting Detective Dolan who he aims to kill for the death of Craft. Marc Guggenheim has thrown a lot of intrigue out at us in these last 5 installments and a lot of things are apparent but not exactly spelled out. Dave Wilkin’s art is still very eye-catching. His Blade, Yelena and Dominic Fortune are cool visuals. Guggenheim is mining Marvel for these more obscure characters which is a good fit for the anthology but I’m anxious for some solid answers next issue.

2) "Savage Land" – Points off for this throw away story. Yet again Ka-Zar and Shanna are defending the Savage Land from those that would exploit it. How many times are we going to see this same story in regards to the Savage Land? The main villain here is Killer Shrike. Wasn’t he just thrown down a flight of stairs and seriously injured if not killed by Moon Knight in his own title a couple of weeks ago? Marvel seems to be doing this quite often these days. Characters are injured (like Yelena) or killed (like Killer Shrike apparently) and yet show up in other books whole or alive and well. So much for continuity. The art by Joyce Chin is headache inducing at times and everyone looks better than Shanna and Ka-Zar who look like they just walked off the set of a B-Movie. About the best I can say about the art is the inspired interpretation of Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy. I’m a sucker for classic D-list '70s characters popping up.

3) "Breaking Away" – Speaking of that annoying habit of Marvel characters breaking present continuity here we have the Wrecking Crew. When I saw they were going to have a one-shot story this issue I was like, “Um, aren’t they supposed to be in prison in Canada? Bendis put them in recent issues of New Avengers and here they are again!” However, I had to eat crow since (even though it doesn’t say it this story) this story apparently explains their escape from Canada and their presence in America working for the Hood in New Avengers. It’s as if somebody said, “Guys, people are going to be asking questions so we need to fix this somewhere; how about in Marvel Comics Presents?” The art by Staz Johnson is OK. Points off for using this anthology for a band-aid!

4) "Weapon Omega" – Sigh. Here’s the overall feeling of what’s going on with the pointless Michael Pointer. We’ve seen it all done elsewhere before in comics and done better. I really cannot recommend this story for any reason. The art is bland Saturday morning cartoon quality and the story just drags on about a character no one cares about. The best thing I can say about this segment is what USAgent said to Dr. Benning, “Kick ‘im in the butt or cut ‘im loose! But fer cripes sake, quit mollucoddlin’ the poor jerk already!” As I’ve said before, we already have one sad Sentry in the Marvel Universe. Two are pointless.

Final Word: A third of this issue is just not satisfying at all. One story out of four still intrigues while one was, “Been there, done that.” Another was nothing more that a fix for broken continuity and the last is as dull as ever. If this keeps up Marvel Comics Presents will not be present in about 6 months.



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