Marvel Comics Presents #10 and 11 (1989, January)
Logan finds O’Donnell, who tells him Jessan’s gone after Roche. Logan brings him outside, and gets shot by Roche, who’s wielding a shotgun. And then Tiger pops out.
Logan seems pretty thoroughly dead, so Tiger kisses his lips, and then leaves with O’Donnell. Of course, Logan’s just fine, and he later pays a visit to the Princess Bar, where Tyger Tiger is getting ready to present herself to the Prince as Madripoor’s new top crimelord. And we get the debut of the Patch identity!
He promises to be her conscience, to make sure she doesn’t start acting like Roche. She slices his wrist, and hers, and presses them together in a blood oath. And ew, don’t do that. That is not at all hygienic. That’s a good way of catching serious diseases.
Anyway, this is a good finale. Everything gets wrapped up. Roche gets killed with basically no fanfare. Just gets his head chopped off, and as soon as it’s done, he’s forgotten. No big speeches about it, just chop and move on. I actually kinda like that. It makes him seem a lot smaller. Logan and Tyger get a nice scene as he threatens to kill her if she goes too far, and she expresses gratitude for it. The hilariously bad Patch disguise gets introduced (though we’ve already seen it in his solo title). This story did a lot to set up Madripoor as a location for Wolverine stories, and it will become a major, and enjoyable, part of his solo for a while. Madripoor stories were always fun.
The overall story did drag a bit in parts. And the art didn’t do anything for me – I’m not a fan of either Buscema, really. I think, on the whole, I probably prefer John’s style over Sal’s, but neither of them appeal to me. Still, on the whole Save the Tiger is a good story, really fun, and setting up a lot of future stories.
This issue also begins a Colossus story. By Nocenti, Leonardi, Russell, Oliver and Lopez, “God’s Country (Part 1 of 8) – Eating American Pie.”
Piotr’s at some state fair. He’s at a magazine booth, complaining that Americans use their free speech to sell pornography. He feels it degrades women and speech, both.
The guy running the magazine booth gets fed up, ranting about Commies, and how Glasnost is a lie, meant to make Americans complacent and lure out Russian dissidents so they can be sent to Siberia. Piotr gets pissed and switches to Colossus. Colossus runs off. Meanwhile, camping trip!
The little boy says he’s hunting crack dealers. Which I find hilarious. “Be vewy, vewy quiet. I’m hunting cwack dealers!” What kind of bait do you put out for crack dealers? And do you need a permit? Anyway, the kid’s reasoning is odd.
The little boy stomps on a grasshopper, which upsets his mother, and his dad yells at him for upsetting her. And now, back to Colossus! He’s wondering if Russia and the US are that different. Both have media that create lies and illusions. He comes across the family, and wonders how free they really are. The boy is playing, and comes across some guys beating another guy. The kid’s spotted, and the guys prepare to kill him.
This is a good start. It sets up the theme very quickly – exploring American culture, on its own and as it compares to Soviet culture – and it’s an interesting theme. Piotr is very sympathetic off the bat, feeling confused and uncertain about how he feels, which is something we can all relate to. He knows he feels something, he’s just not entirely sure what, or how to put it into words. I know I can get like that. The family introduced is also interesting. You’ve got the grandfather, who seems to be pretty liberal, and who has a great appreciation for nature, and views the world as something of a miracle. You’ve got the husband, Bruce, the typical Manly Man, misogynistic, glorifying violence, and just generally an ass. You’ve got the wife, Roxy, who’s very sensitive and just seems like a generally nice person. And you’ve got the son, Zackery, shaped by culture to also glorify violence. That was always something Nocenti had a lot of concern about: How pop culture shapes kids. I don’t think I agree with her, but I can’t deny that she explores it in some really smart and compelling ways.
The art is great. It’s Rick Leonardi. A classic X-Men artist. Russell’s inks aren’t the best fit I’ve seen for Leonardi’s pencils, but it still looks great. And Oliver’s on colours, so that’s always great. So, yeah, this is a great first part of a really good story.
And Part 2 (which has Michael Higgins assist Oliver with the colours), “Cold Warriors.”
One of the killers turns his hand into claws, and over the phone, an old dude is telling them to kill the traitor and the kid. The old man gets a quick check-up from his assistant, then washes his hands. The assistant thinks it’s the 11th time washing them, and it’s not even breakfast. Apparently, the old dude has OCD. The old guy thinks about how the free press lulls Americans into complacency, and blinds them to the secrets.
Back at the picnic, Bruce spots Piotr, who’s feeling angsty. Bruce grabs him, and Piotr quickly reverses the hold. He doesn’t often show his self-defence skills, but he has trained. Roxy and Grampa find them, and invite Piotr to the picnic. Says a lot that they pretty much immediately take the side of the big Russian holding Bruce against a tree. They know Bruce is an ass, so they don’t doubt that Piotr was justified. That’s funny.
Then they hear Zack scream, and Colossus charges in to the rescue.
Good second part, too! The old guy, Alexander, is interesting. He’s convinced he’s keeping the country safe, and that any means are justified in that. Even murdering a small child. His talk of the free press is also cool. His attitude towards it has become far more common, I think. I’d guess that most people today feel the news media is terrible at reporting truth, and is instead more interested in sensationalism. Again, Nocenti’s always had issues with the media, perhaps owing to her own journalism education. It makes for a lot of fascinating stuff from her.
There’s not a lot of Piotr in this part, but what’s there is really good, as he wonders about the life he leads, the life he wants, that sort of thing. Good stuff.
This is a really cool story.