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Inferno Tie-Ins (1989, January)

November 12, 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Did you think we were done with January 1989? Haha, no! Not yet! Because, even though these aren’t X-titles, I still felt a need to talk about the comics that tied into Inferno. So, haha, I’m going to talk about, like, 20 comics today. Fun! These will mostly be very brief recaps.

Amazing Spider-Man #311, by David Michelinie, Todd McFarlane, Bob Sharen, Evelyn Stein and Rick Parker. Spider-Man beats up the stone lions outside the NY Public Library, then he stops a mugging. Blah blah blah, Mysterio’s the issue’s bad guy and it has only a couple vague references to Inferno. It’s still a good issue, though, with some fantastic McFarlane artwork. The man has always been a damned fine artist.

Avengers #299, by Walt Simonson, John Buscema, Tom Palmer, Max Scheele and Bill Oakley. It opens with demons in Times Square, and the Captain (Steve Rogers, having given up the Captain America identity) fighting them. He defeats a transformed motorcycle, and asks if it knows a car from the West Side. He goes to check out a particularly large battle around the Empire State Building, and offers some assistance to the New Mutants.

Avengers #299

Ha! Great use of a huge Claremont-ism!

There is no way Walt wasn’t taking the piss out of Claremont with that bit. The two were friends, after all. Anyway, once the demons are momentarily cleared out, the New Mutants give him a rundown on what’s going on. Out in Olympia, home of the Eternals, the Forgotten One is told about the demons in New York, and it’s suggested he reclaim his mantle as a demon-slayer. It’s Gilgamesh, one of the least-heralded Avengers. In Connecticut, Nanny and the Orphan-Maker break into the home of Reed Richards and Sue Storm, and abduct Franklin. The Captain shows up, wanting their help to deal with the demons, but instead, they all have to go looking for Franklin. And that’s the rest of the issue, with the Inferno stuff ignored. It’s not a great comic, honestly. Walt Simonson’s Avengers run is pretty mediocre overall, and this issue is no exception. Meh.

Daredevil #262, by Ann Nocenti, John Romita Jr, Al Williamson, Max Scheele and Joe Rosen. I honestly don’t even know how to describe this issue. This is all about the Inferno. Demons running loose in New York. Black Widow is helping Karen, Butch and Darla to look for Daredevil, as the city is just awful. Daredevil, meanwhile, is lying on the ground, beneath a bridge, on the brink of death. In his mind, Stick yells at him to breathe, to focus on staying alive and getting better. In the real world, a vacuum attacks him. This comic is weird, and it’s wonderful. So, when I was reviewing the UXM comics that JRJr did the lines for, I was usually critical. I didn’t like his style. I still don’t, honestly. I find his lines are too heavy, the edges too sharp, too many sharp corners where there should be curves. It’s not a style I like. But in this Daredevil run with Nocenti? I love it. That same sharp, jagged, unpleasant feel just goes perfectly with Nocenti’s writing. And I love, in this issue (this arc, really), how much of a character the city is. In this issue, Nocenti doesn’t have much in the way of actual demons in it. Instead, she takes New York City, and just makes it worse. People are angrier and more violent, objects are more hostile, everything is just worse. And it’s so compelling. I love this issue, and I love this arc, and I love this run. This is one of my all-time favourite Daredevil runs.

Fantastic Four #322, by Steve Englehart, Keith Pollard, Joe Sinnott, George Roussos and John Workman. Ben, Johnny and Sharon Ventura, once known as Ms. Marvel, but at that point known as She-Thing, are dealing with some of the madness of the city. Mostly, there’s a lot of talking about feelings. Then Graviton returns to Earth, and they fight him. It’s a meh issue. In a meh run. I’m not a fan of Englehart. Some day, I might talk in a pull list post about the messed-up sexual politics of Englehart’s work. Anyway, the Inferno tie-in for this issue feels half-assed, like Englehart was forced into it and didn’t really want to do it. Which, you know, fair enough.

Power Pack #43, by Jon Bogdanove (writer and one of the line artists), Sal Velluto, Stan Drake, All Williamson (and others, uncredited), Glynis Oliver and Joe Rosen. The Power kids turn into Power Pack, in front of their shocked parents. The Bogeyman runs off with the parents, and Power Pack gives chase. After a brief battle, the Bogeyman slips away with the parents, and as the kids search, they see how much the city’s been transformed, and they fight some demons, looking for babies. So they have to put a hold on their search for their parents in order to help other people, because dammit, that’s what good heroes do. The Bogeyman shows up to taunt them while they fight, but Alex guesses he won’t kill their parents yet, so he has Katie keep an eye on him. Once they catch up, he complains about how the Power Family is so close and loving and how he knows it’s a fake. He tosses the parents, and Julie saves them with a new application of her power. Alex and Jack keep fighting the Bogeyman, and Alex is about kill him, when the parents tell him to stop. And that gets a whole big emotional thing going where the parents start coming to grips with learning their kids are superheroes. It’s tough for them, but they actually do tell their kids they still love them. Which is so sweet. The Bogeyman goes crazy and jumps off the building, and falls into a lake of fire. So, this issue? This is a great issue. It’s very emotional. The Bogeyman is truly monstrous, and so easy to hate, and works really well for the story. The Inferno stuff is handled really well. But the real heart of the story is the climax of the issue, as Power Pack and their parents try to deal with the secret no longer being a secret. It’s an incredibly emotional scene. Bogdanove does a wonderful job. The art is excellent throughout the issue, as well. Power Pack was such a good comic. I want a Power Pack animated movie. Seriously, Power Pack animated movie. It needs to exist. There is no reason for it not to exist. Disney, make it happen. Power Pack animated movie. I’d also love it if we got a new Power Pack comic. Alex is out of the picture, right now, but the other three are still able to be heroes, so it’d be neat to see more of them. They’re great kids.

Spectacular Spider-Man #146, by Gerry Conway, Sal Buscema, Bob Sharen and Rick Parker. Spider-Man’s on his way home from school, and gets attacked by a fan-vent. Later, at the Daily Bugle, JJJ is angry at a headline declaring “POLTERGEISTS!” He thinks it’s irresponsible journalism. So he changes the exclamation point to a question mark.

Spectacular Spider-Man #146

JJJ is the best journalist.

Later after that, Harry Osborn calls Peter to meet him at a local Osborn chemical plant, to talk about recurring nightmares. The plant goes crazy and attacks people. Spider-Man saves Harry, but the planet is ruined, and Harry’s gutted. The issue’s OK. There’s a lot of other sub-plots I didn’t talk about. The Inferno tie-in part of it is fine. It shows that things in New York are getting odd. It’s fine. I’m not a fan of the art – I’ve mentioned that I don’t like either of the Buscemas – but it’s not a big deal. It’s a pretty OK issue, on the whole.

And that’s all the Inferno tie-ins for January 1989. I would say, for this month, the Daredevil one was the best, with Power Pack a very close second. And if we need a top 3, I’ll put Spectacular Spider-Man there – ASM was a better comic, but had basically nothing to do with Inferno. Though, in upcoming issues, SSM will do some fantastic stuff with JJJ and the Daily Bugle dealing with Inferno. But that’s for other times!

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From → 1980s, 1989, Uncategorized

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