Inferno tie-ins (1989, February)
Amazing Spider-Man #312, by David Michelinie, Todd McFarlane, Bob Sharen and Rick Parker. This actually follows up on Web of Spider-Man #47, which I’ll talk about below, because I’m doing this alphabetically. Anyway, Hobgoblin’s captured Harry Osborn’s son, Normie, so Harry puts on the Green Goblin costume to find and fight him. Weird stuff is still happening throughout the city. MJ’s at a photo shoot, where the jewelry comes to life. MJ, being awesome, attacks the jewelry with a fire axe. And we also get hints that Curt Connors is turning into the Lizard again. It’s actually a pretty good story, with some decent Inferno stuff tossed in. And McFarlane’s art is great. I gotta say, of all the ’90s Image artists, McFarlane might be my favourite.
Avengers #300, by Walt Simonson, John Buscema, Tom Palmer, Becton & Siry and Bill Oakley. Kang, lost in the timestream, happens upon the Inferno. Kang decides he needs the Avengers to stop it, for his own sake. The Avengers – the Captain, Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman and Gilgamesh – are fighting Nanny, Orphan-Maker, and Franklin. N’astirh learns about the fight, and figures Franklin might be worth abducting. The Avengers look for Franklin, and Kang activates a robot to lead them to him. They also pick up Thor along the way. They’re led to the World Trade Centre, and the Avengers fight demons and rescue Franklin. This is a pretty lame issue in a pretty lame run. The Inferno stuff is handled OK, but feels kinda forced. It’s weird. This is the 300th issue, a big milestone, a special-sized anniversary issue. And it’s a tie-in to an X-Men event. Really shows just how big the X-Men were back then. Something like this would never happen now. Anyway, blah to this comic.
Daredevil #263, by Ann Nocenti, John Romita Jr, Al Williamson, Max Scheele and Joe Rosen. We open with scenes of violence, and narration about humanity being evil. We also see Typhoid drinking champagne with a demon. Matt Murdock’s in a hospital, broken and hooked up to machines, with Karen watching and feeling bad for him. Then Mary comes in and also feels bad for him. Karen and Mary have a tense confronation where Mary talks about how much she and Matt love each other and Karen runs off crying. In his penthouse, Kingpin is told about the Inferno, and he says he’s been expecting it. And New York is just going crazy. Daredevil manages to use meditation to heal himself enough to get back on his feet, to deal with the Inferno he’s also been expecting. I like how Nocenti really pushes the religious angle here. Everywhere else, especially in the X-Men comics, it’s just demons attacking New York, no big whoop. Nocenti treats it as the End of Days, Armageddon, Revelations. She comes at it from a distinctly religious angle, which makes it a lot freakier. Anyway, Daredevil rides a demonic subway train, while Kingpin is visited by a demon who says Kingpin sold them his soul. And man, this is such a great comic. Of all the comics that tied into Inferno, I think Daredevil did it best. It’s so dark, and it really focuses on how it feels for the people in the streets. The religious stuff elevates this issue to the sublime. JRJr’s art works phenomenally well here, making everything weird and unsettling and unreal. And Scheele’s colours add a lot, too. He does a great job. This is just fantastic work from everyone involved.
Fantastic Four #323, by Steve Englehart, Keith Pollard, Romed Tanghal, George Roussos and J. Workman. Thing, Human Torch and Sharon Ventura are walking the streets of the weird Manhattan, and come across Mantis, because of course Englehart included Mantis in his FF run. I’m surprised she wasn’t part of the team. Kang shows up, and the Inferno stuff is pretty well dropped. Englehart’s FF sucked. Let’s move on.
Spectacular Spider-Man #147, by Gerry Conway, Sal Buscema, Sharen & Wilcox and Rick Parker. Hobgoblin is bitching about his defeat in ASM #312, and gets attacked by demons, and gets an idea. Spider-Man sees how crazy the city’s gotten, and wonders what’s going on, and heads to the Bugle to see if JJJ knows anything. He gets slammed into a wall by the wind, and munched by a gargoyle, and falls and passes out, then wakes up and enters the Bugle. Inside, JJJ is frigging awesome. He’s rallying the staff to defend the place, giving orders to clear broken furniture and barricade the windows. MJ’s actually doing much the same at her photo shoot, because she’s also frigging awesome. Harry’s flying home and gets attacked by the bay, who mentions a barrier. Harry gets through it, though, so he can be safely out of the story. In Queens, some demons are causing chaos, and some crazy dude comes at Robbie Robertson with a chainsaw. Robbie, despite being injured, takes the guy out with his cane, because Robbie, like everyone else in this book, is frigging awesome. Hobgoblin goes to see N’astirh and offers his soul in exchange for power, which N’astirh finds hilarious. He does decide to give Hobgoblin payment for the laugh. In the Bugle, the demons attack again. So it’s a Spider-Man/JJJ team-up! Which is delightful! This is great. This issue really has fun with Inferno. Hobgoblin’s quest for power is cool, but the real meat of this issue is the Daily Bugle staff being badasses, fighting off demons like it’s no big thing. And Spidey/JJ! It’s great. I really enjoy this one.
Web of Spider-Man #47, by Gerry Conway, Alex Saviuk, Keith Williams, J. Cohen and Rick Parker. Remember that this takes place before the ASM issue I talked about earlier, and also before the SSM issue I just talked about. Spider-Man and Hobgoblin fight a little, but are interrupted by rubble grabbing Spidey. At the mall, Glory Grant is on a date with Eduardo Lobo, and the escalator goes crazy. That’s about the only Inferno stuff – a lot of the issue is actually more slice-of-life, which is always enjoyable. It’s a pretty decent issue.