Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #38

Issue Date: 
December 1989
Story Title: 
Having a Wild Weekend, part 8: There's No Place Like Home (First Story); “Black Shadow! White Shadow!” Part 1: The Killing Ground (Fourth Story)

First story: Michael Higgins (writer), Erik Larsen (penciler), Terry Austin (inker), Tim Harkins (letterer), Michael Rockwitz (colorist)
Fourth Story: Marv Wolfman (writer), John Buscema (artist), Phil Felix (letterer), Nel Yomtov (colorist)
Mark Badger (cover artist), Kelly Corvese (assistant editor), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

First Story: Making their way to the Emerald City, Excalibur are all caught up in a twister, before a quaint house crashes down around them, landing on someone wearing ruby platform shoes. The heroes are attacked by a group of Munchkins, while the Loonies wake from their poppy-induced sleep and also make their way to, as the call it, the Green Cheese City, and chase Excalibur through the city as they try to find the Wizard, or rather, their foe - who as it turns out, is that joker Arcade. The Loonies surround Excalibur, until Kitty Pryde reveals her game plan, a group called the Merry Maladies, to confront the Loonies, and the Merry Maladies are successful in stopping the Loonies, to a frustrated Arcade’s dismay. A hot air balloon arrives, labelled “Kansas or Bust” to take the heroes home, with Kitty suggesting to Arcade that next time he does everyone a favor and just send them a postcard. Arriving home, Excalibur remark that it feels like they woke up from a bad dream, and dare they say it…there’s no place like home!

Fourth Story: Wolverine arrives in Hong Kong to deal with some personal business and finds that an entire city block has been erased! He helps the local police to contain the scavengers who arrive to loot the devastated area. The police try to question him following the riots but he flees into the night, determined to attend to the unpleasant business that drew him to Hong Kong from Madripoor.

Full Summary: 

First Story:
Crossmoor Prison, a mysterious joker sits in darkness, watching on some strange contraption, the goings-ons of Excalibur, Britain’s greatest super team. He remarks that the “game” is nearly finished, and of course Excalibur cheated, he should have known. He admits that he didn’t want to take such an active role, but the meddling Excalibur have left him no choice….

Meanwhile, the handsome Captain Britain a.k.a. Brian Braddock and his lovely girlfriend Meggan, Excalibur’s leader Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner, Rachel Summers alias Phoenix, Kitty Pryde a.k.a. Shadowcat, Lockheed the Dragon, Widget, and the large dragon rescued by Lockheed rush through the field of poppies, heading straight towards the Emerald City. Brian is somewhat surprised to see the Emerald City, but Kitty asks him where else he expected the yellow brick road to lead, before exclaiming that this ought to be a blast.

However, the heroes are suddenly lifted into the air by a twister! ‘You were saying, Shadowcat?’ remarks Rachel to her best friend. ‘Yeah, yeah, I know - it’s a twister’ Kitty mutters in reply. ‘Kinda got a feeling that we’re not in Kansas anymore…’ exclaims Meggan, as Kitty points out that it looks like the roof is about to cave in on them. ‘More like the whole house!’ mumbles Rachel.

KRASH! The house lands near Excalibur, and suddenly, dozens of short people emerge from it - all toting weapons. ‘Hey, if you guys are Munchkins, you’re supposed to be friendly - give us a warm welcome!’ Kitty exclaims. ‘I don’t think they read the book’ suggests Brian as he and his teammates start taking down the Munchkins. ‘Or saw the movie!’ offers the television-addict Meggan. Rachel tells Meggan that not everyone spends as much time watching television as her, to which Meggan replies that she presumed everyone to have seen the Wizard of Oz.

Suddenly, Kitty alerts her teammates to a pair of legs with red shoes, lying under the house. ‘No one but that joker could have been behind this madness!’ Kitty exclaims, as Brian states that it wouldn’t be wise to put on his red platform shoes. Kurt asks Brian what they should do now, to which Brian admits he isn’t sure, but supposes that they are off to see the Wizard.

Nearby, the Loonies are starting to wake from their poison-poppy sleep. Rooster Cockburn asks what happened, as the Ham stutters that it looks like the sleep-trick was pulled on them. ‘Can’t anyone around here do something original?’ asks Gums Gummy, as Southpaw points out that the boss seems to have sent the necessary snow-storm so they can take care of those ‘cotton picking varmints’, adding that he is mighty riled. Gums tells Southpaw that he is glad to hear it, but that he may as well save it till they get to the Green Cheese City.

At the “Green Cheese City”, Captain Britain is shocked to learn from the gatekeeper that an appointment is needed to see the Wizard, and exclaims ‘Stow it, bub’ as he punches the gatekeeper, declaring that this is all the appointment he needs.

Inside, Brian, Meggan, Kitty, Kurt, Rachel, Widget, Lockheed and the other dragon run through the corridors, when the Loonies crash through a window behind them. However, in front of Excalibur is a giant floating head - belonging to Excalibur’s foe, a joker of sorts known as Arcade! ‘I don’t believe this’ mutters Rachel, to which Kitty asks Rachel what she expected from Arcade. Kurt warns Arcade that this entire scenario is about to end, causing Arcade to ask if this is any way to greet an old friend.

‘Nice special effects, Arcade’ Kitty remarks, to which Arcade tells her he is glad she appreciates them, before commenting that it was naughty of her to tamper with his elaborate plans, and claiming that he cannot allow that to happen again, he explains that he has seen to it so that she will not be able to revise any of his systems in the future. Kitty nonchalantly replies that she doesn’t think it will be necessary, to which Arcade grins and tells her she is right, that it was just a precaution.

Arcade proceeds to tell Excalibur that he will not have to worry about them at all from now on, to which Brian exclaims ‘We’re going to take care of you, Arcade!’ Arcade laughs, asking Excalibur what they are going to do - ‘Arrest me?’ He reminds them that the Loonies defeated them once, and the only reason they didn’t kill was because he wanted to have some fun, which Excalibur have ruined, so for that, they are going to die.

The Loonies creep up behind Excalibur, Brian obviously ticked off, Kitty tells him to take it easy, that there is no need for him to move a muscle. Kitty smiles and folds her arms, surprising Arcade, who demands to know what is going on. Kitty explains that she took a few precautions of her own while she had the chance, and has a little “gift” for Arcade, something that is right up his alley. Eight odd-looking beings rush into the room, and Kitty introduces them as the “Merry Maladies”, adding that she thinks they can take care of the Loonies just fine. Arcade watches in horror as the Merry Maladies attack his Loonies, who are easily defeated.

‘Come on, team! Lets blow this joint!’ Kitty exclaims, before Brian asks her how he supposes they do that. Kitty tells Captain Britain that he must have some faith in her by now, when suddenly a hot-air-balloon drops to the ground. Rachel mutters that if she didn’t see it with her own eyes, she wouldn’t believe it, as Meggan remarks that Kitty has one wild imagination. As everyone clambers into the balloon, Kitty exclaims that she owes a lot to her sources.

As the balloon lifts off, Kitty waves goodbye to Arcade, telling him that she hopes his weekend has been as much fun as theirs. ‘You will rue this day, cretins! You have not heard the last of me!’ boasts Arcade, to which Kitty suggests he does them all a favor and sends a postcard next time.

Soon, the balloon drifts towards Excalibur’s lighthouse home, the sun beaming up behind it. ‘Kansas or bust’ is printed on the balloon, and one of Excalibur exclaims that it is just like waking up from a bad dream. ‘And dare I say it…There’s no place like home!’.

Fourth Story:
Wolverine perches on a Hong Kong rooftop watching as police investigate a city block that has been inexplicably vaporized! He is in his “Patch” disguise and took a transport over from Madripoor to Hong Kong but he did not expect to find this.

He slides down a pipe to the ground and let’s his enhanced senses start working. He smells the human flesh baked into the concrete by whatever did this. As he roams the scene, a police officer approaches him and speaks to him in Chinese.

The officer orders him to get away and tells him the area is sealed off. He begins to ask who Logan is and what he’s doing when he notices a band of scavengers approaching the area. They are armed with clubs and quickly move into the area and attack both the police and others who get in their way. Logan thinks to himself that they are there to loot the banks and jewelry store that were in the area.

The scavengers instigate a riot in the streets. A female police officer who was with the officer who started to question Logan’s presence is thrown to the ground. She calls out to her partner, Sergeant Wing, for help and is about to be trampled when one of the scavengers spots her. He helps her to her feet and assures her he won’t hurt her if she’s nice to him. She tells him to get away and reminds him that she’s a police officer. He asks if that should scare him.

Logan approaches from behind and tells him that if that doesn’t scare him, he will. The scavenger pulls his gun on Logan who slices it to pieces. Logan tells the thug he’s made a bad mistake as he tosses him into a wall, knocking him unconscious.

Logan stalks through the ruins to a half-demolished jewelry store where a small band of scavengers is looting. They see him coming and open fire on him with their semi-automatic weapons. He dodges the bullets and they wonder what he is.

Logan pops his claws and slices through the damaged wall causing it to collapse on the scavengers. Two of them manage to evade the rubble and flee. Logan kick s a piece of falling concrete and it knocks one of the men off his feet and slams into the head of the other.

Logan hears a cry from outside and finds the police captain fighting off a handful of scavengers. He goes to the cop’s aid and sends the looters packing. The captain orders his men to fan out and stop the rioters with whatever force necessary. He then pulls his gun on Logan and orders him to put his hands up.

Logan doesn’t want any conflict with the police and flees on foot. The captain hesitates and shouts at Logan to stop. As Logan climbs up a drainpipe, the officer opens fire. He is stopped by the female officer that Logan rescued earlier. She knocks the gun from his hand and explains that Logan saved her. Logan makes his way to the roof and watches for a moment as the authorities round up the last of the scavengers.

As Wolverine makes his way across the rooftops, he wonders what could have destroyed a city block like that. He tells himself that it’s now someone else’s problem as he is in Hong Kong for another reason…something he’s not looking forward to.

Characters Involved: 

First story:
Captain Britain, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Shadowcat (all Excalibur)

Large Dragon

The Merry Maladies

Billy Bird, Guns Gummy, the Ham, Rooster Cockburn, Southpaw, Tailgunner (all the Loonies)

Emerald City Gatekeeper


fourth story:

Sergeant Wing and other unnamed Hong Kong police officers
Unnamed Hong Kong scavengers
Unnamed citizens of Hong Kong

Story Notes: 

The other features in the issue are:
2nd story: Wonder Man in “Something in the Air” - part 1 of 8
3rd story: A self-contained Hulk story

First story:
This story takes place between Excalibur (1st series) #8 and #9.

The Loonies are a parody of the well-known Warner Brothers cartoon franchise “The Looney Tunes”. The characters parodied this issue are Bugs Bunny (Guns Gummy), Foghorn Leghorn (Rooster Cockburn), Billy Bird (Daffy Duck), Yosemite Sam (Southpaw), Porky Pig (The Ham) and Roadrunner (Tailgunner).

The large dragon travelling with Excalibur is a female dragon rescued by Lockheed and Widget in Marvel Comics Presents #37.

The Yellow Brick Road, the field of poppies Emerald City, the twister, the falling house, the ruby platform shoes, the Munchkins and “There’s no place like home” are taken from the classic book and film by L. Frank Baum, “The Wizard of Oz”. The movie debuted in 1939 and starred the stunning Judy Garland as Dorothy and Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West.

Kitty's comment that no one but “that joker“ could have been behind this madness, is a throw away remark to the DC Comic’s character known as the Joker, who was also paid homage to many of the previous issues.

Captain Britain’s ‘Stow it, bub’ and heightened use of violence is a homage to the X-Men’s Wolverine.

The Merry Maladies are take-offs of other Loony Tune characters: Marvin the Martian, Elmer Fudd, Tazmanian Devil, Pepe Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Sam Sheepdog, Henry Hawk and Wile E. Coyote.

The name used for Kitty’s group, the Merry Maladies, is taken from the Loony Tune stories that were known as “Merry Melodies”.

The website has more on the Merry Maladies and this 8-part storyline.

Fourth Story:
This story takes place during the period that Wolverine was operating as “Patch” in Madripoor. His adventures in Madrippor as Patch were the focus of the first year of his first ongoing series. [WOLVERINE (2nd series)] Logan adopted this identity during the time the X-Men were believed to be dead and operated out of Australia.