Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #39

Issue Date: 
January 1990
Story Title: 
“Black Shadow! White Shadow!” Part 2: The Shadows Strike! (First Story)<br>“Stardust Memories” Part 2: Tonight’s the Night (Second Story)

First Story: Marv Wolfman (writer), John Buscema (artist), Phil Felix (letterer), Nel Yomtov (colorist), Kelly Corvese (assistant editor), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Second Story: Michael Higgins (writer), Javier Saltares (penciler), Jose Marzan (inker), Ken Lopez (letterer), Tom Vincent (colorist), Kelly Corvese (assistant editor), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

First Story:
Logan, in his Patch identity, flees from the Hong Kong police and is aided by a mystery woman named Mai. She introduces him to her paramour Hsiao who challenges Wolverine, to his great regret. Mai believes that Logan can help them in their plight but hardly has time to explain what that might be when a friend of hers arrives to report the location of the Black Shadow. Logan surmises that the Black Shadow must be responsible for the recent destruction in Hong Kong and engages the creature in battle. He winds up with his claws and forearm frozen for his efforts. As he struggles to recover from this unexpected effect, a second White Shadow arrives and engages its dark counterpart.

Second story:
Wonder Man finds himself swept up in a sudden romance with a mysterious actress named Amora Lorelei. She helps him land a part in her latest film, a biopic of the original Human Torch. After the first day of shooting, the director is mysteriously killed. Later, the enamored star is all set to appear on the Tonight Show with his new love to promote their film. This is cut short by the arrival of the police who are there to arrest Wonder Man for murder! At Amora’s urging, Simon prepares to fight the police. The Beast arrives as a surprise guest on the show and stands between Wonder Man and the police. Wonder Man refuses to talk to his old friend and appears intent on killing him instead!

Full Summary: 

First Story:
The Hong Kong police round up the scavengers and load them into a police transport. Despite this considerable victory, the cops are still intent on apprehending the mysterious Westerner who aided them against the scavengers. Wolverine knows they are on his tail as he makes his way through a darkened alleyway. As he makes his way quickly down the alley, a female voice calls out to him and beckons him into a doorway. She invites him in if he wants to elude the police. Logan enters cautiously but keeps his guard up despite the woman’s generous offer. He asks why she would help him and she tells him that she saw how he fought against the scavengers and that they have need of strong men like him.

She leads him to a passageway and explains that this part of Hong Kong was built in the 1950s so that cargo could be moved secretly from the warehouse district to the harbor. They emerge at the dockyards where a burly bald man is loading a small boat. Logan asks what they were smuggling and she tells him that it included drugs, electronics, weapons, even women. She explains that if the police discovered the grottos filled with cargo the factories would simply engulf them in flames to get rid of any evidence and rebuild shortly after.

Logan asks what it is she’s smuggling now and she makes it clear that they are not criminals. She turns to the bald man and tells him that she has brought help. He greets her with a kiss and she asks if everything is ready. He replies that it is and they will be leaving at midnight. He looks Logan over and says that he hardly looks big enough to help himself, much less them. The woman, Mai tells the man, Hsiao not to say such things. Logan merely ignores him.

Hsiao yells at Logan that he is talking to him. He punches Logan who doesn’t even flinch. Logan tells him that he was ignoring him for the lady’s sake as he grabs Hsiao’s fist in his hand and crushes it. He forces the larger man to his knees. He tells Hsiao he likes a good brawl but tries not to start them when he can avoid it. But he has no problem finishing them. He pushes Hsiao away and the large man cradles his crushed hand. Mai goes to his aid and asks why he attacked Logan. Hsiao says that Logan broke his hand but Logan assures him it’s just sprained and he’ll live.

A young man named Ch’un runs up to them in a hurry and proclaims that “Black Shadow” has just appeared. He thinks that he has followed them there. Mai asks where he is and the boy replies that he is in the market outside. Hsiao tells Ami that they have no choice but to attack now and Mai warns that he knows what Black Shadow can do and what they must do. Logan interrupts and tells them that if they’re talking about whatever vaporized part of the city, he wants it. Mai tells Logan to stop and explains that Black Shadow must be stopped where he began. Hsiao derides Logan’s offer of help and thinks that he will lead them to their deaths but Mai thinks that Logan is the one.

They emerge into the streets where the police are arriving to investigate reports of the creature. As they look down the street, a swirling black mist coalesces into a bulky black monstrous form. They fire their guns at Black Shadow to no effect. The creature of pure darkness grabs one of the police officers and draws him to him. In an instant, the officer disappears into the creature’s torso with a loud scream. Logan pops his claws and bursts through the remaining cops. He tells them to get out of there as he attacks. He drives his claws into the Shadow’s midsection and howls in pain. When he draws it out, it is frozen solid. Black Shadow punches Logan, tossing him away like a rag doll. The Black Shadow goes after Logan who is lying still as his healing factor goes to work. Just then, a vacuum-like sound heralds the arrival of a second shadow… this one pure white! The two shadows square off to fight with Logan, dazed and hurting right between them.

Second Story:
Wonder Man awakes to find himself in a strange apartment. A buxom blonde has prepared breakfast in bed for them. He asks where he is and she simply replies, “With a friend, silly.” He thinks to himself that he feels strange and it is difficult to think straight. The woman tells him he needs to get moving, as they are needed on the set soon. He’s surprised to hear that she’s an actress and she notes that it didn’t seem to factor in last night. He kisses her and realizes he doesn’t even know her name. She tells him it is Amora Lorelei and that she is an actress and she’s currently filming a biography of the original Human Torch. Simon is shocked as he just got a call back for the film. They head to the studio together and Amora notes that they are meant to be together because everything is working out like magic. He says he doesn’t have the part yet but she assures him that he will have it now!

The couple arrives at the offices of the director, Martin Scott who is not pleased to see Amora so early. She says that she’s brought him her new leading man and Martin initially objects. Simon starts to defend Amora but the director has a sudden and complete change of heart. He heartily welcomes Simon aboard and suggests that while he irons out the details, Simon get acquainted with the lot. He adds that he’ll set up a guest appearance for his new stars on the Tonight Show to promote the film. Amora leads Simon around the studio. He seems enraptured with the striking blonde but begins to think they need to get back to business. She insists on showing him one last thing. She leads him to a room that looks reminiscent of a morgue and Simon expresses his dislike for the place, noting it’s a lot like a place he spent too many years in. She quickly introduces him to their “co-star” a robot stunt double of the Human Torch. As they leave the “morgue” the robot seems to twitch with life.

A short while later, filming has begun and Simon bursts through a window covered in flames. Once outside, the director calls it a wrap and crewmen hustle to extinguish the flames. Simon assures them he’s fine thanks to his invulnerability. They tell him their concern is for his less resilient costume. Amora joins him and puts the moves on him in a major way. He asks if it’ll be his place or hers tonight and she says she likes the way he thinks and they’ve got the whole night ahead of them.

Later that night, a shadowy figure approaches the trailer of the director, Martin Scott and knocks. He seems annoyed by the intrusion. Suddenly, the shadowy figure bursts through the door! He punches Martin Scott and the blow instantly kills the poor man. As the figure emerges, he is recognized by one of the crew who wonders why the man is still on the lot.

Later in the evening, Amora and Simon are preparing for their appearance on the Tonight Show. Amora is surprised to see Johnny Carson and expected to see Jay Leno instead. Johnny explains that he wouldn’t dare miss an appearance by one of the Avengers but notes that when he visited Wonder Man he was acting peculiar. She starts to reassure the famed Tonight Show host but is interrupted by a crewmember who wants to discuss some problems with his monologue. He tells her not to worry about the show as they have some surprises lined up. Amora thinks to herself that she doesn’t like surprises, as she prefers to be in complete control.

Meanwhile at the movie lot, the authorities receive a clear description of the man who killed Martin Scott and learn his current whereabouts. At the Tonight Show, Johnny is introduced by his perennial sidekick, Ed McMahon and launches into his monologue. He pokes fun at tabloid reports on his star guests Amora Lorelei and Simon Williams and announces that one of Simon’s old friends will join them later and hopefully explain what exactly a “mutant, mutant-hunting team” is all about. His opening monologue is disrupted by the arrival of a small contingent of police officers. The officers announce that one of Johnny’s guests is wanted for murder! The crowd is shocked. In the wings, a man in a trench coat and hat asks what all the heavily armed officers are there for. He is told by a producer that they are after Wonder Man. Simon is shocked by this but Amora seems cool and collected. She urges him to fight them and he mindlessly agrees. As he approaches the officers, the man in the trench coat steps between them. Removing his hat, he reveals himself to be Simon’s closest pal from the Avengers, the blue-furred Beast! He suggests that they talk but Wonder Man declares that the time for talk is over and now it’s time for the Beast to die!

Characters Involved: 

First story:

Ch’un, Hsiao, Mai
D’nang, Hrosi and other unnamed Hong Kong police officers

Black Shadow
White Shadow

A handful of scavengers

Second story:
Wonder Man

“Amora Lorelei”/Enchantress

Ms. Neville, Martin Scott and other unnamed staff and crew at a movie studio

Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon and unnamed Tonight Show crew

Audience members at the Tonight Show

Unnamed police officers and coroner

Story Notes: 

The other features in the issue are:
3rd Story: Hercules in “All in the Family” Part 1 of 3
4th Story: Spider-Man in “With Liberty and Justice for All”

First story:
This story takes place during the period that Wolverine was operating out of Madripoor using his “Patch” alias. He did this while the X-Men pretended to be dead and lived in an abandoned town in the Australian Outback, between Uncanny X-Men #227 and Uncanny X-Men #250. This story likely takes place during the first year of his original ongoing series.

Second Story:
Wonder Man mentions his distaste for the morgue and notes he spent too many years in such a place. Wonder Man died in AVENGERS (1st Series) #9…in his very first appearance! He was kept in a form of suspended animation by his brother, the villainous Grim Reaper but did not fully return to life until AVENGERS (1st Series) #151. Since then, he has had recurring issues with his fear of death.

Beginning in late 1986, Jay Leno served as guest host of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He became the permanent host when Carson retired in 1992.

The Beast was an active member of the original X-Factor during the time of this appearance. X-Factor originally operated under the guise of contract mutant hunters and used the fear of humans to help them identify mutants in trouble.

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