Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #40

Issue Date: 
January 1990
Story Title: 
“Black Shadow! White Shadow!” Part 3: Hon Kong Inferno (First Story); “Stardust Memories” Part 3: Some Enchanted Evening (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 is caught in the destructive battle between White Shadow and Black Shadow. As the two creatures clash, they release potent discharges of energy. Logan manages to keep his new ally, Mai alive but is knocked unconscious by the climactic energy discharge. While out, he remembers what brought him to Hong Kong. Linn Chow, woman Patch knew from Madripoor and had been helping was killed in Hong Kong while retrieving her children from an abusive husband. He came to investigate her death. Mai and her friends reluctantly accept Patch’s help in dealing with the Shadows and the group sets sail for China.

Second Story:
The Beast is attacked by his old friend and teammate Wonder Man on the set of the Tonight Show. The two former Avengers duke it out to the dismay of the show’s audience and crew. Hank tries to talk some sense into Wonder Man who is relentlessly intent on crushing his former pal. The Beast realizes that someone must be influencing Simon’s actions but doesn’t have time to figure out who or how. The bouncing Beast is subdued by Wonder Man who declares that he will only be the first Avenger to suffer his wrath. Wonder Man’s new paramour Amora Lorelei is revealed to be the Asgardian Enchantress who has Simon under her spell.

Full Summary: 

First Story:
Logan in his Patch identity is down and fading in and out of consciousness as the White Shadow and Black Shadow creatures circle each other menacingly. Logan is concerned that whatever led to the vaporization of a city block in Hong Kong may recur now that these two mysterious powerhouses are facing off against each other.

As the two creatures slam into each other, there is a flash of energy and a sound like a banshee’s scream. The energy that their contact with each other creates arcs wildly and destroys everything it touches. It begins to splinter off, sending beams of energy out randomly. One of these beams comes dangerously close to Logan’s lovely ally Mai. He calls out to her but she is frozen with fear. Patch pulls her to safety at the last moment.

Mai tells Patch that the creatures are searching for them and has followed them here from Pingnan. Logan tells her to move it and they can discuss it later. Ch’un and Hsiao shout to Mai to run but are convinced that they will not be able to dodge the Shadows.

The Shadows continue to clash and the arcs of energy get closer and closer to Patch and Mai. As a blast singes Logan’s hair, he throws Mai to safety and instructs her to roll as she lands and then keep running. She expresses her concern for him and he simply replies “Never expected to live forever.” Another enormous blast strikes near Logan and he is thrown hard by the shockwave it releases.

Hsiao, Ch’un and Mai hover over Patch who is unconscious and barely breathing. Logan’s mind drifts to recent memories from his time in Madripoor.

Logan’s memory:
Patch is in the Princess Bar talking with Mrs. Linn Chow. She thanks him for his help in getting her a lawyer so that she can get the proper visas to bring her children to Madripoor from Hong Kong. She tells him that Peter (her husband) hurt her very badly and she would not have the courage to go back for her children if it were not for Logan’s support. He assures her that there’s nothing to fear and tells her to call if she runs into any problems.

A short time later, Patch is walking along the Madripoor docks when he is approached by a young boy. The boy informs Patch that Linn has died in Hong Kong. Logan takes the next flight out.

When he arrives in Hong Kong, he is greeted by an official from the Hong Kong police who warn that they do not want his presence there to make Hong Kong a “less friendly place” than it already is. Patch asks to see Linn’s body and the officer tells him that is not possible. Logan replies that he better have a good reason for this. The officer tells Logan that he will ignore this threat. He explains that Linn was caught in a random blast of force that destroys all in its vicinity and that there are no remains to left to see. He tells Patch that there is nothing her for him to do and suggests that he go home. Logan simply replies “An’ miss all the tourist attractions?”

Mai calls out to Logan who finally awakes. The others are surprised to see that Patch has survived. He asks what happened to the Shadows and Mai tells him they disappeared as they always do. “They appear, they destroy and then they are gone.” He tells her that it’s time to start explaining. Hsiao tells Logan that first he must apologize for not accepting Patch’s word that he would help. Logan accepts the apology. Ch’un notes that it’s getting dark and they must leave soon. Mai begins to tell Patch that he has suffered enough on their behalf but he cuts her off and makes it clear that he’s in this until the end. Hsiao says they must go to China right away.

The small group sets sail on a boat for China a while later. Again Mai offers Logan the chance to go home. He refuses and say he threw that chance away long ago. She leans against him and he tells her “You can stay where you are. You can push ahead. You can even go in circles if that’s what turns you on… but you can never go back. ‘Cause that’s where everything you left is waitin’.” He puts his arm around her as they head towards China.

Second Story:
The Beast has been accosted by the Tonight Show’s hair and make-up crew. He asks if they are out of their mind, as they try to apply powder and hair spray to the hirsute former Avenger. They step back just as Wonder Man throws a punch at his furry former teammate. Hank deftly leaps over Simon as the make-up artist tells him that they take their jobs here seriously. Hank tells her that Wonder Man is currently a bigger concern than his make-up. Simon growls “Stand still, Beast” as Hank dodges his blow.

Nearby Johnny Carson asks his faithful “sidekick” Ed McMahon what they’re going to do. Ed takes a long pull from his drink and says “I just don’t know! Even Karnak couldn’t predict this one!”

At that moment, SWAT team members arrive and begin to evacuate the audience and crew. Many realize for the first time that the fight between Wonder Man and the Beast isn’t staged and eagerly rush towards the exit. Doc Severinsen approaches Amora Lorelei and tells her that she should leave now as it isn’t safe. Amora is taken aback for a moment until she remembers that she used her sister’s name as part of this human guise. She rebuffs Doc and makes it clear she can take care of herself.

Nearby, a cameraman continues to film in the hopes that he can sell the footage and become famous. Wonder Man grabs the camera crane to use as a weapon against the Beast, sending the camera man flying. Beast catches him and moves him to safety as Simon charges across the stage towards him.

Hank asks what’s gotten into his friend, recalling the fun they had together as Avengers. Wonder Man is enraged at the mention of the Avengers and smashes Carson’s desk. He claims that the Avengers ruined him. Carson ducks out of the way as the SWAT team reports that the audience has been safely evacuated. They realize that the rampaging ionic Avenger is out of their league and hope that the Beast can handle him.

Beast launches himself at Wonder Man, still bewildered by his friend’s uncharacteristic behavior. He tries to keep Simon busy while he figures out what has inspired this madness. Wonder Man grabs the bouncing Beast’s ankle and casually tosses him across the stage and into the bandstand. The band and crew flee the area. The producer, Freddy DaCordova is especially flustered by this incident. Doc, Ed and Johnny all realize it’s time to scram. Johnny quips that none of his marriages went this bad!

The Beast pulls himself from the wrecked instruments and rubs his throbbing head. Simon rushes at him and Hank tries to distract him by telling him to look behind him. Wonder Man punches the Beast through a window and he flies past the producer who is making a desperate phone call.

DaCordova calls the former President of the United States Ronald Reagan! Reagan is in bed at home with his wife Nancy. Freddy tells him he has a desperate situation involving Wonder Man and the Beast and Reagan thinks that he’s referring to a movie script for him (Wonder Man) and his old chimpanzee co-star Bonzo (Beast). Reagan says he’s thrilled to hear that Freddy still thinks of him as a Wonder Man but that he isn’t sure if Bonzo would like being referred to as a beast. He goes on to say that he’d love to make another film with the old crew.

Freddy explains that he has a real violent emergency on his hands and needs immediate help. Reagan suggests he call current President George Bush but then is confused and thinks it might be Dan Quayle. Reagan is clearly confused by the call (and in general) and warns DaCordova that Bush is taking a kinder, gentler approach these days and isn’t sure why Freddy would want to harm poor Bonzo. Reagan finally suggests that he call Al Haig, as that’s who he always called in situations like this. He tells Freddy to send the contract for the new Bonzo film when it’s ready and wishes him a good night before hanging up. Nancy turns to her husband and says that she thought she made all his decisions for him. He reminds her that she isn’t running the country anymore.

Back at the studio, Beast continues to dodge and taunt Wonder Man. Hank notes that Simon isn’t fighting at his peak ability and wonders what might be interfering. He concludes that something must be clouding Simon’s mind but isn’t sure who is responsible or how they’re manipulating Wonder Man. Amora watches from nearby, mentally urging Simon to finish the Beast. She is confident that none shall stand in the way of her plans with Wonder Man’s power added to her own. Hank jumps on Simon’s back. Wonder Man triggers his jet packs and the blast from their propulsion systems knock the Beast off of his back and subdue him.

Wonder Man laughs at the Beast’s fate and says that his defeat should serve as a warning to all the Avengers. He declares that there is only one person he wants and needs and goes looking for Amora. For a moment, he fears that she’s gone but then a voice calls to him from behind the stage curtains. The Enchantress emerges in her true form and declares that she will never leave his side. She commends him on a job well done and tells him that this is only the beginning of their revenge!

Characters Involved: 

First story:

Ch’un, Hsiao, Mai

Black Shadow
White Shadow

In Flashback:

Linn Chow
Unnamed patrons at the Princess Bar
Unnamed citizens and tourists in Hong Kong
Unnamed Hong Kong police official

Second Story:
Wonder Man

“Amora Lorelei”/Enchantress

Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, Carl “Doc” Severinsen, Fred DaCordova and unnamed Tonight Show crew
Audience members at the Tonight Show
President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan
Unnamed SWAT team members

Story Notes: 

The other features in the issue are:
3rd Story: Hercules in “All in the Family” Part 2 of 3
4th Story: Overmind in “Anything”

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:
Johnny Carson was the host of the Tonight Show until he retired in 1992. Ed McMahon and Doc Severin were regular features of the show.

McMahon makes a reference to Karnak. This is not the Inhuman Royal cousin but a character played by Johnny Carson as part of a regular sketch on the Tonight Show. Carson’s comical psychic persona is generally spelled “Carnac” though in this issue it is spelled the same as the Marvel character.

Doc Severinsen’s last name is misspelled as “Sevrinson” throughout the story.

The Enchantress’ sister is the Asgardian temptress Lorelei. She is not to be confused with the Lorelei, the mutate member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants created by Magneto or Lorelei Travis, the mutant stripper who was part of the 198.

Johnny Carson was known for his failed marriages. He was married four times between 1949 and his death in 2005. His wives (in order) were Jody Wolcott, Joanne Copeland, Joanna Holland and Alexis Maas.

Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor long before becoming president of the United States. Fred DaCordova was the director of Reagan’s famous 1951 comedy “Bedtime for Bonzo” in which Reagan co-starred with a chimpanzee.

Alexander Haig served as Ronald Reagan’s first Secretary of State after a distinguished military career. His term as Secretary of State was brief, lasting less than two years.

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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