Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Legion of Mediocrity: Marvel Premiere 28
Marvel Premiere 28 Featuring the Legion of Monsters (Feb. 1975)
"There's a Mountain on Sunset Boulevard!"
Bill Mantlo -writer
Frank Robbins -artist
Steve Gan -inker
Karen: Since this is October, and Halloween is looming large over the month, I thought it might be time to review some more monster comics. Unfortunately, the first one I selected is just flat-out terrible. I'm telling you this so you can choose now whether to continue to read this review or duck out before it gets too horrible.
Karen: First up: This book has Frank Robbins art. As I've mentioned in past posts, I am not a fan of his work. I have nothing against the guy but I just don't care for his style. This made it very hard to read The Invaders, but I managed to gut my way through several years of the series, since I loved the World War II setting. But it wasn't easy. And this issue is no different.
Karen: The thing is, I saw ads for this comic when I was a kid, and I desperately wanted it. Why wouldn't I -it had four monsters in it! Morbius, Werewolf By Night, Ghost Rider, and Man-Thing -now that's a monster rally. But I missed it on the newstands, so for years I wondered about it, and then just recently I managed to grab a copy.
Karen: As Mr. Spock once noted, sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting. Now, the fantastic story of four monsters that lived in a little corner of my imagination has been wiped out by the sad reality.
Karen: Our tale takes place in Los Angeles. An earthquake leads to a mountain sprouting up in the middle of the street, tossing Johnny Blaze (aka The Ghost Rider) off his bike. Blaze switches to his alter ego and rides up the mountain, only to be stunned by a mysterious voice.
Karen: Cut to Morbius, gliding over roof tops in search of a new victim to satisfy his blood lust. Seeing a person on a roof, he dives down and attacks only to discover his intended victim is the Werewolf! Isn't that a coincidence. The two tangle but are interrupted by the burgeoning mountain. For some reason they both decide to investigate. The final member of our cast joins the story when a mountain pops up in the Man-Thing's Florida swamp. I guess it's the same mountain, somehow? This is just one of many things in this story that make no sense.
Karen: Morbius continues to explore the mountain, with the Werewolf literally nipping at his heels. They discover Ghost Rider's bike, and the Man-Thing suddenly pops out of the woods. Then the mysterious voice is heard again and a golden guy riding a golden horse that looks like it's having a heart attack shows up. He calls himself Starseed.
Karen: This Starseed seems friendly, welcoming the four monsters. Ghost Rider declares that he somehow knows the golden boy: "Like a dream I used to have as a kid! A dream of angels, all in gold!" Oh boy. We then get a long monologue by Starseed, which explains that he was once a member of a group of humans who split off from our primitive ancient ancestors. These 'cavemen' were peaceful and went off to live on a mountain in harmony, but that was destroyed when one of the most ridiculous looking aliens I've ever seen shows up. This tentacled alien nut job lands in its saucer and actually steals the mountain! This is just as bad as Hercules pulling Manhattan Island. Why does squid face steal it? Who knows!
Karen: It turns out Starseed and some of his buddies were inside caves in the mountain when it was whisked off to space. They waited and waited and finally used the aliens' technology against them. Then they sent the mountain back to where it had been before on Earth, although for some unexplained reason, Goldy is the only one still alive. Here's where it really gets whacko -first Ghost Rider tries to explain to Starseed that he can't just drop a mountain into a city full of people. Then Morbius goes on a rant about how the continents have shifted since the mountain disappeared and so this isn't really even the spot the mountain originally occupied! Thanks for the science lesson, but what the heck?
Karen: The Werewolf doesn't give a hoot about geography, he just wants to attack Starseed. Then Morbius declares that he must have his blood. Ghost Rider is trying to figure out who these two freaks are when the Man -Thing creeps up behind him. It gives GR a good scare and he takes off on his bike to try to stop Morbius and the Werewolf.
Karen: While the Werewolf is just filled with primal rage, Morbius is jealous of Starseed, of his beautiful form, and wants to kill him. Ghost Rider intercedes with some hellfire. As those two go at it, Starseed manages to toss away the Werewolf. The Man-Thing approaches, wanting to help, but burns Starseed with his touch. Ghost Rider rams the swamp monster with his bike and tries to help Goldy but he is dying. He waves his hand and each of the four are briefly transformed back into their human selves. But then it is over -"The Dream cannot be continued" and all but the Rider take off. Starseed says his good-byes to GR and dies -"I am going home" -and that's that, as GR pushes his bike down the road in search of a gas station.
Karen: Man, what a let down. I was expecting something that would catch the favor of a classic horror flick, but this was just a mess. This is no 'legion', none of these guys are acting in any way as a team. The Starseed idea just does not fit with these characters. Well, I don't know if it would fit with any book, seeing as how it's such a lame idea to begin with. But this issue really did not work, not on any level.