Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Traditionally, no one's happy about a fill-in issue, but this time...

This was a comicon pickup that I was pretty sure was going to be a reprint of some sort, but no! It's burning off a fill-in issue, but with somewhat higher production values than usual, and a better story behind it. From 2011, Defenders: From the Marvel Vault #1, "Mind Slam" Plot by Fabian Nicieza, script by Kurt Busiek, pencils by Mark Bagley, inks by Andrew Hennessy.

In more ways than one, this was set during Kurt Busiek and Erik Larsen's Defenders run, wherein the curse of Yandroth forced Dr. Strange, the Hulk, the Sub-Mariner and (usually) the Silver Surfer together whenever there was an emergency. Behind the scenes, in case Busiek or Larsen fell behind, a fill-in issue was commissioned; plotted by Nicieza and drawn by Bagley...and left in a drawer, since they managed to stay on schedule! So, it was finally scheduled for this Vault event with similar unpublished stories, but Nicieza didn't have time to script it, and had lost the original plot! Which thus left Busiek to figure something out, and he did!

The Defenders are called together once again, but this time...they're Jerry, Nicholls, Ramona and Tyler? It's our usual heroes, but with the minds of four college students after a night of Red Bull and Pathfinder. You'd think D&D kids would know better, but they immediately split the party, looking around on their own; and Jerry the Surfer quickly finds his heart's desire: Shalla Bal and the Shi'ar homeworld! Man, the Surfer has weird tastes...no, as Shalla explains, he would have love and not have to give up journeying, the best of both worlds. Ramona the Hulk finds a happy place as well: a beach day, with all his old villains now his friends! Nicholls/Strange thinks this might be a trap, for about one second before joining Eternity--with an old joke!

Tyler/Namor is left to his own fondest wish: an underwater picnic with a fabulous blue babe, who he wouldn't know was Lady Dorma. Namor's happy place also appears to involve killing all humans, since their picnic ground is the sunken Statue of Liberty, but that's not what snaps Tyler out of it...

I won't spoil the rest, but it's a solid, fun issue that fits easily into the original run. Which I still need to finish, come to think of it...I wonder if any of the other Vault issues were this good.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

I like the plot and overall idea here. Really solid presentation and art by Bagley.
Larsen and Busiek's Defenders run really was undervalued and under-appreciated.