VENGEANCE UNBOUND
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MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS # 100

SYNOPSIS
In Latveria, Dr. Doom falls asleep in his bed and is immediately brought into the dream realm of Nightmare. The Dream Dimension's ruler has been tormenting Doom for years now, which is infuriating for someone so used to control in his waking life. Doom triggers a device to wake him from the dream, and he has an audience with a scientist and a Tibetan mystic monk. Doom tasks them both with finding a resolution to his Nightmare problem before the next time he sleeps.

Later, Dan Ketch is in Cypress Hills Cemetery and finds himself transforming into Ghost Rider. But strangely, the transformations don't stop, they continue to change him back and forth between himself and Ghost Rider until Dan finds himself in the Dream Dimension. He's found by Doom, who is looking for Ghost Rider. Nightmare arrives riding on a giant pink dragon, though he's not sure why Doom and Daniel are together. Upon seeing Nightmare, Dan transforms into Ghost Rider again and assists Doom in battling their common foe. They manage to grab hold of Nightmare, who insists that this sort of thing isn't supposed to happen and then disappears, leaving Doom and Ghost Rider to confer.

Elsewhere in the Dream Dimension, Wolverine is subjected to a loud pounding sound until he cuts his way through to another part of his dream. He, too, finds Dr. Doom waiting for him; but when he tries to attack, he's halted by Ghost Rider. Nightmare arrives and attempts to explain what's happening but is silenced by Doom. The three dreamers are attacked by their surroundings, while Nightmare tells Wolverine that it's not he who brought him here, that it was Doom instead. Wolverine turns on Doom to again be stopped by Ghost Rider. In response, Wolverine stabs Ghost Rider and the reaction of hellfire and adamantium begins to destroy Nightmare's realm. Nightmare explains to the two heroes that Doom has used his robotic servants to capture them in the realm world and used arcane technology to bring them into Nightmare's realm with the intent of using them to destroy the Dream Dimension. Doom himself is hooked to similar machines alongside the Tibetan monk. While Wolverine and Ghost Rider awaken and fight their way to freedom in the waking world, they also turn against Doom in the dream realm. Nightmare's realm is saved, and Doom awakens in Latveria with plans to punish the monk for his failure. However, he finds that the monk has already died due to feedback from the battle in the dream world. Nightmare laughs and claims that he'll be coming back for Doom, and he'll have Ghost Rider and Wolverine with him.

ANNOTATIONS
This story takes place between Ghost Rider # 24 (vol. 2) and Ghost Rider # 25 (vol. 2).

Ghost Rider first met Wolverine in Marvel Comics Presents # 65. They'll next meet again in Ghost Rider # 26 (vol. 2).

Nightmare attacked Ghost Rider once through the realm of dreams in Ghost Rider # 11 (vol. 2) and will do so again next in Deathlok # 9.

This is a rare issue of Marvel Comics Presents that had one creative team doing a complete story through the four 8-page segments.

REVIEW
MCP reaches its 100th issue and celebrates with a book-length story by Howard Mackie and Sam Keith that utilizes the two standard leads of Ghost Rider and Wolverine alongside Doctor Doom and Nightmare. All told, it's a perfectly decent little story but there's no argument that the realm draw is Sam Keith's artwork.

Keith is an artist that sparked strong reactions from fans during his early Marvel days, when MCP was his default home for cover work and the odd Wolverine story. This was the second of three stories he illustrated for the anthology, and your enjoyment of this issue will depend entirely on your opinion of Keith's art. When I was younger, I admit to actively hating the man's artwork, but as I've grown older I've also grown to appreciate Keith a lot more. His artwork is so non-mainstream, invoking for me comparisons with R. Crumb and Richard Corben, that it seems SO out of place on a superhero story like this one. But that's where the appeal lies as well, to see Wolverine and Ghost Rider through this weird, unrealistic filter. Just look at his Ghost Rider, with what appears to be a mossy plank of wood laying across his shoulders, and you can see that mainstream fans of the character might not appreciate this deviation from the norm. I sure didn't back then, though my opinion and tastes have changed considerably since then.

The story, to be honest, isn't much to write home about but Mackie does the job and provides Keith with interesting things to draw. It is an interesting idea, with Doom being so in control of every aspect of his life that when he encounters something he can't control he'd sooner destroy the human race than be inconvenienced. The story's one major flaw is the one thing that couldn't be helped, namely the inclusion of Ghost Rider and Wolverine, who were the de facto stars of MCP at the time. I'm not sure why, in story logic, Doom would pick those two characters to help him destroy Nightmare when there were a large number of other heroes he could have chose. But that's not Mackie's fault, he was working with the mandates of the series, so it can be overlooked.

I'm really surprised that Sam Keith's work on Marvel Comics Presents hasn't been collected by Marvel yet; I'm sure they could get a trade paperback out of this, the "Blood Hungry" Wolverine story by Peter David, and the follow up to this story by Mackie that starred Wolverine and Venom. The best thing about this issue, though, is that it was a nice celebratory issue of a series that wasn't afraid to experiment with new things. If they hadn't, a lot of readers would never have been exposed to the work of people like Keith, and that would have been a true shame.

Grade: B+


Marvel Comics Presents # 100
Published: April 1992
Original Price: $1.50
Cover: Sam Keith

Title: "Whose Nightmare is it Anyway?"
Writer: Howard Mackie
Artist: Sam Keith
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco