VENGEANCE UNBOUND
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MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS # 65

SYNOPSIS
In Cypress Hills Cemetery, Wolverine stands atop a mausoleum, trying to figure out why Deathwatch wants him dead. The mutant had easily followed his attacker's trail from Madripoor, leading him to New York City and the cemetery, though he realizes that he is most likely walking into a trap. As he waits, he sees some of Deathwatch's men carrying a large sack. When the sack is opened, a young Oriental girl appears, and the ninjas prepare to execute her. Wolverine attacks, stopping the murder just in time. Before he can free the girl, however, a roaring sound is heard approaching. Ghost Rider appears on his bike, and upon seeing Wolverine with the captive girl, assumes the mutant to be a Deathwatch assassin. Wolverine, having never met the Ghost Rider, attacks, believing the demon to be part of the trap. The Rider throws Wolverine aside, and then unties the young girl. He tells her to run, but he is then tackled by the recovered mutant. Wolverine claws away at the Ghost Rider's jacket, but is surprised to see that underneath is truly a body of flaming bones. The Rider punches his opponent away, determined to show him the true meaning of pain. Reacting quickly, Wolverine swipes his claws through the trunk of a large tree, causing it to topple down on the demon, apparently killing him. The X-Man turns and starts to walk away, but stops when he hears the Ghost Rider's voice. The vigilante, who easily tossed aside the tree that had crushed him, grabs Wolverine by the throat and prepares to give him the penance stare. Before the stare can be implemented, however, Wolverine jabs his claws straight into the Ghost Rider's eye sockets, causing a massive feedback of energy that knocks both of them unconscious.

Not long after, Deathwatch's men return to the scene and find the defeated heroes, who are still unconscious. Before they can administer the killing blow, the head ninja turns to find his two men dead. A hand then wraps around the ninja's throat from behind, crushing it easily. The girl that Wolverine rescued is standing beside a mysterious man, who says they should take the unconscious Wolverine and Ghost Rider to their father.

ANNOTATIONS
This issue is reprinted in the Ghost Rider/Wolverine: Acts of Vengeance special edition.

This issue of MCP also contained stories featuring Poison, the Fantastic Four, and Starfox.

REVIEW
We're two chapters into "Acts of Vengeance", and the sole reason for this story's publication is contained within these pages: namely, a fight between Wolverine and Ghost Rider.

This issue started a trend for the Ghost Rider serials in MCP, where the co-star of the story (in this instance, Wolverine) had to have an obligatory fight sequence in the second chapter. Of course, this serial hinged on such a fight - that's what readers were expecting and wanting to read. So out is trotted the old standard of "heroes misunderstanding each other and fighting", but it's at least plausible here. Wolverine isn't one of the many characters to have encountered the Blaze incarnation of the Rider, and therefore has no idea who this bike-riding demon is. Plus, y'know, Ghost Rider DOES look like he could be a villain, given the whole flaming skull motif. The best part of the fight scene, which was sort of dull otherwise, was Wolverine plunging his claws into the Rider's eye sockets.

But other than the fight scene, this chapter doesn't do much to further along the plot. We are introduced to our damsel-in-distress, who the heroes pretty much forget about in favor of beating the shit out of one another. Instead, after our two heroes knock each out, the girl is saved by a mysterious newcomer who dispatches Deathwatch's men in a particularly nasty way.

We're still being given a rush-job on the art by Texeira and Candelario, who in this chapter give us numerous panels that lack a background. It just looks sloppy, and is a terrible precursor to Texeira's excellent work on the Ghost Rider series a few months later.

So, yeah, it's a big fight scene that doesn't really deliver on the promise of a great Wolverine/Ghost Rider throwdown.

Grade: C-


Marvel Comics Presents # 65
Published: Dec. 1990
Original Price: $1.25
Cover: Dave Ross

Title: Acts of Vengeance, Part 2: "Claw and Chain"
Writer: Howard Mackie
Artist: Mark Texeira
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Clem Robins
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco