VENGEANCE UNBOUND
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MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS # 99

SYNOPSIS
Falling to the ground after being overwhelmed by the army of D'Sprytes, the Ghost Rider watches as his motorcycle hits the pavement. With only seconds to spare, he releases his chain, catching it on a steetlight, and swings himself into a fruit stand. The D'Sprytes make their way to the street while the Rider digs himself free of debris. Catching a few of them in his hands, he is unable to keep from being attacked by the rest. On the sidelines of the battle watch a group of pedestrians who see the Rider fighting with an invisible enemy. Suddenly, the crowd turns violent, each person under the thrall of a D'Spryte. Jack Weaver, the homeless man who first saw the demons, tries to convince the crowd that their being manipulated, but the enthralled crowd ignore him, calling him "just a bum".

The crowd then turns on the Ghost Rider hurtling bricks and other things at him. The D'Sprytes know that the Rider will not harm an innocent, and plan on using the pedestrians to kill him. The ground then begins to rumble, and the Rider's bike busts from the hole it had made in the pavement after the fall. Riding around him in a circle, the bike is used to create a shield from the mob, allowing the Ghost Rider to form a plan. Spinning his chain, he releases it as a hail of razored metal links, each one hitting a D'Spryte before reforming as the chain in his hand. With each D'Spryte dead, the crowd comes to their senses, unable to recall what had happened. Knowing he is no longer needed, the Ghost Rider rides into an alley and transforms back into Dan. Before he rides home, he sees Jack Weaver sitting back on the sidewalk. He asks Jack if he'd like someone to talk to, to which Weaver replies "yeah...that'd be nice".

ANNOTATIONS
This issue of MCP also contained stories featuring Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Puck.

REVIEW
After the impressive first chapter, Slott and Palmiotti offer up the conclusion to their 2-part Ghost Rider story, and amazingly manage to wrap things up succesfully in just 8 pages.

Faced with an army of D'Sprytes, the Ghost Rider finds himself in a moral quandry: to defeat the supernatural creatures, he must first fight through the humans they've enthralled. While the Ghost Rider's solution isn't all that spectacular, the fight between him and the D'Sprytes isn't the true conflict of the story. Instead, through the character of Jack Weaver, we're given a look at how the homeless are viewed through often judgemental and harsh eyes of the common man. And, to Slott's credit, he manages to invoke sympathy for the downtrodden Jack as he's ridiculed for seeing the creatures that are manipulating the crowd.

In reality, despite his triumph in this issue, there really is no way the Ghost Rider could ever truly win against the D'Sprytes. The little demons are correct, human minds ARE weak, and because of this the D'Sprytes will always have their victory. Of course, this story plays up the concept that people are inherently good and intelligent, exemplified by Jack Weaver.

Palmiotti turns in another strong issue of artwork, but it's not quite as good as the previous issue. Parts of the story appear rushed, but it's still quite good.

This two-parter is a nice little side story for the Ghost Rider, and while it's certainly not as ground-breaking as other stories it still succeeds on two fronts. It entertains, and at the same time makes one think about the easy manipulation of humankind by hate and despair.

Grade: B


Marvel Comics Presents # 99
Published: Feb. 1992
Original Price: $1.50
Cover: Sam Keith

Title: "Fallen Spirits"
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Jimmy Palmiotti
Letterer: Steve Dutro
Colorist: Fred Mendez
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco