Characters Appearing: Banshee (Horse), D'Spayre, Night Rider (Carter Slade), Night Rider (Hamilton Slade)
Marvel Comics Presents #102 (Phantom Rider)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #102 (Phantom Rider)
Archeologist Hamilton Slade is doing a guest stint at the La Brae Tar Pits when he is disturbed by a teacher whose students are such little fatties that they ran away from their school tour to sit on the floor and double-fist sweets into their mouths. Someone comes along to guide the teacher back to the tour, and Slade doesn't like the looks of him.
And sure enough, the guy causes the tar to animate some mastodon bones.
The tour guide is D'Spayre.
The animated mastodons shrug off the Phantom Rider's phantom force, and Phantom Rider starts to despair.
Phantom Rider notices that D'Spayre is feeding off the despair, so he lies to the teacher and the kids, telling them that this is all part of a hologram show. And that causes D'Spayre to lose his powers.
D'Spayre flees, or whatever it is that he's supposed to be doing here. I think maybe he's just having the back spasm. But the kids sure think it's rad.
I don't even know what D'Spayre was trying to accomplish. Is this what he's come to? Trying to terrify random kids on a school tour with giant tar elephants? It's not exactly a subtle way of making people despair. I am the exact opposite of being a fan of D'Spayre, and even i feel nothing but pity and indignation for the guy here. This has got to be his saddest showing. Not to mention the fact that two separate writers have recently thought of him when coming up with a throwaway story for Marvel Comics Presents. "Who's a crappy character no one will care if i mess up? Right. D'Spayre!"
As for Phantom Rider, is this what his regular series would be? Riding around cheering up children? Is he a rodeo clown or a superhero? Wait, don't answer that.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The art here is actually better than most mainline books at the time, where Image knockoffs had turned every character into pouched, roided out freaks
Posted by: Bob | May 17, 2016 5:55 PM
@Bob - Agreed with you. Dave Hoover was a really good artist who unfortunately passed away much too young.
Posted by: Ben Herman | May 17, 2016 8:45 PM
So I'm in the process of reading all the Ghost/Night/Phantom Rider appearances over the years. Of course there are ups and downs - the run of stories in the early 70s' "Western Gunfighters" title is actually pretty damn entertaining, while the WCA stories in the 80s were uneven at best. But THIS. Even besides the question of why an archaeologist would be studying paleolithic fossils, do we really have to witness him yelling, "Phantom, do your stuff!" ... Which is only matched by the inanity of the Rider himself shouting (to nobody in particular) "Let's get serious... with a shot of Phantom Force!" And the way his costume (and hat, and guns, and horse's harness) are now decorated with dozens of little SKULLS, like he's just wandered out of a Spencers store in the local mall, was a truly awful attempt to 90s-ize the character without doing the work of actually making him interesting. (Note how his boots are now generic superhero-style boots instead of actual cowboy boots too.) IMHO, a badass time-displaced spirit-cowboy could have been a good fit for the 1990s if they'd found the right artistic team (maybe a running guest role in Mackie & Texeira's Ghost Rider?). As it stands, after this tripe, he wont appear again til 2007.
Posted by: Lyde1848 | April 8, 2018 6:42 PM
"Those children should be PETRIFIED!" "And YOU should just be FRIED!"
Wow. It's bad enough for D'Spayre that he's been reduced reduced to scaring kids at tar pits; but THIS is the kind of witty banter he has to endure in the process?! This is the low point of his career. Which is REALLY saying something.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | May 16, 2018 10:15 PM
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