Marvel Comics Presents #24-31 (Havok)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #24-31 (Havok story only)
Havok is taking in the natural wonders of Australia.
But the natural wonder he finds is suddenly attacked by men on floating platforms.
She passes out when Havok uses his powers.
But she wakes up and mysteriously knows to push Havok away from the jeep when the bad guys dump glue or something on it.
Eventually the platform guys give up and fly away. The girl says that her name is Leila O'Toole, and she finds it sexist when Havok asks why she's out in the Outback all by herself. Also, she feels tingly when Havok uses his powers. And last year she was on an archeology expedition in Egypt but wound up joining a cult, but broke out when she saw that they were into human sacrifice.
Later, the men attack again, this time on foot with a net. But Havok blasts out of the net, with Leila passing out again while he uses his powers. He and Leila then take their attackers flying platform, which Leila demonstrates the ability to pilot with ease. They fly to the closest town, rent a car, and then Leila drives Havok to the town where the X-men live. I guess no one can complain about Havok not doing a good job maintaining a secret identity after Wolverine's jaunts in Madripoor. Havok is also the most incurious person ever. Never mind the fact that he's abandoning this girl to repeat attacks by a cult that doesn't allow its members to leave; he meets a girl that has been to Egypt that passes out every time he uses his powers, and he never thinks "Living Pharaoh"?
In any event, Leila convinces him not to stay in town and go with her instead.
Over the following days and weeks as they tour Australia, Havok finds himself falling in love with Leila in spite of himself.
Then they're attacked by someone dressed as the Living Pharaoh. It's not him - Leila calls him a Tracker - but Havok's inability to believe that it could be is a bit surprising.
One of the Tracker's mercenaries throws a grenade at Havok, seemingly killing him. The Pharaoh kills the merc for it, saying that he wanted Havok alive.
But Havok of course is not dead, and he tracks down the mercenaries that helped take Leila. After beating them up alot, they tell him to go to the Cairo Confectioners Warehouse in Egypt. Next issue, in Egypt, he's attacked by more mercenaries at the airport.
After fighting them off, he goes to the warehouse and finds a Tracker.
After beating the Tracker, he makes his way into the cult's inner sanctum.
And that means fighting more Trackers.
The last of the Trackers turns out to be Leila, who we will now call Plasma.
I guess we're not supposed to know yet that it's Leila, because Havok's shock is just that she's a woman, and even though he manages to escape the cult, he decides to go back because he hasn't rescued Leila yet. But he winds up falling down a pit instead.
Meanwhile, look who's horning in on Havok's solo story.
It's actually Havok that he's located. Not sure how he wound up outside, but i guess the idea is when he fell inside the cult caverns he landed in an underground river or something and got washed out here.
Cult warriors attack again. This time instead of being weekend warriors or guys in Living Pharaoh exoskeletons, they are "traditional" Egyptian cavalry with curved swords. Or as Wolverine calls them, "sand rats", and judging by the change in font that seems to be less offensive than whatever he originally had in mind.
The Trackers show up too.
Wolverine and Havok fight them off and then fight their way back into the cult base.
Ooh, a Zoo Crew.
I was going to make a joke about how they can get pretty annoying on the morning drive to work, but now i wonder if they're a Captain Carrot reference.
You have to love that Havok is all panicky in his own story, while Wolverine is the level headed guy that finds the way forward.
But at least he's polite enough to get taken out so that Havok can fight the main battle against Plasma.
Of course, Havok still hasn't figured out that using his powers only makes Plasma stronger...
...or that she's Leila.
Even Leila is like, "C'mon, Havok! You had to at least suspect!" and Havok is like "Urrrrr, could you maybe explain it to me?".
So she does. It turns out that she was originally indoctrinated into the cult and then tried to flee, but when she did, she was immediately captured and told information that intrigued her enough to agree to work with them, specifically that she's the niece of the original Living Pharaoh and has inherited his legacy. So she went to help capture Havok. That glue that they almost dropped on him in the beginning would have kept him alive but blocked his access to cosmic rays, giving her the power. But the fainting spells she was having disoriented her so she accidentally rescued him instead. So now she urges him to blast her with his powers so she can absorb them, and when he refuses, she smacks him around.
When he continues to refuse, she loses her temper and blasts a hole in the ceiling that threatens to bring down the entire compound, killing everyone. At this point Wolverine wakes up and he and Havok begin fighting their way out. But in the end Havok has to knock out Plasma with his fist. And then he swears that he'll never be manipulated by women again.
Well, at least until he goes to Mexico with Wolverine and meets Quark.
This is basically a straightforward adventure story. The use of the Living Pharaoh for an adversary in a Havok solo story is an obvious one, but not a bad one, and Howard Mackie deserves some kudos for using that mythology while avoiding bringing back the original Living Pharaoh/Monolith/Planet. Plasma has one final appearance in Moon Knight after this story.
To the degree that there is more to this story than a basic adventure, it's amazing how much it steps on the toes of Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown (which, due to the different publication schedules, started earlier but was being published concurrently with this). Havok dwelling on his past romance failures (including treating Polaris like someone that was manipulating him instead of someone that was possessed by an evil entity), falling in love with a new woman that is manipulating him, and, of course, the Wolverine "guest" appearance. I've said that after the first Wolverine story in Marvel Comics Presents, Marvel made an attempt to headline other mutant characters for about a year, but i wasn't counting Wolverine's appearance in three of these issues, including essentially getting co-billing on the cover of #30.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP have this story in the same gap in Uncanny X-Man as the Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown series and place this story prior to that one, which may be supported by the fact that Havok doesn't list Quark amongst his bad romances (see References). This story takes place over "weeks" while Havok and Leila travel together.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"For that one, i'm not really sure when he really accepted that there was something wrong with her so i'll link to her death in X-Factor #38."
I would say dying is a pretty good example of something going wrong with every girl he falls in love with. ;)
Posted by: clyde | November 17, 2014 3:05 PM
It turns out that she was originally indoctrinated into the cult and then tried to flee, but when she did, she was immediately captured and told information that intrigued her enough to agree to work with them, specifically that she's the niece of the original Living Pharaoh...........
That seems an unanticipated relationship.
Posted by: PB210 | November 17, 2014 7:35 PM
Fnord, regarding Alex's stupidity in this story, I think that Mackie interpreted the "Alex-didn't-notice-that-Maddie's-dress-is-changing" scene as "Alex is an idiot when he's trying to get into a woman's pants", not "Maddie is influencing Alex". Incidentally, this issue is another argument for the "Alex was acting of his free will before X-Men 241" school.
Posted by: Michael | November 17, 2014 8:45 PM
Years later, Alan Davis would retcon that the bond between the Pharaoh and Alex only existed because Sinister spliced some of Alex's DNA into the Pharaoh. That doesn't explain Leila.
Posted by: Michael | November 17, 2014 11:05 PM
"In all fairness, I think the idea is supposed to be that Alex didn't suspect Leila was related to the Living Pharaoh because she was white and had a non-Egyptian last name and it never occurred to him that one of the Living Pharaoh's relatives might have married a white dude. Not sure what that says about Alex, though.
The US Office of Management and Budget lists Egyptians (in this instance, roughly Shemites and Stygians) as Caucasians. Aside from that, the Living Pharaoh and his followers usually had a flesh tone that would allow them to pass as "black Irish" or Cimmerian, bronzed in complexion the way Conan looked. The Cimmerians's progeny the Gales resembled this phenotype until admixture with the Danes introduced red hair-which brings an intriguing connection.
Aside from that, I think I may have another reason why the Living Pharoah's group may have took an interest in red-haired women such as Leila O'Toole. When the Hyborian Age started to end, one finds that "Meanwhile also, red-haired Vanir adventurers came into Stygia, where they overthrew the reigning class and built up a vast southern empire which they call Egypt. From these red-hared conquerors the early pharaohs were to boast descent". Remember how I said that the Danes introduced red hair to the Gaels? It turns out "while the later sea-roving Danes were the descendants of the Vanir".
The Vanir in these sentence refer to the people of Ulysses Bloodstone and perhaps the Maha Yogi.
Posted by: PB210 | November 18, 2014 8:23 PM
NCTV review of one episode: "The Pharaoh Cult attacks Havok at the Cairo airport with guns blazing. He runs, then blasts them with plasma energy. He blows up attacking planes, saving himself and a helpless female. He fights the pharaoh's tracker bodyguards in a duel to the death to save his G-string clad girlfriend, who has the pharaoh holding a knife to her throat(to be continued)"
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 26, 2015 11:58 AM
On the last scan, why is Wolverine trying to karate chop Alex?
"You should have tried this instead-hey hold still you made me demonstrate wrong!"
Posted by: david banes | March 26, 2015 1:28 PM
Posted by: Thanos6 | October 10, 2015 11:08 PM
Leila's heel turn in this story never made much sense to me, but then again no one ever accused a Howard Mackie story of being high art.
Posted by: Red Comet | October 10, 2015 11:46 PM
To be fair to Havok in not recognising her, Leila is a normal girl with normal-sized arms. When she puts on the Plasma armour, her arms become Popeye-like.
Posted by: kveto | October 28, 2017 4:47 PM
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