Marvel Comics Presents #38-45 (Wonder Man)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #38, Marvel Comics Presents #39, Marvel Comics Presents #40, Marvel Comics Presents #41, Marvel Comics Presents #42, Marvel Comics Presents #43, Marvel Comics Presents #44, Marvel Comics Presents #45 (Wonder Man story only)
This is nominally a Wonder Man solo story, although a slew of Avengers, East and West Coast, show up (along with the Beast). Wonder Man, with Black Knight, was one of the most popular characters in the poll that was run in Solo Avengers, and he'll be getting a solo series in 1991. This story has him under the thrall of the Enchantress the entire time, so it's not a good test of what his solo series will be like (beyond the fact that the book will be by a different creative team).
He picks a fight with the West Coast Avengers...
...and then leaves to join a disguised Enchantress as Amora Lorelei, an actress. She's set him up for a role in a movie about the original Human Torch. She shows him the robot double that will generate the flame effect.
The robot later wakes up and kills the director. Wonder Man is suspected of the murder, and the authorities show up to arrest him while he's on the Johnny Carson show. Carson was about to bring on Wonder Man's buddy, the Beast ("Now a member of a mutant mutant-hunting team. Let's see how they explain that one. It's bound to be funnier than anything our staff could dream up!").
Enchantress makes Wonder Man fight the authorities and the Beast.
Wonder Man knocks out the Beast with his jetpack.
At this point Wonder Man is completely in the Enchantress' thrall and she drops the "Amora Lorelei" disguise. She starts to send Wonder Man against the original Avengers (minus Hulk, plus Captain America). It's something about how the Executioner is dead, so she now wants revenge against the people that bothered them when they were together. The plan is to draw power from the Avengers and turn Wonder Man into a god to replace the Executioner.
She starts with Iron Man.
He manages to tear out Iron Man's chestplate, but is then shot down by a guard with a high tech gun...
...who turns out to be the Beast (a character with a long history of success disguising himself with rubber masks).
The unconscious Wonder Man is teleported away. Enchantress revives him, disguises him as Henry Pym, and sends him after the Wasp.
She's captured and brought to the Enchantress to be used as bait.
News of the Wasp's disappearance causes Henry Pym to become a little unhinged (not that it takes much).
Iron Man locates the Enchantress' base in the Amazon rainforest, and uses his image projector to send a projection of himself down there.
But the Enchantress uses her magic to make Wonder Man's blows affect the real Iron Man.
Enchantress then teleports Iron Man, the Beast, and Pym to her base. They all get knocked out.
The Beast gets slammed into some machinery and i guess is teleported away. He's found outside of the East Coast Avengers Mansion.
Thor uses the Memory Inducer to learn what's happened. He and Captain America go after the Enchantress and Wonder Man.
Cap is captured.
And Enchantress is able to draw power from Thor's hammer, and Thor is knocked out as well.
So now it's time for Wonder Man to become a god.
But, with almost no drama or specific plot reason, Wonder Man shakes off the Enchantress' control.
And lifts Mjolnir!
Enchantress is sent to another dimension.
It's confirmed that Wonder Man has been released of the Enchantress' control, and that's it.
Javier Saltares' art is sometimes nice, but this is a dog of a story. I guess it's a good showing for the Enchantress and it demonstrates how powerful Wonder Man is, but when your main character is mind controlled for the entire story, it's not great from a character perspective. The appearance of the Beast is kind of fun. But the story is poorly written.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place after the dismantling and rebuilding of the Vision in West Coast Avengers #42-45 but before the revival of the original Human Torch in Avengers #50. The MCP have it between West Coast Avengers #46 and Avengers West Coast #47, and before the big meeting of all the Avengers in Avengers #305. The Beast's appearance is context free. In Doctor Strange #12 a footnote implies that the Enchantress has been stuck on Earth since Thor #403, but that might ignore a brief banishment to another dimension (as far as i know, no other story tells us how the Enchantress gets back). And if we're going to place this before Avengers #305, it would have to take place prior to Doctor Strange #12, which is an Acts of Vengeance issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBeast, Captain America, Enchantress, Hawkeye, Henry Pym, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Thor, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man
Fnord, are you sure this issue has to take place before the Torch's revival? The problem is that everyone's acting like Iron Man's an Avenger, so that would suggest it takes place after Avengers West Coast 50. (Of course, one weird thing about this story is that there's not any mention of Tony pretending to be a different Iron Man. Heck, the Enchantress magically shows Simon Tony unmasking.) And of course, Clint and Vision both seem to be West Coast Avengers, which is impossible after AWC 45.
Posted by: Michael | July 30, 2015 7:59 PM
I guess it doesn't have to, but it would seem pretty silly otherwise. Wonder Man is talking to Hawkeye about being asked to play the GA Human Torch, and Wonder Man says that it would be awkward "especially with everything that's happened to the Vision". If the Torch were revived, you'd think he'd say "Especially with the dude hanging out right there in the other room.". I think i'd stick with that placement over the reference to Iron Man as an Avengers. It's not like Iron Man is shown to be with the Avengers. Wonder Man seeks him out at Stark Enterprises.
As for Hawkeye, i already have him returning to the West Coast Compound for Avengers Spotlight #22 and this is in the same period. And the Vision is up and running; is there anything i'm missing there?
Thanks for the info on Wonder Man #2 but does it show how the Enchantress gets out of the dimensions she's banished to here?
Posted by: fnord12 | July 30, 2015 9:27 PM
Fnord, what I meant was that Avengers Spotlight 22 and this story are the only stories in this period where both Vision and Clint are staying at the Compound.
Posted by: Michael | July 30, 2015 10:54 PM
Beast would need to appear here after Inferno where he becomes furry again. That means either before the Judgment War storyline or after.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | July 31, 2015 2:04 AM
One problem with visiting your site, fnord, is learning that stories like this exist.
Posted by: kveto | July 31, 2015 6:15 AM
@Jay, based on the necessary placement for the Avengers, it's pretty much inevitable that it will take place after the Beast is blue & fuzzy again. And keeping it near Avengers #305 ensures that he's free from any other entanglements.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 31, 2015 9:27 AM
I had the issue with the Iron Man fight but never bothered completing the story... And wow, I'm kind of amazed how it ends. I know Simon spent every issue of WCA claiming he was almost as strong as Thor, but I just thought it was Englehart portraying Simon as vain. I don't see any way that Simon should actually be able to knock out Thor, hammer or not. And then he becomes a god and picks up Mjolnir? It shouldn't just be "any god can pick up Mjolnir", especially the level of "god" Enchantress should be able to create. And if she's able to do that, why didnt she make herself able to lift it? Not sure if there's explanations for this in the actual comics, but yeah a proper editor should have stopped this. I guess they were too busy flooding the market to care.
Posted by: Jonathan | July 31, 2015 3:14 PM
Jonathan, I think the idea was that the device drained Thor's life force into Simon, hence why Simon was able to knock him out so easily and why Simon was able to lift Mjolnir despite being unworthy.
Posted by: Michael | August 1, 2015 12:49 PM
Thanks for the explanation, Michael. I still dislike the idea though, surely it shouldn't be "whosoever drains the lifeforce of Thor" can pick up the hammer.
Posted by: Jonathan | August 2, 2015 5:29 AM
The awkward assortment of Avengers present could best be explained via Avengers #305's revolving door status quo. All but Iron Man were present for that.
Posted by: Scott | November 27, 2015 8:11 AM
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