Characters Appearing: Benny Beckley, Comet Man, Max (Fortisquian), Mr. Fantastic, Rosemary Beckley, Superior (Bridge)
Marvel Comics Presents #50-53 (Comet Man)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #50, Marvel Comics Presents #51, Marvel Comics Presents #52, Marvel Comics Presents #53 (Comet Man story only)
But now both writers return to Comet Man, along with that series' original art team (except for issue #53, which is inked by Alfredo P. Alcala).
The original series did leave an unresolved story. Comet Man's son, Benny Beckley, was left catatonic and in the care of his sister Rosemary after Comet Man's brother, John Gallagher, aka The Superior, tried to activate in Benny the same super-powers that his father has. Comet Man's appearance in Fantastic Four acknowledged that unresolved situation, but to say that Comet Man wasn't ready to deal with it at the moment. That's what this story is about.
Comet Man, orbiting the moon in his Fortisquian friend Max's spaceship, contacts Mr. Fantastic and asks for help in locating the Superior. And he's pretty impatient about it.
Reed is unable to discover any information about the Superior or his organization, The Bridge. Reed suggests that Comet Man therefore just concentrate on finding his son. So Comet Man teleports down to his sister's house while Max teleports down to Los Angeles to enjoy Earth culture (he feels like he's more ready to handle it than last time).
When Comet Man arrives, he sees an out of control car speeding towards a child (not his son) on a bike. He stops the car and recognizes the person inside.
The man seems to have an ethnicity shift between issues.
The guy, Lou, is Comet Man's brother-in-law. Comet Man (aka Stephen Beckley) is thought dead at this point, so Lou is surprised to see him. He's also an alcoholic, and his wife has left him, and she took Benny with him. She's now living with "some rich guy in Connecticut", and Lou gives her the address.
Meanwhile, Max is accosted by some local criminals demanding a "toll"...
...and he uses his powers to make them beat themselves up...
...and then causes them to agree that violence is bad, and then he makes them give him their money.
Comet Man arrives at the place where his sister is staying. She is with John Gallagher, who we know is the Superior, but Comet Man and his sister don't.
Of course, John would be Rosemary's brother as well, so i hope they haven't been sleeping together.
John secretly contacts his boss at The Bridge, asking for funding to deal with his brother, but whoever his boss is tells him that due to budget cuts, there are no funds for him. So that leaves John to deal with Comet Man on his own.
Comet Man uses his powers to revive his son Benny and see his last memories.
"Weeks" pass, and eventually Max shows up at John's place and casually mentions that John is the Superior.
Things explode into chaos after that, but John doesn't have super powers and didn't actually seem to have developed any plans during the weeks that Comet Man was staying in his house, so Comet Man quickly winds up holding John by the throat.
Comet Man beast up John, egged on by his son.
Comet Man ultimately doesn't decide to kill him. But while he's calling the authorities, John pulls out a gun. And Benny forces John to use it to kill himself.
And that is the very very dark ending.
This is an anti-climatic wrap-up to the Comet Man series. The fact that the mysterious mastermind, the Superior, had literally nothing going on in this story is just sad. It's true that the ending potentially sets up a new dynamic between Comet Man and his son (one that Peter David will pick up on a decade later in an issue of Captain Marvel, the next
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Comet Man mentions his "recent adventure" with the Fantastic Four and says that it was after that that he decided to return home to Earth. The MCP therefore push this back in publication time a bit. But i don't think that's necessary. Mr. Fantastic also says that Comet Man contacted him "out of the blue", and even though Reed wasn't a member of the FF at the time that Comet Man was with them, it wouldn't really be "out of the blue" if Comet Man contacted him soon after that. So i'm leaving this at publication date. "Weeks" pass during the third part of this story, while Max is enjoying LA and Comet Man is reconnecting with his son.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
One thing always bothered me about this story- the plot hinges on Stephen not recognizing the Superior since he never met him- only Alicia did, and she's blind, so she couldn't tell Stephen what he looked like. OK, fine, except that Alicia DID note that he had a "strange, buzzing voice". You'd think Stephen would have been a BIT suspicious when he heard what John's voice sounds like.
Posted by: Michael | August 1, 2015 1:50 PM
That last page was clearly intended as a reference to the "It's a Good Life" episode of the Twilight Zone Mumy did. For those who don't know the story was about a boy with Beyonder-like powers who held his small town captive to his every whim. At one point in the story he turns a man into a jack-in-the-box, yelling "You're a bad man! A very bad man!"
Posted by: Robert | August 1, 2015 3:11 PM
@Robert: That was one of the four stories adapted to the 1983 movie as well.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | August 1, 2015 9:15 PM
Just FYI Fnord, the upcoming CAPTAIN MARVEL appearance is not Comet Man's final appearance to date--he does have a tiny cameo in one of the Civil War tie-in books (FRONT LINE, I think).
Posted by: Dermie | August 2, 2015 8:58 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | August 2, 2015 9:11 PM
Every time I hear "comet man" the song "rocket man" starts playing in my head.
Posted by: kveto | October 8, 2016 6:32 AM
@Robert: Of course it was none other than Bill Mumy himself who played the child with God-like powers in "It's a Good Life."
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 20, 2016 12:49 PM
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