Marvel Premiere #27
Issue(s): Marvel Premiere #27
Truthfully, i don't see anything in this issue that shows how an ongoing series could be successful. Satana saves a woman accused of witchcraft from being burned at the stake..
...only she really is witch.
Then it all turns out to be a plot by a Devil called Dansker that she's encountered before, and she gets into a fight with him/her.
Satana trained with Dansker back in her youth, but there was a bit of contention between them and this is the rematch.
It's decent enough writing, with some cute scenes (the "oink like a pig" scene, the weird transgendered appearance for Dankser) but there's no hook and i don't really know what they'd do with her in a series.
The art in this issue, both pencils and inks, it by "The Tribe" which was a group of Filipino artists that included Tony DeZuniga and Ernie Chan, among others. I'm assuming they provided art as a team, and that's why there's no individual credits listed, but it's still a bit weird. Looking at UHBMCC, it's very rare for penciler credits to be listed this way, somewhat more common for inks, especially on Conan books. The art is on the sketchy side...
...but frankly it doesn't look a lot worse that most of Marvel's lower tier 70s output, and at least the panel-by-panel storytelling is easy to follow.
This issue also reprints Satana's original appearance from Vampire Tales #2, except the dialogue of the rapist is totally re-written so that he's just trying to steal her purse instead of rape her. Which is ridiculous because the art depicts him pushing up close against her and ripping off her clothes.
Satana killing the guy and sucking out his soul is apparently Code Approved, but talk of rape isn't ok. Not necessarily challenging that, but it's a fine line.
I love how in both this issue and her first appearance, souls are represented as little butterflies that she pulls out of men's mouths after she soul-suck kisses them.
During her battle with Dansker, Satana summons the power of the Basilisk. I kinda thought this was like summoning the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth or whatever, but apparently the Basilisk is an actual character, and by summoning it, Satana is putting her soul at risk.
All that text in that second panel, and yet no clear explanation of the implications of that scene.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place after Marvel Preview #7, since she has her new costume here.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
The Basilisk was seen on panel in Marvel Preview #8(at least I think that's the right number).
The Marvel 1975 Convention Program ran a one-page preview of this story, but it was announced for a different book whose name I can't remember now.
One weird panel near the story's end: Satana leading some orphaned kid away by the hand. Uh, where to? She doesn't seem much like a CPS-type person...
Finally checked out the convention program again: Satana was supposed to be a backup series for Giant-Size Dracula, but Claremont went off the book for some reason and got replaced by David Kraft, relegating this story to limbo for a while(so it may ultimately place earlier in the chronology).
Dansker here is referred to having once ruled a host of demons comparable to that ruled by her father, but Lucifer managed to defeat him via treachery, using darkling spells to bind Dansker to his service and make him his slave. Satana refers to him as an "Old One", which Claremont has Dr. Strange refer the N'Garai to in his basement in Dr. Strange v1 45 (whereas everywhere else he refers to them as the "Elder Gods"). In addition, in order to access his full power and/or access his free his physical form from Hell he had to perform a sacrifice on a Cairn, geographical sites through which the N'Garai usually access our realm. This would all seem to suggest he is an N'Garai, but what sort - a demon or a master?
It is interesting that during Claremont's run, Satana comes to be referred to as "Satana the Damned". While this could just refer to the fact that she is so due to her lineage, Claremont generally uses the term "DAMNED" when referring to anything N'Garai, including Kierrok the "DAMNED", the Shiatra Book of the "DAMNED" (which Claremont originally intended as the N'Garai version of the Book of the Vishanti), Dhasha Khan General of the "DAMNED" and the Legion of the "DAMNED" from his run on Blade.
Did Dansker therefore secretly condition Satana to eventually overthrow her father and release the N'Garai from Hell? Is this what the aborted story Night of the Demon-Night of the Damned (also referred to as Return of the Elder Gods) by Claremont and George Evans was meant to involve, her final battle with the Camarilla of the Elder Gods resulting in her death and the permanent release of the Basilisk which was oft referred to as bringing about Armageddon?
In Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu 22 the character Jade explains how the N'Garai were driven from the Earth when the Sun was born anew to kill them. In addition, the Satana text-piece in Marvel Preview 7 (also penned by Claremont) relates that her father Lucifer led the angelic host that repulsed the N'Garai prior to his fall. Then in Marvel Spotlight 24, when Satana releases the Basilisk from within her soul to slay Kthara/ Gloria Hefford, an unholy light flares from her eyes like the dawning of some obscene, newborn Sun. The Basilisk is further referred to having once been the deadliest of Lucifer's host. I would posit this as all points to the Basilisk being the angel in Lucifer's host who transformed the Sun to cleanse the Earth of the N'Garai as referred to by Jade above.
Where all of these hints seeded by Claremont leave me baffled though comes in Marvel Spotlight 24 where Kthara is referred to as being one of Satan's Host, and yet to invoke her Gloria Hefford calls on the Mabdhara, the Lords of the N'Garai otherwise known as the Triad Y'Garon, Y'Grianth and Y'Bsalloth.
How is it that the Mabdhara could send forth one of the Satanic Host when Haunt of Horror 4, also penned by Claremont, mentioned it was Lucifer's Host who had banished the N'Garai from the Earth?
In this same issue Kthara further refers to ruling the Outer Dark. Yet when Master Khan calls upon the N'Garai, the servants of the Mabdhara, he refers them as Lords of the Outer Dark, so how can this be if Kthara is the one who rules that realm?
Is it that upon the N'Garai being banished to the Outer Dark by Lucifer's Host, Kthara was tasked with ruling over them by Lucifer/ Satan? If so, where does Kthara sit in the hierarchy, particularly given Keirrok is also claimed to be a Lord of that realm? And is she above or below Y'Garon and his brothers in the hierarchy?
As for how Lucifer and his host became demons? I'd suggest that the later tale of Atum transforming into the Demogorge after banishing the Elder Gods from our dimension was grown from the seeds of Claremont's abovementioned unpublished story, and that it had originally been intended for Lucifer and his angelic host to have absorbed so much of the N'Garai's energies from their battle that they were transformed into demons, after which they attempted to storm the gates of Heaven, resulting in their being cast down from the Earth.
How does this relate to Claremont's overarching epic! Well in Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu 22, when relating the tale of the N'Garai's banishment, Jade explains that when the Sun was born anew the entire world was reshaped. Was this referring to the phoenix power? Had it initially been an artefact conferred upon one of Lucifer's angelic host by God, becoming tainted from cleansing the Earth of the N'Garai? This might further explain the long-running feud between Kulan Gath and Selene if, as I theorise, she was a previous wielder of the phoenix power and being a servant of the N'Garai Gath attempted to make her his Shadow Queen causing her to become the Dark Phoenix of the Hyborian Age, as Mastermind had done with Jean Grey.
How does Satana walk in those heels?
When Dansker gets the better of Satana in their duel with staves, he says, "Bang, you dead," a phrase we'll hear from a certain staff wielding Cajun X-Man penned by Claremont in about 15 years.
Satana's death kiss is awfully reminiscent of Rogue's characteristic method of employing her power, while we're at it. No butterflies for her, though her teammate Psylocke had a telepathic butterfly effect (both are a reference to the myth/etymology of Psyche).
Note the characters in this issue named Peter and Adam Rossi. I guess Claremont must have had a friend with that last name.
All told, a lot of premonitions of things to come in X-Men.
Satana's soul-draining is also a lot like what we'll eventually see from Selene in X-Men.
Makes sense Walter when you consider Selene took on Kulan Gath, another High Priest of the N'Garai.
You know changing that dialouge in the reprint makes Satana look like more of a bad guy. When she steals the soul of a rapist its kinda ok. But the soul of a mugger, a bit harsh.
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