Marvel Super Heroes #7 (Shroud)
Issue(s): Marvel Super Heroes #7 (Shroud story only)
The villain of the piece is the Deacon. He's a religious rabble rouser with light and lightning powers. His light can even blind the Shroud (who is already blind, conventionally speaking).
The Deacon gets his followers riled up and convinces them to smash or burn down buildings that are associated with "depraved" practices. The Shroud gets caught in a fire caused by the Deacon's followers, and has to take off his cloak for the first time in a long time.
The first twist in the story is that the Deacon is really working for a mob boss, and she has him direct his followers to attack buildings controlled by rival mobsters, in order to extort protection money from them.
I suddenly have an urge for a Cinnabon.
The second twist in this story is that the Deacon decides to cut out Madam Cinnabon and extort money directly for himself. The Shroud, with his assistants Mouse and Cat, is still pretending to be one of LA's mob bosses...
...so the Deacon approaches him directly...
...which is the Shroud's clue that he's not working with Cinnabar anymore.
It turns out that the Deacon and Cinnibar were once lovers, but she let him rot in jail while she took over her husband's criminal empire. The Shroud stops the Deacon by dodging his tingling bolts until he exhausts himself.
The story sets up Madam Cinnabon as a potential repeat villain, but of course since Grant and Ditko's series never continued, this is the last we'll see of her.
If nothing else, the Deacon's lightning powers give us our old time mystical Ditko fix.
I also like what Stephen Leialoha's inks add to the mix. And i do like the idea that the Shroud is thought to be a mob boss. I suppose that idea was created for this aborted series, where it would have been the focal point. Instead, it just became an interesting aspect to a minor character and we mostly just saw glimpses of it. Which i think i actually like better. It added depth to a background character. Interesting how things sometimes work out.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: I'm not sure what happens to Cat and Mouse during the period that Shroud was working with Night Shift, and i considered pushing this back prior to Night Shift. But the MCP place this after the Night Shift period and it looks like Cat and Mouse do continue to appear (in the 1994 Shroud mini) so i'm placing this at publication date.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
Wasn't Shroud's cover that of a mob boss from the start? IIRC, that was made explicit in the original WCA mini.
Posted by: Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas | November 26, 2015 4:31 AM
Luis is correct, Shroud's mob boss cover is mentioned in those WCA issues.
Posted by: Tuomas | November 26, 2015 8:16 AM
The Shroud was first established to be pretending to be a crime boss in Marvel Preview 21 by Steve Grant and Steve Ditko- as noted in the link, that might have been planned to be the first part of a series with the Shroud (and this story might be another part).
Posted by: Michael | November 26, 2015 11:25 AM
Yeah, but per the link that Michael provided in the other Shroud entry (i'll relink it here), the Ditko Shroud series would have come out in 1980, well before Stern's WCA mini. So that's my point, that Stern and others were playing off of things that were really set up for a Shroud series that didn't happen.
(The actual set-up did see print, in Marvel Preview #21 - which i don't yet have - but what i thought was interesting is how that set-up was intended to establish a status quo for an ongoing series, but instead it became a background detail because that series didn't happen.)
Posted by: fnord12 | November 26, 2015 11:30 AM
Crossposted with Michael!
Posted by: fnord12 | November 26, 2015 11:31 AM
Agreed with fnord that Steve Leialoha's inking is very effective over Steve Ditko's pencils. Leialoha also inked Ditko on the first two chapters of a back-up story that appeared in the Coyote series written by Steve Englehart that Epic Comics published, and it looked amazing.
Ditko's work after he returned to Marvel in the 1980s and early 90s was often odd, at times appeared in the most unexpected places. But looking back, one of the great things about all these unusual fill-ins and back-up stories was getting to see a diverse selection of artists doing inks / finishes over his pencils.
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 22, 2016 10:10 AM
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