Characters Appearing: Charlton Grundge, Christie Chase, Cockroach Hamilton, D.W. Griffith, Grassy Moss, Luke Cage, Noah Burstein, Piranha Jones, Quentin Chase, Spear, Win (DW's girlfriend)
Power Man #28,30-31
Issue(s): Power Man #28, Power Man #30, Power Man #31
Anyway, plotwise, Charlton Grundge from Adonis Chemical hires Luke Cage to find a former employee that has stolen some plans. The guy is killed before Luke gets to him, but Luke learns that Adonis intends to ship poison gas canisters through the city. Disgusted by the company's lack of concern for human safety, Cage turns on Adonis, roughing up Grundge.
Grundge responds by preparing to bring charges against Cage through his lawyer, Grassy Moss.
The bad guys of the arc, who are trying to get the poison canisters for their own purposes, are the stooge Cockroach Hamilton, a short and dirty guy (he lives with cockroaches and doesn't mind when they crawl through his food) that wields a six-barrel shotgun he calls "Josh"...
...and the mastermind, Piranha Jones, who has steel teeth and a man-sized tank full of piranhas.
Both characters are, of course, phenomenally goofy, but not so different than other Power Man villains like Cottonmouth, Black Mariah, etc.. You can also see similarities with the likes of King Cadaver and Baron Macabre from McGregor's Jungle Action run.
This story also introduces Quentin Chase.
Chase is a cop that first runs into Cage after the death of the Adonis employee, and while he doesn't believe that Cage is the murderer, he is suspicious of Cage and keeps showing up asking for Cage's social security card and things like that. He's an ally against Piranha Jones' organization, though.
We're also introduced to Chase's family.
A contrast is made between the environment Cage lives in and the suburban paradise that Chase gets to go home to at night.
The story also introduces a running gag where Luke struggles with a soda machine in D.W.'s theater.
One other introduction: D.W.'s girlfriend Win.
The main thing about McGregor's storytelling, though, is his... ah, verbosity.
Issue #28 also sets up a story that will begin in issue #33. Noah Burstein is nervous, and someone is watching him.
McGregor's wordiness isn't necessarily accessible, but at its best it's a compliment to a good story. In Jungle Action, where there was great art and a strong theme in the plot, the endless caption panels added an extra literary element to the story. McGregor's captions are not like, say, Roy Thomas'. They don't just repeat what is, or could be, told in the art. And that's true here, as well, at least in attempt. You'll note that in the panels above, the captions are not narrating the plot; they are delving into the heads of random characters on the streets observing the plot.
Other times, it just provides additional color.
The result is the equivalent of a hard-boiled detective novel. Your mileage is going to vary on whether or not you think it is worthwhile. If you want to experience these right, you really have to set aside a decent chunk of time and sit and read them. Normally when i read comics i like to grab a big stack and tear through them, at maybe 20 minutes an issue. These will take longer. Or you can just skim all the narration panels. For Panther's Rage, i found it rewarding to spend the extra time. For these issues, especially thanks to the goofy nature of the villains and the unreliable art, it seemed like the wordiness just created clutter.
So the issues are ambitious, and there are some nice scenes, but ultimately it's a little disappointing.
When Cage is bitten by the Piranha, the narration completely ignores the previous storyline where a (fake) vampire did bite Luke's neck.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Placing this after the fill-in in Power Man #29.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The movie marquee in Win's 2nd panel is displaying "The Devil In Miss Jones", a classic 1973 porn film.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 4, 2013 6:02 PM
Jo Duffy has a letter in #30.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 29, 2013 4:08 PM
In #28, a panel of the movie theater shows posters reading "Tina Russ" and "Georgi Spe". Those are references to Tina Russell and Georgina Spelvin, two 1970s porn actresses.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 6, 2016 9:16 PM
Spear doesn't actually appear in these issues.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 7, 2016 12:44 AM
Neal Adams was a member of the Crusty Bunkers, and although I can't prove he worked on that last issue, a few panels have a distinct Adams look to them.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 7, 2016 12:59 AM
Someone is seen watching Noah Burstein from across the street in issue #28. Both the MCP and the Appendix think that it's Spear, and that makes sense to me. I've added a scan.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 7, 2016 11:26 AM
For what it's worth IMHO McGregor's brief run is about as good as Luke Cage gets - I agree that the artwork and layouts really don't help his writing style, but there are still lots of good things here that didn't really happen before or since with this character. Quirky New York references (and other cultural asides as others have noted), angry and not very powerful villains who still ruin lives with unremarkable home-made weapons, a lead character who is battered physically and psychologically in a very real way (foreshadowing T'Challa), and all those wordy and passionate McGregor captions and dialogues. I'm not sure if he was ahead of his time or always just "out of joint" with the world, but I've always liked his style.
Posted by: Kalessin | October 15, 2016 5:38 PM
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