Issue(s): Sleepwalker #17
I'm pretty sure he followed that up by chopping up some Hellfire Club goons in a sewer.
I mentioned in the Darkhawk portion of this crossover that Mike Manley seemed to be trying for a Rob Liefeld look, and now the same thing is happening to Bret Blevins. Guys, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are not inherently covered in speedlines and cross-hatches.
I also said in the previous part that Spider-Man was tossed into a Ditkoverse. That was very true. He's trapped with the Mindless Ones.
Meanwhile, Sleepwalker did mange to make it through the portal to the Brotherhood's lair, but then Rick Sheridan woke up and Sleepwalker went by-by. Lately, the biggest drama in Rick's life has been all the chores he has to do for his landlord, but now he meets a new tenant at his building, Janine Epstein, who is very possibly made of plastic.
She gets him to agree to go on a date with her.
Rick hears about the trouble with Spider-Man, so he leaves a message for Sleepwalker telling him to do something about it, and then manages to go to sleep using a relaxation technique that he's been practicing. He warns Sleepwalker that he's not really tired, so hurry up and rescue Spider-Man. Sleepwalker attracts the attention of Darkhawk by hovering over Times Square, and, two sideways splash panels later, they go after the Brotherhood together.
The Brotherhood are defeated. They get Portal to teleport them away (to "back-up base 2-B"), but leave Portal behind. Portal is still hypnotized, but Sleepwalker brings him to Dr. Fong from the previous storyline. You might think that Fong is becoming the go-to science guy for Sleepwalker's book, but this is actually his final appearance. Someone writes in to this issue's lettercol asking if the C.W. Fong appearing here is the same as the Charles Fong that appears in Transformers #29-30. The response is a wink that Bob Budiansky was the writer of both books. For those of you still holding onto your dreams that the Transformers book was part of the main Marvel universe, add that to your ammunition.
Dr. Fong does manage to wake up Portal. And then they go and rescue Spidey.
I like to think of the Mindless Ones as being immensely powerful, but the good guys manage to handle them pretty well here. I'll console myself with the idea that they're just fighting to survive and get past them, not defeat them.
Portal then decides he's had enough of the heroes and disappears, but at least everyone gets home first.
"The next day", Rick and Janine go on their date, but it turns out to be not a very good date.
But we'll see the rest of that later (see the Considerations).
I guess the problem with having the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants as your villains is that they have a rider that says that the good guys don't actually get to win unless it's an X-book.
This is Bret Blevins' last issue of Sleepwalker. He's moving to Ghost Rider to replace Andy Kubert, who is moving to X-Men to fill the gap left by the Image exodus. That's a step up for everyone involved, but the big appeal of this book was Blevins' art.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Continues directly from Darkhawk #20. The last two pages, beginning with Rick's date with Janine, are supposed to happen "the next day" but we can write that off as a temporal reference if need be. The last two pages go directly into Sleepwalker #18, which is a tie-in with Infinity War #5. And it's worth noting that Spider-Man and Darkhawk are both in Infinity War, although luckily neither are part of the expeditionary team that goes into space. Spider-Man is hospitalized early in the story, and we don't see him again after that. Darkhawk is part of the group that is attacked by the horde of doppelgangers at the remnants of Four Freedom Plaza, a fight that concludes in Infinity War #4. Then we don't see him again until the epilogue in Fantastic Four #370, where it's shown that he and a few other heroes were replaced off panel by doppelgangers, although it's not specified when that happened. So regarding the placement of this Darkhawk/Sleepwalker crossover, you have two options:
1) all of it except the last two pages of this issue takes place early in Infinity War, before Spider-Man is knocked out and Darkhawk meets up with the other heroes, but after X-Factor #82 (which is referenced in the Darkhawk portion of this story), which takes place after Captain America #408, which is the first Infinity War tie-in (that i've placed before Infinity War proper). Then some time pages ("the next day" or more) and the last two pages happen.
2) the whole thing takes place after Infinity War #4. Spider-Man has recovered, and Darkhawk has left Four Freedoms Plaza after the doppelgangers were defeated. They wind up in this adventure. And then, "the next day" the last two pages happen. Darkhawk is subsequently captured by the doppelgangers so he can appear in Fantastic Four #370.
From a placement perspective, it doesn't make a difference to me, since i place issues based on where they end. So this is going after/during Infinity War #5, which is when Sleepwalker #18 takes place. My personal preference is option #2, though, in part because it allows me to tag all of the characters appearing.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBlob, C.W. Fong, Darkhawk, Janine Epstein, Jean Grey, Moondragon, Phantazia, Portal, Professor X, Psylocke, Pyro, Rambo (dog), Rick Sheridan, Sauron, Sleepwalker, Spider-Man, Toad, Traci Fields
At the MCP, we had all sorts of problems placing the Sleepwalker Holiday Special. The problem is that Strange is referred to as Sorcerer Supreme (which means it takes place before Strange utters the Emancipation Incantation in Doctor Strange 48-49) and the villain views an image of Quasar with his quantum bands. Quasar loses his quantum bands when he dies during the Infinity War and doesn't get them back until Quasar 47.
Posted by: Michael | March 9, 2016 10:08 PM
Bret Blevins & Mike Manley are going full-tilt Liefeld with the artwork on this issue! Look at all those line and crosshatching! And how about that huge set of chompers the Blob is showing off?
Having said all that, Blevins & Manley imitating Liefeld is of course still better than most actual Liefeld artwork :)
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 10, 2016 9:01 AM
I actually have a soft spot for Blevins -- he makes me think that I'm reading a demented dark carnival version of an after school cartoon, which is exactly want 12 year old FF3 wanted out of a comic. It's never... uh... good, but it's comforting to me in a nostalgic way.
But I /really/ love the art here. I think that Blevin's cartoon influences melding with Liefeldisms actually elevates both.
Posted by: FF3 | March 10, 2016 1:40 PM
No one will agree with me here, and that's okay, but this style starts to look like the good work of the 90s. Like a second rate Sam Keith, maybe.
Posted by: FF3 | March 10, 2016 1:47 PM
@FF3 - I agree that Bret Blevins is great. Have you ever read the Epic Comics series The Bozz Chronicles that he created with David Michelinie? It was awesome. I'm glad I got to meet Blevins at last year's New York Comic Con.
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 10, 2016 1:48 PM
@Ben Herman - Thanks for the suggestion! I'm ordering it now. I've been thinking of getting a commission done by Bret for a couple years.
Posted by: FF3 | March 10, 2016 2:24 PM
@FF3 - I hope you enjoy it. And, yeah, I would also like to get a commission for Bret Blevins. He was charging $100 for a single figure sketch at NYCC. That was out of my budget, but the one I saw him working on at the show for someone else was hyper-detailed, so it did look like it was actually worth that amount. Maybe some other time.
"Can I help you up... or would you prefer to worship at my feet?"
Ah, you have got to admire a gal who gets right to the point :)
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 12, 2016 12:37 AM
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