Characters Appearing: Arishem, Brightsword, Caduceus, Calculus, Daydreamer, Eson, Genii, Hargen, Harvest, Highnote, Juniper, Katos, Mindsinger, Moonstalker, Nezarr, One Above All, Sea Witch, Splice, Tefral, Varua, Ziran
Marvel Comics Presents #101-109 (Young Gods)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #101, Marvel Comics Presents #102, Marvel Comics Presents #103, Marvel Comics Presents #104, Marvel Comics Presents #105, Marvel Comics Presents #106, Marvel Comics Presents #107, Marvel Comics Presents #109 (Young Gods story only)
The Young Gods were Gerry Conway's project, and the fact that not much was done with them can be explained in part by his absences from Marvel. At the time that this story was being published, Conway was working in television, which is why the story is scripted by Eric Fein beginning with part 3. Tom Sutton pencils and inks parts 1-3. Sutton pencils part 4 but Jon Holdredge begins inking with that issue, and Scott Kolins pencils the rest of the story beginning with part 5, with Holdredge remaining on inks. I don't know if Conway's departure had anything to do with Sutton leaving, but the timing seems to suggest it. It's also worth mentioning that this story was originally set up in a Spectacular Spider-Man annual and we were told it was going to continue in future issues of Spectacular Spider-Man. Maybe the pages that Sutton drew were originally intended for that title, and things were revised because Conway left. That doesn't seem likely to me, but it may be because the Young Gods are unlikely characters for a Spider-Man book to begin with.
The summary of the plot: the Young Gods detect an evil on Earth (thanks to a dream that Sea Witch has) and get permission from the Celestials to investigate. Since there are freaking twelve of them, they split into multiple groups when they come to Earth, and each group deals with a supernatural threat and finds a magic stone.
The stones turn out to belong to someone called Nauda of the Silver Hand. The Young Gods fight and stop him.
Nauda might have done better if he played more Nintendo and knew the proper way to align the Triforce.
But the Young Gods actually defeat Nauda by forming the Uni-Mind, which is how they won their last fight (which turns out to have been one of Nauda's agents). So on top of everything else i don't like about the Young Gods, it seems like all their battles would end with forming the Uni-Mind. I mean it works, but that could get boring pretty quickly. Oh, right, too late.
The last time we saw the Young Gods, i thought they were on an abandoned Celestial ship, so i was surprised to see that they needed permission from the Celestials before coming to Earth (they did come to Earth in their last appearance, although at least half the group disagreed with their actions that time).
I love that they take silence as assent. Like the Celestials are even listening to your prattling.
I have to admit that in the past when i said that the Young Gods were uninteresting, that was before i knew that one of them turns into a vacuum cleaner.
If anyone ever asks what the Young Gods bring to the table that the Old Gods didn't, that's your answer. Odin never did that.
Still, there are just way too many characters, all devoid of all but the basest of characterization. I can't imagine picking up an issue of Marvel Comics Presents for the latest Wolverine and Ghost Rider fluff and being confronted with this huge cast of unknown characters.
I knew the group split into three and i was still like, "Wait, there's more of them?" when i saw that panel.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: It seems like some time has passed since the Young Gods' encounter with Spider-Man and their back-up from that same issue, so i have placed this circa publication date. The MCP didn't list the Celestials that appear in this story; i took my best guesses but i may have missed or confused some.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Things that I have learned from fnord's site...
Since I didn't begin reading comic book regularly until the late 1980s, I thought the Young Gods had made their first and only appearance in Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #8. It wasn't until I read fnord's entry on this MCP serial that I found out that most of them were very obscure characters from early 1970s issues of Thor. I had no idea Gerry Conway ever even wrote Thor. I'm in no hurry to find any of those issues. I get the impression that Thor was a rather mediocre series at that time.
Also, when I read this MCP serial, I was curious if Nauda of the Silver Hand had ever appeared in any previous stories, especially as there was a flashback showing him with Thor. I'm deducing by the lack of a character tag for Nauda that this was his first and only appearance.
I wonder if this serial was originally going to run a year or two earlier, when MCP was first starting out, and for whatever reason it just got delayed until this point. As fnord observes, by 1992 Conway had once again left Marvel. I don't recall Tom Sutton doing any work for Marvel during the 1990s, either. Maybe he started drawing this after the Man-Thing serial, and for whatever reason never finished it, so Terry Kavanagh had Scott Kollins & Jon Holdredge finish it. Sutton had such a bizarre, eerie, distinctive style, so the shift to Kollins' work, which at this time early in his career was very conventional, is rather abrupt. But I really can't think of any artist who would have made for a smooth transition from Sutton.
Posted by: Ben Herman | May 17, 2016 1:15 PM
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