Characters Appearing: Abdul Alhazred, Archie Corrigan, Dumas, Rhys, Scarface, Sheik, Stump, Tyger Tiger, Wolverine
Marvel Comics Presents #152-155 (Wolverine)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #152, Marvel Comics Presents #153, Marvel Comics Presents #154, Marvel Comics Presents #155 (Wolverine story only)
This story was commissioned and paid for before we took over MCP and had to be used. Millie in accounting, who is responsible for all the freelancers getting paid paid [sic] for their work, will let us know if a story or artwork, which has been paid for hasn't been used in a year and a half, at which point we have to use it, it's Millie's Law.
The first part of this story gives top writing billing to Dwight Jon Zimmerman and is penciled by Paul Ryan. Nel Yomtov is listed as the second writer on part one (which possibly just means scripting, but it's not specified), and then he fully writes the rest of the issues with Phil Hugh Felix on pencils. The behind-the-scenes archeology of Marvel Comics Presents stories is probably interesting to no one, but for what it's worth it looks like this was a story that was started by one creative team and then continued and finished by another. Zimmerman and Ryan did a previous Wolverine story together in Marvel Comics Presents #62-63 and this story picks up on elements from that. So it looks like they started a follow-up but couldn't finish it for whatever reason, so Yomtov and Felix were brought in. It's possible only the Zimmerman/Ryan portion was subject to Millie's Law and the rest was just produced to complete the story. The individual parts are so slight that i can't really tell if the story changes in direction after the first part, so it really doesn't matter.
These issues are more interesting for featuring a character named Abdul Alhazred, who previously only appeared in several issues of Marvel's late 1970s Tarzan series. Alhazred is the only character from that series to appear in another Marvel book (excluding Marvel's adaptation of Greystroke in Marvel Super Special #29), and this is the only other story that Alhazred appears in, although he was referenced in the previous Marvel Comics Presents Wolverine story mentioned above. Abdul Alhazred was also known as the "Mad Arab"; he was a slaver who found a magic rock that allowed him to possess other people after his original body died. The rock also granted him other magical powers. In his final fight with Tarzan, Alhazred seemingly died when the rock drained his own energy.
Wolverine is in Madripoor with Tyger Tiger. The pirates from Zimmerman and Ryan's previous story show up.
They have Archie Corrigan held captive, and they attack Wolverine and Tiger. Since Wolverine is not in top shape due to the removal of his adamantium, the fight is tougher than it should be. But with help from Tyger Tiger, the pirates are defeated. But then their master, Abdul Alhazred, suddenly materializes.
We learn that Alhazred and Wolverine have met previously.
Alhazred tosses Wolverine off the building like a rag doll and then hypnotizes Tiger. And that ends the Zimmerman/Ryan portion. In part two, we learn that Alhazred has been trying to kidnap Tiger because he wants to take over her criminal empire in a bid to gain power in Prince Baran's Madripoor. And he wants to do that so that he can negotiate with other countries by promising to extradite criminals from those countries who have fled to Madripoor. We don't go any further up the motivation chain, though; at that point he just says that "the world would grow to fear me", and he later says that this will gain him "riches and power". In the meantime, he's personally attacking other drug smugglers.
Meanwhile, Wolverine uses the tried-and-true method of going to the docks to beat up thugs to find out information about Abdul Alhazred. He learns the location of Alhazred's hideout and goes there and beats up Alhazred's pirate minions again. And after that we get a flashback to Wolverine's first encounter with Alhazred.
Wolverine then confronts Alhazred, who summons demons to fight him.
Wolverine fights without ever extending his claws.
Abdul Alhazred then uses his psychic powers to try to cause Wolverine to revert to his bestial persona, but Wolverine resists and, in doing so, defeats Alhazred.
Wolverine never unsheathes his claws in this story. He seems to threaten to while fighting the Madripoor thug at the docks, and some other panels look like Wolverine's claws should be extended but were maybe erased.
In general, the art on the latter three issues looks increasingly rushed; with things looking quite comical by the final part.
So maybe Zimmerman and Ryan's original story was dropped in favor of a hastily completed new plot that fit into Wolverine's current post-adamantium continuity. Or maybe Zimmerman and Ryan's story referenced Tarzan and Marvel didn't want to do that for copyright reasons. Or maybe it was just normal deadline issues. I would like to think that Zimmerman and Ryan would have done something to justify the use of a Tarzan character. The flashback showing Wolverine's previous encounter with Abdul Alhazred is certainly underwhelming, as are Alhazred's motivations.
Quality Rating: D
Historical Significance Rating: 1
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP have this between Wolverine #78-79 and after X-Men #30 (which fits with this taking place sequentially after the previous Marvel comics Presents arc). Despite not using his claws, we know that this takes place after Wolverine loses his adamantium because he makes multiple references to not having them.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"Abdul Alhazred" seems pretty obviously re-lettered in both of its appearances on that first appearance. The name at least comes from Lovecraft - the author of the Necronomicon. Presumably not supposed to be the same character since that one was from the 8th century.
Posted by: S | April 16, 2018 4:16 PM
He wasn't just turned into a pile of ash in the Tarzan story; he was also simultaneously shot and stabbed. He didn't have demon-summoning powers either or any other spellcasting-type abilities.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 16, 2018 7:38 PM
"Logan's Run," I guess someone would have to use that reference sooner or later. And "I Put a Spell on You" is a song by Jay Hawkins.
Posted by: Mortificator | April 16, 2018 9:10 PM
SCREAMIN' Jay Hawkins, mind you. Our Lord and Savior Screamin' Jay Hawkins!
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | April 16, 2018 9:19 PM
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