Characters Appearing: Rebecca Taylor, Vengeance
Marvel Comics Presents #156-159 (Vengeance)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #156, Marvel Comics Presents #157, Marvel Comics Presents #157, Marvel Comics Presents #159 (Vengeance story only)
Meanwhile, Michael Badilino is at the home of Rebecca Taylor, who is recuperating from her injuries in the last arc and is beginning to suspect that Badilino is "Ghost Rider" (but she's heavily medicated). Gargauntua's boss activates a device that lures Badilino to her and Gargauntua.
Gargauntua's boss uses her power transference technology to absorb Vengeance's powers and become Phantome.
Getting Vengeance's power seems to be Phantome's end goal.
She just rides around reveling in her power, melting people's faces.
Meanwhile, Badilino wakes up after a nightmare, wondering if his entire time as Vengeance was just a bad dream. While he was passed out, he was found and brought to a homeless shelter, where he starts helping out. But he eventually sees Phantome on TV. He leaves to hunt her down, but he's first found by Gargauntua, who is worried about how his boss has changed. He brings Badilino back to Phantome, and it turns out Badilino still has the Spirit of Vengeance power; Phantome's technology just allows her to mimic it.
In the subsequent fight, Phantome ignites some fuel canisters, accidentally nearly killing Gargauntua. This causes Phantome to snap out of her mania. She rescues Gargauntua and helps Vengeance rescue homeless people endangered by the fire. In the end, Phantome sacrifices herself, and Gargauntua dies trying to rescue her.
Chris Cooper continues to do not-terrible work with Vengeance, definitely better than the parallel issues of Ghost Rider where Vengeance was starring. He continues to build up a little continuity; there's even a footnoted reference to a previous story which is used as continued character development for Badilino, and this story at least makes an attempt to provide some side-commentary on homelessness. Phantome (and Gargauntua) are definitely throwaway - no one needed a derivative of a derivative of Ghost Rider - and the fact that they a have a death scene where we don't see the bodies might mean that Cooper was planning for them to return, which wouldn't have been a good idea.
Artwise, Reggie Jones and Fred Harper are producing something that looks, at least superficially, like Mark Texeira. There's still no getting around the fact that there was just too much Vengeance in 1994, though.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
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