Characters Appearing: Psiphon, Rebecca Taylor, Sam Buchanan, Uno, Vengeance
Marvel Comics Presents #164-166 (Vengeance)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #164, Marvel Comics Presents #165, Marvel Comics Presents #166 (Vengeance story only)
Buchanan sends a mystery ally to attack Vengeance.
It turns out to be Psiphon.
Psiphon drains energy from Vengeance and leaves, saying that he's going to go to Washington DC to restart his terror campaign.
Badilino goes with an increasingly suspicious Taylor to a law enforcement symposium in DC.
Federal agent Uno is giving a talk about the failure of the Magneto Protocols when Psiphon attacks. Note that X-Factor is said to not be available.
Badilino slips away from Taylor, further increasing her suspicions. He turns into Vengeance and confronts Psiphon, but this time Buchanan shows himself and joins the fight.
Vengeance thinks this is a good time to bring up Victoria Montesi's sexual orientation.
Rebecca Taylor shows up and blocks Buchanan's shot.
Buchanan starts to doubt himself, but there's still Psiphon to contend with.
Vengeance tries to turn human to stop Psiphon by taking away the negative energy he was draining, since that stopped Psiphon last time. But it doesn't work this time. And Sam Buchanan's exorcist gun has a reduced effect on Psiphon, since he's not mystical. But it's still able to blind him, and then Taylor shoots out his tendrils. Buchanan then reverses the polarity on his gun, saying that it should boost Vengeance's powers if he did it right. Vengeance has to trust him enough to allow him to do it, but he agrees. And somehow the gun increases Vengeance's sense of justice instead of vengeance, which allows him to get stronger without giving Psiphon more negative energy to feed off of. And Vengeance says that by letting Psiphon be taken to prison instead of killing him, he further weakens him.
Note that Taylor still hasn't figured out that Badilino is Vengeance, or at least is pretending.
Nothing here is great, but the fact that Chris Cooper has been writing this Vengeance feature for a while means that he can write a story like this where there are some payoffs to previous stories. Cooper's Vengeance run is an anomaly for Marvel Comics Presents in that it is an ongoing story by a single writer (and the art team has been consistent, too). And it makes a difference; it's not just throwaway stuff. I also like Cooper's continued tendency to use the dressings of the larger Marvel universe (the Magneto Protocols and X-Factor) and also tie things in to the events of the Ghost Rider series.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place after Ghost Rider returns. Ghost Rider's return is in Ghost Rider #50, but Vengeance is captured by Anton Hellgate in that issue. He doesn't escape until Ghost Rider #52. Ghost Rider #52 has a back-up story where Vengeance is already working with Uno and the Feds, whereas here he's just seeing Uno speak at a conference. But note that Badilino says that he's already worked with Uno before, which could be a reference to the back-up.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
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