Characters Appearing: Butterfly, Century, Cybermancer II, Deluge, Foundry (Avatars), Lich, Q'Wake, Recorder (Starstealth), Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), USAgent
Marvel Comics Presents #169-171 (Mandarin)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #169 (Century story), Marvel Comics Presents #170 (Suzi Endo story), Marvel Comics Presents #171 (Recorder story) (Hands of the Mandarin stories only)
I also pity anyone who was picking up Marvel Comics Presents but not the Hands of the Mandarin crossover, because not only do you get several issues of nonsense but it comes illustrated with chicken-scratch like this.
The other thing is that the stories don't even appear in a chronological fashion. So while i'm covering things in a sensible order, the first story in issue #171 actually takes place during War Machine #9 (Hands of the Mandarin part two), even though the second story takes place during Force Works #6 (part one). And the first story in issues #169-170 were the Mandarin story which i covered in an earlier entry, and which take place before the rest of the crossover. That's less awful, but why not put the Mandarin story in issue #169, these POV stories in #170 and the first part of #171, and then the one that takes place during War Machine #9 next? For what it's worth, my trade reprint cut everything up into the right order.
Issue #169 focuses on Century, and it's the least interesting of the three since we've already learned that the reason Century skipped out on the battle against the Avatars was because he sensed the power of the Mandarin's rings, a power that he, despite his mysterious origins and missing memories, was familiar with. If Force Works #6 had held back on that reveal, it might have given this story a little something to work with.
This story does make it look like Century left Spider-Woman in much worse of a bind than we saw in the Force Works issue, though.
The Suzi Endo story is somewhat interesting just in the sense of trying to figure out how she merits her own chapter. We do learn that she once impressed Tony Stark with her work in the cybernetics division.
The rest of her chapter is just a straight retelling of the fight from the Force Works issue, a woman-on-the-street kind of thing. No special insights into Endo's character or justification for focusing on her.
We do see the Avatars getting driven away, something we didn't see in Force Works because the focus followed Century instead of staying with the rest of the team.
The Recorder issue does provide us with some new information (at least if you're only reading the trade). We saw in the Force Works issue that something was wrong with PLATO; he didn't alert the team to the attack in Hong Kong. It turns out that was because the Recorder erased the alert. He wanted things to escalate in order to maximize the spectacle value for his recording.
So that, at least, is some vital information about the Recorder. But as Michael notes in the comments, this scene was first seen in Force Works #5, before the official start of the crossover. So even this isn't really new info (but at least it's something for readers of the trade).
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: I'm tagging this as part of the Hands of the Mandarin crossover but note that the Marvel Comics Presents issues don't get official part X of Y numbers on the covers. These stories all take place during Force Works #6, which was part one of the crossover. Part two is in War Machine #9. Also note that another Hands of the Mandarin story in Marvel Comics Presents #171 takes place during War Machine #9 and will be covered in a separate entry.
Crossover: Hands of the Mandarin
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Hands of the Mandarin TPB
Many years ago I was fortunate enough to buy the original artwork for the Force Works splash page from MCP #170...
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 9, 2018 10:10 PM
We saw the Recorder cancel the alert in Force Works 5, so even that backup is meaningless.
Posted by: Michael | February 10, 2018 2:38 PM
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