Characters Appearing: Kosrouschah, Lunatik II, Silver Surfer, Skreet
Marvel Comics Presents #172-175 (Lunatik)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #172, Marvel Comics Presents #173, Marvel Comics Presents #174, Marvel Comics Presents #175 (Lunatik story only)
This series also introduces a character called Skreet, who Giffen will use in Marvel's cosmic revival (beginning in Giffen's Thanos series and continuing into Annhiliation).
The story starts with the new Lunatik killing a General Kosrouschah in a scene with some sexual innuendo.
Kosrouschah will apparently survive and appear in Wolverine: The Best There Is #9. But for now he's effectively dead, and Lunatik removes a component from his ship. And there's his partner, Skreet.
If it's not clear from the above scan, Skreet is tiny. Insect size. She's in Lunatik's hair, along with a dead bug.
Also, if the above sequence doesn't make a lot of sense, maybe this will help. (It honestly still doesn't for me! The joke is the guy was stealing cable, maybe?)
Lunatik is later hired by some people in the Keystone Quadrant (from Rocket Racoon) who are harvesting a highly addictive drug called, well, Addictum, which turns people's blood into napalm when they stop using it. The scientist harvesting the Addictum, Lupal, has gone rogue, and Lunatik is supposed to hunt him down. Or at least that's what i gather from reading the next issue's recap; it's not actually said what exactly Lunatik is being hired for in this sequence.
Meanwhile, Lupal is having a breakdown and the Silver Surfer shows up to stop him from hurting the locals.
Lupal kills himself, and the locals offer the Surfer a "feast" just as Lunatik shows up. The Surfer says that there's no place for his dark violent soul on this world, and they get into a fight. Although it's Skreet who packs the bigger punch.
Together, they surprisingly manage to knock the Surfer out.
The Surfer eventually recovers, but not until Lunatik has skinned all of the locals in an attempt to recreate Lupal's formula.
The Surfer is so angry, he causes a nuclear blast. It destroys all of the skins, but Lunatik survives the explosion. They fight again, and the Surfer is again defeated. Skreet is knocked away during the fight.
The Surfer recovers again and the fight continues. Skreet returns as well. Even a Watcher gets mixed up in it.
The Surfer eventually realizes that he and Lunatik are too evenly matched in raw power, so instead he uses the power cosmic to bind Lunatik to the planet, saying that if he tries to leave, he'll die.
It's a chaotic, sometimes incoherent, story. Making Lunatik and Skreet powerful enough to knock out the Silver Surfer more than once feels cheap. There are moments of humor...
...which tell me that we're not supposed to be taking this too seriously. But Lunatik is so unlikeable and annoying, and the plot is so thin, it just doesn't serve as a good introduction.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: For the Silver Surfer, this fits well during the same gap in his series as his ClanDestine appearance.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Lunatik is an attempt at self-parody by Giffen- he's a parody of Lobo, who Giffen co-created.
Posted by: Michael | April 25, 2018 8:57 PM
Now I know where Loeb got the idea for Red Hulk punching a Watcher.
Posted by: Michael | April 25, 2018 8:59 PM
Love this Giffen artwork here. Very “Five Year Gap” Legion-ish.
Posted by: Brandon | April 26, 2018 1:42 AM
For good or worse, this was published at the same time as very early issues of the five year gap LSH, and it shows. That period of the LSH apparently has many fans. I am not among them.
Giffen can be a superb penciler at times, but I don't think his style at this time period is at all pleasant. It may be the Kevin Maguire influence. And this series does in fact read like a Lobo parody, which is really all the criticism that needs to be extended.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 26, 2018 3:24 AM
I'm not sure Lunatik is so much a parody as Giffen wanted to keep writing Lobo, so he created a Marvel Lobo. It really didn't work. Lunatik will reappear in the Annihilation prelude Drax miniseries, but the plot will require him to be the voice of reason in the cast of characters, which goes against what little personality the character has. Plus, what's with the whole "his face is always in shadow" thing?
Posted by: andrew | April 26, 2018 7:43 AM
I read these in real time and loved the art but hated the character. I was so glad to see Lunatik disposed of in Giffen's Drax book. And conversely I was so glad he kept Skreet around -- she pairs WONDERFULLY with Thanos. I feel like it's so rare for a creator to make an honest assessment of their pet characters and to realize what works and what doesn't, and to be willing to scrap them when necessary.
Posted by: Lyde1848 | April 26, 2018 3:44 PM
Yeah, I never understood why Keith Giffen created a Lobo-esque character for Marvel. By the time 1995 rolled around Lobo was already majorly played out. He had started as an over-the-top parody of grim & gritty anti-heroes who became an actual grim & gritty anti-hero... so that would make Lunatik, what, a parody of a parody? Why bother?
So, yeah, for the most part I found this story really unimpressive. Well, okay, there was *one* thing I liked about it, namely that scene where the Watcher is providing commentary on the fight, only to get kicked in the crotch by Lunatik, who complains "I thought watching was with your eyes, big mouth." I know it's just wrong, but I found that hysterical :)
Posted by: Ben Herman | April 26, 2018 10:39 PM
@andrew, you remind me of how I felt when the Daughters of the Dragon finally got a miniseries in 2006, circa Civil War. Misty and Coleen were behaving so out of character that to this day I assume that the series was originally pitched for DC as a Body Doubles feature and repurposed for Marvel in a, shall we say, less than fully organic way.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 27, 2018 12:54 AM
Love this Giffen artwork here. Very “Five Year Gap” Legion-ish.
Unfortunately, the scratchy art style with big black blotches Giffen was doing at this time was very obviously copied from the Argentinian comic artist José Muñoz (of "Alack Sinner" fame), which Giffen himself has openly admitted (after the Comics Journal pointed it out). See here, for example.
Posted by: Tuomas | April 27, 2018 1:57 AM
Weird that the interview presents him as the "anti-grim and gritty guy" of the 1990s. He even points out himself that he wanted badly to be associated with Battle Royale, and I could hardly call his Lunatik, Lobo, LSH or even JLI anything BUT grim and gritty. It just turns out that they are also very self-effacing and call that humor.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 27, 2018 6:11 AM
Ben, maybe it's just the kind of character that he likes to write. In between Lobo and Lunatik, there was also Trencher at Image.
(The relationship between Lunatik and Skreet also reminds me of Trencher and Phoebe, though Skreet has an actual physical presence.)
Posted by: Erik Robbins | April 27, 2018 10:56 AM
Giffen's Munoz period was a few years before this and he stopped drawing/getting drawing jobs during that time for about 2 years. When he returned to full pencils, it was with a style that was a cross between his early Legion style and Kevin Maguire. It then evolved into this (and kept evolving), which seems a distillation of all of his 'influences'.
Posted by: Wanyas the Self-Proclaimed | April 27, 2018 12:24 PM
Luis, did you ever read the DC minseries "Breach"? It had Talia Al'Ghul directing the hordes of Kobra, and it was so obviously a rewrite of a Viper/Hydra plot it was just painful...
Posted by: andrew | April 27, 2018 12:42 PM
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