Characters Appearing: Diabolique, Doc Samson, Foolkiller (Greg Salinger), Mike Clemson, Rebecca Taylor, Reverend Nice, Sam Buchanan, Uno, Vengeance, Wendy Sue Niceiza
Marvel Comics Presents #172-175 (Vengeance)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #172, Marvel Comics Presents #173, Marvel Comics Presents #174, Marvel Comics Presents #175 (Vengeance story only)
These are the final issues of Vengeance's Marvel Comics Presents run - in fact, they are the final issues of Marvel Comics Presents. But they don't wrap up all the ongoing plots, exactly.
Things start off with Michael Badilino and Rebecca Taylor being sent by Uno to hunt down Foolkiller, who has escaped.
Foolkiller is dealt with easily, and after the fight Rebecca Taylor reveals that she knows that Badilino is Vengeance.
Meanwhile, it turns out that Reverend Nice and Mike Clemson conspired to release Foolkiller, hoping that Vengeance would be blamed for Foolkiller's murders. Also, Diabolique has shown up at Clemson's office.
Diabolique later shows up at the children's wing of a hospital where Rebecca Taylor volunteers. Vengeance recognizes her but no one else will believe that she's anything more than an ordinary child. And then Diabolique uses her voodoo doll to kill Rebecca.
In anger, Vengeance blasts the room with hellfire, seemingly disintegrating Diabolique. And it's caught on film. But it turns out that Diabolique has teleported away. She's got a new Playmate, made from Reverend Nice's wife.
Uno assumes that Vengeance killed Taylor and caused Michael Badilino to go AWOL. So she hunts him down in New York.
Vengeance seems to have returned to his old killing ways.
He walks away from Uno, who is unable to stop him. But then she hears a report that Vengeance has been spotted in Los Angeles. Uno later finds Vengeance in Oklahoma about to attack Reverend Nice.
Meanwhile, Sam Buchanan goes to Doc Samson (who is dyeing his hair apparently) for info. They determine that the killer isn't' the real Vengeance. Samson agrees to help search.
Samson takes Buchanan to Rebecca Taylor's grave, where Mike Clemson has Badilino entangled in weird technology.
Clemson says that Badilino wanted to be free of Vengeance, so his technology is drawing Vengeance from Badilino and projecting it all over the country (Clemson's motivation all along has been to discredit superheroes). Clemson says that removing Badilino from the machine will cause him irreparable harm; it has to be done voluntarily, and in his current state of mind after the death of Taylor that's not likely. Samson considers using his psychological training on Badilino, but Buchanan instead tells Badilino that Diabolique is still alive.
Reverend Nice was in the process of begging the unrestrained Vengeance to not kill him...
...when Badilino agrees to end the process and draw Vengeance back. Nice, having confessed to all his crimes, is instead arrested by Uno's team.
Clemson runs when Badilino becomes Vengeance, but Vengeance tells Buchanan and Samson not to go after him. He says that for the moment, he wants to celebrate life.
Despite that, it's worth observing how this ending kind of undoes all of what Cooper was doing with Vengeance on this series. All along it's been about how Badilino didn't like what Vengeance was and he was learning to rein it in. But this ends with Badilino getting out of Clemson's trap not with Samson's psychology but by being given a real reason to embrace the concept of Vengeance. This will have ramifications for Vengeance when he returns to the Ghost Rider series, but he never will actually get his vengeance on Diabolique or Clemson (neither of whom appear again, as far as i can tell).
The ending, including the quick death of Rebecca Taylor, feels like a sudden way to wrap up the storyline rather than a natural planned ending. Cooper does well enough under that constraint, but it's disappointing that the Diabolique situation in particular never gets resolved.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Several days pass during the course of this story.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
It was a good choice to use the Greg Salinger Foolkiller and not fly in the face of Kurt Gerhardt's character arc (though Bendis will eventually do that anyway).
Posted by: Mortificator | April 25, 2018 8:34 PM
*Sigh!* And so ends MCP. Back in the day I was a huge fan of the book, but in retrospect there was a lot of mediocre material contained within it's pages.
I found the final issue to be rather disappointing. The two stories by Lightle were supposed to set up a serial featuring New Genix & Steel Raven, but because MCP was canceled nothing ever came of them. I found the whole Lunatik serial to be pretty bland and unimpressive. As for Vengeance, up until almost the end I had really been enjoying the ongoing feature by Cooper, Jones & Harper, but with these chapters it came to a very rushed and downbeat ending that just left me feeling sort of depressed.
I guess that MCP ended not with a bang but with a whimper.
Posted by: Ben Herman | April 26, 2018 10:55 PM
One other character doesn't appear again after Marvel Comics Presents 175- Sam Buchanan. We never see him in later issues when we learn what Vengeance did to Uno's team in Ghost Rider or when Victoria Montesi is cured in Dr. Strange.
Posted by: Michael | April 26, 2018 11:56 PM
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