Marvel Fanfare #10-13
Issue(s): Marvel Fanfare #10, Marvel Fanfare #11, Marvel Fanfare #12, Marvel Fanfare #13
And he 'recruits' the Widow by sending agents to attack her... while she's in the shower, of course.
What follows is a perfectly fine super-spy adventure story. A disparate group of mercenaries are sent after the Black Widow, and she teams up with Jimmy Woo to fight them.
It turns out there isn't a Soviet plot after all. The villain of the piece turns out to be Damon Dran, a villain from the Daredevil comic back when the Black Widow was a co-star.
The Widow is captured by Dran's main mercenary, a really over-the-top character called Snapdragon.
Meanwhile a duplicate of the Widow is sent back to the SHIELD helicarrier to kill Fury.
The Widow escapes via a method that requires her to rip off most of her clothes...
...and she rescues and de-programs the brainwashed Ivan before warning Fury about the attack. Dran is seemingly killed in an explosion.
George Perez' art is always welcome, but the high quality paper actually doesn't seem to do it any favors.
The lines are all a little too harsh. Could have done with a little less cheesecake, but i guess it could have been worse. The story is fun but nothing fantastic. Odd to rely on a very obscure villain from the confusing Project Four plotline in Daredevil that concluded over 10 years ago (and no footnotes!).
It's only been 25+ years, but for me the jury is still out on the Marvel Fanfare books . The paper quality is technically better, but i prefer the old school comic look. There's cute Editori-Al comics drawn by Al Milgrom on the inside cover, which i enjoy...
...and a real editorial by Jim Shooter on the back page, which is usually interesting. In addition to the Black Widow story, these issues all have a back-up feature. The first two conclude the adaptation of the Jungle Book drawn by Gil Kane. Issue #12, which is part of Assistant Editors' Month, has a silly story about Ann Nocenti meeting Captain America.
And issue #13 has a nice Warriors Three story drawn by Charles Vess.
The art is good, but the story itself is nothing special, which typically is the case for this series.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: As noted in the comments, Happy Sam Sawyer died in Captain America #273-274 (and those issues are included in the project now), so this has to take place before those issues. The MCP places it way back in the 1980 period around Avengers #199, so we'll go with that. As for the Warriors Three, it's a timeless Asgardian tale; it can take place basically any time.
Crossover: Assistant Editors' Month
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBlack Lotus, Black Widow, Damon Dran, Fandral, Hogun, Iduna, Iron Maiden, Ivan Petrovitch, Jimmy Woo, Kono Sanada, Nick Fury, Sam 'Happy Sam' Sawyer, Snapdragon, Volstagg, Wrangler
I know you don't have Captain America 273-274 but Sam Sawyer died in those issues, so Marvel Fanfare 10-13 have to take place before Captain America 273-274.
Posted by: Michael | September 21, 2010 4:02 AM
Posted by: fnord12 | September 22, 2010 12:25 AM
I believe Black Lotus has another appearance (along with Iron Maiden, Snapdragon and Wrangler, who are tagged) in Captain America's Superia's femizons story.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | September 11, 2013 11:48 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | September 12, 2013 10:00 AM
I wonder if the story would have improved if it used established villains in place of some of the newer ones that seem near duplicates.
N'Kama could easily have been the Man-Ape or another Black Panther villain.
Deadshot Darrance could be replaced by Kraven.
Laralie by Montana of the enforcers.
I'm sure there are MoKF villains who could have replaced Black Lotus.
How many masters of the lariat as a weapon can there be?
There are so many disposable villains out there. Reusing the existing ones instead of creating new ones that have the exact same schtick would seem to be better.
Posted by: Chris | October 21, 2013 10:17 PM
Perez was one of the great artists in comics of this period, but his weakness was always proportions. I remember one of the Fantagraphics magazines (Amazing Heroes or Comics Journal) putting up side-by-side panels showing how the Widow looks to have gained about 20 pounds from one to the next. The heavier one was the one above where she's holding the goon, saying she doesn't like having her bath interrupted.
Posted by: Todd | August 11, 2014 7:00 PM
I remember that gimmick of having escape equipment being hidden beneath a layer of false skin being used by Lex Luthor in the SUPERMAN VS THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN treasury edition back in '76. Wonder if that's where Ralph Macchio lifted it from?
Posted by: Gary Himes | August 11, 2014 10:45 PM
The Black Widow did the same thing in MTIO #10(for all I know, Claremont may have lifted it from a Modesty Blaise strip).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 14, 2014 8:02 PM
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