Marvel Premiere #44
Issue(s): Marvel Premiere #44
Storywise, Jack returns home (mansion), and meets his new butler, Martins, who was handpicked by Tony Stark (and kinda looks like him) and also vetted by SHIELD (in fact, in his next appearance, a SHIELD agent will address him as Major Martins).
Stark and SHIELD have also provided Jack with a "neutro-mist" that allows him to get out of his armor for an hour at a time, although it doesn't do anything about his face.
When Jack arrives, a letter has already been received at the house. It's from the Corporation, telling him that they still exist and still want his father's "zero fluid". The letter is signed "Hemlock" and his return address is included.
Hemlock is supposed to be an "assassin prime". Among his trophies, i only recognize the AIM helmet.
Anyway, Jack accepts Hemlock's challenge and shows up to fight. I'm reminded that Jack has a "computer brain".
Hemlock also has a love of flowers, and literally cries when they are destroyed during the fight.
Hemlock dies when he tries uses a laser to cut open Jack of Heart's armor, which causes it to explode.
Jack leaves a bit despondent that he won the fight through basically an accident, and with no more information about the Corporation than he started with.
Decent story. Hemlock is a sufficiently silly but interesting character. And i love the way this Corporation cropped up in all sorts of disparate Marvel comics. Giffen's art is great. I feel like it's come a long way since his work on the Defenders (and his earlier collaboration with Mantlo on this title on the Woodgod story). Nice simple design for Hemlock, and nice layouts. Definitely liked the little recap of Jack Of Heart's previous appearances.
This issue also includes the design for Jack of Hearts that Dave Cockrum created to help artists keep his complex costume straight.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's been "hours" since Jack of Hearts left Stark International in Iron Man #113. To honor that, i've pushed this back a bit in publication time, which means i've placed it prior to Marvel Premiere #42-43, which i've kept at publication date (the stories are unrelated). See the comments below about how Marvel Two-In-One #48 seems to suggest that Defenders #62-63 takes place before Marvel Premiere #44, which isn't really possible due to the "hours" line.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Giffen may have drawn JoH for Deadly Hands of Kung Fu.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 21, 2013 4:31 PM
Yep, Giffen drew Jack's second appearance in DHKF #24. I wish they'd put out an Essential volume for that magazine.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 21, 2013 9:46 PM
Obviously, Marvel doesn't want to pay the royalties for the use of Fu Manchu again.
Considering the cult following Master of Kung Fu does have, there's always a chance of seeing some of that work being collected eventually, but I doubt it would end up in the Essential format.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | June 22, 2013 12:01 AM
Oh yeah, i wasn't even thinking about the Shang Chi stories, but you're right. I was hoping for a collection of the Sons of the Tiger / White Tiger stuff (including the first appearance of Jack of Hearts) since their early appearances are (relatively speaking) one the significant gaps in my project here. Not sure if they used Sax Romer characters too (i know they do in a few stories, including some of the ones i've covered here, but i was hoping that the majority didn't).
Oh well, guess i'm stuck hunting down the magazines.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 22, 2013 12:19 AM
To be honest, I'm surprised Marvel just doesn't rename Fu Manchu and any other protected names in order to publish. I'm pretty sure that is what they have done in new appearances of the character. Does something in the original contracts prevent that?
Then again, I've never understood why Marvel can't just combine Fu Manchu into their own version of it - the Yellow Claw can say he simply used an alias or clone as part of his insidious plans.
Posted by: Chris | June 22, 2013 1:26 PM
Fu Manchu actually only showed up a few times in DHOKF; Shang-Chi is strictly a Marvel creation. Fu Manchu's appearance in Giant-Size Spider-Man #2 was reprinted in an Essential volume, but I guess Marvel hoped Sax Rohmer's estate wouldn't notice.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 22, 2013 2:32 PM
Jonathan Hemlock is an assassin for CII.
The book became an international bestseller. But to Trevanian's discomfort, even embarrassment, it was only recognized as a spoof by critics in Holland and Norway. Elsewhere, particularly in America, it was swallowed as a straight example of the genre.
Posted by: PB210 | June 23, 2013 6:52 AM
For what it's worth, in MTIO #48, Jack says, "I went back into action prematurely during that ridiculous hash with the Defenders---but defeating Hemlock set me straight!" Might that affect your chronology?
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | September 7, 2016 2:12 PM
Thanks for bringing this up, Matthew. It seems like there's a contradiction. As noted in the Considerations here, this story is said to begin "hours" after Iron Man #113, with a storm having developed on Jack's way home. The Defenders story can't take place before all of Iron Man #102-113 (and the rest of the quote from Marvel Two-In-One #48 that you excerpt seems to confirm that the Iron Man story took place before the Defenders story). So maybe the events of this issue occurred, and then Jack "prematurely" went out with the Defenders, and then the lessons of the events here fully sunk in and he realized he needed to be his own man/get training from SHIELD. Or maybe he's just got the chronology mixed up in his head; that Defenders story probably seems surreal to him in retrospect. :-)
Posted by: fnord12 | September 7, 2016 3:56 PM
Would that we could write "that ridiculous hash" off as a hallucination!
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | September 9, 2016 10:44 AM
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