Issue(s): Motormouth #1, Motormouth #2
But a big big part of the appeal is Gary Frank's art. I became a fan of Frank thanks to his Hulk run, but his style is already fully formed here. Unlike a lot of Marvel UK art (and Marvel art generally at this time), it's clean with clear storytelling, and Frank produces great looking characters. Frank's good storytelling helps the typically convoluted plot feel a little less chaotic.
Motormouth and Killpower also have the distinction of being the only Marvel UK characters to appear in contemporary US Marvel comics (not counting the original Death's Head). But that's thanks to Gary Frank getting poached for Hulk.
The plots are actually pretty simple for these first two issues, although they'll get more convoluted later.
As with all the Marvel UK books, American superhero characters have guest appearances, and those appearances are designed so that they could be cut out. So in these issues, we have Nick Fury running around at the edges, but never actually meeting Motormouth.
Let me start with him, because the question of whether or not he's meant to be the director of SHIELD at this point has bearing on the placement of these issues. I noticed that Dum Dum was described as "Commander Dugan" and thought that this was deliberately meant to take place while Fury had resigned as director, but i'm realizing that's not necessarily true.
Gary Frank maybe be great with the art, but Network Nina is totally off model.
SHIELD are detecting energy readings created by a Project Chronos Cycle, run by one of their scientists named Laarson. The project is not going well, so Laarson is executed. Laarson was supposed to be developing personal dimensional teleporting devices using technology acquired by the Warheads on their jumps. The teleporting device was to be called MOPED (Mind Operated Personal Dematerialization). Laarson used up most of the technology that the Warheads brought back on initial tests, and Mys-Tech kill him before he's able to utilize one of two remaining devices on Harley Davis, a street orphan that will become Motorhead.
Too bad this series didn't run long enough for us to find out what happened to that chimp.
The MOPED device was already embedded in a pair of sneakers laid out for Motormouth to find. Mys-Tech send out goons to collect the sneakers and kill Motormouth if necessary. But some of Laarson's subordinates, in a desire to validate their work, activate the MOPED just as the assassins arrive.
If the series ever slowed down enough for it to matter, i assume the premise would have been about Motormouth winding up in random alternate dimensions and having random adventures. That's basically what happens in the first two issues. Regular readers of this site will know that that's not really my thing, but it really doesn't matter for long due to the way the plots progress. But for this first issue, Motormouth winds up in an alternate universe where the Roman empire never collapsed, and since "you know the Italians", the present day is obsessed with fashion and it's a crime to look cool unless you are a member of the Fashion Police.
So, yeah, stuff like that. Motormouth runs around with the local resistance for a bit but eventually gets her shoes to take her home.
I love seeing a "Next" line two pages before the actual comic ends, because two pages of Nick Fury stuff are tacked on afterwards.
Meanwhile, SHIELD sends two plainclothes agents to investigate the energy that SHIELD detected, and Mys-Tech sends Killpower to kill them.
This is part of the main story, not after the "Next" line (i often review the subplots out of order; sorry), and i suspect that's why the SHIELD agents are just wearing regular clothes. It's on the last two pages that Fury gets the word on the dead agents and decides that it's time to move the Helicarrier to the UK, though.
Issue #2 shows Motormouth returning to the real world, but Laarson's subordinates want to prove that their first success wasn't a fluke, so they activate her ruby slippers yet again and immediately send her to another alternate dimension. This world is very concerned about tidiness and proper language.
Motormouth's shoes generate an energy blast when she gets in trouble, which is what happens to the robot here. She calls it a microwave but i don't know if that's technically accurate.
While she's in this alternate future, Motormouth acquires a bulletproof jacket and a radio implanted in her ear.
Killpower also kills more plainclothes SHIELD agents in issue #2. We don't yet get confirmation that he's mentally just a kid, but we get some pretty strong hints.
And he also talks in movie cliches or just generally like an unhinged gun-toting psycho.
Really fun book.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The plots of issues #1 & #2 are technically standalone, at least as far as the main plot is concerned, but i'm keeping them together. Excalibur #55 says that Excalibur: Air Apparent takes place while the SHIELD helicarrier is in the UK. In Warheads #3, Nick Fury makes a reference to another upcoming Mys-Tech threat, and there's a footnote to Motormouth #3. So Motormouth #3 should take place after Warheads #3. I've ultimately decided that these issues are agnostic on the question of whether or not Fury is director of SHIELD. Dugan is probably a "Commander" all the time, and Fury generally taking charge could just mean he's in charge of the operation, not all of SHIELD. What i have done, therefore, is place these issues back in the 1991 category, before Air Apparent (which has all sorts of dependencies for Excalibur). That means a long gap between issues #2 and #3 of this series, but luckily there's a rare break in the action of this series between issue #2 and #3 anyway. Issue #3 opens with Motormouth admiring her new jacket, but that's really just expository and there's no reason why she couldn't continue to admire it for a while. And it could be a while before Mys-Tech detect her again, for the same reason that they're unable to control her shoes beginning in that issue. This does mean that Fury and the SHIELD helicarrier travel to the UK for this arc and then again for the next one, but that's not a big deal.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAlexander Goodwin Pierce, Algernon Crowe, Brendan Rathcoole, Bronwen Gryfnn, Dum Dum Dugan LMD, Eadmund Porlock, Gudrun Tyburn, Kate Neville, Killpower, Motormouth, Network Nina, Nick Fury, Oonagh Mullarkey, Ormond Wychwood, Ranulph Haldane
Motormouth can %#$*! Style council were awesome.😜
Posted by: JSfan | April 28, 2016 4:44 PM
Kind of a disappointment if you were a Jam fan though.
Really love all the UK counterculture references in general, including the Class War t-shirt. Incidentally, their journal ceased publication right around the time this issue was released https://libcom.org/library/heavy-stuff-class-war
Posted by: cullen | April 28, 2016 7:12 PM
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