Issue(s): Nightstalkers #3, Nightstalkers #4
The scene ends with Belial doing a divination with the soldiers' remains, which points him to Hannibal King.
We learn why DOA attacked the military truck in the next scene. A character named Keith has apparently contacted the Nightstalkers (aka Borderline Investigative Services), because of something he's seen in a video he recorded. The "introduction" of Keith is one of my pet peeves about comics in the 90s. There's literally no explanation regarding who this guy is or why he's contacted the Nightstalkers. Does he work for them? Is he a friend? Is he a film student or a camera man that just happened to notice something weird and picked the Nightstalkers to tell about it? What follows is everything relating to the character from issue #3. Keith will appear twice more, but since he's already been "introduced", in subsequent appearances we don't get any more information. My guess is that writers at this point think it's too cheesey to do some kind of formal introduction, so they think they're doing some kind of Claremontian style plotting by just kind of immersing us into a story and letting us eventually pick up the pieces, except in many cases the pieces are never fully delivered. Keith is eventually described in a lettercol (after a creative team switch) as "a friend of Drake's who's an electronics wiz and helps out the team every now and then".
Anyway, the major talking about building a vampire army attracts the attention of the Nightstalkers, so they go to investigate. But of course we already know it's going to be a trap, and they're attacked by DOA.
Gotta love Blade's "Big Weapons and Bad Attitudes!". The battlecry of the 90s.
Tom Palmer inking (and coloring) Ron Garney doesn't seem like as good a combination as you'd might think.
Blurry art and bad puns. And "Innards" sure has weird powers.
DOA manage to escape with Hannibal King. In their Hydra balloon! Yes!
It's actually not even their balloon. They steal it from some ballooners (is that the right word?). It just happens to be perfectly in-theme.
Blade and Frank Drake manage to stage a rescue.
In the end, Baron von Strucker tortures Belial for his failure.
The final page re-scripts a sequence from issue #2 as a jokey nod to the death of Superman.
I have a real soft spot for the DOA villains. They're a fun kind of cartoony cheesy. The problem is, balloons aside, this book doesn't seem to be trying to have fun. Everyone is really angsty, with the Nightstalkers constantly bickering with each other to the point where you wonder what they're even doing together (which i guess the answer is that Dr. Strange basically manipulated them into getting back together). In which case you have to look at the DOA character and their 'weaponized organs' and 'bugs from the mummy cloth" powers and say, wait, you thought these were serious characters?
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Baron von Strucker appears in this story in a scene that works best before Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #45-47 (i.e. he seems to have his "new" Satan's Claw, not the mechanical hand that he gets when he returns in Silver Sable & the Wild Pack #15).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBaron Von Strucker, Belial, Blade, Frank Drake, Hannibal King, Innards, Keith Roberts, Malpractice, Pyre, Rotwrap
The skull balloon seems to come from the cover of the 1960s paperback version of Ian Fleming's "You Only Live Twice".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 16, 2016 6:08 PM
You know, i really wanted to give this book a try, because i loved the characters (Drake, Blade, Hannibal King...) but then i saw that guy using his intestines like a dog collar and that was it for me.
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | November 14, 2016 11:31 AM
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