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Marvel Comics Presents #39: Review

Dec 1989
Marv Wolfman, John Buscema

Story Name:

Black Shadow! White Shadow! Part 2: The Shadows Strike!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Marvel Comics Presents #39 Review by (September 28, 2021)

Review: Long-running anthology series is wildly uneven with its format of multi-part tales and occasional one-shots in each issue, many of which are too brief to be good. This issue features an uninteresting Wolverine chapter, a multi-part Hercules story a cut below Bob Layton’s earlier Herc work, and a lame Spider-Man tale where he agonizes over a gang of protesters he agrees with. Best story in the issue is the Wonder Man serial with its Johnny Carson guest appearance, giving the whole series a fresh feel.

Comments: First story: Part 2 of 10. Second story: Part 2 of 8. Johnny Carson’s sidekick Ed McMahon also appears and there’s a reference to Jay Leno, then Carson’s regular substitute host. Story three: Part 1 of 3. Sequel to MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #37, “Hercules: Full Circle.” Story four: One-shot. Back cover sums this story up as “Spider-Man vs. vivisectionists” but actually it’s anti-vivisectionists he captures. Writer Bill Mumy is the former child actor who played Will Robinson on LOST IN SPACE.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvel Comics Presents #39 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Wolverine (as Patch) is fleeing the Hong Kong police in the wake of an incident wherein a city street was vaporized. He is taken in a woman named Mai who leads him into a secret grotto used by smugglers. Told the Black Shadow responsible for the street’s destruction is outside, Patch goes to battle it and it freezes his arm and thrashes him around. Then a White Shadow appears to fight the black one…and Patch is in the middle….

“Stardust Miseries Part 2: Tonight’s the Night”
Writer: Michael Higgins. Pencils: Javier Saltares. Inks: Jose Marzan Jr. Colors: Tom Vincent.
Synopsis: Wonder Man wakes up to find a gorgeous woman he doesn’t remember in his bedroom. She calls herself Amora Lorelei, an actress on the same film Simon is auditioning for. They go to the studio together and she persuades the director to hire Simon. Amora shows Simon around the studio, introducing him to his robot stunt double. Late that night a huge intruder attacks and kills the director….

Simon and Amora appear on THE TONIGHT SHOW with Johnny Carson but the show is interrupted by police wanting Simon for the murder of the director. Amora persuades Simon to destroy them all—and then special guest Beast shows up….

“All in the Family! Part 1: Mother’s Day”
Writer: Bob Layton. Art: Bob Layton. Colors: Brad Vancata.
Synopsis: On the planer Wilamean, Hercules and his son the Emperor Arimathes team up to defeat and band of space pirates. Herc’s pal Skyppi the Skrull has been secretly playing cards with the Emperor’s imprisoned mother; she wins this time and Skyppi must take on the form of her son the Emperor. He does and she zaps him with a device that puts him under her control. She uses the fake Emperor to escape from her apartment and join up with a band of armored mercenaries hired to kill Hercules….

“With Liberty and Justice for All”
Writer: Bill Mumy. Pencils: Aaron Lopresti. Inks: Sam Grainger. Colors: Evan Skolnick.
Synopsis: Spider-Man catches a team breaking into one of the University science labs. Turns out they are a band of animal-rights activists rescuing the animals used for experiments. Spidey agrees with their ideals but can’t let criminals go free so he pretends to fall down and knock himself out, allowing them to escape, then with a clear conscience, he goes home to Mary Jane….

John Buscema
John Buscema
Nel Yomtov
Butch Guice (Cover Penciler)
Bob Layton (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)
Mary Jane Watson
Mary Jane Watson

(Mary Jane)

(Peter Parker)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Arimathes, Recorder 417, Skyppi.

> Marvel Comics Presents: Book info and issue index

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