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Marvel Comics Presents #41: Review

Jan 1990
Marv Wolfman, John Buscema

Story Name:

Black Shadow! White Shadow! Part 4: China Beach Head

Review & Comments

3 stars

Marvel Comics Presents #41 Review by (October 12, 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, a Wonder Man serial featuring a mediocre battle with Iron Man, and a lame Freedom Force tale which has too many characters for its eight-page allotment; could it be the writer was intending on Senor Muerte and the Grip to return but they didn’t let Scott Lobdell write any more X-Men stories?

Comments: First story: Part 4 of 10. Second story: Part 4 of 8. Story three: Part 3 of 3. The next story in this continuity is HERCULES: TWILIGHT OF A GOD #1-4 in 2010. Story four: One-shot. This is the sole appearance of all of the villains in the story; so much for Senor Muerte’s vows of revenge.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvel Comics Presents #41 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Wolverine and Mai sail their sampan to China where they are stopped by a patrol boat warning them of danger. They go on; Logan dons his full Wolverine costume to dive into the water and kill a shark for food. As the group eats on shore, each one describes how their lives were ruined by the Black Shadow. Logan hears a noise and goes to investigate…and finds himself in the path of stampeding horses….

“Stardust Miseries Part 4: With a Vengeance”
Writer: Michael Higgins. Pencils: Javier Saltares. Inks: Jose Marzan Jr. Colors: Tom Vincent.
Synopsis: Amora the Enchantress has Wonder Man bound to her by magic and wants him to be her champion in a scheme of revenge against the Avengers. She manipulates him into thinking Iron Man has been his enemy since AVENGERS #9 (his first appearance); Simon goes to the Stark offices and starts a ruckus which Shellhead comes to investigate. Knowing Wonder Man to be both mad and dangerous, Iron Man lures him outside and they fight in the sky and on the land. Simon rips out Shellhead’s chest armor and a guard arrives with an advanced energy weapon and blasts Simon out of the sky. The guard is Beast in disguise but when the two heroes try to help the unconscious Simon, he suddenly vanishes….

“All in the Family! Part 3: Long Live the King”
Writer: Bob Layton. Art: Bob Layton. Colors: Brad Vancata.
Synopsis: Hercules rushes the gravely wounded Emperor Arimathes to the hospital, the Emperor’s unusual physiology having enabled him to survive the bomb blast (last issue). An enraged Herc confronts the Emperor Mother who threatens to kill Skyppi if Herc approaches her. When he tells her Arimathes is critically injured and may die, she is devastated. Her takes her to her son and when she sees what her schemes have led to, she dissolves in tears. She is once again confined to her quarters, the doctors promise that Arimathes can be restored to normal (at least physically), and Skyppi arrives having no idea what has been going on….

“Forced Fed!”
Writer: Scott Lobdell. Pencils: Dave Cockrum. Inks: Bruce Patterson. Colors: John Wilcox.
Synopsis: Senator Kelly and his aides are prisoners in a Latin American country and facing a firing squad. The drug lord, a cadaverous fellow called Senor Muerte, orders his men to halt the execution and send the prisoners to his mansion. There, “Muerte” reveals that he is Mystique in disguise, sent to rescue him. Her Freedom Force partners Blob and Avalanche are nearby with Pyro and Spiral waiting in a jet. Muerte’s hit squad, called the Grip, arrives and the mutant anti-heroes defeat them in battle, Mystique has Avalanche bury the villain’s mansion full of his ill-gotten gains, and they depart with Kelly and the others, while Senor Muerte vows revenge.

John Buscema
John Buscema
Nel Yomtov
Steve Purcell (Cover Penciler)
Steve Purcell (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Arimathes, Avalanche, Blob (Fred Dukes), Freedom Force, Mystique (Raven Darkholme), Pyro, Recorder 417, Skyppi, Spiral (Rita Wayword).

> Marvel Comics Presents: Book info and issue index

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