Friday, March 10, 2006

Marvel Comics Presents #19 When: May 1989
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie Artist: Ernie Colón

The story so far...
Introducing Damage Control, the superhero insurance company of the Marvel universe!

Like the previously featured Daredevil vs Scope; this Marvel Comics Presents feature is an eight-page stand alone short story. This time around, the story serves as a preview for the first of the Damage Control mini-series, marking the first appearance of the characters.

John Porter, rival to Damage Control, arrives at Josie's bar hoping to sell superhero insurance to the Daredevil hotspot. Meanwhile, outside, Daredevil seeks information from the ever present, Turk.

Tale of the tape...
I really enjoyed the apparent obscurity of featuring Marvel's long forgotten anthology title earlier in the year, so I thought I'd havbe another shot.
Of course, in hindsight, these shorts are a lot tougher to elaborate on, and I'm not sure how interesting even the full issues have been.

Never the less, this is a really interesting story!
Even with my lack of familiarity with Daredevil's nemesis is troubling. Hopefully you'll still respect me in the morning when you learn that, despite reading comics for almost twenty years, Frank Miller's work on Daredevil is one of the larger gaps.
As I understand it, Turk was a recurring character during Miller's run, probably best known for this period.

As far as I know, and from what little information is available, he's pretty much a street thug. As far as Daredevil goes, this isn't exaclty arch-nemesis material. In fact, in the context of this story, (and perhaps others), Turk is pretty much played for laughs.

Energy powers: 3 (Explosives)

Weapons seem to be Turk's primary attack point, assuming he's alone. Not really as inspiring as villains who can crush bricks on their head, or layer you in flames, or pierce your pupil with a sewing needle.

What went down...
Casually resting against a lamppost, Daredevil clearly doesn't take Turk seriously as he hurls himself in his general direction with a leather clubbing weapon.
Daredevil swiftly avoids the attack, and leaves Turk to crash through the window of Josie's Joint as Damage Control insurance man, John Porter, peddles his wares.

Daredevil continues his interrogation, coyly tugging Turk toward him with a finger grip to his t-shirt, and then grabs him in a headlock.

Turk continues to resist, looking to use the ol' bar room chair trick, but Daredevil effortlessly faps it away, before tossing the thug across the bar into a wall.

John Porter casually enjoys his drink, while Daredevil further presses for a name to, one would assume, a pressing case.
Turk refuses to give up the information, and boasts that this time around he was ready for the crimson champion, brandishing a grenade.

"Thish ish for you, Daredevil!"

Turk pulls the pin with his teeth, but Daredevil gracefully knocks the explosive right back to sender with his billy club.

"You look busy. We'll chat later."

Porter walks Josie out of her joint, assuring her of improved cash flow by refinancing her mortgage with his group, as Turk warns of live grenade.

Daredevil manages to get to Porter and Josie before the explosion goes off, diving on them like any self-sacrificing hero would. What a guy!

As Josie absorbs the enormity of her life crumbled before her, Damage Control representitive Mrs. Hoag shows up to offer reassurance.
Daredevil gets his man, Josie gets a new bar (dropped in by crane), and John Porter joins the Damage Control team.

As for Turk? He lives to be harrassed another day!

The hammer...
So, there you have it. Apologies to any regular visitors, this was a late post. Other commitments led to this brief entry being a little behind schedule, but I don't expect that to be a regular thing.
For formaly's sake, I'm sure we all can tell, Daredevil got the win.

As mentioned ad nauseum, this was a choice of particular interest, not only as the first appearance of Damage Control, but also just as a neat little story.
Working on my own short stories for self-publication, I've come to chat with collaborators about the similarly formatted Marvel Comics Presents, which came to and end in 1995. The title really did have a way of producing some incredibly interesting, and under exposed stories.

With the Damage Control short, McDuffie does an interesting job of introducing the McGiffen/DeMatteisesque comedy of a less than efficient group operating in a superhero world. At the same time, it's layered behind the Daredevil fight that provides keen comedic beats, while also playing conveniently to the psyche of the time. No doubt Frank Miller and Daredevil were still quite in the minds of readers in early 1989.

This also highlights the interesting point of exposing both up and coming talents, with characters maybe a little more obscure than are usually provided. I would say today at Marvel the rough equivalent of MCP would be the Unlimited books sporting the X-Men and Spider-man brands respectively.

Though fantastic opportunities and comics, they perhaps lack the variety of some of the characters and themes MCP promoted.
Number ninetten, the issue featured here, the title characters of each story are; Cyclops/Mastermold, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and Daredevil/Damage Control.

Of course, it is quite an honor and vocationally beneficial to be able to say you've worked on Spider-man or Wolverine, so, there's certainly a good counter balance to the argument for a book like MCP versus Unlimited. It's just more food for thought!

The Fight: 3 The Issue: 4

NEXT: Namor versus Aquaman. Marvel versus DC!
NEXT WEEK: The Invincible Ironman versus the Diabolical Diablo!

No comments: