September 22, 2019

Marvel Comics Presents #80 [1991]

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS was a long running twice-monthly anthology series which for most of its run featured four 8-page stories in each issue, with a mix of long-running serialized stories (as long as 25 chapters) and one-shot stories, and occasionally shorter serials like this one. Ditko was a frequent presence in the book from 1988 to 1991, mostly with single issue stories that he would usually plot and pencil, with other hands brought in to script and ink.

This Captain America story is a bit of an exception, being a two-part story, concluded in the next issue, and being scripted by Ditko. I think this might be the only time he did the final scripting on any work he did for Marvel. It's not quite an all-Ditko show as Terry Austin inks both parts of the story, the only time he inked Ditko. It's also the only solo Captain America story Ditko drew, though he did other team books with the character.

"Wargod" is the title of the first chapter, and features a new foe for Captain America by that name, an armoured villain who has just killed FBI agent Jake Bage (yeah, you can tell Ditko scripted this...) and is fighting Cap as the story opens. Eventually Cap follows up on some clues that Bage left about a secret army that Wargod is raising.

This story is surprisingly similar to a lot of the independent work that Ditko was doing in the era, with very little modification I could see it appearing in one of his own publications. There's a lot of exploration of patriotism, fanaticism and ethical business dealings mixed in with the action. Very unusual style for Marvel of the era, with a dense story and lots of dialogue and thought balloons. Austin's inks are pretty effective, a little slicker than is usual for Ditko, but not in an overpowering way like some other Marvel work of the era.

1 comment:

  1. I personally love it. I loved Speedball in real time, also.

    ReplyDelete

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