November 18, 2015

Marvel Comics Presents #14 [1989]

Out of 26 stories featuring The Masked Marvel with the Speedball effect by Ditko that Marvel published from 1988 to 1991, this 8-page story "The Feathered Felon" from MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #14 [1989], midway through the 10-issue series run of SPEEDBALL, was the only one that Ditko inked himself, in addition to his usual plotting and penciling work (Jo Duffy provides the script). Comparing it to the other stories, that's a shame, since it's probably my favourite of the Masked Marvel stories. Most of the other inking on the character was acceptable, some of it was really not suited to Ditko's style, none of it was quite Ditko.

This is also a pretty fun story. The felon of the title is a mysterious bird creature which swoops down at random and steals various objects, including the briefcase of Robbie Baldwin's father, which has some documents essential for a case he's prosecuting. Robbie tries to use his powers to follow the felon, but a combination of his general lack of control and the sheer randomness of the felon make it difficult. There's a nice combination of super-heroics and Robbie's civilian life in this story, and a good look at a few of the major themes that pop up in many of the stories.

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