Friday, October 24, 2008

Marvel Comics Presents # 55: Collective Man

Writers: Michael Higgins, Len Kaminski, Len Wein, Scott Lobdell
Artists: Dave Ross, Jim Fry, Jim Fern, Greg Laroque
Colorists: Brad Vancata, Gregory Wright, Renee Witterstaetter
Publisher: Marvel
Published: 1990

Following my last post on MCP # 54, here we have Wolverine and Hulk battling it out, making peace, and then eating some bear meat. Jack Russell (Werewolf by Night) summons his dead dad, all the while unaware that his "grand children" and the Silver Dagger are stalking him. The fish story by Wein has Stingray fighting off a giant squid, which is very cool. Finally, the best story in this issue has, the Collective Man defying the Chinese Army.I'd never heard of the Collective Man, but from what I can manage in 8 pages, he is 5 men who can become 1. There are 5 brothers who can join and separate into one brother at will. As an example, in the issue, one of the brothers visits their dying mother, while the other four battle the God of Happiness (more on that later). The brothers then one by one "merge" on the brother visiting their mom, so that in the end they are all by her side. Pretty cool. As for the God of Happiness, he is this over sized blob like humanoid thing that works for the Chinese government, sent to "spread happiness," ie force people to accept their roles in society.

Clearly this last tale loosely hints on a few themes. The "Collective Man," sporting his Republic of China jacket, is a man who physically embodies the spirit of Chinese communism. The five brothers, each with their respective personalities, can merge and become a singular being of force, who stand for love and protection. The God of Happiness is a perversion of real happiness and represents the misguided application of communism. Then again, it is just a comic. The story ends with the God of Happiness floating away stating: "It became clear that it was this love, not politics, not platitudes, not even a bloated religious belief in me - that will save the people of China...the joke was on me"

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