Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Comics Crossover Classics: "For Love Nor Money"

Not every comic book cross-over has to be a multiverse-shaking mega-event that lasts a year and winds its way through every single comic book the company puts out, plus multiple mini-series and one-shots. When big tie-ins get you down, you need . . . Comics Crossover Classics.

For Love Nor Money

Year: 1993

Issues (in order): Terror Inc. # 11, Cage # 15, Silver Sable # 13, Terror Inc. # 12, Cage # 16, Silver Sable # 14

Reprinted: No

Crucial Backstory: Cage (steel-hard skin), Terror (detachable & upgradeable body parts), and Silver Sable (super-spy) are all adventurers who take on freelance mercenary work.

The Gist: An evil guy named Priapus secretly hires Cage, Terror, and Silver Sable to find the three pieces of the magickal item named "Vatsayana's Tryst." When assembled, the Tryst leads to an ancient, mind-altering artifact called the Carnal Serpent, which is allegedly responsible for Adam & Eve being lured out of the Garden of Eden and the whole Sodom & Gommorah (sp?) debacle. Priapus becomes incredibly powerful when he absorbs the Carnal Serpent, but Cage, Terror, and Silver Sable put aside their differences just long enough to defeat him and then go their separate ways.

Back-up Features: None that are cross-over related.

Part 1: Terror Inc. # 11 Terror is hired by a monk named Brother Randi to find the Carnal Serpent, and accepts as payment a promise that the monk will pray for his soul. Sucker! Brother Randi is secretly working for the evil Priapus, and is murdered once Terror is out of sight. Terror realizes he first needs to assemble the three pieces of Vatsayana's Tryst in order to find the Carnal Serpent. He finds one piece in the Arctic Circle, and then learns that Silver Sable and Cage have the other two. Terror tracks down Cage on a train and distracts him just long enough to steal a second piece, and then escapes in order to find Silver Sable aboard a cruise ship. There's definitely a lot of globe-trotting and action in this issue, though the plot is a bit difficult to follow at first. You're welcome.

Part 2: Cage # 15 Via flashback, we learn that Cage took this job from the Spectator in order to get some time away from his newly-rescued father. Cage follows Terror's trail and confronts the body-manipulating thief aboard Silver Sable's ship, as a storm rages outside. A three-way Battle Royale results, but once the pieces of the Tryst are assembled, Cage ends up with it.

Part 3: Silver Sable # 13 Cage and Silver Sable agree to work together, but Terror's not having it. After an exciting game of speedboat chicken, Terror ends up half-drowned in the ocean, and Cage and Sable are captured by Priapus and dropped in a shark tank full of . . . well, you know, sharks!

Part 4: Terror Inc. # 12 Priapus sets off, hoping the assembled Tryst will lead him to the Carnal Serpent. Meanwhile, Terror rescues Cage and Silver Sable, and the three decide to team up. Shocker! They set a trap for Priapus at a Spanish bordello, but Priapus uses the Tryst to turn the mercenaries' erotic/romantic fantasies against them.

Part 5: Cage # 16 Cage is trapped in a dream about his lost love, Reva, Silver Sable fantasizes about, of all people, Sandman, while Terror is confronted by three-different visions from the three-different people-parts currently composing his body. Terror breaks free first and helps the others to escape, and they track Priapus to the Lair of the Carnal Serpent in the Venezuelan jungle. Inside the lair, the Carnal Serpent is literally a massive serpent. The three mercenaries manage to destroy it, but Priapus absorbs its power and buffs out all bad-ass like and uses his new-found power to take control of the mercenaries' minds.

Part 6: Silver Sable # 14 The entrances mercenaries attack an Italian monastery so Priapus can feed off their erotic energies (why he travelled from Venezuela to Italy, I have no idea). However, Terror breaks free, once again helps the other two break free, but now they're up against a horde of Priapus-entranced monks. After a long fight, the mercenaries confront Priapus and tear the Tryst from his chest. A mystical snake appears and devours Priapus. The three mercenaries bicker a bit and then (presumably) go their separate ways . . .

The Bottom Line: Is This Worth Tracking Down? I can't say the crossover had any lasting effects--according to the Marvel Chronology Project, Priapus never appears again, and there's not a lot in the way of character development for the three mercenaries. Story-wise, it's about average--a lot of globe-hopping, a mystic artifact never heard of before or seen again, fighting amongst the "heroes" until they team up. The artwork also seems a bit rushed in some places. On the other hand, there's nothing really wrong with the books and fans of the characters will probably like the crossover, which includes some fun set-piece action scenes. The issues will definitely be cheap, though the hard part will be wading through the bargain boxes to find them.

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