Essential Ghost Rider Vol. 4

ghostrider4First Published: October 2010

Contents: Ghost Rider #66 (March 1982) to #81 (June 1983); Amazing Spider-Man #274 (March 1986); and New Defenders #145 (July 1985) and #146 (August 1985)

Key Creator Credits: J.M. Dematteis, Roger Stern, Michael Fleisher, Don Perlin, Bob Budiansky, Tom Sutton, Ron Frenz, and others

Key First Appearances: Asmodeus, Hamilton Slade/Phantom Rider, Red Fowler

Story Continues From: Essential Ghost Rider Vol. 3

Overview: Get your motor runnin’ as Ghost Rider races to the finish line of his first series. This Essential collection brings the 1970s series to an end, perhaps with some of the best issues of the entire run.

This is an interesting take on the character, as I think the book finally gets the right creative team and directions for the comic. Rather than treating the book as a reluctant hero, it becomes more of a horror title, focusing on a title character struggling to keep a demon in check. It’s too bad that the direction came so late because there was no way to avoid the dreaded cancellation ax by this point. I almost wish Dematteis & Budiansky had more issues to play with this concept.

Despite the cancellation of the title, we do get two epilogs of sorts to Johnny Blaze and to the demon Zarathos. Johnny Blaze gets to bid farewell to many of his former Champions teammates over in the pages of New Defenders, while Zarathos is used as a pawn by the Beyonder to test the limits of Peter Parker in Amazing Spider-Man.

What makes this Essential?: The good news is that this is the final Essential volume for this character. I’m running out of ways to be diplomatic with my comments. Nonetheless, I like the way that writer J.M. Dematteis and artist Bob Budiansky brought the whole series to a conclusion, picking up many of the plot threads and characters introduced years earlier. Given the way so many other titles abruptly ended in this era (I’m looking at you, Spider-Woman!), this was a nice way to say so long (for now) to Johnny Blaze. 

If you like this volume, try: the Ghost Rider by Jason Aaron omnibus from Marvel. Released in 2010, this collects writer Jason Aaron’s run with the Ghost Riders (Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch), with art by the likes of Tony Moore and Tan Eng Huat. My issues with Ghost Rider is not that I don’t like the character. The 80+ issues that I have read over the four Essential volumes are just not that great. Whether the stories do not hold up over the years or that the stories are just really bad can be debated. There have been some writers on this run who I really like, but I don’t know that their Ghost Rider work is the best example of their abilities.

So, with all of that said, I truly believe that Jason Aaron is one of the best writers at Marvel today. His volume of work stands out across multiple titles and genres. I think you could find the most obscure Marvel character, and Aaron could find a take on the character that will blow everyone away. Please check out his current work (Mighty Thor, Doctor Strange) and track down the Ghost Rider omnibus.

Essential Ghost Rider Vol. 3

ghostrider3First Published: November 2009

Contents: Ghost Rider #51 (December 1980) to #65 (February 1982); Marvel Two-In-One #80 (October 1981); Ghost Rider story from Marvel Super-Heroes #11 (October 1992); and Avengers #214 (December 1981)

Key Creator Credits: Michael Fleisher, Don Perlin, Jack Sparling, Herb Trimpe, Alan Kupperberg, Luke McDonnell, and others

Key First Appearances: Asmodeus, Hamilton Slade/Phantom Rider, Red Fowler

Story Continues In: Essential Ghost Rider Vol. 2

Story Continues From: Essential Ghost Rider Vol. 4

Overview: Ghost Rider is back in action with another Essential volume reprinting his original series from the early 1980s. Stunt rider Johnny Blaze travels the American West, going from one gig to the next, doing his best to stay out of trouble as well as keeping the demon Zarathos from taking control of his soul.

Without a lot of supporting characters from issue to issue, many of these stories are one-and-done as Ghost Rider finds himself in a different location each issue. It’s not to say that Johnny doesn’t run into some familiar faces along the way. We get crossovers with the Thing, the Avengers, the Arabian Knight, Werewolf by Night, and others.

What makes this Essential?: I’m sure there is something I am missing here, but I just don’t get Ghost Rider. I understand the origins of the character. I can see how some people would be attracted to this character. But from what I have read so far in these Essential volumes, I find it disappointing. The stories and the art seem very average. I have read more contemporary Ghost Rider stories and found them much more interesting. My only thought is that these Ghost Rider issues filled a niche in the market and the followers were extremely loyal and vocal to keep Ghost Rider around. 

Footnotes: Marvel Two-In-One #80 is also reprinted in Essential Marvel Two-in-One Vol. 4.

If you like this volume, try: the original Marvel mini-series, Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions. This was originally planned on an oversized special to coincide with the 1980 Summer Olympics. But when the United States pulled out of the games, Marvel shelved the project and resurrected it two years later as a three issue mini-series. In Contest of Champions, the Grandmaster engages in a game against the entity representing Death. He wants to get his brother, the Collector, resurrected, and wages his own life if he should lose. The two participants choose teams of heroes from around the globe and make them square off against each other. While Ghost Rider is not featured in this series, the Arabian Knight and the Thing are both participants in the game. This series has been reprinted multiple times, making it easy to track down in some format.

Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1

moonknight1First Published: February 2006

Contents: Werewolf by Night #32 (August 1975) and #33 (September 1975); Marvel Spotlight #28 (June 1976) and #29 (August 1976); Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #22 (September 1978) and #23 (October 1978); Marvel Two-In-One #52 (June 1979); Moon Knight stories from The Hulk! #11 (October 1978) to #15 (June 1979), #17 (October 1979), #18 (December 1979), and #20 (April 1980); Marvel Preview #21 (May 1980); and Moon Knight #1 (November 1980) to #10 (August 1981)

Key Creator Credits: Doug Moench, Don Perlin, Bill Sienkiewicz, and others

Key First Appearances: Marc Spector/Steven Grant/Jake Lockley/Moon Knight, Frenchie, Marlene Alraune, Gena Landers, Bertrand Crawley, Samuels, Hatchet-Man/Shadowknight, Crossfire, Bushman, Khonshu, Ray Landers, Ricky Landers

Story Continues In: Essential Moon Knight Vol. 2

Overview: Introduced as the latest villain-of-the-month, mercenary Marc Spector has been hired to bring in Jack Russell, a.k.a. the Werewolf By Night. Given an armor covered in silver (the one element that’s deadly to werewolves) and armed with throwing crescents and other weapons, the Moon Knight works to bring in his prey to the Committee. From this humble beginnings, a new modern Marvel hero was born.

Following his initial appearance, Moon Knight made some scattered appearances in other titles before finally earning a regular backup feature in The Hulk magazine. With the ongoing story, writer Doug Moench was able to start fleshing out the character’s origin, tying it in with the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, as well as creating a supporting cast around Moon Knight.

As we learn more about Marc Spector, we find out that he has multiple personalities. Initially, the various identities seem to just be costumes that Moon Knight uses to solve his missions. As the stories develop more, we see that these various personalities (mercenary Marc Spector, millionaire Steven Grant, cab driver Jake Lockley) all seem to struggle for control of the body along with Moon Knight.

In response to his ever-growing popularity, Moon Knight finally graduates to his own ongoing title in 1980. The longer format allows for more detailed stories, as we get the all-new revised origin for Moon Knight. These issues also showcase the development of artist Bill Sienkiewicz’s art, as he progresses to the look that he would most be known for in the future.

What makes this Essential?: For years, I have resisted diving into the Moon Knight universe. My only interaction with the character was his brief stint with the West Coast Avengers. Add in that much of the series was as a direct market title, which made it unavailable on the spinner racks at convenience stores.

So reading this collection was truly a proper introduction to the character. I was fascinated to see the character, first introduced as a foe for the Jack Russell werewolf, go through a transformation to become a hero. Rather than just being a hired hand wearing a fancy suit, we find out in the main series that Marc Spector was “destined” to become Moon Knight by the Khonshu.

I’m going to keep moving forward with the Moon Knight volumes to see where this story goes and to marvel over the Sienkiewicz artwork.

Footnotes: Werewolf By Night #32 and #33 were also reprinted in Essential Werewolf By Night Vol. 2.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #22 and #23 were also reprinted in Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 1.

Marvel Two-in-One #52 was also reprinted in Essential Marvel Two-In-One Vol. 2.

The Hulk & Moon Knight stories from Hulk! #15 are also reprinted in Essential Rampaging Hulk Vol. 1.

If you like this volume, try: the current ongoing Moon Knight series from Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood. The two creators really “get” the Moon Knight concept, and the output is pure comic goodness. Lemire’s initial story arc plays with the multiple identities of the man wearing the Moon Knight costume, placing Marc Spector in an insane ward. But the patients around him is his familiar group of friends in Frenchie, Marlene, Bertrand and Gena. Greg’s art has gone up a level or two with this book. He is presenting creative layouts, where the design of the panels contributes to the story. His art feels like an extension of the legendary work that Bill Sienkiewicz crafted on the original run of the Moon Knight title. The first story arc just completed, and a trade paperback of it will be released in December.

Essential Werewolf By Night Vol. 2

First Published: October 2007

Contents: Werewolf by Night #22 (October 1974) to #43 (March 1977); Giant-Size Werewolf #2 (October 1974) to #5 (July 1975); and Marvel Premiere #28 (February 1976)

Key Creator Credits: Doug Moench, Don Perlin, and others

Key First Appearances: Marc Spector/Moon Knight, Frenchie

Story Continues From: Essential Werewolf By Night Vol. 1

Overview: Every 28 days, give or take, the full moon rises and lights up the night sky. Some people love those three nights that the full moon is visible. For other people, like Jack Russell, those nights of the full moon are the worst days of your month. See, Jack is a lycanthrope, which means that his body transforms into a werewolf with the start of the full moon. This is Essential Werewolf By Night Vol. 2.

Not much has changed since we read the last volume. Jack struggles with the transformations. His friends help him out, sometimes at great risk to their own lives. But a new threat emerges as Jack’s sister Lyssa approaches her 18th birthday. Will she be affected by the family curse? The short answer is yes. Unfortunately, during her first transformation, she is also imbued with a dark evil energy, making her a more ferocious threat. Thankfully, the group finds a cure for her condition, but Jack is still bound to the werewolf.

The highlight of this collection comes in Werewolf By Night #32 and #33, as a new villain is introduced to stop the Werewolf – the Moon Knight. It’s interesting to see mercenary Marc Spector contracted to bring in the Werewolf for a mysterious group known as the Committee, and they provide him a special suit with silver weapons to stop him. At the time, he seemed to almost be a throw-away character, as were most of the characters created in this run. But something took hold with this character, as we will see soon in a future Essential review.

What makes this Essential?: I want to like this more, but these issues just do not hold up. The two biggest items in this volume are the introduction of Moon Knight and the ability to will his transformations regardless of the moon phase. With Moon Knight, you get the full context of those issues by reading it here, but you could also just get Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1 if you want to see Marc Spector’s first appearance. The ability to revert to the werewolf at will should actually help the story-telling process, but by that point, the book had moved to bi-monthly status, and the popularity of the character appears to have been declining. For the completist, by all means, pick up this volume. I think the bookshelf would look great with two Werewolf By Night volumes, along with the four Tomb of Dracula, the Frankenstein, the Zombie, and the two Marvel Horror Essentials. I’m glad that Marvel reprinted this era of their books, but that still doesn’t make them essential.

Footnotes: Werewolf By Night #32 and #33 were also reprinted in Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1.

Giant-Size Werewolf #2 was also reprinted in Essential Monster of Frankenstein Vol. 1.

If you like this volume, try: the Legion of Monsters mini-series from Marvel in 2011. Getting a group of monsters together is not a new concept. Universal did it repeatedly with their monster films of the 1940s and 1950s. DC had their take with the Creature Commandos. We saw Marvel’s take in this collection with the Legion of Monsters story from Marvel Premiere #28. That concept was recently revisited in a story written by Dennis Hopeless. The monster hunter, Elsa Bloodstone, is on the trail of a killer… a trail which leads right to the hidden home of the monsters. But the monsters refuse to go down without a fight. Morbius, Werewolf, the Living Mummy and Manphibian defend themselves against Bloodstone in a fun romp that harkens back to so many of the monster mythos, both within Marvel Comics and in the pop culture lore.

Essential Defenders Vol. 6

defenders6Contents: The Defenders #107 (May 1982) to #125 (November 1983); Avengers Annual #11 (1982); and Marvel Team-Up #119 (July 1982)

Key Creator Credits: J.M. Dematteis, Don Perlin, Mark Gruenwald, and others

Key First Appearances: Mistress Love, Arcanna, Nuke, Power Princess, Sassafras, Cloud, Mad-Dog

Story Continues From: Essential Defenders Vol. 5

Story Continues In: Essential Defenders Vol. 7

Overview: Welcome back to yet another volume of Essential Defenders. For a book with no official line-up, headquarters, and/or uniforms, it still amazes me that this title ran for 152 issues. It was a title that for 15 years could do almost any type of story, as everything was fair game with magicians, mutants, Asgardians, and more hanging out each and every month.

This volume kicks off with the death of Valkyrie, or so it seems. See back in Defenders #66 to #68, Valkyrie’s spirit was put into the body of Barbara Norris, and Norris’ spirit was placed into Valkyrie’s body, who was left in the Asgardian realm of Niffleheim. While Norris’ body is killed, the Defenders are able to save Valkyrie’s spirit, and reunite it with her body. So, long live Valkyrie, and so long Barbara Norris.

Next up is Avengers Annual #11, which won’t be found in the Essential Avengers run. Long-time Defenders adversary Nebulon finds himself sentenced to Earth. He encounters Thor, who brings Nebulon to the Avengers to aid the alien in returning to his home. At this same time, another member of Nebulon’s race, Nalia, arrives and seeks out the Defenders. She claims that Nebulon has plans to take over the Earth, and asks the Defenders to stop him. In typical comic book fashion, the two teams square off in the Himalayas, only to eventually realize that both teams were being manipulated by the aliens.

The Squadron Supreme, Marvel’s version of the Justice League, shows up for a multi-issue story, and the rest of the team is finally introduced in this story, with Arcanna (Zatanna), Nuke (Firestorm), and Power Princess (Wonder Woman). It’s a battle royale between the Defenders, the Squadron Supreme, and the Overmind

As this volume winds down, we see the transition start with the line-up that leads to the creation of the New Defenders. The Beast becomes more of the de facto leader of the non-team. Two of the Beast’s former teammates, Iceman and the Angel, show up and stick around. Valkyrie brings along a guest in Moondragon, who is under the warrior’s supervision following her latest power grab move with the Avengers. And of course, there is the Gargoyle, who really has no place else to go, so of course, he will stick around. Patsy Walker and Daimon Hellstorm finally take their leave of the team following their wedding. And the four heroes most closely associated with the concept of the Defenders – Doctor Strange, Hulk, Sub-Mariner, and Silver Surfer – turn over the reigns to the new team, knowing that there is a new set of Defenders to help protect the world.

What makes this Essential?: There are parts of this book that are good to read, such as the Avengers Annual, the Squadron Supreme crossover, and the formation of the “New Defenders”. However, I don’t know that the sum of these parts justifies the full Essential volume. These are decent stories, but so much of this run just feels like a monthly placeholder, just to ensure that the book met its monthly deadline.

If you like this volume, try: The Vision and Scarlet Witch mini-series from 1982. Following yet another roster shuffle in Avengers #211, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch opted to become reserve members and move out to a home in New Jersey. Despite some occasional appearances in The Defenders and the team-up books, the Vision and Scarlet Witch were out of the spotlight for awhile before earning their first mini-series, created by Bill Mantlo and Rick Leonardi. These two characters have such a complex family history, which all comes into play in this series. The Vision is visited by the Grim Reaper, who is the step-brother to Wonder Man, who shares his brain patterns with the aforementioned Vision. We get a visit by the Golden-Age hero, the Whizzer, who was once thought to be the father to the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, but that was finally proven not to be true in this series. But the significant news that came out of this mini-series was the true heritage of Wanda and Pietro – as the children of Magneto. (It had long been assumed, finally confirmed, and recently overturned in order to support the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) This series was reprinted in a 2005 trade paperback, but I believe the actual issues can still be tracked down in the back issue bins.

Essential Defenders Vol. 5

defenders5First Published: August 2010

Contents: The Defenders #92 (February 1981) to #106 (April 1982); Marvel Team-Up #101 (January 1981), #111 (November 1981), and #116 (April 1982); and Captain America # 268 (April 1982)

Key Creator Credits: J.M. Dematteis, Don Perlin, Joe Sinnott, Herb Trimpe, Mike Zeck, and others

Key First Appearances: Isaac Christians/Gargoyle, Luann Bloom

Story Continues From: Essential Defenders Vol. 4

Story Continues In: Essential Defenders Vol. 6

Overview: Welcome back to the Defenders, everyone’s favorite non-team in the Marvel Universe. No matching uniforms like the FF or New Mutants. No ID cards like the Avengers or Alpha Flight. No charter or official group headquarters for these heroes. Just a willingness to help out when called, or if you happen to have nothing else to do on a Tuesday night.

This is an interesting collection of stories, as writer J.M DeMatteis uses the opportunity to have his stories here cross over into other books that he was writing at the time, such as Marvel Team-Up and Captain America. We also get the introduction of two new characters to the Defenders unofficial line-up. The first is a brand new character in Gargoyle, who was once Isaac Christians, a man in his late 80s. In an effort to save his declining Virginia town, Christians makes a deal with Avarrish to serve him. His first assignment is to slay Hellcat. Gargoyle eventually turns on Avarrish and sides with the Defenders in their battle against the Six-Fingered Hand. Unfortunately, Christians finds he is trapped permanently inside the body of the Gargoyle. With no place else to go, the Gargoyle joins the Defenders.

Another familiar face makes his first appearance with this would-be team. Hank McCoy, a.k.a. the Beast finds himself working alongside our heroes. As a founding member of the X-Men and a one-time card-carrying member of the Avengers, the Beast is very much into the team dynamics, something this group of heroes is sorely lacking. But that story takes a little longer to develop, so stick around for Essential Defenders Vol. 6.

Not that this book has any one star above the others, but it seems like for this set of issues the focus falls on Nighthawk. As the Batman-analog on this team, Nighthawk always seems to be right in the middle of things, whether it is in his costumed identity or his wealthy playboy life as Kyle Richmond. Following that battle with the Six-Fingered Hand, Nighthawk finds himself confined to a wheelchair during the day but is at full strength at night. He quits the team for awhile but returns again in time for the title’s 100th issue, which brought back every former member in a battle against Satan. Soon after, Nighthawk finds himself at odds with his ex-girlfriend, Mindy Williams, who is a telepath leading an attack against the Soviet Union. With the help of the Defenders and Captain America, Nighthawk is able to stop the telepaths, but the cost appears to be Kyle sacrificing his life. (Do not fear — he gets better! Keep reading!)

What makes this Essential?: I really want to rate this higher. I think this title became more interesting in this era, as it featured less of the four core “non-members” (Doctor Strange, Hulk, Namor, and/or Silver Surfer) and more of the extended members (Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Hellcat, Gargoyle, and Beast). However, despite the change of focus, I didn’t find much about this collection that remained memorable. I read this a few years ago, but I honestly have no recollection of many of these stories. If that’s the case, I can’t honestly believe that this is essential. For the Defenders completist, I can justify having this in your collection – provided you didn’t already have the issues. But I just can’t give this a “go-out-and-buy” this book recommendation.

If you like this volume, try: the Nighthawk mini-series from 1998. While it appears that Nighthawk perished in the explosion at the end of Defenders #106. Turns out he actually did survive, but he’s been in a hospital in a coma for many months. Nighthawk’s soul makes a deal to perform various tasks in order to fully return to the living. Unfortunately, the tasks come with ulterior motives, and Nighthawk must overcome his saviors in order to return to normal, thanks in part to the timely assist by Daredevil. This is just a three issue mini-series, written by Jim Krueger with art by Richard Case. It has never been reprinted, so you will need to dive into the back issue bins to track this one down.

Essential Dazzler Vol. 2

Essential Dazzler Vol. 2

First Published: May 2009

Contents: Dazzler #22 (December 1982) to #42 (March 1986); Marvel Graphic Novel #12 (1984); Beauty and the Beast #1 (December 1984) to #4 (June 1985); and Secret Wars II #4 (October 1985)

Key Creator Credits: Frank Springer, Danny Fingeroth, Jim Shooter, Mike Carlin, Ann Nocenti, Don Perlin, Archie Goodwin, Paul Chadwick, Bill Sienkiewicz, and others

Story Continues From: Essential Dazzler Vol. 1

Story Continues In: Essential X-Men Vol. 6

Overview: The Dazzler is back in action! (And a quick Google search confirms that those six words have never been used in that order before!) While still trying to make it as a singer, Dazzler finds herself constantly caught up in situations that require her to use her mutant powers. Whether battling the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants (Rogue, Mystique, and Destiny), fighting in an underground mutant gladiator arena in Los Angeles, or trashing the San Diego Comic Con, trouble just seems to find our title character.

This title suffers from a rotating creator team, as writers and artists shuffle in and out for a few issues at a time. That makes it a challenge for the next team to come in and pick up the story where it left off. So after a moderately successful run as a New York City singer, we find Allison moving to California, where the singing takes a back seat to gigs as a model and as an actress. She dates a variety of characters, like Roman Nekobah (a Frank Sinatra wannabe), for several issues, before the next writer introduces their own character.

While I wouldn’t call these standout moments, there are some familiar stories in here that may trigger some fuzzy memories:

  • First, Dazzler was one of the titles that participated in Assistant Editor’s Month. Dazzler took a side-trip to San Diego with Marvel editor Ralph Macchio and fought a mutant lizard. Yes, that happened.
  • Dazzler was the feature star of a Marvel Graphic Novel. Dazzler: The Movie was to be Allison’s big break in the acting business. Instead, it just outed her to the world as a mutant.
  • Dazzler teamed up with the Beast (who was leading the New Defenders at the time) for Beauty and the Beast, a four issue mini-series. Dazzler was recruited (and drugged) to participate in a mutant fight club, and it was up to Hank McCoy to help get her out.

Issue #38 gave us a new direction for our heroine. Sporting a new uniform, courtesy of the X-Men (and their cameo appearances), and featuring a new creative team of Archie Goodwin and Paul Chadwick, Dazzler finds herself being chased (pun intended) down by the bounty hunter, O.Z. Chase. Dazzler does her best to be cooperative with Chase to clear out what she believes is a misunderstanding, only to find out it’s a group wanting to use her powers to energize their aging bodies. As if that was not crazy enough, there is a side story where Allison finds herself the center of the Beyonder’s romantic interest. Right or wrong (but I’m leaning towards right), Dazzler was finally canceled with issue #42.

What makes this Essential?: What a change! I was very skeptical heading into Vol. 1. Let’s be honest, “Essential Dazzler” is one of the best oxymorons of all time. I’m not saying Vol. 1 is a great collection, but it turned out to be not as bad as I expected. (I think that’s a compliment.) So heading into Vol. 2, I had slightly higher expectations than before. And then I started reading. Oh my gosh, this was just…. not good. The stories were just all over the place. Lots of one-and-done stories, new supporting characters introduced every few issues; the most absurd romances for Allison; and way-too-many villains that were never used again. (Seriously, if the Scourge of the Underworld doesn’t bother to kill you, you know you are a lame villain.) Unless you are a completest like myself, I think you would be OK skipping this volume.

Life After Death: Dazzler’s title came to an end with issue #42 (March 1986). But she was not off the stage for very long. Later that summer, she joined up (finally!) with the X-Men, as the Mutant Massacre story came to an end. The X-Men found themselves short-handed, with injuries to Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, and Colossus. So the team extends invites to Dazzler, Longshot, and Psylocke during this period. Dazzler would be a key member of the team for the remainder of the decade, before heading into the character limbo for most of the 1990s.

Footnotes: Beauty and the Beast #1-4 is also reprinted in Essential Defenders Vol. 7.

If you like this volume, try: Elektra: Assassin by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz from 1986-87. OK, I’ve laid out that this is not a collection of good stories. I don’t need to bang this drum anymore. But if there was one glimmer of light in this book, it would be the cover work by Bill Sienkiewicz. (And for those of you struggling with his name, it’s pronounced “sin-KEV-itch”.) Sienkiewicz rose in popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s with work on Moon Knight and New Mutants. In the mid-1980s, the artist collaborated with artist-turned-writer Miller to create a direct-market mini-series released under Marvel’s Epic line. At this time, both men were at their creative peaks, and the collaboration produced an elegant and powerful story in the vein of the “Manchurian Candidate”,which takes place…. sometime. It’s been a debate whether this takes place chronologically before her first appearance in the pages of Daredevil, or sometime after her encounter with Bullseye. Regardless when it takes place, this is a must own series for any fan of Miller, Sienkiewicz, and/or Elektra. Sienkiewicz’s career has been filled with outstanding projects, but this title always ranks at the top of his comic book accomplishments.