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Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) # 37

Issue Date: Late December 1989

Story Title: Having a Wild Weekend, part 7: Dragon in Distress (First Story)

Staff: First story: Michael Higgins (writer), Erik Larsen (penciler), Terry Austin (inker), Tim Harkins (letterer), Tom Vincent & Greg Wright (colorists), Dave Cockrum (cover artist), Kelly Corvese (assistant editor), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description:
First Story: Widget and Lockheed find themselves detectives, and receive a photograph of a dastardly fellow kidnapping a rather large dragon. The villain is just out the window, and after getting Lockheed and Widget’s attention, he takes his leave, but not without Lockheed and Widget following. Two agents, “68” and “99.9” also begin to follow the villain, however he manages to lose all four of his pursuers, and proceeds to tie the dragon up to a train track - with an oncoming train not far away. Lockheed, Widget and the agents catch up to the villain, but the agents are too far away to help the dragon, leaving Widget and Lockheed to go to the rescue. However with the villain taken out and the dragon rescued, the agents proceed to arrest Lockheed and Widget for operating without detective licenses, until a strange cowboy comes along and chases the agents away. Meanwhile, Captain Britain is still going along the yellow brick road, however as he comes across a white rabbit that is very late, he gets even more confused. Things take a turn for the better when Shadowcat finds a way to merge the programs that Captain Britain, Widget and Lockheed are stuck in, and upon finding the Loonies asleep in a field of poppy’s, they know her plan worked. Reunited with Lockheed and Widget, Excalibur frees Brian from the device he was trapped in, and Brian vows revenge.

Full Synopsis:
First Story:
?!?! Excalibur’s “pets” Lockheed the Dragon and Widget the…head, appear in a strange office, “dressed” even stranger - Widget has a moustache and bowl-hat on, while Lockheed is sporting a chequered cap. They look at each other puzzled, then fly up to a mirror, seeing how strange they look for themselves. Lockheed squawks, before a mysterious envelope is slid under the door. Lockheed opens the door, but there is no one on the other side. Widget and Lockheed look at each other, confused still, when Lockheed burns the envelope open, revealing a photo of a large dragon held prisoner by a nasty looking guy.

Lockheed and Widget look at each other in shock, Lockheed drops the photograph, before Widget motions out the window, where the long-nosed criminal is driving a car with a large bundle on the back, all tied up. ‘Nyah-ha-ha’ laughs the nasty looking criminal. Also waiting outside the office are two-well dressed people. The young woman remarks that all this waiting is getting to her, and addresses the man as “68”. The man addresses the woman as “99.9” and tells her she won’t have to wait any longer, motioning to Lockheed and Widget who have flown from the office.

Meanwhile, Excalibur’s handsome and still-missing leader, Brian Braddock, otherwise known as Captain Britain, continues down the yellow brick road he has been following for some time now. Brian tells himself that he is still lost in the neighborhood of make-believe, but as he sees a white rabbit hopping along ahead of him, he mutters that it looks like he has got his storybook tales mixed up. Brian grabs the rabbit and asks him what he is doing here. ‘They couldn’t get Mel Brooks or Buck Henry?’ offers the rabbit as an explanation.

Elsewhere, the free members of Excalibur - Meggan, Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde, Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner and Rachel “Phoenix” Summers are preparing to free Brian, Lockheed and Widget. Computer-whiz Kitty remarks that in a few minutes she should have it sorted. Surrounded by the metal remains of their enemies, Kitty explains that she has figured out the problem with Captain Britain - that his set-up is entirely different than theirs was. Concerned about her missing lover, Meggan asks Kitty if she thinks it will work. An assured Kitty replies that she isn’t working in the dark anymore, before Kurt exclaims that he knew she could do it. Kitty thanks Nightcrawler for the vote of confidence, before Rachel asks what there is left to do. Kitty replies that they will see what happens when she presses this button….

Back on the yellow brick road, the White Rabbit exclaims that he has no time for psychoanalysis as he really must be going, because he is terribly late for an important date. Brian calls to the Rabbit, asking him to come back, when he remarks that he is felling groggy, and falls to the ground.

Kitty announces that her plan seems to be working, and explains that all she has to do now is merge Lockheed and Widget’s program and they should be set, meaning they can cut to the chase.

Speeding behind the nasty evildoer with the captured dragon, and Lockheed and Widget flying alongside. “68” tells “99.9” that this is another fine mess which they have gotten themselves into, ‘Why should this time be any different?’ replies “99.9”. As they round a corner, they lose track of the villain, wondering which way to go, “99.9” tells “68” not to mind that, and motions to the air, suggesting they follow Lockheed and Widget.

But as Lockheed flies into Widget’s portal, with the agents entering moments later, they wonder if it was such a good idea. On the other side of the portal, the agents’ car comes to a screeching halt as a train roars along in front of them. ‘Runaway train!’ exclaim the agents, before turning and following, along with Sherlock and Watson - or, rather, Lockheed and Widget.

“99.9” exclaims that the runaway train is heading straight for the dragon who is being tied to the train tracks by the dastardly villain, to which “68” points out that they can all see that, adding that they will never make it in time, but as Lockheed and Widget fly to the rescue, “68” remarks ‘Those two are that poor creatures only hope!’

Widget flies straight into the villains’ face, knocking him over, while Lockheed burns the ropes that trap the much larger dragon. “68” remarks that they are too late, while “99.9” points out the pleading look on Lockheed’s face. Suddenly, Widget creates another portal, and the train runs straight into it. The agents stop their car, “99.9” exclaiming that she loves a happy ending as the large dragon and Lockheed hug.

“68” tells “99.9” that it is not going to be a happy ending this time, asking her if she has forgotten what they are doing here to begin with. “99.9” asks if they have to do it, to which “68” replies that of course they do, as they cannot let chaos stand in the way of law and order. “68” informs Lockheed and widget that they are under arrest for practicing without a detective’s license, and orders them to come along.

Suddenly, a odd-looking cowboy with a dreadful accent who happens to be riding a large dog, approaches the agents and tells them to hold on, remarking that he liked this scenario the way it turned out, and aims to see that it stays this way. Lockheed, Widget and the large dragon all look at each other, confused, as the cowboy exclaims ‘Hi-yo, Shooby - away!’ and starts to chase “99.9” and “68” away.

Meanwhile, Kitty informs her teammates that everything is tied together, and all she has to do is phase them through the wall and Excalibur should be reunited at last! Nightcrawler and the girls suddenly find themselves standing on the yellow brick road, with the Emerald City in the distance. Rachel motions to Widget, Lockheed and…”Lockheed’s girlfriend”, before adding that if the poppies that were planted in the programming are doing there stuff, the Loonies should be feeling the effects right about now.

Excalibur notice the fallen Loonies, all lying near Captain Britain, Meggan pointing out that Brian was the only one who wasn’t actually in some bizarre Murderworld, as Kitty explains that until now, everything Brian has been experiencing took place in his mind, though she has changed the rules. ‘And not a moment too soon!’ declares Brian as he is freed from the contraption, exclaiming ‘We are going to find that joker and when we do, I’m going to stuff that grin of his down his throat!’

Characters:
First Story:
Captain Britain, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Shadowcat (all Excalibur)
Lockheed
Widget

Billy Bird, Guns Gummy, the Ham, Rooster Cockburn, Southpaw, Tailgunner (all the Loonies)

68, 99.9 (Special Agents)
Large Dragon

Cowboy
Shooby

White Rabbit

Unnamed villain who ties the large dragon up

Notes:
The other features in the issue are:
2nd story: Black Panther “Panther‘s Quest“ – part 25 of 25
3rd story: A self-contained story featuring former Defender Devil-Slayer

First Story:
This story takes place between Excalibur (1st series) #8 and #9.

The Loonies are a parody of the well-known Warner Brothers cartoon franchise “The Looney Tunes”. The characters parodied this issue are Bugs Bunny (Guns Gummy), Foghorn Leghorn (Rooster Cockburn), Billy Bird (Daffy Duck), Yosemite Sam (Southpaw), Porky Pig (The Ham) and Roadrunner (Tailgunner).

Lockheed and Widget are supposed to be parodies of famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his associate Watson.

The two detectives in this issue, “68” and “99.9” are parodies of the characters Agent 86 (Played by Don Adams) and Agent 99 (Played by Barbara Feldon) in the comedy series “Get Smart” (1965-1970) and later in the TV movie “Get Smart, Again!” (1989) and the short-lived “Get Smart” from 1995. Apparently, a new feature film is being developed.

The villain that kidnaps the large dragon is a homage to classic silent films in which a similar looking villain with a large nose would tie “damsels” to train tracks. In this case, the “damsel” was the large dragon.

The Yellow Brick Road and Emerald City are of course comes from the classic novel and film “The Wizard of Oz”, by L. Frank Baum.

The White Rabbit (aside from apparently being famous actor Woody Allen) comes from the fabulous Disney film “Alice in Wonderland”, which is taken from Lewis Carroll’s novels “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”.

Of course there was no White Rabbit in “The Wizard of Oz”, and his appearance on the yellow brick road was to illustrate the chaos Shadowcat caused by merging various programs.

Shooby is probably a take-off of well-known cartoon dog Scooby-Doo. Scooby-Doo debuted in one of this summarizers favorite cartoons, “Scooby-Doo - Where Are You?” alongside Daphne, Shaggy, Fred and Velma. “Scooby-Doo - Where Are You?” Ran from 1969-1972, and spawned numerous spin-off animated series, like “The New Scooby-Doo Movies” (1972-1973), “Scooby and Scrappy-Doo” (1979-1983) “The All-New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo (1983-1984), “New Scooby Doo Mysteries” (1984-1985), “The 13 Ghosts and Scooby-Doo” (1985-1986), Three made for TV movies (1987-1988), “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo” (1988-1991), “What’s New Scooby-Doo” (2002-Present), a venerable array of direct-to-video animated movies (1998-Present), two feature-length live action films (2002, 2004) and a host of other short-lived features.

Captain Britain’s statement: ‘We are going to find that joker and when we do, I’m going to stuff that grin of his down his throat!’ is a throw away remark to the DC Comic’s character known as the Joker, who was also paid homage to many of the previous issues.

Issue Summary written by: Daytripper (Steven Bishop)


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