On a recent Major Spoilers Podcast, I referred once again to the worst delay after a cliffhanger in my comic-reading life, but it occurred to me that most Spoilerites have NO idea what I’m referring to…  Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Ms. Mystic #2 awaits!

MsMystic2CoverMS. MYSTIC #2
Writer: Neal Adams
Penciler: Neal Adams
Inker: Neal Adams
Colorist: Cory Adams
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: David Scroggy
Publisher: Pacific Comics
Cover Price: $1.50
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $4.00

Previously in Ms. Mystic: An actual witch, Ms. Mystic was burned at the stake during the Salem Witch trials, centuries ago.  In modern times, she has returned to the world as a defender of the environment and de facto superhero.  Hooking up with the mysterious Doctor Raas and his environmental trouble shooters, she immediately launched into battle against an automated factory spewing enough pollution to literally choke a metaphorical horse.  Defeating the factory’s cyborg foreman, Ms. Mystic collapsed, seemingly dead…


This issue begins with a full recap of the first issue, including the frankly ludicrous premise that the factory was designed to produce ONLY pollution, for reasons unknown.  After Ms. Mystic faints, though, Raas realizes that a factory created by lunatics would likely explode because… y’know, lunatics.


Those who are familiar with the oeuvre of Continuity Comics will note that this kind of random chaos is par for the course (for all his drafting skills, Adams is not very strong in the plotting department.)  Immediately afterwards, Raas and his team take off, leaving the factory workers to wander in the desert while they seek medical help for their erstwhile witch, all the while wondering if she’s truly what she claims to be…


As you might also have guessed, dialogue is also not a strong suit of an Adams joint.  While her new friends debate the reality of her powers, Ms. Mystic is using those selfsame abilities to travel deep into a strange mystical world, looking for the literal embodiment of Mother Nature…

While Mystic travels the spirit realm, Doctor Raas and his team find that the brains behind the pollution factory (which Raas cleverly code-names “Pollution Factory”) are apparently aliens, just as the History Channel foretold.  Fortunately, Ms. Mystic is able to petition Mother Nature for assistance in her elemental battle to save the Earth…


Interestingly, even though Pacific Comics was creator-owned, Adams goes to great lengths to cover Mystic’s nudity throughout this entire sequence, leading to the big reveal: Mother Nature has gifted the members of Raas’ unnamed strike team with powers to assist the witchy woman in her battle.  Up first, Baron Cotter, who rises from what should have been fatal wounds to find himself transformed…


While nearly being strangled to death, Dwight Godd finds himself possessed of the strength of Earth itself, while Dennis Swan is Water…


Kelly Kane is tragically killed in combat, only to rise again like the Phoenix, which is to say wreathed in flame and totally freaked out about it…


While her friends are being gifted with superpowers, Ms. Mystic is captured by the aliens and strapped into a cunning deathtrap, which threatens to impale her to death if she so much as moves, a device cleverly designed to thwart her powers.  (How is kind of left vague, especially since she’s only been back to life for about six hours at this point, which begs the question of how they even knew about her powers, much less how to counter them.)  Then, the final page gives us the legendary cliffhanger of all cliffhangers…


This issue hit the stands in the winter of 1984, when I was 13 years old.  Issue #3 didn’t come out until the year I graduated high school, and I have to tell you, the wait was occasionally pretty interminable.  The fact that the design of the main character was so distinctive (her costume was basically a skin-tight bodysuit rendered in Zip-A-Tone, an effect that is still really striking) didn’t hurt, and when the issue came out it…  made just about as much sense as this one did?  Either way, Ms. Mystic #2 is kind of a strange, hybrid beast, as with many independent books of the era, with wonderful, inventive art and a story that doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain, earning a conglomerate 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.  As with much of Neal’s independent output, it’s a comic that serves more as curiosity than anything else…


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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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