Sleepwalker jumped into one of Portal's, uh, portals to follow the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants who were escaping from their last fight in Times Square. Spidey has been shunted off to an unknown dimension. And Darkhawk is still holding onto a very big sign.
That dang sign is falling to pieces all around him, but Darkhawk has enough time to recap the important events from last issue to bring everyone up to speed. (Ah, the good old days when superheroes recapped the story mid-adventure just in case a new reader happened along.) Then, he tosses the billboard off to the side away from the bystanders below. But, now the ledge he was standing on collapses and he starts to fall! He uses his grappling hook claw to lessen the impact of the landing. He gets up and vows to get even with Sleepwalker once they meet up again.
Meanwhile, Sleepy is hiding behind some boxes in Generic Villain HQ #2 – an abandoned dockside warehouse. The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants apparently did not notice him hitching a ride last issue. Our band of not-so-merry mutants are in the middle of an argument on what to do about Portal. Blob and Pyro want to kill him for betraying them, but Toad and Sauron believes he still has his uses. Portal doesn't say a word, as he is still in the trance that Sauron put him in last issue. He even walks right past Sleepwalker and doesn't recognize or acknowledge him. Luckily, before anyone else can discover Sleepy's presence he disappears leaving a pink wisp behind. His host, Rick Sheridan, has woken up.
We also quickly check in on our favorite web-spinner and find Spidey is getting blasted at from all sides. The caption doesn't say what dimension he was tossed into but it's pretty clear that he is being chased by Mindless Ones, so it's a safe bet that it's the Dark Dimension.
So, back to Rick. It's the next day, I guess. (If I remember correctly it was early in the morning when the two groups last fought, so it makes sense that Rick is up around this time). He's doing repairs on the building for his landlord when he meets a typical 90s hottie – you know, wearing biker shorts, showing off her navel, and wearing giant sunglasses. They talk a bit and arrange a date for later that night. Rick eventually spots a paper with a headline about Spider-Man's disappearance and decides to take an afternoon nap to return Sleepwalker to the waking world. They've rigged up a kind of ad hoc communications system (no advanced technology like cellphones here!) and as soon as Sleepy is released from Rick's mind he listens to a recorded message from Rick imploring him to find Spidey.
Meanwhile, Danny Powell is interning at a radio station when he hears a bulletin about Sleepwalker floating above Times Square. He quickly changes and makes it to the scene. He accuses Sleepwalker of being reckless and leaving him high and dry, but Sleepy explains that he thought DH could handle himself. Sleepwalker then uses his warp vision to recreate the view outside of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutant's windows so they can track down the location of their headquarters. Sure enough, on the next page they smash thru a convenient skylight and surprise the villains!
Darkhawk is immediately attacked by Pyro while Toad jumps on Sleepwalker's back and secretes some sort of acid on his face while Sauron attacks Sleepy head on. DH uses his dark force shield to deflect Pyro's flames, which singe Toad and causes him to leap right into Sauron's path. (Good teamwork there guys!) Sleepy grabs the now prone Toad and and tosses him into Pyro. The Blob tries to swat Darkhawk with a girder (uh, where exactly did that come from... his back pocket?). Sleepy quickly blocks the blow and attempts to yank it away, but Phantazia nullifies his powers. DH blasts her, freeing Sleepy to use his warp vision to wrap the girder around Blob.
Sauron directs Portal to get them out of here and he opens up a, uh, portal and the mutants are gone. Darkhawk snags Portal with his grappling hook claw but lets the bad guys go. Portal is still in a hypnotic trance, though, and Sleepwalker takes him to Dr. Wong (whom he met in issue #11 of his own mag). After some fancy light therapy Portal is restored and immediately wants to skip town. (This dude is the most anti-social person I've seen!) again. DH stops him and reasons that since him and Sleepy saved him from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants that he owes them.
Portal relents, saying he will grant Sleepwalker one favor for breaking him out of Sauron's hypnosis. Instead of wishing his way back to the Mindscape, Sleepy asks for Portal to return Spidey. Portal whip up another, uh, portal and out comes some Mindless Ones! It's easy work DH and Sleepy to knock them back through the dimensional gateway, but one covered in a webbing-type substance sneaks by. They attack him too, but before things get too ugly he rips off the webbing to reveal... Spidey! Duh.
Portal quickly departs, leaving the heroes standing around all by themselves. Spidey starts berating Darkhawk and Sleepwalker for letting Portal go. They reveal Sleepy uses his one favor to bring Spidey back safely and then Spidey swings off with his foot firmly lodge in his mouth.
It's hard to get excited over something like this. It's just the same fight for the third time. And the gritted teeth count in this issue was thru the roof! Heck, I've been doing it the whole time I wrote this review just for old time's sake!
This is just drivel. There's no good reason these groups should be fighting – they don't have any personal history together, there's no interesting match-ups, nothing! There's no character development at all, just everyone, from the good guys to the bad guys going thru the motions.
Toad's version of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants didn't last very long. They first appeared in the early issues of Rob Liefield's X-Force, tackled X-Factor, ran into Darkhawk and Sleepwalker here, and then... were never heard from again. After seeing what a poor showing they had in this storyline I can understand why.
Portal went on to bigger and better things, believe it or not. He became the leader a group called ARMOR (Alternate Reality Monitoring and Operational Response Agency) first seen in Marvel Zombies #3 of all places. From there, he got caught up in the usual Marvel crossover craziness. He contended with Norman Osborn during his stint as director of SHIELD, the Dark Avengers, and other such things.
Sleepwalker's own series carried on for another year and a half. He next get involves with Infinity War, the crossover series that burnt me out on crossovers forever. (Or was that Maximum Carnage?) Check out my reviews for Sleepwalker #21 and Sleepwalker #32 for a couple more appearances of the character.
Darkhawk segues directly into a five issue storyline revealing his true origin. Turns out he actually switches places with a magical android that is stored somewhere called Null Space and there are five other amulets with similar body-switching powers. And not all the holders are nice guys. This unfortunately started a trend towards more sci-fi oriented plots (as opposed to the previous street level heroics) which turned me off the character quickly afterwards. I felt then, and even more so now, that Marvel already had enough characters running around in outer space and fighting aliens.
And of course, our friend Spidey went back to adventuring in his own four titles.