While most MMMs hearken back to the days of yore before men were spiders and mutants wore X’s, some are much more modern.
Case in point, the Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils.
Desperate Houswives, eat your hearts out.
This extremely violent, somewhat crude and absurdly nonsensical one-shot from 1991 could only have reached Marvel through the mind of the late great Steve Gerber, best known (for better or worse) as the creator of Howard the Duck. Working with the talented Amanda Conner (who would go on to make collaborations with Warren Ellis, among other things), he created the greatest heroes Marvel’s New Jersey had to offer.
Well, the greatest Suburban heroes, anyway.
The cover labels them as the Suburban Jersey NinjaShe-Devils, though the indica calls them the Suburban She-Devils. Regardless, these girls can clean up crime, and the living room.
To be sure readers know this isn’t their standard humor-filled early 90’s one-shot, this Comics Code approved comic opens with a sweet little Scarswell, New Jersey, five-year-old being eaten by a demon.
In no time at all we meet Melba, a menopausal Yiddish Obi-wan, and her students, Holly Nordoff, Midge Yakamura and Phyllis Pollack – all housewives who spend their free time learning mystical ninja skills (in between taking the kids to school and shopping). Sure, the girls thought it was a new age exercise, but Melba was preparing them for potential Armageddon.
Unfortunately, such a threat has appeared in the form of Ombu-Doksi, a gigantic-lipped woman-looking thing that is older than Australopithecus, and crazier than John Hinckley Jr. It seems the ancient demon has selected Jersey for her return performance (having previously wiped out Atlantis, broken the original Commandments, corrupted Judas, taught Hitler to hate, caused the Great Depression and encouraged Saddam). Only the She-Devils can stop her!
The ladies fight waves of vampyrions, possessed husbands, face-eating thids and demon-queens, but must ultimately call upon Melba’s mentor Madame Fogwa, a geriatric Yoda in a one-piece. The 125,000-year-old master and kick-boxing enthusiast is able to help out, give exposition and reveal that Scarswell is a “secondary Nexus of Realities,” but she too is ultimately corrupted by Ombu-Doski. It is then that the demon’s plan comes to fruition in the form of a giant meteor.
As only Steve Gerber could write it:
“Behold, you wretched scraps of being. The Tongue of Chaos slaps the air! The Lips of Doom suck at your world!”
The She-Devils are only able to save the day by meditating to create a mystical “intercontinental ballistic marzipan.” Gotta love Gerber.
The ladies are masters of ninjetsu, posses mystical powers even they do not understand, and more importantly have access to the oldest old girl’s club in history to back them up.
Plus, they’re really good at keeping a well-furnished house.
Why haven’t the characters shown up again?
Good question. Obviously a lot of Gerber’s creations were pretty out there, but most are accepted as solid parts of the Marvel Universe. The only direct MU reference in this book was the “nexus” bit, but there’s no reason the She-Devils or their enemies couldn’t fit in with other Marvel characters.
How could the characters be brought back?
Recently Marvel made a point of naming heroes for every state, but when Jersey came around, they borrowed the Defenders for a while instead. Since they aren’t protecting the state anymore, maybe the Suburban She-Devils could make a come back!