Then NYC mayor and future US Congressman Ed Koch, appears, giving the Hulk the Key to the City, then later offers his trademark line, "How'm I doing?" to which Hawkeye responds, "Just fine, Ed." Mayor Koch was known for asking that when appearing on New York streets.
The Key scene could perhaps be any generic city mayor, but the exchange with Hawkeye establishes his identity and makes this count as a "temporal reference".
Yeah, I agree that at this point Daniel was in the dark about Roderick being the Hobgoblin. Thus, I don't think he's "overacting" in the scene where the Hobgoblin confronts his blackmailees, that's just Daniel being Daniel (while masquerading as Roderick).
As for how the reveal would have gone down if Stern had stuck around, I've probably said this in the comments of another issue, but...
I suspect the hints would have become more obvious, with possibly one or two more red herrings post issue #251. Eventually, I think the specter of Roderick's unseen "brother" would have had most of the readership believing that this guy who was never around but who Roderick seemed to be so dependent on would *obviously* be the secret identity of the Hobgoblin... and probably have a great many of those readers crying foul in that they were anticipating being given the big reveal only an issue or two after we actually met the secret identity in question (which would have been just like the Green Goblin, discounting Norman's earlier appearances as window dressing where he wasn't identified).
THEN we'd actually meet Daniel around #262 or #263 and we'd be thinking "Wait, THIS guy is secretly the Hobgoblin? That doesn't make sense... he seems even more of a nervous Nellie than Roderick ever was..." And only in #264 would we see that the "Roderick" we'd been seeing much of the time was in fact Daniel and that we had in fact met the Hobgoblin's secret identity way back in Stern's Spectacular run.
Just read this in Watch Marvel Go from Awesome to Sucking in Just One Volume (though I think the technical title was Marvel Firsts: The 1990s Vol. 1). In it, the whole reason that Danny and his sister are at Cypress Hills Cemetery is so that Danny can take her to Houdini's gravesite. Except Cypress Hills is a non-denominational cemetery and Houdini is really buried in Machpelah Cemetery, which is a Jewish cemetery. Why use a real cemetery that's not the correct one? Certainly an odd choice from Mackie.
It looks to me like Kirby drew a recoilless gun, and Stan used "bazooka" as slang. Those weapons fire shells that don't have their own propulsion like rockets do. Wyatt should have needed to load in a charge after Reed, but that could have happened between panels, and just wasn't drawn for pacing reasons.
Armand Martel and Hideko Takata are both tagged for this entry, and LaRoquette and Craig Saunders are tagged as Rock and Redeemer respectively. Bruce calls LaRoquette "John" in issue #331, page 2, so that's the name i used (LaRoquette's full name is Samuel John LaRoquette, as stated on page 12 of issue #332).
Usually Hulk was depicted before his Shades of Grey phase as practically invulnerable but I haven't quite read it all.
I found #78-80 tonight and it was more readable than I recalled. But to have so darn many Gerber characters on the loose, there's little Gerber characterization!
Tunnel world is exhaustively expository but the structure of the two-team book was ambitious. Admirable effort to entertain fans of both sets of Defenders. Mutant Force are too wacky for anything but kid stuff.
The bit where Val thinks the others have forgotten her not lady opponents enchantment makes them seem so amateurish, but I think that flaw was a long-standing Defenders portrayal.
Perlin and Marcos will eventually make this comic look cooler. But here the book's still better than it's been for a couple of years, back when we started losing neat ideas like Val trying college. At least Ed attempted to give us the first legit female super team- that idea needed time and care- as well as the daring split extended narrative ( I realize Englehart did that in Avengers.)
Stingray would do well to equip his wife with wrist blasters, wouldn't you say? And as for holding his own with Tiger Shark...Todd is as strong as Namor, and Stingray's nowhere near his level; of course, in referencing WCA #16, losing to Tigra and Hellcat must've stung.
Bazookas fire rockets, so I don't see how Wyatt fires Reed either. Conceivably Reed slingshots himself, and uses the signal from the trigger as the signal to let go. But if so, why is there a backwash?
The living totem concept was recycled from RAWHIDE KID #22.
I usually prefer superhero costumes, no matter how silly, to civilian clothes. (this is the biggest reason for my dislike of MCU-style costume changes that happened in the early 2010s) But I gotta admit Gilgamesh looks cool in this issue. It somehow fits him better than his armor, and certainly better than his lack of any kind of costume in future appearances. The two panels where he stands up to Ironclad with his hands in his pockets and then knocks him out make him look rather badass.
Another thought on all this: Given Mesmero's "additional" powers here, maybe Drake's idea is that he, Magneto, and Lorna all share magnetic abilities of some kind. Mesmerism was originally called "animal magnetism" and thought of as a quasi-magnetic force generated by living beings, and Magneto had previously used his magnetic powers to mesmerize the Angel's parents back in issue #18.
In #5, Dorcas says that he deliberately added limits nto Tiger Shark's powers using the morphotron, so that's presumably the idea regarding T.S.'s rapid strength loss.
The idea seems to be that Namor is weakened by his recent adventures and by the transfer -- it's repeated int he dialogue quite a bit -- so Tiger Shark wins at first, but then a rested-up Namor trounces Tiger Shark in the rematch. Subsequent writers will typically treat Tiger Shark as less powerful than Namor overall and utterly dependent on constant contact with water.
Dorcas doesn't seem like recurring villain here; he's not even criminal exactly, more arrogant and self-centered, and he just wants to use Tiger Shark to make a lot of money
Alternatively, maybe the Raleigh in ASM #116-118 is the brother or the son of the original, using the same basic stunt but adding the Disruptor ID to try to hide his plans a little better. And a bunch of the dialogue is the same int he later issues because because....look, let's just blame Immortus or say it's a ripple effect from one of those 2010s stories where "time is broken."
Eighteen months or so after the "Bucky Returns" issue where he explains that he survived because the gun was "only" loaded with blanks, actor Jon-Erik Hexum fired a blank round from a gun at his head. Skull fragments from the impact penetrated his brain and several days let, after hours of surgery, he was declared brain dead.
This issue immediately springs to mind when I think of stories that wrongly implied that "blanks are harmless" but I'm sure there were a ton of examples from television and movies as well. A blank round fired close to a person can still cause serious injury and in that original story the 1950s Cap was standing close enough to Jack Monroe that it should have been the case there as well.
I can't really fault Marvel for letting that explanation go out, but given how much publicity Hexum's accident received, I'd be very surprised if there were a similar "blanks are harmless" example published after early 1985 (Hexum's accident was in October of '84).
So Zemo was "prepared" for that fall into the vat with that specially-insulated suit? Well, okay I am willing to overlook the fact that he took off his mask to brag to Cap about who he was (it's the stereotypical Bond villain giving in to their vanity thing)...
...but the real problem with that is that the Phoenix mask didn't cover Zemo's entire face. So even if he'd been wearing it, his lower face still would have been exposed to the chemicals.
It's never made clear how Daredevil knows exactly which wax figure is of him. Usually he gets an expository thought balloon for that kind of thing. How exactly could his radar sense help him know the difference?
Ben, Michael's point still stands, Spider-Man was a huge hit right from the start. Few comics characters had their own solo series, and at this point, most of them were Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and some of the other founding JLA. Lee, Kirby and Goodman tried to make the Hulk into a hit, but that probably had as much to do with Marvel's limited publishing capabilities.
Squirrel Girl is a random character who came along thirty-some years after Spidey and the Hulk. There's not much comparison other than all three of them being drawn by Steve Ditko in their earliest stories. She has the bad luck (if that's the right term) of living in a world Spider-Man and the Hulk made possible.
To be fair, it would be the fault of the Editor in this instance to let it slip through. I think that was a tense time but it's understandable- obviously Michael disagrees- Wizard had really fostered and instigated a bad environment amongst comic professionals in that time.
DeFalco is off the hook on the list of names in issue 3.That was me. I was frankly surprised and embarrassed that the names made it into print.At the time there was a lot of trash talk coming from the Image side and I was reacting childishly back. No excuse.
I read he left so he could work on Avengers, but who knows.
A striking aspect of Sterns run is that Pete is such an adult. As a kid, I responded more to this version than I think I would have to the "younger" Pete that we've had pretty much since the Byrne reboot.
I dug out my copies of this miniseries and re-read it today. It's actually better than I remember it to be.
My main criticism is that (as fnord observes) this is basically Terminatrix / Ravonna story with the Avengers playing an almost-incidental role. Really, you could have used almost any six members of the Avengers and this story would be pretty much the same.
I can actually understand why Gruenwald wrote it this way, though. In these pre-Thunderbolts days, I seriously doubt that Marvel would have published a miniseries starring Ravonna and Kang. Gru obviously wanted to tell Ravonna's continuing story, but knew he'd never be able to get it approved. So instead he came up with the "original Big Three of the Avengers versus their 1990s legacy heroes" as his pitch to get it okayed, but it's really clear that his interest is in what's going on with Ravonna and Kang. Reading this miniseries, the portions with those two were actually interesting, even if all of the continuity and time travel mechanics did cause my eyes to glaze over a bit. But each time the story shifted to the Avengers themselves I really lost interest.
Mutant massacre being my introduction to Marvel universe, this is my "first" Sabretooth and became definitive. For me, he's a powerhouse. This has lead to quite complicated headcanonizing in attempts to explain his low showings...
Not really relevant but I think the Beast is contacted while he is in his office, not his apartment.
In the first half of AA #14 he goes from his apartment to the lab in order to retrieve his best mask. Then he is contacted by Xavier (this issue) and finally in the second half of AA#14 he spots Quasimodo and fights him.
This was the 2nd ever Marvel comic issue I read, and first time I saw Sabretooth, my favourite in Wolverine's rogue gallery. This scene really builds them up, both separately, and having common history.
Here also Magneto is defined with few narrative strokes, telling a story of redemption from destroyer to teacher. Strong stuff, and of course colours everything else I've since read.
Certain parallels with all three characters: they all have really dark past, of suffering and dealing violence. Their attempts to handle that past varies greatly, and the results even more. But most importantly, it immediately painted for me a picture of a changing world, were history mattered and future was uncertain.
It's rather interesting that Claremont swapped out Equilibrius for the similarly powered Vertigo, probably mostly for gender balance. Of course, it means that the Savage Land Mutates now have two female members whose main ability is to render opponents helpless rather than having more directly physical powers.
So what happened to Equilibrius after Avengers #105? He eventually returns in a 1990s issue of Wolverine without any further explanation.
Ah, the first ever Marvel comic I read. The nostalgia... Of course this story, Mutant massacre from the point of view of X-men, set the baseline for me. This is "my" original X-men lineup, and this very bleak tone is "my" Marvel universe. It felt real enough for superhero story, it sold me the feeling that the narration plays for keeps (little did I know the mass resurrections were to come). Loved it, still do.
OR ... this story could be retold and show that Ben and Johnny were using the FF's time machine to take the ladies back to see a Beatles concert. Lord knows that's one thing I would do if I had a time machine!
I can't believe Alpha made it 121 issues before a guest appearance by the real Spider-Man ... that's remarkable restraint for the '80s or '90s. I'm sort of amazed Mantlo didn't try to poke at the "Aunt May inherited a Canadian nuclear plant" nonsense to make this happen 50 issues sooner.
The Mad Merlin also has the disadvantage that he slept through a millennium and a half.
Oddly,m he's a character whose origin keeps getting retconned. Here, he's a n early mutant. Int he 1980s, it's stated that he got his immortality and powers from the Bloodgem fragment. And then in the 90s a Book of the Vishanti backup will suggest that his powers are from experiments by the Caretakers of Arcturus.
And then there's Alan Moore hinting that all of the various Marlins are guises of the Merlyn of Otherworld....who may or may not also be an incarnation of the Doctor from Doctor Who per yet another story that Moore is referencing....Marvel's Merlin characters are a headache, and that headache starts here.
I wonder why Alpha had to drop their storylines to participate in Infinity War but X-Men and Uncanny X-Men (and X-Factor) didn't. I'm guessing it was the Image Exodus? Lee & Portacio were writing the two main X-books at this point but about to hand them off to Lobdell and Nicieza.
Come to think of it Lobdell probably had to drop this title to take over scripting the two X-books right away, as opposed to the idea that he complained the world tour was cut short. If I'm not mistaken he was scripting Portacio's last X-Men plots at this point.
@MindlessOne - Yep, that's an awesome splash. Severin is one of those great artists who is on the underrated side.
As for the rest of the issue, yes, it's a good job for an early 1980s Ditko fill-in issue. I'm sure some of the credit for that is owed to Dan Green, who is a really solid inker / finisher.
O'Neil verified Severin's explanation when speaking with Matt Fraction in The Comics Journal #300...
"Yeah, well, the first Iron Man story I did was a fill-in and Dave Michelinie had established the drinking problem in the continuity. I opened on Tony having a dream that he’s in the Iron Man suit, but he’s drunk and then you turn the page and he’s waking up, saying, “Wow, what an awful dream.” Steve Ditko did a great job on the rest of the story but we ended up having Marie Severin drawing that one page. There are people who think that heroes should never have serious flaws. I don’t think they should be jerks, the word “hero” is from the Greek “to serve and protect” and I think that has to be element of it. But, having a guy overcome something like an addiction or a terrible flaw seems to me to enhance his heroism and I think Gruenwald’s boss was of that school or something like it."
Even though it was due to Ditko refusing to draw it, I think that the splash page is more powerful for being done by Severin. It's such a insanely cartoony image that really stands out from the rest of the look of issue, making it doubly clear that this is one of Stark's nightmares.
@Michael - Maybe I should have phrased my argument a bit differently. I guess my point is that Squirrel Girl is sort of like Spider-Man and the Hulk because when Stan Lee created the two characters with Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby respectively there doesn't seem to have been this attitude of "This is absolutely the next big thing! It's going to be enormous!" Rather, it was more like "Well, let's see what happens with this character. Hopefully the readers will like him." Which is a bit like what happened with Squirrel Girl, although as you say it took her much longer to find an audience than either the web-slinger or jade jaws.
Was talking a bit about Mad Merlin/Maha Yogi in the X-Men #1 review, and I sort of just feel sorry for the guy thinking it over. For all unintended purpose, he basically did first what Apocalypse would do many years later: be a mutant threat who came from the past, woke after a long slumber and then tried to make a name for himself in the modern age. Then again, the reason you feel sorry for Maha Yogi is simply while he may have had the strategy, he didn't have Apocalypse's vast resources and whatnot. (or the Simonseons supporting him as a major player from the start whereas Maha Yogi is just a weird one-off who happened to be a mutant who picked the wrong month to reawaken)
@Ben- I don't think that Squirrel Girl is like Spider-Man or the Hulk, though. Spider-Man got his own series a few months after Amazing Fantasy 15, and it was soon selling hundreds of thousands of copies. The Hulk's first series failed, but he quickly went on to appear in the Avengers, and then got his own feature in Tales to Astonish and then his own series. Squirrel Girl didn't appear at all for a decade and a half , and after she did reappear in Great Lakes Avengers, she had few appearances until Bendis made her Jessica Jones's nanny in 2010. My point is- Spider-Man and the Hulk were liked very early on- unpopular characters don't appear often. Squirrel Girl, on the other hand, is an example of a character that was unloved by the generation she first appear in but appreciated by a later generation.
Omar, I don't have any conclusions to offer, but your thoughts have definitely interested me. In your telling, the Vanisher drafted himself into the mutant wars and didn't even realize he was doing so. This actually helped him for a while, leading him to be part of Factor Three, but he was always a small-time crook who wasn't capable of performing at any higher level. Literally, the last Vanisher appearance I read was in "X-Factor," where he ran a group of teen girl thieves, and Boom-Boom was one of them, and she ran away.
Top of my head metaphor, Lee and Kirby's "X-Men" were like keeping peace in the Balkans, and other regional powers kept getting involved. The area becomes more and more important in the overall scheme of things and then one day someone gets shot and it's all-out war. Countless factions and differences are involved. The Muslims, the Orthodox Greeks, the nationalists, the tribalists, the foreign powers, the naval powers who want a peaceful Mediterranean, the communists, the royalists, the anarchists... and no one is even thinking about the Americans an ocean away.
We haven't even gotten to the Bosnian genocide yet, or the ultimate Russian, Iranian or Chinese influence, and this is just a top-of-my-head metaphor for the Vanisher and the mutant wars he helped make possible.
I'm going to find something else to do with myself now. ;)
Reading this story is a mess, especially late in the story, because a bunch of the action takes place off panel. There's at least one word balloon pointing to someone outside the panel, characters describing things they see that you don't get to see, and of course the Wasp's kidnapping which we don't see and don't know happened until they tell you. I blame the Marvel Method, where Heck was working with a plot with no script and had no idea how to tell the story, leaving Lee to have to exposit so much that we didn't see. Heck was a good enough artist on his own when given a script but at least here can't seem to tell an action story.
Hi, fnord. Any particular reason you don't have the individual Hulkbusters tagged as a characters appearing? Also, you call Sam J. LaRoquette "John". I think you're thinking of John Larroquette, from Night Court.
Here we have the "greatest heroes" leaving the team, replaced by Cap leading a trio of reformed villains. (It's notable to that they also try to reform Namor, and then suggest re-recruiting the Hulk, both heroes who are also villains sometimes.)
Not much seems to be made of it in the comics themselves, there's little concern over whether the villains might turn back to crime (obviously we know Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver have always been portrayed quite sympathetically, but the people in the comics shouldn't know that). People should be worried about whether Cap can keep these people, who associate with evil terrorists & spies, on the straight and narrow.
Were there any DC precursors to this sort of thing? It's completely undersold here, but in a way it predicts DC's Suicide Squad of villains forming a hero team.
Sorry to interupt, but Marvel is so thorough and lavish with its event back story I'm so grateful for their existance. I was dubious but thanks to these reviews/analyses and humorous commentary, Quazar series may be one of my next reads. Great stuff!
Continued... Squirrel Girl is, in a way, much like Spider-Man. Will Murray was not setting out to create The Next Big Thing. She was just a fun character who he came up with and wanted to write. Obviously she left an impression on various readers, including Dan Slott, who a decade or so later brought her back in Great Lakes Avengers, where again she left an impression on the audience, which gradually led to her becoming one of Marvel's biggest characters.
The lesson here is that it is very difficult to deliberately set out to create a hot new character who readers will immediately fall in love with and who will leap into a bestselling, ongoing series. Trying to force that often results in something that feels manipulative and artificial. Readers can tell when a company is trying too hard to capture lightning in a bottle.
That's a major problem with not just comic book companies, but with much of Corporate America, be it movies, TV, music, prose fiction, etc... they all want instant hits and huge short-term profits. But most of the time creations that have genuine longevity such as Spider-Man or the Hulk or Squirrel Girl need time to gestate and evolve, to find their audience, to be given a chance to grow into a huge phenomenon.
It's a bit strange that Mark Gruenwald soon after described Squirrel Girl as "accidentally an incidental creation that just makes our list longer and doesn’t really help the Marvel Universe." He was saying this to draw a contrast to all of the "1993 New Characters annuals" who, as we all know, instead of becoming important elements of the Marvel universe, very quickly faded into total obscurity, with a couple of exceptions.
Thinking about it, the phrase "accidentally an incidental creation" would describe pretty much nearly all of Marvel's major characters from the 1960s. They were *not* planned to be huge sucesses, but were the result of Stan Lee and his collaborators just throwing everything against the wall to see what would stick in a desperate effort to keep the company afloat, and many of them struck a chord with readers.
Spider-Man is the perfect example. When the character was introduced by Lee & Ditko in 1962, publisher Martin Goodman wasn't thinking "This is one of the greatest fictinal creations in the history of mankind! One day Spider-Man will have multiple ongoing titles. We'll be licensing him out to tons of other companies, making us millions of dollars!" No, Goodman's actual line of thinking was "Hmm, I wonder is anyone's actually going to want to read this? He's such a weird-looking character! Oh, well, I'll make Stan happy and let him run it in Amazing Fantasy. The book is getting cancelled anyway, so it's not like he can make sales any worse."
I like the theory you gave about "Mad Merlin" here and how, even without intending it, it probably did demonstrate the idea that there were mutants prior to the X-Men and Magneto going public. What was mutant power could be believed to be something else pre-X-Men and thus the obvious confusions. (on a similar note, one of the first heroes who isn't a mutant that ends up facing mutants ended up being Thor: he fought Merlin at the same time as Magneto's initial attack, then became the first non-mutant to face Magneto; this could perhaps show that Asgardians did at least have some knowledge of beings who were "greater than human" even if they didn't innately know it themselves)
In publishing terms, if not Marvel Chronology terms, it's worth noting that JiM #96 and "Uncanny" X-Men #1 both share a publication date of September 1963. So what was really happening was some subtle cross-promotion to familiarize fans with the idea of superhuman mutants.
The Mad Merlin in Journey Into Mystery #96 is an especially interesting case, since we literally see him switch to self-defining as a mutant. At the top of page 6, he thinks about how "a spell" he created preserved him until modern times, and starts flipping through a newspaper. And by the bottom of the page he's calling his powers "telepathy [and] unique powers of levitation." And at the top of page 7, suddenly he refers to himself as "one of the firs mutants on Earth" as he tosses the newspaper away, asserting that he "will need no sorcerer's hocus-pocus in 1963 to work [his] 'magic." Instead, he'll use his "real power to levitate him]self...practice telepathy and teleportation..." Interestingly, he does't actually have those last two powers in this story.
Look, it's really Stan and R. Berns flubbing the script, but thankfully the art gives us a way to excuse the inconsistency: clearly he read an early press account of mutation by, say, Professor X or a Bolivar Trask discussing what mutants "might" be able to do, and labeled himself. And then, some weeks later, the X-Men and Magneto make their public debuts, further popularizing the idea of mutants. (Or this blows my fan theory out of the water and I'm spinning like mad, but whatever.)
By the late Silver Age, you've had the Sentinel programs, both of which are announced on national TV and get lots of media coverage, and Magneto's made several high-profile public attacks (newspaper headlines show up in Strange Tales #128) and Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch have not only joined the Avengers but also very publicly stated their mutant status on many occasions. So by then the "mutant issue" is a major public debate, and the idea of mutantcy should be common knowledge. (Marvels #2 gives a good account of an ordinary person first becoming aware of mutants and getting swept up in the panic about them, and ties this to the first appearance of the Sentinels.)
It's notable that Marvel; introduces relatively few mutants across the Silver Age; the burst of dozens on dozens of mutants doesn't start until the All-New All-Different X-Men era. Compare the end of the Thomas/Adams Sentinel story, where we see pretty much *every* mutant in the Marvel Universe other than Whirlwind and the Mad Merlin, to even Giant-Size X-Men #!.
But it's the Claremont era that also begins the retcons that there were always lots and lots of mutants, and even some ancient mutants.
kind of like the idea that guys like the Vanisher didn't know they were mutants, and then they read a news story about this "Magneto" character announcing he's "Homo superior" and taking over a missile base. And suddenly a guy like the Vanisher -- who's perhaps a small-time thief and crook -- realizes who and what he is, and he basically imitates Magneto.
He gets a flamboyant costume of his own and figures he can also launch some grand scheme against the U.S. government. But being a crook, not a revolutionary or would-be conqueror, his scheme is still about making money and advancing int he underworld. Bt the the X-Men and Xavier show up, and he's no longer just "a crook." Now announcing your mutancy means you're part of a whole hidden war, and the government and the world treat you differently. So you end up in Factor Three, but that collapses, and the Sentinels come for you, and eventually you decide to go back to being a thief, albeit a more supervillain-ish one.
The Silver Age actually has several instances of characters only finding out they're mutants when they run into an X-Man or a Brotherhood type. It seems to happen with the Mad Marlin/Warlock/Maha Yogi/Merlin Demonspawn guy, and it happens explicitly with Whirlwind in Avengers #46, where Quicksilver's ranting about being a mutant actually makes Dave Cannon realize he's a mutant, too.
I really like Claremont's attention to detail in this issue. Other than all the funny continuity jokes in the background, there's the fact that we're told the first world has no science-based superpowers and yet in the opening splash we can see counterparts of Thor, Dani Moonstar, Doc Strange and Black Knight. Obviously heroes with magic or equally mystic energies as the source of their powers would still exist on this world (there was a Captain Britain counterpart, after all) but I appreciate how it's actually made explicit and not just glossed over.
Agree, Rogue should definitely have been assigned to the New Mutants. If Carol is at all dominant, then she'll help train the kids. If Carol isn't there, then Rogue is young and inexperienced enough that she really shouldn't be a burden on the X-Men. Graduate Sam and Dani if the main team is running low on active members, but Rogue should not be an X-Man at this point in her life.
I love Rogue and think she's one of the greatest X-Men ever, but if we treat her remotely realistically, she should absolutely not be an X-Man.
I barely know Squirrel Girl beyond her first appearance, but I can easily see why she was kept around, even beyond the "Steve Ditko co-created her" justification. I've thought for a long time that superhero stories need to be about more than hero vs. villain. If nothing else, they need to have a sense of fun which Squirrel Girl has. If nothing else, you've got a teenage girl with not-very-impressive superpowers stalking Iron Man as he prepares to fight Dr. Doom. That could be a comedy, that could be a horror story, that could be a disturbing romance, any number of things, and beating Dr. Doom is the least important part of the story, especially with the 'legions of squirrels' punchline.
As far as I know, Ditko has never said what he thinks about Squirrel Girl, so I assume he saw it as a fun story. Squirrel Girl definitely isn't on Iron Man's level, but through a series of humorous escapades, she saves the day and defeats Dr. Doom. I've often had a superhero/pop band metaphor going on in my mind, and Squirrel Girl is one of the best 'one hit wonders' as far as her first appearance goes.
Speedball does not remotely qualify as a 'one hit wonder.' And I have to question the Marvel mindset that would use 'at least they aren't Squirrel Girl' as motivation. She's clearly a fun character. He's clearly an attempt to give Marvel another 'Spider-Man.' Both characters have stayed around is because Marvel isn't that willing to disrespect Spidey/Dr. Strange co-creator Ditko.
At least in the case of Squirrel Girl, she was so goofy an idea that anyone would have thought of her as ridiculous even back when she was created. Heck the whole point of the 1993 "New Awesome Character" annuals was the whole idea to the whole writing staff that "at least they aren't Squirrel Girl". It just took good comics and appearances for both characters (Speedball in the New Warriors, Squirrel Girl with the GLA and her solo) before they got the respect they deserved.
Why does Xavier decide to send Rogue with the rest of the X-Men to Japan? She had just been accepted at the School. If he's going to send her on ahead of him with the other X-Men (for her safety? Theirs? Or his?), then maybe give Wolverine at least a courtesy heads up? It is his wedding, after all. Surprise uninvited guests are bad enough, but when that guest is someone who almost killed one of Logan's close friends... way to think that out, Professor.
I know - she HAD to be there for the plot. But it just makes Xavier look like he has even less social intelligence than he normally does.
One problem is the question of how so many mutants knew that they were actually mutants. The Vanisher, for instance, wouldn't have been as grounded in sci-fi/pulp fiction as Stan and Jack were, so there'd be no reason for him to decide he was homo superior. He'd realize he was an utter freak because he has these weird powers that don't come from a science experiment or alien kidnapping, but by the same token, he wouldn't be thinking in terms of biology or evolution.
At least in the early issues, almost none of the mutants knew they were mutants until Xavier or Magneto told them so. That was the point of some stories, 'is the Blob/Namor/the Stranger a mutant?'
I love the 'what if?' idea that the X-Men could have been kept separate from the rest of the Marvel Universe. I doubt Lee and Kirby were even thinking in such terms yet, they were still cranking out funnybooks. And anyway, The FF had already met the Hulk, the Sub-Mariner had returned and Spider-Man was close to meeting Dr. Doom. If they thought about it at all, they were already on the side of 'merged universe.' Probably why Kirby did keep the New Gods and Eternals separate as much as possible.
Towards the end of last year, I finally acquired almost every new Ditko comic over, like the last decade. At some point, I was doing a rant on social media, and [naming no names] made a point that "It’s not like anybody will ask him if he wants to prevent [Party] from ever [REDACTED] again, or if he will protect [Opposite Party]s right to [REDACTED]. Without asking him that question, he is free to have it both ways...
"Like a f*cking Steve Ditko character. Ok, there you go. That’s [Politician]. Bouncing across the line whenever it’s convenient because he knows he’ll get away with it. And he’ll never ever be challenged on this. He’ll never ever have to stand on his principles and consistently defend/oppose a [Party]/[Opposite Party]'s right to [REDACTED]."
Someone I am friends with on social media responded "Kudos for referencing Speedball in a political tirade." I hadn't even been thinking of Speedball, just Ditko characters in general, but it made perfect sense. And Robbie is a teenager, who makes mistakes, unlike the Ditko/Rand's adult heroes. I don't know how Marvel convinced Ditko to try it again, but he really did try to give them another "Spider-Man." I'm convinced that's why they've kept Speedball and Squirrel Girl around for so long.
As a kid, I only owned the Bloodstone Hunt part that focused on the undersea diving hjinx, which I think is really good and cinematic in nature, When I finally got the ending, I remember being disappointed--the ending seems really rushed and incomprehensible at times.
I think outside the circus, wrestling is probably the most "typical" superhero profession for super-powered non-hero characters. Aside from Unus, we had Spider-Man do it (at least in the first movie) and both Sharon Venture and Songbird (as Screaming Mimi) started out in the profession as well.
Seriously, I'd be so for a Kinnikuman-style Marvel comic universe. (SUPERHEROES TAKING THE FATE OF THE WORLD TO THE RING!!!)
I never thought I'd see the day where characters literally/actually considered jokes at one time like Speedball and Squirrel Girl would be treated seriously and given a TV show. (sure it's actually a New Warriors/GLA fusion show but still...)
I know the comment is 5 years old, but as a pretty big rassling fan myself I gotta agree that a match where one guy cant get touched would be boring as hell. With Marvel's character pool you could put on some damn good wrestling as well.
Genuinely don't understand why anyone with the power that Killgrave has would risk being exposed by turning to supervillainy. Money would be unnecessary really but if you were clever you'd just ask for a high paying job, so as to throw off suspicion from the IRS and stuff. Never steal or get anything super cheap, but never pay loads either. You'd want for nothing and nobody would ever expect anything illegal - and I guess technically you wouldn't be breaking the law anyway.
Of course I can only imagine that such powers would only increase any perhaps latent characteristics like greed, megalomania and masochism - ala Tennant'so excellent portrayal in JJ.
My thought is if Diablo was based in Transylvania of all places...wouldn't that be close enough to Latveria that Doom would know about him and that he was probably someone to not mess with...or ignore since...well, Doom? (heck, it would have been cool if Doom had some of Diablo's research for his own)
@Luis Dantas: The "Adam Warlock in the Ultraverse" storyline did not include a new origin. Warlock had travelled to the Ultraverse in pursuit of Rune and the stolen Infinity Gems. For some reason that was never explained, Warlock did not arrive on then-present-day Ultra-Earth but on the massive alien construct called the Godwheel five thousand years in the past. While there, Warlock fought and was killed by Rune's past self and a cocoon formed around his body. In the late 1990s, operatives working for the Earth intelligence agency Aladdin discovered Warlock's cocoon in (nearby?) space and brought it to Earth where scientists determined that the occupant was quite dead. Then, the Black September event happened and reality was retroactively altered so that Warlock was now still alive within the cocoon. He recovered, escaped and had some adventures before preparing to return to Marvel Earth-616.
I have a theory that around the time Deadpool became popular, Jen didn't want to be associated with this crazy loon and downplayed her meta-aware aspects. It would explain how she's much less of a fourth wall breaker nowadays.
Reading through these entries sequentially... it's weird to my brain to see so-called "80s artist" June Brigman and "90s artist" Jim Lee on the same title in the same 12-month period (not to mention Portacio) since I was 12 when I started regularly reading comics in 1992, so 1986/87 seems positively ancient to me (or did back then). But it's interesting to see where the "superstars" came from.
Regardless of what in-universe retcon for Warlock's origin Starlin may have planned, to me the meta reason for changing his origin seems pretty obvious. Almost all of Starlin's pet characters (Thanos, Drax, Moondragon, Gamora, Pip) were created by him, except for Warlock. So by retconning the character's origin he's reclaiming Warlock for himself. When he says Warlock wasn't created by the Hive, it seems Starlin is also saying he wasn't created by Kirby and Lee. Which isn't a completely unfair thing to say; certainly this incarnation of Warlock is way different from the one Kirby and Lee introduced, so he owes much more to Starlin than to them.
This issue and #4 look to me a lot like a declaration of catharsis.
Magus is presented in #4 as a corrupted father figure of some sort, and the ending of this issue essentially says that Warlock has come of age and no longer needs to define himself as a function of the Magus' approval.
(con) leading to the fears that people have on these "new evolved humans" and allowing for other fear-mongers like Trask to emerge with his own crazy ideas and lead eventually to the Sentinels. The tension that the mutant community has at this point isn't as big as it will eventually become, but you can sort of see where Lee and Kirby were probably going with the initial intent, before things got off the rails both in other writer intent or in creating similar concepts such as, say, the Inhumans.
As much as many (myself included) bemoan how much of a problem the Marvelverse is due to having mutants alongside so many other superbeings, a lot of it is from looking at it from now instead of from then. The ideas are here, it just needs development...but with how huge and almost segregated mutant ideas eventually became, its almost like it evolved in that fashion when the beginning does show that the X-Men belong as much as the other heroes in the early Marvel dynamic.
Thinking from the perspective of 1963, and not from later retcons and universe building (both from the X-side and in general), the idea of mutants emerging now and the idea of a "homo superior" starting to appear really is something that could be considered a frightening concept to humanity. The other heroes appearing at this time were more or less fluke accidents based on their situations: experiments gone horribly wrong as is typically seen in mad science stories, with some of whom fighting even from the get-go to prove themselves, some succeeding (the Fantastic 4), others...not so much (Jamison's anti-Spider-Man articles), and still others still not sure where they belong. (basically the Hulk, who was in this weird period of being a founding Avenger but still not having the trust of, say, the Thing and will eventually be seen as more of a monster with events beyond this)
On the other hand, we have mutants, a brand new subset that has "evolved" from humanity. As of the publishing of X-Men #1 (and, as said, without crap like Apocalypse or Wolverine to taint it), it had been exactly 18 years since Hiroshima, matching the idea of how young Xavier's first class is while allowing for others who perhaps emerged prior to then to possibly appear such as, well, Xavier or Magneto. Xavier wants to make it like they are just another phase of humanity and gain acceptance, but several such as Magneto or the Vanisher emerge that prove otherwise; (char limit, see below)
Well, fnord, SUPER belatedly responding to your comment, wasn't Diablo complaining that his landlady was forcing him to waste "precious potions" on such disguise spells that would be required for Mr. Olbaid?
The X-Men books later do a similar creative team swap years later when Claremont moves from X-Treme X-Men to Uncanny X-men, Chuck Austen moves from Uncanny X-Men to X-Men and Whedon's Astonishing replaces X-Treme.
If those examples are deemed highbrow or recherche, let's not forgot that the James Bond films introduced Americans to ninja in the 60s with "You Only Live Twice" and Sydney Pollack's "The Yakuza", starring Robert Mitchum as well as a number of top Japanese actors was released in 1974 and covered some topics relevant to what Miller was doing.
As early as the mid-50s, Japanese culture was a topic discussed among the veatniks, includibg books on Zen Buddhism by the lijes of Alan Watts and DT Suzuki. Japanese cinema included not just the Godzilla movies but films like Rashomon, Ugetsu, Yojimbo, and The Seven Samurai (the latter two being adapted as Westerns) being shown in art houses. Translations of contemporary fiction by Mishima Yukio, Kawabata Yasunari, and Tanizaki Junichiro, and others found American readers, and the practice of Japanese martial arts became more common. (Actually, Theodore Roosevelt had practiced judo decades earlier!)
Japanese culture was not was widespread, certainly, but it was just as surely not simply unavailable.
"I don't think Claremont or Miller knew anything more about Japan than what they read in Shogun and Lone Wolf and Cub."
It is very hard to argue about this. However, it was hard for over 90% of Americans to have any knowledge of real Japanese history and culture in 1982. Even anime as pop culture references was limited to Speed Racer and Battle of the Planets in 1982. Voltron was still two years away. Simply having read Clavell's Shogun probably made you an "expert" compared to your friends. The generation of Americans kids in the eighties was probably the first where World War II was not the immediate and sole reference in regards to the Japanese.
So yes, the depiction of Japan in comics of the era doesn't age well. Newer generations than Claremont and Miller have much more familiarity.
Even compared to the Snake Eyes stories in GI Joe, they don't hold up as well in their depiction of Japanese culture. But Larry Hama was of Japanese heritage himself and thereby much more familiar with authentic Japanese culture.
Who knows what Starlin intended to do by casting doubts on the origin of Warlock here.
It should however be pointed out that after the end of Warlock and Infinity Watch, a couple of years after this story, Warlock was next seen in the Ultraverse. It was eventually claimed that he is actually originated in the Ultraverse of milennia ago.
Whether that corresponds to any degree with Starlin's plans, if he even had any, I have no idea.
Our last commenter loves some Steve Gerber, as do I. Jason Sacks has a book collecting Steve's interviews, coming soon! I am at least friends with a good friend of Steve's, which is deeply cool to me.
I didn't read this until a time when Wolvie's series had yet to debut, and it was so different from the superhero stuff! I regarded it as one of those stories that make you think Comics are going to be full of the Awesome. I still have much of Frank's DD run to read. When I still had the slightest understanding of Japan, this was a delightful gateway to its mystique. His alternative views on romance also piqued my interest. Most of all as an adolescent, I was fascinated by its studied take on Machismo. Southern culture made great hay of how one becomes and is a Man. The Honor stuff was deeply personally influential. And yes, it's very different than Gerber's ideas about violence!
A story about some jackass who out of nowhere attacks Spider-Man -- shooting at him as he swings by in public, or assaults him while he's trying to save lives, causing a big distraction -- would be interesting. A sort of inside-out version of CIVIL WAR's Stanford Incident, with civilians causing a catastrophe rather than a super-hero being to blame.
Thanks for the insightful comments Omar, always good to read. I do agree that the problem so far as there is one has only been made more apparent as the number of retcons playing on mutant hysteria and extending mutant history increased over the years. I'm still not sure I would consider it a huge pothole, but as I said originally I can certainly see the logic behind the idea of separate universes.
In the letter columns reprinted in the Amazing Spider-Man Marvel Masterworks, letters complaining about Ditko's art are plentiful. I think here Stan is anticipating those kinds of letters whining about Thor's look in these pages.
Also, Strucker's return here doesn't really fit with how he was reintroduced in the modern era. Why isn't he running HYDRA? Why is he going after Captain America, someone he's never really fought before, instead of taking on, say, Nick Fury?
The problems set in when retcons show anti-mutant hysteria prior to these early X-Men stories, and when all super-powers are linked to a common cause via the giant retcons that merge the Eternals and Celestials with the Marvel Universe, itself something Kirby doesn't seem to have intended. Mutants go from being an emergent phenomenon of the Atomic Age to being, essentially, people who express a particular recessive gene -- the "x-gene;" they'e less a new species than a particular subspecies within homo sapiens (to the point that a few stories revise the nomenclature from "homo superior" to "Homo sapiens superior").
The late 1980s complicate things by having mutants who emerged as far back as prehistory (Selene) and ancient Egypt (Apocalypse). And then the 1990s reveal that the governments of the world have been experimenting on mutants for decades and that there are decades-spanning conspiracies and a long history of awareness of and fear of mutants. It's at this point that the differing public reaction to mutants, as opposed to other superpeople, becomes increasingly difficult to explain.
This very story helps explain why there's some mutant fear among the general public: Magneto does stuff like take over military bases and does so explicitly in the name of "mutantkind." Unlike other villains and heroes in this era, many of the mutant characters define themselves as mutants first and foremost in their public exploits. Think about the Vanisher running around telling everyone he's homo superior in issue #2, or the Blob learning he's a mutant an immediately taking over his carnival. Along with people like Bolivar Trask writing scare articles about how mutants will take over the world, this would explain the slowly growing phobia of mutants that we see across the first fourteen or so issues of "Uncanny" X-Men.
Stan and Jack came up with the angle a bit late -- it first shows up in #5, and doesn't become public hysteria until #8 or so -- and so the early X-Men issues show people (mutant and nonmutant alike) learning this crazy new "homo superior" term and taking in all the implications. It's strongly hinted that mutants are an Atomic Age phenomenon in some way: many of the early mutant origins involve parents working with nuclear power, for example.
So the X-Men and Magneto are, in these early stories, shaping public perceptions of mutants through their actions and public statements.Here and in the "origins" backups later in the 60s, It seems as if the government has only just started investigating this wave of mutant emergence, too.
Hmm, my comics knowledge is somewhat sketchier than most on this site, but I've always been under the impression that there are times at least when Spider-Man is loved by everyone in New York (at least) not named Jameson. Again I'd think you'd need to separate people like Sue Storm and Reed Richards from Ben Grimm and Bruce Banner and the like, who's powers separate them from 'being human' from the off. Biologically they are Homo Sapien and not this new 'Homo Superior' but for the average work-a-day citizen that won't mean much when he see's a walking orange boulder coming his way.
I do agree though that general approval is just not a thing for heroes, for the most part, which is of course what leads to stories like Civil War (for better or worse!)
The sad thing is, the Serpent Society is already on the downslope here. Their first and only major high point was killing MODOK. Now, in their next appearance, three of them have their asses handed to them by Cap and Diamondback doesn't even manage to kill Porcupine, he slips up and kills himself. Plus Diamondback is suddenly distracted by her desire for Cap, which is obviously going to cause conflicts with the Society down the road. And they have to kick out Princess Python... which leads to Death Adder getting killed, a murder the Society vows to avenge but plays no part in actually avenging (not that they didn't at least try - the scenes of them roughing up AIM and the Circus of Crime were great).
And it's not much longer before the Viper tears the Society apart from within and Sidewinder has to part company with the group. Under Cobra's leadership, even with a bigger lineup and more time to gain experience working together, they are never as much of a threat as they were in their very first mission.
Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human (1953) has been cited as an influence, with its assemblage of mutants. Really enjoyed the novel.
Spider-Man and his mysterious origins and motives never seemed to have more than half the populace unafraid. The FF's origins might be decently well-known, but the Thing had a pretty tough time being accepted, too. Superhumans outside of Cap (peak human- might be a factor?)
Hardly have general approval. Fear or hope are often general modes in everyone's way of looking at the mixed-up world-triggered by different things, but definitive presuppositions. Mutants are potentially such a terrific metaphor for fear of Change.
I would argue that there is perhaps some merit to the idea that the 'Mutants' could originally have been intended to inhabit a separate universe, or rather that Lee, Kirby and co. would have enacted such a separation with hindsight. However, I'm not convinced that the public hatred of mutant kind - and the massive role said persecution has played in X-Men comics right through the years - as it compares to the general acceptance, or even love, for figures such as Spidey and the F4 is in reality a plothole - at least not a large one.
Mutants are regularly referred to as a biologically different species, the fear then being that Homo Sapiens are going to be replaced entirely by the inevitability of implacable - and thus terrifying - forces of evolution. Homo Sapiens with powers are not the same in the all-too-important specifics of the matter. Though I am aware that it is difficult to explain why the general populace would know that Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four are simply powered humans as opposed to mutants, unaware as they are of the incidences behind the acquiring of their powers. I still think it serves to notice the difference, however.
This is exactly what Kirby did like no one else. The 1973 reprint popped up in my Christmas comics box, the only one I ever got. At age seven, it scared my little Christian corduroys off! Too bad I didn't have the action-packed sequel. Another cool Silver Age idea explosion, one of the last world-building innovations of its time, which made Marvel far more wondrous than simply the world outside your window.
Tony, I wonder if Chris Claremont originally intended to merge the Steven Lang story with his outer space opus with the Shi'ar. But then later they were both kept separate stories. But I have in fact, noticed that too. Or were the Shi'ar helping Lang destroy mutants, even then? Did they possibly, at that early date, realize that this Jean Grey woman was connected, even genetically connected, to unimaginable cosmic power? And wanted to get rid of her as a threat to the Empire? So they were keeping a close eye on events.
And did we ever get a name for the captain of that Shi'ar ship?
Techno-organic(ish) sleeper agents targeting mutants is an idea that will be reused for Operation: Zero Tolerance. My recollection is that the Phalanx storyline doesn't do much with it, or less than the OZT story, at any rate.
Cable's "old-man" ways rubbing off on them, maybe?
That's a pretty good point. My impression is that Nicieza writes X-Force at pretty much the same age as he writes New Warriors, and that his approach to both feels a bit like MTV's The Real World (ie early 20-somethings) but with superpowers
Probably goes without saying but this approach can grate at times...
I look forward to rereading #55-6 but #54 has writing that is Silver Age @ its silliness. Now yes, May met Otto previously but calling him Dr. Octopus (not Octavius) plays into the worst expectations, and he's not wearing the arms around her. I was frustrated Peter ditches Gwen and MJ to meet the new boarder, though I realize eyewitness Gwen would've strengthened the case against Otto- as if Peter's too naive to be credible. But hey, I have discovered how strongly people stick to assessments, especially with her unbending opinion of Spider-Man. It's a bit embarrassing how hard Stan's trying to recapture what the Ditko Master Planner plot made work so well, like the angry rampage coming against the Ock Squad.
It's quite well drawn though. You know, it just hit me: Gwen and MJ have to this point not been hostages, and that's rather refreshing. And reading via Essentials, 54 has been the sole stinker in a long stretch. JJJ was a bit goofy in the Kingpin finale, but particularly from the Lizard on, it's been fun and rather cool reading, Daddy-o!
The strip is gradually heading to darker times and tones, but this is delightful, if a bit over-scripted.
In reference to the "sketchy" art, it's worth remembering that Marvel was using really cheap paper at the time. Thin lines disappeared and colors looked blotchy because of the coarseness of the surface. Pull these comics now and you'll find they've yellowed, while silver age comics are still white if they were stored properly.
This story is a perfect example of a significant trend, particularly for the time: the tale which by rights should have changed the status quo, but is not allowed to.
While the Silver Surfer's attitude changes towards Warlock and Thanos have been acknowledged and explained (albeit in a somewhat incomplete way), Thor should have gone through similar changes by now, but that is not allowed to be even addressed, presumably because the writers and editors prefer to lead the plot of the coming months in some other direction. And rightfully so, in this case. Thor would become an accessory to Warlock's plots as opposed to his own character, much like the Silver Surfer did at this point and Doctor Strange became part of the background for Midnight Sons.
Still, we could at least have a clearer examination of the causes for Thor's frustration. Smashing the Valkyrie so that Sif can now cosplay as her does not seem like much reassurance of Thor's improved mental health to me. I would much rather see his somewhat-latent jealousy of Eric and Bill faced up front.
Since he has an original copy of #103, I suspect he does it this way to avoid cutting up his Essential Thor more than he already has. You'll see this happen sometimes where he has a long run of comics in a trade and even though they should be broken up in places or some issues should go with other entries from a strict chronological perspective, he'll keep them together unless it's absolutely necessary to split them.
It seems to me that the story from JIM #104 belongs with the previous grouping of JIM issues as its events appear to follow very soon after the previous tale without the whole Hulk-FF-Lava men excursion with the Avengers.
Very enjoyable site to visit as I am reading through some early Masterworks collections this spring!
My gosh, Jenni exactly nailed that. Peter seems to get it, that he's reacting as though he and Flash are back at their former dynamic, for it's not just Flash Peter thought had grown: it's himself! Unresolved Mom issues?
At the core Pete knows it is he himself keeping the important secret between them and probably, he feels guilty several ways- and that's what powers his self-esteem issue regarding Gwen. I agree it's cringeworthy, and yet once they thought up the bit, in the ongoing quest for soap opera, they couldn't pass up the chance to throw Pete's bailouts back in his face. It's a consequence of this life of power he keeps secret!
But we each have occasion to give less stellar accounts of ourselves- no less so at that age. But particularly, Pete doesn't have much experience with having a girlfriend- especially one who moves among the pool of your single friends.
It IS boorish of Flash BTW.
And Gwen wasn't there for the humiliation and inequality of those high school years.
Perhaps dynamics between friends of opposite sexes had not matured to their present potential. But I really think it's his orphan status (yes I know about Ben and May but he still lost his parents) and more crucially his secret that fuels Pete's neurosis. Not to mention long years of ostracism.
This new Frightful Four team may well be the best that the Wizard has ever assembled and certainly the She-Thing is the most powerful female member that Wiz has ever recruited. If not for Wizard's mistake of throttling the Torch and opening up a pocket of non-causality, Sharon Ventura would have finished off Susan Storm permanently......
I believe the mysterious observer watching Steven Lang watch the X-Men is just the Uhura-like officer on the bridge of the Shi'ar ship seen in #105. If you look closely, you can see the design on both characters' arms is virtually identical. It would make sense for her to be monitoring Davan Shakari-related events on Earth while they're pursuing Lilandra.
The reason why X-Force didn't appear in any of the Infinity miniseries was that it would have been too expensive since Josh Brolin wanted to be paid double his salary to play both Thanos and Cable at the same time :)
I'm more annoyed by the depiction of Cassie in this story. Her character beat is that she idolizes her father. Her dialogue is totally off. It's the type of thing her mother might grip about, but Cassie would "understand." (It's like someone accidentally stapled a Thunderstrike subplot to this story.)
Streranko could turn a sack of Lama dung into something visually stimulating. If this guy could have kept one wheel on the rails to stay with a project, there would be a shrine of him on Liberty Island. Issue #1 cover art is one of the most mind grabbing, irrevant chic covers still to date. There will never be another Steranko of combined concept and form
If a good break ensures your ability to persist with this wonderful project over the long haul, I can only encourage you. But as someone who has so freely given so much to the online comics community, you shouldn't be begrudged whatever time you need for other things. Even reviewing some of the best material has to be quite an effort and I'm amazed you haven't burned out while going through less enjoyable stuff. Yours is an admirable and impressive labor of love and I salute you.
Preach it brother. O'Neil's Spidey run was a real drag for me. Most of the reasons have been outlined above, and I'd like to add that the villains were just the worst. Totally forgettable run outside of the annuals and a cool Frank Miller cover.
His DD run was solid and his Iron man stint was borderline great, but he didn't seem to have much interest in the Web Head.
One thing younger readers might not realize from fnord's 1993 page was that it wasn't just Marvel that was going crazy in 1993. In the summer of 1993, Superman returned from the dead, Azrael replaced Bruce Wayne as Batman. The summer of 1993 was in many ways the climax of 1990s craziness. And then the industry collapsed and everyone started getting desperate.
It seems like, based on your recaps and scans, the crossover is structured in such a way that if you were just reading each individual series, you wouldn't feel like you were missing anything if you didn't buy the other chapters, despite Nomad and Bucky's involvement in the other books. Nomad is left in the desert in #5 of his series and just shows up with Daredevil and Punisher in #6, but getting Daredevil #309 wouldn't tell you anything about how he got from one place to the other, each book seems to have their own "climaxes" for the crossover, and even when it comes to the meeting of villains each book seems to further different subplots (hell, PWJ #46 is the only non-Daredevil appearance of "Snakeskin" you have tagged). The one exception is that War Journal readers *might* want to pick up the Daredevil and Nomad climaxes in #309 and #6 respectively (only) to fill in the period between last issue and this one, but then going back and filling in the rest of Daredevil and Nomad's parts of the crossover might be more confusing than enlightening due to the hiccups with scheduling and coordination. And ultimately, for those reasons the relative independence of the titles, which has the effect of making it less than effective at cross-pollinating the audiences of the various books, might not be entirely intentional, but rather the writers taking a general outline of what's going on, a general setting and some semblance of a shared plot, and finding their own angles on it.
The story strongly implies that Llyra is somehow causing Peter's sudden, obsessive attraction to her. Even after she reveals her true form, he's unable to harm her, and Namor says that he is "under her spell." Presumably it's some application of the telepathic powers she uses to control sea life.
I love that scene in the net, I mean to me it's not deminishing the other, theoretically much more dangerous, villains, to me it's showing how by facing huge danger after huge danger, Peter is now overconfident, and that confidence almost resulted in his death. It's appropriate to me, very human.
On a different note, how can MJ freaking hit a rat directly?? Do you know what kind of reflexes they have? Wait, could this be a sign... that she's a mutant?!
Well, I am! They might not be the greatest comics, but they are what I started with, so it will be a huge nostalgia fest for me! Especially the Clone Saga! That had just wrapped up when I got into comics, so the discount bins were full of issues dealing with it. So it was easy for me to collect what felt like an epic story, without it dragging on for years and years. So I might be the only person in the world, but I have many fond memories of the Clone Saga and am really looking forward to it being covered!
A quick note about the DIsney conflict. The information I have is that the newspaper strip was not the reason Disney contacted Marvel about infringement concerns. They didn't even care about the comic book as far as U. S. publication went. They contacted Marvel because they were getting complaints from foreign licensees about Howard the Duck comics being sold in countries outside the United States.
There's also no evidence that a lawsuit was threatened over the matter. Disney just noted that they felt there was a problem, and Marvel agreed to fix it. There doesn't appear to have been any belligerence on Disney's part.
"Cordwainder Fury" is presumably based on the pseudonym "Cordwainer Bird" that Harlan Ellison used when he didn't want his name on a story. "Cordwainer" from the great sf writer Cordwainer Smith, but also literally a shoemaker, i.e. a journeyman, not a real artist, and "Bird" as in giving the editor the bird. Not sure why you'd need an alias for "plot", since that's not something that's normally credited anyway.
I had a lot of problems with the continuity of all 4 parts of this. Usually Gage is on the ball with this but I feel like he didn't care about the context of what was going on in the time periods he cherry picked, just the lineups.
Bibs, my point with those lines is that there are incongruities between this and the start of Hidden Years. For example, if Iceman was angry enough at the beginning of Hidden Years to quit the team, then you'd think you'd see a little of that anger building up here. This story was published after Hidden Years so it would have been possible for Gage to add a few lines to help things fit better. Just a small point, noting how continuity inserts often feel isolated from the period they are integrating with. And it's especially noticeable in this period since so many inserts were placed in the same period.
Mel Rubi mixed McFarlane e Jim Lee on his run on The Grifter ( Image Comics 1996 ).
John Cleary ( Satan's Six - Topps Comics ) and Stephen Platt ( Moon Knight - somewhere in Supermegamonkey ) are similar to the Toddster. Ciao from Milan, Italy.
Is this Ron Wilson the Ron Wilson we all know from the seventies and eighties? His style is unrecognizable. If it is, he was clearly trying to go down the Herb Trimpe path of changing his art to mimic the times.
I love how the covers of all these issues try to make us care about the parents mystery. The one fnord links in the Black Cat section ("More tantalizing CLUES about Spider-Man's parents!") is especially hilarious to me.
I wrote in to MCP to tell them that this had to be the absolute worst story that had ever appearing in the series. That tells you just how incredibly bad this story was; even with my much-less-discerning teenage standards I found "House of Rave" to be totally abominable.
I remember reading that Handbook entry and assuming that the material was actually taken from a book somewhere. Seems like a pretty important point to introduce in the OHOTMU. They even state that Thena's real name is Zura and that she deliberately took on the "Thena" name after meeting Athena in order to further the confusion in the minds of humans.
The opening and closing chapters are by Lobdell/Lightle/Palmiotti. The opening is 4 pages and the end is 8 pages. The middle chapters are all 6 pages, including an opening splash. So it doesn't seem like regular Marvel Comics Presents length, but it could just have been designated as a one-shot after it was plotted but before it was penciled.
On the other hand, Kavanagh was also the regular Excalibur editor, so this could have always been intended as a one-shot.
Wow, Who'd have thought a 90s' issue of Namor would have a handful of good little character moments? fnord, I really dig what you pointed out about The Thing being able to relate better with "working class" villains due to his own blue collar upbringing. It's true, for the longest time many heroes were crusading attorneys and newspaper publishers and scientists, this is an area of Ben's personality and appeal sadly unexplored for the most part.
I see a one-shot divided into "chapters" with Terry Kavanagh as editor and I immediately think "Marvel Comics Presents overflow", but fnord lists seven art teams, not the five I would expect given the 48-page length Mike's Amazing World lists. Are the "chapters" irregular length or are they all six pages without splashes?
I was sort of talking on another board about "The Trial of Yellowjacket" trade, and it just sort of really makes me happy I read this part of the story, particularly with how it really feels like a prologue to Molecule Man's usage in Secret Wars. While some probably aren't a fan of bringing the mundane to cosmic characters, I think the way that Shooter does it with both him and Korvac does bring a human element to both characters. I sort of wish Tigra got to also come with to the Battleworld after reading this storyline I admit and maybe further her own development if only to avoid the hell that Englehart brought upon her...but eh, it's lucky enough she was chosen for the WCA while they were all gone. (but still, just the idea of Greer and Molecule Man continuing what was started here...)
It's a normal fill-in that stretches out to double length thanks to lots and lots and lots of padding, and Rapier is characterized incredibly pretentiously. There;'s like a page long narration about how's he really a poor, tormented soul, and this is after the big reveal that this is all an old mob vendetta. Similarly, his origin -- which amounts to "left for dead, found by sympathetic family of innocents, trained himself back up to seek revenge" -- somehow takes three pages of overwrought prose to tell. The whole story has that problem: humdrum stuff with purple prose that tries to sell it as deep and meaningful.
It's mentioned that the Maggia and the Halwani Freedom Front are sponsoring Mace's planned attack on Luke Cage, which is a nice nod to Cage's run-ins with the Hammerhead and Scimitar. Stern is great at those incidental details that flesh out the Marvel Universe.
Interestingly, Stern doesn't directly state that the Smuggler is Josten until issue #54, but enough hints are certainly provided here, and he's still wearing the updated Power Man costume he used in Avengers #164.
There's a great little sequence with Jonah Jameson and Robbie Robertson when the Tiger is dumped in front of the Daily Bugle, where Jonah's hatred of superheroes is briefly shaken by the sight of a young adult like Hector Ayala being brutalized.
I would consider Raoul (Roald?) Bushman one of the scarier villains to come out in this period. Unlike today, when every female co-ed gets a "rebelious"tattoo to be different like everybody else, the idea of a skull death mask tattoo had to be pretty wild concept back then. Add in filed teeth and the guy would look a right nightmare.
Also he's an African warlord (there are lots of them in the real world) and one of the few African villains not to be a Black Panther foe.
It's really interesting to re-read these issues knowing what came afterwards, that what was actually happening here was that Loki, due to a time travel encounter with Eric Masterson as Thor, knew he was destined to be killed in battle with Thor. So he worked with Mephisto and manipulated all of these events to push Thor into seemingly him, when in fact his soul slipped into Odin's body, and Odin's soul ended up in that sack in Mephisto's realm. Then, of course, Loki-as-Odin arranged for Eric to gain Thor's powers, so that future events would play out as they were supposed to.
Interesting long-term plotting by DeFalco & Frenz here, as well as a nice use of what Doctor Who would later refer to as "wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff."
Ditto. O'Neil's good with dialogue, but his plots always seems phoned in, and the book ends up doing Len Wein-style wheel-spinning. For some time now, the major character development and supporting cast work has been happening in Spectacular, where Mantlo and Stern have been bringing in the same kinds of unconventional and new villains O'Neil brings here. Even the Deb Whitman stuff started over in that book, and O'Neil is simply following suit in his own work, giving repeated iterations of Peter ditching Deb rather than moving anything forward.
'More broadly, it's hard to tell what the point of this book really is. Mantlo tried to tell some stories about college-related issues in some of his run on Spectacular, in however clumsy a fashion, and Stern is showing s Peter Parker accepting adult responsibilities and transitioning into a recognizable version of grad school. But O'Neil is mostly just pushing things here back to the old status quo of Peter working for the Bugle, flaking out in both of his identities, and even needing Aunt May's pep talks to figure out the right thing to do.
The odd part is that the two Annuals are really superb stories; perhaps Miller co-plotting makes the difference there, or perhaps it's that O'Neil has more to say about the Punisher and Doctor Strange than he has to say about Spider-Man.
Really love some the insane and incredible visuals with a number of the early Marvel villains straight out of the 'monster age'. Ben Grimm playing kiloton-Jonah in the bowels of a magnificent bipedal Mobyzilla is just brilliant on a whole other level, like off the charts insane and I love it.
I hope after this serial and the last one Wolverine figured out that vacationing on tropical islands was a bad idea.
Erik Larsen only plotted the first five chapters. The sixth chapter was written solely by Chris Marrinan. It was an extra chapter that got added on because there was still one issue left before MCP crossed over into "Siege of Darkness" and presumably there weren't any one-off Wolverine stories lying around to fill the space. Still, if you're going to eat up eight pages, having Logan and Doc Samson fighting an alien-possessed gorilla armed with enormous guns is not a bad way to go.
Dan Slott once told me that this originally was going to run six parts, and that he had all sorts of ideas that he didn't get to used, such as Wolverine and Cyber hanging off the wig of an airplane while chained together. I still think it turned out pretty well, thanks to the amazing Steve Lightle artwork.
Seems extreme at first, the idea of a guy so upset at a woman out-shooting him that he's willing to kidnap and murder kids -- but then you remember in the real world you have men sending out death threats because of women's faces on banknotes... :-(
While I'm not a huge fan of O'Neill's run, I do like the way this issue shows why a guy like Mesmero can't just go into entertainment or do the Killgrave thing and use his powers quietly to enrich himself: he's an egotist and a sadist, so he ruins his stage act by humiliating the guests and going full supervillain the moment anyone criticizes him.
Of course, this also makes him look like a pretty incompetent villain, but I suppose that's what he is.
Roger Stern eventually retconned the Vulture so that his flight harness gives him minor superhuman strength.
That retcon actually happens in this very story; in #45, Spidey notes that "the power pack in his flight suit boosts his strength so that he's almost in my league."
And it's rather funny to realize that the Vulture ended up with the last name "Toomes" mostly because Marv Wolfman came up with a punny name for his mortician nephew. Though it works with the vulture image, too.
Believe it or not, those issues were my first exposure to Marvel Comics Presents when I bought them last year. Being unfamiliar with the title I was amazed to get Wolverine, Ghost Rider and Iron Fist all in the same book. Since then I bought many earlier issues. I still like the concept of character focus but wish it was three stories instead of four so there's be more room for each story. (Civil War II: Choosing Sides did something like that and it was pretty cool) I also wish three quarters of the stories weren't filler that never gets referenced in the future.
For years I didn't know the Sunfire/through-the-portal story existed. I had the single issues of 281-283, and the 'Coming of Bishop' tpb which said it had issues 282-285 and 287-288. But it had nothing with Sunfire or Mikhail in it. And because I never had the following Morlock tunnel issues I never knew anything about Mikhail 'til he came back again in the lead-up to The Twelve.
The order of Goliath's appearances are muddled at this point due to the dialogue in Avengers 382. Erik seems to disappear in Wonder Man 25. When we see him next in Avengers 382, he's a prisoner in the Kosmos dimension. So you might think that Erik went directly from Wonder Man 25 to the Kosmos dimension. Unfortunately, we get an explanation that Mockingbird's disruption of his powers in Avengers West Coast 92 enabled criminals from Kosmos to contact him in prison and he escaped prison and started growing. So you'd think that Avengers West Coast 92 was his last appearance before Avengers 382. But Wonder Man 25 CAN'T take place before Avengers West Coast 92, since War Machine is a member of the Avengers West Coast in Wonder Man 22-25, and he didn't join until Avengers West Coast 93.
This is the first published story by Glenn Greenberg. I enjoyed this one, since it was one of the best 8-page stand-alone tales to run in the book in a while. I was a regular MCP letterhack at this time, so when I wrote in about #132 I said some very nice things about Greenberg's story. Since this was the very beginning of his professional writing career my comments must have stood out to him, and a couple of decades later, when I friended him on Facebook, he thanked me for the kind words.
I quite liked this series when I first read it during first run, and when I reread it several years later, I thought it held up. I was sad when it was canceled and even sadder years later when I read the series all at once; it would have been a fun thing to see continue to develop. I imagine Byrne probably had at least 50 issues planned out. The pacing never really bothered me, but I wonder if I'd still think the same if I reread it now, even more years down the line.
This may be the wrong place for this, but I had to nitpick... regarding your opening comment about Untold Tales of Spider-Man: "It only lasted 25 issues, plus two annuals, but it's generally fondly remembered."
Wasn't UTOSM cancelled because they were dropping the 99-cent titles altogether and/or because Busiek's combination of increasing workload and unstable health put his continued presence on the title seriously in doubt? Roger Stern helped out a lot on the last handful of issues, otherwise they probably would not have come out on time and Busiek stopped working on Astro City altogether at about the same time.
My point simply being that UTOSM wasn't just cancelled for the normal reason of insufficient sales. It was selling well enough (AFAIK) that if it hadn't been a 99-cent title, they might have simply put it on hiatus until Busiek could come back to it. But given that they were blowing up the 99-cent line anyway, it was a case of "now or never" to wrap the title up at #25.
(Also, in addition to the annuals, there was that infamous #-1 issue focusing on Pete's parents).
And I'm not ignoring your reply Jay, you're probably right in placing the back-up closer to XMHY #01, since the XM&SM + FFWGCM stories probably take place in more than one day. I have to read them and judge it for myself.
I love Stingray. I always dug the costume and the whole scientific intellectual angle. What I keep seeing, though, is a pattern where islands and/or the sea serve as perpetual settings for Stingray stories much as the jungle does for guys such as Tarzan or the Phantom. Stingray's aquatic hero nature pegs him down in a similar manner. And then there's Diane, who is usually portrayed as a damsel in distress wearing skimpy clothing (bikinis for her while Walter merely suits up) and who frequently needs rescuing by Stingray because she's his wife. Diane is supposed to be a smart lady but we rarely see that aspect of her, such as working alongside Walter on some project or having her help him out with the bad guys. Their characterization as a couple harkens back to Lee and Kirby's handling of Reed and Sue in the Fantastic Four. In the hands of a more thoughtful writer, you might end up with something along the lines of Grant Morrison's Animal Man run, where the fact that the protagonist was a married man was a crucial part of the series. The problem with Stingray's stories is that nobody has yet to try a different angle other than what we've kept seeing since the late 60s and that's a damn shame because it hasn't helped elevate him from lower tier status.
In the article, fnord12 wrote "Setting up the "something's wrong with Xavier" storyline that never came to fruition, when Jean switches back to a modified version of her original uniform, Xavier repeats dialogue to her that comes from when she first put on her school uniform in Uncanny X-Men #1."
Like the Phoenix Force becoming aware of Jean here, I suspect this was Byrne leading into Xavier's mental problems leading up to The Uncanny X-Men #106, caused by his mind connection to Lilandra. If he initially brushed her mind during his over-extending his abilities during his battle with the Z'nox...
If you scroll up about 7 replies from this, I answered your question. Byrne's captions tell us the preview story in X-Men #94 takes place 1 day before the beginning of X-Men: Hidden Years #1 which, in turn, takes place 3 days after the end of The (Uncanny) X-Men #66. That doesn't leave much time for 3 insert stories, one of which is quite epic (FF:WGCM).
Also, someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Crossbones has any actual superhuman powers, so why is he in the Vault? Unless if you wear a mask, have a villain name, and fight a superhero, they just stick you there just cause?
"Her power is that she drains your energy when you kiss her, so once you know that about her and decline to kiss here there isn't much she can do. Which is i guess why she's only ever appeared twice."In Marvel Comics Presents 9, she seemed to be able to drain Tyger Tiger's lifeforce just by touching her, so there should be no reason why she can't be as dangerous as Rogue if her powers work on bare skin to bare skin contact. (And you'd think Logan would wear gloves if that was the case.)
@Bibs, ofc i won't mind if you continue to point out potential conflicts. It's much appreciated.
@Mortificator, i agree, that word struck me as wrong, too. But then again it's the Index coordinator, George Olshevsky, who coined the term (in the context of fictional chronologies, and as far as i know). I guess it means the characters aren't saying what we think they're saying because at the time they were saying it the story that would have contradicted them wasn't out yet. But imo that's not how "topical" should be used. The Index's explanation works even if we ignore the topical part, luckily.
I think Cage is supposed to be on the phone with Ana and she's the one saying "they say hardcore doesn't sell"; note the lightning-bolt arrow attached to that balloon and how Cage seems to respond to that line to "Ana" in the next panel.
Judging by the lack of historical significance points, should I assume Harmony Young turns up alive later?
I agree that American Eagle is one of those ultra-obscure characters who was well suited to receiving stories in MCP, since it *could* have been a good venue to develop him. Instead we just got several throw-away stories by John Figueroa & Ron Wilson. and the timing of these stories was awful, because for a short time MCP really got stuck in a rut, what with every single issue featuring Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Iron Fist and American Eagle.
Wikipedia indicates that after his mini-run in MCP, American Eagle wouldn't pop up again for another 14 years, appearing in several issues of Thunderbolts. For a time that title really became the go-to place for reviving obscure characters.
I'm not disagreeing with the placement, but I don't get why the Index calls the first X-Men 60 mention a topical reference. Warren's father is a (very minor) Marvel character, not a contemporary celebrity or politician.
At the time I first read this story, I had no idea that Harmony Young was an existing character. I just thought Karl Bollers made up an ex-girlfriend for Cage in order to give him a reason to get involved in this story. But now I see, via fnord's character tag for Harmony, that she actually had multiple appearances in the past. That's sort of tacky on the part of Bollers, having a long-running supporting character get murdered off-panel. I certainly understand why fnord cites this as an example of "women in refrigerators" syndrome.
I agree with fnord's opinion of this one: nice artwork, but an underwhelming story. But that was the case with most of the Ghost Rider team-up stories that ran in MCP.
fnord thank you for the clarification. I can absolutely live with what you've stated.
I should've waited a few more issues before pointing this out, didn't know Angel costume was going to change in the next issues.
Like I've said before, I've started last month a X-Men chronolocal read, and I'm using your amazing work along with MCP to decide what to read next. Should I ever find anything that strikes me as odd I'll point it out for you if you don't mind.
That is some truly outstanding artwork! I've hardly seen any of Sandy Plunkett's work outside of several Marvel Universe Handbook entries. It's a nice blend of Neal Adams dynamics and Brian Bolland photo-realism. Great stuff!
Maybe his seeming death was when the remnants of the super-soldier serum burnt out, and after he was brought to the morgue he woke up (and started aging).
fnord, when I read the issues of Cable where Master Man appeared, I had this image in my head of him clawing his way out of an unmarked grave following the events of this MCP story. So, yes, I agree it's awkward but not impossible to reconcile these two stories.
One way or another, after this story what little was left of the derivative Super Soldier Serum in Wilhelm Lohmer's body must have somehow revived him from a death-like state, but when he emerged he was now an elderly, non-powered man. If he was vague or contradictory about the details in explaining his survival to Cable, it would be because the trauma and horror of nearly dying affected his memories.
This placement is based on the official Marvel Index, which the MCP also follows. Here's what the Index says about the first reference to Warren's parents, which is when Jean and Scott are borrowing his Maverick (a car): "said to have been sent by his parents, but this is a topical reference because Warren's father died several months before this story... it may have been sent by his mother, or it may be part of his inheritance".
The Index doesn't mention the second instance, when Cyclops tells Angel to let the police deal with Sauron, because that's what his father pays taxes for, and Angel doesn't contradict him. I guess both are just wrapped up in the heat of the argument.
When justifying the placement of this story, the Index also notes Angel's costume change. The "taxes" scene begins the Sauron sequence that continues through Angel's costume change.
I tend to not make changes to placement unless it's proven that the current placement can't work, and that's especially true when it's based on the original Index's placement.
It's a good catch though. I should have called all this out in the Considerations.
LMAO at the blow-up doll reference and Living Room "fate" bits.
That is one bad trip. I expected better from Cavalieri after his Huntress back-ups for DC, but the artistic switcheroos only help kill what passes for a plot here. Warrant and Cool Million are simply unsalvageable.
It's also an obvious setup for an ongoing Iron Fist series which would have stripped Danny of all the classic elements Byrne brought back during his Namor run. Like the things that made the character work in the first place.
I do wish we'd learned who the traitor was, though. Kinda.
Steve Lightle working on a Marvel book was such a rarity, I could easily see either the editors, Nocenti, or Lightle himself wanting to use the opportunity to illustrate a bunch of their characters in an "official" capacity.
I would give this a smidge of historical significance if this is the first appearance of Skeleton Ki, since he places a small but pivotal part in helping the Guardians of the Galaxy escape the Negative Zone prison, in DNA's classic run, but that might just be me...
Hang in there, Fnord! Just think - at this rate, you should be covering Thunderbolts by early 2019! You've gotta keep at it. I really want to know what you think of that Avengers Two Beast and Wonder Man mini by Roger Stern.
I am a huge fan of Dave Hoover but, actually, I've seen the exact opposite - him being criticized and unfairly lumped in with the "hot" and "flashy" artists of the era because of how he draws sexy females. I also think he was a godsend on Captain America (after 30+ issues of mediocre-to-poor art) and he definitely ups the quality of those last 20 Gruenwald issues. I wish he had taken over drawing Quasar when Capullo left, his single fill-in issue is probably the best art Quasar series' ever gets.
Thus fnord officially begins his "MCP in 1993 Marathon of Mediocrity" coverage.
I actually have a certain fondness for this story, since it was penciled by the late Dave Hoover. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, he was one of those comic book artists who did good, solid work in the 1990s, but who usually fell under the radar because he didn't have a "hot" or "flashy" style. Hoover drew female characters really well, making them sexy without drawing them like anorexic porn stars, so I enjoyed seeing his depiction of She-Hulk.
The fans out grew Don Heck and Buscema really saved the day for this series. Hercules could certainly be repackaged to a more modernized Olympian God version of himself and placed in key battle cameos again with the Avengers.
Whoops, I remembered seeing the "really good for remembering continuity details" line and thought fnord had said it or it was said on an entry where Niceiza actually was an editor, and missed it in the earlier comment.
fnord, I spoke to Dan Slott about this serial ages ago, and he confirmed what you guessed. The original ending as plotted by Scott Lobdell was much more upbeat, but Slott decided to made it melancholy by adding the narration by Lynx that she believed Wolverine was her mate and she was waiting for him to return.
I think having Magneto take over the school was long in the works. John Byrne says [and I have no reason to disbelieve him] he read an interview with Claremont and Weezie in "The Comics Journal" to promote "New Mutants" before the first issue was released, and asked about Magneto, said that they were thinking of making him a teacher.
I'd say the Redemption of Magneto from "X-Men" #150-200 (or #142, if you prefer) is one of Claremont's most successful long-running storylines. It only took four years and two months to happen, and lasted less than four years [ending at #253, by my dating] and 27 years after that, we're still discussing the merits or demerits.
I can see the Grimm/ Creel comparison but think of all the retroactive online bitching about Ben spanking Moondragon. Creek kidnapped a lady for purposes of rape in Avengers 183! Not to mention the developments concerning Creel in comics not covered in this project. Not just nasty but downright villainous.
Weirdly, it seems like the writers of Champion's next appearance only read the first half of this story. Hawkeye claims that he heard that Champion was dying of a disease before being killed in a lab explosion. Champion replies that he faked his death in the explosion using the arts of stage magic and illusion. It seems like they didn't realize that Champion is shown to have survived in the second half of this story.
This actually isn't the last appearance of Nosferata, although it is probably her last time having a significant role in a story. But she turns up again for a brief appearance in Dan Slott's SHE-HULK series.
I've always thought she might make a good replacement member for the Great Lakes Avengers after Squirrel Girl left their team.
"By the way, this is probably a coincidence, but it's said that Augustyne's grandfather defeated the Cult of the Crimson Dawn."
Oooh, good catch, fnord. I expect that if Mark Gruenwald was still alive, or if Kurt Busiek was still at Marvel, sooner or later one of them would have written a story exploring this throw-away line, and linking it to the characters from the Crimson Dawn stories that ran in the various X-Men titles.
I guess this story is a teaser for fnord's upcoming "MCP in 1993" marathon of mediocrity. I cringe when I look back on the fact that I purchased so many underwhelming comic books in the early 1990s. I *think* I have this issue of Marvel Super-Heroes, but I wouldn't swear to it. The fact that my memory is so foggy tells you all you need to know about this title.
By the way, I agree with Clutch. The Absorbing Man would have been a good character to get his own miniseries. I always liked how Tom DeFalco wrote Crusher Creel in Thor and Thunderstrike. I mean, obviously the Absorbing Man is not a nice guy, but at least he isn't a cold-blooded murderer like Venom, and you could tell some interesting stories with him.
Justin Hammer looks less like Peter Cushing and more like a yuppie scumbag. I guess this was a holdover of the story originally being penciled in the 1980s, since in those days that was a common shorthand for "corporate evil."
In Italy Blaze: Legacy of Blood #1-4 was published in a black and white tradepaperback and notes about the real mccoy under the pseudonym. It was before Internet for the masses, so I couldn't check the data, but in that days i was sure that Howard was Bill. Maybe Howard Rourke was a team, like the pseudonym "Tex" for Mark Texeira and Kevin Kobasic and Jimmi Palmioti and Steve Debiasi etc Ciao from Milan
It's debatable. It's been more of a slow build. I gave the points to Ghost Rider #25, and since then it's become increasingly apparent. Ghost Rider #33 and Ghost Rider #36 are noteworthy in that regard. But i agree that this issue is the first time they are literally separated, so i've bumped up the HSR a point here.
Rick Parker's stuff freaks me out in an underground comix sort of way. I kinda want to read the original script now just to see what would have actually gone down here.
I liked Marvel Fanfare back in the day. I think I'll go back and pick up this run Marvel Super Heroes now that I don't read modern comics anymore. Simonson's story is indeed cute and a sweet use of Amora. As was the case with Fanfare, there are some good stories tucked away in this series.
My takeaway from this story is that the Absorbing Man should have gotten an ongoing series by this point instead of someone like Venom. As a character, "Crusher" Creel is more like a nastier version of Ben Grimm and that might have made for some cool stories. I'm thinking along the lines of the Hulk's Joe Fixit period, where Creel even put in an appearance.
I agree about Byrne. He is better at the overall look of the characters. He is one of the few artists who draws a Sasquatch that looks "right"(see Ron Wilson's version in MTIO for contrast).
Toth worked on the first Juggernaut story and had a very... interesting design for the character. I don't have a link but I believe that it is in comic book urban legends on comicbookresources.com
Shouldn't this issue get a bit higher Historical Signifigance, since it reveals the Ghost Rider is a separate demon and not a part of Johnny Blaze? That's a pretty significant revelation for the character.
Man, what a great comic. Stark biting the shark and storming the yacht is badass without having to look "extreme" as was the norm for the early 90s. An excellent story by Priest and I've always, always loved Greg LaRocque's work. This little inventory gem has 80s Shooter era written all over it. I'm tracking down a copy now 'cause if you started reading Iron Man then as I did, no collection should be complete without it.
The back-up does indeed tie right in with Gerber's stories in Man-Thing as I learned reading Super Mega.
I never had much awareness of this corner of the MU tho my first MTU referenced the Lizard People. Was Kull developed out of this? I wonder what else grew out of this relatively obscure back-up series. Very popular topic in those days, Atlantis.
Although I agree that JRjr will forever be known as Marvel's Hunk of the Month, um, I mean the guy who designed every lousy X-Man costume after "Secret Wars," he did have some hits. Nimrod is an awesome character design. Selene was in the tradition of Hellfire Club villainesses, but JRjr gave her a distinct look from Emma Frost or Jean Grey. Rachel Summers looked like exactly the sort of shell-shocked survivor of "Days of Futures Past" that she was intended to be. Magneto looked like someone who was older and wiser after coming to terms with his past.
Granted, most of these characters (other than Nimrod) were created and probably designed by other people. JRjr just did his best with what he had to work with, and his "X-Men" tenure didn't result in many new characters. Draw a guy with long hair and a mustache, let the coloring department show that he's "Indian" and there's Forge.
I would vote Steve Ditko as the top costume designer. From Spider-Man to his newest character "Madman," they are so ridiculously distinctive that everyone else should hide their heads in shame.
But if Byrne isn't among the top, I'd say he's very good.
I do agree that costume creation was not of Byrne's strengths. Every once and then though, he did very good. I don't have any problem with Alpha Flight's costumes. I think they work individually and as a team. One of his stronger visual creations at Marvel. JRJR is probably one of the worst at costume designs though. He produced some very awful stuff - not visually appealing at all. His dad was much better at that.
Cockrum is definitely one of the tops for costume designs though. Kirby and Ditko were good although Kirby's designs got more busy than necessary as he got older. Paul Gulacy did great work on MOKF characters. John Buscema was hit and miss but came up with some really good ones. Sal Buscema did some yeoman work - nothing that stands out, but rarely anything awful.
If I had to name one top character designer though, it would Alex Toth. Even crappy Hanna Barbera animation couldn't hide the appeal of his designs. However, I don't think he did any work for Marvel.
Looking at the full-page spread, I definitely see what you mean about the triangles, but I also think it helps them look like a team. Not as much of a team as a giant "4" on their chest, but in a subtle way. The triangles also imply cold and ice, i.e. Canada, and Sasquatch is there for warmth.
I think Byrne's better at visual design than he is at the basic details of costume design. I think the Alpha Flight characters look great, individually and together. They may not really be interesting, but they look interesting.
I never noticed that until it was pointed out but I do think that having a bit of unity, even if it's sort of in maybe the triangle element, works for Alpha Flight. With Wolverine, it's sort of evident with his claws; with Vindicator, the maple leaf on the costume. Even with the twins Aurora/Northstar, you get a neat snowflake feel with the contrasts of black and white; while Snowbird is more akin to just the snow in general. Shaman...well, OK, that's a weird one with the green and yellow contrast.
In my book, Dave Cockrum is the undisputed best designer of super-hero costumes, hands down. Steve Ditko's also at the top of the list. John Byrne is somewhere near the bottom. You can really see it in that splash page of Alpha Flight. Vindicator? White and red triangles. Snowbird? White and blue triangles. Aurora? White and black triangles. Northstar? Also white and black triangles. Shaman? Orange and green triangles. For that matter: Wolverine? Orange and brown triangles. Valkyrie? Orange and gold triangles. Hercules? Okay, no triangles there, but still boring.
"Someone will school me on this, but while Ant-Man as a shrinking hero had an obvious analogue in DC's Atom, i don't think there was a prominent growing hero prior to Pym. There was Giganta - a villain - but i don't think there were any giant good guys."
On the flipside of the giant good guy thing (people have already mentioned Colossal Boy and Elasti-Girl), Giganta wasn't even a growing villain until she appeared on the Super-Friends cartoon in the mid-seventies. Prior to that, she was just normal sized and super strong (as all mutated apes are. Wait, what?)
According to the Marvel Appendix, the Augustyne Phyffe stories were reworked inventory stories from the early 1980s. They were two completely separate stories- there was no Augustyne Phyffe. And the editors had Thomas and Lofficer script them and Lofficer came up with the idea to link the stories by making them both about Augustyne Phyffe: http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/augphyffe.htm
There were solicitations for Wonder Man 30 and 31 even though the series was cancelled at issue 29. There's two schools of thought about why this was. One was that it was deliberate- an attempt to hide Wonder Man's death in Force Works 1 which was supposed to come out in January 1994 (cover dated March 1994) but unfortunately Force Works got delayed a few months. The other is that the cancellation was so sudden the solicitations went out before they knew it was cancelled- but that's inconsistent with Jones's claim that the decision to end the book was made by the creative team.
Except she DID live to see it, because she isn't dead. The WONDER MAN arc with Grim Reaper and Simon's parents had so many continuity errors it was ridiculous (and shocking with Fabian Niceiza as editor, since he is USUALLY really good for remembering continuity details). Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern ended up having to dismiss virtually the entire arc as mind-game illusions from Mephisto for some mysterious purpose when they tried cleaning up the mess in Busiek's AVENGERS run and Stern's AVENGERS TWO miniseries.
It's just not the same without Ditko. I miss the fights with Scooby Doo villains. I miss Robbie's parents and their soap opera histrionics. Most of all I miss Niels the cat. Gone are those glorious days of 1963-in-1988. Le sigh...
The Marvel Universe version of Marvel Comics must have had a field day in about 2002 when Cap revealed he was really Steve Rogers. All the issues he drew of himself must be collectors items now.
Then there was probably a big speculator boom, where people would buy other comics, trying to work out which were the most likely to increase in value when it turned out they were drawn by other heroes moonlighting as self-cartoonists.
Before I was done reading this issue I was afraid that Cap and Nomad would fight each other about justice and whatever but thankfully it didn't happen. As fnord notes such subtlety is really good, especially when you know that hero vs hero fights became more and more common over the years, and often happen for the smallest misunderstandings.
I think Rahne's ability to transform into an idealized version of herself is a result of having absorbed Dagger's power (parallel to Roberto's problem having absorbed Cloak's). Once they are cured and C&D's powers restored, there goes Rahne's and Roberto's new abilities. Or that's how I interpreted the story when I first read it. Note that Rahne's idealized self looks like Dagger (with red hair instead).
Yeah, from what I've gathered, even though Catwoman obviously predates the Black Cat, at this point the two weren't that similar, and it was actually Catwoman who was later revamped to be more like the Black Cat. Elements like having a romantic relation with the hero while still being a nominal antagonist were introduced with the Black Cat first.
If you'll forgive me, I think it's a bum rap. The Black Cat was introduced here as a super-cat burglar. She wears a body-hugging costume, walks and perches on high wires, and pulls second-story jobs. Catwoman, in those days, was rather a super-criminal who liked cats. She wore body-hugging costumes from the mid-60s to the mid-70s, but her Golden Age costumes had skirts, and she reverted to wearing a skirted one in the mid-70s. I can't say she never pulled a second-story job in her skirtless period, as I've not read all those stories. And she had fought Batman hand to hand more than once, and I can think of at least one story that showed her to be extremely athletic. But the stuff the Black Cat does here wasn't schtick she had done in story after story.
We talked a bit about Howard Rourke/Bill Sienkiewicz in the comments of Namor #39. Both the UHBMCC and the GCD credit Rourke with these issues and the Namor issue. I don't want to update my credits without some kind of confirmation. I mean, Rourke could just be someone who was heavily influenced by Sienkiewicz.
Sienkiewicz was actively doing work for Marvel at this time (e.g. the cover of X-Men Unlimited #3). Anyone know why he'd use a pseudonym for a couple of random inking assignments? Walter Lawson noted the similarity to the name Howard Roark, the Ayn Rand character who refused to compromise his artistic vision, so maybe that's part of the answer.
I believe the Stan pose is certainly and the Nightcrawler pose very probably inspired by Burt Reynolds' posing in Playgirl - which I know from a Best of Carson where Johnny Carson copied the Reynolds pose but needed a catcher's mitt for adequate coverage
The main problem with Claremont's planned origin for Sinister is that it still doesn't give him any decent motivations, and it's internally incoherent to boot. If he's got an adult mind, intellect, and "urges" in a child's body, why are his ideas about heroes and villains so childish? And why does he become a murdering supervillain with a fixation on one particular mutant he met years ago? If he can create clones and transfer memories, why not create an adult body for himself and just transfer his own mind into it? It seems as if Claremont liked the basic gimmick of a powerful child who turns out to be "playing" supervillain, but never got much past being enamored of that gimmick to develop a consistent, workable character based on it.
The later version of his origin makes for a much more effective, comprehensible character, frankly.
"My personal vote is that Stegron gets the blaster, because he wants to use it to create a race of dinosaur men, and that's awesome. Unless of course if the Vulture can really use it to cure cancer, but in that case he has to share. Frankly, i'm fine with them both taking a turn. Let the human race become a cancer-free race of dinosaur people. It's the best of all possible worlds!"
From Spider-Man and the X-men 2:
Spider-Man: You're using it to turn people into dinosaurs? But with tech like that, you could cure cancer!
Sauron: But I don't want to cure cancer. I want to turn people into dinosaurs.
@Luis: I think that was just a case of the changes happening too close to production time to accommodate. For example, Eric Masterson is very clearly a last-minute addition to the first three issues of INFINITY GAUNTLET; some of his text is obviously altered, and the cover of issue #3 originally featured Thor before being tweaked to have Eric-Thor instead.
I may be mistaken, but I think that the ability to change into a variant human form that Rhane shows here was never seen or mentioned again. Probably because it would change the character concept too much; she would essentially have Mystique's power in addition to her original one.
@Michael: There is a good chance that it was a hint for a future plotline that may or may not have factored into the eventual Onslaught fiasco, certainly.
But if I had to guess, it is probably a reference to the precursor of Onslaught: Evil Xavier from the X-Men/Micronauts miniseries. By extension, it may also be a remembrance of the time when he killed Farouk, later revealed to be the Shadow King, back in X-Men #117 (cover date Jan 1979).
Starlin did not acknowledge Quasar's costume change nor Eon's death and the existence of Epoch in Infinity Gauntlet. I think that is fairly good indication that he wasn't going out of his way to accomodate for Quasar plotlines.
I think a lot of the potential of this story was squandered but it does lead to a nice Wolverine character moment immediately pre-Age of Apocalypse, and a pretty great Boom Boom (Boomer, Meltdown, whatever) moment after they all come back.
The last part of the sentence isn't good English. It's partially the vernacular the Thing is using ("parta" instead of "part of"), and partly because this is actually quite a complex solution and a short explanation misses a lot. A different way of wording the same phrase would be:
"The Surfer's space-time powers is a part of the combined essence of the Surfer and his board."
So it seems like some of this story is being collected in an upcoming volume of X-Men Epic - the solicits mention the X-annuals, but not New Warriors(?). Whether or not this story is any good, or complete, might decide if I buy that volume, as I already have X-Factor 65-68 and X-Men 1-3 that are included, but it's also collecting the Muir Island Saga in paperback for the first time. Looks like I might be better off trying to get the single issues of MIS.
Ben Herman and Michael: Judging by Lethal Foes #1, it seems like Doc Ock was the only one convicted of the mass murder and other charges for crimes committed during this story. My guess is that lawyers for the remaining members of the Sinister Six argued that they were coerced by Ock and his powerful adamantium arms into helping him (a few panels in issue 19 show this theory may have a little truth to it). And this being the Marvel Universe, it probably worked.
"It turns out that Skeletron has let all the other Starblasters except Fabrikant die"- except that a few of them appear in Maximum Security.
What the heck happens to Nygorn? He was able to survive the vacuum of space, so expelling him shouldn't have killed him. He later appears in Maximum Security.
As fnord mentions in his review of Infinity War #6, though, Gruenwald went out of his way not to step on Starlin's toes with his Infinity, trying to clarify that no, she didn't have anything to do with Starlin's Infinity stuff. It would seem odd for Starlin to bring in Gruenwald's Infinity, and thus legitimize her, just to subordinate her to Eternity, after Gruenwald already backed away from any idea of horning in on Starlin's turf. Unless the message is that Quasar shouldn't be doing cosmic storylines at all, but if Quasar's hanging around Earth there's no reason for him not to participate in the Infinity Sagas, so presumably Starlin would prefer Quasar was doing something space-bound...
Reexamining Starlin's output of this time as I now do, with the belief that he was mostly working out his parental/authority issues, I do not think we are supposed to focus on whether those as equivalent. Instead, the point is that we can't expect Gamora (or anyone) to accept the pressure. Above all, we should not expect her to accept that pressure in silence.
Far as I know, this is also the first time that Infinity is presented as "the other side of the coin" that is Eternity, a point made explicit by the two entities in Infinity War #6.
At the time I wondered what that meant. Now I wonder if it wasn't meant to tell Marvel and Gruenwald that he would not give up control of the cosmic corner of the MU for Gru. Starlin sure did not feature Infinity as anything more than an extension/aspect/lover of Eternity, even as he also seemed to make a point of ignoring her link to Quasar. We learn in Quasar #53 that Gruenwald has not entirely forgotten the title of "Avatar of Infinity" that was given to Quaze in #25, but other than that and cameos in #37 he, too, did not really use Infinity nor Eternity anymore.
Regarding that piece of art showing the New Champions' deaths, Crimebuster was already dead by this time. I believe along with Comet in the upper left, that's Protector and Nova-Prime in the panel. Powerhouse should be there, but I don't see him.
I don't get how Maddie as a manipulator is sexist, but her (and evryone else) being manipulated by Sinister isn't. And I'd say that a good reason for not having Scott simply accept his mistake and have an amicable divorce is that it would be DULL. The way to have Maddie, and Scott, leave the scene in an undramatic way was Claremont's original plan of giving them a happy 'retirement', but that time had passed, and Jean's mandated return meant it wasn't coming back.
I've been reading the Iron Man Epic Collections lately and I just read this issue last night. I was under the impression that Rhodey's "gloves" were actually metal gauntlets, just without the repulsors or any other tech in them.
My take-away from Toad's trance is that in these early issues, multiple mutants are shown with mental powers, including Magneto, so perhaps Toad was mentally summoning the capsule to take him back to Astroid M.
That's actually a very interesting point... and you also have the fact that he starts bringing in more Squadron Supreme stuff (bringing Quagmire back for a whole story) while also dropping a lot of the links to Cosmic side - he pretty much directly lost Moondragon to Starlin (and after all the build-up to who H.D. was, to lose the character almost straight away after revealing her identity was awkward) - and was introducing a lot more original/"practically original" characters.
I do wonder what Starlin thought of Her/Kismet and why he never really bothered to include her in a story in some way. I don't think he ever even acknowledged Her but fortunately Gruenwald did the necessary legwork and gave us some of that in issues of Quasar. Starlin did draw her right at the back in one huge double splash page in The End #5, and that is the only time I think. Again, I imagine he has little interest. If ever that was a time when it made utter sense for Her to be integrated by Starlin, it was in War and Crusade...
I meant in regards to Cap being disappointed with the Avengers team - Quasar was one of the few who he wasn't/hasn't ever really been disappointed with. I don't think his feelings towards the Avengers or the strife between the team affected his view on Quasar as Quasar was on his side - or rather the side of what's morally right - through-out.
I think Quasar (like Monica before him) was an Avenger whose actions, decisions and principles continued to ingratiate himself with Cap.
Just to be clear, you mean the 1977 Doc Strange #28, not the 1991 one, right? The panel is visible in Fnord's review. Although clearly the paraphrase uses a wildly different interpretation than the original statement.
In retrospect, I wonder if Gru meant for the New Universe to be a sandbox of sorts for his corner of the Marvel books. The timing of his all-too-brief reintroduction of the NU fits neatly with the time when he likely realized that there would be no room in the MU proper for the high concept tales that he meant to say and that he only sort-of-actualized in "Cosmos in Collision".
At this time it was clear that Starlin's take on cosmic would have the spotlight for a good while and that very much short-circuited the remaining Quasar plots. Reintroducing the NU, despite their razed away state after the Pitt and later books, might potentially offer alternate grounds for Gru's stories. It eventually did in Starblast and #54-60, but I fear that by then Gru had allowed too much abuse on Quasar already.
#20 has a scene where Nova beats two guys up to find out information - usually when Spider-Man or Daredevil get info they threaten guys with violence but don't actually beat them up. Not Nova - he crashes through the apartment wall of two guys who are just minding their own business. When they object and try to call the police he destroys their telephone, then proceeds to throw them all around the room and into walls until they tell him what he wants to know. It's a pretty disturbing scene actually.
Uh? Despite your claim that my point does not really work, I don't see any disagreement with me in what you wrote. Except that I think that Quasar is respectable for his own merits, regardless of how people might think about Gruenwald.
Jon Dubya, Flash and Harry watch the whole scene with Ned and Betty and then they storm out on Peter, telling him (in so many words) that they think he's a serious a-hole.
The Black Cat is pretty much just Catwoman, but with some Marvel elements added other backstory: a sympathetic cat burglar who shares a mutual attraction with the hero. Her dynamic with Spider-Man is different than the Catwoman-Batman dynamic, but that's mostly down to the differences between Spider-Man and Batman as characters.
The pick-up game of baseball with the soldiers is slightly tasks are comedic fun, and exactly what I think Jack meant to distinguish this title with: sci-fi-informed human interaction! That's also the quality lost in the revival. The secret identity never grabbed me like weird electro-eyes Aaron snarkily meeting regular folk-even if they are uniformly too impressed with his wondrousness IMO.
You're right that this arc's not as visually captivating, though, as the initial one.
I almost never have a contribution for chronological placement. Sorry!
It's been fun to draw back the old brain unit and enjoy SuperMegaMonkey this week. It's possible we're getting the blowback from a fifty-plus year-old guy who spends so much time at his drawing board, scripting, but I find the idiosyncratic lingo he just gives EVErybody charming and fun here. Sometimes a line sticks out unnaturally, yes, but his Aaron is great fun. The comparison to his imaginative successor Morrison is very apropos. MM is never the same again without good ol' Jack. I read this crazy series and I could just give the King a big hug. Boring, it's not.
That's some of Carmine's best art of this period. Perhaps inker Al Gordon earns a good share of the credit? Kudos for originality; Spider-Woman oft times has strange, off-beat antagonists, which I could see compelling the creation of Night Shift. Wax Man was another unique enemy for Jessica. I like how Jess doesn't have the typical superhero motivations and mostly here seeks a kindred spirit.
Your point doesn't really work because at the end of Operation Galactic Storm, when Quasar leaves the team (after siding with Cap), Cap points out that Quasar is one of the few Avengers who he believes in and that he doesn't need a lecture on ethics. Gruenwald hamming it up massively but it's sweet.
In later books, Cap will continue to refer to Quasar in a similar light (the first and last arcs of Busiek's Avengers and Annihilators Earthfall spring straight to mind). I think Cap/other people's respect for Quasar probably hung around as a meta-respect for Gruenwald after his death.
But when it comes down to it objectively Quasar is one of the few who has had a long term tenure with the team and never had a particular conflict of interest with the them and has being wholly committed to the team and it's ideals. Come to think of it, I think the only time Quasar actually got "told off" was when Hercules orchestrated that fight between him and Thunderstrike and when Quasar was among the Avengers chewed out at the start of OGS (which he probably softened by saying he didn't agree with them). And then you have that Quasar has been willing to sacrifice himself and fought against the odds several times (Thanos, Magus, Maelstrom).
There's not that many that have fit the mold of pretty much perfect tenures. Wasp, Monica, Hawkeye, Starfox maybe, She-Hulk, Crystal eventually... huh, mostly ones from Stern's run. I'm sure there's more anyway.
Ooo, two of my very first back issues of Iron Man, and they didn't disappoint! There's suspense, a palpable sense of setting, very pretty women, and crunchy action!
Titanium Man's really massive in the 1970 appearances as well- which adds deliciously to his apparerent formidability and helps distinguish him from Iron Man. It also makes him a sly metaphor for the bloated military budget that felled the Soviet Union, though that's happenstance. Would that their lesson could be absorbed by our President.
D +. I admit, when you generously describe what's good about it, I can grok the +. But man did I miss, until tonight, how hilariously bad this is in so many ways. Lol Kudos for not nitpicking- not only is this issue an argument against writer/editor arrangements, but on reflection Marv is pretty clearly on his way out the door. "An impostor! The person who's been dressing up like me." The doubled dialogue balloon. The random bit where the reporter snaps a pic of Machine Man at Peter's cell window that goes nowhere. MM weighing two thousand pounds and his inability to get leverage- you remember your old pal leverage!- despite those extendable limbs. And so much more.
"The Man Who Could Walk Through Bad Comics!"
But hey, you inspired me to resurrect my blogs. I now know how much work can go into a carefully created comic, but you've given me inspiration for writing humorously about hastily-crafted ones too.
@Wanyas - Whether you agree or not, it is difficult to deny that at this point in time Captain America would think of Quasar as one of the finest Avengers, particularly having some recently dealt with Operation Galactic Storm's sorrow and schism. It is an even more recent development from Quasar's perspective, because his stories in the last few years have been so decompressed. He has not really advanced his own plots very much since #31 or so, even before Galactic Storm. It may well be that Gru had felt an unreceptive editorial climate and reacted by "slowing down" happenings in both books in order to weather it with the minimum possible damage. A fairly good tactic, except that the wave outlasted him by far.
Issues #401 and #422 of Cap's book are almost metatextual in that sense, as reflected by the explicit disappointment of Captain America with his own rapport with the Avengers.
Oh boy. IIRC all of Gru's Cap output from now on is kind of difficult. We have Americop (hinted to be an ancestor of Punisher 2099), Cap's armor and death ahead of us. For all that we had bumps in the road before, it will be quite a drag reading the Free Spirit / Jack Flagg stories.
Piggybacking on what Bob says, note the difference in numbers in the Statement of Ownership. Compared to other contemporary numbers, the average sales beat all non-mutant books except Adjectiveless and Amazing Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, and Sleepwalker - the sort of thing you couldn't say about the FF since Byrne's run at least (it even beats both Punisher books!). The single issue number, though, has lost a quarter of the average number, putting it much more in line with the other "miscellaneous" Silver Age legacy books. Next year's Statement will have both numbers back above 200k, but I don't know how much of that is attributable to the book itself and how much is attributable to the larger speculator boom.
The X-Men: Ghosts tpb reprints Uncanny 199-209, followed by this annual (after a recap of the Longshot series and New Mutants Annual 2.
I think that tpb should really have Uncanny Annual 9 (after Uncanny 199) instead.
The main thing is that at this point, Peter and Flash don't have any reason to be in each other's lives. Flash may occasionally get kidnapped by (or accused of being) a Spider-Man villain, but that's about it. High school was really the last time they were forced to be together on a regular basis. It's unlikely they'd be taking classes together at college - Peter would be in the advanced science courses, for instance, NYU surely teaches more than one Intro to French class or other electives - so at best they'd be passing each other by in hallways.
Ok, Flash and Harry are friends, although that's never made much sense to me either. Why didn't Harry ask Flash to get an apartment together? I don't recall if Flash ever actually dated Gwen or MJ, but even then there's not a whole lot of reason for them to hang out. Pete and Flash still don't have anything in common besides acquaintances.
You could make it work for a while, by now that Peter's married, out of college, he and Flash simply have no reason to keep in touch, and it's been a long time since they did for anything that didn't directly involve Spidey.
Also, I do agree that in real life Peter would likely have a lot more in common, and more to talk about, with the TAs than he does with Flash. Though I wonder if comics friendships are usually based on opposites more than similarities. Harry's defining characteristics were that he was from a rich background & was portrayed as mentally "weak", where Peter struggled for money and was mentally strong. There have been occasional stories where Harry was portrayed as a scientist, but they happened so rarely that they seemed out of character when they did. And Flash's defining characteristic was that he was a popular jock, while Peter was either an unpopular nerd (Ditko era) or an everyman (Romita era).
I suspect that for the broadstrokes required in compressed comics, a superhero with a science background having a best friend with similar interests would have seemed redundant. A good writer would have made it work, but the average ones wouldn't. Much better to give him opposites to bounce off for contrast/drama purposes, even if you aren't quite sure what makes them friends.
Good comment. I don't think I have a problem with the scene with Flash, either, exactly. It just feels to me somewhat like a meta-commentary, where Grant is pointing out that Peter & Flash are rarely seen socialising together. But obviously they aren't, because there's only 22 pages, and the main story in superhero comics of the 60s-90s is about the hero vs the villain, and while we do check in on the supporting cast members, Aunt May, MJ and the cast of the Bugle take precedence over Flash. I think explicitly pointing out to the readers that Flash is not a close friend is an odd choice because it leaves Peter with no living close male friends, which is odd for a guy who they also try to portray as early 20s.
Also, plenty of superheroes don't have a cast of friends outside of work colleagues. Peter not being shown socialising with Flash is not unusual. I can't think of many Marvel heroes who have gone to a ballgame with a non-powered member of their supporting cast. Maybe Ben Grimm or Hawkeye? The X-Men play baseball together, but that's different (and happened less often in the Claremont run than it did in later issues trying to imitate Claremont). Much later, Paul Jenkins will do a story in Peter Parker Spider-Man 33 about Uncle Ben taking Peter out to a ballgame, but that is a different, decompressed era of Marvel. (Admittedly, while Uncle Ben may have been a baseball fan, Peter never struck me as someone who would have gone to a game outside of his love for his uncle.)
Soft G. Like DiMaggio. IIRC, it's actually not just the double-g that insists on a soft g pronunciation, but the fact that it's followed by an "i." That "ggi" in Italian is always going to be pronounced like "zhi."
The spring/summer of '74 was WILD in the Marvel Universe. The President killed himself in front of Captain America; Mandrill, Nekra and Black Spectre took over the White House lawn shortly thereafter (until defeated by Daredevil). Meanwhile in NYC you've got an invasion of Namor's undersea hordes for the FF to deal with AND Galactus popping by to have a chat with Thor.
Not having the full history of Peter, Harry, and Flash in my mind, I don't have a problem with this. Peter and Flash are simply two very different people. Their relationship is now friendly, but they do lack the close emotional ties that make friends. The idea that they were both friends of Harry, and as mutual friends spent time together seems fine to me. Flash is being a jerk about it though. No reason to subject Peter to this although perhaps we can excuse it because of the exhaustion and pain of him being injured. Just better to hang out with other people Flash and drift away from Peter.
Because my first exposure to Flash Thompson was in reprints of the Ditko issues, that's how I always saw him and not how Flash became after he returned from Vietnam. For longevity's sake, he probably deserves some kind of inclusion in Spidey's supporting cast, but I do agree he shouldn't be Peter's best friend. Pete's good friends should probably be people from his university days who share his actual interests - unfortunately none of those have ever stayed long. But it would be easy to reintroduce someone like Roger Hochberg or one of his fellow science TAs from ESU.
The real problem is that at this stage of his life (married, post graduate, a mature adult) Peter as a living person should be moving beyond what defined him as a youth, but Peter as a fictional character and money making property can't move beyond those elements that defined the title for the readers.
The writer to blame is Mike Friedrich, who had turned the Warlock series into a Marvel-style riff on Jesus Christ, Superstar. These issue wrap up that plotline by following the themes Friedrich was using to their logical end.
I've always wondered which writer (Thomas, Conway, Isabella) was the one responsible for the heavy Easter themes in these issues? Given that Isabella was inserting Jesus Christ himself as a recurring character over in Ghost Rider at the same time, I'm going to go with Isabella. The "POTUS is actually Man-Beast" plot seems to fit much better with Thomas or Conway.
Never known quite what to make of the Peter/Flash dialogue. It's one of the only scenes that sticks in my memory from this somewhat mediocre period of Spider-Man comics, which is a plus. And like Fnord, it does remind me of the Web Of Spider-Man #11 dialogue between the two.
But the former dialogue at least shows how Flash sees the early Lee/Ditko issues, and it's up to the reader to decide whether they think Flash has a point or that he's just making excuses for his bullying behaviour.
While this latter dialogue is realistic enough to how Flash has been portrayed in the comics (a friend, but rarely a very close friend who Peter is seen spending time with on his own), but due to the limits of 22 page superhero comics I'd always assumed there were times when Peter actually did hang around with Flash and Harry but it just wasn't shown much in the comics. But this seems to argue that they didn't see each other any more than what was shown in the comics.
Which is a possible interpretation, but I don't really know what good it does weakening Peter's supporting cast. Peter only really has 2 "best" male friends, one of them just died & now the other one is (convincingly) saying they'd never really been friends. (I forget if there is a resolution to this or it just gets swept under the carpet.) Unfortunately, no-one has really managed to give Peter other male friends that last after that writer leaves, which years from now eventually results in Harry being brought back to life.
I think there's tons of reasons to call "Inferno" a failed crossover. I think it's ultimately successful because it ends several of the ridiculously-long plotlines, for good or bad, and lets us get on to the next story. It also did a decent job of drafting all the spin-off characters and extraneous Marvel Universe into the storyline.
I'm biased, because this is where my interest in the X-Titles was at its highest, and Silvestri/Simonsen were icing on the cake. But it gave Illyana and Maddie a resolution that had started 80 issues ago, the old and new X-Men had great action scenes, and I still love the way they beat Nastirh.
In "New Mutants," the resolution was tolerable, the "X-Factor" issues sucked. If nothing else, Al Milgrom should have never been permitted to touch Walt's pencils. Even Weezie was somewhat-decent, because she'd shepherded these ideas from beginning to end.
If you don't like "Inferno," I'll probably agree with most of your reasons for not liking it. That said, at the time, it really felt like something had been concluded and everybody could move on, even if the conclusion didn't make any sense, was really weak [Maddie vs. Jean] and it just set up a lot more extended plotlines.
Why did Llyra as Phoebe in #31 have blue thought bubbles abput it being Desmond being in charge? And why does Jim always think Llyra as Phoebe looks like Desmond? It feels like the original intent was much more likely to be some odd transgender or twins shapeshifting into each other thing, maybe? Not just Phoebe was crazy, because how is that interesting? Of course who knows with Byrne's occasional brainfarts.
Namor is a character that should have much more prominence and awesome stories being told about him in the MU. Even all this seems too pedestrian, I feel.
fnord has been going deep enough into 1994 on enough books - virtually every story arc that started with a 1993 cover date - I almost wonder if he's moving to organizing years by actual publication date rather than cover date. At the moment I doubt that's actually the case (and part of it is all these huge crossovers that span the year boundary by cover date but were mostly published in 1993), but he might as well have pushed Suicide Run into 1994; by my count the only regular series books with 1993 cover dates he hasn't covered, and would cover before the Marvel Comics Presents marathon, are Deathlok #30 and Wonder Man #28.
At this point, the Punisher's continuity becomes a complete mess. Punisher War Journal featured the followup to Suicide Run. Punisher is working without Microchip and his battle van. And he's believed to be dead (again) after the arc in Punisher War Journal 65-69. Meanwhile, as fnord mentioned, Punisher War Zone featured stories prior to Suicide Run. And Punisher 89-93 feature stories prior to Suicide Run, while Punisher 94-99 feature stories after Suicide Run. This understandably caused confusion whenever the Punisher made a guest appearance. For example, the Hearts of Darkness sequel, Dark Design, takes place after Silver Surfer 100 but Frank seems to have his battle van (i.e. not a van he stole from a crook). Even the writers of Punisher Annual 7 were confused- Frank appears with Microchip but Rapido makes reference to the events of Suicide Run. The MCP discusses the problem in this thread: http://chronologyproject.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=4466
Not surprisingly, this state of affairs just gave the readers headaches- readers fled the books in droves, leading to the cancellation of all 3 books. Sorry I didn't warn you sooner, fnord- I thought you'd be saving Suicide Run for next year.
The Punisher didn't seem to do anything special to survive. He seemed willing to accept that he might die, and i guess it was just luck that he didn't. The body is just one of the goons whose head was smashed by an I-beam. He put his costume on it to perpetuate the assumption that he was dead.
The Punisher books will limp along for another year and a half before they all get cancelled and Frank Castle killed off in the Countdown event (of course the Punisher then gets rebooted a few months later). Be interesting to see what's done with them in the meantime.
We're already to Suicide Run! I remember seeing multi-page ads for it in contemporary comics, written in the style of war journal entries and building up that the Punisher wouldn't survive ("It will be nice to see Maria and the children again...") I didn't pick up any of the issues, though; Punisher was a joke to me prior to Garth Ennis' work.
So the Punisher's plan is to emulate the February 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center? So is the message here that the Punisher is a terrorist? That there's no difference between "us" and "them"? Or just that blowing shit up is cool?
@Luis - I should have specified "from Starlin." The assertion I was replying to was that Starlin was using Thanos and Warlock to voice his disapproval of Gruenwald's Quasar, which doesn't apply when Gruenwald is writing them himself. Thanks for pointing out the examples you did, though, and explaining what the situation was with Quasar 59.
The partiality toward Thanos / Warlock in Starlin's works is clear, but I don't see an interest in tearing-down Quasar specifically. Thanos has called Mar-Vell a "dog" and a "fool" (when Starlin was writing Mar-Vell's book) and totally played Silver Surfer (when Starlin was writing the Surfer's book).
Nice to see Venom finally get a well-deserved beating. I mean obviously PAD wasn't ever going to show the Hulk getting defeated by someone else's arch enemy. But this seems well enough written that the Hulk being a match for Venom doesn't come across as PAD playing favorites.
It's also very true that Jim Starlin's Infinity trilogy also played a detrimental role. Starlin really has difficulty playing well with others in a shared universe setting when it comes to Thanos and Adam Warlock. As I have commented before, throughout the early 1990s he was basically writing any character who was not Thanos or Adam Warlock as an incompetent moron. Quasar is supposed to be the Protector of the Universe, but it's impossible for him to fulfill that role in any of Starlin's three Infinity minseries because, again, in Starlin's view the only two people who actually are clever and capable enough to save the entirety of existence from complete destruction are Thanos and Adam Warlock. So for three years in a row this series crosses over, for several months each time, with all of the Infinity miniseries, and every single time Starlin's plots require Quasar to either be sidelined or act like an imbecile, which completely undermines his credibility as the so-called Protector of the Universe.
Agreed with comments that the first two years of Quasar were the strongest. After that the book had to repeatedly cross over with the Infinity trilogy, as well as Operation Galactic Storm, and in general Gruenwald's writing began to seriously decline. So, for a variety of reasons, even though Quasar managed to run for three more years, it just never managed to regain the stature of the early stories.
Hindsight is always 20:20. The comments here have hit on a combination of reasons why Quasar never lived up to its potential, and instead often fell flat.
It's very true that Mark Gruenwald's extremely traditional approach to superheroics prevented both the character and series from ever truly stretching their boundaries. As fnord and others have observed, despite the fact that this was supposed to be about an "everyman discovering the wonders of the universe" set-up, it rarely seemed to ever actually spark much of a sense wonder. A major reason for this was Gruenwald's obsessive need to quantify every single character. It's difficult to really make any characters or phenomena mysterious or awe-inspiring when you are always providing an encyclopedic description of said character or phenomenon that examines in minute detail their origins and motivations and how they relate to all the other cosmic entities.
So glad I never read this miniseries. I very rarely am able to tolerate "everything you know if a lie" retcons.
Agreed with fnord that the Blood were boring as hell. Caretaker drove me nuts with his habit of dropping tantalizing hints about without ever providing any concrete facts, so I was completely underwhelmed to find out there was a whole secret society of people just like him.
Yeah, I think of the four iterations of the Marvel Handbooks (Original circa 1983, Deluxe circa 1985-7, Master circa 1992 and Modern circa 2004 onward), the Deluxe is my favorite. The Deluxe version gave a general sense of who each character was, and only listed major events the character was involved in. Everyone got at least one page, and the amount of text given to each character seems appropriate to each character, not too little (that's where the Master fell down IMHO, by restricting each character to one page), or too much (the Modern Handbooks which detail every last appearance and thing every character was involved in, regardless of how minor and insignificant it was in the grand scheme of things).
I don't know that I would call Gru's interpretation of Quasar "mundane". As of the resolution of Cosmos in Collision (Quasar #25) he is made "Avatar of Infinity" and named "(her) most wondrous son of all" by Gaia.
Of course, then he meets Thanos in #26-27 and has a goofy fight with him only so that Epoch can make it explicit that Quasar is not to be much of Thanos' nemesis. Slightly less obvious at the time was that there would not be enough room in the coming years for spotlights on Quasar, Warlock/Thanos _and_ the Silver Surfer (who is also briefly featured in those two issues).
In essence, those two issues announced that Gru would attempt to work with instead of against the plans of Starlin.
On another note, it seems that for all his love of continuity Gruenwald just wasn't good at keeping Vanguard's first name straight. It is "Nikolai", but here as in Starblast Darkstar insists that it is really "Mikhail" (which is Ursa Major's name).
At the time, I loved it. And I still do for that matter. But I was an X-Factor reader who started collecting X-Factor right before Fall of the Mutants. I didn't read the X-Men beyond casually flipping through it when I bought my latest X-Factor issue, so didn't know much about Madelyne, really. And frankly didn't care that much. I was an Iceman fan since his Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends cartoon. Inferno inspired me to purchase most of the crossover tie-in issues, I enjoyed the story that much. Stepping back and looking at Madelyne now, she really was a clone of Jean that Claremont created to give Cyclops a happy ending with. I especially enjoyed the Illyana story arc, Cyclops finally getting his son back, and X-Factor finally seeing the X-Men face to face again (and getting into a fight!) So to my mind, I don't think of it as a failure at all and it's still one of my favourite Marvel storylines ever.
From the approach of the series on here, it does seem obvious that the best stuff was all pre-Infinity Gauntlet, as if Starlin's return and his overreach with the cosmic characters more or less derailed a lot of what Gru wanted to do with the book. I think there is enough room for a mundane character in a cosmic part of the Marvelverse...but I think that that probably more emerged when Starlord got his revamp than poor Quasar.
Personally, I just don't see how Starlin and Gruenwald could have avoided stepping into each other's feet during this time.
Quasar's concept made him unavoidable for the kind of plots that Starlin was writing at the time, but those were clearly meant to spotlight Warlock and his own characters. Starlin is not necessarily bad at working with others, but his plots are not accomodating to the extent that, say, Peter David's are.
As it turned out, much of Gru's Quasar concept was that he was supposed to be a reluctant top dog, and for that to be fulfilled he would need a lot of cooperation from other books. Marvel at the time just would not offer that kind of cooperation, and that became increasingly evident since Infinity Gauntlet, gradually emptying the character's credibility.
As of late 1993-early 1994, the whole cosmic niche at Marvel was in clear decay and losing relevance, what with:
Thanos featured in directly contradictory and utterly forgettable ways in Secret Defenders, Quasar's own book, Silver Surfer, Thor and the two Warlock books;
Silver Surfer becoming a boring combination of crossover fodder, Warlock's naive sometimes sidekick and irrelevant witness to the shouting matches among Galactus' "extreme" heralds.
Warlock's books were somewhat better, but still not at their best, with all the heavy-handed mysteries and the full swing of Starlin's "preacher of hopelessness" mode.
@Mortificator: It seems to me that there was some effort to specifically avoid confrontations between Quaze and Thanos and/or Warlock, despite an environment that made those all but unavoidable.
Still, besides Infinity Gauntlet 4, there were such direct confrontations of some sort or another in Infinity War #4 as well as Quasar #38, #39, #53 and #59. #39's scene is duplicated in Infinity War #4, and in Quasar's book it has some additional disapproving thoughts from Thanos.
#59 (not yet reviewed in this site) is a fill-in by Ron Marz that is very light on plot and consists of Thanos tricking Starfox and Quasar. Thanos' posturing there is, frankly, rather empty and contradictory - now that is a scene worth retconning into not being the true Thanos - but it still makes clear that Thanos does not have a lot of respect for Quasar in the same way he would respect Mar-Vell or Warlock. Then again, I am not exactly a fan of Ron Marz's authorial voice and that may be factoring into my perception. One should also note that #59 is the next-to-last issue of the series and out of sequence to boot.
On a meta level, Warlock was featured in Starblast #1 and its direct follow-up, Quasar #54, where he basically decided that Thor was more deserving of his attention than Quasar and had Moondragon tell him not to expect a return call. Quite a reasonable decision given the circunstances, but still a situation of Quasar being called off in his own book.
Out of curiosity, how do you guys pronounce "Maggia?" I used to think of it as a hard "G" sound, but knowing it's supposed to be a replacement for the word "Mafia," I wonder if it was intended to sound like "Mazhia" (soft "G" sound).
What are some examples of Thanos or Warlock saying Quasar didn't live up to Captain Mar-Vell? The closest thing that comes to mind is Infinity Gauntlet 4, but Quaze wasn't singled-out as the only hero to get taunted and crushed there.
I think the "feud" between Starlin/Gruenwald actually stemmed from Starlin feeling Quasar wasn't a worthy successor to "his" character Mar-Vell (Thanos and Warlock consistently even voice this). I don't quite understand it, I see it more as a man a bit hurt that he wasn't asked to revive/create an heir to Mar-Vell than subjectively looking at someone else's idea. This is also highlighted by when Starlin's friend and frequent co-writer Ron Marz creates an ACTUAL heir to Mar-Vell in Genis, down the road Starlin subsequently treats him with a LOT of respect. On top of that, I'd imagine that folk like Byrne, Englehart and Stern (and mostly Gruenwald as editor) having come along and heavily fleshed out, structured and co-ordinated exactly HOW the Marvel Universe and it's Great Powers operate also bugged Starlin.
And I lol'd at the person suggesting he was willing to "play" with Nebula. His "playing" with Nebula involved Thanos showing up, dismissing her claims of heritage and then burning her alive. Later, using her flayed corpse for 5 parts of Infinity Gauntlet before deciding that Thanos is too awesome to LOSE in the crossover where he's the villain so dumping Nebula with the burden of being the villain lets him show how easily she can be defeated by Thanos and Warlock. Then he never touched her again.
Starlin's another one of THOSE writers who doesn't like playing in a sandbox with others. Just look at how he eventually retcons nearly every appearance of Thanos not by him.
I like the downbeat ending. One thing we get a few times in this series is Quasar willing to take a fall for the sake of a higher cause, such as the beating he takes in issue 50 to defeat Erishkigal and his self-sacrificial use of the ultimate nullifier. Gru has also presented Quaze as a guy who comes through in the end but suffers a lot along the way, as we saw in Cosmos in Collision. He doesn't get a lot of clean, easy victories.
Although supporting characters like Kayla aren't exactly enduring literary achievements, I also like the small ensemble, family feeling that the book maintained. I think that was the point of revisiting the Galactic Marathon right before the end--yes, it was Gary indulging in Silver Age DC silliness, but it was also a callback to the book's early setup with Makkari and a farewell to, in effect, Quaze's best friend; almost his only friend. We get more goodbyes here, and of course, Kayla is tragically lost (but gets a happy ending that Wendell doesn't know about). There's a nice, bittersweet completeness to it all.
I should have checked the Appendix, which tells me "Her initial plan was to somehow steal Quasar's Quantum Bands, but after she detected the power of the Star Brand (from the "New Universe"), she set her [sights] on it instead..."
In Response to Chris criticisms A.K.A. "I Don't Like Quasar But Here Are Very Specific Ways I Would Do It Better Than Them"
1&2) So he should just leave his life and family behind the minute he becomes a superhero? He should severe all ties to his humanity and become nothing more than a hero?
3) Project Pegasus, Eon/Epoch, Moondragon, Kismet, Makkari, Squadron Supreme...
4) Maelstrom, Deathurge, Presence, Ereshkigal, even Quagmire... then he also had Stranger, Thanos, Nebula, Magus, Blastaar, Stranger...
5) Because the threat, initial set-up and Avengers were all on Earth. From the offset the status quo was him investigating all extraterrestrials on Earth to eliminate them as potential threats. After that wrapped up and the two crossovers at the end of it, he left Earth to do exactly what you proposed.
6) And again Cosmic characters aren't allowed any facet of humanity in your blinkered view of it. Nova, Mar-Vell, even Silver Surfer all have the same or similar foibles.
Gru might have kept Quasar in circulation so that Star Masters might eventually get a shot, even if it wasn't going to spin directly out of Starblast. (I'm surprised to find on looking it up that Star Masters doesn't see print until late '95.)
I wonder how early on Gruenwald learned about the cancellation of Quasar? Because it would've been a nice way to end the series and retire the character by having him move to the New Universe Earth to live with Kayla, as promised by the Living Tribunal here, instead of the more depressing ending in issue #60.
I've heard rumors that Starlin and Gruenwald had a minor feud going on; apparently they had mutually incompatible plans for the cosmic scene. But these are just second or third hand rumors, so take them with a grain of salt.
Ultimately, in all likelihood Gruenwald should have at least tried to work with Starlin to make Quasar an important part of the Infinity crossovers; Starlin's "ownership" of Thanos and favoritism towards certain characters may have scared him off, but Starlin's use of Gruenwald's Infinity in Infinity Crusade (and Nebula in Infinity Gauntlet) suggests he may have been more open to working with Gruenwald than that. All this is assuming Gruenwald didn't actually reach out to Starlin and fail, of course, or if he was more scared about Starlin interfering in his own plans than the other way around.
It's worth noting that the average sales of this book have decreased in every Statement of Ownership fnord has posted so far, though these are still X-Men level sales. Last year's numbers had average sales of just under 575k but most-recent-issue numbers of over a million, suggesting those numbers were inflated by the specific circumstances of whatever issue was the most recent at that time. The increase here is much more modest and may reflect actual interest in the series as a whole increasing, perhaps as a result of Maximum Carnage. Of course, my best guess for what issue would have seen the sky-high sales seen in the last statement is the anniversary issue #26, and this statement is earlier in the year than that one, so it's very possible that the most-recent issue in this statement is one of the Maximum Carnage issues themselves.