Thanks Berend. That's an important consideration that needs to be addressed despite the difficulty (which, as you say, is due to an annoying continuity insert). I've moved a number of issues of Tales of Suspense and Strange Tales prior to this arc to accommodate it. In the process i've probably screwed up something else, but we'll see how it goes.
I do occasionally tag characters that have only one appearance. Sometimes it's to avoid having only a "Carrion II" or similar in my listings, and sometimes it's because they are characters i think people might look for, not realizing they've only appeared in one story.
Actually, it's probably more that i shouldn't have done that for Brother Voodoo, and i've reversed it there. I get what i was going for - these appearances confirm that these horror characters are part of the MU and not just standalone - but there's really nothing "significant" about these issues and i haven't been consistent about doing that with regard to other such characters.
Sometimes i use the Placement Considerations section to note what the comic says about a character's absence. It doesn't necessarily affect placement of the issue in question. I'm just noting that the comic says that Xavier is currently away at Muir Island, in case that becomes relevant due to some other issue.
Roy, as noted on the Rules and Q&A pages, sometimes issues get grouped together just due to the nature of the reprints. The Double Feature reprints are kind of weird because they published Cap and Iron Man stories from Tales of Suspense, but not from the same issues of Tales of Suspense. So the way that i took these issues apart and reassembled them resulted in some choices about how they were grouped.
Thanks for that catch, Benway. I've moved PPPSSM #102 after ASM #265. I can't put too much space between issues without upsetting a lot of other Spider-Man appearances, but i definitely agree it needs to go after.
I actually don't know why i wrote that it takes place before issues #153-154. The MCP has it between #150-151, and it really seems that it falls into a "context free" status that can take place anywhere around this time that the characters are available. I've removed that line.
Checking out the one scan where it looks like Daredevil is doing either a Greek or Russian dance, those are some funky-looking skinny ankles! It almost looks like DD has hooves. And I see the robot is positioned in the classic Windsor-Smith widestance, where characters' legs are either severely bowlegged, they've spent to much time on the backs of Clydesdales, or they suffer from nasty chafing (Ouch!).:)
The La Brea Tar Pits would be a key location a few years later in GIANT SIZE WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #4, the first meeting of Jack/Werewolf and Morbius. And no, I'm not asking for the tar pits to be listed as a "Character Appearing".:) By the way, who says Colan couldn't draw action well? That's a pretty cool panel of Archer kicking DD, not to mention Hornhead's "ode to Ka-Zar" swing.
This issue has a couple of pages showing a recap of how Richmond gained his abilities as Nighthawk. After taking the formula that increases his strength at nighttime, he undertakes a rigorous training program designed "to maximize my own abilities which in turn would be increased, somehow, by the rising of the moon". Now most guys in this situation might head to the local Golden Gloves to learn the sweet science, or a local dojo to study karate or judo. Maybe even head to the Y or a school to learn some mat wrestling. While he did take up gymnastics (understandable to maximize agility), the other activity he mentioned by name was... Polo? Not to denigrate the sport or its physical benefits, I found it amusing because it just sounded like something a sheltered son of privilege would do, and Kyle did fit the bill. I also thought how funny it would be to see a comics villain on horseback dressed in polo gear, mallet in hand, portrayed as a haughty dilletant dabbling in crime out of boredom or somesuch. Of course, I'm sure somewhere down the line, the classic DC Golden Age Green Lantern bad guy the Sportsman has likely used a polo motif when taking on Alan Scott or anyone from the JSA.
Re: Byrne and Vulture's age- whatever Ditko thought, Stan seemed to think he was an old man. In issue 48, Drago calls him an old man- and the entire point of the fight in issue 63 is that Drago underestimates the Vulture because he's an old man.
In this issue, at least Wolverine is influenced by Inferno so his dialogue works. But the retcon is that Jean didn't try to like him. She left the team after fighting Krakoa and wasn't seen again until Erik the Red showed up. The following issue she's kidnapped to the space platform and that's that. There's just not a whole lot of space available for her even trying to like him. Being a creepy guy who knows she has a boyfriend and still keeps hitting on her wouldn't help.
Yeah, "X-Men" #98 claims the new team has been together for a year - which I don't really accept - and Jean obviously didn't go far away - which I do. There's some leeway, but it's not likely she's taking part in Danger Room exercises and the concept of a school is nonexistent at this point. If she's not coming by to see Scott [or maybe Ororo] then there isn't much for her to do there.
I dunno I thought it was kind of clever to make Liz and Molten Man related. It seems like something Roger Stern would have done. What with Liz giving Peter a good-bye just as she realizes he doesn't like her back in graduation...The same issue Mark gets his powers.
IMO there is always plenty of room for the Jae Lee's of the world in the comic industry. I'd take this over the stodgy Paul Ryan types any day. Look at the panel where Wolverine is communicating to the team. It looks cool, and you still know exactly what is going on. A similar panel from, say, Rik Levins would look as lame as any other Rik Levins panel.
Byrne has said he and Claremont felt they could toss off a silly story (not his exact words) because they knew the big, heavy storylines they had coming up. I remember reading this in real time. I had enjoyed Arcade's first appearance in Marvel Team-Up, but I felt a second story would be repetitive, and it would be ridiculous if a team of heavyweights like the X-Men couldn't beat Arcade in ten minutes. I was right on both counts. But of course the worst of the Claremont/Byrne X-Men is still way above almost anything else at the time.
Not sure what retcon you're thinking of Chris. Jean's last words to Wolverine (both in X-Men 100 and the X-Men Classic reprint) were "I have tried to like you, Wolverine -- obnoxious upstart that you are -- but for the life of me, I don't know why I made the effort!" Either way, Wolverine's lines in this issue, "My sense tell me that you loved that kiss, darlin'. And you want more!", are just gross, and a disservice to both characters. I'm not against a Wolverine/Jean Grey "'ship" per se, it just has to be much more nuanced than this. I like the relationship they had the late 2000's, with him seeing her as desirable but unattainable, and being stoically resentful that Scott is always forgiven for his mistakes while Wolverine has to make the hard, honorable, thankless choices.
It would have been easy for this book to take the direction like DC's team-up books THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD and DC COMICS PRESENTS doing stand-alone, continuity-be-damned stories. However, this book and "Two-In-One" integrating fully in the Marvel Universe set themselves apart from the "Hey, let's so-and-so together!" approach.
@Fnord- Shouldn't Jack Russell/Werewolf by Night's appearance here, the first outside the character's own story arcs and integrating him into the Marvel Universe proper, be reflected in the Historic Significance rating, alongside Moondark's debut? I bring this up because I noted in your review of MTU #24, you did note that for Brother Voodoo.
Considering the hype the Vulture got for Spider-Man: Homecoming, I'm way more shocked that he was less the Vulture and more a fusion of him and Molten Man. It actually makes sense in a good way: Vulture's way more notable than him, but Molten Man has way more sympathy and the connection with Liz Allen. (plus that scene in the car between Tom Holland and Michael Keaton was just great and really worked because of it) While this probably means no LA version of him, I'm happy it did turn out this way for the movie.
Sehv the oracle appears one more time in Nightcrawler's miniseries when he returns to that wacky dimension. Shouldn't she get a character tag? (tbh she's an unimportant character from another dimension who only ever meets Kurt but I was just wondering...)
I can try to No-Prize it as a convoluted explanation:
Havok has been shown messing with the sentient computers in the Australian town some time before Inferno. He probably recorded some of his adventures as a X-Man in there, and maybe sent the files to Xavier's computers in the basement of the X-Mansion just in case the New Mutants or X-Factor meet the same foes. Or the Australian computer could have sent the files itself for what we know. And of course, Forge and Banshee later go to what remains of the X-Mansion and learn about Havok's fights.
Regarding the "Amazons are souls of abused women" thing- that's a relatively recent retcon- 1987. Not something that's been part of the mythos from an early stage.
And I can't believe fnord forgot Visionaries- they had a Star comic.
In the movie Wonder Woman's defense: a whole lot of the rendering of mythology involves Christianizing it. Therefore the frequent rapist and animal lover Zeus=God. Not so bad Hades=evil fiery devil. And Hera goes from being really petty, though you could understand her disliking Zeus, to just being good wife to good ruler. I think the movie was merely obeying the roots.
I don't think it's accurate to call Storm's story the "main plot." It's only about a page longer than the Colossus sequence, and the Cyclops and Colleen subplot spans more of the issue, though it takes up less total space. The main body of the story even ends with that thread. Honestly "plot" is not a word I'd use in conjunction with this issue. It's a pair of short stories bookending a sequence of subplots, shot through with some common themes.
With all the examples of Gil Kane's nostril shots out there, he really missed an opportunity for a second career illustrating medical textbooks for students seeking to be ENT doctors (ear, nose and throat, of course). I suppose I could have said for med students who wished to specialize in otorhinolaryngology, but that word is best left for contestants in the National Spelling Bee.
I like Benway's explanation for the inconsistency regarding Cobra's inventive skills and the professor's comment about his lack of talent. An alternative explanation is that he simply did not invent the gadgets, he might have gotten them from, say, the Tinkerer.
As for Cobra being an unusual antagonist for Thor - I actually like this, because I think it makes sense in a shared universe. I mean, it would seem too convenient for super-heroes to only keep finding super-criminals in their own power class, right? So it makes sense for Spider-Man to fight someone like Juggernaut once in a while, for example.
@Fnord-My turn to pick a nit. In the sentence before your Quality Rating, you state that Kthara releases possession of the Thing because HE'S bored. The demon Kthara is actually female, and is acknowledged as such in this story.
The title looks to have been inspired by the Lerner-Loewe musical "Brigadoon", centering around a mysterious village in the Scottish Highlands. It has the distinction of being originally adapted for the Broadway stage in 1947 (with a revival in 1980), a film in 1954, and a TV series in 1966. "Brigadoon" had a significant run at my own hometown's Tennessee Theater not long after the 1980 revival.
I was unaware of the Steinem/CIA link, so to me this issue just came off as Conway desperately trying to use all the Spider-characters to try and sell the new heroine. I mean, if they wanted to make her a magazine editor, it didn't have to be the Bugle.
But okay, I could accept the Bugle characters appearing here as well, but then to also throw in Mary Jane, as well as using the Scorpion, and featuring all the Spider-cast on the cover, is what really pushes it over the edge. I guess they thought women characters just wouldn't sell otherwise.
(And maybe trying to recapture the Spider-Man magic was a mission for some of the grown-up Spider-Man fans now running Marvel editorial, since Nova arrived about the same time. Not the first or last time they'll try that, obviously.)
I've always thought that the Red Guardian was a good concept and a good character and am glad that he was brought back. There was also a WWII era Red Guardian as well as the female one who later changed her name.
It occurs to me that the backstory given here doesn't fit very well with the retcon that the Black Widow's childhood is "fixed" to the WWII era. Is the Red Guardian from this story now meant to have the same anti-aging treatment as Natasha? Or did she marry him when he was (in terms of chronological age) many years her junior? How does the idea that she wasn't interested in espionage until his death was faked fit with all the "Red Room" stuff?
I think Carol going from government agent to feminist magazine editor was a reference to Gloria Steinem working for the CIA, although Steinem never was an "agent" in the sense that Carol was of course.
This arc becomes even more interesting if you read the Kingpin as if Vincent D'Onofrio is playing him the way he did on the Daredevil Netflix series; even before he goes catatonic, he comes off as rather emotionally disturbed throughout these issues.
Given Stan's past tendency to write what readers termed "patriotic" stories in the past, Peter's thoughts on Vietnam here are interesting: "Which is worse..? Staying behind while other guys are doing the fighting..? ...Or fighting in a war that nobody wants...against an enemy you don't even hate?"
Granted that this can be read as Stan trying to appeal to the college crowd, it's a surprisingly anti-Establishment sentiment to put in the lead character's thoughts, much more daring than the way previous "topical" bits, like student protests, were handled.
Paul Ryan was an excellent journeyman artist, and when he was paired with the right inker he really shone. His storytelling was clear, and his art was nice to look at. However, he wasn't really a dynamic penciler, and his action sequences did not have the oomph that the greats did. But his craft was great, and it was good to see him get some work in this era when so much was becoming worthless, knockoff Image style crap.
I recently read FF "Strange Days" Epic Collection and I'll give my two cents on Paul Ryan: he's great if you read a large chunk of his stuff. I agree he's not flashy so in isolation he doesn't work as well. But he's absolutely incredible at world-building. You will almost NEVER see a Paul Ryan panel missing a background. There's a certain comfort level in reading a Paul Ryan comic. Everything feels real. Living, breathing characters and scenery. Distinct faces. A total workhorse professional.
"going from head of security to head of a magazine publication is an odd shift"
Going from Wolverine's best friend who goes on awesome secret agent missions to head of security to person who writes a book about the space industry to head of a woman's magazine publication who doesn't realise they're being told to write stories about their own secret identity as an amnesiac Kree-human hybrid superheroine is an even odder shift :)
...And it's only going to get odder from here, what with being mind-controlled into giving birth to the man who impregnated her, having her powers stolen & personality wiped, experimented on by aliens who accidentally turn her into a space goddess, becoming an alcoholic, becoming marketed as one of Marvel's most important heroines, and then becoming the MCU's first solo female film, which will presumably have to ignore pretty much all of this mess.
Wolverine: Carni-Brawl is difficult to place. It seems to talk place before X-Men 200- Professor X sends Scott on a mission, Sunspot is described as a New Mutant and Wolverine is convinced by the story's events that Sunspot will make a good hero. The problem is that Wolverine and Sunspot encounter Bloodscream- in Wolverine 4, Wolverine had no clue who Bloodscream was and wondered why he finds his scent familiar. (We find out in Wolverine 78 that they briefly met on D-Day.) This is difficult to explain if Wolverine got into a big fight with him a couple of years before. Even worse, Wolverine seems to know that Blodscream is older than him but he doesn't find out Bloodscream's origin until X-Men Unlimited 9. We decided at the MCP that Wolverine and Bloodscream had a couple of encounters that were somehow erased from Wolvie's memory.
I'm sure readers were relieved to see Mike Ploog back, even if only for a four-issue wrap-up of his WBN time. While Tom Sutton did well on his fill-ins, I just don't associate Gil Kane with horror stories. Besides, the first impression of Topaz should have been the Yvette Mimieux-like ingenue (with nice junk in the trunk
As with many things involving Warlock, his understanding of death is inconsistent, and varies depending on the story. He definitely seems to understand that Sunspot has died in Annual #2 (though it turns out "Sunspot" is a life-like fake). He saves Doug from death by falling at a great height in the same issue. #64 seems to contradict that story, at least. Then again, Warlock is alternately depicted as a mature, responsible teenager (Annual #1); a truly alien, unknowable entity (NM #22); and a childlike creature (many other stories). I guess you can chalk up all of this to "well, he is an alien, so..."
I found Ryan to be a lot like Byrne, but just a little more stiff all around. He showed up for work, I'll give him that, but I'd take a guy with a little style any day.
The coloring around this time was really great, by the way. Really vibrant and a great match for the paper. Today's books for the most part a little too slick and over saturated for my taste. Too bad there was so much god damn crosshatching back then.
The art here seems to tell a different story than Lee's script, with the Prowler being fired because JJJ yells at him, robbing the Bugle in revenge, and later ripping off a jewelry store. Lee's scripting turns it more into the story of a confused young guy with a bad plan than a guy who just flat-out went supervillain out of desperation.
More generally, this seems like the story of another Peter Parker type, but one who's locked out of the opportunities Peter has had because of racism.
I suppose Warlock might not understand organic death. When Technarchs consume something organic, they infect it with their Transmode virus and drain the energy out of it. It looks like a bit of skeletal wiring after. When Hodge drained Warlock, he collapsed into metallic dust. Since Doug's body did neither, would Warlock recognise Doug's death or even understand it? Had Warlock seen an organic being's dead body before and understood that it was dead and not simply unconscious or asleep? How would he know how death "worked" for for organic beings? Was it ever explained to him in depth before this?
With Foggy's election in issue #48 (1969) and his defeat by Blake Tower in issue # 130 (1976) we possibly have one of the few concrete periods of Marvel Time as the DA's term of office is supposed to be 4 years. It's one of the few things that happens in comics where a significant and definite amount of time had to pass (like enrolling and then graduating college).
Incidentally, who is that shaking Foggy's hand in congratulations? Is that supposed then NY governor Nelson Rockefeller? If so, this likely identifies Foggy as a Republican which would make eventual DA Blake Tower a Democrat. A Republican winning a DA race in New York would have been extremely rare especially outside Staten Island (I'm assuming Foggy is being elected to the DA in Manhattan, not one of the other boroughs). He must have ran a hell of a campaign (probably aided by public anger over the various Marvel supervillains and crimelords of the last several years).
I love it that Moon Knight is really concerned with Demogoblin's civil rights as a ward of the state. I'm all for civil rights for the incarcerated, but Moon Knight did me one better; arguing for a demon's human rights shows a lot of commitment. I always remember the old catchphrase "Once he was human...now he's Hobgoblin!!" to describe post-Inferno Jason Philip Macendale. Naturally, the demon half of the Macendale Hobgoblin is even less of a human being, but maybe this was Moon Knight's way of overcompensating for what Mr. Fantastic called his "rogue path [...] lead[ing] to the Punisher." I'm full of liberal Jewish guilt myself, but Marc Spector has real chutzpah. I hear you, Knighty!!
That specific panel FNORD12 mentioned (but not any others) is reminiscent of Cthulhu with some of the sludge looking like mouth tentacles.
I agree with the general comments here about the team makeup. Gilgamesh and Thor duplicate each other's powers/roles/personalities too much, and having FF members doesn't work out. It would have been better to hold onto some of the Evolutionary War's "team" into this (Falcon and a surviving Jocasta would have been fine) as a temporary fix and then reunited with Thor and Gilgamesh. Then the team could spend the next few issues finding more permanent members (since Quasar's membership was dictated by Gruenwald, he would have made a recruit) while others (like the Falcon) retired since they were no longer needed. It would have made an interesting half a year period as members join and leave as a new line up becomes established.
As others have mentioned, the new Avengers staff is seen in only bits and pieces with many members shown on this Handbook style page never seeming to appear in print. Regardless, it was a good concept - Jarvis can't be doing everything himself. Some of the choices are stronger than others (Robert Frank, Jr as groundskeeper is awesome as are any of the Wakandan members, but way too many minor Cap characters).
RE the Growing Man's inferno disguise: I don't know if this is what fnord is thinking of, but it reminds me of the aliens from the 3-part series premiere of the Justice League cartoon ("Secret Origins"), which were inspired by the science fiction art of Richard Powers.
As a long time fan of Thanos and Marvel's space characters, i congratulate with you for doing this website. But i have to say that the articles on Thanos would have been better if you explained the major differences between Darkseid and Thanos(anyone who dismiss Thanos as a Darkseid wannabe has clearly never read a Jim Starlin story). The reason why i think nobody at Marvel understands the character of Thanos except for his creator Starlin(although Ron Marz, Keith Giffen and Dan Abnett had a pretty good voice for the character) its because Thanos was supposed to have stopped being a genocidal villain with the ending of Infinity Gauntlet, but many other Writers regressed him back into that type of villain, while also making him less smart and more brutish.
I'm having a hard time understanding the placement for this issue. It has to be after #167, I get that, but I don't understand why Xavier being in Muir Island affects placement. At the end of #167 he is aboard the Starjammer and at the beginning of #168 he is training in the Danger Room.
Are you assuming that between both issues he went with Moira to Muir Island to do therapy on his legs?
In my previous comment, I mentioned the difference between Byrne's and Mantlo's differing conceptions of Puck. In the second issue, when the feral Marrina slashed Puck's guts, leading to his hospital stay documented here, one could guess the severity of the attack would trigger Razer escaping and turning Mr. Judd into a seven-foot tall senior citizen. I originally picked up AF #5 after reading the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entry on Puck, and being only vaguely familiar with the team, I saw this issue and wondered why he didn't change after the disembowelment. Byrne's intent was for any ongoing pain Puck felt to be a natural by-product of his dwarfism. Mantlo didn't do his homework before settling into the writer's chair, which from what I've seen on comments here and elsewhere is not surprising. By the way, back in my earlier comment I mentioned the words "elements" and "Metamorpho" in the same sentence. Any pun derived from that, for once, was NOT intended.
Of the original Alpha Flight members, Puck was my personal favorite. To me his origin and backstory had elements similar to both Wolverine and DC's Metamorpho. I know John Byrne wasn't thrilled with Bill Mantlo's retcon with the sorcerer/demon Black Razer trapped in Judd's body, and meant for him to be simply a "normal" man who had maximized the physical potential of his small frame, I liked that he was a well-traveled raconteur who had become a bullfighter and been a friend of Ernest Hemingway. One could see him holding court at Sloppy Joe's in Key West, regaling the regulars with stories of "Papa", and asking the bartender for "another round of Molsons, eh?"
Just mentioning here because someone has to: In the late nineties, it will be revealed that 8 of the mystical entities sometimes mentioned in Dr Strange had a contest to decide who was the most powerful. In addition to Cytorrak, there were other double-letter characters usually only known from Strange's spells, like Ikonn, Raggaddor, Valtorr, and Watoomb. Each will have an avatar (or "Exemplar") on earth to embody their powers and define their awesomeness. Juggernaut, empowered by Cytorrak is the first, and pretty much the only memorable, Exemplar. Cytorrak himself will eventually get a on-screen appearance and become something of a recurring character in Kieron Gillen's X-Men.
In that scene with the chalk board AIM is already crossed out, which suggests this story happens after Strange Tales #149. Since there are a whoooooole lot of issues between those two in your chronology, I'm guessing that is just impossible, probably due to that Monster on the Prowl story.
(Honestly, personally I would just chuck such an inconsequential, chronology-wrecking story out of continuity altogether. I'm willing to do some puzzling for the stories actually published at the time, but I find I don't have much patience for continuity inserts)
Tessa's original role seemed merely to serve as this non-physical henchwoman to Shaw. That allowed 1) Shaw to seem more like a leader and thus why he's in charge of the club, 2) allow exposition to be less clumsy because while she's explaining things to Shaw, it would be explained to the readers as well, 3) artificially inflate a threat by having Tessa say it was, and 4) allow back and forth dialogue between Shaw and someone else so it wasn't Shaw monologuing in speech or thought balloons. She was a storytelling device, not an actual character. She could have become a real character, but that should have been based on building on what's already been established, not say it was all a con.
Claremont introducing this backstory to her is one of those things Claremont did way too often. It was such an obvious retroactive change that it made little sense. Claremont has tremendous strengths as a writer, but he indulges himself way too much on certain concepts that - because of him - have become cliches and stereotypes.
Not that anyone would actually wish for a Superpro reboot, but if done today the creative team could have used Native Americans in dealing with the controversy of the logo and team name of the Washington Redskins. Around this same time period, certain NCAA teams dropped Native mascots and names (Eastern Michigan, Miami(Ohio) among others), with notable exceptions being the Central Michigan Chippewas and Florida State Seminoles, where the universities actively sought out and received the tribes' blessings to continue using the names and logos/mascots. Of course, this kind of deep social commentary would likely stick out like a pumpkin in a pea patch in the pages of this particular book, likely Goodell and Daniel Snyder would put the kibosh on it.
The title of this story is based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", which in turn inspired a song of the same title by Iron Maiden from their 1985 album "Powerslave".
One last thought, and I will step off of the soapbox. In defense of Louise Simonson, while this issue is alternately mawkish and morbid, I think she may have had two motives in writing it. One was to have the team mourn a fallen teammate, of course. The second might have been a "back door" for any writer to bring Cypher back from the dead, due to the technarch virus, if they wanted. Think of the story that way, and Warlock not understanding death makes a little bit more sense. If the Technarch don't quite die the same way as humans, and Doug was infected with the virus, then Warlock understands that his friend might not be dead, after all, or has some means of returning (note Warlock trying to pump Doug with "lifeglow" to bring him back, which wouldn't work if he wasn't infected).
Again, mental gymnastics, and a guess with no evidence on my part, but I do get the idea, reading the story, that this may have been the intention. It does make more sense that way. When Boom-Boom sprinkles Warlock's ashes on Doug's grave many issues later, there's a bit of text implying that they both might return some day, so I assume this idea was in place for quite some time. Ironically, when Doug was brought back from the dead, the virus has nothing to do with it.
I forgot to mention - the idea of Warlock not understanding movies, like not understanding death, seems to be a convention for just this issue, as well. He's portrayed in earlier stories as understanding, and enjoying, movies and television just fine, if a little too enthusiastically, while knowing that they're not real. His appearance in Web of Spider-Man Annual #2 hinges on this, I think.
The only way that I can rationalize the idea of Warlock not understanding the concept of death is to think of his appearance in NM#21, when he at first mistakenly thought that electric devices were the living species on Earth. Therefore, he doesn't quite understand how carbon-based lifeforms works...okay, that's a lot of mental gymnastics.
On that note, it's interesting to note that Warlock's personality wasn't childlike in those early appearances, but more young adult-ish. I don't think the childlike Warlock really emerged until, possibly, the New Mutants Special Edition (not coincidentally, the issue when Art Adams started the trend of drawing Warlock as various pop culture icons).
In his early appearances, yes, it's stated that Doug lives in Salem Center. Phillip and Shelia Ramsey did appear once before this issue. I want to say it was around NM #37 or #38 (I don't have my issues handy to check right now), after the team was resurrected by The Beyonder. His parents appear on just one panel, confronting Magneto (as "Michael Xavier") about their son's change in personality. If I remember correctly, Phillip and Shelia Ramsey also look *very* different in their two appearances, practically like other people. It's possible that Louise Simonson and Brett Blevins just didn't know, or forgot, they had appeared once before - it was brief.
Piggybacking off the comments on Japanese culture, Kurosawa films, etc., I would like to champion a film that came out around the same time as this mini-series: John Frankenheimer's "The Challenge", starring Scott Glenn and the greatest of Japan's film stars, Toshiro Mifune. The plot centers around an American boxer (Glenn) getting stuck in the middle of a conflict between two brothers over the posession of two swords. One brother (Mifune, the good one) is steeped in the traditions of the samurai, the other is a businessman representing Japan's modern corporate culture. Not sure if the film was seen by the creators, but it's a hard-to-find, underrated gem of a flick I'd recommend to fans of samurai/ninja/martial arts films, culture clashes, and/or Frankenheimer.
Regarding the panel with Thor and the Black Panther: That had to be a shot at McG's "verbose" take on T'Challa and company in Jungle Action. Not exactly like reading Ernest Hemingway, is it? My God, and people think Chris Claremont is wordy! The Panther's two speech balloons alone are packed with more melodrama than a Douglas Sirk film festival.Speaking of which, a confession: I've had a "magnificent obsession" of working a Sirk reference into a post on Claremont's writing. However, after seeing this panel, it must have been "written in the wind" that I use it here instead. All right, I know, I've milked this point for "all that heaven allows", so I'd best get back to my "imitation of life".:)
Supposedly they have cast Squirrel Girl for the upcoming New Warriors TV show, and it's Milana Vayntrub, the girl in the AT&T commercials. I can't imagine they'll get the tail right -- I don't want it to suddenly appear and disappear like Hawkgirl's wings on Legends of Tomorrow -- but I like the casting.
He first used it in his 1982 miniseries; on the very first page, in fact. At the time this book came out, Claremont was writing X-Men, but Byrne hadn't yet come on board. And it was under Byrne that Wolverine really became a star.
You know, I never thought about it before, but it really doesn't make any sense for Warlock to not understand the concept of death. Literally the entire reason he fled the Magus and came to Earth was to not die. We've been shown, again and again, that he's afraid of the Magus killing him. Right before the Beyonder killed the whole team, Dani manifested everyone's individual visions of death, including Warlock's. And I'm almost positive he's pantomimed a skull or gravestone or something in the past. Why would any of that be the case if he didn't understand death on a conceptual level, or thought you could just revive anything by pumping some lifeglow back into it?
No offense to Weezie, but man I wish Claremont had come back to this book after finishing his novel.
I find it interesting that Christopher PRIEST, who in addition to being a writer and musician is also an ordained Baptist minister, had the opportunity to work with an artist named Billy Graham. It must have been divine providence that brought them together.
A villain like Goldbug might work today if written as some far-right conspiracy theorist who swipes gold to guard against some alleged economic crisis or terrorist attack brought on by "big government" or some such monolithic entity. I would only hope he (assuming it would be a "he") wouldn't be drawn as Alex Jones in spandex.
Though he may not have been proud of his work on this issue, Claremont must have looked back on this, saw Spidey's last words to GR as he left, and found the future catchphrase for a certain diminutive Canadian mutant with retractable claws.
@Jake That's something I expected when I first bought these issues nearly 35 years ago (Can't believe it's been that long, I was 12 with 13 in the headlights!): the obligatory misunderstanding tussle, expected since Namor can be so volatile and wary of strange, non-aquatic beings. Was glad to see Mantlo, of all writers, going against the grain there. Also notable that Rom and Subby both spoke in the Shakespearian style, eschewing "Yes" for "Aye". Also showing the diversity of the Wraiths in searching out non-surface-based targets.
I like that there was no misunderstanding fight - Namor and Rom naturally started working together. Craziest part though was that Namor and Rom stood around yakking about what to do while the monster walked all the way to Atlantis and fought with the Atlanteans for a few pages before Rom and Namor decided to come save them.
The title to issue #134 looks to have been swiped from the 1970 film "Too Late the Hero", starring Cliff Robertson as a U.S. Navy interpreter in WW2 who has managed to avoid combat until he is assigned to assist a ragtag British unit (featuring Michael Caine and Harry Andrews) destroy a Japanese communications base in the Philippines.
Eh, it's just the "Ameri-centric" nature of the audience. Note how many manga have tons of Japanese heroes and hardly any from other nations other than as stereotypes and whatnot. Canada's north of the US and speaks English mostly (with a few Quebecois for balance like Northstar and Aurora) so...besides, with Wolverine and John Byrne around, having a number of Canadian heroes is probably given. (even with how ridiculous some get later on post-Byrne)
Having reread this story as part of Marvel Masterworks Spider-Man 19, the story actually shows that Peter knows the Burglar's real name, even though it's not revealed to the readers (he gets the name of the guy renting Aunt May's house, and he knows right away it's him, even though he has trouble with Ludwig Rinehart's name earlier).
But I recently got the 2017 Fleer Spider-Man set of cards, and they include descriptions of the characters on the back. One of the cards is the Burglar, and the description includes the name Dennis Carradine. I haven't read new Spider-Man comics for a few years, so I was just curious if Dennis Carradine is now the official name of the Burglar, or if the writer of the cards saw Spider-Man 3 and just assumed that was canon?
While Robert Bly and the "men's movement" are certainly great material for parody, this is Superpro, 'nuff said. Personally, my favorite satire on this subject came from Beavis and Butthead, when the boys (including Stuart and his omnipresent Winger T-shirt) went on a camping trip with hippie schoolteacher David Van Driesen. This is the episode that still haunts my dreams due to Van Driesen's singing of the ballad "Men": "Men have feelings, too/ May I share mine with you?"
I must say I'm not fond of Parnival's pea-green variation of his Lucha Libre costume. It kinda makes him look like a minion of the Jolly Green Giant (Ho-Ho-Ho!). Still, it's good to see Gog again, although minus the odd speech bubbles.
I was 17 when these issues came out. That's a time in my life when I had my first car (a 1972 Ford Maverick, painted Earl Scheib green with four doors and fuzzy dice!), my first job, and whiplash from all the pretty girls at school, work, and the mall. Comics were supposed to fall on the backburner due to getting ready for college, new responsibilities, and of course hormones. I did pick up this storyline down at the local convenience store and was reminded why I became a comics fan in the first place, also reminding me how great the art form can be when it tries to. I was moved to anger when Hyde beat Jarvis to a pulp, cheered when the rat bastard got what he had coming, and was saddened when Cap found the picture of his mother. I realized I could handle the new status quo that came with those years, while still being a "geek" at heart. Around the same time I managed to work in a local convention, where I participated in a fan Q&A with Michael Golden, and had my GREEN ARROW: THE LONGBOW HUNTERS signed by the very cool and congenial Mike Grell. Sometimes in life, you CAN have it both ways!
Interesting point on how Norman was treated then compared to now. Amazing #40 does show flashbacks of Norman being ruthless before the Goblin formula, and also that he was often a stern father who used his wealth to buy Harry things rather than talk to him or care for him.
On the other hand. in the previous issue Harry claims they got on well before a few years ago when something changed, clearly meant to be the Goblin formula. And Norman's flashbacks clearly confirm Norman goes from a father who is trying to do his best but doesn't understand Harry and is frequently absent, to an arrogant father who directly puts Harry down. (At this point, Harry being a disappointment to Norman only appears after Norman ingests the Goblin formula.) So yeah I think to a certain degree Stan intended that Norman had been turned evil by the formula, even though the flashbacks of his pre-formula ruthlessness (including turning STromm into the police) seems to contradict that a little.
(I'd also forgotten that the Goblin formula was in fact one of Stromm's inventions, not Norman's (in fact Stromm says most of their inventions were his not Norman's), that Osborn took while Stromm was in jail.)
The crazy sweats Norman always gets when his Goblin memories start coming back also seem to suggest that Stan saw it as some sort of mental illness that took hold of Norman.
Very strong set of issues here. Very surprising that Horst was never mentioned after this until DeMatteis brought him back in the run up to issue # 300. As someone who was an actual contemporary to Cap & Skull, he could have made an intriguing henchmen even if he was just kept as window dressing.
Along those same lines, Natasha is POINTING at the skier for the benefit of... who? It seems she's there with Matt and he's the only one who is really in a position to follow what she's pointing at as he's essentially "looking" over her shoulder. But she's asking a LOT of his radar sense.
That's a good point, Omar. I haven't checked in with the character since Dark Reign, but I enjoyed the dynamic where "normal" Norman was still ruthless and evil, whereas the Goblin persona was all that AND crazy... and no one feared his return more than Norman.
But unless I've forgotten some scenes to the contrary, at least at this point in history it seemed like Norman's ruthlessness and evil WERE completely tied to the Goblin persona. The Norman who was amnesiac regarding his time as the Goblin was written like a candidate for citizen of the year. Your Curt Connors analogy is exactly right. But yeah, it doesn't make sense considering what we'd already been shown by then of Norman's history. He should have just gone back to being the same guy who betrayed his partner and treated his son like a disappointment. Instead it's like the amnesia actually produced a completely new personality.
I'm not a fan of dream sequences either, but this story has a few things going for it. For one, the terrific Buscema artwork. Second, while the story is a dream, the consequences are very real. Spidey is in danger, not just from the Hulk but from Nightmare. Third, the ending genuinely surprised me. I had been collecting Spider-Man comics for a few years at this point. Peter was a hero, through and through. Someone who had risked his own life, again and again, to prevent the loss of ANY life, even a villains'. And he does so here as well, saving Nightmare from the Hulk. But when Nightmare decides to renege on the deal, and the Hulk makes a grab at Nightmare, Peter turns away. This is the first time I can recall Peter turning his back and allowing a villain to be killed. I think this was another example of Peter David trying to inject some realism into Spidey's world (as he would do so again in the Sin Eater storyline).
Adding to the super-strength evidence, Norman is also briefly shown tossing around some hefty-looking wooden furniture like it's nothing.
Peter letting Norman go makes some sense if he thinks the Goblin serum is what made Norman villainous, and he knows that the amnesiac Norman is genuinely a good person. It's likely that Peter sees Norman's Goblin identity as something not terrifically different than, say, Curt Connors's Lizard transformation.
Of course, Norman before the serum was still ruthless, and Peter even thinks that back in ASM #39. But all of the Goblin's subsequent appearances under Lee's pen treat him like Norman is the good persona and the Goblin is the evil one. Of course, decades of retcons later, plain old Norman Osborn is at least as evil as his costumed identity, and perhaps even worse.
For a comparatively small country population-wise, Canada produced a lot of super-beings. Compare Canada's 25 or so million to a country like say India with a billion and few, if any, heroes to speak of. Something mustve been in the water in Canada.
Looks like Shooter recruited Denny O'Neil to help get the anti-drug message across and help O'Neil regain the acclaim heaped on him for the early-70's claasic Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories he helped craft along with Neal Adams. Unfortunately, as I've mentioned in other posts on this site, it's awfully difficult to catch lightning in a bottle twice. I might add that it's hard to move forward when you're turning back the clock. Whoa! I usually pass out puns when I post here, now I'm double-dipping in the cliche mine!
Interestingly, this was the second Marvel book to end with two partners in adventure, one black and one white. The short-lived early-70's western book, The Gunhawks, ended with Kid Cassidy, the white partner, shot and killed with Reno Jones, the black partner, believed to be the killer and left on the run. Jones' saga would continue in the popular 2000 John Ostrander/Leonardo Manco mini-series BLAZE OF GLORY: THE LAST RIDE OF THE WESTERN HEROES. Yes, I know Marvel westerns aren't covered here, but I'm a horse opera fan myself, and I highly recommend the mini for both the story and Manco's gritty, realistic take on Marvel's classic cowboys.
It seemed like Priest was the go-to guy to finish off series nearing cancellation or suffering from lagging sales. In the '90's alone, he would follow the Waid/Kubert run on Ka-Zar's book and write the last 6 issues (although some would argue the drastic change in art style from Andy Kubert to Kenny Martinez was the true death-knell), plus he would finish the Steel and Hawkman runs at DC during the decade.
Continuity problem! On page 5 Peter is saying goodbye to the Osbornes and saying that he always enjoys visiting them and the new baby. In ASM (released the following month) Peter visits Liz and Harry in hospital and the baby is named! I'd say this issue should be some time after the other one.
I'm not sure I buy that reasoning- we've seen him use his radar sense to detect Sue's force fields, so what's the difference between that and something made of solid light?
(Of course, he shouldn't be able to tell that the steps were made out of *light* as opposed to invisible force or whatever.)
I actually like Vulture's portrayal, especially since it was around this time writers finally stopped pissing on the character and actually started doing something about making Vulture a credible threat. By making him a murderous old man/thief and not a cranky old thief people laugh at.
Daredevil shouldn't really be able to "see" Sky-Walker's steps of light with his radar sense, should he? It's even a plot point during Mark Waid's run that he can't detect something that's made of solid light.
Regarding Storm and her role in the endgame of Atlantis Attacks; I've always assumed she was captured/returned (off-panel) sometime during #245-248.
The writers are super vague as to how much time passes between #245/#246-247 and #247/#248, let along the first half of #248 has a vague period where Longshot said goodbye to everyone and enough time passing from when Rogue was "killed", in terms of X-Men mourning Rogue and moving on with their live, before Nanny attacks the team and kidnaps Storm.
Fnord usually notes when there's some contradictory or complimentary examples of the Illuminati retcon, but he surprisingly missed one in this... during the crowd scenes in #1, there's one panel where Doctor Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man and Professor X are seen consulting together about what's going on and trying to solve the mystery.
I didn't think anything was ever explained but thanks for confirming! It always bugged me too so screw Brevoort. I can't think of any other examples where something like that happened. Jillian even has the same hair color as Jessica, there are no surface level differences.
In a few issues time, Spidey behaves even stranger when he sends Matt a letter saying he knows he's Daredevil, which forces Matt into the whole Mike Murdock craziness when Karen & Foggy end up reading it instead.
I'm presuming maybe Romita did a lot of the legwork on the plot here (& Colan did the Mike Murdock plot?) rather than Stan, maybe that would explain why Spidey acts out of character when he appears in Daredevil?
X-Men/Hulk is a continuity mess: http://www.chronologyproject.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4238
X-Men & Alpha Flight (1998) is also a mess because it take place after Alpha Flight's first battle with the Master in Alpha Flight 4, which crosses over with Fantastic Four 261, which has a cover date of Dec 1983 but Storm doesn't have her Mohawk, which she got in the story starting in X-Men 172 (Aug 1983), Rogue isn't a member- she joined in issue 171 (July 1983) and Scott doesn't seem to have Maddie yet (they met in X-Men 168(Apr 1983)).
This issue is much less of a mess.
I'm almost reaching this book in my X-Men chronological read and I'm wondering what makes the MCP place this issue (along with the X-Men & AF (1998) mini and also X-Men Vs Hulk (2009)) in a gap of UXM #168.
Why couldn't it be placed like you did, between UXM #167 and #168?
No, but Gruenwald had plans for that tying into Jessica Drew's "death" in Spider-Woman #50. That's all I know. He had hoped to spin-off the team into their own book which never happened. They do eventually become the stars of the Defenders book but aren't written by him. I asked Tom Brevoort (who wrote that godawful Defenders run) what those plans were and why Shadowoman was wearing Jessica's costume and he mentioned the Spider-Woman #50 thing and then berated me for caring. So I asked Andy Smith instead and he couldn't remember much beyond that it was very intentional drawing her in Spider-Woman's costume. So, basically, Mark had an idea that never got to see print. On paper there has been absolutely no acknowledgement of the similarity. She got a new costume and name mid-way into Brevoort's garbage and has hardly appeared since.
I sent this to the Marvel Appendix guys back in the day, but it makes sense to add it here, too.
Warhead, the terrorist thereat in issue 332, is very loosely based on a real-life protester, Norman Mayer. However, Mayer was an anti-nuclear weapons activist who threatened to blow up the Washington Monument unless politicians started discussing a ban on nuclear weapons. He was killed by National Park Police, who stated that they were trying to disable his explosives-laden van.
The incident happened in December of 1982, some years before this story was published.
Off topic, I know, but Buckaroo Banzai is worth seeing at least once if only for the sheer, deliberate wackiness of the movie. And it's got a helluva cast. "Buckaroo, I don't know what to say. Lectroids? Planet 10? Nuclear extortion? A girl named John?"
There's also more than naming coincidence tying this Warlock/Magus pair to the other one. Starlin's Warlock discovered that he wold one day turn into the Magus, and fought against that; here, the techno-organic race -- much later to be dubbed the Technarchy -- woks by having sons kill fathers and assume their roles. So in both cases the Magus character represents a dark possible future for the Warlock character, but Claremont's version of this idea is metaphorcial where Starlin's is literal.
Interesting that Xavier is clearly not trying to keep Ororo's thoughts private, and then he wonders what Illyana is doing. Illyana is hiding Lockheed, and trying to keep him from being visible to the Prof.
And Illyana is wearing a "Buckaroo Banzai" hat. I've never seen the movie, but I've seen spoiler warnings indicating that [SPOILER WARNING] Orson Welles' 1938 "War of the Worlds" broadcast was the truth, that aliens were invading and conquering the world that night, it's just that they got away with it.
I agree with Kveto about Blacklash and everyone about the cover.
This is a decent story but the issue after Spider-man breaks up with a woman he loved so much he actually told her who he really was is the wrong place for it!
Also, does it strike anyone else that going to a concert is a silly thing to do here? Remember the end of WEB#1? "BONG! BONG! BONG! BONG!" etc... I can see Spidey sitting there asking "Hey, when's the show going to start?" and somebody replying, "He's been playing for half an hour!"
Actually, this is also another instance of Ross Andru being afforded the opportunity to draw yet another incredibly hot 1970's woman, show some (intriguingly blue)skin and doll it up in bondage-lite decoupage and some equally oddball-sexy shoe action, It was enough to send a pre-adolescent into paroxysms of "I'm not getting laid" sexual fury.
While I consider myself a Gene Colan fan, I must admit I'm not keen on his Mr. Hyde. Between the aforementioned simian features and the swept back widow's peak hair, it's like a cross between Eddie Munster and Bela Lugosi in the early-40's low-budget thriller "The Ape Man".
The months long gap works very well in view of Dazzler. The Millie the Model issue takes place over a few weeks and after time has passed since the previous issue. Then the garphic novel (between issues) throws out "next week"s "days later"s and "weeks later"s like they are going out of style culminating (after the Kulan Gath story) with Dazzler making an entire movie to a viewable state. THEN she spends time in hiding being depressed and the Beauty and the Beast series kicks in (still between the same two issues) which is also littered with massive time jumps. THEN there's all the catching up with the regular series, all before Secret Wars II (in which she's been roadying for a while!).
All in all, Dazzler single handed distorts the fabric of time and getting a "months later" reference here is a relief for a foolish man who's been trying to plot a timeline of all this stuff(!)
There are handy excuses for gaps in most cases. Spider-man has no story arc after the end of the Pink Hat Saga and most issues are context free for months. Captain America is recovering from his ordeal with the Red Skull. Thor is mourning his father. The Richards' are spending quality time together instead of figuring out what to do about Terminus (in character at this point), Wyatt Wingfoot is doing the wild thang with She-Hulk and Johnny Storm is doing the same with his best friend's girlfriend (who, luckily, is a skrull).
I think it's funny how Batroc's chin whiskers look like real facial hair, yet his moustache looks like he swiped someone's spectacles, removed the earpieces and had them grafted to his face. As far a his mannerisms, the only illustrated character more of a French stereotype is Pepe LePew, who of course was based on Charles Boyer. Considering the time these stories came out, I would imagine Batroc speaking more like Yves Montand, the French actor who had an affair with Marilyn Monroe and whom I personally remember best for his role as the doomed Indy-car driver in John Frankenheimer's 1966 racing epic "Grand Prix". Of course, Stan went for a gaudier Frenchman. Now if Batroc were rebooted as a Jean Reno type, that would be damn cool (coming from an unabashed fan of Frankenheimer's 1998 thriller "Ronin", featuring Reno and Robert DeNiro in hot pursuit in one of the all-time badass car chase scenes).
If one were to title the splash page to this story, my first suggestion would be "Shock, Awe and Nostrils". That kinda sounds like one of Salvador Dali's works (like my personal favorite "Burning Giraffes and Telephones"), but come to think of it, that might make a good title for a book of Kane's artwork: "Shock, Awe and Nostrils: The Gil Kane Collection".
Great introduction of these characters, and I am a big fan of Hannigan's artwork. As super-powered people, they are vigilantes who much better fit Spider-Man than the Punisher as an opponent. And by making their main targets drug dealers and other criminals who exploit children, it lessens potential moral objections to their actions because their foes really are utter slime.
One can see the appeal of these characters from the beginning, but Mantlo and subsequent writers really screwed up when writing their ongoing series by moving away from this setting.
Personally I've always enjoyed seeing team-ups with Cap and T'Challa because it's not simply two costumed heroes meeting up, but two national symbols working together for a common cause. A superpower summit, after a fashion.
I have no problem with the emphasis on sonics here. After all, we've seen that slashing it only harms the host while the alien reforms itself and if you were trying to get it off while it was wearing you then fire, electricity, giant blenders, liquid nitrogen and explosions are probably all bad choices. We also know that anchovies don't repel it. It's the stories from ASM#300 that mess with things.
The Marvel UK reprint of this was the most wildly altered and edited reprint they ever did. For reasons I can only explain as insanity they put it out immediately after the introduction of the alien costume, so they inserted an explanation of what happened to that and also removed all reference to Liz having a baby while still using most of the art! Apparently Liz is ill here though how is not specified. There were other seemingly random changes to dialogue too. A year later they changed their minds and ran the end of the black costume storyline and the Hobgoblin story where Liz is pregnant. It ended with Liz being rushed to hospital and everyone worried that she and the baby might not make it... and she was never seen again until the comic was cancelled!
A friend of mine who moved to the US had a boss called... Randy Dicks! Nobody knew why we were laughing.
I love this issue. DeFalco and Frenz are heavily influenced by Ditko over on ASM and this is Milgrom doing a different Ditko riff with some laugh out loud jokes. The puppy line is great. In his long absence following the next issue did people often ask "Where's Spot?"?
The title of this issue seems ironic, given that the Black Cat's confession is weirdly slanted against her and makes her look as bad as possible. She wanted power because her lack of power allowed Hobgoblin to escape and Mister Hyde to nearly kill her boyfriend! She never intended to honour the deal and planned to hand over her benefactor to the police. She didn't know she was dealing with the Kingpin and was horrified when she found out! Why is she saying that she deliberately struck a deal with him? It's like she was possessed by somebody who wanted to justify Spider-man dumping her in a couple of issues so she could be written out...
In addition to the original Reignfire mystery, was it ever revealed why Dani was hanging around with the MLF? I know in John Francis Moore's run she's exposed as an undercover agent. It seems like there was something else going on at the beginning. I distinctly remember trading cards and other promo material from the time treating "Moonstar" and "Mirage" as separate characters.
I've just been rereading Kurt Busiek's Iron Man run, and Pepper's kids are explained away in issue 4. They were foster kids Pepper and Happy were going to adopt, but when Happy lost his job, they couldn't support them, so the adoption agency took them back. This apparently happened while Tony was away during the whole Crossing/Onslaught fiasco, so they couldn't go to him for help. Even with the sliding timescale, they must have had those kids for a long time before they lost them...
Between Stern's use of Cobra in this issue and PPTSSM#46 and Mantlo's use of him later, I wonder if the intent was to make Cobra a Spidey villain before Gruenwald ended up grabbing him for Captain America as part of the Serpent Society. Cobra's power set is very appropriate to a Spidey level villain. I've always liked the Cobra, but this period where the Cobra-Hyde dynamic overpowered everything was really killing the character. It was the same story over and over. Years later, Grunewald would thankfully resolve this and allow Cobra and Hyde to move on to be their own characters.
I think you have Phillip Chang incorrectly tagged as Philip Barnett here.
Also, I believe you're right about the subplot with Marcy Kane originally being planned as her having lost her hair to chemotherapy. Even this issue with the big reveal looks like the artwork may have been done when that was still the plan and her natural hair was just slowly growing back.
Fnord, I just referred to your rules link and it looks like the issue writeup in question is the proper place for stuff like this so: you don't have Phillip Chen listed as a character appearing, even though he's in the last scan you include here.
It lasted until '93. You left a comment on the last issue. And yes, almost nothing of lasting significance happened in the series. No great story arcs, no lasting new characters (I think), no memorable artists or writers. Mostly it undid the effects of Nick Fury vs SHIELD, or created new revelations that were later retconned. The two big things it did were finally bring back Baron Strucker (which I approve of) and change what the acronym S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for (which bugs me to no end).
I think Phantazia was "driven mad" by M-Day but that may have taken place off-panel. Or possibly even in one of those files books...
And Phantazia really represents the worst of Liefeld's laziness. Don't feel like drawing faces? Give her a mask. Give her plenty of hair too so you never have to draw ears. Don't want to draw feet? Even better, don't give her a body at all!
I think this may be the longest running Marvel series that I've never owned or read a single issue of. Come to think of it, I also never heard of any of this books events referenced anywhere else. Didn't this last until 1994?
Never was a fan of Paladin's "ribbed" costume (insert condom joke here). His headgear looks similar to the minor Batman villain the Calculator, who faced several different heroes in Detective Comics' secondary stories (the gimmick being that the heroes could only face and defeat him once because he would figure out his opponents strengths, weaknesses, movements, etc.) until Bats put the kibosh to him for a good long while.
I think Kraft and/or Hannigan should have used a couple other tracks from BOC's "Agents of Fortune" album as story titles: "E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) and "Sinful Love". The latter song has a fun chorus with a Marvelesque twist: "Dare-devil, she-devil, printer's devil, evil!/ I love you like sin, but I won't be your pigeon!"
I would've made more sense to tie Bushwacker into something like Project: Wideawake, especially since there are a lot of suggestions that the CIA or some other government group converted him into a cyborg. Of course, his origins get even more tangled over the years thanks to later writers inexplicably stating that he himself is a mutant and having him do stuff like eat bullets and gunpowder to reload his gun arm.
As to why villains might fear the Punisher more than, say, Spider-Man, I suppose it could b argued that the Punisher is scarier because *all he does* is go after you. Villains may not know Spider-Man has a personal life and secret ID, and the Avengers may be powerhouses, but they're also distractible and have a track record of letting go of their pursuit of you if something bigger or something else comes along. The Punisher? He makes the target his entire mission and doesn't stop until it's destroyed. And he doesn't "fight fair;" he's more likely to snipe you from across the street as to show up to have a fistfight in the street.
Of course, that doesn't fit very well with all these Punisher stories where he does act more like a standard costumed hero who uses guns, and it certainly wouldn't matter against villains above a certain level of physical power. Really, the Punisher's actual track record against supervillains is no better than anyone else's.
In regards to a separate thread about Ben's love life, there's a scene in 166 where Ben puckers up his orange rock "lips" to kiss a stewardess. I don't know his mouth can be so flexible. I also don't know whether he's kidding himself about his desirability or whether fame and power really are the ultimate aphrodisiacs, to paraphrase Henry Kissinger.
I only have the trade reprint of the Slott Thing storyline, which doesn't reprint the letter columns. I would love to hear how Slott actually phrased that response. As far as Ben "making love" (as opposed to intercourse) there's also the Mark Millar run on the Fantastic Four where Ben boasts of his prowess in the first issue, and almost marries Deborah Green in the last. (Please address any criticisms of Millar's general disregard of FF continuity to email@example.com.)
Wikipedia thinks this is the last time the real Agatha Harkness is seen alive, but both marvel.wikia and marvel.com characterize this as her "first" death, with her second, "final" death taking place at the hands of the Scarlet Witch off-panel several weeks (judging by her state of decomposition in Avengers 503 [rotting, but the teeth haven't fallen out yet]) prior to the events of Avengers Disassembled. In fact, the timeline is pretty clear: Wasp and Hawkeye hook up (gross, Chuck Austen) in Avengers 497, leading to Wasp talking to Scarlet Witch about a late period in a flashback in 503 and letting slip that Wanda once had 2 children, which leads to another flashback in which Wanda confronts Agatha at her home on Whisper Hill, where her body will later be found. There were definite clues that something was wrong with Wanda prior to that, but really nothing to suggest that Wanda resurrected Agatha back in '89 and she was a zombie (or whatever) ever since.
Nefaria is a strange villain overall. He starts out as an effort to play up two gimmicks at once -- sinister aristocrat and super-crimelord -- and then becomes a sort of generic megalomaniac schemer in his subsequent appearances. Finally, he's reinvented as Evil Superman, or, basically, General Zod. Later on he became "West Coast equivalent of the Kingpin," with his superpowers as the reason the heroes can't take him down like a common thug, but that's since been passed to his daughter, Madama Masque.
The Thing was strongly implied at least to have had sexual relationships with Alicia and Carlotta La Rosa (separately, of course) in Dan Slott's THING series a few years back. When readers questioned Slott about Ben's ability to have sex with human women, he suggested that Reed probably created some device...to allow anatomical compatibility...since he couldn't fully restore him to human form as of yet.
Oh, I forgot, he also wrote the second Batman and Daredevil crossover. His Daredevil was rather bad, including a scene where he reacts and comments to an image in the Batcomputer (????), but I found his Kingpin to be decent enough.
Looter is a creative villain in the fact that he gets his power from a meteor. Not shipping parker/stacy yet. Really hate her to be honest. Looking forward to romita because what people have written here
@Fnord: "And i guess i'm confused. I thought they knew this from Polaris and it's why they were out looking for them." I assume Sean was upset specifically because he learned the X-Men didn't tell him and Forge they were still alive. I guess he thought they couldn't communicate with anyone except Polaris and thus is annoyed to know X-Factor knew it before him. And IIRC Polaris never told them that X-Factor met her and the X-Men during Inferno.
I like Jean's annoyed face when she criticizes her costume. A Blushing Banshee is quite strange to look at, though. (that should retroactively become his Lee-style name!)
Masque seemed a lot more muscular last time we saw him. Not sure what happened to him.
Jean's tentacles remind me of what happened to Leela in a recent Futurama episode. She got a very similar mutation and moved by grabbing things around like Jean does in that panel. Maybe the animators read this issue before making the episode :)
Again, I was just mentioning "spider sense" as one concrete example of how #89 suddenly differed from the preceding issues, in terms of its absence as a plot device. (And my Essential Vol. 4 ends with #89, so I don't know how things are handled afterwards.) The extended battle scene would be another example. Even the way Peter Parker changed into Spider-Man seemed different—first worried about being seen as he walked up some building stairs to a rooftop and then changing into costume in broad daylight—and his monologue during that scene, as he departed as Spider-Man.
I'm basically meditating on the role of artist as author. If the same writer were in charge throughout, we wouldn't see such a radically different approach to the character and to plotting. And I'm thinking that the stories I was appreciating prior to #89 were really Romita's stories, even though it's tempting to assume he just did the visuals.
It used to be, at least from my vantage point, that the Hulk was the one to have a team-up/showdown with a new character because Ol' Greenskin seemed to make an appearance in everyone else's books at one time or another. Guess Peter David must have been given some veto power at the time and exercised it after seeing Superpro. So it fell to Spidey and Cap to be the designated "sales boosters".
Despite the destruction of the Golden Bull in this issue, I'm pretty sure it reappears later restored to one piece. Though I guess it's not impossible that a dedicated restorer with a LOT of crazy glue put it back together.
While the plot is light, I think the fight's choreographed very well, one of Spidey & Ock's best. As for spider-sense, I prefer the "imminent danger" interpretation. A hero who's constantly receiving sensory input which he filters to get the info he wants... well, I've just described Daredevil. We don't need these two swinging street-level superheroes sharing another shtick.
Furthermore, while Matt's senses are defined, it's nebulous what spider-sense even is. It can detect Doc Ock just because Ock's a villain? If Octavius had had a change of heart, the sense would somehow know? And it picks up criminal acts that are no threat to Spider-Man all over the city?
The whole thing's too magical. Pete got his powers from a radioactive spider, and none of this is remotely what spiders do. I can buy an arachnid sensing that Joe is about to swat it, but not that Joe is in his basement building a bomb.
Ah, here it is a muggy, overcast 4th. of July in my neck of the woods, and I'm wailing away the morning hours reviewing the NFL Superpro series. Anyhoo, judging from the short, tight skirts and do-me pumps worn by Jane Dixon, the series did predict the wave of sex-kitten sideline reporters to come (Erin Andrews, Jill Arrington, Melissa Stark, Lisa Guerrero, et al). Also, I agree with Robert that ripping up the goalpost instead of untying her hands was 'Pro being a showboat, maybe a veiled commentary on the ongoing brouhaha over end-zone celebrations? At any rate, that rescue move seemed pretty out of bounds to me.:)
Marco Sanzionare sounds like the name of a daytime TV soap opera villain. With the black turtleneck, jewelry and beaver-tail hair, he's like a cross between Ethan Allan (the historical figure, not the furniture), Bob Guccione, and a CIA Black Ops agent.
Trying but failing to not get too graphic here.... there's a difference between being anatomically correct and being able to have sex without killing or maiming your partner. I assume he is "complete". He eats and drinks, so presumably he finishes the other end of the equation. It's the size and texture I'd worry about, if I were Alicia. But you don't even have to go that far. Ben can't kiss a woman; he has no lips. Maybe he has a fantastic tongue that can't be shown in an all-ages comic...
In his almost indestructible purple pants, of course. He already did the same trick with money a couple of times.
Ryan and Palmer really make this book look great. Some moments that looked particularly epic to me were Jarvis calling everyone for help (you can feel the fear on his face), Gilgamesh controlling his molecules to resist the heat, everything with the Cha'sa'dra duplicate, Thor opening the portal, and the Warriors Three showing up to help Cap even though they didn't do anything.
It's a shame there are so many minor continuity problems creating a ripple effect on this whole period, but that wasn't just Byrne's fault. It was more like messy coordination between everyone. The story is still enjoyable and the art makes up for it and even more.
Maybe Ben is like Donald Duck and other cartoon characters, he has private parts but we don't see them unless he, well, needs them? And he still has to cover himself up just like Donald when getting out of the shower.
The scene still works even if this is driven by petty creator rivalry. Even if Reed is ultimately justified because Galactus is "necessary" to the cosmos like the force of gravity is, Lilandra's outrage is totally believable.
Oh for the days when Wolverine could be defeated easily...
That said, Charley can tell fellow Illuminati member Reed Richards that he thinks he can get Magneto to side with the heroes, so the X-Men are preparing to fly off and do just that as soon as the storm breaks. That way Reed can inform Iron Man, Cap and the rest so there won't be any sudden surprises.
Or Charley can wipe Spidey's mind of any clue of what's going on so that he won't tell Reed or anybody else. Because Charley has no problems with mind-wipes, and it's always a good idea to let your allies trust the X-Men to hold up their end of the fortress in case it gets attacked, and suddenly the X-Men have deserted their posts.
I like the way Byrne and Claremont sparred at each other long-distance like this. That's the sort of thing that helped make the Marvel Universe feel like an on-going event. Not sustainable even for Claremont and Byrne at their peaks, and completely unworkable if other comics had done the same thing, but it helps the sense of realism if the writer of an Imperial Majestrix realizes she's going to be pissed that the writer of Earth's Smartest Man saved Galactus' life.
Regarding the last panel: That is hands down the worst Heisman pose I've ever seen! However, if the artist made some adjustments and drew Superpro playing a flute, it could be a decent nod to the classic Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull pose. That stands to reason because I'd imagine if we ever see the character in the present time, he'd likely be "Sitting on a park bench!"
It wasn't in the comics--Ben has been implied to have sexual relationships as The Thing (as well as bothering to cover himself up on occasions where he was wound up nude), so he is still anatomically correct.
Sorry to do this, but here goes: It's a wonder Superpro wasn't given a sidekick, maybe even a non-human one. Like a dog named Referee, when he barked he'd go "Ref! Ref!" Or like the Falcon, he could've had a bird, and referred to it at his Personal Fowl.
You're essentially right about JB's first work at Marvel, but his first story for them appeared in Giant-Size Dracula #5. How scary is a giant Dracula? I am trying to figure out which one to profile in my Integr8d Fix book since I want to get his 1st Marvels as part of a series of articles about that subject and writers/ artists.
I think that was the big problem with a lot of the mob-boss villains in Marvel pre-Miller: either they had some sort of weird gimmick to make them a threat (Kingpin's super-strength, Owl's tech and gimmickry, Baron Nefaria's...um...he did a lot of things) or didn't last long enough due to just being mob bosses in a world of superheroes (thinking the first Silvermane story) Kingpin just seemed to be devised as "a mob boss whose strong enough to deal with a guy with spider powers" and that's all he was until Frank Miller's Daredevil run, where his mob connections are more important and his strength is scaled down to match up with a guy whose only power is just enhanced super-senses due to blindness. It ultimately worked due to how classic Miller made Kingpin work out, but it does make one wonder in the earlier stories how Kingpin was so strong to basically just be "a strong mob boss" during the period his main and only real Marvel threat was Spider-Man. (it sort of just makes me think of the whole period they gave Cap super-strength thinking he had to be a threat to greater characters...but then Kirby and later writers ignored it and just reminded he was supposed to be "peak human acheivement" until a retcon finally revealed "it just wore off over time and he's back to how he was".)
Kingpin IS described as having super-strength in Amazing Spider-Man 83.
And no, the Kingpin didn't become peak normal when Miller revamped him- Miller described him as having "inhuman" strength. What happened was this- in the Official Handbook #6, the Kingpin was described as being peak normal. This was after Miller left, but O'Neil, who replaced him, didn't seem to think the Kingpin was peak normal either. He wasn't written as being peak normal after this- he defeats the Punisher in Spectacular Spider-Man 82, goes one on one with Silvermane in Spectacular Spider-Man 96, goes one on one with Spider-Man in Spectacular Spider-Man 100, defeats Daredevil in Born Again, defeats the Punisher in Punisher 18 and defeats the Red Skull in Captain America 378. The Kingpin really was unstoppable by anyone short of Spider-Man until Chichester came along with Daredevil 300.
Yeah, the pre-Miller version of Kingpin is kind of removed from comics history at this point. At the end of Daredevil's "Born Again", it's treated as if any mud sticking to Kingpin is a major win.
Sure, every superhero knows Kingpin only masquerades as a legitimate businessman, but I think it's meant to be that the general public don't know that, unless they have some knowledge of the underworld. It's hard to imagine the public believing it only a few Marvel years after escapades like this.
Kingpin's whole "I am just a humble dealer of spices" alibi seems a little less convincing if he's just a humble dealer of spices who broke out of prison with his bare hands, then fights one-on-one with Spider-Man in the streets (and the Bugle's presence here suggest the fight would have been reported on).
I think this issue and the previous two (and Kingpin's previous appearances) pretty much establish he has superhuman strength, possibly equal or even greater than Spider-Man's. He's going toe to toe with Spidey, opening a vault door with his naked strength which Spider-Man himself has a tough time getting open, he's pulling out prison bars, smashing stuff with his bare hands, etc. I know people decided later he's "peak human strength", but come on. Certainly Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. never said Kingpin didn't have super-human strength. I wonder if Lee eventually gave him more of an origin, he would have established where he got his strength from, but I guess when Frank Miller revamped the character for Daredevil, he just became peak normal.
Had this story been written now, it would have been a Deadpool story. Talking to the reader, ridiculous running gags, blatant flirting, a merc/hero for hire's adventures narrated in a light-hearted way... yeah, sounds like a Deadpool story. Talk about things being ahead of their time!
Picked up the PAD Friendly Neighborhood Spideys (I was a big PAD fan as a youth so I guess I had to buy it eventually), can confirm Andrew is correct. Robbie is telling Jonah to go easy on Peter during a hard time, blaming him for years of turning the public against Peter, Robbie says he wished he'd done more to stop Jonah doing it.
When Jonah says Peter has tricked them for years, Robbie says there were so many coincidences between Peter & Spider-Man that "you must have known it deep down. Must have. I know I did."
I thought the whole Civil War unmasking thing was utterly out of character & wished it hadn't happened, and whether Robbie knows shouldn't really be confirmed either way. But since it did happen, I think the quoted conversation does a good job of walking the fine line of being unclear whether Robbie knew, or didn't consciously know... which should be fine with both sides of debate. Not ideal, but the best solution in the circumstances I think.
(Even though, clearly he does know.. just look at the scene above. MJ comes in crazy for no reason, Robbie looks at Spidey headline, Robbie doesn't see Peter for 2 weeks and then Kraven confesses he's been impersonating Spidey for 2 weeks... doesn't take a genius.)
So i'd love to see them exploring the weird neglected corners of the Marvel universe just as Englehart did here. Finding out about things that have already been established in the MU would have more legitimacy than newly invented stuff, and it's an opportunity to find connections, tie up loose ends, or correct continuity errors.
Fwiw I agree with you completely, and I believe the surest step forward for Marvel Comics is to bring back FF and give the book to Tomas Giorello and Nathan Adler ;-)
Yeah, I'm no expert on "spider sense", but I'd been reading Essential Spider-Man, Vol. 4 and enjoying the way the power is used to make it conceivable that Spider-Man could actually roam an entire city to hone in on bad guys and criminal activity.
It seems to be missing from #89, and I'm tempted to attribute it to the change in artist. I don't know if Kane would have been plotting or Stan, but I definitely suspect that Romita had been in the driver's seat before this. I get the sense that plotting and breakdowns were not easy for Romita and that he took it very seriously, which is probably why he backed off penciling many issues.
Sensing an unexpected dangerous presence and combing the city for bad guys are two instances where "Spidey sense" is often invoked, and both activities come up here, back-to-back, with nary a mention. It even popped up twice in the preceding issue (#88), first when Spidey stumbles upon Doc Ock's tentacles as they're running amok in the street, and then again when he's atop the airplane, trying to hone in on Ock's exact location.
And that "Where? Where? Where?" panel? It shouldn't have been necessary. It comes off as a cheap ploy to ratchet up tension. I like Gil Kane; I just didn't think this was a very good Spider-Man issue. It's not just the art that's different but the understanding of the character, which seems weak and makes the story come across kind of generic and arbitrary. The entire second half of the issue is a single battle scene.
@Mark Drummond: Wish to confirm that Herb Trimpe did own a biplane. In a recently-acquired copy of DC's ENEMY ACE: WAR IDYLL, writer/artist George Pratt, in the acknowledgements pages, thanked Trimpe for taking him up for a spin over the Catskills in his biplane, giving him a feel for what the pilots must have seen and felt. Sounded like one hell of a ride!
@AF Wow, you're right, thanks for jarring my memory again! I must confess at this time in my life, I was reading mostly books from the Distinguished Competition, along with the odd manga title. My primary late '90's Marvel reading was Thunderbolts, Ka-Zar, Heroes for Hire, some of the post-Heroes Reborn titles (mostly Cap), and the Jenkins/Lee Inhumans. Feel bad for forgetting these things, but I am a full-time caregiver and work full-time for a veterans' charity these days, so I do have a fairly full plate. This, my readings and writings and my Boxer are my main outlets, what an exciting life I lead!
@Ataru320 True, considering the character of Solitaire (Jane Seymour's film debut). I was just thinking of each using symbolism in their respective organizational structures. And I agree with your assessment of HYDRA's use of animals for divisions, it WAS cool and should have been updated and expanded upon.
At the end of the issue, Aunt May talks about her friend Anna "Watkins" and Peter thinks about how she's misremembering her best friend's name. Funny way to clear up the Watkins/Watson confusion from the old stories.
Peter's Spider-Sense has been portrayed inconsistently over the years. In some cases, it's triggered by criminals who have been violent in the past but aren't doing anything illegal at the moment. In other cases, it's only triggered by people who are only on the verge of attacking him or his friends and relatives. Kurt Busiek has said he favors the latter interpretation. One possible explanation is that in a city the size of New York, there are so many murderers, rapists, child molesters, wife beaters, etc. on the loose at any given moment, that Peter is constantly getting "noise" from his Spider-Sense- and I think one writer has suggested something similar.
In #89, I was struck by how Peter Parker is literally just feet away from Doc Ock—who's hiding in an alley and picks up a newspaper discarded by Peter—yet his spider sense never starts tingling. Then he decides to awkwardly change into his Spider-Man costume on a rooftop and go looking for Ock, presumably relying on luck and eyesight alone. It doesn't make a lick of sense. (Forget the fact that there's absolutely no way Ock would NOT have been spotted roaming the streets of the city with his ridiculous tentacle arms. Couldn't he have at least put on a raincoat?)
It made me consider that this issue was likely plotted by Gil Kane, and that Romita probably deserves a lot of credit for the strength of the storytelling in the previous issues. The art is good, but I didn't care for the pacing or action in this issue.
I assume Dane was influenced by Hercules because it still doesn't look like him to engage in random "lowbrow fratboy antics" on his own.
I'm not sure what the consensus at Marvel was at the time this issue was written, but nowadays Cap really is old behind his super-soldier body. The sliding timescale still is very much in effect, but the fall from the plane is treated as a fixed point in time, meaning he really did get frozen at the end of WW2. They just add years to the time he spent frozen as real time flies and Avengers #4 keeps moving further away from WW2. Case in point, the removal of his super-soldier serum in 2014 left him as a 90-year-old-looking old man, which is way older than he should look if the congelation only happened 20 years ago or something. And several 2016 comics explicitly mention him as 90-something even after he regains his youthful appearance. So he's technically getting older and older.
There's still the issue of him feeling mentally old even though only ~14 years have passed since Avengers #4, but I guess knowing at least half a century passed between the fall and the thawing has that kind of effect.
Okay, based on everything else we see in the series, I've identified all those Protectors more or less (from left to right):
1. A member or portion of the Puffball Collective or the Puffball Collective's race (Hulk #301-308),
2. Ree of Archeopia (Thor #160-162, Quasar #26-27),
3. Trantra of the Trill (Quasar #26-27),
4. an unidentified Elan (Fantastic Four #24),
5. an unidentified Shi’ar,
6. Mar-Vell of the Kree a.k.a. Captain Marvel,
7. an unidentified member of Starbolt’s unnamed race,
8. a Space Phantom from the planet Phantus (Avengers #2, Thor #281-282),
9. Tomar-Re from Green Lantern,
10. Glakandar the Stygian Starbender (Quasar #26-27, #41-43),
11. Andwella of Gamora's home-planet Zen Whoberi (Quasar #41-43).
Tomar-Re is the only one I'd be unsure of, due to the colouring and lack of detail, but it's totally in-line with Gruenwald and his past work to work that sort of thing in. Glakandar and Andwella both are very undetailed but it looks like both them. With regards to Busiek's dreadful retcons, there's all sorts of problems with a Space Phantom being there.
@Brian Coffey: Suddenly I just imagine Kananga's organization from the "Live and Let Die" movie with that explanation. But on topic: animal names for HYDRA divisions is awesome and really should have been further refined by someone at Marvel.
The Hydra division chart reminds me of what was done in the James Bond Role-Playing Game. Since the creators could not use Blofeld or SPECTRE, they devised an organization called TAROT, with each specialized division represented by cards from the Major Arcana cards (Example: Assassination represented by Death).
The executive who's known by his initials is a trope in fiction. A famous real-life example is J. P. Morgan. B. J. sounds like PJs, which is a common terms for pyjamas, so it may be it just sounded right. It's also similar in sound to Morgan's initials reversed.
There had been a few recent Viking films:
VIKING WOMEN AND THE SEA SERPENT (1957) was an ultra-low-budget film directed by Roger Corman, and included a sea serpent. THE VIKINGS (1958) was a big-budget film with a star cast for which copies of Viking ships were built. It lacked fantastic content.
Wikipedia says a television series called TALES OF THE VIKINGS resulted from it. There were also a few Italian Viking films released in the early 1960s.
Madame Hydra's real name will turn out to be Ophelia Sarkissian.
The Madame Spectra (why not Madame Spectre?) connection is interesting. I had never heard of that. But according to mi6-hq.com the story she appeared in, The Golden Ghost, ran from August 21st 1970 to January 16th 1971 in the British Daily Express. If Captain America #110 has a cover date of February 1969, taking into account the fact that the comics usually appeared well before their cover dates and on top of that the lead time involved in creating them, it seems impossible that Steranko could have based his character after the character in the James Bond strip. If anything it may have been the other way around.
@AF Thanks for that. When you mentioned Liam Sharp's name it came back to me. I bought the first issue and it did seem promising, but my personal fave comic shop at the time had low demand for the series, therefore the owner pretty much left it off his order. Couldn't find it at any of the other shops at the time, either. Don't know why I thought of Muth, maybe he was working on something similar at the time. Sometimes my old partying habits catch up with my memory.
There's a caption in #151, just before Kitty leaving, that states that "A discrete check by Xavier confirms that Carmen and Terri Pryde are indeed acting on their own,", so I'm not sure I agree with you when you say at the beggining of you review that Frost manipulated Kitty's parents.
Still, at the end of #152 Kitty stays with the X-Men...I have to read the following issues to see if her parents react to this.
Have to agree with Brian that the intended audience is a bit of a mystery. First off, giving it to Cockrum to write when as fnord notes he had almost no writing credits. Then add in that not only are the normal X-Men trappings mostly absent but so is any of the stuff unique to Nightcrawler (Margali and Amanda, Mystique, etc.) In contrast, Wolverine's series may have gotten him away from the X-Men, but it was completely centered around his relationship with Mariko, an existing character who Wolverine became engaged to by the end of the series. By placing this adventure "off-world" with no apparent effort being made to lay the groundwork for a series, it seems like it was just a case of Marvel figuring that a four-issue miniseries starring another popular X-Man that was drawn by Cockrum would be good for a certain level of sales. And to get Cockrum onboard, they allowed him to write the series as well.
Wow - looking at that first panel you included of the Hulk/Devil-Slayer fight, I saw Dollar Bill's caption and it reminded me that he spent what I thought at the time was an inordinate amount of time during this issue calling Banner "Bob" instead of Bruce. Of course, in hindsight I now realize that was an in-joke directed at Stan, but the first time I read this it just seemed like "normal" Dollar Bill behavior. I wonder if he ever met Peter Parker and insisted on calling him Peter Palmer.
It was Liam Sharp on pencils for Man-Thing and it starts ok but quickly becomes some of DeMatteis' absolute worst stuff (and I'm a fan). But, unlike Paul Jenkins' concurrent Werewolf by Night run, DeMatteis actually did get to wrap it up (in a Spider-Man Annual) and his 2 unpublished issues are considered canon and detailed in handbooks and stuff.
I feel like the "few days" might be a error.
Issue 1 pg 11 says "Time flows at different rates from one dimension to another. To Kitty and Illyana, Kurt has only been gone a few moments. Kurt, however has been aboard the Tai Javinee for a week"
It seems to make more sense that Kitty and Illyana then were working get him back for MUCH less than a few days. Which would be in line with them staying in the same clothes.
Though maybe time moves differently for different dimensions and it just the first one where is the "weeks : moments" ratio.
Overall, reading this series for the first time just now, I didn't like it all. Not sure who the audience was for this book. Maybe it was marketed to younger audiences as the rest of the X-titles audiences were maturing.
Years after Claremont's run, I remember being stoked for Manny's return in the late '90s as part of the reconfigured Strange Tales horror line, with Man-Thing written by Fnord-favorite (snicker) JM DeMatties and art, if I recall, by Jon J. Muth. However, like so many other projects during the uncertain Chapter 11 days, this and the other horror titles (Werewolf By Night and Satana) were scrapped before they could gather any steam. Guess I'll have to pick up the recent mini-series by "Mr. Goosebumps" himself, R.L. Stine. I understand he has a pretty unique take on Ol' Carrot Nose.
As I have noted on previous posts here, I've practically shat on Don Perlin's art from WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, mainly because Mike Ploog was such a part of the character's development. However, I've come to appreciate his run with Marvel's resident "non-team" over time. It kinda fits the quirkiness one associates with the Defenders in general.
I'm looking through the Silvermane appearances, and find it weird that when he appears here, he suddenly is an old man again, especially when they made a big deal that when he revived prior, he remained "young". But hey, it's funnier I guess to have an old guy in a robot exoskeleton than a young one; sort of gives him a "Vulture" vibe of a powerful old guy taking on Spidey and the like.
Note the names on the theater marquee (panel 3 above), Bruce Carlin & Terry Fuller. Bruce was a high school friend of Steve and later did some scripts for Spoof and Crazy. He also worked with Steve on earlier fanzines. Terry may also have been a high school friend, but there are no credits that I could find in the GCD.
Bringing back back Zemo's son and taking his father's title is probably the biggest legacy Dematteis left Cap. He would become a great villain in the hands of other writers. And these issues are some of Dematteis' best on Cap. It helps that Zeck's artwork is excellent.
Piggybacking off the Power Records comments, Phoenix/Baron Helmut Zemo was voiced by the late, great Peter Fernandez, best known for giving the English-language voice to Speed Racer, as well as his vocal voice-over talents being peppered throughout the "Mach 1" run of Power Records stories, most often as narrator.
Fellow graybeards out there might remember that a T-shirt manufacturer in conjuncture with Marvel made up shirts with panels from this particular issue as its design. I remember getting mine at K-Mart back in the day, before shopping at K-Mart became uncool once you hit your teens, and were considered poor white trash if your family shopped there, at least in my neck of the woods. Sigh.
@Mark Perhaps you got crossed up with Alphonse Mouzon, the late jazz fusion drummer who once played with Weather Report? (As an aside: Mouzon AND Jaco Pastorius on bass? Don't recall if they were in Weather Report at the same time, but that's one hell of a rhythm section!)
Explaining what Mar-vell's powers are and how he got them is a mess. He's gone through...
* His original powers due to Kree technology and the high gravity on Hala (physical ability somewhat greater than human, flight suit, uni-beam).
* The powers granted by the godlike Zo (further enhanced strength, teleportation, illusions). Zo turns out to be a false front of Kree minister Zarek, but the powers are still real due to Zarek applying "some untried process" to Marv.
* The powers he gets from the Nega-Bands, which are said to supplant all prior ones (super strength, invulnerability, flight, switching atoms with Rick Jones).
* The powers from Professor Savannah's photon treatment these issues (absorption of sunlight to become stronger in daytime yet weaker at night).
* The powers granted by the godlike-for-real-this-time Eon (cosmic awareness, sparkly flight trail).
On another note, Nitro gets all the blame for Mar-vell's cancer, but the radiation from Megaton probably didn't do the captain any favors. It makes me think of how Bill Foster gets irradiated by both Atom-Smasher and Nuklo before revealing he has cancer.
Hugh, I figured out what you're thinking of. In Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man 21, by David and Nauck, Robbie gets into a fight with Jonah and in the course of it says he knew Peter was Spider-Man "deep down". So David isn't contradicting Straczynski outright, he's just saying Robbie knew it subconsciously. And Jameson doesn't fire him because he knew; he fires him because Robbie is unquestionably, if justifiably, insubordinate.
"This story was actually plotted during Wolfman's earlier run on MTIO, but was left unfinished." I suspected as much! It stunk of that lousy stint. Thank you for calling out Norman's nearly fatal irresponsibility, which outraged me as well.
Guys I was basing my statement that Robbie's confirmed his knowledge on a hazy mmemory and a quick look at Wikipeidia( the Robbie entry actually says that Jonah fired him because he knew all along).
I actually think that its a shame if we DIDNT get an acknowledgement of this during the Civil War storyline. Otherwise the plot is just totally forgotten, which I guess wouldn't be surprising given that it was a subtle dangler in scattered Spidey issues through the 70s-80s and Civil War happened 20 years later. Peter David was back writing Spidey at that point though, I'm surprised that he didn't reference it somehow.
I wonder what Slott thinks of it now? he loves old continuity like this but I imagine he is of the mind that the Mephisto mind wipe covers it as it does other characters like Daredevil that long knew that Pete was Spidey.
I also wonder if "Dark Knight" was another influence, in that Batman used guns several times during the series. Batman doesn't like guns. Everybody knows this. Yet he's turning an M240 on a robber, the Batmobile has been outfitted with machine guns, etc. Having Kraven suddenly pull out a rifle is a major dramatic point.
Fnord writes: "In fact, he's done plenty of monologuing of his own in the past. But it's worth remembering that we're at the point now where these conventions are being challenged, thanks largely to the works of Alan Moore and Frank Miller. And i like that, but at the same time it could have been done without this realization that oh, he's not like those other silly villains."
I think that's one of the things that made this story work so well. It's Kraven, f'r cryin' out loud. He's the last guy to throw off the 'traditional ways' when confronting a superhero. Yeah, Spidey is undergoing drug effects at the time, but it's at least 50-50 that the audience wasn't, and we had the same reaction. No death trap, no monologue, he's just going to shoot Spidey when he's helpless and that's that.
This sort of thing wasn't done back then. Alan Moore's original idea for "Watchmen" started with a superhero being murdered and then other heroes try to figure out who was responsible. I wouldn't be surprised if the success of "Watchmen" is what got DeMatteis approval for this story, which both Marvel and DC had turned down. The Dark Age was approaching.
As to Robbie, I'd just say 'let it remain vague.' Like MJ knowing the secret all along, but with Robbie it works.
Or rather a Bio-Duplicate, right? (Per later retcons.) We first glimpse her in Marvel Premiere #55 and we learn that it's her in Iron Man #138. I don't think she "appears" in this issue, from a tagging perspective.
Hulk wore torn purple pants in Hulk #2 and Hulk #4. In terms of transformation, Bruce says that he transforms back into the Hulk because Rick didn't give him a strong enough dosage of gamma rays when turning him into Banner.
I always assumed the Spider-office came up with the idea of Ock going nuts after Battleworld and Shooter went along. It always struck me as too brilliant of a post-"Secret Wars" change to be Shooter's idea.
Regarding Ultron, i'd only tag a character for being behind-the-scenes if their actions have to have occurred during the issue. In this case i think Ultron could have given Grim Reaper the tech at any point prior to these issues so i wouldn't count it. (I haven't re-read these issues so if i'm missing something let me know.)
Fnord's in a bit of a difficult position on whether this is Maddie... on one hand, you're right that there is no canon that the Maddy here is the same as Maddie Pryor, and also as Jon Dubya points out, the flashback in 241 suggests Maddie only comes alive as an adult.
On the other hand, the Genosha storyline has the Maddy shown in this annual appearing as an apparent memory in Maddie's mind.
I suspect Claremont forgot that he had named two characters after Madelyne Pryor, and decided to link the two in Maddie's mind as an in-joke after readers wrote in asking what the connection was.
But from Fnord's perspective as a reviewer, if you're taking the comics seriously (rather than ignoring in-jokes) there is clearly some connection between Maddie and Maddy, whatever it is. So I can see why he has called this an appearance by Maddie even though I agree I don't believe it's ever been canon.
There is a note at the end about it but it says there is no revealed connection. I don't think it's EVER been considered the canon that this is actually Madelyne Pryor (and it's spelt "Maddy" here as opposed to "Maddie"), just wish fulfillment from the same people who think Lorna Dane and Zaladane being related is genius.
Though I agree with Chris & ChrisW that Robbie knowing should never be confirmed one way or the other, even though scenes such as (during Wolfman's run) where Robbie interrupts Peter at the docks just as he is saying he is Spider-Man, or (during Peter's absence in Secret Wars) Robbie ushering Black Cat away from her argument with Jonah saying she'll say something she'll regret. I am just hoping that the Civil War writers didn't spoil that by confirming one of them.
That's interesting, is there a particular issue where you see Robbie's reaction? Do you get to see any thought bubbles from Robbie or any surprise/anger/confrontation against Peter?
Obviously there's many of us Spidey fans who think Robbie probably does know, or at least that there have been several different 70s & 80s comics implying that he may do, so it would be interesting to see if Robbie's reaction in Civil War fits in with that. If there's nothing specific beyond a panel showing him looking surprised, we could just explain it as Robbie being surprised that Peter would be stupid enough to reveal his identity in such a public manner.
Yes, Byrne was also writing The Thing's solo series & has said he found it difficult to come up with good Thing stories that didn't have a reason to include the Fantastic Four, which would make them Fantastic Four stories. So when he heard about the weird planet the Beyonder had created, he decided Ben would stay there, so he could write Thing solo stories that couldn't involve the FF.
As Dermie says, as a replacement he thought of She-Hulk, in his own words telling his friend Stern that he was stealing She-Hulk off Stern, and Stern replied "Oh, okay".
As has been said here before, the writers of several of the comics must have discussed with Shooter certain status quo changes that would occur during Secret Wars so readers would feel the need to buy Secret Wars to find out how these things happened, some more successful than others. (Where did Spidey get his new costume? Why is She-Hulk now in the FF? How did Hulk injure his leg? Erm, what was the deal with that dragon in X-Men?)
I suspect the Dr Octopus status quo was unplanned though, with Byrne intending that Ock had been in psychiatric care since Spectacular #79, & only after the comic was published did editorial realise that Shooter would have to insert a scene with Doc Ock going crazy so this didn't seem like an error.
6. Early in the story, Fury is walking in some street and we see a comic book page in a panel. It shows someone's shoes walking on spiders. I wondered if it was meant to represent the corrupted situation of SHIELD and how Nick feels about it.
7. When Allen is investigating the flat scan stuff there's a screen with names of SHIELD agents. There actually are a lot of Marvel staff names just like every screen/newspaper/wall graffiti joke ever and something that might look like John Garrett.
8. Madame Hydra Six is cool.
9. In the light of post-Secret Wars revelations about Dum Dum Dugan, I wonder if his current "original soul wandering around in multiple LMD bodies" state was inspired by the Deltite stuff.
Various thoughts and stuff I noticed while reading this.
1. The art is awesome. For some reason I like it more than Neary's Captain America run (which was good too!). I guess it's the DeMulder inks. However, the coloring can be weird at times.
2. The Deltites stuff sounds like a cool concept but the execution is too messy and ultimately makes everything way too confusing. LMDs are enough. Harras makes SHIELD look like a factory of agents based after the same bunch of guys over and over. It has the side effect of cheapening death, which happens all the time in Marvel, but it's especially noticeable here.
3. A consequence of this is that before I was done reading this, I already suspected Jimmy Woo, Laura Brown and everyone else never really appeared in this series. Especially the Gaffer, even though he's never explicitly confirmed as a Deltite, it's obvious he wouldn't have betrayed Fury like that.
4. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of stuff here was later retconned out. Which it actually was, based on what Fnord and everyone else said here, but I haven't read the 1989 Nick Fury series yet so I can only imagine the way it makes this mini look like a mess.
5. Other than that, I liked this mini and was surprised at how much of it was simplified/adapted out for the Winter Soldier movie. It basically became a Captain America and Hydra story with some SHIELD elements here and there.
I like the characterization of Jarvis's mother, but Simonson should have done a little research to make her sound like she came from somewhere in the U.K., instead of "generic American old lady" (see Urania Bliss). Some of her diction could be interpreted as Irish or Cockney, but there's no other way to read "dagnabbit."
The "injury to eye motif" Jarvis mentions is a reference to "Seduction of the Innocent," by Frederic Wertham.
Friedrich's issues seem to be a conscious effort to reset the series to the pre-Steranko status quo. Laura Brown is back as the love interest, the other new agents Steranko introduced are shelved in favor of the Howling Commandoes veterans, and the plotting goes back to a more straightforward "Fury et al. fight a megalomaniac in a war of gadgets and disguises" bit rather than Steranko's use of private detective and Will Eisner-esque storytelling gimmick.
In the S.H.I.E.L.D. by Steranko TPB, the Nick-Val "romantic interlude" is shown in its original form, of course the prudes at the CCA demanded changes (from issue #2). Val's cleavage was axed, other than that the version that went to print was still pretty suggestive. This scene was recreated in UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #7, when the Impossible Man swiped Fury's eye patch for his scavenger hunt.
I do see in Quartermain the Burt Lancaster resemblance. Stands to reason since Lancaster's nickname was "Mr. Muscles and Teeth". Also, the S.H.I.E.L.D. by Steranko TPB features the original art for the page with the Contessa's back to the reader, highlighting a more-defined bum than what made it to print, thanks to the Comics Code Authority.
I'm pretty sure I read an interview somewhere where Byrne said he asked for She-Hulk to be able to use her in FF, because he liked what Roger Stern had been doing with her in AVENGERS and wanted to play with her too. So they agreed to share her, with her joining the FF but still being a 'detatched' member of the Avengers so she could make occasional appearances there.
Karl Kesel adapted the Lavender/ Sun Girl story in his Captain America: Patriot mini a few years ago. It reconciled elements of the story with the Jeff Mace retcon, and was very well done imo. I usually hate that type of retcon that throws out old comics (cf Chapter One), but the Jeff Mace thing is pretty well established by now, so if your main aim is to show the actual chronology of events in the MU Id guess that, for better or worse, the Patriot issues supersede these original comics in continuity.
I think it was actually confirmed that Robbie already knew about Peter when Peter unmasked during Civil War. Then of course when that genie was put back in the bottle and Mephisto magically restored Spidey's secret ID it seems that Robbie's knowledge was also wiped. Certainly I don't think there have been any hints of his knowledge since then. A shame because it was always an elegant piece of Spidey-lore.
I'm a fan of this storyline personally, and DeMatteis take on the character in particular. Amazing #400 is still one of the character's best stories imo. May is still dead as far as I'm concerned - Kraven too for that matter!.
My take on the conclusion is Peter et al. have all had the same dream for real. Peter wakes up and realises he was just dreaming. Fingeroth's dream continues longer than Peter's and includes the real event of Peter's waking up. Shooter's dream continues longer than Fingeroth's and includes Peter's and Fingeroth's waking up etc. The shared nature of the dream, and the overlap between each figure's real awakening and the next figure's dream, means it's not really just a dream, but something stranger.
If that's right, Spider-Man, Galactus and Nova appear for real in the issue.
Through the 60s and early 70s Hulk was really miserable with his constant being reject by the world. The frustration of his sorrowful situation was compelling, but it was too much. I think that his entering in the Defenders was a really needed relief valve. In the early Defenders' stories it was touching to read Hulk screaming at his deceitful enemies that he has friends and starting to list them (http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/hulk_172.shtml), especially with their "Hulk monikers" (purple man, dumb magician, silver man...). It just underline his being an eternal child despite his enormous strength.
Here, the first page of #46 show the face of the Defenders just after Strange announced to be leaving the team. I think the the Hulk's one is just telling. That image just shows how much this first group of people that he can finally call friends has become important. The guy can brawl with god and cosmic being, being hit by nuclear weapons and worse, but it's when his new group of friends show signs of weakness that his world is at stake. Even the importance of the group during the events of Jarella's death are significant.
After that, the Elf with a Gun. Seriously? I mean, I am a sucker for nonsense, but that is just random. You could expect that in Howard the Duck.
I'd assume it was his idea. Remember, the books reflected the new status quos straight away when Secret Wars #1 came out. So, when it got to Secret Wars #12, Byrne had already established She-Hulk as Thing's replacement for months (and was also writing The Thing's book), so Shooter may have written Byrne's status quos in as part of Secret Wars.
Byrne seemed to have taken She-Hulk's addition to the team and the Thing leaving rather well, certainly better than the issue of Dr. Doom's death, so I wonder if he'd have put her in regardless even without Secret Wars.
Fun facts: The original Libra, Gustav Brandt, uses yoga or something to appear dead in this issue, and will return decades later in Avengers Forever. Also, Gustav Brandt is the name of a relatively famous turn-of-the-century German cartoonist.
If I'm not mistaken, Marvel Premiere #5 marks the first time the Vishanti are depicted visually. The designs will later be taken up by such greats as Mike Mignola (in the superb "Triumph & Torment") but they originate here under the pen of Sam Kweskin. Are they his legacy to the Dr. Strange strip? Or was he reproducing another artist's designs?
Although Kweskin's art was unpopular at the time, it succeeds in giving me an unsettling feeling, which suits this particular story. Those bizarre Starkesboro faces on the splash page of #5 call to mind the regressed sub-humans in Lovecraft's creepy story, "The Rats in the Walls." Like Jeff above, I've been enjoying these issues in the "Separate Reality" Epic Collection volume.
Chris, wasn't Shooter responsible for the travesty that was Dazzler's graphic novel? That and this mini-series take her character, and completely drag it through the mud. If Shooter wrote the graphic novel, I can see why he authorized this.
It does look like Christopher Lee is the template for Fu Manchu here and in the MoKF series. Understandable since Lee did five Fu Manchu films between 1965 to 1969. However, I wouldn't have minded seeing an artist try to model him after Boris Karloff from the most infamous (and arguably best) take on the character, MGM's "THE MASK OF FU MANCHU". Made in 1932 before the Hays Code and co-starring Myrna Loy, its infamy stems from how wildly offensive it was to Asian-Americans at the time, not to mention the torture scenes, violent and sexual (including homoerotic) undertones. In subsequent re-releases, after the MPAA Code had been implemented, the censors had a field day slicing and dicing the film like Jason Voorhees and Leatherface combined. Today fully restored on DVD (with a great commentary by film historian Greg Mank on all the initial hoopla), if shown on TCM today it would likely still get a TV-14 rating.
So, the Rhino story taught us Marvel Universe Denizens are ungrateful bastards who will quickly react with violence and insults against the people trying their best to help them, over the pettiest of reasons, even from childhood.
I don't know why, but I've been re-reading the first five "New Mutants" issues with Cable, and they really do suck.
I just reread 88-89 on a whim and found it a little dopey how Moira was so easily persuaded by Cable to let Rahne stay with the group. But the sad thing is, these are probably the best comics Liefeld has ever done just because he couldn't run wild with his own "introduce a new group of rip-off characters every five pages" nonsense.
He invented an entire goofy ensemble for Mike Murdock. For someone with radar senses instead of sight, Matt knows his costuming. (outside the yellow suit...but you can blame just starting out then...or just not caring about color due to being blind. Seriously, I could see a Toph joke with that)
When I saw the crossover bit, I was like "damn! Thats cool!"
Other than that I have to say that ross is the most unintelligent man yet to be in a marvel comic. Taking his daughter to these dangerous places, thinking that the hulk killer would have no consequences. He's plain dumb!
In the Olympus storyline in Avengers, Hephaestus mentions that he is able to move Mjolnir with a complicated sets of winches and levers. But he's also a god, so we're not talking ordinary machines there.
I remember Jinku once lifted Mjolnir with a lava hand he created so this counts as a mind construct, I guess, but machines? Doesn't sound very Asgardian to me. Why would mere mortal machines be able to lift an enchanted hammer? At least the "mind construct" part makes some sense since it can be interpreted as magic, elemental energy, whatever sounds good. Of course the movies have different rules than the comics, but I remember machines were useless in the first Thor movie when trying to lift Mjolnir. Not sure if there have been comic examples. I could buy Asgardian/advanced alien machines lifting Mjolnir, I guess...
As the gas in the tank becomes insubstantial, it stops combusting, pistons stop pumping, everything seizes, and the car slams to a halt. The tires raise some dust as they slide via the same magical friction that allows Kitty to walk while intangible.
Vin: Perhaps, but I think it's worth reiterating that when DeFalco conceived of the character of the Rose back in #253, he did not intend him to be Roderick Kingsley (or Richard Fisk) at that point either; he intended the Rose to just be a middle-management crime boss who wore a mask, and had an inconsequential true identity, sort of like an 80's version of the Crime-Master. I think it was around #275, DeFalco claimed people were starting to question the Rose's "secret" identity, so he decided to make him a pre-existing character, and chose Kingsley at that point.
I realize I'm late to the party on this one, but who on Earth says to houseguests, "BRB, just gonna go bang one out upstairs. Make yourselves comfy, we'll be back in 20... no, maybe 30 minutes." That's not normal, right?
Either that's weird, or I'm hanging out with the wrong people.
Completely agree with Cecil on his assessment of this series. Though I would add that once Ploog bolted to work with Ralph Bakshi and various other Hollywood projects that followed, Tom Sutton would have been the ideal choice to fill the artist's chair (the letterer's as well if he were so inclined).
Looking at the cover to WBN #8, one could expect a thought balloon over the Werewolf's head saying "The white furry one... must have eaten... the atomic wings!" And since there was a "white rabbit" in the story, when Jack asked what was wrong with it, the obvious answer would be "Go ask Alice..."
I always found it amusing that Kyle Richmond had such a cavalier attitude with his so-called "secret identity", like he was in this story with Ben and later with Spidey. "Oh hey, did I mention that I'm Nighthawk?"
@Fnord- Ghost Rider and the Son of Satan fought side-by-side in GR #17-#18, which falls in between the Marvel Spotlight issue you cited and this issue of Defenders, in case you wished to site the last time they saw each other.
I don't know if Baron Thunder is supposed to be some weird hybrid of Parnival the Plunderer and the Kingpin with a Marine drill sergeant's haircut, but he kinda looks like the manager/mouthpiece for a gothic-themed pro wrestler.
"Slouching Towards Bethlehem" was a collection of essays from 1968 by Joan Didion revealing the darker side of the hippie experience in the infamous Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. When I initially saw the title, my first thought was to the book by the equally-infamous Robert Bork, "Slouching Towards Gomorrah".
The very idea of being a teenager had only just been invented a few years earlier. The Baby Boomers were the first generation to really experience years of their lives between childhood [not old enough to have a family] and adulthood [have a family and work to support that family.] For that matter, they were basically the first generation where not having a family was even a possible option, because if you didn't have kids, no one would support you when you're old unless you've amassed enough money to pay them. We forget how recently being a successful parent meant three of your eight kids survived to adulthood.
The concept of being a teenager was basically invented in the 1950s for merchandising purposes. This can be seen in the pop music cycles starting with rock'n'roll, as well as comic book characters like Johnny, Peter and the popularity of Archie. I'm being a bit glib about this - Archie was popular since the 40s for instance - but it's pretty much how I see it.
So, uh, why did Parker create Venus-the-Siren in the first place, instead of just writing the character as the goddess?
I can understand why at least some retconning of Marvel Boy/Uranian and Human Robot/M-11 were necessary for the metaplot of the series, but it's not as if Marvel doesn't have plenty of gods with fluctuating power levels running around anyway.
Also, Wasp never really seemed written like a teen hero. How old was Hank at the time, in his 20s, 30s? Old enough to have a dead wife Janet reminded him of. For them to have a mutual crush on each other was all kinds of creepy if Janet was really a teenager (even before getting into the "she looks like my dead wife" thing), and it was her defining character trait. Wasp seemed more mature than her alleged age in other ways as well (well, accounting for Stan Lee's sexism), and seemed to be drawn closer to Sue Storm than Jean Grey.
I think one element regarding the bond is just the idea of superhero teenagers. Amazing Fantasy 15 came out in August of '62, and Marvel probably knew that they were on to something thus, three months later in October, Johnny's feature started in Strange Tales. (while Peter had to wait to early '63 before getting his actual book) It's hard to scope whether he or Ben were the breakout characters of the F4 in the beginning, but the idea of teenagers attaching themselves to a solo teen hero clicked; and what better way to make it work better than to have them together, thus why Johnny and Peter tended to hang out so often in the early days, with them the only real teen heroes out there. (well OK, there was also Wasp...but Jan was tied up with Hank more or less)
But, that's...really not the issue...or even a consideration...with the problems with Venus.
Parker retconned that Agents of Atlas' member Venus wasn't the Goddess of Love but was actually a Siren of myth who was deluding herself into believing she was the Olympian Goddess of Love - the problem being all the past appearances of a Venus character, many of which had her portrayed as a Goddess or a contemporary to Hercules and co., and all the subsequent mess-ups Parker does to try and remedy/fix it.
(I also see Wikipedia's Venus page subscribes to the working version of events - that Aphrodite the Goddess never appeared before Agents of Atlas #10 - BUT that may have been me who edited that ages ago and I forgot i did that or someone might've just copied it from another site that I stressed that as the only real working version on)
Yes, the edition of Amazing Adv #1 (on Marvel Unlimited) shows him as a nondescript bald white guy throughout the story until he holds hands with the dying lama to transform into a stereotype. "My eyes! They're becoming slanted!" is his actual word balloon. If he had a mirror, he would have commented about being recolored yellow, too. Bizzare art & script choice.
Hell hath no fury like a horny werewolf scorned! Also, it was a pretty hardcore on Dr. Tumolo's part to release the the black plague on those Hydra goons. Guess beneath the sweet grandma outer shell lay the soul of a tigress (pun intended). Finally, my WBN omnibus contains the aforementioned text piece by Roy Thomas. It does come off as self-congratulatory, and even though Thomas was trying to be cute, Ploog was much more than a "boy artist". I would be curious, however, to see samples of the western comic Ploog and Thomas were working on before the project was scrapped.
I must give credit to Don Perlin (for once) for giving Lt. Lou Hackett a magnificent head of hair that he was able to maintain even in his werewolf form. I only bring this up because my own hairline has gone the way of the triceratops, with the exception of a pathetic, Phil Collins-style widow's peak, and seeing televangelist-style hair, even on a comics character, gives me a sense of wistful nostalgia for my own long-lost locks.
Chris, I recently noticed that Johnny Storm is one of the most recurring characters in early "Spider-Man" comics. The Fantastic Four appeared in "Spider-Man" #1, the Human Torch appeared in "Spider-Man" #3, the FF appeared again in "Spider-Man" #5, Spidey fought the Torch with the FF showing up at the end in #8. Then there was the Annual, followed by three consecutive issues of Johnny attending the first meeting of the Spider-Man Fan Club, Johnny chasing Spidey to ask why he had run away, and Johnny being rescued by Spidey from Sandman and the Enforcers.
I can't figure out why it makes sense, but it makes sense that Spidey and Johnny would be the closest associates in this early Marvel Universe. We'll never know who had the idea of a shared universe, but Stan, Jack and Steve obviously made great use of the idea. So Johnny and Spidey were the most prominent teens, and it would be natural if they fought over girls or other stupid stuff.
I always say that superhero stories can be so much more than about fighting the villain, and this is a perfect example. Yes, the Beatle is a threat, yes Dorrie is a damsel-in-distress. But it's really about Johnny and Dorrie, Petey and Betty, and it reads like an Archie comic on steroids.
Which fits in with JJJ's public persona, that he's not remotely in it for himself. He's doing Peter a favor by buying those pictures and Peter is always taking advantage of his good-hearted nature. He's exposing Spider-Man as a menace and sells a lot more copies of the Bugle when Spidey is on the front page. He's so selfless and giving, he shows up to high school graduations to tell the youngsters about himself before he reached his pinnacle of greatness.
Because comics uses pictures and words - I cannot fathom why modern comics have dropped thought balloons when they're such a useful tool - it's very evident that JJJ isn't the paragon of altruism that he pretends to be. It's not a serious study of altruism in a Randian sense, he's a supporting character in a superhero comic.
Michael, I think you made a typo about who Liefeld introduced. I'm guessing Cable and the MLF, but this is me being too lazy to look it up, which is why I was just guessing earlier. Ok, could the Harriers be a reaction to Liefeld's obvious lack of characterization or naming?
Making the characters in the issue of "Wolverine" part of a team is a Claremontean thing to do, especially if they're newly-released from SHIELD duties. Nick Fury was playing a larger role in "X-Men" towards the end, whether fighting in the Savage Land or as one of Wolvie's hallucinations.
I'm still just speculating with no evidence. Carry on.
Rand was using altruism in the original sense that Comte coined it- it's been watered down when it made it into popular usage. Conte believed that individuals' choices should only consider the impact on others, not on themselves, and consequently humans had no rights. Most people find this incredibly creepy.
That being said, there's plenty of creepy elements in Rand's writing, as well.
This issue is when the Hulk starts to shape into what we know him as. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he's wearing torn purple pants for the first time (before this issue he wore a purple speedo) and Banner turns into the Hulk all by himself (without a Hulk-turning-ray or the sun setting) for the first time.
When talking about Aphrodite/Venusand Ares/Mars, I think it helps to remember that a lot of what we think of as Greek myth is actually Athenian myth. Athenians, who liked to think of themselves and their patron goddess as the pinnacle of wisdom, had a political and sociological reason to portray rival gods, particularly Ares and his lover, as dull-witted, petty, and even cowardly. So in part Parker and Pak may have been just trying to remediate an ancient calumny.
In that first comic excerpt, Marlo says the band's drummer is cute and looks like "Albert" from Twin Peaks. "Albert" is the character Albert Rosenfield played by Miguel Ferrer. Miguel was a friend of Peter David, and he did play drums in the band "Seduction of the Innocent" which was composed of various artists and played at San Diego ComicCon and elsewhere. Based on that, it is entirely possible Rick Jones' band has the same members (at least in this issue) or is even the actual self same band ("King Jack" is one of their songs). When the band reappears in issue #388, they even open their act in the same way. Peter David explained about the real life band in one of his But I Digress columns - http://www.peterdavid.net/2012/10/15/seduction-of-the-innocent-the-band/
Ayn Rand's use of terms like "altruism" and "selfishness" do NOT use the typical definitions that we all think of. They are jargon terms for her, and she uses them in a very specific context. This is something most of her critics overlook (but is predictable, she really should have use other terms). So while a Randian superhero will not fight criminals out of a sense of altruism, they'd definitely fight them out of a sense of justice. And that is where Ditko's take comes from.
The thing to remember about Ayn Rand is that she grew up in a Communist society. She saw first hand the difference between what Communist propaganda promised and what it actually delivered. So she particularly hated the reasons the Marxists gave for their supposed moral superiority.
Back on topic - really surprising how often Ditko uses both the Human Torch and Dorrie Evans in his run!