I'm not sure Lunatik is so much a parody as Giffen wanted to keep writing Lobo, so he created a Marvel Lobo. It really didn't work. Lunatik will reappear in the Annihilation prelude Drax miniseries, but the plot will require him to be the voice of reason in the cast of characters, which goes against what little personality the character has. Plus, what's with the whole "his face is always in shadow" thing?
Never noticed before how this issue and the last (where Ben fights the Silver Surfer) are a development in Stan and Jack's storytelling. Early on, heroes would often re-fight villains. But here, they return to the three major creations from the last year (Inhumans, Galactus, Wakanda) in different ways, fighting the Surfer because of his changed circumstances, trying to get back into the Great Refuge and fighting Klaw because of his new powers. It also clearly showed that they felt confident in what they had been creating recently. What with Jack's more interesting art, 1966 might be the peak of the Jack / Stan years on FF.
Regarding Claremontism, I definitely don't think he necessarily meant giving a supporting, non-powered character powers (That's something he's certainly done, although as implied above, Byrne 's pulpit can be very "Do as I say, not as I do"), but the tendency to make the character's very background a smorgasbord of fantastical elements. The Ninja Zombie Pirate Robot.
Like, a great example of Magma. She's a mutant from Brazil BUT she's also a citizen of a hidden Roman colony that was ruled over a by a mutant who learned magic. Or Shatterstar--he's from the future, but NOT this reality's future, rather a future from an alternate dimension where governing is based on television ratings, and he's a gladiator who actually has mutant powers, but he prefers not to use them. I think Claremont felt these sort of things were cool and flouted the rules of genre and also give his characters more storytelling avenues. But I think the concern becomes that it becomes harder to pick up new readers, and may end up requiring a great deal of exposition, and may curb relatibility. ("Boy, wouldn't it be neat if I were a mutant! But I there's no way I have a hidden x-gene. But that's unlikely. I've spent my entire life in the same historical era, I've never been cloned, I don't know any ninjitsu, and I'm pretty sure I don't have a single sorcerer in my family tree!")
This may be why the X-Men movie has not been as successful, relatively.The Gordian knot cutting leaves fans unsatisfied.
For good or worse, this was published at the same time as very early issues of the five year gap LSH, and it shows. That period of the LSH apparently has many fans. I am not among them.
Giffen can be a superb penciler at times, but I don't think his style at this time period is at all pleasant. It may be the Kevin Maguire influence. And this series does in fact read like a Lobo parody, which is really all the criticism that needs to be extended.
Diablo was later able to control the Elementals in Fantastic Four 35-36- the 2nd series. So apparently, Diablo DOES have some other way to control the Elementals. Unless he managed to restore the Talismans after Valkyrie destroyed them.
No. "Secret Wars II" is Shooter trying to cast his net as wide as possible to understand humanity, money, world conquest, love, alienation, heroism, and then a few other things after that. To me, it looks like "Emperor Doom" was born of a desire to describe 'this is what it's like to be in charge.' The main character gets what he wants and has to learn the consequences, as opposed to the Beyonder (or whoever) striving for a goal.
Ditto. Comics used to be garish in every sense of the word, and I think the cheap production values were a large part of that. Dazzler is the only mainstream comics character I want to write, and I'd still be the first to say hold back on the computer coloring and use crappy paper that still has chunks of wood floating in it. I have some Silver Age Marvels and DC and [I'm particularly thinking of a Sekowsky "Justice League"] I find the stories unreadable but mind-bogglingly awesome to look at.
The greatest comics can be on slick paper with full computer coloring. Everything else - and I include Lee/Kirby/Ditko in this - should be on cheap paper with four-color separations.
-I don't see any difference between this and how Byrne coded Northstar and Maggie Sawyer as gay so sharp adults would get it and kids too young wouldn't - it's how he writes that sort of sensitive sexual thing that would never fly in any all ages book, said explicitly. -[I]Definitely[/I] not the standard equipment down there on the Thing, according to Byrne...
I agree Valkyrie is a great character that Marvel always managed to sabotage. She had a great look, a strong power set, and immediate ties to important Marvel characters. But Marvel always managed to overly complicate the character. After they resolved all the ridiculousness with her human hosts and brought her back in her actual body, she was finally ready for a good run. But then they cancelled the Defenders and screwed it up.
This is not the only character with huge potential they screwed up. It happened to Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Wonder Man, and some others. They were given more chances than Valkyrie, but their execution was botched and neglected at various points while great effort was put into derivative and appalling characters instead. With all the potential talent out there, could they really not find anyone who could pitch a strong series?
Marvel let a great character like Val waste away in limbo for a good 15 years or so after Defenders was canceled.
You can count all of her appearances in this time on one hand and they're all done with D-list talent.
You can see the "Bubble Yum" advertisement bleeding through the paper on that last scan, so clearly that it's actually hard to ignore. This was such a common thing with the older newsprint quality comics-- however I think I'd rather put up with the lousy paper quality, and keep the extra few dollars per issue I'm paying for the better paper stock nowadays.:-p
Shooting the plates directly from the penciled art gives the book a sort of a Golden Age look, which might or might not have been intentional, I don't know, but it looks pretty good in any case.
I think maybe a big reason why Steve Rogers was cast in his secret identity as an Army private was so that new enlistees in the Army, and in all the service branches, and all of their wannabes back home, could better identify with him as a power fantasy focus character. Because at that time, and even before Pearl Harbor, they say record numbers of people were enlisting in the Army or trying to enlist. It wouldn't do at the time (and maybe not at any time) for him to be given an easy or undemanding behind-the-front-lines service job, no matter how inconvenient it might prove to be for his Captain America duties, and such inconveniences just provided more grist for the story mill really. In 1941 especially I don't think those stories were aiming so much for realism as for fantasy.
"To continue on some thoughts from previous Marvel Comics Presents entries, this is the kind of thing that is completely meaningless (aside from a nice look at early Pascual Ferry art) unless some later writer decided to do more with Wolfen. Which was not the case."
I disagree. I think throwaway stories like this are perfect for MCP. It was nice to have some direct crossovers like they did for Hands Of The Mandarin. But, I believe these stories shouldn't have much to do with the main books.
@Nathan Adler: The story makes it clear that the time traveller from "the year 3000" was always going back to "ancient Egypt" to establish a base for his "time looter" activities. The only problem was that he crashed while arriving. It was when he tried to return to his own time that he overshot and ended up in the 40th/41st Century where he became Kang the Conqueror. Plus, when "Rama-Tut" first met Doom, he claimed to be from the 25th Century. Presumably this was misinformation so that Doom wouldn't be able to come after him if Doom ever came to view "Rama" as a rival.
@min: At this point in their careers the FF had only time travelled once before so there was really no way that Reed could have possibly KNOWN that Doom's time machine could not transport radioactive material through time. In that context, it's safer to leave the blind girl in the future instead of bringing her to the barbaric past, right?
"I especially like the idea of there being different gangs inspired by different super-characters (especially villains or villian-ish characters like Vengeance). It makes sense that in the Marvel universe these characters would attract cultish fans."
The "Stark" are a race that are featured in Guardians of the Galaxy. They are patterned after Iron Man.
Yeah also for that matter I guess Kirby "drew" the misspelled word on the cover and didn't catch it either. I certainly don't mean to mock anybody - it's a tough word to spell. I tell my students to think of it as "OH! It's a pharaOH!"
Cecil, I can relate, believe me. The first super-hero comic I ever bought compiled issues 7, 8, and 9, and it hooked me forever. (By "forever" I mean until the Joe Quesada Armaggedon ruined whatever was left)
I was eleven, it was February or March 1995. I had wrestled a few bucks from my father, but there weren't any new issues of my regular books available, so I bought "A Teia do Aranha" #64 because Spider-Man's new costume was on the cover and it intrigued me. My life had changed: the characters were rich and colorful, and interacted in a such a fascinating dynamic that they all captivated me in their own ways. Sure, I was a fan of the X-Men Animated Series and thus was familiar to most mutants, but the action sequences were no less thrilling and breath-taking on paper than they were on TV. And in a different way, which I came to appreciate even more. I counted the days until issue #65 hit the stands, and I didn't disappoint me. The creators had absolute mastery of the art of weaving cliffhangers.
My addiction was, strictly speaking, on Spider-comics, but the nature of Secret Wars, an incomparable accomplishment for the principle of a shared universe, opened my hearts to all characters. I devoted my concerns (if not my limited purchase power) to nearly all of them, and never was I indifferent to any of their fates, respective and collective. What's more, I now realize how well they were represented in Secret Wars, all of them fairly true to their comic book nature.
I think the biggest problem with this series back then is that Kirby's writing is extremely decompressed, prefiguring that writing style by about 25 years. The series does flow much better when you read it in a collected edition, but it does exacerbate just what a jarring intrusion that Cosmic Hulk story is. I'm guessing the Kirby was intending to do this as a multi-year saga much in the same way that Marv Wolfman did Tomb of Dracula, but the sales just killed it.
I dunno; Kirby's Fourth World stuff always seemed to me to move a good clip (until DC editorial decided to meddle, forcing out Kirby's mythos elements and forcing in stuff like Deadman). The use of flashbacks and so forth there really does develop themes rather quickly, and major characters are introduced and eliminated, most notably Kalibak and Desaad. And each story arc develops clear themes and central ideas.
Of course, that was a "meta-series" or imprint, with four simultaneous titles. The "50 years" timeline for the Eternals kind of messes up the pace in comparison, and its cast is overcrowded, as if Kirby were trying to do all four of his Fourth World books in one single title. That leads to slow pacing and underdeveloped themes.
More generally, I think Kirby's Fourth World worked because it was directly allegorical; the Eternals (and much of his 70s Marvel work) are Kirby trying to do Golden Age sci-fi, and he's just nowhere near as good at it as he is at straight-up mythic allegory.
I'll leave the critiques for others, in order to say: the sheer feat of coordinating the vanishing superheroes that month led to the most exciting way to begin experiencing the Marvel Universe as a monthly collector! Now, the fact I started right at the turn of '84 may lend considerable emotional bias, but hey, I was the customer, and I was there, and the concept itself, enormous stakes and great battles, questions of allegiance...I had an exciting year collecting this, too, my unifying can't-miss monthly #1. For the heroes to return from an un-depicted scenario of cosmic proportions, somewhat changed, too, lent a can't-miss status to the mini-series. I don't think any two fans would've written it the same. But the concept, with the constructs...what an absolute Big Bang to my hooked status, collecting! (And when Marvel Tales is bringing you the Master Planner Saga to start off that experience, too, you are in for some enchantment!)
"We can't ever get married. At least, not the way real people do."
IMO, this just means "we can't settle down, find ourselves a place, have a couple of kids, and work nine to five until we retire, the way real people do."
In effect, he saying they can't get married like real people because 'I'm a member of the Fantastic Four, I'm not real, I'm surreal. Real husbands might come home late from work because the car broke down or they were stuck in a traffic jam down at the Brooklyn Bridge. I might not come home at all because the spaceship has been destroyed by Skrulls or we were stuck in a jam against Blastaar down at the Negative Zone.'
The letterer isn't going to get a script where the word is consistently spelled correctly and then consistently screw up the spelling the same way every time. Stan should probably get at least some share of the blame.
It's quite possible when Ben says that he can't love her "as a man", he's just being overly dramatic OR he's simply worried coitus, or child bearing will kill Alicia. (He never brings that up with the superpowered women who come on to him, though he also wouldn't consider it any of their business) But it's not something that troubles his relationship with Sharon Ventura. Maybe he's just not as "sensitive" down there.
In less "Mallrats" talk, Alicia was pretty heavily brutalized by Annihilus. I imagine part of Ben's breaking things off with her had a lot to do with this, so that probably added weight to his anger at seeing Johnny with her.
There's no way to know if this is what happened, but I've been wondering if the main inspiration for this book was Jim Shooter looking through all the things he had to do that day, and realizing he had been cast as the ultimate bad guy in the Marvel Universe, and putting 2 and 2 together for a story he can work out with Gruenwald and Micheline
Bad Guy Jim Shooter has taken control of the Marvel Universe and disposed of the few people who could get in his way - Vision, Namor - rather easily. Editor-in-Chief Shooter could do that and did do that with his few rivals, Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman, etc. Those guys were chased out of Doom's rule, Chris Claremont and John Byrne knew when to bow down.
But the problems and hassles of running the world get to Doom. They aren't worthy of his time but it's his duty to solve their problems anyway. That's why he wanted to rule the world, isn't it?
The story itself is just a longer-than-usual "Avengers" story. The real meat is Shooter looking at the Marvel Universe the way Doom does, and realizing that's way too much work for one man.
That is, May is a regular person, who would believably have taken out a life insurance policy, and her death was faked by Osborn, someone who has no inclination to make life easier for Peter Parker. (The aforementioned benefactors of super people would "take care of things" out of altriusm, and hopefully be too relieved at the party not being dead to play take-backsies.) This probably means the whole thing was a real problem for the Parkers, but it probably doesn't come up very often in the public.
While I'm sure there's a lots complications that come from Marvel's revolving door of death, I don't think life insurance is one of them, at least to the point the insurance companies have to arrange their policies around such complications.
1) A lot of civilians stay dead
2) Costumed adventurers tend not to have a lot of immediate family, especially dependents, and when they do, they tend think more in terms of "get rick quick", as opposed to any insurance schemes
3) A lot of them tend to exists in some kind of off-the-grid or extra-legal status to begin with.
4) The risk inherent in the profession, and the tendency for super-folk not to leave bodies, means signing up may be cost-prohibitive and collecting difficult in the first place!
I think a lot of funeral expenses, and where applicable, beneficiaries, are handled by financial arm of whatever their affiliation. Be it an employer, trust fund, personal fortune, or sovereign nation.
For instance, when Phoenix died, I would bet Xavier at least offered to pay for Jean Grey's funeral. (Her grieving family seemed otherwise financially secure. It probably cut through the red tape of "Suicide by atomization on the moon.") When Ant-Man was gone, the Stark Foundation covered the funeral costs, and acted on behalf of his child support obligations. Doctor Doom probably just declares whatever legal status he wants.
I think the most major case would be around the time of Aunt May.
Wow. Cap absolutely climaxes over Spider-Man saving their lives, celebrating his courage and praising his manhood. But just moments earlier Sersi had also single-handedly saved all their lives, and Cap not only offers no gratitude or praise, but actually *snaps at her* and orders her (over her own objections!) to continue using her powers to the point where she passes out (which is exactly what she was trying to warn him about, before he interrupts and ignores her). Man, I know we're all supposed to worship John Byrne but.... ugh.
I wonder if the continuity-reference problems fnord discusses in the entry (Mutant Underground and Chalmers' book) are really problems for anyone who isn't hyper-focused on examining continuity. We all totally get where fnord is coming from; that focus on continuity is one of the reasons we read this site. But would a casual comics reader in 1993 even notice those things? I read this in real-time, and though I was just 9 at the time, I don't recall being even slightly confused. The oblique reference to the network-formerly-known-as the Mutant Underground is descriptive enough that you understand what it is (and it's not like it's being given a DIFFERENT name, it's just now unnamed), and as for Chalmers' book, well, I think I missed Unlimited #2 in real-time, but it's just giving a little extra (and totally unneeded) background info, like identifying someone in the real-world news as "author of some book you've never heard of but that's relevant to this interview." I just don't see this particular example as a problem at all.
I agree with min's assessment. Janet is probably delusional about being in a relationship with Doctor Pym. He has probably figured he's too good for her, and that's saying something. I wouldn't be able to stand a person whining about not going on dates while a fellow human being is about to die either.
People probably assumed that the MoE have stooped to robbing banks in order to pay for Zemo's grocery bill. I've never baked a Super-Villain Pie out of a disgraced inventor, but I would assume that Invincibility Syrups cost a bundle, even if you're just gonna use a dab. Zemo forgets nothing, Zemo forgets not a SINGLE grocery expense!
Blake Tower sure knows a lot of things about superheroes. I guess they really trust him.
I'm a bit disappointed that Wolverine and Beast didn't even interact onscreen. Even just one panel could have been fun.
Weirdworld is actually part of the Marvel continuity... but still another dimension or something like that. It showed up in Secret Wars 2015, and in the 2016 Squadron Supreme series and Black Knight limited series, but that's out of scope.
At the time I wasn't aware of the similarities Mace's origin had to Goodwin & Simonson's Manhunter, but a few years later DC reprinted it in a trade paperback with a brand new epilogue. After finally reading it, yeah, the parallels became apparent.
Alas, Stan Lee never learned to spell the word "pharaoh" correctly. I mean, it's so consistently misspelled throughout Rama-Tut's early appearances, starting right here on the cover of this issue, that it's probably just better to assume "pharoah" is the correct spelling in the Marvel 616-verse.
Tigra is said to have just returned to Australia in the Marvel Double Feature in Avengers 379-382, so apparently she DID return to Australia a third time.
The sheer stupidity of the sultan's goon not recognizing Tigra as an Avenger and thinking she was a prostitute/sex slave is beyond belief.
The MCP lists her as a separate character (real name Diana Bolick) with an additional appearance in a story running in MCP #172-4. But the Marvel Appendix seems to treat them as the same character, and both of her MCP stories are written by Chris Cooper, who also wrote her Darkhold appearances. The Appendix entry also contains a quote from Cooper that refers both to Diabolique's role as a parallel to Victoria Montesi's hidden parentage and to her Playmate which apparently appears in the Darkhold book but I don't know if it's called by that name.
"he's never really "not a cop", as far as i understand it". Define "cop". In issues 167-175 and the flashback in Ghost Rider 74, he's working for the federal government under Uno. Issues 160-166 take place after Badilino left the NYPD but before he starts working for Uno. (Uno invites him to join shortly after issue 166.)
I always thought Thunderball was going to be a bigger player after this story. For a brief moment, his brain is placed on the same level as Tony Stark and Hank Pym. It's a nice character moment. As mentioned, all of these little character moments the villains get are fantastic.
If this story was written today by somebody like Bendis these characters would all be interchangeable. The story works here because the characters are not ciphers.
Gonna be honest, the flashback is the best part of the arc, art-wise. (a few shots in the other issues are actually okay, but it's still Liefeldish art) I know X-Force is a Liefeldian concept, but Mignola's distinctive style and shading could have worked really well for the book. It has kind of a black ops feel, and he manages to respect Liefeld's character designs while still removing everything that makes them... Liefeldesque. (inhuman faces, weird legs, and so on) Yeah, I'm having fun coming up with adjectives.
Now I wonder what Pacella's art would look like if he wasn't mimicking Liefeld.
@Ben Herman, I'm sorry to dash your hopes, because I kinda think of Magneto the way you (and I guess Chris Z) think about Doom! Except I wouldn't put it that way! "NO ONE RIVALS DOOM! NO ONE!" It's great, you nailed his act, lemme see if I can pull off a Magneto: "Delude yourself if you must, Herman, it makes no difference to me. Yours shall be the fate of all who underestimate the power...OF MAGNETO!"
But I can accept yours and Michael's argument that Doom may have found a way to protect his armor from Mags. I just wish it were acknowledged in the script, otherwise it just makes Magneto look stupid. Can't we just picture Doctor Doom, that quintessential arrogant and condescending jerk, gloating something along the lines of "Your feeble mutant abilities have no effect on me, my dear friend, for I am DOOM! I have found a way to circumvent your magnetic powers, for the genius of Doom is second to none!"
It's weird how times change- Nocenti thought she was being liberal by portraying Coppersmith sympathetically. Nowadays, someone like him would be probably be depicted as abusing his wife/girlfriend even before he lost his job.
You don’t have the panels here fnord but the sequence where Stone faces Ulik on the roof interspersed with Eric’s attempts to reach the hammer ... Frenz’s artwork may be old fashioned but he sure can tell a story. Those panels for me rescued an otherwise cliche story.
I know this is a comedy issue so we shouldn't worry about it but Princess Python appears in the next issue you have placed chronologically,cap 318, as an unconcious prisoner of Death Adder after Sidewinder mind-wiped her circa 315. Doesn't make much sense for her to appear here between cap 315 and 318.
I agree with mquinn. And I'm a little surprised that fnord's "two thumbs down and a raspberry" means the Quality Rating of this dreck goes no lower than C-. Spider-Man's characterization alone would've made this a mediocre story at best ("I'm never getting married. I have or have meant to pop the question to three different women, but the fearsome challenge of living with someone you love is not a cakewalk like facing Galactus.")
But the concept itself is pathetic, pointless and perplexing. The result is not even kewl for kewl's sake; falling short, in fact, of the the kind of standards I had as a kid back when I enjoyed Rob Liefeld. There's a "What If the Alien Symbiote Had Taken Over Spider-Man?" (by Fingeroth/Bagley, IIRC) that does a much better job, I wish I had a scan to prove it. And the dialogue, oh, for Parker's sake, the dialogue. It's as tiresome as the script, as gratuitous as the concept, as awkward as the art, as damaging as the continuity mutilation, and even more melodramatic than the action sequences. Allow me, if it you please, to give a two thumbs and two toes down, and a bushel of raspberries.
A great issue in this storyline. Ive never read the whole of it but loved what bits I have. I still like that Micah Synn is in no way superhuman, just peak human with cunning and thats enough to give daredevil trouble. Plus the heroism of an ordinary human is great here.
I also love that the Vikah is a non-rhotic, corrupted pronunciation of "Vicar" who evolved into a whichdoctor over time. Such thought went into these issues.
"The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit" is a reference to The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, a novel from 1955 about a WWII veteran turned middle-class family man struggling with ennui and with his new responsibilities. After the release of the film version in 1956, the title quickly became a standard slang term for discontented businesspeople and office workers.
"Score one for the man in the gray flannels!" Did Daredevil hear the color of Brock's suit? This is especially weird in a story where, as mentioned in the review, Matt's inability to perceive color means he can't tell the Torpedos apart.
I;m with ChrisW on this, I do dislike the idea (mostly in the films I think, but also it does seem to have grown in the actual comics too post-comeback) that Norman was a nationally known businessman of a huge corporation. There's just no indication of that in the Stan Lee and Conway appearances, and even in the '80s it seemed mostly like Norman's wealth beyond the factory stretched mostly to owning several disused warehouses locally, that Harry either hadn't known about or hadn't investigated.
The richer he is, the less sense it seems to make that he needs to be a costumed criminal. I mean I know the whole point of the Goblin serum is it makes them more insane, but still.
John Byrne’s depiction of Magneto is unparalleled. He’s clearly given a lot of thought to the different elements of the costume—the cloth versus the bolted metallic parts, the way the cape attaches to the shoulder harness, the “3rd dimensional” edge of the helmet revealed around the eye cutouts. It’s a costume that can look comical when drawn by other hands, but Byrne makes it all convincing and ominous.
My introduction to Magneto was Byrne’s great cliffhanger splash page in X-Men #111, and nothing since then has supplanted that impression; but the panels reproduced here are worthy successors. His attention to costume detail is something that’s always distinguished Byrne as an artist, but with Magneto—and I’d add with Doom and Galactus—his depiction reaches “definitive” status.
Don't remember this at all. I guess some of the jokes seem all right, but presumably Howard, She-Hulk and later Deadpool filled this niche without feeling quite so visually out-of-place in the universe...
Jonathan, regarding Kitty phasing through the Breakworld bullet, Whedon wrote it like it took Kitty less than five minutes to phase a mile- Scott and Emma get into a short fight with Ord and Kruun in the same time it takes Kitty to phase through the casing. Honestly, a lot of things about the bullet plot didn't make sense.
Something possibly of interest - Angus MacWhirter, the boatsman who clashes with the X-Men at the start of #104, refers to Banshee as a 'Mick'. In the 1970s, Norris and Ross McWhirter, the founders of the Guinness Book of Records, had gained a lot of attention in Britain for their calls for restrictions on the movement of Irish people in Britain, including requiring them to register with local police. Ross was assassinated in 1975 after offering a personal reward for information about IRA activity.
Angus MacWhirter is also the name of an Agatha Christie character, but considering the timing of the issue, Chris Claremont's British origins, and the obscurity of the name 'MacWhirter/McWhirter', it seems likely that the character with that name who's introduced spouting an anti-Irish slur might have been an allusion to the McWhirter brothers. A dual reference, most likely.
In Norman's final appearance (at the time), the famous death of Gwen Stacy issues, his breakdown is triggered by a combination of Harry's relapse in to drug abuse and the collapse of (some of?) his business holdings.
I think one thing stopping them from being popular enough to have another ongoing series is that they clearly lack compelling villains to battle and not villains of other superheroes either, but their own villains.
I knew about Kitty being unable to breath when phasing through solid objects, but didn't understand how when intangible, she was supposed to be able to breathe at all. The idea that she phases the air in contact with her is a good one, and the gas scene brought up fits in with that.
fnord, RE your question about whether Michelinie was just scripter or also co-plotter for issues #185-187: In Avengers Masterworks 18, Michelinie says he was busy writing the Marvel paperback The Man Who Stole Tomorrow at the time, so my take-away is that Grant, Gruenwald, and probably Byrne were the actual writers on that arc, with Michelinie just coming in to add word balloons and captions at the end.
I think you might be right about Claremont's conception of how it worked. After I posted, I was trying to remember the scene in #209 where she goes underground, it seemed familiar that there was a reference to it there.
Have they ever used knockout gas on her while intangible? Seems that would be a good way of seeing whether she needs to breathe or not.
Contrastingly, much later we'll have the Whedon Breakworld scene where she phases through an incredibly dense space bullet, which has outer casing a mile thick. However long she can hold her breath for, it's not going to be long enough for her to travel a mile, especially when it's specified that the density of the bullet makes it difficult for her to phase through. There's probably other examples but that one springs to mind.
There's one bit of nice character work by Jim Shooter that I think is worth quoting. It's a scene where the Beast is driving Janet home after Hank's attack, and Beast has been criticized for joking around in the aftermath of the attack:
Janet: "Look... about your joking before, it didn't mat--"
Beast: "Mrs. Pym, it's... hard to be a beast... sometimes."
Janet: "I suppose it is... but it's easy to get so wrapped up in your own troubles, you forget other people may--"
Beast: "Left or right here, Mrs. Pym?"
I love the panel with Vision lifting Iron Man over his head. Where the familiar comics style is kinetic, Buscema is a master at making superheroics look effortless. Here it quietly emphasizes the Vision’s uncanny, inhuman aspect.
Vision’s balance on one leg and the relaxed arm at his side remind me of the statue of David. I wonder if that was Buscema’s model? He’s sometimes called the Michelangelo of superhero illustration.
Something like this was been mentioned before- that there's a limit to how long Kitty can phase through a solid object without taking a breath. For example, in Uncanny X-Men 206, Kitty phases herself and Storm underground but worries that Storm will suffocate. In issue 209, Harry Leland and Selene combine their powers to trap Colossus underground and Kitty goes looking for him but notes that she better find him quick because she can only stay underground as long as she holds her breath. But in issue 211, she gets trapped phasing and nobody worries that she might suffocate if they don't save her soon. Claremont's idea seems to be that she can phase in the open air as long as she wants but she can only phase through a solid object as long as she can hold her breath. I've assumed since I was a kid that the reason for the difference was that Kitty can phase anything she touches- when there's oxygen around she can phase it but underground there's no air for her to phase.
I don't understand why the MCP places the main story in a different place than the back-up. I may be missing something but I don't think there's any reference in the back-up preventing it from happening right after the main story.
According to a post by Alan Davis himself on his Alan Davis Forum website from 10 years ago, he "had always hoped that (the MCP story) would be published after the X-Men ClanDestine in any TPB."
Besides, it fits better there. In X-Men & the ClanDestine #1, the adult Destines are discussing whether to allow the twins to fight crime whereas in the MCP story the training session idea is presented as Walter's last-ditch attempt to scare the twins out of doing something that the adults have agreed to let them do.
Rhodey's really the better choice to put on a team that's going up against Mephisto. Alcohol, women, pride... Tony has a hard time dealing with his vices, which is a major liability against such an infamous tempter.
Hawkeye also says here that Cap was the only East Coaster to attend Bobbi's funeral, while I had the same thought reading AWC#100 fnord expressed in his review, that more of them were hopefully there off-panel.
So that's what the reference to Hawkeye being in Tennessee in the Giant-Man Double Feature was about!
This story established that Hawkeye blames Tony for Mockingbird's death. Many fans thought this was idiotic. Yes, Clint is grieving! But Tony letting Rhodey take his place on the team made perfect sense since Tony was still recovering from almost dying and had to use the remote armor. Arguably, the drawbacks of using the remote armor outweighed the benefits of Tony's greater experience and scientific knowledge. Besides, is Tony really much more useful against Mephisto than Rhodey? Tony's not exactly Doctor Strange.
Zzzax feels like a good challenge for Powerman. In a lot of his appearances, Luke's foes seem unable to hurt him, but Zzzax can and there's not much Luke could do to counter him.
And poor Ms. Knox. I hope Zzzax never intended to consumate things with the woman he "loves".
Doctor Doom reversing his armor's magnetic polarity almost sounds like a reference to Doctor Who, but this was written in the mid-1970s, and I don't know if back then an American like Mantlo would have possessed much knowledge about the Jon Pertwee era of the show.
Doctor Doom may be an arrogant and condescending jerk, but in the end he *is* a genius, one of the smartest people in existence. So if anyone could figure out a way to protect his armor from Magneto's powers it would be Doom.
@The Transparent Fox: I hope you are not suggesting that Magneto's power rivals Doctor Doom's, because... NO ONE RIVALS DOOM! NO ONE! :)
I think Bruce Jones' run involved the classic Hulk, but then it got semi-retconned away as maybe an illusion, and in any case the post-Heroes Reborn era involved a lot of delving into Banner's vast array of personalities. I want to say that before Planet Hulk the classic Hulk was in effect, but I don't know that for certain.
With how long the Hulk stayed out of his classic status quo, and how that status quo got shaken up again not too long after being restored, it's tempting to think that writers basically ran out of stories to tell with the "dumb Hulk" and found the more psychological aspects of the Hulk more interesting to play with. A lot of them seem to also want to work with a more intelligent Hulk that could play nicer with the rest of society and the superhero community, or conversely, one that exhibits the monstrosity of intelligence. Some writers may also almost feel sorry for Banner's condition and want to provide some measure of stability and resolution for him (as here).
It's got circuits, doesn't it? And Magneto can disrupt electricity. I'm pretty sure Dr. Doom's armor is made of metal; I remember reading its exact composition in a comic somewhere, it's really quite complex, and most of it is metal.
I can't believe that the real Hulk truly died after that dumb Rocket Racoon issue. Banner took over the Hulk's body, then the Hulk got mindless, then it turned grey and became a new character and now he's got yet another personality.
Did the real Hulk ever return? I know at some point I'm going to stop reading Marvel comics and I fear that I'll never read the real (dumb) Hulk again...
I was a huge MCP fan, but all these years later I couldn't remember a single thing about this serial before I read fnord's synopsis. The only thing about this serial that actually made an impression on me was the Namorita cover to #156 by Colin MacNeil, which was actually very lovely...
Ben, the problem with Strucker calling the Hate-Monger a "fanatic" is that the Hate Monger is a supernatural personification of hatred. It would be like if someone called Hela or Seth a fanatic when it comes to death or Mephisto a fanatic when it comes to evil or D'Spayre a fanatic when it comes to despair.
I don’t know what’s up with all the wrinkled skin, but those Hydra agents are clearly suffering from Wrightsonitis, a disease characterized by thick, stringy phlegm and an uncontrollable urge to throw one’s head back and open the mouth as wide as possible, sometimes accompanied by the words “Gasp! *Choke*”
fnord, I guess I was trying to comment more on my own naivete than how often you mention it. But I'm sure this isn't just the second time otherwise I wouldnt have noticed. Wasn't trying to imply you mention it all the time if that's how it felt.
Baron Von Strucker regarding the Hate-Monger as a "fanatic" does actually make sense. Yes, Strucker has been depicted as something of a racist in the past, but not to the point where it causes him to act too irrationally. I recall at least once in the Sgt Fury series Strucker got pissed off at Hitler for his obsession with wiping out the Jews, not because Strucker found the Holocaust immoral but because he regarded it as a stupid waste of resources that could have been used for Nazi Germany's war effort. So I can certainly see him viewing the Hate-Monger as a useful temporary ally who would eventually be disposed of.
Yes, this was an unpublished issue of Moon Knight's own series. If you look at the pacing, there really aren't what you would consider cliffhangers at the end of the first and second chapters, and the splash pages at the beginning of the second and third chapters are sort of generic.
I was a letterhack who wrote in pretty regularly to MCP back in the 1990s (yes, I do cringe when I see some of those letters of mine that they printed) and I vaguely recall asking if this was an inventory issue, and receiving a confirmation from Ashford & Kraiger.
I guess that, with Marvel Super-Heroes having finally dies a merciful death the year before, MCP became the default venue for unloading inventory stories. In all fairness, this one is a notch above most inventory issues, with decent work by Dixon & Birch.
Moon Knight #1 (1980) is the only other relevant result in a search for "KKK" or "Klan", but you also mention the unfortunate implications of wearing a "white hood" in Moon Knight v2 #6 and West Coast Avengers #38-39. So it's not like you mention it in every entry he appears in, but it's still more than just one other time.
I'll be honest, fnord, I never would have made any connection between MK's costume and KKK robes without your site. But it must be pretty blatant as often as you mention it.
As a kid, I always thought MK had one of the cooler costumes. Makes me feel a bit odd about liking the costume.
The color scheme for Angel's "espionage" costume on the looks like Johnny Blaze gave Warren a spare fire suit back in their Champions days. Still, it does look better than the red model on the inside of the book, and makes up for the shot of Mr. Worthington in his tighty-whiteys.
The story's title must have been taken from Achmed Abdullah's 1924 novel "The Thief of Baghdad", which has been filmed 7 times, most notably in 1940 (IIRC) starring Sabu and Conrad Veidt. The art here has an Archie or Harvey Comics feel, like Richie Rich or Archie himself put on a Volstagg costume.
Issues #321-323 were my gateway comics into full-time collecting. I'd been a fan of the Hulk since I was two (back in 1977 with the TV show), and this issue was such a trip with Banner coming thru the Hulk's skin. I fully admit to NOT taking a like to the color change from green to gray. But loved the next few issues with Rick becoming a long-haired green Hulk.
Byrne also stated on his website a few years ago that he never intended to change the Hulk's skin color, that was all Milgrom. Byrne's Hulk would stay green and just revert to that brutish, less-defined Kirby look circa AVENGERS #1. (It's why the Hulk's entry in the OHOTMU `86 handbook has him look so...bad -- compared to what he'd been drawing in the title.
Loved this annual as a kid. Still do, but I wish the printer or coloring process was better for the Gray Hulk's coloring. 90% of him had him light or mud-brown. Hope this gets put into an Epic collection with some color reconstruction done to make him truly gray looking.
Still not on Comixology or Marvel Unlimited either. Fingers crossed.
Abe says the search program would take 3 WEEKS to run? Remember, we're already in the early internet at this point. Kaminski and Benson didn't know how ridiculous a search program taking 3 weeks sounds?
Also, they're releasing trade paperbacks of not only Brute Force along with a bonus issue of Power Pachyderms, but also of all of Wolfpack and the Fantastic Four: The World's Greatest Comics Magazine you guys were talking about over in the recent comments section.
Written by CHRISTOPHER YOST, SEAN MCKEEVER, MIKE CAREY, KIERON GILLEN, ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA, STUART MOORE, MARC BERNARDIN, ADAM FREEMAN, VALERIE D’ORAZIO & DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI Penciled by TREVOR HAIRSINE, MIKE MAYHEW, J.K. WOODWARD, DAN PANOSIAN, MARK TEXEIRA, DAVID YARDIN, PHIL NOTO, JESSE DELPERDANG, JAMES HARREN, CARY NORD, KARL MOLINE & LEANDRO FERNANDEZ Cover by MIKE MAYHEW Discover the uncanny origins of some of the greatest X-Men of all! These gripping and personal tales reveal how the young mutants each gained their powers and found their way to the Xavier School — from legendary original members like Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast and Iceman; to iconic additions of the all-new, all-different era like Nightcrawler, Colossus and Wolverine; to the fan-favorite Gambit! Plus: Get inside the head of fiendish foe-turned-stalwart member Emma Frost, and explore the bloody and disturbing past of the savage Sabretooth! And Wade Wilson is determined to tell his own story on the big screen, in Deadpool: The Major Motion Picture! A host of comic-book talents unite to explore the early days of Marvel’s merry mutants! Collecting X-MEN ORIGINS: COLOSSUS, JEAN GREY, BEAST, SABRETOOTH, WOLVERINE, GAMBIT, ICEMAN, CYCLOPS, NIGHTCRAWLER, EMMA FROST and DEADPOOL. 368 PGS./Parental Advisory …$34.99 ISBN: 978-1-302-91220-8
It seemed pretty clear to me that Typhoid Mary was in charge up until the point they did the deed and she fell asleep. Daredevil speaks of TYPHOID's preconceived notions of what he'd do--and what he wouldn't do and explicitly states he surprised "HER into dropping HER guard"; thus indicating that it was dealing specifically with Typhoid. Indeed, it was by cheating her out of the traditional role of "pursuer" that he brought out a more humane side of her, one which manifests itself in Mary Mezinis. Mary Mezinis may have had no memory of her time with DD, but that only means that the one side of her that may have refused him wasn't there at any point. Typhoid has yearned for Daredevil, she was actually teasing him for a while, and did not become confused until she realized that he wanted her as well; it's not that her ability to consent was impaired, it's just that she was deprived of the thrill of the chase. She was willing to go all the way with Daredevil, it's part of who she is, she was bewildered simply because she was unaccustomed to tenderness. Having experienced it, having gone to sleep in genuine tranquility, she faded away, essentially because she exists to protect Mary from harm, and there was no harm involved.
Of course, as fnord accurately points out, Spider-Man *did* defeat Venom more than once.
Except here Ben was able to defeat Venom in an outright offensive, whereas Peter always had to survive until Venom was beaten by either himself or a third-party. Just to list the examples from Amazing:
300 - Venom symbiote uses up its own substance making web fluid.
317 - Peter convinces the symbiote to try re-bonding with him, shocking Venom unconscious.
333 - Styx's "cancerous" touch temporarily kills the symbiote (probably, like in 300, it simply dissolved into an insubstantial form but was able to regenerate).
347 - Peter uses a skull to fool Venom into thinking he's dead.
363 - Reed Richards shows up with a sonic gun.
375 - *groan*
Also in "Trial of Venom" he has to be lured into a camouflaged Vault cell. So Ben does in fact establish his superiority (convincing or not) by creating a web fluid that can subdue Venom.
This is one of those stories that will bug me because the writer clearly didn't pay attention to "Marvel time" (IE Franklin Richards was barely two when Equinox first appeared and yet here he's shown to be old enough to have a school-aged daughter, when contemporary Franklin was approx 6). You can say I'm being nitpicky but I can make the same argument using Kitty Pryde as the example. I'm guessing Gruenwald wasn't consulted on this one.
I agree with Jon Dubya, Andrea von Strucker's outfits were A-MA-ZING. They were as good as camp can get. So much so that they were still around in the Daredevil/Punisher/Nomad crossover regarding the Kingpin's legacy. Incidentally, the Fenris's participation implies that they were not taken away in this arc; neither was Omega Red. Indeed, neither was Matsu'o; somehow they all got away after being defeated (twice, in Matsuo's case).
I don't know about Maverick shooting blanks at Cornelius, isn't there a rather nasty hole on the good doctor's head?
"Abdul Alhazred" seems pretty obviously re-lettered in both of its appearances on that first appearance. The name at least comes from Lovecraft - the author of the Necronomicon. Presumably not supposed to be the same character since that one was from the 8th century.
It appears that Fleisher's work on DC's Spectre was indeed part of Ellison's stated rationale for making his somewhat back-handed and possibly misconstrued statements in that interview about Fleisher's mental state. I always tended to believe Ellison's arguments when he said that he meant them to be taken as compliments towards Fleisher's creativity and imagination.
'But despite the controversies surrounding his “Adventure Comics” run and his novel Chasing Hairy (which followed two young misogynists), Fleisher’s portrayal of the Spectre continues to be the most popular iteration of the character, with subsequent series by Doug Moench and John Ostrander drawing considerable inspiration from Fleisher’s run.'
It was Claremont's intention that Cyclops be available for special missions, not that he ignominiously fight Storm for X-Men leadership to stay at the mansion. This issue breaks Scott's membership with the current team as well as stirring acrimony with his marriage to Madelyne. Claremont intended them to live happily ever after together. This issue sets up X-Factor #1, not Chris's intended plans for Cyclops. It's Cyclops' actions in X-Factor #1 that have been problematic for fans. We can argue how well it did, but clearly this was as far as Chris was willing to go at the time.
Wasn't it always Claremont's intention to have Cyclops retire with Maddie and Nathan? So his "character destruction" here wouldn't have been editorially mandated rather than Claremont doing what he wanted to do. The real character destruction of Cyclops due to corporate interests would only happen with X-Factor, and that was something Claremomt opposed.
Though corny they may be, I must confess to a soft spot for the Death-Throws, particularly Knick Knack. Considering his diminutive stature, I wonder if the name, aside from his juggling specialty, was in part influenced by the character Nick Nack from the 1974 Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun". Nick Nack was the manservant to Christopher Lee's title character,portayed by Herve Villachez ("Tattoo" from TV's "Fantasy Island").
There are many X-Men good stories and characters, some of them still by Claremont, but I feel that with Cyclops character destruction and Phoenix returning, it just stopped being purely Claremont story and started being far more corporate and muddled.
Still, there are some good stories ahead, but not the best.
A lot of classic Ditko villains disappear when Romita is drawing the book. In addition to Scorpion, Sandman and Molten Man don’t come back until after he leaves, and Electro, Chameleon, and Mysterio have only one appearance each.
It's not too surprising that Reilly / Scarlet Spider did better against Venom here than Peter / Spider-Man ever did. Spider-Man had two major disadvantages when facing Venom, namely that Venom knew his secret identity, and Venom never triggered his spider-sense. Reilly doesn't have to worry about either of those major liabilities.
Of course, as fnord accurately points out, Spider-Man *did* defeat Venom more than once. The problem was that Venom would then escape from jail each time and go back after him. So it doesn't particularly matter if the Scarlet Spider had a less-difficult time stopping Venom, because in the end Venom is still going to be back in circulation very soon afterwards.
Anyway, reading fnord's overviews of these issues, I'm certainly grateful that he does not own every single chapter of the "Clone Saga" and will therefore be skipping over portions of it, because there's really so much underwhelming writing on display.
Not really. He was Ghost Rider's replacement for a few months, so he starred in both Ghost Rider and Marvel Comics Presents, and when Ghost Rider took back his title, Vengeance kept appearing in Marvel Comics Presents until it was cancelled. It was more Marvel trying to make him into the Next Big Thing than the readers actually liking him.
Though I think of Scorpion as a classic Spider-Man villain, after this he won't fight him again for an entire decade (fighting Cap twice in between). Noticing these things almost makes me want to track all the classic 60's villains and see how often they actually appeared, both against their classic foes, and at all.
Good point, Jonathan, son of Kevin. It hadn't occurred to me and now that you mention, it does seem a little weird.
On the other hand, it can be said that, even when considering the possibility of being a clone, Peter wouldn't think of HIMSELF as the Jackal's pawn. He did, after all, have a sense of self. Once it had been established that he was indeed the original, it would've been easier to regard the fake Peter as a pawn meant to 'mess with his head a bit more'. In the opening scene, Spider-Man says it doesn't matter whether the other 'Peter Parker' was "an other-dimensional doppelganger, a state-of-the-art replicoid or the Chameleon himself"; he was reacting as if that "incredible simulation" was meant to fuck him up. So in that sense he could've been described as the Jackal's pawn, so long Kavanagh made it clear that Spider-Man half expected some weird shit like that come out of leftfield just to antagonize him further.
On another subject: in that scene where Mr. Nacht inquires about Ravencorft's treatment programs, there are a few loons on the monitors, and I've been wondering: is that Shriek to the left of Carnage? I know it's her on the right, and the character designs are a bit different, so might it be some OTHER pale-skinned psycho? Or did they feel like putting Shriek in two different screens with mildly different looks?
Thanks for the corrections. Franklin Storm I knew about and ignored because he was only around for one issue and seemed destined to die, and Junior Juniper seemed like another character created to be killed pretty quickly. I didn't consider Prof X at all but he didn't really die (though it may have been the intent at the time it was written) plus he's not exactly a supporting character. However I forgot about Hawley and I've never read that stretch of Iron Man comics & had never heard of Janice Cord, so I rescind my claim. Thanks!
Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comic Magazine is listed on the What's Missing page, but not on the Out of Scope page. Frankly I'm not sure if that means it will or won't be included in the project, or even whether or not that decision has even been decided yet. Such a decision might or might not be made before fnord12 starts adding entries for 2001 (he's presently working on 1994). Such a decision might or might not be influenced by the fact that issue #4 cover-features the awesomeness of MODOK! I'd personally like to see this series covered here too, but I'm not really counting on it. Finally, this question might get a better answer if we asked it in the Are you gonna cover... forum thread, so I'm doing that now.
And from the sounds of it, it is a bit of a shaggy dog story.
"Reed uses the Cosmic Cube to undo all the damage done and restore everything as it was prior to the beginning of Doom's scheme which began in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #1. As the Cube itself was plucked out of time after it was lost in the sea by the Red Skull back in Tales of Suspense #81. It was sent back to its proper place in time where it was later recovered by the Sub-Mariner and used against the Avengers in Avengers #40 before being lost again. All memories of these events were forgotten by everyone except Reed Richards, Galactus, and the Watcher, although the events of this series are never mentioned again."
You almost had me cancelling my pre-order for the trade of that series coming out in a few months time by saying Busiek wrote it... he didn't, phewp. It was Erik Larsen and Eric Stephenson with a guest contributor, Busiek only did #6.
Maybe Harlan Ellison was referring to this Ghost Rider story when he called Michael Fleisher "bugfu'k" and "derange-o" in his 1980 Comics Journal interview. He later said he meant it as a compliment. Stories about demons and ghosts single-mindedly pursuing vengeance can get like this.
"But then i saw how the kid in this story was getting his math problem wrong."
The kid must have thought 7x3 was 18. Following that error, 167x3 would be 498.
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer…
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep; To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil…
Absolutely loved this story. My very first introduction to the White Queen and the Hellions. And the bit where the Speedball's mom suggests that the New Warriors should call the cops instead of fighting the threat themselves is priceless. Two of those guys can smash a truck, one can melt it, one can lift it with his mind and her own son could crash into it unscathed. But yeah, call the cops, I can just picture them slapping Beef and Catseye around.
Is there any reason why Wolverine #35-37 takes place between New Warriors #9 and #10? This issue seems to follow the previous one quite closely.
Five pages might be sufficient if you want the reader to feel some pathos, but it probably would take a longer format to make the reader cry with the girl. Lee and Kirby could've pulled off something vaguely tragic, but they wouldn't have gone for an in-your-face tearjerker like this. Of course we both agree the skill to pull it off was lacking here.
Shooting Star received an entry in OHOTMU Deluxe Edition #11.
Part of the entry reads "According to the demon, Shooting Star was a human guise it had taken long before; there never was a Victoria Star. Since Demons are notorious liars and this account does not fit previous information about Shooting Star, it is probably untrue. However, the whereabouts and fate of Victoria Star have yet to be revealed"
OHOTMU Deluxe #11 was published less than six months after WCA #8 where the demon claimed Shooting Star was always a demon and more than 2 years before this issue which revealed the demon was possessing the real Star.
Looks like the revelation that Shooting Star wasn't always a demon was a long time coming.
I think the problem is that these creators have never studied or understood the basics of cartooning. You could read a Peanuts Strip and everything the reader needed was there in three single panels, the story, the characters, the punchline.... These guys have five pages.
It does bother me a bit that when Ben tells Peter he's the clone, Peter refers to him as "the Jackal's pawn". Obviously Peter's not in his best frame of mind & has been dealing with duplicates of his parents etc relatively recently, & obviously Ben was created by the Jackal, but it just seems like an odd choice of words by Kavanagh, any readers who hadn't read ASM =149 might have got the impression that Ben actually assisted the Jackal in some way.
Instead, it was just that Peter & Ben fought for about a page because the Jackal said only the real Spider-Man could defuse the bomb (how exactly that would work I don't think was ever explained), & at the end Peter wasn't sure whether he was the clone or not, but he didn't think of himself as "Jackal's pawn". In fact, the whole cloning of Peter serves no real purpose for the Jackal other than to mess with Peter's head a bit more, because the Jackal knocks Peter out more than once, and could just have killed him as he'd already tried to do at the end of ASM # 147.
It seems to take away a bit of the punch of the ending of #149 if Peter doesn't see the clone as an exact duplicate of him who thinks exactly like him but died, instead seeing him as a pawn. But then I guess at this point that's already been changed by Conway himself who retconned them to be innocent people who'd been modified into 'clones'.
I realise there are at least 263 things in this issue more worth complaining about, but for some reason it bothers me.
Dwyer was the perfect man for the late Walker era, he really had a talent for kinetic and sometimes very painful-looking fight scenes.
I can't think of any artist of the time who would have done such a good job portraying Walker's violence as something truly scary and unhinged. (Speaking of his talent for choreographing fight scenes, he also did some good work near the end of Nocenti's Daredevil run in 289-290. As much as I love Nocenti's more thoughtful stuff, I thought it was great that after 50+ issues of not giving the public what they wanted, she pretty much ended the run with a classic Daredevil-Bullseye brawl, and Dwyer clearly had fun doing that.)
It will sound like I'm damning Dwyer a bit by praising him for his ultraviolence, but I think Aaron already said the rest of what I think better than I could. Dwyer's work was not always pretty, but he had some great ideas and it's always been a shame to me that he didn't do more.
Gruenwald had done good work with less dramatic artists earlier on in his run, but he did hit a lot of peaks with Dwyer and then Lim, it's a shame he wasn't so lucky with his artists following those two.
In support of the idea that Stern and Byrne had more than a passing interest in Bucky, and may have been the ones responsible for expanding his name to "James Buchanan Barnes," here's a tangentially related John Byrne statement about his and Stern's collaboration on Captain America, from the Byrne Robotics FAQ:
Did JB [John Byrne] ever consider bringing Bucky back?
JB: When Roger Stern and I were doing CAPTAIN AMERICA we flirted -- too strong a word already! -- with the notion of doing a story in which Cap visits a VA hospital, and in one corner of a ward full of damaged survivors of WW2 comes across a legless, armless vegetable who, upon seeing Cap, stirs from his forty year coma and is revealed to be Bucky. We were thinking poignant, painful, pathos, lots of P words. And we realized, instantly, than in two and a half seconds someone else would have transplanted his brain, cloned him, or some other nonsense. Anyone who has any respect at all for the whole story of Cap and Bucky would, ultimately, know it was best to leave Bucky dead. (3/30/1998)
I agree with the above commenters on appreciating Kieron Dwyer’s art in Cap during this run. I was all of 12 years old at this time, but it is the first time I can recall really taking notice of the change in art within a comic book and enjoying it. The next time was when McFarlane hit the scene (but that was a more extreme example).
I don't think trademark issues were the (sole) reason for publishing this series. Under US law, a trademark needs to have been in disuse for at least 3 years before it can expire, and Marvel's previous "Captain Marvel" series (the Genis-Vell limited) ended only a year before this one started. In the past, Marvel has gone on much longer without releasing a series under that name, and they've still managed to hold on to the trademark.
Has Ron Wilson’s artwork degenerated into 90’s crap from this issue on? Until the Giant Man-Goliath stories, it followed that old clean house style and suddenly this... Does anyone know more on this? Is it similar to what happened to Herb Trimpe?
I am not sure it is out of character for Jean to show an interest in Logan. This coincides with Jean choosing to leave the X-Men and starting a new life. She moves to New York, starts sharing an apartment with Misty Knight and begins to be a bit more independent. It looks like the age-old story - childhood sweethearts get older and begin to grow apart. She is that girl that you meet on the first day at university, who tells you she is engaged to a boy back home, then dumps him before the Christmas break.
Of course, Jean becomes/is replaced by the Phoenix and this draws her back into her old life. At such a traumatic time it is understandable that she clings to her old relationship with good old dependable Cyclops. Would they still be together if she hadn't become the Phoenix? I doubt it.
When she returns from the dead, the cycle is repeated. She goes back to what she has always known - being a superhero and Cyclops partner - rather than trying to establish a new life. But in the circumstances of this issue (Jean deciding to leave the X-Men), it would be perfectly believable that she would be attracted to Wolverine.
"But this seems to tip Mary off for the first time to the fact that she's got multiple-personality disorder."
This would seem to suggest that this is the first time Mary's learned about any of her personalities, which would contradict at least some of her past appearances. But the scan that follows seems to have Mary only learning specifically about the Bloody Mary persona ("I thought there was only one other...").
Although the "sane" Mary is specifically referred to as a fourth Mary (and her appearance specifically doesn't preclude the appearances of the other personalities, which is why that Spectacular story comes after this and not during it), it feels like Nocenti learned about the relative success of PAD's Merged Hulk and wanted to Nocenti it up for her own character. The "sane" Mary is presented as possessing at least some of the goals, and perhaps even the memories, of the more sadistic, murderous personalities, while being as seemingly respectable a member of society as the "innocent" Mary. Strip out the Nocentisms and it's possible to see this almost as a response to the original Merged Hulk story, showing a more realistic take on integrating multiple personalities than what Doc Samson did while still creating an "integrated" Mary that's still separate from her established personalities and the new one introduced for this story (inadvertently foreshadowing how the Merged Hulk would be retconned as just another split personality).
"Peter getting involved. This is a good character moment, even if you might think the characters are, well, out-of-character. Bobby should definitely be older than Peter."
While I do think Bobby is supposed to be older than he's portrayed here, I think it's meant to highlight the culture gap--the new X-Men are from countries where the legal drinking age is lower, and under-aged drinking is not a big deal, (Or at least how it was understood at the time). Bobby could be 20 years old, while Kurt and Peter are 17.
I didn’t really like this series as a kid, but I loved looking at Ron Lims art. It’s always stuck with me. Now though it seems to me that Starlin maybe didn’t like having to make this an EPIC company-wide crossover, hence the snarky remarks about how the heroes other than Warlock and Thanos are inconsequential. Maybe I’m just projecting though.
What about the Marvel Newspaper Network's advertising supplement to the Dallas Times Herald? I actually have #5 and it's a perfectly serviceable (if mediocre) story of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends before they came up with the "Amazing Friends" part of the logo. Most of the ads are local, but it's packaged exactly like a 1981 Marvel comic. There's even a "Bullpen Bulletins" from Jim Shooter. Truly an artifact from another world. https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=177981
I enjoyed this story. As with a lot of Ann Nocenti's writing, even though the execution was a bit flawed, it nevertheless was genuinely thought-provoking. A few years ago I got these two issues autographed by Nocenti, and subsequently re-read them for the first time since they had been published, which let me to write an in-depth analysis on my blog...
And I’m with Steven, I always kinda dug Diamondback as well. I guess every superhero needs a love interest of dubious morals at some point (e.g. Spider-Man/Black Cat; Daredevil/Elektra; Batman/Catwoman; the list goes on and on...)
I also enjoyed the whole logical “let’s make a criminal organization... now you need to show me your aptitude” approach. Kinda fun. And being a bunch of villains, of course one of the candidates immediately tries to stab them all in the back!
One other interesting factor was the whole idea of Steve Rogers examining himself as Cap in Marvel comics and wanting to illustrate them himself. Seems like one of the more meta examples of Marvel inserting itself as an entity into the Universe. I’m curious if they did that much in other places.
Well, it's a decade before he shows up again, but as we know from Avengers Forever, the Avengers can't even go to the toilet without it being part of Immortus' grand plan. No wonder the poor guy can't rest!
Hobgoblin is still under Dr. Strange's spell from Acts of Vengeance that makes him think he's got his human appearance back, though that does raise the question of why he doesn't wear a mask. Given that the next two issues have him living in a sewer, it may be that Strange's spell and the demonic influence were really messing with his mind.
Either shooting himself in the face with his own goblin-blast or being blown up a couple of issues from now seems to break the illusion completely, as Strange's spell isn't mentioned again after this arc.
I don't recall if Brock's independent strength was ever explained in subsequent Venom stories (and, unfortunately, there were PLENTY of them). So that's yet another crime. The blurb says "these questions will have to be answered in a hurry", and I don't think they get to; "Venom: Carnage Unleashed", takes us to all kindsa places but not that one. Unless I've missed something; but either way, Brock does reject his symbiote in "Planet of the Symbiotes", and if you ever place that chronologically prior to "Carnage Unleashed", it could make more sense in this particular aspect. And yet I feel that Brock's independent strength is ignored in that storyline as well.
Is it just me, or is there a really messed-up suggestion here that Dazzler slept with Longshot while in Diamondback's body? Add int he seduction scene that the start and the match-striking bit someone noted elsewhere, and the sexual politics of the main story are seven shades of screwed-up.
I suppose these two issues are united by7 a loose sort of theme, in that they're both about what happens to villains *after* they're beaten.
The Death-Throws's appearance here was a missed opportunity: this would've made sense as a Serpent Society job, but I suppose that a) Gruenwald wanted to tie in further to the Hawkeye miniseries and b) using Sidewinder's crew risks overxposing the Serpents and watering down their threat level too much.
It's interesting to see how much Goodwin gets out of issue #2's plot that Drexel Cord was brilliant but nuts. Here, Cord's genius gives Stark the unused equipment he needs to beat the Mandarin, but it also explains how a lunatic like Basil Sandhurst got resources: his brother, Cord's lawyer, wanted to take advantage of Cord's obsession with Stark by stealing his business out from under hum, and then later felt he had to embezzle to make up for permanently disabling and disfiguring his brother.
One thing that's easy to miss with Goodwin is his careful setup of long-term plot elements. Pretty much ever story in the first 20-odd issues of his Iron Man run plays off of either Drexel Cord's mismanagement of his company and Janice's efforts to rebuild it, the Unicorn's alterations, or the Maggia/Whitney Frost stuff.
For example, the Gladiator, Midas, and Minotaur stories in later issues all tie into the Witney Frost plotline; Cord comes up again as Stark's hiding place in issues 10-11 and there's a subplot with Cord's lawyer that builds tot he Controller plot in issues #12-13, after which Cord becomes the basis for the Alex Niven/Crimson Dynamo plotline; and the Unicorn's new motive to save himself stuff pops up again in issues #15-16.
It's all a bit more efficient, if a bit less wildly prolific with concepts, than Kirby or Lee style plotting and scripting. Fewer new elements are introduced, but those that are introduced are explored quite a bit.
On rereading, this seems to be a tribute to Craig's EC horror work as Mark Drummond suggests. The first few pages, featuring a flashback to the Night Phantom's attack, are very much in the "pictures with captions" style of the old EC books.
The origin recap includes the encounter with a jerk on the street and the crushed lamppost detail which Romita first added to the origin story in Spectacular Spider-Man #1. It's probably to illustrate Pete's newfound strength w/o replaying the classic wrestling contest.
I Will Fear No Evil just wasn't very good. Not as offensive as Heinlein was capable of - but at that, he made Chris Claremont look like Fred Rogers, and the really sick novels were generally better-written.
All these years later this is one of the eight page stories from MCP that I actually recall both fondly and vividly, probably because it stars the Falcon, a character I like, has an appearance by the semi-obscure but still cool villain Equinox, and it has early artwork by Steve Lieber, who went on the illustrate the acclaimed miniseries Whiteout.
I had no memory of this one until I saw the cover & the wild dog attack... the rest had slipped my mind, mostly justifiably I think.
Mantlo is sometimes credited as "writer" and sometimes just as "script". Does anyone know if that means the "script" ones were done as Marvel Method, or if he just changed the job description sometimes? I'm wondering if some of the odd elements here came from Simons.
Under Cobra's leadership, even with a bigger lineup and more time to gain experience working together, they are never as much of a threat as they were in their very first mission.
Did we ever see them getting contracted by anyone after their first job? You'd think Gruenwald would've had Cap run into a few of them acting as henchmen for hire for another of his villains or something, but I don;'t think anything like that ever happens. Pretty much all we see after this is the Serpent Society engaging in infighting, being taken over by someone like the Viper, or trying to get revenge for something.
@Morgan: Uncanny and Adjectiveless do effectively become a bi-weekly book a few times over the years, but not really right here. It's hard for me to remember off the top of my head (and I'm not at home so I can't check easily), but between Age of Apocalypse and Onslaught, I think they had a mixture of interconnected plots and separate stuff, and then they were effectively a bi-weekly book for several months for about a year after Onslaught. The clearest example of the two books being effectively a single bi-weekly book (albeit with alternating art) was when Alan Davis took over the plotting around Uncanny 360 and X-Men 80 and then that continued until around 380 and 100.
Oh, and Austen's Uncanny run is pretty separate from what Morrison was doing, as was the Joe Casey run that preceded it (I think most people forget that, in the early part of Morrison's run, Casey was on Uncanny, probably because Austen had so many questionable stories during his run, and Casey's stories were largely forgettable).
Another example of Spider-man being careless with his secrets there. Presumably, by this time, Jameson had already started siccing Spider slayers and Scorpions on him so perhaps giving away his origin to him isn't a good idea.
Ok, it does seem like i can ignore the reference to the academy. I like the idea that Professor X knew about Emma Frost's will and may have already had plans to set up the academy while she was in a coma. I've pushed a number of Secret Defenders arcs up through this one back prior to Avengers West Coast #102, and i've moved Force Works #1 back so that it takes place concurrently with Avengers #370-371. Now that i'm freed from ignoring the academy, i do think this should take place prior to Avengers West Coast #102, not just Force Works #1, since USAgent has his shield and he refers to himself and Spider-Woman as "Avengers". The fact that Spider-Woman says that the East coasters have been treating "us" like dirt doesn't imply that the team has already been disbanded.
Thanks to AF, Michael, and rabartlett for helping with this.
Some of this stuff, like The Cognoscenti and Cadaver, is expanded on over a decade later in the Mystic Arcana event. I'm not sure if the characters actually appear but they're mentioned a lot in conjunction with the War of the Seven Spheres.
Mystic Arcana was an attempt to revamp the Mystic side of the Marvel Universe just like how Annihilation completely revamped the cosmic books. Unfortunately, it wasn't as well-received (or well-executed) as Annihilation. But what if it was? Characters like Rintrah and Cadaver could have reached the same levels of popularity as the Guardians of the Galaxy!
Tom Mandrake came over from DC (and the Kubert studio) to finish Sal's roughs. He ends up on Batman for a year in 1985 before GrimJack, Firestorm, the Specter...anyway, he says he was asked could he basically finish like McCleod, and doesn't recall how he got the Marvel gig!
Yeah, it is possible to place the last arc before the Phalanx--Warren's comments are as vague as possible, and one might even say the logistics of the Mass Academy has been giving Professor X the most headaches BEFORE Emma Frost woke up. So it's very easy to place before Force Works #1 on that front. (USAgent's gear might be harder to square, but considering Spider Woman's disillusionment and Walker dumping his stuff happens in the same issue, one would have to split of the events of AVC 102 itself)
I recall when "Avengers: Age of Ultron" was released and the stars were doing publicity for the film Elizabeth Olsen in an interview expressing relief that she would not have to wear Wanda's headpiece as part of her character design. She should have been doubly relieved she wasn't asked to don the early version of the Witch's headgear. While I certainly recognize the significance of the "M" shape (Maximoff/Magneto), to me it looks like someone carved out an old Chevron logo, leaving the mutant equivalent of an Elizabethan collar, like the one veterinarians use on rowdy dogs.
My point is this- the last story mentions the Academy. That means this probably takes place after Phalanx Covenant. (Although Xavier tells Beast in X-Men 31 that Emma left him the Massachussetts Academy in her will and in X-Force 35, Banshee tells Siryn that Xavier is thinking of starting the Academy up again, so it's possible that issues 18-19 takes place after X-Force 35, or even X-Men 31-32.) But my point is this. If you want to place Secret Defenders 18-19 after Child's Play, then it takes place after Iron Man 301-305, which take place after Avengers West Coast 102.
Believe it or not, this issue is actually what brought me to this site. I was a huge Cap fan in the 80s and for a while was trying to figure out what issue this was. Initially I was convinced it was a Captain America Annual, but couldn’t find it until the power of Google led me here. Marvel Fanfare! I had an image in my head from 9 years old when I first read this, remembering the cover and the scene of Cap rescuing the flag from the fire (cheesy I know, but that was darn cool imagery for a patriotic kid). Thankfully fnord included that scan, and I quickly headed to eBay to get myself a copy.
Still a good read with some great art, better than most of its time.
Which is appropriate, since the movie is about a stalker who imprisons the woman he desires.
The baby Cognoscenti is the child of the pregnant woman Joshua saved from being crushed.
Note that Agamotto says that Cadaver will serve as his agent until the War of Seven Spheres ends- for the next four or five thousand years. Later on, when the War of Seven Spheres ends, it's explained that the War lasted thousands of years in the dimension it was fought in but only a few months Earth time. This was probably the simplest way for the writers to end the War. But it makes Agamotto's phrasing here extremely odd.
Michael, can you elaborate on that a bit further? I'm not sure how the Iron Man issues and Child's Play relate back to these issues. I just want to make sure there isn't an argument for (somehow!) pushing this back prior to AWC #102.
The USAgent threw his shield in the river in Avengers West Coast 102. He must have jumped in right after and retrieved it, since he has it here. Unfortunately, there's no other explanation, since Iron Man 301-305 feature Speedball in his original costume but take place after Avengers West Coast 102, so there's no way Child's Play takes place before Avengers West Coast 102.
how did Ben manage to separate Venom from the symbiote without killing him?
It doesn't seem like the exact relationship between the symbiote and the host is very well established. In Amazing 300 Peter surmised any attempt to kill the alien would also kill Brock since their bond was permanent. In 317 Venom is knocked out by shock when the alien costume tries to re-bond with Peter. But then in 333 it's shown the alien can be killed (yeah, right) with Brock remaining intact - he's not even physically damaged.
So even Michelinie wasn't very consistent in establishing the rules of bonding with Venom. Why would later writers be any different?
While yes, Ben beating Venom easily is probably too much of Look At My Cool New Character, you could argue he would fare better against Venom since he doesn't have the emotional baggage that Peter had (being bonded to the symbiote, being stalked and hunted by Venom, having Venom threaten family).
Grim Hunter continues the trend of "grittifying" classic Spider-Man villain concepts, mostly by making them more homicidal and adding 90z XTreme buzzwords to their codenames. He's not Kraven the Hunter, he's the Grim Hunter! That isn't the Rose, it's Blood Rose! That's not the Hobgoblin or the Green Goblin, that's the Demogoblin! Not long after this, we'll also get "they're not Spider-Slayers, they're Cyber-Slayers!"
It would be harder to find a clearer symptom of the way the Spider-books in this period are little more than creative bankruptcy covered over by hype.
One thing that becomes really clear in retrospect is that Kavanagh just could not do Spider-Man's battle-banter. It's all grim tactical statements and 90s technobabble instead. I can't see Spider-Man tossing around phrases like "extreme temperature blasts and high-tensile organic filaments -- wielded by rank amateurs," for example, but here it is."
I didn't follow Excalibur but even I was confused after reading about Captain Britain's status in this issue and remembering him drinking a cup of tea back in X-Men #25. I thought to myself "I don't recall fnord placing any Excalibur issues between X-Men #25 and this one", they really messed up on that one.
How does Marvel let Aquaman jump on the Silver screen as their most popular character without a Namor retort?? Namor needs immediate presence and a parlay into an original Defenders concept with Doctor Strange,The Valkyrie, Silver Surfer and company. The supernatural elements combined with Strange and Namor along with Marvels underwater effects would be awesome.. Cmon Marvel....
Am I the only one that thought Mary Jane's interactions with her father and her sister this storyline ignored continuity? MJ reconciled with her sister in Amazing Spider-Man 290-292 and in issues 346-347 she went to visit her nephews while Peter fought Venom. But this storyline acts like they're reconciling for the first time. Meanwhile, Philip's getting sent to jail by MJ in that Amazing storyline for stealing and selling rare manuscripts is ignored. I mean, it's possible for the stories to fit together but it seems like the writers never read Amazing 290-292 or 346-347.
While re-reading this story, I couldn't help but think Kavanagh and Mackie managed to make Venom even more irritatingly hypocritical. Probably because he bangs on and on about protecting innocents while wanting to kill the "impostor" Spider-Man. Obviously editorial didn't allow him any real character growth - namely admitting the Sin Eater reveal bust was all his fault - to keep a back-door in case he needed to be an outright villain again.
Apart from him, every character in here is unlikable in some way, including Ben due to his angsty whining.
@Walter Lawson: I always assumed that Scarlet Spider's look was meant to be a color swap from the standard Spider-Man costume - blue-over-red to Spidey's red-over-blue, in order to both resemble and contrast the original at a glance. With considerably less detail to reflect the improvised nature of its origin.
I assume that at this point in time it is common knowledge that Spidey's webshooters are mechanical. He has been seen changing cartridges several times, for instance - and IIRC, he carries those web cartridges on his belt, where they are not especially discreet.
The debate the Panther instigates regarding the team's approach to organized crime reminds me a bit of what Denny O'Neil was doing with the Justice League around the same time, eschewing the bland, stilted Silver Age dialogue and differentiating between the cosmic, big picture, universal crisis faction (Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, etc.) and the more grounded, "real world", concern-for-the-little-guy faction (Batman, Green Arrow, Atom).
Piotr, I think the idea is it was the combination of the symbiote being weakened by the battle and then trying to merge with Ben and being rejected that enabled Ben to separate them. Agreed it shouldn't have worked.
Fnord, in the scan above, the Grim Hunter talks about how Spider-Man tried to have him imprisoned. That was in Spider-Man 50. Does that count as a Reference?
I would doubt either of them remembered the name, but they both inhaled enough pulp fiction that one or both of them almost-certainly read the original Burroughs [Wells, Verne, etc.] so there would be a subconscious memory. Beyond that, it's probably just putting syllables together to sound suitably "African." "Wakandidos" wouldn't fit, for instance.
Interestingly enough, these issues were not the first use of the name "Wakanda". The "Wakandas" was the name of the African tribe featured in Edgar Rice Burroughs' non-Tarzan, jungle/safari adventure short novel "The Man Eater", first published in serialized form in 1915. I wonder if Lee or Kirby had read this story and remembered the name, since I'm pretty sure authors of "boy's adventures" like, Burroughs, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, et al, could be cited as early influences on their work.
For a really awful graphic novel, Dazzer: The Movie really has generated a lot of discussion over the years. I suppose it's sometimes more fun to talk about the train wrecks than it is the masterpieces.
I think Omar Karindu hit the nail on the head. Judas Traveler does seem like a mish-mash of DeMatteis and Mackie's favorite tropes... He is a mystic psychiatrist fascinated with the human condition and the nature of good & evil who possesses an enigmatic past and a secretive agenda about which he cannot tell anyone because, well, reasons. Judas Traveler is sort of like a cross between Dr. Stoner from DeMatteis' Doctor Fate and Caretaker from Mackie's Ghost Rider.
Wasn't the whole point of the "agreement" to protect Peter's family?
Since Ben has no ties to anyone currently, it's obvious why he wouldn't condone this. If Peter had told him that Venom knew his secret identity, he might understand it better.
A flaw in the plan of replacing Peter with ur-Peter, though, is that Ben couldn’t take Peter’s identity, not without explaining to all his old supporting cast what happened to MJ. So ur-Peter becomes Ben, but Ben Reilly and his setup are much farther removed from classic Peter than married Peter ever was.
But maybe Traveller gives us the true explanation for the clone saga and all its madness: it’s all just a psychological experiment gone badly awry...
By the way, I took the forged letter to be a real letter, not a forgery, that implied the Traveller we see here was someone or something that had stolen the real Traveller’s identity. Maybe he’s a clone, too!
The MCP (but not the OHOTMU) credits Lilith's first appearance as the final short backup feature in the April 1974 issue of ''Vampire Tales'' (issue #4). It is a single page recapping the mythological origin of Lilith as Adam's first wife, who craved equality with him but was denied it. Vindictive angels then killed her children and ousted her from paradise, at which point she began to devolve into a demon. I certainly get why this wouldn't count as a canonical appearance in terms of this project, but it's cool to imagine this being the same Lilith, because it makes her such a tragic figure... Here's the page from Vampire Tales #4 - http://readcomiconline.to/Comic/Vampire-Tales/Issue-4?id=92394#62
I don't think an origin for the knife was given, and Brock's independent strength may have been left as a mystery for a future story, since he and the symbiote remain separated at the end of this (although as the blurb indicates, there isn't much time for answers).
Pootas, don't be so hard on Piotr! There, there, Piotr, I used to think Judas Traveller was pretty cool too, when I first knew of him. And you're a better man for studying Psychology, anyway. Like Luis said, the concept of Judas Traveller was cool (if not very Spider-y), or could've been, if the writers themselves knew what the concept was. Back then, I thought they did, and I eagerly anticipated each tantalizing clue they dropped me, blissfully unaware they needed some themselves. Hey, he's connected to the Jackal somehow, and "Kaine't Be Beat" Kaine knows of Scrier the Blue Priest, and woooo, there's certainly some stuff about to happen and...sheesh, when are his motivations gonna get a LITTLE BIT clearer? It seemed they were dropping more questions than clues. As someone pointed out, if it was just about "understanding evil" he could've boned up on his Immanuel Kant and Thomas Aquinas. Shit, Judas Traveller inspired Piotr to study Psychology, but I doubt it if Piotr ever took over an insane asylum and threatened to kill its inmates (if you have, Piotr, gives us a heads up). And heck, that's kinda sorta evil in itself, maybe Judas oughta look in the mirror sometimes (and realize his threads aren't really doctor material). BTW, it soon dawned on me that Judas's and his "large entourage's" outfits made it seem they belonged in an asylum in more ways than one. How come Kafka didn't pick up on that?
Bethany Cabe must have been listening to Rod Stewart's Maggie May a lot, because y'know there's always a woman to blame for every man's shortcomings. Wonder how smug she'd be if she knew she was only talking to a bio-duplicate. Meow.
I'm pretty certain that Captain Stacy is the first significant supporting character death in modern Marvel Comics. In saying that, I'm ignoring any heroes or villains who apparently or "actually" died (and I count Bucky and Frederick Foswell among them), but in terms of characters who had actually been part of the supporting cast for awhile, Stacy's the first to die, isn't he? After this, there starts the annual trend: Dorma, Jarella, Gwen Stacy.
Supposedly the creators’ growing older led to them making Spidey older—but in fact, I’m pretty sure the opposite was the case. Older writers pined for their bygone youth, and for the Spidey of their youth. Marvel as a whole had a weird mix of nostalgia and ‘90s ‘tude during the DeFlaco years, but real change and growth was out of the question. Although that becomes ironic with the Spider-Cline because instead of getting a reset, unmarried Peter Parker, we get a blond dude named Ben who works at the coffee shop that the characters from Friends frequent. Scrapping 20 years of continuity would be one thing, but replacing Peter with a dull new Character (in effect) was nuts.
Traveller I thought was a DeMatteis character. He’s reminiscent of Haven, the new age-y villainess he created for X-Factor.
The title to this story could have been taken from the 1950 Elia Kazan film, featuring Richard Widmark as a doctor in the U.S. Public Health Service racing to prevent a pneumonic plague epidemic from spreading through New Orleans. It's notable for being the big screen debut of Jack Palance.
The problem is that Rogue was clearly ALWAYS intended to be a teenager- if you read the Rom stories, the dialogue makes it clear she's very young. But for some reason, the artists drew her like she was 50 years old.
These continuity implant stories always seem to make Rogue look about 10-20 years younger than she did in the in-continuity stories from this time period. In comics being published now she still looks about that much younger than she did when she first appeared. Her apparent age is like a ripple in the fabric of the Marvel space-time continuum.
Nekra makes a good antagonist for Spider-Woman and she should have been used again. She's a powerful female villain who could have given Spider-Woman a good challenge. Her white on black design is strong and appealing even though she needs a little bit better costume than this strange thing she's wearing. And she's not being used by anyone else.
The only downside is that a villain who knows the secret identity of the hero risks running into the same trap that the Green Goblin did. You either need to give her permanent amnesia, or go through a bout of temporary amnesia again and again. There can be a permanent solution where the villain decides not to use her secret ID against her, but it takes a lot of effort.
However, her ties to the Cult of Kali would have seen a return of the Shroud as a good recurring character, and made the introduction of Dansen Macabre (introduced this same year in MTU #94) to Spider-Woman's rogues gallery as well.
If HYDRA was then brought in given her established ties to them, they could be used as another ongoing antagonist especially if they used some of the more super powered villains associated with HYDRA. A souped up Blackwing would have fit the horror theme, and even someone like El Jaguar would fit especially if supported by Dreadnoughts, Fixer & Mentallo, and Hydra goons.
You can't always reuse the same villains, but some amount of repeated villains is a necessity to build a mythos around a character.
Gypsy Moth won't appear again until Spider-Woman # 48 about 4 years later (except for one panel in Contest of Champions which was probably originally drawn around the same time here for the intended 1980 Treasury). This is an unfortunate mistake because I think Gypsy Moth could have been a good recurring villain for the title.
1) She's a female supervillain, and I believe a female superhero title should have a good number of female supervillains.
2) Gypsy Moth actually has an attractive design. A visually appealing costume (at least in later appearances that eliminate the skin windows) and an evocative name.
3) She has an interesting criminal motivation born out of social isolation, jealousy, and envy.
4) She has a unique set of powers that would make an interesting combat, although to truly be in Spider-Woman's league (with her strength and venom blasts) she'd need some kind of upgrade.
A big problem for the title is that Spider-Woman does not really develop a very good rogue's gallery. This is in spite of some strong contenders actually appearing in her title. If the title had seen returns of the Brothers Grimm (post ish # 12), Hangman, Gypsy Moth, Nekra, and Human Fly (Spidey's rogues gallery already has many great foes, and Fly was never utilized heavily so the Fly vs Spider theme could work well here), it would have been a solid start. Even the Needle had potential in terms of his look and horrific theme but needed lots of development.
Mickey Rodent stated in 1955 that Disney's funny animal characters can't remove their gloves, because they're "tattooed on." And besides that, without gloves a duck like Howard wouldn't have any fingers.
Rupert Murdoch moved to New York in 1974, and started buying up New York newspapers and magazines as part of his Australia based media empire's expansion. Marvel was a part, however small, of the New York magazine industry he was raiding, so the Marvel people would naturally come to learn more than they ever wanted to know about him. Soon thereafter, Murdoch would become a US citizen in 1985, as his empire continued to grow to the point where it is today.
So I'm in the process of reading all the Ghost/Night/Phantom Rider appearances over the years. Of course there are ups and downs - the run of stories in the early 70s' "Western Gunfighters" title is actually pretty damn entertaining, while the WCA stories in the 80s were uneven at best. But THIS. Even besides the question of why an archaeologist would be studying paleolithic fossils, do we really have to witness him yelling, "Phantom, do your stuff!" ... Which is only matched by the inanity of the Rider himself shouting (to nobody in particular) "Let's get serious... with a shot of Phantom Force!" And the way his costume (and hat, and guns, and horse's harness) are now decorated with dozens of little SKULLS, like he's just wandered out of a Spencers store in the local mall, was a truly awful attempt to 90s-ize the character without doing the work of actually making him interesting. (Note how his boots are now generic superhero-style boots instead of actual cowboy boots too.) IMHO, a badass time-displaced spirit-cowboy could have been a good fit for the 1990s if they'd found the right artistic team (maybe a running guest role in Mackie & Texeira's Ghost Rider?). As it stands, after this tripe, he wont appear again til 2007.
And in ASM # 232, Stern would address the split between these villains. Stern has stated that he had a master plan to build up Hyde as a major villain (which was put to use in his Masters of Evil story). By splitting up the partnership (end ending a long status quo), Stern allowed both characters to leave a staid dynamic and become their own thing. Hyde's power level never resumed Thor levels, but he certainly got more powerful, and Cobra would have likely become a Spider-Man level villain if not for becoming involved in the Serpent Society. So this is actually historically significant issue for these two characters (although admittedly they aren't crucial characters in the MU).
I think if Stern had stayed at Marvel and especially both the Spider-Man and Avengers titles, we would have seen more development of these characters.
I would love to know the office politics that affected this storyline. Fingeroth sets up a pretty strong situation:- Lois struggling to control her murderous powers, Dazzler blindly supporting her, the Mutant Hunters in relentless pursuit. It was all leading to what promised to be a real tear-jerker.
Then Fingeroth is gone. Springer takes over the writing duties (for the only time in his career). Lois's murder is brushed aside and the story is dropped. Weird.
Peter Palmer is Spider-Man's secret identity, as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #1.;)
But seriously I'm curious and wish someone would ask David Michelinie. There was a Peter John Palmer credited with scripting a 3 page short story in DC's "The Unexpected #202," also published in 1980. https://www.comics.org/issue/34674/
Piggybacking off Mr. Drummond's comment, Judas Traveller could potentially be the name of the world's strangest novelty/cover band. Though I would imagine they would not be near the class of Dread Zeppelin.
This is one of those stories where shared universe continuity really causes a problem in that New York is invaded, Nixon's about to declare war, Magneto's in charge, yet neither the Avengers nor the X-Men show up, nor is there any good reason offered for their absences.
Even Sunspot, who's nowhere as lame as these Polish superbabies or El Águila, is a bit off the mark. For one thing, he's often been portrayed as an indigenous Brazilian, or of some indigenous descent. Thing is, he's a millionaire, and there are few if any wealthy Native Brazilians. Claremont often put some Spanish words in his speech, which is pretty embarrassing considering Brazilians are the largest PORTUGUESE-speaking people on Earth. Also, his name is often styled "Roberto DaCosta", but that's not at all the Portuguese norm. It would've made more sense calling him "Roberto da Costa", with the particle "da" in lower-case and separated from the rest of the surname. Of course, it's much more forgivable than calling men Zamorska, Petrovna, Dluga and Cieszkowska.
Good one, Mark. Maybe that's what Scrier was supposed to be, the Blue Priest. Of course, he's no bluer than "Mystery Men"'s Blue Rajah, but considering all the stuff Scrier was supposed to be but oops he wasn't, it'd be a minor detail.
That may be the case, but it makes it even weirder for her to pass the psychiatric exam at the Life Foundation. She did say she'd been hearing the voices before the Foundation attached her to a symbiote, so they'd have to be generic hallucinations, which she ipso post facto assumed were symbiotes announcing their arrival. Which brings us the question as to how much she new about symbiotes, and how did she ever figure out how to kill them. With a freaking KNIFE.
@Jonathan, son of Kevin: "Instead the editors were just trying to create another sales event like Death of Superman/Knightfall etc."
Things would get even worse in the "Norman Osborn is Responsible for Everything Including People Slipping on Banana Peels" Era. They tried to recreate "Born Again" by having Spider-Man kick the living shit out of Norman Osborn ON CAMERA (spider-sense must've been on sleep mode) and being accused of murdering some shmoe. 'Cuz Spider-Man was never given a bad rep. Osborn is no Kingpin, people!
"That suggests a lack of planning with the Clone Saga."
You don't say..? ;)
Anyway, the final fate of Traveller was the reveal that he was just a perception-altering mutant deluded into thinking he was some sort of demi-godlike character. Which seemed to go against that one issue when he got stuck in a time-space vortex and he was shown to be immortal and having been present during Christ's crucifixion...
Did they ever explain why Eddie Brock remained super-humanly strong WITHOUT the alien symbiote? And from where did that "sonic knife" MacGuffin come? How did the Female Symbiote get hold of it and how could she know it'd be able to kill the other 'Venom-spawns' with a single stab? And how come Donna was actually able to hear the symbiotes speak to her ahead of time? The last symbiote she killed (Carl ou Ramon, I lose track, IIRC the writers themselves lost track, I'd love it if fnord12 could check it out) asked her how had she been able to pass the psychological evaluations to join the Life Foundation. Yes, how DID she?
Come to think of it, why are we told that Donna, Carl, Ramon, Trevor and Leslie joined Life Foundation BECAUSE they were decent people? What good has Life Foundation ever done?
In the comments on Amazing Spider-Man #206 I found this quote, from a Roger Stern Spider-Man Omnibus, linked via a tinypic url:
"Sitting in a drawer of the Spider-Office was the first part of an unfinished two-part Spider-Man story started by Marv Wolfman and Steve Leialoha. With Denny's blessing, I copy edited that story to fit it into the ongoing continuity, and it became Spectacular #44. Then I plotted the next issue, finishing the story, and we were back on schedule."
Roger Stern was apparently content to leave his contributions out of the credits for #44, since his name doesn't appear on the title page credits, nor on the GCD listing for #44. This also helps explain why Marv Wolfman was credited with writing a story which was consistent with continuity established after he had already left Marvel.
It wasn't Kitty that fell off the building. The Morlocks had Masque transform another person to look like Kitty, and they threw that person off the building. They kidnapped the real Kitty and took her down below.
How exactly the Morlocks knew they could kidnap Kitty from the Baxter Building was never explained - I think.
Lee and Ditko never explicitly stated why the Vulture was so strong, but he always was strong enough to tangle with Spidey, lift him and carry him through the air with one hand, and do many things a skinny old man shouldn't have the stamina or strength to handle. By the time of Amazing Spider-Man #63-65 by Lee and Romita in '68 you could figure it out just by following in-story clues. In Amazing #2, the mystery was, how does he fly?, and the last page answer was, "magnetic power." In #7, he made a new set of wings "far more powerful than before." As the Vulture, he was strong and fast, and would always get in at least one good punch or kick. He could grapple with Spidey a little. But when the wings were disabled, he would immediately weaken like a rag doll. Each time he came back was always with an upgraded magnetic power pack (which gave him the vulture-like lump on his back) and new wings. He outclassed the younger and apparently stronger Blackie Drago in #63-65, because he'd upgraded his power pack again, whereas Blackie had the older version. In #63, p.18, he said, "Nobody ever believes how strong I am. That's what always gives me the advantage." Then Spidey crushed his power pack in #65 and again he went limp. It's all implied though-- still early enough in the Marvel Age that no detailed Roy Thomas style explanations were required. Unstated mysteriousness was still fun.
Grindey's grinder does look a lot like a propeller beanie, but you can see, in the third from last scan, that it's actually attached to a big electric motor on his back. Steve Leialoha could have made that more apparent in the earlier panels. Maybe he changed his mind about it, after dealing with the impracticalities for a few pages, but didn't have time to go back and redraw those earlier panels.
I think the idea is that the Morlocks grabbed Kitty at the Baxter Building with Leech's help and threw the dead body off the roof.
I think the sequence is this- Scott's on his honeymoon, sends Xavier a letter while on his honeymoon, briefly meets with Xavier and returns to his honeymoon.
Incidentally, as much as some comics insiders believe that Peter shouldn't have been married as that caused too permanent a change in the character, it's strange that editorial had since allowed for Peter's best friend Harry Osborn to be killed off (dramatically it made sense, but as a commercial decision it didn't, as a consistent replacement for Harry was never found & he was eventually brought back to life for Brand New Day), and that the solution for Making Spider-Man Great Again involved killing off Aunt May, and would have also written MJ out of the book along with Peter.
As much as Spidey has one of the best supporting casts in comics, with Aunt May and MJ added to Harry already being gone, that would basically just leave Flash & the Bugle staff, which would have been a strange result if this Clone Saga had actually worked as planned and we'd gone ahead with Ben taking over as Peter with a depleted supporting cast.
The repeated panels & Peter angrily lashing out & destroying stuff were both done by DeMatteis before in his Child Within storyline, both I think worked better with Sal Buscema's art more than Bagley's here. (In part because in Child Within, Peter had been drugged to cause the lashing out, while here Bagley draws them as histrionic tantrums.)
I was going to complain that I think Peter is written as too fragile here - Like Fnord, I never believed that the parents were real or a good story idea, & so can't get too invested in Peter's anger about them, and while Aunt May is of course one of the most important people in his life, as a long-term Spider-Man reader I have seen her survive many previous health scares & Peter has never acted like this on the previous occasions, and those were when he was dealing with it alone rather than with MJ there for him.
However, as Michael has pointed out, Peter was intentionally being written as bitter & cracking under the pressure here to contrast him to Ben who is portrayed as strong & still believing in staying positive, in order to "prove" to fans that Ben is the real guy not Peter. So as much as I dislike the histrionics here, it was at least partly intentional.
This bunch of episodes always mede me poop these questions:
- How did Kitty survive the fall and how did the morlocks abducted her?
- Xavier just received a shot in the side and didn't need any medical assistance. That same night he is very well, thanks.
- How is Xavier receiving a letter from Scott in their honeymoon when they just met last issue (a few hours ago? the day before?). Okay, it is the eighties and Scott may have returned from holiday before the mail arrived, but Xavier's thought bubble reads as if Scott hadn't returned yet from vacation, and they just have seen each other!
I recall reading somewhere that Ben Grimm's speech patterns were based on those of Jimmy Durante. From the looks of the above scans, it looks like the Fin has a bit of the Durante influence as well. It's also a good thing that Everett drew him boarding that boat at the proper angle, lest he bump his fin (or the rest of his noggin, for that matter) on that ludicrously oversized title font, which is only slightly smaller than the end credit to a French film.
Since it is Namor, I would assume the "pizza slice" head would remind one of seafood pizza (Groan!). Actually, to me Subby's noggin could also resemble a child's top. Or perhaps the prince was an early test subject for botox gone awry? :-)
Yes, they explain in Spider-Man: the Parker Years that the clone's mind was a perfect duplicate of the real Peter's, including his love for Mary Jane. Of course, the "logic" in Spider-Man 150 never made sense-Warren obviously copied Peter's memories into the clone recently, since they both remembered learning Warren was the Jackal- and indeed, Peter and the clone reacted identically in Spider-Man 149.
So, uhm... is it lame to admit that, when I first read that story (which happened near the end of my high school years), I actually thought that Judas Traveller was cool? And that he might've been one of the factors that influenced me to study psychology during my university time..?
According to DeMatteis' recollection in "Comics Creators On Spider-Man", DeFalco was the last to be convinced of the idea of the clone taking Peter's place, and initially hated it. Kavanagh & Fingeroth convinced the other writers, with Fingeroth claiming that there was a perception that Spider-Man was "boring" & that they "needed to do something to really goose the books, something to get people excited".
DeMatteis says at first he was not interested in the clone ("Oh, God, no!") but when Kavanagh elaborated on the idea in a following meeting, he became interested in the psychological aspects of identity that the clone plot raised, and "the more we discussed the Clone idea, the more pumped we got". DeFalco turned up at the next meeting intending to talk them out of it, but instead they convinced him with their enthusiasm & he decided to write on of the books himself.
The same book also includes DeFalco interviewing Stern, there's an amusing moment where they mention that Stern had intended to stop readers writing in asking about the Gwen clone by writing a story showing the Gwen clone had aged at an exponential rate & was now an elderly woman about to die. DeFalco (then Stern's editor) told him to forget about clones, which they both acknowledge was good advice that DeFalco should have followed himself.
I honestly don't see the problem with a married Spider-Man-" Grant Morrison spent his whole run in Animal Man with the main character married with kids. And it was a really good book.
Everything can work if you put a real writer in charge.....
Regarding the comment about killing MJ, that actually was the next way of undoing the Spider-Marriage that they tried after the Clone Saga failed, and Kveto is correct that it just made Peter into a depressed widower. Clone sagas, wife apparently dying in explosions & deals with the devil were all different ways that editorial tried to make Spider-Man young again by getting rid of his marriage.
As Fnord points out, they didn't really need to get rid of the marriage at this point, what they needed to do was to get better writers than the likes of Kavanagh, & write the marriage better. Spider-Man was probably my favourite character & I'd quit the books (with the exception of some of DeMatteis' work on Spectacular) a few years ago at this point. The marriage hadn't got rid of me, it was terrible stories, lame villains, bad melodrama etc.
Michelinie's work had severely deteriorated in the last part of his run, and editorial dictating plots to him like "bring back Peter's parents, and we can't tell you yet if they're really his parents or not" certainly contributed to this. So in some ways it seems like editorial were bringing the clone back to fix the malaise that editorial were themselves causing. I appreciate the point about Stern not wanting to come back, but surely there were some better creators who wanted to work on Marvel's flagship character, marriage or not? Instead the editors were just trying to create another sales event like Death of Superman/Knightfall etc.
Wild Whip might be the worst possible advertisement for clone-on-the-lam adventures, but I think Spider-Man: The Lost Years is pretty good. It probably should have been a four-issue mini instead of three to give the story more room to breath, however (issue 0 is just a collection of the flipside stories mentioned in the review of Web #117).
I really hope you decide to continue with the Clone Saga, Fnord. I didn't read these in real time, but was able to track it all down a few years ago. I'll echo other posters in that I was expecting the worst, but tbh, knowing ow much of a train wreck it end sup being is actually part of the fun.
@Transparent Fox. From what I heard, this "clone" storyline was yet another (inept) attempt by Marvel to nullify Spider-Man's marriage, a way to "have their cake and eat it too" (in an odd sense of ironic juxtaposition, Aunt May at death's door was the inspiration for another...er infamous effort to derail the Spidey marriage.)
I think a story where Aunt May died in a quiet way, maybe in a downtime issue while saying goodbye to Peter and with some flashbacks, might have been an opportunity for a good tragic issue (and made it feel more real). But mixed in with ridiculous characters like Shriek and with Peter having a complete meltdown, it all just feels cheap.
But isn't that how it actually happened (which is why that issue was held in high regard among fans)? I will say that Aunt May dying from health issues is a much much better way for her to go than her being "fridged"
That line about "memories of... fights I've never fought" makes me wonder, did they ever address the resolution of Spider-Man 150, where Peter was sure he was the original because he had memories of falling in love with Mary Jane, which the clone wouldn't have because his cells were taken before that?
(This is, of course, accepting the fictional idea that a clone is an exact copy of the original at the moment they were cloned. And ignoring that the original Peter should be covered with scars, which the clone wouldn't be, and is probably also circumcised...)
But isn't that the perfect kind of invalidation? Because in practice, most of the events since ASM 150 didn't have much effect anymore on his character either, because of the nature of the sliding timescale. So you get a "back to basics" approach that doesn't require the rejiggering of the universe, since "our" Peter Parker would still exist and have MJ and a child, so the marriage wouldn't have to be dissolved/undone either. Everything happened the way it did, and the person it happened to, exists and counts, but he gets to live happily ever after (with the ability to return eventually) without the actual series Spider-Man needing to end. Of course you need to commit to that idea, and neither the company nor the writers could. It could've given us Ben Reilly the Spectacular Spider-Man while Peter Parker gets to be his brother who advises him, the person Peter himself never really had. So much potential squandered, really.
I think making Ben "the original" would in no way invalidate the issues between ASM 150 and now, because the clone is as real as the original, that is the entire point.
The original plan was for Peter to retire and Ben to become Spider-Man again, so those issues would've been invalidated in the sense that the new protagonist of the series wouldn't have lived through any of those events, and they wouldn't have any effect on his character.
I would think "the second" implies that the first one had come before this, which the Crossing didn't, but there isn't really anything else prior to this that would fit Omar's description that's coming to mind.
My guess for the first attempt is the Crossing from the Avengers, retconned by Busiek/Brevoort in Avengers Forever to all be an Immortus/Space Phantom plot rather than an Avengers one.
I too am happy to see Sal Buscema getting praise, it's sad he left right when DeMatteis returned once more to Spectacular. I think the Chameleon and Kraven stories that were done at that time would've benefited from his art style. The angularness is very compelling to me. He draws the best Green Goblin. And his Doc Ock is also masterful.
I think making Ben "the original" would in no way invalidate the issues between ASM 150 and now, because the clone is as real as the original, that is the entire point. In Farscape, they made it such a point that they killed one of the John Crichtons and you couldn't tell if he was the first one or the copy. Because the copy is indistinguishable.
What it would do in Spider-Man's case is give us a Peter Parker who did go through a lot of the Stan Lee/Gerry Conway stuff, but didn't have endless fights with his own rogues gallery. So you could put a fresh spin on his interactions with all the villains new and old. Of course Mackie, Kavanagh and DeFalco were the last people that would've been able to do so, but the sentiment was a good one. It probably never would've happened if not for ASM 400 looming though.
this is the second of Marvel's big attempts to provide a sales boost to one of their franchises that goes sprawling out of control and is eventually retconned into submission by revealing he the whole thing is a deliberately confusing mindgame of some kind.
Wizard started pummeling the Clone Saga from day one before it even had a chance to really suck, naming Scarlet Spider "Mort of the Month" (i.e. lamest character of the month) with the mort-o-meter off the scale. In a reply to a letter they explained they were simply mad about the ending to the first Clone storyline (20 years old at that point) being revised away and that two Spider-Men diluted the franchise even further. They never really went into the quality of the books themselves.
I recently reread "Back from the Edge" and thought it was okay, but "Exile Returns" is abysmal. Maybe more thoughts later.
Omar's assessment is pretty top drawer--I guess what's especially bad is that everyone threw in their worst ideas and so took what could have been four okay, average comics to dreck. DeMatteis is a polarizing author but he can do good stuff, and I could have accepted one Spidey comic turning into the touchy feely psychological one. Mackie's style is annoying but if left to its own devices was fine turning in pedestrian, entertaining-on-a-month-by-month stuff like his Web run. A retro DeFalcon run wouldn't have been the worst idea at this point in the grim 90s (I don't like Kavanaugh's stuff). Unfortunately, we got four comics that began taking on a similar, mixed, bad style.
Horrible writing. Horrible art. The golden days of the avengers are gone. Then theres the crappy robot.
Shooter's excuse underlines how bad it all is, but is clearly BS, if it was as he says, why did the wasp have a proeminent black eye? Certainly an harmless, almost accidental, scraping wouldn't result in it.
Fnord, note that Peter comments on how easily he and Ben defeated Carnage. I think the idea was that Traveller was influencing Carnage since he didn't want them killed and that's the only reason why Carnage was defeated so easily. That could have come across more clearly.
I think that Traveller is supposed to be putting Peter and Ben to sleep the first time and putting Peter to sleep the second time, not teleporting Peter and Ben away and later teleporting himself away. I think that he's also putting you to sleep. :)
Note the class ring on Ben's finger- another hint that Ben is the real Spider-Man.
In the backup story this issue, Ben awakes near the smokestack but has no clue how he got there. We'll find out how he survived later.
Peter's not supposed to be in a device- those are normal restraints. The idea is that Peter's just hallucinating- not that Traveller remarks that Peter's recovered from his bout with madness. Fnord, didn't you know that people can just snap out of hallucinations without a doctor's help? :)
Some of it I found amusing. Lance Bannon was colored as a redhead, but his hair's usually brown, isn't it? Yeah, they really Jimmy-Olsened him.
Also, wouldn't the guy with a degree in Journalism be able to recognize Jonah Jameson? "He's that media mogul with a Hitler moustache, you can't miss him." The guy IS talking about the Bugle, after all.
It’s really just a shame. I wholeheartedly agree that the books have been creatively bankrupt for years at this point, and that the Clone Saga is total drek, as executed. But only as executed: a temporary replacement by a seeming “original” who eventually turns out to be the clone after all — it could have been awesome. But as executed, it’s, um, not.
The Black Cat's showing in this story isn't great, but some of it was not all that awful. At one point she slashes Tombstone's face, whose skin can resist bullets. The notion itself is awful, but he was genuinely wounded, and this guy shrugs of multiple gunshots as if they were pebbles.
What happened was that Traveler was letting Peter walk through the asylum to further mess with Peter's head. Then, when Peter finally realized how horrible the world was, he concluded that madness is the only sane response and went completely nuts and collapsed.
Note that Traveler reads Peter's mind, finds secrets that Peter is unaware of and laughs. This is another clue that Peter is the clone.
@Omar- After Harras decided that Norman was behind the Clone Saga, it was decided that Scrier was working for Norman. DeFalco decided that Scrier could only pop up everywhere if there was more than one of him, a la Scream. Glenn Greenberg then suggested that they were a cult. Then Ralph Macchio pointed out that DeMatteis was planning on using Scrier in Silver Surfer so it was decided the cult was based on a real person. This complicates things for fnord, since how do we know we're seeing the same Scrier (the one the Handbooks named Charlie Bates) all the time? But several readers had a problem with the twist- do ALL the Scriers know Peter's identity? If so, then how does Peter still have a secret identity? I don't know why DeFalco couldn't just say that Norman bought a teleportation device from the Tinkerer or something.
Stern, Byrne, and Quesada may not be able to write any other Spider-Man, but if no good writer would write a married Spider-Man without Aunt May and still feel like they were writing a "real" Spider-Man story, then he effectively isn't really a character so much as a franchise, closer to an early Silver Age DC character than a modern Marvel character. Marvel's inability to attract good writers to Spider-Man has more to do with their creative bankruptcy at this time and running out all their actual good writers with respect for continuity and change for the sake of the Image artists than getting away from the Spider-Man "formula". Hell, Tom DeFalco will end up creating Spider-Girl which will end up having a long life despite being constantly threatened with cancellation. If Tom "everything should be just like it was in the Silver Age" DeFalco can do it, it can't be that hard.
I know you like Roger Stern a lot fnord, but I would think his refusal to write a married Spider-Man would be a big black mark on his record. It reminds me of John Byrne's description of why Aunt May was brought back after the Clone Saga, which he says was a big reason he agreed to take the job of writing the Chapter One-era reboot: "It was realized that killing off such an important, cornerstone character was a mistake -- the same mistake DC had made a couple of decades earlier, when they killed off Alfred and then realized the Batbooks did not work properly without him."
Not to rehash my looooong comment on the marriage issue, but this is what a hack writer would think, who thinks that every story featuring a character should follow a specific formula that precludes the passage of time and any meaningful change. Obviously there are certain elements of Spider-Man's identity that remain inviolate - it's hard to say that a story about, say, Peter as a well-paid researcher with a sizable fortune from patents is really a Spider-Man story (whoops). But if Spider-Man must remain forever single and worrying about his Aunt May, he effectively must remain frozen in a particular moment in time, unable to progress or move on in any way.
Most of Heinlein's stuff doesn't hold up so well for me now, but when I was in high school I read all of it that I could get my hands on, and enjoyed it. This was one of three favorites, and it was more thought provoking, to me, than anything I ever read about Starhawk anyway. Regarding Andrew's comment, on second thought, Heinlein's book is maybe not all that relevant to trans thinking nowadays, insofar as the old man soon found out that the young woman's thoughts were still resident in her body, alongside his own. One of the most interesting aspects of the story for me was how the woman's consciousness persisted in her body even though her brain was replaced. But that aspect also makes it less of a parallel to a real life modern day trans situation. The protagonist didn't seek out a sex change, either, but rather, just a young body for his brain transplant, and it had been unforeseen happenstance that the transplant donor would turn out to be a woman.
"Dr. Kafka tells Judas Traveller that Ravencroft has had a riot and a breakout already." I think the riot was supposed to be the incident in Web of Spider-Man Annual 10, not Spider-Man Unlimited 1, since the incident in the Annual involved multiple people.
"I don't know when word came down that the event had to be extended (i.e. what we see in the issues up to #400 may have already been changed from the original intention based on the order to extend the event)." As I understand it, the changes started when DeFalco was fired and Bob Budiansky took over the Spider books- Dr. Octopus's death was one of the first ones.
The problems with the Clone Saga were there from the beginning. The writers had no explanation as to why the clones were actually clones and not genetic constructs as established during the Evolutionary War. Nor did they have an plan for Ben to take over the Peter Parker identity, since if Peter lived and stayed married to MJ, wouldn't he continue using the Parker name?
@Transparent Fox- I think that the quality of the Spider Books had declined by late 1993. Of course, the Clone Saga wasn't the answer.
Glad to see Our Pal Sal getting some props in the midst of all this awfulness. He might not have been the most beautiful artist, but his ability (along with others of his era) to tell a coherent story with his art is something I took for granted before the 90s.
And judging from the contemporary reviews it got, the vast majority of them hated it. I've read the original serialization in Galaxy in 1970 and it was truly the worst thing he'd ever written at that point.
'And when i say that there was a disconnect between fans and writers... well, obviously the writers and editors involved with all of those decisions to have Peter "age" at any given moment clearly weren't against the idea.'
Well, as you know, that's not entirely true. You pointed out in your entry for ASM Annual 21 that the marriage was mandated by Stan Lee and Jim Shooter, and that at least then-editor Christopher Priest was strongly opposed. I imagine other creators chafed at that kind of editorial dictate. Frankly the marriage didn't make all that much sense in continuity at the time.
That said, you're right that the marriage is no excuse for the precipitous decline in quality. Ah the 90s
My primary books as a child were Fantastic Four and Iron Man. I never closely followed the Spider books, but probably kept up with them via Wizard, or maybe perusing them in the magazine aisle. Even as a 9 year old, when I heard what was going on with the character during the Clone Saga I had no idea what was going through the writers' minds. None of it made sense to me.
Regarding the desire of the writers to write a teen, rather than an adult, I think it's relatively understandable. Teens generally have a larger number and variety of 'issues' that can be explored by the writer. They are more impulsive, less restrained, and still growing into themselves and their roles as a hero.
In the world of comic book continuity the status quo is incredibly powerful. It's hard to think the writers and editors genuinely believe this could be pulled off elegantly.
It occurs to me that this is the second of Marvel's big attempts to provide a sales boost to one of their franchises that goes sprawling out of control and is eventually retconned into submission by revealing that the whole thing is a deliberately confusing mindgame of some kind.
Oh, Lord...Scrier....a vapid mystery that every single writer has handled differently, to the point that now I think the official line is that he was some kind of cosmic being, but there;'s also a cult of insane people who dress up as him and eventually fell in line behind Norman Osborn.
It strikes me that Judas Traveller, Scrier, and the lost are like the worst impulses of all the current Spider-writers bundled together: the nadir of DeMatteis's pseudo-psychological mysticism, Mackie's directionless mystery plotting, Kavanagh's penchant for giving XTreme 90z names to characters in lieu of personalities or distinctive gimmicks, and DeFalco's retro bombast.
In my opinion, this was the last really good issue of Power Pack. Although, she wasn’t the best artist, June Brigman was the perfect artist for this title, so that hurt when she left. Bogdanove was ok, but a little too cartoony.
Reading the opening of this review made me imagine a Spidey-continuity matryoshka doll, with each layer painted in extreme '90s style.
I only owned the last issue of this arc. Mutely beating on Shriek highlights an absence of the qualities that make Spider-Man an enjoyable character to me. Though in retrospect, his response to Aunt May's hospitalization wasn't to sell out his wife to the devil, so it could be worse.
I agree that editors and writers were unconnected to readers. I never saw anyone wish to have Peter return as a teenager. In fact, everyone seems to forget that Peter Parker was not a teenager for that long in comics. He graduated from high school in Lee/Dikto era. It’s a very brief time, comicwise. The Peter Parker that readers were used was a young adult, not a teenager. No wonder no one ever complained about him as an adult. I also don’t buy the criticism towards his marriage. No one complained about it during the McFarlane or Larsen eras.
The truth is that editors and writers thought that by reversing him back to young adulthood somehow things would get better, but they clearly forgot to come up with good stories for the proposed new status quo. The proof of this is that once they pushed Ben Reilly as a blond waiter, they simply forgot about the amazing supporting cast that Spider-Man always had. The real problem is that they milked the cow too much. There had been too much Venom, Carnage and crossovers and big events. The worse of all is that they still haven’t learned the lesson.
P.S.: The only aspect of Peter’s marriage that never worked for me was having MJ as a super model. I buy him having a gorgeous wife, but she should have had a normal career.
My disgust for this storyline aside, I’m glad that you’re covering it even if it’s small doses at this time. It’s important that we don’t forget the past. To date, none of the people involved with this have been prosecuted so we need to continue shedding a light on their horrific crimes.
For what it's worth, I think for the sake of your project some kind of coverage of this mega-story is necessary with regard to an analysis and history of continuity in the Marvel Universe, both month-to-month and across the decades. That said, it's your website/project, money, and time invested into this so don't let me tell you what to do. I will enjoy reading whatever you decide to post here as supplementary commentary to Life of Reilly.
I agree with bigvis497. In fact, the very first Spider-story I effectively read was the conclusion to the Lobos/Kingpin/Maggia War. Up to that point I had hardly read any super-hero comics; I was a big fan of the "Turma da Mônica" franchise, the top kiddie-oriented comics (in no pejorative sense of the word) of Brazil.
Thus was I introduced to the more realistic, more serious and less cartoony world of costumed crimefighters living in New York: Peter and Mary Jane discussing marriage issues, financial troubles, the problem of finding a new place to live, her difficulty in getting work as a supermodel, Lorraine's drug addiction, Aunt May's poor health, and Kristy's bulimia. I didn't know what bulimia was, and it shocked me. And I loved the whole marriage/family subplots, as much as I loved the super-hero stuff (I became an instant fan of the Lobo Brothers and Chameleon, Hammerhead and especially the Kingpin). So yeah, you CAN write plenty of stories with a married Peter Parker. And even a child can relate because the spirit, if not the problems, have universal human elements. Peter may have been a grownup, but he reacted with the kind of passion, perplexity, guilt, and strength of character that can really touch the human heart. Spider-Man's shtick is not being "a young dude", it's being "a young dude who had to mature far too quickly, that makes thing even harder." Marriage is not a problem; reacting to tragedy like a psycho is. Thus the curse of the post-Lifetheft period.
Gillis obviously didn’t properly research the Six-Fingered Hand storyline, because Daimon says that he and the others were contacted because of their involvement in that story, but Beast was barely involved during that time, and was still with the Avengers.
Not only that, but Valkyrie should have logically been included in this story. Such a shame, since she missed out on catching up with her BFF Patsy.
I used to have a rule about not tagging characters who weren't given full names, but i've made so many exceptions to that rule it's not really operative anymore. So i've tagged both the unnamed cabbie and Nathaniel. (I couldn't find Nathaniel's surname in MTU #13.)
There are plenty of stories you can tell with a married Peter Parker. I like your ideas of having different ideas for each Spider-Book. That seems like a very easy way to get around writing stories with MJ. Bending over backwards to get rid of the marriage without actually, you know, doing it... always felt so cheap.
Why didn't they just kill MJ? Don't get me wrong, that's a horrible idea, but it's also a very 90's way of dealing with the situation. And at least it's simple.
Fnord, I'm confused (sure, there's plenty reason). I know you've just started (heroically) tackling the Clone Saga, but if you'll allow me, I have to point out that Brock acknowledges in the first few pages of Separation Anxiety #1 that '[I am] separated from my other by the Scarlet Spider', or something to that effect. So I'm certain you'll eventually place this story AFTER "The Exile Returns", which itself follows "Power and Responsibility".
Hi gang, I had quit comics by this point but I have heard about it endlessly. I wont comment on the quality of the stories as I dont intent to read them but...
The general idea actually sounds pretty good to me. A chance for Spider-man to get a fresh start, unattached and basically as fnord notes, kinda young again. We like a young Spidey deep down. It wouldnt invalidate any of the past adventures. In fact, Id be happy that that Spider-man got a happy ending instead of being stuck in the eternal loop that superheroes live in. And it would give us a Spider-man learning or re-learning the ropes again, with a good excuse for inexperience and irresponsibility.
At least the idea sounds 100 per cent better than the Metphisto nonsense.
(after writing this I realise it would work better in the forum. Sorry fnord.)
Good point. "Now to retrieve my costume--oh, shit, it's gone, someone must've taken it. Well, no biggie; I threw my costume away once and the worst thing that happened was some kid finding it and giving it to J. Jonah Jameson. It did make the world--and the Kingpin--aware of my retirement, but since I'm not retiring NOW, I have nothing to fear. Except the wild possibility of some random guy figuring out that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are somehow related. Never mind, nobody ever connects THOSE dots."
Somehow Bagley's chins seem pointier than usual. He's still the premier Spider-artist at this point. Though I don't think Mahlstedt's inks do him justice.
"Lifetheft", "Pursuit" and "Shrieking" make the entire Norman-Osborn-wasn't-really-dead-he-was-just-sitting-around-doing-zilch-retcon especially egregious. Harry revived Peter's phony parents because Spider-Man killed his father, Norman killed Peter's daughter because Spider-Man killed his son (didn't kill Peter's wife though, probably because his own wife had already died before Spider-Man even existed). Neither of which was true and all of which were retconned away anyhow.
I never understood why Marvel felt they should bring back Peter's clone to replace him just because Spider-Man had become to dark and brooding and humorless. One thing they could've done was, you know, STOP making him dark and brooding and humorless. Doesn't that sound just like Norman Osborn, taking the longest, most complicated, and least unreasonable way home?
I didn't mean to peeve you, I have OCD myself, it was all tongue-in-cheek; it's perfectly reasonable--within the notion of screwing up with Spider-Man--for him to go through all the trouble of getting the clone a new Spidey costume with webshooters, Spider-Signal, and the like. If you're gonna clone him, see it through and just copy everything about him. If Warren is mad enough to undertake this "cloning-for-vengeance" scheme, he might as well do it properly. Marvel villains can't afford to be sloppy!
But seriously, doesn't this idea of finding Spider-Man's discarded costume present problems of its own? Wouldn't Spider-Man distinguish an old costume from a new one? They must've least SMELLED differently, right?
Considering that this issue came out in 1985, the year of Prince's "Purple Rain", where he famously rode a motorcycle and wore purple jackets, it seems obvious to me that the motorcycle-riding, burgundy coat-wearing Ace is based on him and not Michael Jackson. Especially since he sports a moustache, like Prince did in 1985, whereas MJ never had one.
"I suppose one could rationalize it by saying that Tony's view gradually changed over the years."
The Stamford incident could definitely change someone's perspective, but it also may come down Tony believing in oversight, but there's also the possibility that he just thinks he knows better than anyone else, is a "do as I say, not as I do" type, considers Gyrich an outsider who just "doesn't get it", or just doesn't like him personally. Or all of the above, really.
Atlantean dynastic inheritance might simply be based on the eldest child. Even those monarchies which based primogeniture on eldest son might go to a daughter instead of another male relative if there are no sons. From Thakorr it went to Fen (his daughter, and it appears she had no brothers) and then to Namor, who was made a legitimate heir like many royal bastards have been (and we don't know if Namor was considered illegitimate by Atlantean law since I'm pretty sure Fen and MacKenzie were married on his ship).
It's also entirely possible that there was a succession crisis, and that Namor was considered the best candidate in some kind of elective monarchial scheme. Many kingdoms have had an elective monarchy.
Glad to see that Michael Morbius was finally cured. Now if only he could be convicted as a mass murderer, justice could finally be served, but I suppose that's probably just me being way too optimistic again.
It was explained in the letters page of issue 153 that Warren found a costume Peter threw away: http://www.spiderfan.org/letters/oracle/00590.html
(See under where it says from Steve Giordano.)
And BTW, Warren didn't have OCD. If he had OCD he'd sit around all day thinking about hurting Peter but not doing anything and feeling guilty about what a horrible person he was for having these thoughts. Sorry, but the misuse of the term OCD is one of my pet peeves.
"The madder Hulk gets, the stronger he gets" alert! This may or may not have been retconned since then, I'm not sure, but for many years, this was always the ultimate justification for why the Hulk could never lose any kind of straightforward knock-down and drag-out fight.
Atlantis must have a different form of primogeniture than most human societies. As the illegitimate child of the queen, there must be a real dearth of male, legitimate relatives for Namor to be considered the rightful heir.
I suspect that by 40 years ago Gerber had probably at the very least read I Will Fear No Evil by Robert Heinlein, in which the lead character was a rich old man who had his brain transplanted into a young woman's body and was adaptive enough to learn how to live out the rest of his life as a woman in earnest. Just about everybody in the science fiction community at that time must have read it.
Shooter wrote some personalities pretty completely off-model Monica Capt. Marvel in the 1st issue calling Cyclops "boy", which I think no black woman would call a man unless he's REALLY acting badly, and definitely wrong for Ms. Rambeau...
-And the absolute BEST moments of the series were all jokes given the villains.
"Hey Enchantress! You going to hog the bathroom forever?"
"Yeah! Some of us ain't immortal!" :lol:
Toad's an interesting case, since he arguably wasn't a major villain even before the 1980s. Once the original Brotherhood collapses as of Uncanny X-Men #11, he ends up marginalized,t hen turns on Magneto and becomes an afterthought for a while. Steve Engelhart keeps trying to make him a Scarlet Witch and Vision antagonist in the 1970s and 1980s, but it takes until the 1990s for him to become a relatively significant X-villain again.
More generally, as others have noted elsewhere on this site and on the web, Claremont really has little use for most elements of this comic from before the Roy Thomas/Neal Adams era; and after Claremont left, people kept doing stuff in Claremont's vein, ignoring most of the same characters Claremont ignored.
Even so, Mastermind was a major X-villain for quite a while. Anytime the Brotherhood turns up, he's in it in the 1970s, and he even gets to lead it once. And then he's big deal in two major arcs in the 80s under Claremont. So his 90s absence and sudden death is rather odd. Perhaps no one knew what to do with him after Jean came back, because using him again would mean reopening the whole Phoenix-retcon can of worms. And with the last of the "classic" Hellfire Club members temporarily dead via the Upstarts storyline, perhaps taking out Mastermind was just finishing the job of deck-clearing.