Journey Into Mystery #93
Issue(s): Journey Into Mystery #93
Review/plot: This issue: everyone gets cancer! After Thor, on behalf of the Indian army, stomps on the pale yellow gremlins that make up the Chinese army, the Chinese government decide they need to concentrate on getting rid of Thor. To be fair, he did string up all their tanks and carry them away with his hammer.
All of the pictures in this entry are from a remastered version of this issue, btw. Here's one scan from my original copy, just to justify my "yellow gremlins" comment:
A Chinese scientist, who has been increasingly immunizing himself against the deadly effects of radiation (hey, in Tales To Astonish #35, Pym was working on a gas to make people immune to radiation, so why not?), turns himself into the Radio-Active Man. His powers include super strength, ability to generate forcefields, ability to generate intense heat and light, and the ability to hypnotize. And of course, the ability to give people tumors 15 years after meeting him. The Chinese launch the Radio-Active Man into the US waters via a nuclear submarine, and then he swims to shore and, just to be a dick, walks right through a Customs station, flaunting the fact that he doesn't have a passport.
Thor shows up to fight him...
...gets hypnotized, and then breaks out of the hypnosis when he transforms back into Don Blake (this happens like every issue). Then Thor creates a tornado and sends Radio-Active Man back to China, where he explodes in a mushroom cloud. Good lord!
Meanwhile, Jane Foster questions Don Blake's manhood again.
Also in this issue, a rich oil tycoon creates an underground nuclear bunker for himself, but gets eaten by cavemen...
...and there is a variation on the "Why Won't They Believe Me?" story from Amazing Adult Fantasy #7 (linking to a reprint of a reprint of the story).
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Jane Foster might challenge Blake's manhood, but i think he could get a date with his assistant from the operating room - "If any other surgeon than you had operated, the man would never have pulled thru!". Total man-crush.
if you were in danger of reaching "critical mass" anytime you were subjected to "any sudden physical violence", would you think it was a good idea to volunteer yourself to fight other super-powered beings?
Posted by: min | November 21, 2011 1:48 PM
Any clue who the artist is on the second story? It looks like the only one of the three that doesn't have a clear credit.
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | July 23, 2014 10:53 PM
The second story is plotted by Stan Lee, scripted and drawn by Larry Lieber, and inked by Matt Fox.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 25, 2014 2:25 PM
Radioactive Man should be a major league a-lister (at least in the Absorbing Man threat category) but has almost always been positioned as a flunky, a Masters of Evil team member even though he way outpowers dudes like the Melter or Whirlwind. I maintain that his name (sadly now ruined even further by the Simpsons) did him in.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | June 24, 2015 5:19 PM
Yikes! Matt Fox makes Lieber's art look like wood carvings!
Posted by: Haydn | March 30, 2016 11:51 PM
Looks very Michael Kupperman-esque!
Posted by: S | March 31, 2016 10:13 PM
Is Thor shooting lighting out of his hands?
Posted by: a.lloyd | December 4, 2016 6:14 AM
Some more specimens of Matt Fox's distinctive style
Posted by: Ubersicht | December 4, 2016 10:11 AM
According to the character tag, this is Radioactive Man's only appearance in Thor! Amazing considering he is one of the few villains capable of being his equal in the early Silver Age. I also find it incredible that he's never become a major villain despite being on multiple teams of the Masters of Evil to echo MikeCheyne's sentiments.
Given his power, strength, and intellect, he'd be a formidable foe for many of the strongest characters who often need good foes for their rogue's gallery. He should be a threat comparable to Magneto or any of other acknowledged major menaces.
Posted by: Chris | November 28, 2017 2:50 PM
R-Man doesn't have a distinct motivation and personality in the early days beyond "megalomaniacal Commie villain" and then, quickly, "generic Masters of Evil member." He's dangerous in terms of powers, but his motives aren't interesting and he doesn't have much reason to take on any particular hero.
If he were going to land somewhere, I'd have figured he'd make a good Hulk foe. But instead he got tied in to the Avengers, used as part of various teams of villains with little room to grow into an interesting antagonist. It takes until Fabian Nicieza's second run on Thunderbolts to really develop his personality fully, and then he's shuffled off the stage for Dark Reign's revamp of that title.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 28, 2017 3:52 PM
I don't think we could have a Chinese supervillain in today's political climate. Look at how they wimped out on the Mandarin in IRON MAN 3, for instance. So I wouldn't expect to see the Radioactive Man making any major appearances in the near future.
Posted by: Gary Himes | November 28, 2017 4:00 PM
Not having much personality or motivation in the Silver Age is not a detriment to becoming a good character. Magneto was an over the top villain that was more cartoonish than usual before the eighties. It even took Dr. Doom several years before he became the character we recognize. Even Ditko's great rogues gallery for Spider-Man lacked anything other than a base criminal nature. So there was no reason why the Radioactive Man couldn't have been similarly developed in the next few decades, but it was just a lost opportunity.
I do agree that Hulk would have been a good place for him. In fact, the reason I posted on this issue was I had just left a post on a Hulk issue stating he would have been a good addition there. He has a place among the Avengers villains as well. And there's no reason he could not have continued to appear in Thor.
Marquee villains are hard to find, and the Radioactive Man had the potential.
Posted by: Chris | November 28, 2017 5:15 PM
Radioactive Man was made into a pretty cool layered "anti"-hero in Thunderbolts and wound up being seen as one of China's premier superheroes alongside Collective Man (albeit they didn't really want Radioactive Man in their country out of fear of his powers so made sure he was always some sort of diplomatic offering to America).
Then they tossed all that cool development out of the window for a background appearance where he's randomly evil again.
Posted by: AF | November 29, 2017 10:30 AM
You can go several ways with the Radioactive Man - he either works on behalf of Beijing loyally, or he's a rogue agent the government is concerned about. Given his great power, I think there's more potential for him as a rogue agent. He just needs some motivation.
I think he'd be boring as a simple Chinese ultra-nationalist (and that's the Mandarin's gig). He might work well as an anti-establishment force supporting various rogue governments. Keep it open how much affiliations he has with the PRC, that way there's some variety of stories you can do where he can be a sometimes ally or outright villain. Kind of like Wildstorm's Authority when they started doing whatever the hell they liked. That would roughly match his past associations like the Titanic Three and keep the anti-hero theme you mentioned (although I never read those Thunderbolts issue). Make him an independent force that must be reckoned with. But that's it for me - I'm getting into fan fiction right now.
As Gary said, in today's climate when movies call the shots, nothing that makes PRC look bad can be tolerated. Too much Hollywood money at stake so he'll never be in the movies. Sad commentary.
Posted by: Chris | November 29, 2017 1:33 PM
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