Marvel Comics Presents #113-118 (Giant-Man)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #113, Marvel Comics Presents #114, Marvel Comics Presents #115, Marvel Comics Presents #116, Marvel Comics Presents #117, Marvel Comics Presents #118 (Giant-Man story only)
Bill Foster has been asked to come to Stane International's facility because Dr. Hawkins is studying what he says is an impossibility regarding Pym particles. Foster explains Pym's theory that the extra mass that he gains when he grows comes from another dimension, but Hawkins says that as a physicist, Pym makes a fine biochemist. He says that there is a "lack of a quantum mechanical model that allows for the existence of Pym particles". He requested the aid of Pym himself, but Pym was unavailable, and Reed Richards suggested Foster as a substitute. Foster quickly puts any doubts about his scientific abilities to rest....
...although he makes Hawkins nervous again when he doesn't know about Lie groups.
Suddenly Giant-Man is called upon for help. Something seems to be going on with gravity in one of the nearby rooms.
Giant-Man struggles to reach a Mass Acquisition Unit that is causing all the trouble. We later see that the head scientist on this project, a Dr. Stockton, is happy that his prototype device proved useful and has convinced his clients to fund production models. But he's lied to Giant-Man about the specifics and he's worried that Giant-Man will meddle in his plans. And indeed Foster is suspicious, and he convinces Hawkins to investigate with him, and they find the Mass Acquisition Unit being prepped to be used as a warhead. Hawkins' work was used to build the warhead, which he's not happy about. Stockton says that he's planning to sell them to foreign governments. Foster tries to shut the operation down, but Stockton is really Dr. Nemesis.
And while Nemesis is easily thumpped...
...he's also got Goliath working for him.
Foster says that he's out of practice and out of shape, but that even at his best he'd be outclassed by Goliath (it's not specifically mentioned, but that's accurate because Goliath is infused with ionic energy in addition to Pym particles. He's just depicted as being able to grow much bigger than Foster). And this Goliath isn't getting taken out with a sling.
While Foster is unconscious, Nemesis tells Hawkins that if he stays out of his way, he'll not only not get Stane to prosecute him for trespassing, he'll cut him in on the profits. Hawkins says that he'll think about it. After playing along for a bit, Hawkins reveals that he's sent copies of Nemesis' plans to the US government. Nemesis flees with the warhead. Giant-Man tries to catch him, but he has to contend with Goliath again.
Giant-Man and Goliath take a fall off the side of the building, and Giant-Man manages to land on top, so Goliath is staggered. And Foster apparently isn't above throwing sand in his eyes.
He then slows down Nemesis' plane so that he and Hawkins can get in.
Foster knocks out Nemesis, but not before Nemesis activates the warhead after the plane is in the sky. So they're about to crash. But Giant-Man, at Hawkins' direction, is able to use his shrinking and growing powers to shunt off the mass that the warhead is generating into the Pym particle dimension.
Thanks to Ron Wilson's clean artwork and Dwayne McDuffie's economical, sometimes quippy, script, this story is at least not a chore to get through. But it's not as great as i was hoping. It doesn't even really come full circle. It's sort of acknowledged that Hawkins' original skepticism about the Pym particle dimension is disproved by the way that Giant-Man stops the warhead. But only in a roundabout way, without any awareness in the final chapter that Hawkins was skeptical initially, or especially without any acknowledgement that it was the whole reason Foster was invited to Stane in the first place. I also don't love that Foster is led around by the nose by Hawkins the whole time. Foster's scientific background is initially acknowledged, but he definitely plays second fiddle to Hawkins. Since Foster is only a part-time super-hero, you'd think his scientific skills would be emphasized, not de-emphasized. Still, i like the choice of villains, and Giant-Man definitely qualifies as a character that could actually use the exposure that this book was meant to provide. It's not a lost classic, by any means, but it's a nicer than average story.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBill Foster, Dr. Nemesis (Pym foe), Erik Josten
I originally believed that this was written & drawn a couple of years earlier, since I thought that Ron Wilson had left comic books in the late 1980s. But looking about, I see he did have several credits at Marvel in the early 1990s. I guess that Wilson was unfortunately considered out of style with all the Image-inspired artists coming onto the scene, but he was solid & dependable enough that he could still get assignments on stuff like MCP stories and some of Marvel's other lower-profile books.
I always liked Wilson's work. He was a good storyteller with a clean style. It's too bad that those sort of qualities fell out of favor in the 1990s. For me, at least, he will always be one of the definitive artists to draw The Thing.
Posted by: Ben Herman | May 18, 2016 9:02 AM
I agree with fnord that the way this story treats Foster's scientific abilities is horrible. Lie groups are a real thing. If you're going to have your super-scientist be ignorant of something, it should be a made-up concept, not a real-life concept that some of your audience has heard of.
Posted by: Michael | May 18, 2016 8:24 PM
I had forgotten that Foster and Josten had come into conflict. Years later, Foster's nephew and Atlas would work together in Wonder Man's ill-conceived anti-Avengers team.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | May 18, 2016 9:03 PM
Actually kinda cool to have so many Giant characters together.
Posted by: kveto | October 8, 2016 6:50 AM
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