Characters Appearing: Captain America, Hawkeye, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, J. Jonah Jameson, Living Monolith, Mr. Fantastic, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Starfox, Thor, War Machine, Wonder Man
Revenge of the Living Monolith (Marvel Graphic Novel #17)
Issue(s): Revenge of the Living Monolith (Marvel Graphic Novel #17)
...and it's written by David Michelinie, who is a regular Marvel writer.
To be fair, it's a fun big super-hero brawl. And it features art by not-yet-superstar Marc Silvestri.
But this could easily have been a few issues of Marvel Team-Up (in fact, it was) or an arc in Fantastic Four with some guest stars.
But i'm a super-hero geek, so i'm fine with the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Thor going up against the Living Monolith.
And this really is just a big dumb fight, and i like it. The introduction (by Michelinie) says:
In the beginning, there was a concept. Or more accurately, there was Jim Owsley - who had the concept: "I wanna do 'The Monster That Trashed New York' Something on a big scale, like those old '50s monster movies.
And that's basically what we've got here...
...except Godzilla never had to face super-heroes.
Oh sure, there's a plot, but i'm not really going to get into it.
There's a good character scene for Captain America. Faced with no other options, Cap has She-Hulk try to kill the Monolith using an electrical live wire. She-Hulk makes a flippant comment, and Cap says "We're about to possibly kill a man. I don't consider that a cause for levity!"
My one complaint is that it doesn't seem to acknowledge the fact that the Monolith has rampaged through New York before. Twice now. And Spider-Man and Thor were there the first time. You'd think that might come up, one way or another. But it's ok. They fight a lot of stuff. It probably all blurs together for them.
Regarding the inker credits: Geof Isherwood is listed as the inker. The others are credited with "Additional Background Inks". There's also like a million colorists listed for this issue, including M.D. Bright and Charles Vess. This is what i'm saying. If you have Charles Vess sitting around, get him to create a graphic novel for you. Don't have him coloring panels. Anyway, i don't know if all the extra help indicates that this issue was running late, but the book has a consistent look.
I love Silvestri's stylized comedic faces.
In the end, the Monolith grows so large that, when he comes to his senses, he allows himself to be dragged off of the planet and thrown into space where, he becomes the Living Planet. To me, Ego will always be the Living Planet, but i guess now there's two.
And yes, the cover has the Living Monolith smashing up the World Trade Center.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Lots of characters to consider, so let's look for clues. This has an October 1985 cover date, but it has to take place much earlier (which isn't surprising considering the lead time for the graphic novels). Spider-Man is wearing his red and blue costume. She-Hulk is a member of the FF and as far as we see the Thing isn't around. Reed and Sue are living in Connecticut, placing this prior to FF #276-277 (Plus the Baxter Building still exists). Captain America is on monitor duty at Avengers' Mansion when things go down; he says the rest of the team is on the West Coast. After the battle, Wonder Man, Starfox, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and Thor show up.
The MCP places this between Avengers #245-246, FF #268-269, and Thor #344-345. For Spider-Man, it's between Amazing Spider-Man #255-256. The big problem with the Spider-Man appearance is that he's wearing his red & blue costume. If you go with that placement, you're stuck with the idea that Spidey is causing his symbiote costume to manifest as his original costume. The MCP also has this directly before West Coast Avengers #1 in Iron Man's listing. Wonder Man and Iron Man showing up is suspicious; they'll be members of the West Coast team but that hadn't been formed yet.
I'm proposing an alternate placement, after the West Coast Avengers are formed, after Captain America rejoins the Avengers, after Spidey is back in his red & blues. The ugly part then becomes Thor, but we already have a gap for him to return to earth during Thor #354 for Marvel Team-Up #148.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This is a tricky placement. First, Amazing Spider-Man 259 can't take place before West Coast Avengers 1 and Avengers 246. The snowstorm in Amazing Spider-Man 259 is the same snowstorm released from the Casket of Ancient Winters in Thor 348-349 and also appears in Avengers 249. The West Coast Avengers are cleaning it up in West Coast Avengers 3.
Posted by: Michael | July 24, 2011 2:27 PM
Gah, thought i had it! Yeah, the Casket of Ancient Winters story has to line up. I think Iron Man will be easier to shuffle, but i guess we're at an impasse with Spidey. The idea that - just this one time - Spider-Man opted to have his suit appear as red & blue instead of black is very silly, but i guess there's no better option. Thanks for your info on this.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 24, 2011 2:47 PM
Also, that Scans Daily page you linked to does an awesome job of analyzing the art in this book. Much better than i could ever do.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 24, 2011 2:50 PM
My current thinking on this is to push it into 1985, after Spidey is back in his regular costume, after the West Coast Avengers team is formed, Iron Man's repulsors are fixed, and Captain America rejoins the Avengers in issue Avengers #251. So it's in 1985 limbo for now and i'll see how it goes.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 26, 2011 4:18 PM
I've settled on a placement for this graphic novel. Please do knock holes in my theory if you can.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 26, 2012 10:06 PM
"...except Godzilla never had to face super-heroes."
Except a full giant sized Godzilla DID have to face Super-Heroes in Godzilla 3 and 23-24. In fact Godzilla and Thor do a reverse tug of war on the Empire State building. It wasn't as good as this but that story introduced me to the Avengers. Plus there is a great splash page of Godzilla vs the Avengers and the FF.
Furthermore, though nobody's fault, there is an unfortunate cover of the Monolith knocking down the World Trade Center. (which doesn't happen in the story)
Posted by: Martin Dent | April 15, 2014 11:08 AM
Those Godzilla entries are on this site, here and here. I was talking in this entry about the movie Godzilla, in the context of the introduction of this issue which talks about trying to capture the feel of a giant monster movie.
I do mention the WTC thing in this entry, too. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | April 15, 2014 12:33 PM
Sorry, still new to this site. Thanks for the reply. I love what you have created here.
Posted by: Martin Dent | April 15, 2014 1:50 PM
No problem, Martin, and thanks. Just didn't want anyone thinking i've neglected those Godzilla issues!
Posted by: fnord12 | April 15, 2014 2:00 PM
According to the Marvel Appendix, David Michelinie intended for the Living Monolith to eventually become the Topographical Man from the Steve Gerber Guardians of the Galaxy stories in Marvel Presents.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 5, 2015 6:56 PM
I quite like this (this an Emperor Doom would be Michelinie's strongest work, imo) but I always feel disappointed that we don't get to see any of those Avengers who show up at the end, other than Thor, fight the Monolith.
Admittedly, Hawkeye couldn't do much... but the rest are heavy hitters and I was promised a big smash-fest in Michelinie's introduction!
I really like the Topographical Man link. It's that sort of nice, unspoken for, awesome linked continuity that the Shooter era of Marvel was really great for.
Posted by: AF | February 7, 2016 1:42 PM
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