Characters Appearing: Al Laguardia, Claude (Doc Benson lab assistant), David Bealer, Don Phipps, Justin Baldwin, Leaper Logan, Maddie Baldwin, Niels, Officer Burnatt, Speedball, Teri Cooper
Issue(s): Speedball #3
More uniquely, he's the first villain to truly embrace the genre's alliteration.
And he also goes a bit meta by stealing a valuable comic book.
Speedball (or rather, the Masked Marvel, since that's the name he's still going by) gets involved when the Leaper steals a pendant that his mom was holding for the historical society...
...but the bad bully proves a better bouncer than the boy.
Since he's such a 1960s era villain, it's no surprise that he's spelling out his name with his crimes.
The Masked Marvel surprises Leaper Logan while he's robbing a Roman Coin Collection, and this time manages to hang on to him long enough to deposit him in front of the police.
An ongoing subplot of sorts at this point is Robbie trying to catch the cat, Niels, who was exposed to the same energy that turned him into Speedball. Another lab assistant named Claude is more interested in killing the cat than catching it.
The second story in this issue has Speedball teaming up with Chick Harris, master of Hoo-hah.
One interesting thing about the Roger Stern scripted stories so far is that while Steve Ditko was pretty clearly drawing the "boy picked on by the cool kids" scenes, Stern scripted them to be a little less cliche, e.g., it looks like the kids are laughing at the nerdy Robbie but instead the dialogue is showing that they are inviting him to come play sports with them, like he used to, but he has to beg off thanks to his new powers. That changes here, and it's probably as much thanks to the art sequence making any other interpretation impossible, but Mary Jo Duffy does at least acknowledge that it's a change for Robbie's friend David.
Robbie is forced to become Speedball when a group in some nicely knit ski-masks takes hostages during Harris' assembly. They call themselves the Proletariat.
Robbie finds out that bullets bounce off of him during the fight.
And he gets his team-up with
When it's over, the Masked Marvel runs away to keep his identity a secret, but Chick Harris shouts after him that he should consider a job as a stunt man.
With these stories, Tom DeFalco is no longer getting a co-plotting credit, but he obviously helped set the tone and direction of the series with the first two issues and the Amazing Spider-Man annual appearance. I don't know if without DeFalco's influence/direction this series might have been different or if this is exactly what Steve Ditko wanted to do. Ditko has shown us that his later Marvel work didn't have to be a complete rehash of his early 60s work, especially with the right inkers (his work on ROM is a good example), but "rehash of his early 60s work" is exactly what this series is.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Note that Leaper thinks to himself that he invented the leaping technology in the prison workshop- another problem with Clyde's claim to have been behind the villains of Springdale.
Posted by: Michael | July 25, 2014 5:50 PM
Seems like Tom DeFalco is trying to get back to the Silver Age. I can't imagine this book being created otherwise.
Posted by: JSfan | July 25, 2014 6:51 PM
So this is the origin of the "Hoo-Hah Action" that DeFalco relentlessly plugged Spider-Girl with. I'm guessing it's primarily guys jumping out from behind a bush and yelling "Hoo-Hah!".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 26, 2014 4:28 PM
This is one of those comics I randomly acquired as a kid (don't know how). I had no idea who Speedball was. I mean it's no great shakes or anything but it's pretty understandable and enjoyable in an undemanding way. I don't pretend that comics were 100% better then, but I do find it interesting that comics of this genre and style are far rarer now.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | September 17, 2014 11:53 AM
The multitude of Venom's limited series' in the 90's had a lot of "Hoo-Hah Action" as well, if I remember correctly.
Posted by: MegaSpiderMan | September 20, 2014 9:03 PM
Posted by: david banes | September 20, 2014 9:34 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|