Issue(s): Thor #319
To give you a sense of the general quality of this issue, here's Moench fighting with himself in the script. I mean, you'd think the make-up guy would know how long it takes to put make-up on. So it's a little late to be objecting now. Or does he expect Brad to go out without his costume?
So who is Zaniac? He's an actor in a horror movie that's really into method acting...
...and apparently a bit of a nut himself...
... and he's involved in an explosion that turns him into his character.
The explosion is another case of just dumbness. The reason there are explosives on scene is because the special effects guy thought that they were going to be filming the explosion scene in the middle of Chicago University, and when he learns that's not the case (because even though it was the next scene in the script, it's not the next sequence being filmed; does anyone think this sort of confusion could actually happen?), he sticks the big box of cartoon dynamite under the bleachers.
Anyway, Zaniac rampages through the city and fights Thor for an interminable period of time.
I guess the fact that he initially thinks Thor is one of the pretty pretty girls that he likes to slash up is pretty funny, although this was 1982, not 1962, and men with long hair weren't exactly uncommon.
The problem with Zaniac isn't necessarily his goofy name or goofy look or the fact that he's an overt homage to slasher movie characters (specifically the 1980 film Maniac, according to the Marvel Appendix). All of that could be overcome; plenty of other characters have started in similar boats. The real problem here is that Doug Moench isn't giving this series the time of day and his plots here seem to just be more and more throwaway.
There is movement for the series in this issue, though. Now that his assignment for Stark Industries is over, Donald Blake heads to Chicago to deliver a really bland presentation at a physician's seminar.
I do think it's funny that Blake chose to give a speech on medical ethics after having been suspended from his last job for abandoning a patient on the operating table. Although if i understand the point of his speech, he seems to be saying, "Don't promise these people nuthin'.".
He then takes up his friend and budding romantic interest Shawna Lynde's suggestion to stay in Chicago and open a practice there. Shawna's tour sounds like it came from Chicago's Chamber of Commerce, but it does give us the information that Project Manhattan happened at the University of Chicago and that theoretically explains Zaniac's origin (although as you can see from the Appendix entry, another layer will be added in Zaniac's next appearance).
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Avengers #220-221. Thor is going to doing some serious commuting now that he is living in Chicago while still with the Avengers.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Wizard magazine later put this issue on a "Famous Worst" list.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 28, 2013 5:52 PM
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