Saturday, 31 December 2011
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Elsewhere, and more interestingly, Sif and Hildegard (accompanied by Silas Grant) are still on Blackworld – a strange planet that keeps shifting from one Earth era to another – where they run into the Rigelian Coloniser Tana Nile. Tana appears to be in a bit of a flap about “HIM”! Or as Hildegard puts it...
“By the stars! It can’t be! It can’t BEEEEEEE!”
This was a lot more fun than previous issues, now that Thor’s boring old quest is over; and Colletta’s inks are a lot more sympathetic to Buscema’s pencils than usual. I’d like to see Gerry Conway write more Earthbound adventures, though, as the contrast between gods and humans is always more interesting than adventures set in Asgard alone.
Buy Thor #198 at My Comic Shop
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Monday, 31 October 2011
Sunday, 2 October 2011
My original copy of this life-changing comic was lost many moons ago, but fortune smiled upon me when I won a reasonably priced copy on eBay earlier this month. I’d been tempted a number of times, but it was the realisation that the date of original publication meant that I would be able to perform some kind of voodoo magic by reading this particular comic exactly 39 years since I first held it my eager hands, and in my childhood home too, that I placed a decisive bid. Perhaps a rift in the space/time continuum would open up and transport me back to 1972 to meet my seven year old self.
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Monday, 26 September 2011
Sunday, 25 September 2011
The only small niggle was Lorna Dane’s use of her power leaving her in a weakened state, and generally acting the damsel-in-distress.
Monday, 29 August 2011
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
Saturday, 2 July 2011
Friday, 24 June 2011
Trying to define exactly when Marvel’s Bronze Age began is fraught with danger; it would be hard to find any two Marvel fans of the Bronze Age that can agree on a specific date or issue, and besides, it would not have been a sudden line-wide shift from the Silver Age to the Bronze Age, but a gradual shift in tone and style. It is generally agreed that the shift occurred in the early 70s, but many of Marvel’s comics would still read with a Silver Age sensibility well into the early years of that Marvellous decade.
Sunday, 19 June 2011
Buy Amazing Adventures #11 at My Comic Shop
Sunday, 12 June 2011
So the five heroines (I’m not including Night Nurse!) awarded their own titles during the Bronze Age was a comparative explosion, though maybe they were a little misguided. The early Seventies heroines were informed by feminist ideology, and the heroines created during the later half of the decade, well, Marvel needed to protect their copyrights. Neither approach was entirely satisfactory, but all five are still around today in one form or another.
The Claws of the Cat lasted only four issues, from November 1972 to June 1973. She made one other appearance, in Marvel Team-Up, before getting a make-over as Tigra. Her costume was found by Patsy Walker (in The Avengers), who went onto a troubled career as Hellcat (she married the Son of Satan, and committed suicide before getting better). Tigra joined The Avengers, and the last I heard she’d been beaten and humiliated on TV, and impregnated by a Skrull masquerading as Hank Pym.
Shanna the She-Devil
Shanna lasted just a little longer than The Cat, with five issues from December 1972 to August 1973. She made numerous guest appearances subsequently, before ending up with Ka-Zar. She later married him in the excellent series (written by Bruce Jones and initially drawn by Brent Anderson) during the early Eighties, and as far as I know she’s still happily married, living in a three-up, two-down tree-house in the Savage Land.
Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel - the first of Marvel’s derivative heroines to be) first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (March 1968), and debuted as the Kree/Human hybrid heroine in January 1977. Her series lasted 23 issues, ending in April 1979, but she went onto a long and eventful career in the Marvel Universe. For a heroine supposedly born from the women’s rights movement, she was treated very shabbily during her initial membership of The Avengers. Her rape in The Avengers #200 was the comic I chose as my own personal end to Marvel’s Bronze Age. She was later re-made as Binary by Chris Claremont in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, before reverting to her old self (albeit now called Warbird) in the re-launched The Avengers in the mid-Nineties. Writer Kurt Busiek gave her a drink problem and a subsequent court martial from The Avengers, and couldn’t resist picking at the scab of the whole sordid Immortus business during his overblown, and overlong, Kang saga. Ms. Marvel has latterly been ‘elevated’ to the position of Marvel’s premiere heroine, gaining another series in the last decade that lasted 50 issues, and has been included in The Avengers fairly regularly since.
The second imitative heroine in Marvel’ s catalogue, Spider-Woman, was created specifically to protect the Spider- derivative copyright in Marvel Spotlight #32 (February 1977), but went onto a 50 issue run in her own series from April 1978 to June 1983, after which she died, got better, and was de-powered. Her alter-ego, Jessica Drew, hung around the fringes of the Marvel Universe until Brian Bendis re-introduced Spider-Woman in his New Avengers. It turns out she was the Skrull Queen, and the real Spider-Woman was being held captive by the Skrulls. After Secret Invasion, the real Spider-Woman joined The Avengers, but I don’t know if it has ever been explained how she regained her powers.
Stan Lee created She-Hulk to retain the rights to any possible female spin-off as a result of the Incredible Hulk TV series, and wrote the first issue of The Savage She-Hulk at the tail-end of the Bronze Age in February 1980. Her initial series lasted 25 issues, ending in March 1982. Jennifer (She-Hulk) Walters has been a member of the Fantastic Four, The Avengers, The Defenders and The Lady Liberators amongst others (she gets around a lot), and has had a further two series (The Sensational She-Hulk, by John Byrne, repositioning her as a character that regularly breaks the fourth wall). When Brian Bendis Disassembled The Avengers, he used She-Hulk to ‘kill’ The Vision, ending the career of a much-loved Avengers mainstay.
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
There’s a brief interlude with Diane Arliss - Namor’s “true love” - and Walter (Sting-Ray) Newell, lamenting how Subby is just so cold and distant, and Senator Winters in Washington cursing the day he took up Namor’s cause, trying to establish him as an ecological symbol.
Sunday, 29 May 2011
No, me neither. Apparently he last appeared in Spidey #83-85, and with that reveal comes another. The man masquerading as Howard Hughes (sorry, Harold Howard), father of The Supreme Hydra/The Schemer, and in control of Hydra, is none other than The Kingpin!
I think we need some explanation, so cue some flashbacks.
Monday, 25 April 2011
As you probably gather from the cover, this issue chronicles the never before revealed origin of Toro. Or, rather, a Roy Thomas' retcon. While I grew to, not hate, but certainly disdain retcons as I grew older, then I absolutely adored these secret histories and whatnot.
The Invaders are returning to England from various missions in the Third Reich, with a severely injured Toro in tow. This is a perfectly suitable, though slim, excuse for Roy Thomas to reveal the origin of the Human Torch's young ward - and what a mixed up origin it is.
You just know that isn't going to end well.
So, despite both becoming sick, they decide to marry and have a baby! Along comes Toro (named as such for reasons unknown, but I'm going to guess that they just wanted him to suffer), and they get progressively sicker until The Asbestos Lady turns up wanting Fred's help in her quest to further the criminal possibilities of asbestos (!) The Human Torch arrives to prevent Fred's kidnapping, and is then told all about the remarkable Toro who exhibits invulnerability to flames. Nora calls him a mutant (a result of their hazardous careers).
Sheesh! First they decide to have a kid when they both know they're dying, regardless of any possible complications (like a mutant gene), and then call him Toro into the bargain. He never had a chance. At least his mutant gene only made him flame-proof, eh?
Anyway, Fred gets a call telling him that Nora's only got a few weeks left, so sensibly he decides to take them all on vacation. Watch out for that tree trunk on the tracks, Fred.....too late. Toro survives the crash (because flames are his friend), and, erm, gets taken in by a kindly fire-eater couple from a passing Circus. They hide him from the authorities, because, you know, they want a son.
Now I know why Fred and Nora called him Toro - they were planning ahead for his future career in the Circus!
Then, one night, the Human Torch comes looking (because he's a bit lonely for his own kind - sorta), and his mere presence (and intense heat) causes Toro to burst into flame too.
And start calling the Human Torch, erm, Pappy.
Despite all the ridiculous elements, this comic exhibited the same charm I found so endearing when I was 12 years old. Roy Thomas knew he had a mountain to climb to try and make some sense of Toro, and he did what he could. Unluckily, if you come looking for the wonderful art of Mr Robbins, you'll be disappointed - the issue is drawn by Jim Mooney and inked by Frank Springer. They do a good job of capturing the existing feel of The Invaders, but lack Robbins' crazy anatomy.
Sunday, 17 April 2011
with the middle-ground taken up by the imposing lower third of the issue's mystery villain.
The remaining Avengers, The Vision, The Scarlet Witch and
Yellowjacket are scattered around in the background, The Vision's leg (and Wanda's arm) entering the middle-ground, and anchoring the imposing figure coloured in greys.
Sunday, 10 April 2011
I have never understood the appeal of super-villain comics; how can you sympathise with serial-killers, megalomaniacs, terrorists and assassins? For that reason I’ve never bought a Wolverine comic or, when I was much younger, any comic billing itself as a Super-Villain Team-Up! Still, this was only £1.44 and features Namor, the Sub-Mariner. He may have gone all Avenging Son on us surface-dwellers once in a while, but I don’t think his heart was ever really in it. Plus, he’s wearing his Disco Leathers.
Dr. Doom rescues Namor because he seeks some sort of an alliance (something to do with ruling the world together), and some sloppy writing painting Doom as a benevolent dictator. I’ve always hated that aspect of Doom – and it seems particularly galling in light of world events today. Anyway, Doom and Namor return to Hydrobase with a cunning plan, ending in Subby ‘accidentally’ killing Dorcas, and Doom very un-accidentally killing some poor wretch, a court jester type character who’d mocked Doom earlier. That he was called Saru-San is neither here nor there.
I really want to jump all over Shooter’s abysmal script, but I am going to give him the benefit of doubt considering he must have been pulled in at the last minute to finish a Tony Isabella story (info gleaned from a Peter Sanderson LoC taking Isabella to task for #2). The comic was drawn by George Evans, a name unfamiliar to me, and a quick look at his Wikipedia profile explains why. Though he started his career in comic in 1940 at Fiction House, and also worked for EC, his Marvel work was limited to just a handful of issues in the 70s – none of which I’d ever read. The art on this issue was both efficient and uninspired, typical bog-standard Marvel fare.
Monday, 4 April 2011
Sunday, 3 April 2011
Saturday, 26 March 2011
Sunday, 20 March 2011
Starring a motley crew of Silver Age characters and one Bronze Age invention, it was forged at the height of Marvel’s Bronze Age – when it seemed a new concept (good or bad) was being published every other month.
That being said, despite an intriguing mix of characters, it never particularly worked. Hampered initially by some uninspired Don Heck art and a concept in search of a direction, it improved towards the end of its short life with the arrival of John Byrne on art but completely failed to fulfil its potential.
I have no idea why The Griffin (an American?) is piloting the craft.
A fairly uninspired fight closes the comic, but what would have brought me back next month was the ‘defection’ of Darkstar. The Champions really needed another female member.
Monday, 21 February 2011
Nominations so far are: Thor #337, Dr.Strange #1, Spider-Man #122, The Avengers #141, The Avengers #161, Marvel Treasury Edition #21, Giant-Size X-Men #1, Fantastic Four #112, Tomb of Dracula #1, Marvel Presents #3, Iron Man #80, Conan #17, Marvel Team-Up #38, The Avengers #200, Giant-Size Man-Thing #5, Marvel Premier #10, Captain Marvel #29, Warlock #11, The Avengers #116-117, The Defenders #9-10, Fantastic Four #137, Marvel Double Feature #1-2 ....