Bronze Age Beginnings

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Extra! The power of Attuma, Tiger Shark, Dr. Dorcas!

Every now and then I search eBay for Marvel Bronze Age and look for something I don’t have, looks interesting, and is cheap. I figure it's pot-luck, but if I’m not paying more than I would for a modern comic then I have nothing to lose (except maybe 20 minutes).

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.

I am going to say up front – this comic was one white hot mess! As written by Jim Shooter for the December 1975 issue, we have the Amphibians, and Subby, held hostage on Hydrobase by three of the dullest villains ever, and Betty Dean (a very old Sub-Mariner supporting character) has just been killed by Dr.Dorcas (pronounced Dorkas I assume - if so, it’s entirely appropriate). 

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. 

The next issue box teases a new writer, a new artist, and a new direction. Are there any Super-Villain Team-Up fans out there that want to recommend further reading?


  1. Terence --

    We reviewed SVTU #'s 5-7 on Bronze Age Babies and found them to be exceptionally underwhelming. The new writer was Steve Englehart (far cry from his CA&F or Avengers stuff) and the artist was Herb Trimpe (yuck!). Read at your own risk.


  2. Thanks Doug, I'll have to look those reviews up. Herb Trimpe, eh? Well, apart from his work on Hulk (a character I think he was perfectly suited to)I've never much liked his work, so that's a big minus.

  3. For further SVTU reading I'd suggest # 10-12, best story in its short run, by Bill Mantlo, Bob Hall & Don Perlin.


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