The surly Sub-Mariner doesn't appreciate the surface world headlines that broadcast stories about an ancient beast, the Kraken, looting and pillaging ships. Namor is really ticked off because the headlines blame him as the main culprit behind the monster's wrath. Seeking the help of Diane Arliss, Namor quickly comes into conflict with the sea monster. Just like he thought, the Kraken is not real, but a giant underwater robotic vessel that is under the control of Commander Kraken and his crew of pirates. They capture Subby temporarily, until he is able to break free and give the villain a traumatic beat down. In a smart move, Namor is able to lead the fake Kraken vessel into the lair of the real monstrous Kraken. The giant sea beast destroys the Kraken ship along with all the bad guys as Namor rescues Dorma and Diane Arliss from further danger.
Tom: The nice twist ending saves this story from being mediocre. This is why I like Namor, he's not bloodthirsty per se, but he has no problem letting his enemies meet an untimely death when the situation calls for it.
|Does he or doesn't he? Only Lady Dorma knows for sure!|
The Avengers 78
Cap answers a summons, ostensibly from the Avengers, but actually a ruse by the returning Man-Ape. Cap is getting his star- spangled butt kicked when the rest of the Avengers arrive, allowing Quicksilver to save the shield-slinger from a deadly fall, with the help of the Vision. They learn that Cap was lured by a forged note left at SHIELD to come at once. The Man-Ape vows to destroy them all, but is mostly interested in exacting his revenge on the Black Panther. Man-Ape kidnaps Monica Lynn and uses her as insurance to get the Panther to fight him to the death. The battle begins and the Panther is tricked by a replica of Monica which promptly explodes, knocking T'Challa unconscious. When he comes to, the Panther begins to discern Man-Ape's lethal plan when the villain's allies arrive: the Living Laser, Power Man, the Swordsman and The Grim Reaper - who have formed a new evil team called The Lethal Legion!
SM: Another fairly involved build up to what will no doubt be a long, chatty battle next issue with a two panel resolution. It's all fairly routine stuff, although it's great to see Cap back on the title. I prefer some all-stars on the team rather than just the second stringers. Man-Ape is never going to make my list of favorite villains and it's kind of a shock to see him fronting this low rent Fright Four, but none of these guys makes me pant in excitement. T'Challa is getting a lot of page time and it dawns on me that The Avengers has so many lead characters, they really don't need a supporting cast. Perhaps these people will make their way to Jungle Action and The Panther's own book.
Captain America 127
Cap is helping Nick Fury test a new Protecto-Suit by flinging his shield at the head of SHIELD (see what I did there?). It works, thanks to the genius of the newly hired Dr. Ryder. Cap splits, ticked at Fury who keeps making comments about Cap's love life. Later, Fury and his goons are in their new suits fighting the men of AIM when one of the agents is hit - the suits have been compromised! There's a traitor in SHIELD! Is it the newly hired guy who invented the suits? No, it HAS to be Cap because "anyone can wear a mask and costume - even the guy who took off his mask at the end of the test, proving he's Steve Rogers. But never mind, Cap could be a traitor!" So they test him by making him fight an android only the real Cap can beat. He does so and he is finally told the whole deal is a maneuver to flush out the real traitor, the aforementioned Ryder (gasp!). Rather than explaining this to Cap, they tricked him, making Cap (and the rest of us) wonder how a man can protect himself from his friends.
SM: This story sucks. I'm sorry, but it's just chock full of Marvel Misunderstandings, people who refuse to explain their motives to their friends and who make idiotic decisions simply to get us to the next page. First, Cap and Fury are on speaking terms again when the last time they were together, Fury "lied" to Cap about Sharon's SHIELD status. He's still got the stinkeye for Sharon, but apparently Fury was easily forgiven. Considering Fury turns on a dime when it comes to how he treats Cap, I'd never trust the guy. Especially when he gives the job of telling Cap he's on the outs to the guy in the barber shop who fogs the windows. I wonder, does this barber shop get any of the street customers? Doesn't anyone notice the fogging and the coming and going of Cap and later The Falcon?
|Strangely enough, Cap, with Wally Wood on board, we don't want her to face you!|
My synopsis was pretty snarky, but this really was a turd of an issue and a chore to summarize. Yes, granted, the reveal at the end at least gives Fury and Sharon a reason to act out of character by suspecting Cap, but there's no excuse for Cap once again being played by these jerks. Why he keeps going back to SHIELD says more about Cap than Fury. It's funny how Cap tears a strip off Fury by saying his love life is off limits "even to him." Since when? Cap routinely barges in, whines or makes demands about Sharon. Now he says it nobody's business? God, Stan, step down. Please. Good art, but not worth it.
At the murdered actor Ross Archer’s funeral, Daredevil sneaks in to pick up clues. He finds nil, then is ejected by a less-than-respectful officer. In L.A., it seems, ol’ DD doesn’t get the respect New Yorkers afford him. Under the unusual circumstances, the network gives the cast and crew the choice of whether to continue the show. It’s a unanimous “yes.” Lester, the effects man, shows Karen Page a blueprint he’s secretly designed for an exo-skeleton suit. Leading man Vince Sterling interrupts; both, it seems, have an interest in Karen. DD, watching, determines almost everyone has a possible motive for murder. When Daredevil later sneaks into Lester’s office, he is surprised by . . . Brother Brimstone: Ka-Pow!! Coming to later, DD gets a clue regarding Karen’s whereabouts: the La Brie Tar Pits Museum, where Lester has asked her to meet him at closing time. Our hero hurries there, hampered by L.A.’s smaller buildings. Lester is a no-show so Karen’s about to leave when the lights go down, fortunately an unlocked door provides an escape. Phew, until out pops Brother Brimstone, and Karen faints. He’s about to toss her into the Woolly Mammoth display, under which are tar pits, left over from California’s prehistoric times. Our pointy-eared friend arrives in the nick of time, but Brimstone’s no slouch: the two tangle in the tar pit. DD rips off a mask accompanying the stolen exo-skeleton (thus the missing heartbeat)—Vince Sterling! The sly actor planned to steal the blueprints for his own wicked plans, and figured to silence Archer, Lester and Karen, thereby protecting his identity. DD attempts to pull them both out, but Sterling slips away, sinking into the tar to preserve his immortality in a different way.
JB: A very satisfying conclusion to a complex little whodunnit, one that was served much better as a two-parter than a single issue. I’m left wondering what happened to Lester; did Brimstone/Sterling already send him to his fate in the tar pit, or did he just lose his nerve to come meet Karen? Agreed that L.A. is a nice change for D.D.; maybe living there would be a compromise Matt and Karen could both live with?
NC: For a girl who is supposedly nursing a broken-heart and thinking over whether she wants to be in a relationship with DD, Karen sure goes out on a lot of dates! Karen is a trooper though, waiting for 2 hours after being stood up sure shows confidence! I must admit I just assumed Lester would be our man (even though he’s a bit scrawny) because he was such a stalker type, but – expect the unexpected. Beyond the “love” story I thought this was a fun and fantastic mystery!!!
The F.F. are returning from the home of the Inhumans when their craft is shot out from under them. Luckily Crystal is returning with them, and she makes the air around them solid enough to carry them safely to the ground. Their craft is in pieces. But who fired on them? The answer is not long in coming: Kang the Conqueror, or is it Dr. Doom? Crystal, whose powers are unexpected from their foes, drops a tree on the duo, and on examining the bodies, Reed realizes they’re androids, as only the Puppet Master can create them. Combining his talents with those of the Mad Thinker, the two send a procession of the deadliest foes our heroes have met against them, android style. While the androids are dangerous, they lack the human element necessary to out-think the Fantastic Four, and one by one the evildoers are done in. When the Puppet Master and the Mad Thinker pull out their ace in the hole—the Incredible android-Hulk—he turns against them rather than take orders. The Puppet Master’s defensive gunfire ignites an explosion; a fitting ending? Our heroes return home. JB: This issue is like a movie that casts every name in Hollywood into two hours, and does none of them justice. I suppose the fact the super-villains here are androids (Reed figured that out fast!) is more realistic than having us accept that their real counterparts would co-operate. Still, if not for the number, I’d have scarcely noticed this issue was anything special. They can’t all be classics!
The Incredible Hulk 129
The Leader is in a state of 'glum' after losing so many times to the Hulk. In response, he uses his mind control powers to revert himself back into his former normal human self just in time to give a hitchhiking Bruce Banner a ride home. After a sit-down in a restaurant, the Leader learns from Bruce that one of the few foes, the Hulk has ever fought, that has ever gathered any sympathy from him, is the monstrous Glob. Using his advanced technology, the Leader resurrects the Glob from the gooey swamps of Florida and sicks him on the Jade Giant. Once the two monsters clash under the sewer systems, it's an ugly sight to behold as each creature is equally matched, with the Glob brainwashed into believing that the Hulk is out to hurt Betty Banner. Knowing that he can't knock out the Glob, the Hulk lures him up an electrical tower. The Hulk then electrocutes the Glob with an open wire, causing him to plummet into a shack of 'dynamos,' blowing The Glob into smithereens.
Tom: While I'll be the first to admit that I am pretty easygoing on this series, this issue was executed poorly. They didn't need the Leader to be a part of this story with his whole "resurrection of the Glob" vengeance plot. Lex Luthor has nothing to worry about in D.C. if the Leader keeps on making dumb decisions like he did in this issue. Did I read this right? The Glob was able to make it from Florida to L.A. with just making the newspapers? If so, my hat's off to the big lug as he definitely doesn't strike me as a stealthy type of villain. I'm sure I'm not the only one that thought of 'dog crap' when they showed the Glob's reformation on the final page after he got blown up.
The Invincible Iron Man 27
The Mighty Thor 178
Victory won for Asgard against Surtur the fire demon, Odin calls for a feast, but Thor senses something is amiss. It is the Abomination, the Gamma ray creature transformed from Soviet spy Emil Blonsky. He was brought to Earth, then later returned (see Silver Surfer #12) to the mighty being, the Stranger, who collects specimens from throughout the universe. The Abomination arrives back on the Stranger’s world free, and vows to attain revenge on his captor. The Stranger has zeroed in on another victim on his space scanner and departs to personally test this ones power. With him gone, the Abomination watches the scanner change scenes, a different world every few seconds. When the Gamma-green goliath accidentally hits a switch, he teleports the person in view to the Stranger’s world: it is the Thunder God! The Abomination convinces Thor to free the other captors, which sets off an alarm, calling back the master. Thor takes up the battle against the Stranger. Reaching a stalemate, he decides to study this world before resuming the cause. Reasoning that within the identity of Don Blake lies his best hiding place, he stumbles upon the Abomination encouraging the masses to fight the Stranger. He realizes the Stranger’s captives are evil, but too late: they grab him! Without his walking stick, Blake faces certain death, but they let him slither away, considering him beneath their notice. Rescue comes from the lovely Sif, who identifies her beloved’s location, and returns his stick. The aliens appear, and Thor turns back time to when he first faced the Abomination, whom he imprisons before returning to Asgard.
JB: The John Buscema art makes this issue look the first one of the seventies, even if it’s not. But the transformation is gradual. The characters faces aren’t as expressive as in, say, the Silver Surfer, and the whole look of Asgard fairly soon takes on a whole new personality (i.e. a new look for Sif). Speaking of Buscema, I may have been negligent in not including Silver Surfer #4 amongst my best of the sixties tally. The Don Blake bit was a bit funny; it seems like a pretty dangerous place to take a chance surviving as a mortal. Of course it gives Sif a chance to come to the rescue. This isn’t the first time recently that she’s managed to find her way somewhere, without specifically mentioning her power to bypass space/time, so epically shown back in Thor #139.
The Amazing Spider-Man 86
Also this month
Kid Colt Outlaw #148
Li'l Kids #1
Mad About Millie #13
Marvel Super-Heroes #27
Marvel Tales #27
Mighty Marvel Western #9
Millie the Model #184
My Love #6
Rawhide Kid #78
Ringo Kid #4
Tower of Shadows #6
Two-Gun Kid #93
Where Creatures Roam #1 ->
Where Monsters Dwell #4
With the launch of Where Creatures Roam, Marvel continues the plundering of Atlas fantasy/horror/monster reprints they began with Where Monsters Dwell in January. I can't begin to describe to you that sheer glee that burst out on my face when, as an eight year-old fledgling Marvel Zombie, I first saw WCR #1 on the Thrifty Drugs comic rack, sitting right beside WMD #4! I further wet myself (probably not an exaggeration) when looking inside to find such monster barn burners as "I Am the Brute That Walks!" by The King, "Kragoo!" by Don Heck, and Ditko's "Fear in the Night!". Marvel's reprint department was on cruise control this issue: rather than search around the various Golden Age titles for prime stories, they simply reprinted the bulk of Journey Into Mystery #65 (February 1961). The cover's just about the same as well. Smart guys these Marvel businessmen. Sadly for that eight-year-old MZ, WCR lasted only eight issues, proving that old adage true: Monsters May Dwell But Creatures May Not Roam.