Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tales to Astonish # 70

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 70
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Gene Colan and Jack Kirby
Publication Date: August 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_70


Commentary:

Just as we recently saw a shakeup in the dynamic of the mag Strange Tales, so too is there a change in Tales to Astonish.  The adventures of Giant Man and Wasp have been replaced with Namor the Sub-Mariner.  I guess I wasn't the only person tired of watching Hank Pym saddle up on a giant ant.

It will be interesting to see if Namor becomes a more sympathetic character in stories that focus on his viewpoint as opposed to the Fan 4's.

In Hulk, it is finally indicated that he gets stronger the angrier becomes.  I had previously mentioned that this popular association with the Hulk was not a part of his origin, but now it has come into play.  He is also struggling, as after being shot, he needs to remain the Hulk forever, or he will die!  I'm guessing forever doesn't turn out to actually be all that long...

Quick Hits:
  • Namor's story takes place directly after his recent encounter with Daredevil
  • Namor's lady friend Dorma returns after last appearing here
  • King Nepture is referenced as a real figure
  • This issue features some early Gene Colan art; Gene will go on to a lengthy run on Daredevil

Favorite Panel:

The Hulk prepares to take on his combatant.  Nice bird's eye view here.

Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 28

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tales of Suspense # 68

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 68
Writer: Al Hartley and Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck and Jack Kirby
Publication Date: August 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_68


Commentary:

Tony Stark's cousin Morgan is a free loader.  He decides that he's had enough, but instead of flying the straight and narrow to make something of himself, he conspires with Count Nefaria  to undo the good work of his superior relatives.  He tries to convince the world that Tony Stark is losing his sanity by making him "see" things.  But then, a few aliens show up, and it makes it look as though Stark was sane all along.  Tony doesn't catch on to Nefaria, or even of his cousin's duplicity, so we'll have to see if this is examined later.

Meanwhile, back in the WWII era, Cap is still brainwashed by Red Skull.  Nothing too magical brings him back to reality; perhaps Steve Rogers just can't perform truly evil acts.  Red Skull's full of evil ideas, though, so there's plenty of adventure left for Cap and Bucky.

Quick Hits:
  • Tony's playboy lifestyle receives some attention with references to blonde bombshells

Favorite Panel:

Hairy Hulk Aliens!  Ah!

Next: Tales to Astonish # 70

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Strange Tales # 135

Issue: Strange Tales # 135
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko
Publication Date: August 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_135


Commentary:

Well, apparently some people love Nick Fury stories, as he's now appearing as the lead feature in Strange Tales, replacing the adventures of Thing and Human Torch (Dr. Strange remains).   And "present day" Fury is a more interesting read than WWII Fury, at least through one story.

Fury has an eye patch and is now a colonel, as we've seen him elsewhere.  Anyway, he gets cloned, which is kind of crazy.  Then, the clones get killed, thus proving someone is after our pal Nick.  This is when Fury gets recruited into SHIELD, Marvel's covert spy organization.  We're also introduced to HYDRA, the terrorist agency that makes for a natural nemesis to SHIELD.  HYDRA is a forward-thinking equal opportunity group, as we witness their recruit of the first female agent into HYDRA ranks.  Fury's got a lot of work to do.

In Strange's tale (hey, that's almost the name of the magazine!) he searches for the meaning of "Eternity," the word the Ancient One keeps muttering in his illness.  Unfortunately, all he finds is a guy named Baskerville, who's really just another hound (it's a pun, don't worry about it).  Strange determines that Mordo and Dormammu are working together, but he's no closer to finding any information on "Eternity."

Quick Hits:
  • Tony Stark heads up the special weaponry section of SHIELD
  • Fury is chosen by SHIELD to lead them in their fight against HYDRA
  • Dormammu is onto Clea, who has been assisting Strange

Favorite Panel:

The SHIELD Helicarrier makes its first appearance.

Next: Tales of Suspense # 68

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sgt. Fury # 21

Issue: Sgt. Fury # 21
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: August 1965

Brief Summary:


Sgt. Fury 21


Commentary:

Yeah, we're still reviewing Fury comic books.  It's happening.  The Howlers are off to rescue a hostage this ish (guess you gathered that from the cover).  What's that entail?  More Nazi impersonation, if you must know.

Fury does reference the pain he's felt over Pam's death, although she is not named directly.  So, there's that.  Stan also gets a chance to flex his interpretation of a French accent in dialogue balloons.  I guess he's getting tired of Percy Pinkerton.  He's not the only one.

I'm curious to see another writer take over this book.  Hopefully I'll find someone else's war stories more compelling.



Favorite Panel:
Howlers in action.

Favorite Quote: "If they were so smart, they wouldn't be Nazis!" - Nick Fury

Next: Strange Tales # 135

Friday, February 24, 2012

Journey into Mystery # 119

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 119
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: August 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_119


Commentary:

Thor is phased into an "unsolid" being, kind of like this gal.  Alas, it doesn't last long.  And, it turns out it was Loki trying to help a brother out.  Loki's attempt to help Thor spares him from Odin's wrath.

Thor also handles the Destroyer, although the battle is not without cost, as his hammer is damaged.  But Thor, being the Norse handyman that he is, plans to take it to the forge and fix it.

In the backup story, Thor assembles his team to learn what has cracked Odinsword.  Hogun the Grim, Fandral the Dashing, and Volstagg the, er, enormous.  The '78 Dolphins it's not, but Thor's confident he can get the job done with the warriors three (this marking their first appearance).  Also, Odin thinks Ragnarok is coming.  Ragnarok is kind of a big deal.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Volstagg has fifteen kids.  Fifteen.  Normally I don't do a quick thoughts if I only have one thought, but in the case of the prodigious and potent loins of Mr. Stagg, I thought I'd make an exception.


Favorite Panel:


Odin in Uggs (which was an alternative name for this blog)

Favorite Quote: "No man is ever truly free!  Not while conscience and memory remain!" - Thor (Stan's getting deep)

Next: Sgt. Fury # 21

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fantastic Four # 41

Issue: Fantastic Four # 41
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: August 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_41


Commentary:

The issue opens with an upset Ben Grimm.  His recent return to Thing-form has him pretty distressed, which makes sense given that most people wouldn't want to look like an orange rock.  Still, he does have the love of Alicia Masters, and he is part of a popular superhero team.  It's not like he's got nothing going for him, or like he spends his days riding insects around.  Yet there he is, catching a ride on the back of a pick up truck out of town.

Medusa asserts herself among the Frightful Four, and some of her earlier leanings away from evil seem to have dissipated.  There is still no proper explanation of who she is, although that has to be coming.

The issue ends with a brainwashed Thing about to put the pounding on Reed and the rest of the Fan 4.

Quick Thoughts:
  • The issue of who pays for the damages in a superhero fight is raised, although not solved (and won't be until these guys set up shop)
  • Alicia Masters appears with brown hair
  • Paste-Pot Pete is still reminding people he's the Trapster now
  • Thing will be the best man at Reed and Sue's wedding
  • Medusa expresses a romantic inkling toward Reed

Favorite Panel:
Madam Medusa in control


Next: Journey into Mystery # 119

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Daredevil # 9

Issue: Daredevil # 9
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Wallace Wood and Bob Powell
Publication Date: August 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Daredevil_9


Commentary:

DD shows some reluctance to taking part in an experimental eye operation, as he's nervous that such a procedure could have a negative effect on his other heightened senses.  What a hero.
 

Also, the romantic triangle between Matt, Foggy, and Karen continues to develop.  Foggy realizes that Karen longs for Matt, who also only has eyes (no puns here, no puns) for her.

Daredevil travels to Lichtenbad, a fictional European country which doesn't really appear again in the proper MU.  Then again, that could be because it is run by a tyrannical dictator who Daredevil helps topple.  If they can solve the problem that quickly in Lichtenbad, why can't they ever get the situation in Latveria fixed?

Favorite Panel:

Foggy Nelson enjoys a casual putting session on the job.

Favorite Quote: "Too bad a fella in my line of work can't join Blue Cross!" - Daredevil

Next: Fantastic Four # 41

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Avengers # 19

Issue: Avengers # 19
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: August 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Avengers_19


Commentary:

The Swordsman shows up to audition for a place on the Avengers, and ends up getting into a tussle with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.  I suppose Stan has cooled down on the hero vs. hero combat of late, so I'll forgive him this one.  I'll doubly allow it here, as the Swordsman turns out to be a rather substantial ass rather than a hero.

In fact, the Sworsdman is such a bastard, that Captain America would rather hurl himself to his own death than name Swordsman as the leader of the Avengers.  We'll see how that decision pans out for him next issue.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Cap is still waiting for an answer to his letter from Nick Fury, because Fury never got it!  Hydra stepped in
  • Hawkeye's origin (and connection to the Swordsman) is revealed
  • Hawkeye refers to Cap as "Glamor Pants", so maybe I will, too

Favorite Panel:

Easy there, Glamor Pants, easy...

Favorite Quote: "As for the last word, that is a woman's prerogative -- As you shall see!" - Scarlet Witch

Next: Daredevil # 9

Monday, February 20, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man # 27

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 27
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: August 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_27


Commentary:

Our lovely tale picks back up where it left off, with Spider-Man the prisoner of the Green Goblin.  With a little bit of luck, and the timely arrival of a few police officers, Spider-Man is able to bust loose.

Spidey is convinced that one of Jameson's employees (our pal Foswell) is either the Green Goblin or the Crime-Master; unfortunately Crime-Master bites the dust about a panel later, and well, Foswell ain't no Green Goblin.  


This issue also addresses the matter of why Spidey doesn't sell his pictures to someone that's a little bit less terrible.  The Daily Globe, a competing newspaper, is too nosy when Peter Parker brings them pictures of Spidey's latest fight.
Favorite Panel:

The fact that this panel is a few inches a way from being explicit notwithstanding, I thought the perspective used here was pretty cool.  That Ditko guy is a cut above the rest!

Favorite Quote: "Aw, go juggle beehives, prune-face!" - Spidey to Jameson

Next: Avengers # 19

Saturday, February 18, 2012

X-Men # 12

Issue: X-Men # 12
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: July 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Uncanny_X-Men_12


Commentary:

We delve into the origin of Professor X, including the death of his father in an atomic blast, his rearing at the hands of a cruel stepfather, and the introduction of his step brother Cain Marko, douche bag.

This issue does a decent job of framing the long exposition of Xavier's past in the impending threat of the Juggernaut attacking the mansion.  Stan also shows restraint in not fully revealing Juggs' appearance until the end of the issue.

The story breaks on a cliffhanger, with Juggs breaching the team's defenses and ready to face Professor X.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Cyke hollows out a log with his "power blasts," so they appear to be more concussive as opposed to heat focused as they were in earlier stories
  • Xavier's powers appear to have come to him early in life, as he used them as a young boy
  • Cerebro somehow detects Juggernaut, a non mutant
  • Charles began to lose his hair while still in his teens, but hey, he was one hell of a track star
  • Xavier served in the Korean War

Favorite Panel:

This is how Beast leaps into action


Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 27

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tales to Astonish # 69

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 69
Writer: Stan Lee and Al Hartley
Artist: Bob Powell and Jack Kirby
Publication Date: July 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_69


Commentary:

This issue opens with what would appear to be a classic example of the failings of writing comics using the marvel method of scripting.  Stan has Giant Man swinging from a flag pole high up in the city, and then on the next page he's back on the ground.  A couple of thought bubbles and captions with heavy exposition explain how he got from one place to the other.  In a lot of ways, seeing these kinds of things has a certain charm to it.  Something about the good nature and zest of Stan's writing goes a long way in forgiving many of these sins.

Yeah, so then Giant Man grows a wasp to a size big enough that he can ride on it.  Maybe it's not that charming after all.  Pym announces his retirement at the story's end.  Seems fair enough to me.

On the green side of life, Hulk turns into Banner, Banner turns into Hulk, there's some fighting with the Leader, Hulk appears to be dead at issue's end, and you've got yourself a comic book.  Seeya next time, kiddies!



Favorite Panel:

As Stan is quick to point out, that's not gonna win you any fans among the ladies, dude.

Next: X-Men # 12

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tales of Suspense # 67

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 67
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck and Jack Kirby
Publication Date: July 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_67


Commentary:

Stan kicks off the splash page with the line "If you think this title-illustration doesn't make sense, just wait'll you read the story!!"  I'm not quite sure that's the best approach, but kudos to him from veering away from the usual "This is the best comic book ever!"

Anyways, fresh off his recent quitting, Happy's on his way to Ireland, and Pepper is none too pleased that Iron Man/Tony Stark didn't put up more of a fuss regarding his abrupt departure.

This issue features the return of Count Nefaria (our pal who created some grief for the Avengers a little while ago), who creates a dream world in which Iron Man is pitted against all the great foes of his past (and some of the not-so-great ones as well).

Also, Stark is referencing events as recent as Tales of Suspense # 45 as happening "years ago."  This prolonged early stretch of time in the Marvel Universe will be condensed in the future history.  It seems that comic book time is condensed as it moves forward.  For example, events happening in comics right now (as in being published today) that might reference events "a year previous" (in comics time) will, when viewed ten years from now (our time), have taken significantly less comics time.  If you followed that trail of thought, well, what are you doing reading my blog?!?  Go get a job with NASA!  But, point being, "years" didn't pass between Tales of Suspense 45 and 67, as Stan claims.

Anyway, Happy agrees to return to Stark's employ, and Count Nefaria fails with his dream machine.

The Captain America story ends on another cliffhanger, with Cap still under the mind control of the Red Skull.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Pepper calls Iron Man a "Rasputin" (not this Rasputin; still a ways to go there)
  • Tony Stark claims he will love Pepper until the day he dies (not to her face, of course)


Favorite Panel:

Captain America hails Hitler!  Yikes!

Next: Tales to Astonish # 69

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Strange Tales # 134

Issue: Strange Tales # 134
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Bob Powell and Steve Ditko
Publication Date: July 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_134


Commentary:

Indulge me for a little while here as I go over the setup of this issue.  The Watcher, who can, we assume, see everything - and interfere with nothing - shows up to tell the Fan 4 about some new threat that could destroy the universe.  But Reed and Sue are out (where?  probably at the movies, the grocery store, mayhap finalizing the marriage license) and so the Watcher settles on Thing and Torch tackle the problem alone.  Yes, that's right, the all powerful being who sees everything can't find the guy who ran out for milk, and with the fate of the universe on the line, he settles for what's available.  This is the dude we have watching over our planet?  Christ, no wonder things like this are allowed to exist.

The only saving grace is that this issue features Kang the Conqueror jousting (like, on a horse).  There's also Merlin granting the Human Torch his powers back at one point.  So yeah, all's normal here.  Thing asks Kang if he writes dialogue for Thor.  Heh.

In the backup tale, with the help of Clea (who still has not been officially introduced to Strange), the Doctor is able to hold off Dormammu and Mordo for the time being.  The Ancient One bids Strange to find someone called Eternity before lapsing back into a coma.  So, next issue, the quest for eternity begins (not to be confused with this quest for eternity).

Favorite Panel:

Lil' Uatu and his new pals form a friendship circle!

Next: Tales of Suspense # 67

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sgt. Fury # 20

Issue: Sgt. Fury # 20
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: July 1965

Brief Summary:


Sgt. Fury 20


Commentary:

Fury gets into a healthy competition with another squad of Commandos as they compete to decide which group will go after Strucker and his Blitzers, who has taken over an allied castle in England.

Guess what?  The Commandos win the argument to fight Strucker, and then they handle the Nazis.  Surprising, I know.   The pattern seems to be that a good guy dies every twelve issues or so, but otherwise, the Commandos complete their mission, and there's not much more to it than that.

I should've done a count on the number of times Percy Pinkerton says "bumbershoot."  Too late now.  I am not rereading all of these Sgt. Fury comics.

Favorite Panel:
I guess that's one kind of training


Next: Strange Tales # 134

Monday, February 13, 2012

Journey into Mystery # 118

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 118
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: July 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_118


Commentary:

Thor's disruption-of-communism-intermission having concluded, he thus prepareth to return to Odin and prove that Loki cheated during the trial of the gods.

Unfortunately, Thor runs across a big game hunter (no, not that big game hunter) and is felled by, well, a sleeping pill.  Kind of disappointing to find out that you can fell a Norse god with a blowgun, but anyways, our story continues.  Thor fights a robot created by Odin called the Destroyer, who is awakened by the interference of Loki (obviously)
.  The Destroyer is a rather bland villain, although he is able to throw Thor's hammer.

Alas, Loki has outsmarted himself, as if Thor is killed by the Destroyer, he knows Odin will eventually find out it's his fault, and no one wants a PO-ed Odin.  So Loki must try to save his brother.

The issue ends on a cliffhanger, with Thor trapped in the floor, and Loki trapped in the dungeon of No-Escape (yes, that's actually what it's called).


In the backup story, Thor prepares for his quest to discover who broke Odinsword.

Favorite Panel:

Full page spread of Odin in his jammies?  Sign me up!  As if we weren't lucky enough with the bathrobe

Next: Sgt. Fury # 20

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fantastic Four # 40

Issue: Fantastic Four # 40
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: July 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_40


Commentary:

The FF are still powerless, and locked in combat against Doctor Doom, who has taken control of their headquarters.

Daredevil lends a helping hand, and he cracks wise in this story more than once.  It's almost as if Stan thought he was writing Spider-Man instead.

Reed ultimately saves the day, as he is want to do, using the "Electronic Simulator," a device that was last used to defeat the Skrulls, as seen here, to give the team back its powers.  Stan has to write up some pretty clever explanations about why Reed didn't just use the thing last issue, but that's neither here nor there.

This is all an elaborate set up to get to what this issue is really about, which is the hand to hand fisticuffs between Thing and Doctor Doom.  Thing gives Doom a pounding, but upon his return to his rock-like form, Thing is once again in despair over his perceived lack of humanity.  Alas, Ben Grimm's inner conflict will have to wait for next issue.



Favorite Panel:
Thing reborn


Next: Journey into Mystery # 118

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Avengers # 18

Avengers # 18
Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: July 1965


Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Avengers_18

Commentary:

The adventures of the new look Avengers continue as Captain America and crew take on communism.  Sometimes when Stan uses the term the Reds, I think of these guys.

I really enjoyed the beginning of this issue, as Stan spends some time focusing on Captain America's issues with being, as he puts it, a living anachronism.  We also see how the other team members enjoy spending their free time.  Captain America's query to Nick Fury has still gone unanswered, although it is referenced once more.

Quicksilver questions Captain America's decision for the team to get involved in international affairs, although it is Hawkeye that backs up Cap's decision.

Anyways, the team fights the Commissar, who's actually a huge robot.  Boo communism.  Right?

Quick Thoughts:

  • Quicksilver is a big fan of the circus
  • His sister Wanda loves the theater
  • The baddie in this issue hails from the fictitious country Sin-Cong, which I'm not sure we'll ever hear from again

Favorite Panel:

Cap takes on the Commissar

Next: Fantastic Four # 40

Friday, February 10, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man # 26

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 26
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: July 1965

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_26

Commentary:

While the Crime-Master is staking his claim to half the city, Peter Parker is busy trying to convince his aunt to tell him where she dumped off his Spider-Man costume.  He ends up buying a new version at a costume shop.

For once, though, Flash Thompson does the right thing.  When he overhears Parker taking the blame for something at school, he confesses his own involvement to the principal.  In terms of non villain rivals, Flash comes off as a more decent person than Jameson.

The issue ends on a cliffhanger, with Green Goblin and Crime-Master fighting over control of the underworld, and Green Goblin using his capture of Spider-Man as proof that he'd make the better leader.

Quick Thoughts:

  • More references to Mary Jane; Betty Brant's met her, but we still haven't!
  • Liz Allan somehow breaks up with both Pete and Flash Thompson, although I'm not sure she's actually dating either of them. 
Favorite Panel:

Where's Kingpin in this shot?

Favorite Quote: "I still don't trust him any farther than Aunt May could throw him!" - Spider-Man

Next: Avengers # 18


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tales to Astonish # 68

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 68
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Bob Powell and Jack Kirby
Publication Date: June 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_68


Commentary:

Well, the Human Top, who tried to kill Giant Man a while ago, tries to kill him again.  No matter how you slice it, Human Top is not a good name for a super villain.  When you hear the phrase Human Top, you don't think of fear, or terror, or even mild discomfort.  You think of someone spinning around like a moron.  Maybe you even think of dizzy bat.

But Top's not gonna let a little thing like being a loser get him down.  Oh, no.  What he's gonna do is replay prior events in his mind while Giant Man is unconscious and could easily be killed.  When you're Human Top, you're already starting from behind, so when Giant Man presents you with a lay up, you have got to capitalize.  Also, you can't spend your time making a new costume that makes you look like a fly swatter.  Sometimes Super Villains just don't understand, man.  We'll have to wait till next issue for Giant Man to rock his world.

On the jolly green side of the mag, Stan further establishes that Hulk has ups, as he's leaping and bounding around mountains, and even crossing the Atlantic.  Leader, who has been laying plans for the last eighty-five issues (or so it feels), finally unleashes his attacks, and it's...pink robots.  Christ.  Is anybody else ready for Maximum Carnage?  I just want a super villain that treats the job with respect.

Quick Thoughts:
  • After a recent loss of powers, Giant Man is now topping out at 35 feet
  • Giant Man and Wasp have their own private guard at their residence

Favorite Panel:

Hey man, confidence is key, but I don't think that's your only weakness, bro.

Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 26

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tales of Suspense # 66

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 66
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck and Jack Kirby
Publication Date: June 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_66


Commentary:

Attuma the underwater villain causes trouble again, so Iron Man's got to balance that against the chaos in his personal life when Happy Hogan quits.  This kind of makes sense, as Happy Hogan really doesn't do a whole lot.  Still, it was a cushy job, no?

Iron Man manages to prevent Attuma's conquest of the surface world, but with Happy Hogan gone, and him losing out on a big government contract, Tony Stark's troubles have just begun.  Man, I could have written the "next issue" blurbs for these comics.

In Cap's story, we learn a little of the Red Skull's Les Miserables lifestyle in his formative years.  Hint: He's no Jean Valjean.  The issue ends on a cliffhanger as Red Skull has hypnotized Cap into thinking he's a Nazi.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Happy Hogan has gotten better looking
  • ...And so has Pepper...
  • There's a reference to when Happy and Tony met, way back here
  • Hitler personally trained the Re Skull

Favorite Panel:

It's a hard-knock life featuring little orphan Skully.

Next: Tales to Astonish # 68

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Strange Tales # 133

Issue: Strange Tales # 133
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Bob Powell
Publication Date: June 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_133


Commentary:

Stan gives us the ole en media res opening in this one, with Torch and Thing going up against a revamped Puppet Master, who happens to look even more like Uncle Fester.  Stan doesn't immediately reveal that its Puppet Master come to plague our heroes, but longtime readers will pick up on Stan's copious number of clues.

The duo handles the villain, but, interestingly, they don't even mention the skirmish when their lady friends show up late to the party.  You would think Alicia would have a right to know what's happening given her relationship with the Puppet Master.

Meanwhile, Strange is traveling through dimensions and getting involved in a family conflict on an alien world.  We also see another shot of Clea, although we learn nothing in regards to her identity.

Favorite Panel:

Apparently, spying across dimensions just comes down to eavesdropping.

Favorite Quote: "Ben Grimm can get in trouble just by breathing!" - Alicia Masters

Next: Tales of Suspense # 66

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sgt. Fury # 19

Issue: Sgt. Fury # 19
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: June 1965

Brief Summary:


Sgt. Fury 19


Commentary:

As you might expect, our man Nick Fury takes the death of his girlfriend (as seen last issue) pretty hard.  On their furlough, he takes his Commandos off to find the Nazi who ordered the air raid that killed Pamela.

Stan doesn't have a problem with said Nazi hurtling to his death, but he does not have his hero, Fury, kill him in cold blood.  Even in wartime, Stan likes to keep his heroes a little cleaner.  While this makes sense for heroes like Spider-Man, who's really just a kid, or the X-Men, you'd think that he wouldn't mind having Fury really off a Nazi.

Nevertheless, Fury gets his revenge, and the Commandos do not get their furlough.


Favorite Panel:

Yeah, cause without that bumber-shoot...


Next: Strange Tales # 133


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Journey into Mystery # 117

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 117
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: June 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_117


Commentary:

So, there's a couple different things happening this issue, but most importantly is Odin's pink hat.  The Norse god is big pimpin.  Apparently, he still requires proof in certain situations that Loki is lying, though.  Odin, you should know better.

What starts as a struggle to prove himself to his father turns into a conflict in the middle of Vietnam for our hero Thor.  Still not quite sure how that happened.  But, naturally, Stan turns the tale into a morality play about the horrors of communism.  Stan did not want to make an enemy of Senator McCarthy.  Thor's effort to prove himself to his father will have to wait until next issue.

In the backup story, Odin shows his sons Odinsword.  If Odinsword is ever drawn, it shall mean the end of the world.  Alas, Odinsword has a crack in it, and Odin bids his sons to find the cause.  The quest begins next issue.


Favorite Panel:

There's Balder, lookin pretty snazzy in a suit.


Next: Sgt. Fury # 19

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fantastic Four # 39

Issue: Fantastic Four # 39
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: June 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_39


Commentary:

The Fantastic Four lose their powers, and Reed tries to replicate them using science.  He lights Johnny Storm on fire, hoping to put a spark back in the team (killing it with the puns here).

It's a rough time for the team to come up empty handed, as Dr. Doom is brought out of the hypnotic suggestion that he had defeated the Fantastic Four (as seen here).  Also, Matt Murdock returns as the team's legal counsel, which was decided after his encounter with them and Electro (seen here).

The team has to really on Daredevil's skills and Reed's smarts to survive, as Dr. Doom uses their own weapons against them.  The issue ends on a cliffhanger, as the team is still powerless and in combat against Doom.

Doom's really got to seal the deal on this one.  His enemies are powerless!  If he doesn't defeat them now (he won't), how does he still get off with being so arrogant?

Favorite Panel:

Daredevil under fire.

Next: Journey into Mystery # 117

Friday, February 3, 2012

Daredevil # 8

Issue: Daredevil # 8
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Wallace Wood
Publication Date: June 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Daredevil_8


Commentary:

Well, the issue opens on Daredevil pleading with a young damsel to not stop screaming, and things only heat up from there, when Daredevil goes toe to toe with...Stiltman!

Yeah, having big stilts apparently gets you through the qualifying round of "Who wants to a Super Villain" in the mid 60s.  It was a wild time back then.  You could scan braille for the latest patent laws quick as a wisp, your boss could steal your inventions, you could check people's pulses with your hearing as a reliable lie detector; anything was possible in those days, and a young Matt Murdock was at the cusp of it all.  

So Daredevil cuts Stiltman down to size, and if you think that's a bad pun, you haven't read half as many Stan Lee comics as I have.


Favorite Panel:

A cutaway image of Daredevil's apartment and his work space below

Favorite Quote: "In my line of work, a building without a flag-pole would be suicide!" - Daredevil

Next: Fantastic Four # 39