Friday, March 16, 2012

Journey into Mystery # 121

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 121
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: October 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_121


Commentary:

Thor goes for a rematch against the Absorbing Man.  My money is on Thor to win this one, but the issue ends on another cliffhanger after a whole lotta fightin.  At one point, Thor has the opportunity to destroy Absorbing Man when he tricks him into absorbing glass, but Thor stays his hand from slaying his opponent.  This is a kinder and gentler Thor than the one who appears in Norse legend, but Stan still prevents his heroes from ever delivering the killing blow.

In the backup tale, our team in search of Odinsword encounters an enormous storm at sea, and, well, that's about it.  Better luck next time on this story moving forward.  We'll forgive Stan and Jack since they were probably working on the annual, which is up next.



Favorite Panel:

Is it me, or does Loki look like Maleficent in this panel?  Come to think of it, he always kind of looks like her.

Next: Journey into Mystery Annual # 1

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fantastic Four Annual # 3

Issue: Fantastic Four Annual # 3
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: October 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_Annual_3


Commentary:

Okay, Reed and Sue are tying the knot, and it's kind of a big deal.  Anybody who's anybody in the Marvel Universe at this point makes an appearance.  Seriously.  Even Puppet Master.  Even Black Knight and Mandarin.  Even Red freaking Ghost.  Oh, and X-Men: 1, Mole Man: 0.

Stan does a nice job in working in pretty much every major (and most of the minor) players in the MU, and he's right to do so.  Other than origin stories and first appearances, we haven't had a whole lot of "big" events occurring so far in these early issues, but the wedding of Sue and Reed is one of them.

Quick Hits:
  • This issue reprints FF # 6 and FF # 11
  • The characters from Marvel's romance comics appear in a panel (does this mean I should have been doing posts for them!?!?)
  • Tony Stark's wedding ensemble makes him look like Eustace Tilly, the New Yorker mascot
  • Giant Man is noticeably absent from the festivities, as is Wasp and Hulk

Favorite Panel:

Sometimes I reach the end of an issue, only to discover that I haven't chosen a favorite panel.  Then there's times like this, where it's the very first page!  I hope you enjoy Doom's reading of the upcoming nuptials.

Favorite Quote:

"Only by scoring the greatest victory of all time can I wipe out the humiliation of the past!" - Dr. Doom, who is sharing a sentiment surely felt by many professional athletes.

Next: Journey into Mystery # 121

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fantastic Four # 43

Issue: Fantastic Four # 43
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: October 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_43


Commentary:

Stan finishes off the story of the Fantastic Four versus the Frightful Four.  This three parter is really just a warm up for the "Galactus Trilogy," a major epic that starts in just a few month's time.  Get excited!

In the meantime, the team puts the pounding on the Frightful Four, although Medusa escapes.  Torch has the opportunity to grab her, but for some inexplicable reason he decides to let her go.  Perhaps he has an inkling of her real identity?

Anyway, Thing and Torch rejoin the fold, and all's well that end's well.

Quick Hits:
  • Thing calls Reed a "crumb"
  • Stan builds up the Fan 4 annual with a couple panels of Doom plotting his next move
  • Thing references the upcoming wedding of Reed and Sue
Favorite Quote:

"She wasn't expecting an attack by invisible force spheres!" Invisible Woman; not sure who does expect those kinds of attacks.


Favorite Panel:

Torch is all business.

Next: Fantastic Four Annual # 3

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Daredevil # 10

Issue: Daredevil # 10
Writer: Wallace Wood
Artist: Wallace Wood
Publication Date: October 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Daredevil_10


Commentary:

This story was both written and drawn by Wally Wood, a legendary comic book artist.  Wally Wood actually has a rather sad history, and I encourage everyone to read about it in the excellent piece found here.  This happens to coincide with Mental Health Awareness week.  If you know someone who is in need of support, encourage them to reach out and seek help.

Alright, no more seriousness.  I'll make fun of Mole Man next post or something.

This issue introduces us to Deborah Harris, a potential flame for Foggy, and also the Ani-Men, who don't have potential for much of anything.  The story will be continued next issue, when we find out who leads the Ani-Men.

Favorite Panel:

The Ani-Men attack, and Daredevil performs Lord of the Dance.

Next: Fantastic Four # 43

Monday, March 12, 2012

Avengers # 21

Issue: Avengers # 21
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: October 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Avengers_21


Commentary:

Hawkeye and the Cap are close to blows at the beginning of our story.  The happy days of the early Avengers are a distant memory; the team reminds me of the discord in the early Fantastic Four stories.

The Enchantress creates Power Man, and cooks up a plan to publicly disgrace the Avengers, which seems to have worked by the time this issue concludes.

Despite Thor having left the team, the Enchantress is sticking around to cause problems for our heroes.  It is strange that she focuses her energy on the Avengers and is not chasing after Odin's favorite son, as Loki does.

Quick Hits:
  • Hawkeye calls Cap "Methuselah"
  • Scarlet Witch is attracted to Cap
  • Stan thanks the readers for their patience after a segment focusing on the villains
  • The creation of Wonder Man is referenced, as Power Man is searching for the technology which created him. 

Favorite Panel:
The team plans their next move


Next: Daredevil # 10

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 2


Issue: Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 2
Writer: Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: 

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_Annual_2


Commentary:

The main feature in this annual was thought of by Steve Ditko.  Good for him!  It takes him a while to bring Spidey into the foreground, instead focusing on Dr. Strange.  When Spidey does show up, and then falls into another dimension, Ditko gets his chance to flex his inner Salvador Dali.

Dr. Strange gives the villain from this issue the Identity Crisis treatment without batting an eye.  Stan examines a lot of moral questions in his stories, but the ones surrounding mind control are not at the forefront.  We've seen Professor X use his power to mind wipe as well.  Heck, we've even seen Reed Richards turn a bunch of aliens into cows!  We'll have to see if this starts to become a faux pas as the Marvel Universe matures.

Favorite Panel:

Um, whaaaat?

Favorite Quote: "On a night like this, I feel about as useful as a second-hand tube of Dinosaur repellant!" - Spidey; who else?


Next:

Avengers # 21

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man # 29

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 29
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: October 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_29


Commentary:

Our pal Scorpion returns.  Stan describes him as one of the strongest and most dangerous menaces of all time.  I don't think that's quite appropriate.  I mean, dude has a tail.

So, he and Spidey slug it out for the better part of the issue.  Spider-Man hasn't started college yet, so hopefully that's coming within the next issue or two.

Quick Hits:
  • Ned Leeds, Betty Brant's other love interest, returns from Europe
  • Scorpion uses the word "bub"

Favorite Panel:

Spidey defends the innocent, and in the case of Jameson, the largely culpable

Next: Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 2

Friday, March 9, 2012

X-Men # 13

Issue: X-Men # 13
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Uncanny_X-Men_13


Commentary:

When last we left the X-Men, the Juggernaut had breached all of the mansion's defenses in his quest to destroy his stepbrother, Professor X.  Here, Juggs makes a proper mess of the mansion in his quest to destroy Xavier.  But, with a little help from their pal the Human Torch (see him on the cover there?) the X-Men are able to defeat big Juggs.

Of the two parter, last issue was all set up, while this issue was wall to wall action.  Juggernaut will return many times as an enemy to the X-Men, but this early story is iconic, especially given that it takes place at the mansion.

Quick Hits:
  • Jean Grey is strong enough to telepathically lift Juggernaut for a brief period
  • Juggernaut is drawn much smaller than his size in later appearances
  • Matt Murdock makes the briefest of cameos
  • This story is playable as a flashback in the video game X-Men Legends

Favorite Panel:

Juggernaut engages in an elaborate game of Dig Dug

Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 29

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tales to Astonish # 71

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 71
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Gene Colan and Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_Vol_1_71


Commentary:

Namor's quest for Neptune's trident continues, and it includes a brief appearance by Neptune's ghost!  I guess Stan doesn't have much of a problem mixing his Roman mythology with all of the Norse mythology that appears in Thor's adventures.

Also, all of Namor's undersea friends spend way too much time casually walking around.  You're underwater!  What are you doing that enables you to stroll around on the ocean floor?

All that will have to wait, as this story ends on a cliffhanger.  Namor against a dude made out of seaweed.  If you just can't wait till my next Tales to Astonish post to find out what happens, well, I understand.

In Hulk's tale, the Leader approaches him with offer of an alliance!  Hulk need deliberation time.



Favorite Panel:

Hulk demonstrates how a superhero handles CPR.  He's got the strongest set of lungs this side of Namor! I guess Namor doesn't really need strong lungs since he can breathe underwater.  Regardless, Hulk's a champ.

Next: X-Men # 13

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tales of Suspense # 69

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 69
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck and Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_69


Commentary:

So, Iron Man makes a new enemy in the Titanium Man.  Behind the arm of this tin man is just another fat communist who's jealous of our boy Tony Stark.  However, this particular fat communist decides to write Stark a letter about it.  Basically, he challenges Iron Man to a duel.  Iron Man accepts, but the victor won't be revealed until next issue.  It doesn't look great for Iron Man, but hey, it's just a cliffhanger.  Don't sweat it.

In Cap's world, a mad scientist prepares a means of eliminating him and Bucky.  Bucky is captured as bait, and Cap heads off to rescue his partner.  Smells like cliffhanger as well.


Favorite Panel:

Why does a mad scientist's henchman always have to look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame?

Next: Tales to Astonish # 71

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Strange Tales # 136

Issue: Strange Tales # 136
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: John Severin and Steve Ditko
Publication Date: September 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_136


Commentary:

Hope you love big Nick Fury, because he's appearing in more monthly mags than Spider-Man!

The Fury story features artwork from John Severin, who had a long career at Cracked magazine.  It also features Hydra just failing all over in their efforts to destroy SHIELD.

On the Strange side of life, Dormammu finally catches on that Clea has been helping Strange, and has her imprisoned.  Strange himself also has his cloak of levitation by this point, so he looks more like the Doctor we all know and love.  Alas, he's no closer to finding eternity.  Stan continues his serialization of the half issue stories of his superheroes.  He also seems to like aligning everyone with a goal.  Fury needs to destroy Hydra, Thor had the whole "trial of the Gods" saga, and the good Doctor's search for eternity marches on.

Favorite Panel:

The beauty of this panel is the many different ways in which it can amuse you.  Is it Nick Fury disappearing into the ground in a barber's chair?  How about the cute little wave he offers in goodbye?  How about the girl in the pink dress casually wielding a machine gun?  There's so many options.

Next: Tales of Suspense # 69

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sgt Fury # 22

Issue: Sgt Fury # 22
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: September 1965

Brief Summary:


Sgt Fury 22


Commentary:

Dick Ayers himself makes an appearance in this one, as he is a Corporal in the US army during the time of these stories.  Unfortunately, that's about the only interesting thing that happens in this issue, and it takes up all of two panels.  Good times.

Oh, I'm being too cruel to Sgt. Fury.  This one sees him in a fight to the death against fellow officer Bull McGiveney for the amusement of some Nazis.  Of course, it's not actually to the death, and Fury and Bull help the allied forces pull off one of the greatest air strikes in history.

Favorite Panel:

To the moon, Alice!

Next: Strange Tales # 136

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Journey into Mystery # 120

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 120
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_120


Commentary:

Thor's hammer took some damage last issue, so his big play is to take the hammer to...Pittsburgh.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, not only does Pittsburgh produce steel, but they also have furnaces hot enough to heal the hammer of a Norse god.  He is also finally able to prove to Odin that Loki cheated during the trial of the gods (which started back here).

Thor tries to get back to his normal life after the trial, but he finds that the members of the Avengers have completely changed, and his nurse Jane Foster is nowhere to be found.  But before he gets anywhere with these things, he'll have to fight off the Absorbing Man, returned to earth by the ever mischievous Loki.

I also would like to point out that Odin wears a golden crown with an enormous owl symbol on it.  Just the latest in Norse god fashion.

The quest for the Odinsword continues in this issue's backup tale.

Favorite Panel:

Thor walks the rainbow bridge.

Next: Sgt Fury # 22

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fantastic Four # 42

Issue: Fantastic Four # 42
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_42


Commentary:

The team engages in a rather uninspired fight with the Frightful Four.  Torch doesn't refer to Trapster as Paste-Pot Pete.  If a guy calls himself Paste-Pot Pete, even once, you should never let him forget it.  Let that be a lesson to all you inspiring super heroes and villains.

The Frightful Four are able to brainwash Torch just as they were Thing.  Also, this story isn't wrapped up at issue's end, but will continue again.  A three-parter from Stan.

Favorite Panel:
Torch means business.

Next: Journey into Mystery # 120

Friday, March 2, 2012

Avengers # 20

Issue: Avengers # 20
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: September 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Avengers_20


Commentary:

The Swordsman can't beat the Avengers (after all, he is just a guy with a sword going up against a bunch of super heroes), so this makes him a great candidate to become a henchman of the Mandarin, last seen here.  That doesn't go smoothly, as Swordsman then wants to fight Mandarin.  Swordsman really needs to make friends with somebody, even if it's Mole Man.

However, things aren't going much better for our heroes, as nobody respects the leadership of Captain America.  This is a far cry from Cap's reputation as Marvel's best leader.  Still, I guess it shows he's got room to grow.  Also, Quicksilver and Hawkeye aren't exactly the most stand up teammates a fella could want.  Things calm down for some strange reason when Quicksilver proves he can run faster than Hawkeye can shoot an arrow.

Things end with Swordsman in a morally ambiguous way, so we'll have to see where he crops up next, and whether or not it's on the side of the angels.

Favorite Panel:

The Swordsman is quite a fatalist.  I'm also quite curious as to what "Whit!" sounds like.

Next: Fantastic Four # 42

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man # 28

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 28
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: September 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_28


Commentary:

Well, Spider-Man's graduating high school, and we're only twenty eight issues in!  I have seen a quote somewhere before that Stan had Peter graduate so early in the timeline simply because he didn't think his creations were going to last as long as they did.  Makes a lot of sense.  I have to imagine that despite all the hyperbolic jargon that opens and closes just about every Stan Lee joint, it would be hard for him to envision that they'd be releasing an Avengers movie in the year 2012.

Anyway, Spider-Man spends some time with Mr. Smythe, his buddy who created the Spider-Man hunting robot, in an attempt to retrieve his costume.  Unfortunately, Smythe's scientist friend wants to make off with his half of the recent liquid metal alloy they've been making.  He spills it on himself and becomes T one thous, I mean, the Molten Man, a bad guy.  How come every scientist in the Marvel Universe can't replicate the results of any one of their famous experiments?  Isn't repetition like half the battle in science?  Anyways, Spidey beats yellow Colossus into submission.


Quick Hits:

  • Petey gets a full scholarship to Empire State University, and so does Flash Thompson
  • J. Jonah Jameson meets Aunt May for the first time
  • Liz reveals her deep crush on Peter Parker, but says she never thought he was interested, and thus is moving on

Favorite Panel:

Comics from the pre-Universal Healthcare days, now just a by-gone relic.

Next: Avengers # 20