Thursday, July 19, 2012

Journey into Mystery # 122

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 122
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: November 1965

Brief Summary:


Journey into Mystery # 122


Commentary:


Absorbing Man and Thor take up where they left off in combat, and Loki watches all while plotting and scheming.  You see, Absorbing Man works for Loki, which may seem like a good deal on paper, but actually kind of blows.  Loki is promising Absorbing Man a seat as his right hand man when he, you know, takes over the universe.  Dude doesn't seem to grasp the concept of baby steps.

And in the backup tale, Thor is still on a boat...or something.  I probably shouldn't have taken a three four month hiatus from reading these and then expect to know what's going on.  Better luck next issue!

Favorite Panel:

Thor's thoughts on the paparazzi.

Next: Sgt. Fury # 24

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fantastic Four # 44

Issue: Fantastic Four # 44
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: November 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_Vol_1_44


Commentary:

We start delving into the strange origins of Madame Medusa.  She's on the run from a dude called Gorgon.  On top of that, Dragon Man (last seen here) shows up to cause a little trouble.

The arrival of Gorgon is the second appearance of a member of the race called the Inhumans, with Madame Medusa being the first, of course.  Unfortunately, Gorgon isn't exactly the coolest Inhuman around, as his power mostly qualifies him to participate in the broadway show Stomp.

The issue ends in the chaos of a three way battle, and we'll have to wait until next time to learn more about the Inhumans.

Quick Hits:
  • Reed invents an automated dish-washer mechanism; it's no ultimate nullifier, but I'll take it!
  • Lyndon B. Johnson is referenced
  • Torch considers not enrolling in college a "boner"; I don't think me means it that way
  • Reed compliments the Hulk's "phenomenal leg muscles"; there is no reference to a boner


Favorite Panel:

Like many women before and since, Madame Medusa has a soft spot in her heart for Johnny Storm

Next: Journey into Mystery # 122

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Avengers # 22

Issue: Avengers # 22
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: November 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Avengers_Vol_1_22


Commentary:

When last we saw our heroes, they'd been framed by Power Man and the Enchantress.  This of course leads to a little bit of in-fighting, as Cap struggles to keep the Avengers quartet from tearing apart.  He fails, and the team wanders off into a few less than successful side projects.

Seems like a good opportunity for the Ringmaster (last seen here) and his Circus of Crime to strike, right?  Wrong.  There is no good time for the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime to strike.  If anything, they help to bring the Avengers back together.  Whoops.

Power Man and Enchantress are defeated, and even though the Avengers defeat them together, Cap seems to want to keep the team broken up when this ish wraps.  More next time.

Quick Hits:
  • Quicksilver catches Cap's shield in mid flight(!)
  • Hawkeye tries to get on the Ed Sullivan show
  • Scarlet Witch allegedly can't use her hex powers when her eyes are closed

Favorite Panel:

May this panel serve as a lesson to all those who ever wondered what it would be like to watch Super Mario transform into Captain America.

Next: Fantastic Four # 44

Monday, July 16, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man # 30

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 30
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: November 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_Vol_1_30


Commentary:

And we move into November of 1965 (feels like it was just yesterday, right kiddies?) with the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man.

So, a common thief steals all of J. Jonah Jameson's valuable documents.  Jameson blunders on this front, because he offers a $1,000 reward to anyone who returns the items to him.  So guess who lines up to cash in on that prize?  



In the romance department, Ned Nederlander (that's his name, right?) proposes to Spidey's squeeze Betty Brant!  Alas, Spidey isn't able to resolve his situation with Betty, as she claims to want a dependable kind of man who isn't always rushing off into trouble.  Our boy Peter Parker doesn't quite fit that mold, even though Betty loves him.

Oh, and Spidey fails to earn the reward money for the capture of the Cat Burglar to boot!  Life is hard, folks.  Life is hard.

Quick Hits:
  • Liz Allen has taken up a job since graduation
  • There's a solid Sophia Loren reference; that's not dated at all

Favorite Panel:

Spidey snaps a few photographs for the Daily Bugle

Next: Avengers # 22

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tales to Astonish # 72

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 72
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Gene Colan and Jack Kirby
Publication Date: October 1965
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_Vol_1_72


Commentary:

Well, from the way the issue kicks off, it seems that Namor was in a bit of a mess when I left him last.  Of course, he's in the midst of combat with the Seaweed Man, so maybe that explains why I wasn't in quite so much of a rush to get back to him.

At one point Namor decides to continue on with his quest as opposed to rescuing Dorma, the woman he loves (who isn't Sue Storm).  Not sure I love the call there, but how it all plays out will have to wait until next issue.

In Hulk world, Bruce is wanted by the government, he's captured by the Leader, and he can't change back into human form because he'll die from the bullet lodged in his brain.  Times are tough.

Stan has really committed to telling ongoing stories, especially in the two tale per issue books like Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish.

Quick Hits:
  • The "Adam Austin" said to have drawn the Namor story is actually Gene Colan working under a pseudonym
  • Apparently you can't call a cage made of plastic a plastic cage; it's a plasti-cage!
  • Mickey Demeo provides the finishes to Jack Kirby's layouts for the Hulk story

Favorite Panel:

Even a Hulk needs his rest

Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 30

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tales of Suspense # 70

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 70
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck and Jack Kirby
Publication Date: October 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_Vol_1_70

Commentary:


Well, you know how Titanium Man rolls.  It's all "for the glory of communism" this and "red scare" that.  Iron Man fights him for the majority of the story, and the only thing really notable that occurs is that Happy Hogan seemingly kicks the bucket.  We'll see about that next time.

Stan decides to use some of the art from the prior issue, and then tells the reader that he's doing it in the captions.  That's some pair of stones on the man.  Hey, we're re-using this art, get over it.

In Cap's WWII era tale, he fights on in his quest to rescue his sidekick Bucky.  That goes rather poorly, as he finds himself tied up next to his partner.  Cap will go on to have more glorious rescue efforts, I'm sure.  File this one in the try again next time column.  The story continues next ish..
Favorite Panel:

It's important to get those calisthenics in, even while fighting Nazis.

Next: Tales to Astonish # 72

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Strange Tales # 137

Issue: Strange Tales # 137
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby and John Severin
Publication Date: October 1965

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_Vol_1_137


Commentary:


Well, the fight against Hydra continues for Mr. Nick Fury, and you know what that means: New clothing!  Yes, despite Fury's protests that he doesn't want to end up like a Christian Dior model, he's got a new suit, new tie, hell, even a new hat.  The difference between his duds and yours are that his are designed to aid him in the never-ending fight against Hydra.

Meanwhile, the head of Hydra has a daughter who's just not down with world domination.  Disappointing, to say the least.  I mean, if your pops is gonna offer you the world, you mine as well take it, am I right?

On the Strange side of life, the good Doctor attempts to learn the secret of eternity by pulling it from the brain of the Ancient One himself.  It's Dr. Strange, so the whole thing is a rousing success, and next issue, he is due for a date with Eternity!

Quick Hits:

  • In case you were worried, Hydra has a navy!  The Hydra Undersea Assault Force (H.U.A.F.)
  • A number of other former Howling Commandos are now in the employ of SHIELD, including Dum Dum Dugan and Gabriel Jones
  • Strange swears by the Omnipotent Oshtur, which means we'll surely see her sometime down the road
  • Same likely goes for a reference to Munnopor and Raggaporr

Favorite Panel:

Fury's audition for a role in the latest Bond movie is met with mixed results.

Next: Tales of Suspense # 70

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sgt. Fury Annual # 1

Issue: Sgt. Fury Annual # 1
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: October 1965

Brief Summary:


Sgt. Fury Annual # 1


Commentary:

Alright, 72 big pages of WWII Nick Fury action, woohoo!  Wait a second, this takes place during the Korean War?!?  Damn.  So it looks like our team reestablished itself when the terrible scourge of communism reared it's ugly head.  Well, fair enough.  



Turns out no matter where you set down the Howling Commandoes, they get the job done in more or less the same fashion.  However, establishing them all as living and well during the Korean War kind of takes out any of the suspense of someone else getting killed on the team in the Howling Commandos regular series.

This story provides a little background on how Fury began his rise from Sergeant to Colonel within the ranks of the CIA, as it appears that Happy Sam Sawyer is poised to retire.

Quick Hits:
  • The annual includes several fun extras, such as a pinup of the case, a display of the Howlers' base in Britain, and even combat arm and hand signals
  • The issue includes reprints of tales discussed here and here

Favorite Panel:

Happy Sam Sawyer appears forlorn as the younger men rush off into battle.

Next: Strange Tales # 137

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sgt. Fury # 23

Issue: Sgt. Fury # 23
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: October 1965

Brief Summary:


Sgt. Fury # 23


Commentary:

And this issue of Sgt. Fury features derogatory slang for Japanese people.  There's some stereotyping as well, so, yikes, Stan.  Yikes.  It also features the appearance of a Mother Theresa-like figure in "Sister Theresa."  High times in the South Pacific.

The tale is somewhat elevated in it's finale when Percy Pinkerton reveals his origin!  Hint: He's British.  Apparently his brother, who we meet, was also much more successful than him in military academy.  It's nice to see Stan flesh out the back story of one of the other commandos.  Fingers crossed for 24 being an all Dum Dum issue.

Favorite Panel:

Fury seemingly stiff arming bullets

Next: Sgt. Fury Annual # 1

Monday, July 9, 2012

Journey into Mystery Annual # 1

Issue: Journey into Mystery Annual # 1
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: October 1965

Brief Summary:


Journey into Mystery Annual 1


Commentary:

....Aaaaand we're back.  Nothing like a three and a half month hiatus to reignite the fires of reading every Marvel comic book!  Now where were we?  The first appearance of Hercules!?!  At this rate, I'm sure we'll be at Avengers vs. X-Men by the end of the summer.

Big Thor, with best pal Loki in tow, rides recklessly into the homeland of the Storm Giants.  After a quick tussle with them, he somehow falls through a "vast void of heavy nothingness" (sounds like the title of a Pink Floyd album) and lands in Olympus.  And, well, you know who hangs out there.

It's interesting to consider if Stan had chosen to focus on Greek myth ahead of Norse when designing some of his earlier characters.  While Hercules has seen more action of late in the Marvel Universe, he can't touch the popularity of big Thor.  Is the only reason for this the whim that Stan decided to "create" Thor before Herc?



Quick Hits:
  • This annual reprints classic Thor stories found here, here, here, and even here!
  • Herc asks Thor if he knows the meaning of fear, seemingly unaware of this whole thing
  • Zeus also makes an appearance; he's about as pimp as you'd expect


Favorite Panel:

Chill out, Little John

Favorite Quote: "My strength is the equal of my temper!" - Hercules; reminds me of a certain green goliath...



Next: Sgt Fury # 23