Category Archives: 3 Stars

The X-Men #18, Mar. 1966

xmen018The X-Men #18, Mar. 1966

A fair story by: Stan Lee
Adequate art by: Jay Gavin
Tolerable inking by: Dick Ayers
The world’s greatest lettering by: Artie Simek (Marvel’s birthday boy of the month!)

three-stars

It’s cute that they reversed the credits for Artie Simek because it’s his birthday, instead of ragging on the letterer all the time. I like these little credits things they do, it’s just a little peek into the interoffice politics in Marvel, or at least those which they’re willing to be transparent about.

So last issue, Magneto put all the X-Men except for Iceman into a lead balloon shooting upwards into space. Iceman, if you’ll recall, was still in the hospital. Having full reign over the X-Mansion, Magneto hypnotizes Angel’s visiting parents and constructs a machine that will use their DNA to create an army of mutants at his command (since they had a mutant kid, this apparently means he can do that). Iceman wakes up and stalls Magneto long enough for the rest of the X-Men to get down. They finally beat him when Professor X talks to the Stranger, the stupidly powerful alien being who took Magneto from Earth in the first place, and they both run away together. It’s so sweet.

Magneto has some pretty stupid powers in this issue. He hypnotizes Angel’s parents using “magnetic attraction”, which is just a terrible, terrible thing. He also uses his magnetism as just a sort of all-purpose ray that can seal up an igloo and make people freeze in place and all sorts of other convenient things that aren’t even all that necessary for the plot. It’s kinda dumb that they have to bring back the Stranger again for the cop out ending, especially since the X-Men never really had all that much trouble defeating Magneto on the other dozen occasions they fought him. Still, he makes for an entertaining villain for these guys.

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Amazing Spider-Man #34, Mar. 1966

asm034Amazing Spider-Man #34, Mar. 1966

Scripted and edited by: Stan Lee
Plotted and illustrated by: Steve Ditko
Lettered and relished by: Sam Rosen

three-stars

Hooray, it’s Kraven the Hunter, back again from his exile in Europe! Actually, he already came back and fought Iron Man, briefly. To be honest, it was more of Iron Man punching Kraven once, defeating him for good. It was pretty embarrassing, and I’m sure a guy with such a touchy attitude as Kraven is going to spend the rest of his life hunting down the Avenger!

Kraven returns to wreak vengeance on his arch-foe: Spider-Man! He… forgot about Iron Man, I guess. Must’ve been a pretty solid hit. Anyway, Kraven comes up with a brilliant plan: He dresses up like Spidey and starts pestering J. Jonah Jameson, not necessarily threatening him, just bugging him in public enough where it gives JJ enough ammo to turn him into a public menace in the pages of the Daily Bugle. It’s honestly a pretty good plan.

The real Spider-Man finally decides to do something about it and follows Kraven to an abandoned building, where he’s set up traps to defeat his foe. He also has some sort of jungle gas that nullifies Pete’s spider-sense! Unfortunately, Kraven just isn’t up to the physical test of fighting Spider-Man, and ends up getting his shit kicked. Once captured, he fesses up to the Spidey imitation, because he promised Spider-Man that he would if he was beaten. Now there’s a classy villain.

There’s relatively little Peter Parker drama in this issue, except that he FINALLY realizes that everyone in his college class hates him because he’s been distant recently while worrying about his aunt’s health. It’s nice to have a straightforward super-fight issue after the last couple super dramatic ones, the only thing I regret is that Kraven gets so easily beaten after his clearly well-thought-out plan. I just feel bad for the guy. Oh, and also we learn the reason Spider-Man ended up doing all those cameos on the Electric Company in the 70’s:

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Strange Tales #142, Mar. 1966

st142Strange Tales #142, Mar. 1966

Stan Lee, writer! (our answer to Bond)
Jack Kirby, penciller! (our answer to UNCLE)

Mike  Demeo, inker! (our answer to Brand Echh)
Artie Simek, letterer! (our answer to Rosen)

Extravagantly edited and written by… Stan Lee!
Painstakingly plotted and drawn by… Steve Ditko!
Lovingly lettered and bordered by… Artie Simek!

three-stars

It’s a little tough trying to remember where I was in these comics a year ago, but luckily it’s easy enough to pick up again. Basically, Nick Fury and Dr. Strange are awesome, and everything else will makes sense eventually. Also, there are just a million things going on in every given panel of this issue, and it’s a crazy difference between the 60’s and modern comics. They just have to tell you every single thing that’s going on, and if they can throw some extra shit that doesn’t matter in the background too, well the more the better.

Mentallo, a guy who can read minds and somehow NOT appear on Johnny Carson, seeks out the underwater lair of the Fixer, a guy who can make all sorts of fancy gadgets. They team up to take out SHIELD, going straight after their headquarters from beneath the Earth. Still, SHIELD is so prepared, there are traps for those who try this subterranean method, but with the combined powers of knowing everything and having an invention for every purpose, they break through them easily. Even worse, they knock out Nick Fury and his squad, then put a fancy mask on Fury himself, making him their brainwashed slave!

Meanwhile, Dr. Strange returns home from all his magic mucking about to find that some dick planted a bomb in his house, just a normal everyday non-magical bomb. As he goes to dispose it, he’s captured by some of Baron Mordo’s minions, and not only put into magical stasis, but put into an iron mask with big iron gloves, so he can’t cast any spells or say anything or see or move whatsoever, and also his cape and amulet are taken away from him. This mildly inconveniences Dr. Strange for a few minutes, but he’s pretty easily able to escape the building they were holding him in, albeit he still didn’t get his shit back, and he has iron crap all over him.

For most superheroes, tying him up in such an all-encompassing way would keep them from doing just about anything, but for Dr. Strange this is going to be a two issue problem, max. Being stuck in an awesome metal helmet and some big dumb iron gloves? Well, all the better to PUNCH you with, my dear! His solution is that he can still turn into his ethereal form, so he basically just uses that to guide himself around. But really, how are you supposed to be expected to keep Dr. Strange tied up? That’s a better effort than what I would’ve come up with.

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The Avengers #25, Feb. 1966

The Avengers #25, Feb. 1966

Stan Lee, writer!
Don Heck, penciller!
Dick Ayers, inker!
Sam Rosen, letterer!

Haven’t seen good ol’ Dr. Doom in a while, and hey, this is his first time fighting the Avengers! As always, Doom is a little disappointing when he’s not against the Fantastic Four, but that’s mostly because he’s always the absolute best when he’s against his arch-foe RICHAAAARDS! He never cares about anyone else enough to truly be villainous about it.

Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver get a letter from Latveria telling them that they have a long-lost aunt living there and that they aren’t really orphans after all! The Avengers pack up and head to the small European country, and it isn’t until after they’re arrested there that they realize the country is run by Dr. Doom and this whole thing was an obvious setup.

The team confronts Doom and manages to make him retreat, having underestimated them. They hide out in a cave for a couple minutes, but can’t get out of the country because Doom has encased it in a giant dome. Having nothing else to do, they go back and fight Doom again, this time using the control to open the dome and leaving the villain sneezing with one of Hawkeye’s goofy arrows.

Yep, they beat Dr. Doom, and it wasn’t really all that hard. Mostly because Doom underestimated them and just wanted to destroy them as a way to get a message to the Fantastic Four that he… I dunno, kills superheroes or something. I don’t think he really thought any of this plan through. I do like the big dome he can erect around the country, though, that’s a pretty Dr. Doomish thing to have.


Journey Into Mystery #125, Feb. 1966

Journey Into Mystery #125, Feb. 1966

Bombastically written by Stan Lee
Brilliantly drawn by Jack Kirby
Beautifully inked by Vince Colletta
Bashfully lettered by Artie Simek

None but Marvel’s Stan Lee could tell such a tale!
None but Marvel’s Jack Kirby could draw such a tale!
None but Marvel’s Vince Colletta could ink such a tale!
None but Marvel’s Artie Simek could be such a pussycat!

This is the last issue of Journey Into Mystery! That is, it gets renamed as just Thor starting next issue (keeping the same numbering), but still, that’s an important occasion! For me! Because I really like having to do bookkeeping stuff for this site, it makes me feel all official. Also it’s boring to do the same ten comics from every month in the same order, now that they’re all monthlies and it isn’t going to change for a while.

Thor quickly dispatches the Demon (the crazy witch doctor with a stolen Norn Stone, remember?) and takes the Norn Stone back to Asgard. Last issue Thor revealed his secret identity to Jane Foster, so he’s a little nervous about going back home, knowing his dad isn’t going to be very happy about this. In fact, Odin is right pissed, and orders everyone else in Asgard to kill Thor because of the whole thing. It seems a little harsh, but Thor doesn’t really have much trouble getting through all of them and taking the Bifrost back to Earth. On Earth, he finds that Jane is having a soda with… Hercules?! Oh, now it’s on.

In Tales of Asgard, the weird bee troll swarm that came after their ship is just floating around and not attacking (for some reason). Thor decides not to attack until they do first, but Loki knocks them all out with a poison potion mist anyway. In return, the trolls kidnap Loki and bring him back to their queen, and Thor declares that they have to go after him.

Hercules is pretty much the greatest. He’s as strong as Thor, but he’s much more of a party dude. He comes to Earth and just sleeps for a while until someone comes along and tells him that there’s a town, then he immediately goes to a fancy restaurant where he eats, drinks, hangs out with dames and plays a madrigal on a guitar. What’s not to love, seriously?