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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Thor #126, Mar. 1966

thor126Thor #126, Mar. 1966

Stan Lee, the literary lion!
Jack Kirby, the pencilling pussycat!
V. Colletta, the delineating dragon!
Artie Simek, the lettering looks it!

Script: Stan Lee
Art: Jack Kirby
Inking: V. Colletta
Lettering: Artie Simek

two-stars

Wow, it’s been a long-ass time since I wrote on this site, over a year in fact! Let’s see if I remember just what it was I was supposed to be doing… Well, this is the first issue of Thor, since they renamed Journey Into Mystery with this issue. Why? Because when was the last time you ever saw Thor solving a mystery? The dude isn’t exactly Sherlock Holmes. Also, they’d been calling it Thor for a while, and it’s been almost three years since there was any non-Thor stuff in the mag.

The feature story is almost entirely the fight between Hercules and Thor, supposedly over the affections of Jane Foster, but really it’s just because Hercules really likes fighting and Thor doesn’t like that Hercules really likes fighting, but refuses to give up. As punishment for escaping Asgard last issue (after Odin ordered that everybody kill Thor), Odin zaps Thor so he’s at half strength again. Of course this happens at the end of the fight, and Herc finally gets an edge over the thunder god. Defeated, Thor gets all depressed and whiny, and despite the fact that Jane doesn’t care if he lost or not, he declares that he’s no longer worthy of her love because he’s a prideful guy and wanders off into the sunset. Meanwhile, Hercules gets a deal as a Hollywood actor with all the babes and legs of mutton he can eat! Gotta love Hercules.

In Tales of Asgard, Thor goes to rescue Loki from the queen of the flying trolls, and she agrees to let him go if Thor agrees to be her king… FOREVER!! Could be worse, I guess, but Odin intervenes and the two brothers fly back to the Odinship in time to watch Volstagg fall down and claim to be amazing. Also, Odin appears and tells everybody to come back home because the feature just isn’t doing that good and maybe they should all just wrap it up.

I actually don’t know if this is getting to the end of Tales of Asgard, but I sure hope it is. By god has that thing overstayed its welcome. Basically it just feels like an extra ten pages that are being robbed from the feature story, which is 100% of the time much, much better. And on another note, will this be the only comic book I read and review in 2014? COULD BE!! I HOPE NOT THOUGH!!!

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Tales to Astonish #77, Mar. 1966

tta077Tales to Astonish #77, Mar. 1966

Stan Lee, writer
Gene Colan, penciller
Vince Colletta, inker
Sam Rosen, letterer

Script by: Stan Lee!
Layouts by: Jack Kirby!
Pencilling & Inking by: Johnny Romita!
Lettering by: Sam Rosen!

two-stars

Namor gets a special guest star in this issue, Hank Pym, the asshole scientist also known as Ant Man! Or… Giant Man. Whatever you call him, he’s still the single thing I hate more than anything else in the world and my bile just rises knowing that he’s still around. After his “retirement” almost a year ago, there’s been a wonderful reprieve from the inept adventures of Hank Pym, but he just had to come back, didn’t he? DIDN’T HE?!

Now that the Sub-Mariner’s got Atlantis all situated and back in his capable hands, he decides to leave immediately and go back to fighting the surface worlders over random things that he decides are offensive to him. He starts with a giant underwater drill that caused an earthquake in Atlantis which is being driven by Hank Pym. He breaks the thing and easily gets past the platoon of guards around it and threatens to beat up Pym unless he tells him what’s going on.

Meanwhile, in the distant future, the Hulk is fighting the Executioner over… well, I don’t think there’s really a reason for it except that the Hulk is just really into fighting. He saves a town from being blown up by the evil Asgardian, then disappears before the ungrateful villagers can attack the Hulk for saving them. In ordinary times, the pressure is getting to Rick Jones and he finally spills the beans about the Hulk and Bruce Banner being the same guy. After all, they’re both dead, aren’t they?

And with that the Hulk’s pointless adventure into the future comes to an equally pointless end. Still, at least one interesting thing happened: Major Talbot now knows of the Hulk’s true identity, and he used to be one of his biggest enemies as far as calling Banner a dirty commie spy goes.

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The Fantastic Four #48, Mar. 1966

ff048The Fantastic Four #48, Mar. 1966

Stan Lee, writer without peer!
Jack Kirby, penciller of the year!
Joe Sinnott, inker most sincere!
Artie Simek, how’d HE get in here!

two-stars

It’s been almost four months since I last read a comic book? Yeah, that sounds about right. At least I have a classic issue to come back to, The Coming of Galactus! It finally wraps up the deal with the Inhumans for now and moves on to one of the best known stories of the Fantastic Four ever. They even mangled this thing horribly for that terrible movie they made… or are we still pretending those never happened?

Maximus’ Atmo Gun creates world-wide earthquakes, which he believes will destroy the pitiful and less powerful humans, allowing the Inhumans to take over the world (under his control, of course). Turns out the earthquakes don’t do shit and that everyone still hates him, so Maximus sets the gun to reverse which constructs a Negative Zone around the secret Inhumans base and the Fantastic Four barely escape before it solidifies. Johnny’s sad because his girlfriend Crystal is stuck in the city and he’s stuck outside, but he doesn’t have very much time to pout.

On the way back home, the sky is suddenly covered in flames, and then by a thick layer of rocks. Nobody knows what’s going on until that “impartial” asshole Uatu the Watcher shows up and says that he’s responsible for the shields, which he’s trying to use to keep the Silver Surfer from noticing Earth. It does the opposite, and the Herald of Galactus lands on Earth, finds that it’s quite nice, and sends for his boss, a giant in a hilarious hat who eats planets.

So… Uatu’s original plan is to cover the planet in a WREATH OF FIRE to keep the Silver Surfer from noticing it. Not even mentioning how completely he’s thrown away his veneer of neutrality by this point, that’s maybe the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. If I was a crazy space guy and I saw a ton of fire IN SPACE, I’d probably go to check it out. That shit doesn’t normally hang out in a vacuum. Also, I love Galactus’ big “G” pendant he has in this first drawing. It’s a shame he loses it.

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