Sunday, 29 March 2015

Marvel Monsters: The Living Mummy

Supernatural Thrillers #10 (Marvel Comics)

Len Wein & Tony Isabella (w) Val Mayerick (a)

With the relaxation of the censorship surrounding the "Comics Code Authority", Marvel were able to launch a variety of horror themed comics. Supernatural Thrillers was a short lived series which featured The Living Mummy in issues 5 to 15.

The basic premise of the story as that some 3,000 years ago N'Kantu a warrior chief who resisted the Pharaoh Amen-Set was punished by being buried alive.In the seventies he came back to life for a number of adventures including at least one "team-up" (with The Thing).

Issue 10 sees N'Kantu walking across the desert contemplating his past. After all he muses to himself, he does not have much else to do. Meanwhile a group of "elementals" plot to gain control. But that appears to be for the next issue.

In this story he sees a female soldier being chased by a tank. He "rushes" or stumbles depending on your point of view to her rescue. Using his body as a shield against their bullets  (the crew have run out of shells) he allows her to throw a grenade which blows up the armoured vehicle.

We then discover she is an Israeli soldier fighting an undisclosed Arab country.

She thanks N'Kantu and wishes him peace as she returns to her people.

Meanwhile a sinister enemy heads to the earthly plane for the next issue.

An interesting little series that I didn't read the first time round. Worth trying out where you can find the back issues from 1974/5.


Saturday, 28 March 2015

Marvel Flashback: Sub-Mariner #37

Sub-Mariner #37 (Marvel Comics)

Roy Thomas (w) Ross Andru & Mike Esposito (a)

This is one of the pivotal issues in the Sub-Mariners solo series from the sixties & seventies. Caught between a rock and a hard place. Namor must choose between saving his realm and beating off another attempted invasion of Atlantis by Attuma.

The issue opens with a seemingly happy scene as Namor finally marries the love of his life, the Lady Dorma. Except nothing is as it seems. In her place is a disguised Llyra, former Empress of Lemuria. Upon the discovery of this treachery Namor's famous temper flares and he declares:

"Let my legions stay back-- that Namor may deal with this harridan!"

Of course there's more treachery afoot as Namor discovers a traitor in his court plotting an attack with Attuma, that comes sooner than expected. This delay leads to the inevitable tragedy.

As the cover declares:

Two loves has Namor!! The Land...and The Lady....And one must die.

Long term Marvelites will know the outcome which shapes Namor for years to come.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Marvel Flashback: Invaders #22

Invaders 22

The Invaders #22 (Marvel Comics)

Roy Thomas (w) Jim Mooney (a)

The Invaders was Marvels band of heroes from World War 2 published in the seventies. This series lasted some 41 issues plus an Annual & Giant Size edition or two and saw the revival of old Timely heroes from the forties.

Most readers will be familiar with Captain America who is still around today and of course the Sub-Mariner, the half human, half Atlantean hybrid who still rules under the ocean waves today. The other characters, with the exception of Union Jack were all around way back then and are mostly long forgotten.

This issue highlights the origin of Toro, the side-kick to the original Human Torch, not Johnny Storm of Fantastic Four fame but an android who "caught fire" when exposed to air.

Marvel Mystery Comics #5 (1940)                    Captain America (1941)

An interesting tale told as the various heroes head back to old Blighty with Toro's life hanging in the balance aboard a British warship. Turns out that Toro is a mutant, as is the Sub-Mariner. And I bet you thought mutants began with the X-Men.

The title was mildly interesting but always had it's limitations.

This issue is pretty representative of what to expect and worth reading

All Winners Comics #4 (1941)

Monday, 23 March 2015

Red One

Red One #1 (Image Comics)

Xavier Dorison (w) Terry & Rachel Dodson (a)

The Red One was created by Comrade Stalin at The Twelfth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to honour the female comrades who fell fighting capitalists during the revolution.

That's the gist of what lies behind this slightly tongue in cheek tale from the now long forgotten days of the "Cold War".

Take one American Porn Star, being murdered by what turns out to be the USA's first "super-villain" , the "Carpenter" inspired by politician who makes Mary Whitehouse seem almost Liberal by comparison and what do you get?

The KGB to the rescue?

They send for the more than sexually liberated agent Vera Yelinikov.

What do they want her to be? An All American Superhero of course.

Their rationale to undermine the growing capitalist threat (in the form of  killjoy Jacky Core (and I quote):

"To fight propaganda...create different propaganda. We are going to create a different superhero in the states. A rival to the carpenter. Our superhero will have to move there under an assumed name. The win the hearts and minds of the Americans.

And when that is done and not before they will eliminate the "Carpenter". This superhero has been chosen by comrade's you."

And off goes (a very unhappy) super spy. Our Vera.

Even the flight doesn't go without erm..incident. Vera joins the "mile high club" (as any secret agent seems to do) and arrives in the USA to begin her mission.

Great fun, not always "politically correct", but well worth a read!

Can't wait for the second issue......

Sunday, 22 March 2015

I am Groot!

Tales to Astonish Vol 1 13

Tales to Astonish (Atlas/Marvel)

Various (w) & (a)

The film Guardians of The Galaxy has made a once minor horror feature a household name. Originally appearing in an old horror anthology published in November 1960 as a one off feature, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby's creation has caught the public imagination.

Obtaining a copy of this issue would be difficult an some what pricey, but there is an alternative. The whole story was reprinted in Where Monsters Dwell #6 in 1970. I managed to pick up a low grade copy for a mere three quid.

Where Monsters Dwell Vol 1 6

As you can see Groot is somewhat more articulate in this story and tells the frightened crowd of his mission:

"Earthlings .. Hear Me. I am Groot. Monarch of Planet X. I come to take an Earth village back to my planet! We want to study you, to Experiment on you".

Charming alien that Groot is.

Of course the military try to stop him and fail.

But wait in a "War of the Worlds" twist he is defeated.

And how?

Termites! Heh.

But like all comic book characters this is never "the end"......

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Marvel Flashback: Marvel Two-In-One #20

Marvel Two-In-One Vol 1 20

Marvel Two-In-One #20 (Marvel Comics)

Roy Thomas (w) Sal Buscema (a)

One of two "team up" titles published by Marvel Comics in the seventies and eighties was Marvel Two-In-One which featured Ben Grimm aka The Thing of Fantastic Four fame. This issue features the Liberty Legion, a minor group of old heroes that hailed from the 1940's.

Going back in time to recover a vibranium cylinder that in the wrong hands could lead to the Nazi's winning the Second World War, the action continues.

The opening sequence has one of the most bizarre of super-villain creations, a rocket powered, rotating flying swastika shaped craft flown by Brain Drain, literally a disembodied brain with eyes. You couldn't make it up.

Oh yeah they did.

This is fiction and add Meranno, a bad guy from Atlantis, Skyshark and Masterman the heroes have a fight on their hands.

Of course the Ratzi's lose as you would expect.

Fun Fact: The Thing doesn't actually have his own superpowers for this adventure and wears a Thing "exo-skeleton.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Marvel Flashback: Marvel Team Up #35

Marvel Team-Up Vol 1 35

Marvel Team Up #35 (Marvel Comics)

Gerry Conway (w) Sal Buscema/V Colletta (a)

"There within the milky depths of the Orb of Agamotto: the one I seek" says Doctor Strange "Only He can aid me Now".

Que for an illustration of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch from the Fantastic Four.

I picked up this issue of Marvel Team Up for the simple reason it is one of just a handful of issues that does not star Spiderman. Hailing from 1975, this adventure is a continuation from the previous issue where Valkyrie of the Defenders has gone missing, and the Doc needs help to find her.

And boy does she need help.

Facing being sacrificed to the old gods by some one off villain, Jeremiah.

Turns out our villain is not what he seems. Hiding behind a masquerade of a mystically powered servant to some unearthly evil, he is in fact a mutant.

Needless to say he gets his just desserts!

Not one of Marvels finest but a fun distraction.

Image result for Marvel Team Up #35

Spidey was in the preceding issue. Must track down one of these days!