Thursday, January 20, 2011

BAB Two-In-One: Mutants and Martial Arts Mayhem and Marvel's Archie Mag

Karen: How about a nice book-length fight between super-heroes? If that's what you're craving, I've got your fix right here. It's Iron Fist #15, from September 1977. This would be the last issue of Iron Fist, as he would soon be joining Power Man -aka Luke Cage -to form one of the most unlikely teams in comics history. But here in the last issue of his own title, our kung-fu hero gets a fun send off from none other than the X-Men!

Karen: It's not a huge surprise that Iron Fist would run into the X-Men; after all, IF's book was written by Chris Claremont and drawn by John Byrne. Dan Green does a nice job on inks, although I still think Byrne looks best with Terry Austin inking him. This issue of Iron Fist actually contributes some significant plot points to the X-Men title.

Karen: As usual with a Claremont book, there are a lot of sub-plots floating around. We open our story with Fist getting ambushed by a bruiser with a fighting style that is similar to his own, which convinces him that his foe is also from K'un-Lun, the Shangri-La-like place where Fist was raised. His enemy actually drains his chi from him, but doesn't kill him. He wants the Iron Fist power that Fist possesses. This story was resolved in Marvel Team-Up some months later. We also get a couple of pages that show Misty Knight, IF's love interest and a detective in her own right, going undercover to bring down a mobster.

Karen: With the sub-plots taken care of, our scene shifts to outside the New York City flat shared by Jean Grey and Misty Knight. Jean, of course, is the X-Man known as the Phoenix. Standing in the shadows outside is Wolverine, in his street clothes. His obsession with Jean Grey is amply demonstrated here, as he pulls out a picture of Jean and Scott (Cyclops), and tears off the part of the picture with Scott on it, declaring that "He ain' fer you lady. I am." I think this was one of the most graphic examples of Logan's lust for Jean. After he does this, he sees someone on the roof of Jean's place and decides to investigate.

Karen: This is where the fun begins. Of course, the 'intruder' is Iron Fist. He's looking for Misty Knight. Why he drops through the skylight rather than using the front door is a good question, but if he did it the normal way, we wouldn't have a story. Once inside, he sees food laid out -it looks like a party is in the works. As Iron Fist takes a taste of the potato salad, an enraged Wolverine bursts through the door -does no one know how to use a door knob? The best thing about this scene is that Wolverine is still wearing that goofy "Fang" costume that he took from one of the Imperial Guard back in X-Men 107. IF and Wolverine go at it, tearing the place apart. IF flips Wolverine away and he accidentally knocks him out the window. But who should be walking on the sidewalk below? Colossus and Nightcrawler!

Karen: Interesting note h
ere: Although Colossus is in civilian attire, Nightcrawler is in his X-Men outfit. He tells Colossus that he's no longer going to use the image inducer which allowed him to look 'normal'. He is going to be who he is. I never did like that image inducer!

Karen: Nightcrawler catches the plummeting Logan. Logan tells Colossus to throw him back up to the apartment, which he does, while Nightcrawler chides Colossus, saying that Wolverine's judgment is so poor, it could be an innocent person up there that the lunatic is attacking! Ah yes, these were the days when Wolverine was a completely unpredictable little psycho!

Karen: Colossus and Nightcrawler join the fray, and despite being outnumbered, IF does a good job holding his own -it is his book, after all. But that's before Storm shows up, and gets that big bowl of potato salad thrown in her face. Then, all hell breaks loose!

Karen: It's just one fight scene after another, but it's very entertaining! In typical M
arvel fashion, at least for this time period, the heroes assume the worst of each other and go on the attack, rather than try to talk things out. Eventually the X-Men corral Fist, and Wolverine gets nuts and pops two of his claws through Fist's mask, before Jean and Scott show up, and Jean uses her vast telekinetic powers to put an end to this nonsense. Wolverine comes off looking like a fool, something we probably wouldn't see again. The party goes off and all is well.

Karen: This was fun to read. Sure, it's pure fluff, but it looks good, and it's got a lot of energy. The fantastic cover is by Dave Cockrum, by the way.

Doug: I am going waaaaaay out of my comfort zone on this one, kiddie-winkies! Even though I previously reviewed My Love #2, the art team of John Buscema and John Romita made that one almost a no-brainer. You all know me as a superhero zombie, with occasional forays into the jungle or Hyborian Age. We'll see if I can stretch myself a bit with this here. Millie the Model #176 was created by Stan Lee and Stan Goldberg, and was on the stands with a cover date of November 1969. You'll notice the Archie flavor to the artwork; Goldberg worked on Archie comics for decades, including the recent storyline where Archie Andrews married Veronica in one of history's longstanding choice-dilemmas. Like many humor mags, this book is comprised of four short (4-6 page) vignettes each based around a gag. I'm going to look at the first two tales.

In "Millie's Secret Love!", the gang is gathered at the Hanover Model Agency for a photo shoot. A note arrives for Millie, and Millie is very secretive about its contents. When pressed by her friend/rival Chili, as well as boyfriend Clicker (huh? -- gotta be some explanation a la Snapper Carr), Millie shrugs it off.
However, she runs from the room and returns moments later, clothes changed. Daisy, Junior, and Marvin all wonder aloud what all the fuss is, but Millie just runs out. Daisy and Marvin convince Clicker to follow. And what does he find? Millie meeting a very good-looking, well-dressed man and heading into the cocktail lounge. Peering through the window, Clicker and the newly-arrived Daisy spy Millie's excitement as she takes something from this stranger. Clicker decides that he'll take the high road and congratulate Millie on her new future. Of course, Clicker's way off base, makes somewhat of a fool of himself, and as you can see, wears a little egg on his face.The second story in the book is "The Shopgirl Whirl". Chili criticizes Millie's choice of clothing to attend a fashion show. Millie's somewhat incredulous, but Chili tells her she looks like a "shopgirl". In an "I'll show you" move, Millie rushes across the street to a clothing store and asks the sales clerk to trade clothes with her. Millie emerges in even more modest clothing, and Chili is disgusted. However, the laughs are on her when Millie takes to the runway and just wows everyone! The last panel is really cute, as I immediately was taken back to The Carol Burnett Show. I smiled.

As you may or may not know, Millie the Model has made forays into the Marvel Universe, both in the Silver Age as well as in current lore. While I've not seen anything recent, I thought it was fun that the link was established (for those who cared), and especially thought it was a nice touch when Steve Englehart brought fellow humor mag girl Patsy Walker into the Avengers during the "Serpent Crown Affair" storyline we recently reviewed.


Fred W. Hill said...

I caught those last several issues of Iron Fist, including #15. Interesting that Claremont & Byrne put enough little X-Men continuity bits in it that although it's not an actual cross-over, it really should be included in X-Men collections -- after all, as you noted, Karen, this is where Kurt explained why he would no longer use his image-changer, not to mention it built on Logan's lust for Jean and disdain for Scott. Just for comparison, when Nightcrawler popped up in the Amazing Spider-Man during this same era, I don't think any X-Fans who skipped that would have missed any significance revelations regarding Kurt (not surprising, since Claremont didn't write that story!).
As for Millie, I seem to recall she & Patsy both made brief appearances in FF Annual 3, the big wedding issue. Can't say I ever bought any romance comics, but looks like Millie had a pretty good run.

Anonymous said...

I was just admiring that Dave Cockrum cover on Iron Fist 15. Recently, I've been revisiting Cockrum's too-short LSH run from the early 70's. Between that and his first X-Men run, that's as outstanding a body of work as anyone in the 70's to me.


Richard Williams said...

John Byrne did so much good work for Marvel but it all tends to be forgotten or ignored due to his X-Men run with Terry Austin. His Iron Fist work is my favourite next to his long run on the FF though sadly I do not own issue 15 and have not read it in its entirity - thank heavens then for Bronze Age Babies!

Related Posts with Thumbnails