Monday, May 13, 2013

We Could Be Heroes: Marvel Two-In-One 5

Marvel Two-In-One #5 (September 1974)
"Seven Against the Empire!"
Steve Gerber-Sal Buscema/Mike Esposito

Doug:  I wonder what readers who had purchased Marvel Super-Heroes #18 thought about the cover and corner box of this issue?  If you just got back from making that leap, you saw that the original Guardians as conceived by Gene Colan look nothing like the dudes backing up Ben and Cap here.  Does anyone know who did the re-design on the costumes?  Was it Sal, or the Jazzy One?  And as long as I have your art ear, let me toss a huge kudo in the direction of Mike Esposito.  Espo's inks really complement Sal's pencils in a way that Frank Giacoia's just didn't last issue.  I commented then that Ben's face was sometimes off to me -- no problems in that regard here.  The Thing is one of the toughest characters to get "right", from shading the rocks to the huge unibrow to movements of his mouth.  Today's team does a bang-up job.  OK -- let's commence kicking some "baboon" tail!

Karen: I found a comment on the letters page of MTIO #6 that states that Dave Cockrum was responsible for redesigning Vance Astro and Yondu, although no mention was made of Charlie 27; one might assume he redid him as well. Also, the Guardians' spaceship was a Cockrum creation -- it might be more obvious once we show it. I have to say, I greatly prefer the "new" look over the original. I also agree with you about Mike Esposito - he complements Sal much better in this issue than Giacoia did in the previous one.

Doug:  At the end of our first chapter, the heroes had journeyed to the year 3014 to assist the Earthlings in freeing themselves from the fascist Badoon.  Doctor Doom's time machine, under the calibration of Mr. Fantastic, had sent Ben, Captain America, and Sharon Carter into the future to fight alongside the woman known as Tarin.  Now in the throne room, restrained by the automatonic Zoms, the interrogation begins.  Cap is subjected to a memory probe, which looks an awful lot like the hair dryer my mom used to sit under at the beauty shop on Saturday mornings.  And come to think of it, she used to tell sweeping stories in those days, just like Cap here!  Hmmm...  Anyway, Gerber uses this as a plot vehicle to get any jumpers-on up to speed on what has gone before.  And in the days of spotty distribution, it's probably a good idea as opposed to a waste of space.  The Grand Poobah is most upset to find that these intruders are not only Earthlings, but heroes to boot.  And one -- a symbol of liberty!  Not so good when you're a totalitarian reptile.

Karen: Your reference to the beauty salon hair dryer is an apt one, but I couldn't help but think of the interrogation scene in Logan's Run - which didn't come out til 1976! Regardless, it's an effective method for recapping the story so far. And when I first read this story, I was glad for its inclusion, as I didn't have the prior issue! 'Spotty distribution' indeed!

Doug:  As the goon squad discusses the dire straits knocking at their door, Ben awakens in full clobbering mode.  He despatches the big green robot instantly and Cap shakes off his own cobwebs in time to lend a hand.  The Badoon are caught totally off-guard, but the leader is able to get enough wits about him to give the "Kill them!" order.  As the Zoms charge in with guns, Ben takes out four of them with one mighty punch.  We next see two pages of all-out action, as Zoms and Badoon converge on our fleeing heroes.  Ben grabs a car (that doesn't look futuristic at all -- 1000 years in the future and still rubber tires?  What happened to George Jetson's ride that folds up into a briefcase?) and hurls it into a crowd while Agent 13 grabs a blaster and shows that she's not just a pretty face.  Cap does his usual Cap-like stuff, and we land out of this scene and into the HQ of the underground.  Tarin has come for their aid.  The leader, Zakkor, is skeptical of her story of a very-much alive Captain America.  But as they argue, another member of the resistance bursts in and corroborates the story.  Zakkor is apologetic to Tarin, and then gives the order to summon back to Earth -- the Guardians of the Galaxy!

Karen: Ben really looks great here - massive, rocky, and powerful. Was he always so impulsive? I guess so. You're right about the car though; it seemed rather mundane, but then, that goes hand in hand with our impressions of the supposedly futuristic cityscape from last issue. Perhaps depictions of such things were not Sal's strength.

Doug:  You know how the first time you saw something "known" as it existed in a prior form and it was just weird/off/strange?  Like if you started watching the Brady Bunch in prime time (like me) and then later saw the episodes from when the kids were much younger?  Or in another example, if Elton John's "Pinball Wizard" was the first version you loved?  Well that's what it was like for me the first time I ever saw an image from Colan's Guardians story.  What a difference!  And as we said at the top, this version was very much "new and improved".  The creative team does a nice job, in only seven panels, of introducing us to each of the four team members and helping us to know their personalities.  We've said it a million times that today's creators could get a lesson from Silver and Bronze Age writers and artists.  Vance Astro gives Martinex the order to turn the very Enterprise-like Captain America around and head back to Earth.

Karen: Super-heroes in space! What's not to like? Yes, the ship looked suspiciously like the Enterprise, but if you're going to steal, steal from the best. I really like the colorful uniforms, and here's another little bit that almost certainly seems borrowed from Trek -the little star insignia on Vance, Charlie, and Yondu's outfits. I liked how Gerber had Vance recognize Cap by his "fighting stance" - he really must have been a huge Cap fan as a kid back in the 20th century!

Doug:  The only thing better than super-heroes in space would have to be "Pigs in Space".

Doug:  On Earth, it just goes from bad to worse for our lead characters, as the Badoon rally and pursue.  As one of the slithery guys beats it toward the panic button, he gets an arrow right in the back.  And Steve Gerber makes sure we know -- that guy is dead.  The topic of heroes killing villains came up in our recent X-Men reviews, and given that this story is about five years ahead of that one, I felt this was even more surprising that this is so definitive in a Code-approved, for-sale-in-a-supermarket comic book.  As this issue's guest-stars finally burst onto the scene, it's a free-for-all.  We again get some background/characterization for each of the Guardians, specifically in regard to their powers.  For those keeping score, it would be another 11 months before the team would grace both Giant-Size Defenders #5 and Defenders #26 in August 1975.  I have the team's full run in Marvel Presents but have not read it yet.  I think an interesting side conversation today would be a comparison of which team was more successful in the Bronze Age -- the Guardians or the Inhumans?

Karen: One thing I was wondering, and I don't recall reading in any magazine or on-line anywhere, is what prompted a revival of the Guardians? Was it Gerber's idea, or was it something that Roy Thomas came up with? Roy was the Marvel king of recycling old characters, particularly ones that hadn't done well. Perhaps one of these recent collections of the early Guardians stories might comment on that? In any case, we do get to see each team member in action and it's pretty clear what they can do. I did read their run in Marvel Presents -I might have missed an issue or two at the time - and I enjoyed them more than the Inhumans, probably due to the space and future aspects.

Doug:  After the two groups finally put down the Badoon, there is time for introductions.  Vance Astro is very excited to meet his boyhood idol, Captain America.  Say what?  Astro then narrates his own origin story, and how a 20th Century boy (cue the T-Rex song) came to be a hero a millennium later.  And I must say, there are a lot of words on the page!  Talk about text-heavy.  But it's fine -- seriously, you got some bang for your quarter, unlike the lack of bang for your four bucks nowadays.  As Vance finishes, Cap says it's time to alert the underground fighters.  Before he can finish his thought, the renegade army is standing just to their side.  Vance marvels at how Cap and the Thing, in seven hours, have given these people the courage to break seven years of Badoon bondage.  Cap begins to formulate a plan -- and you know Ben's hearing none of it.  After all, It's Clobberin' Time!

Karen: Boy, this segment sure took me back. Vance was born in 1962. He left Earth in a rocket going a million miles an hour in 1988. Now in 1974, when I read this, I guess that seemed possible -just barely. But here it is 2013, and the U.S. doesn't even have any heavy lift rockets to get up to the International Space Station -we have to rely on the Russians! Where's the bright sparkly future we were promised? OK, I'm done grumbling.  It took one thousand years for Vance's rocket to reach  Centauri-IV, but when he got there, Earthmen were waiting for him. Seems some genius invented faster than light travel while he was in hyper-sleep. That sure seems like a straight-up 70s downer. Although I suppose that's from the original story in Marvel Super-Heroes #18. Did it seem to do a disservice to the Guardians that it was Cap and Ben's efforts that rallied the people and not theirs? They just show up and take out a few zoms and badoon and suddenly the humans are ready to fight. I suppose they provided the kind of motivation that the "local boys" couldn't. And of course, the clobbering.

Doug:  And clobber they do.  Ben and Charlie-27 team-up against the now-repaired big ugly robot while the rest of the team does their thing in a nice splash page of the brouhaha.  It's over soon enough, with the Lordsire captured.  He spouts some typical bravado, claiming that the heroes have only taken back the New York area -- the Badoon are still in control of the entire planet, solar system, and galaxy.  Ben says he just doesn't get it, and Cap soliloquizes about free men yearning for liberty and the inherent power in that.  And just as quickly as this adventure began, it ends.  The time machine returns, and our 20th Century heroes fade to black.

Karen: It's a pretty quick wrap-up, but really, what more needs to be shown? The Guardians and the rest of humanity have a tough fight ahead of them, but we know they'll win -'cause Cap said so! This is a well-worn issue from my collection, one I read many times over, and I still enjoy it today. I've always liked the Guardians, and wish we'd gotten more of them in the Bronze Age.

Doug:  I enjoyed this issue better than the first installment, but I have to question the pacing (I guess that's what I'll question -- maybe it's the spacing) of each issue.  As we said last week, in MTIO #4 we spent what seemed to be half of the book in the park, with the Wundarr/zoo part of the story -- which served as the vehicle to get Cap and Ben teamed up.  Then in the concluding chapter, the featured heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy, were only really in the story for the last eight pages or so.  In other words, we got "set-up" again for better than half of the book.  All sewn together it's not a bad use of 40 pages, but each of the two issues just felt a bit odd.  I'll also say that Gerber did a better job with Ben's "voice" in this issue than we had both remarked last issue.  And I'll finish where I began, with the art.  Sal Buscema may be a journeyman or everyman artist -- rarely do we hear him spoken of with the star power of an Adams, Steranko, or his big brother John.  But find me anyone who worked between 1970 and 1980 who was more steady, more reliable, and got the job done right every time.  Tough to beat Sal Buscema, kids.


david_b said...

This issue was more a mixed bag for me than ish 4 to be honest, which I summize might be due to a few reasons here. One, while I had ish 4 back when it came out, I hadn't gotten this issue until just a few yrs ago (thanks AGAIN to that terrible distribution quagmire..), so yes as Doug mentioned last week, reading this issue with '40-something' eyes is perhaps harsher than it would have been back in the day.

Second, I liked it as a 2nd parter for resolving the story, but it leaves me with a stong sense of disappointment. Obviously it was devised as a pitch for a new Guardians title and that took a lot of fun out of it. For what I had hoped was more panel time for Cap and Ben Grimm, fighting side-by-side, it was pretty much a 'Guardian-fest' here. Obviously I know who's featured on this issue's masthead, but was still hoping for a climax which didn't seem to occur, or was perhaps 'underwhelming'. As ish 4 spent a good chunk with Wundaar, this ish spent the same amount of space getting readers re-acquainted with the Guardians team.

But at this point, they just didn't seem very exciting to me at the time (seen in other later mags like Avengers); not having their first Silver appearance in my meager collection, they just seemed like yet another Bronze team like Champions, Invaders, even Inhumans, at a time when the teams I did like (especially post-Buscema FF) weren't being all that interesting either. So except for the fun bit about Cap wanting to formulate a plan and Ben sayin' 'screw it', nothing else in this ish really resonated with me. Being introduced to/pitched yet ANOTHER team wasn't what I was interested in. All in all, a competent story.

One side note, I don't think Sal quite get's Ben's face straight-on as well as Buscema or Kirby, but I'm thinkin' it's down to inkers at this point, Mr. Sinnott would have been a plus.

Doc Savage said...

Never like the G of the G, so this one does nothing for me. Rather just see Cap & Thing team up.

Edo Bosnar said...

Another nice review. And I liked this issue better than the preceding one, for what it's worth.

Doug, if your question about which team (Guardians or Inhumans) was more successful refers to which had better stories, my vote goes to the Guardians. (Also for what it's worth, I read both the Inhumans and Guardians - in Defenders and Marvel Presents - all the way through after the fact, i.e., when acquired as lump purchases later and not both month-to-month off of the spinner racks.)
Although the Inhumans had some really good talent working on it - a young Doug Moench writing most of the stories I think, and a young Perez and Pollard as well as Gil Kane doing the art - it was never more than an average series to me, not bad, but not great either. On the other hand, the Guardians stories were great fun, Gerber really ran with it. And it was probably some of the best art I've ever seen Milgrom do - although he was helped along by some good inkers, like Terry Austin.
Also, the Guardians were put to better general use, as they figured prominently in the Korvac saga as well.

Doug said...

Edo --

Your comments sum up my feelings toward the Inhumans and Guardians in the Bronze Age. I've only read a smattering of the Marvel Presents stories, but I feel that the Inhumans sort of meandered along, wanting to be a part of some giant Kree storyline but never quite pulling it off.

I totally concur with your assessment of Milgrom's art. It's difficult to believe that it's really him when cracking open those Guardians stories.


Doc Savage said...

I feel compelled to say I have always liked Al Milgrom's
journeyman art. I usually like Don Heck, too!

Doug said...

Every group needs a dissenting opinion, I guess. You may be the ultimate devil's advocate, Matt!


Karen said...

Although I really disliked Milgrom's art on Avengers, his Guardians work and his work on Captain Marvel (after Starlin left) was not bad.I'm beginning to wonder if the pairing of Milgrom and Sinnott was just a fatal mix.

Edo Bosnar said...

Matt's comment actually reminded of the one thing I don't agree with in your review: I consider Milgrom a solid journeyman artist, but I think Sal is a cut well above that level - as I've said many times before.

Karen, you're right about Milgrom on Avengers, unfortunately. I always thought it was too bad that the initial part of Stern's on the title was bogged down by pretty middling art.

William said...

I guess I've always been a down-to-earth, meat and potatoes kind of guy when it comes to my superhero comics. I love Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America, Wolverine, The Thing (and the rest of the FF), The Avengers, and so on, but I've never taken a shine to the space faring, futuristic, or otherworldly type of characters, like the Guardians of the Galaxy, or the Inhumans, or Dr. Strange, or the Legion of SHs, etc. I like them OK in small doses, such as being guest stars in other character's mags, or as members of larger team, but I've never really followed their solo books.

So, this issue is kind of a mixed bag for me. I like the Thing and Cap, but could take or leave the GotG.

Simayl said...

Dave Cockrum did the designs for the costumes (GCD)

Doug said...

Edo --

In defense of the post, I did say "may be a journeyman or everyman artist" -- not necessarily that I feel that way, but as a point for comparison to some of the "sexier" names who drew during the Bronze Age. My position is that he was truly one of the stalwarts, and as you say, definitely a cut above many, many pencilers (and inkers, too -- let's not forget that).

Simayl, yes -- Karen referenced documentation from MTIO #6 as to Cockrum's role in the re-design of the Guardians.


david_b said...

William, WELL SAID. I believe Matt, you and I are in agreement on this..(perhaps quorum..?). I started dabbling into early Doc Strange for a splash of ultra-trippy psychedelic Ditko (and later Colan) weirdness, but in my collecting habits (and now..), I'm typically of the same ilk. Thanks to your comments, I too am now on the record as not being a fan of the Guardians.

Agreed with Edo and Karen on Milgrom's Avengers (and worse yet, WCA). It did neither book any favors, and IMHO making most Avengers books between 200-250 (and early WCA) a chore to read. Again, just my humble opinion..

Doug said...

I am curious, and we'll just open this up as a tangential conversation today:

Some of our readers (no one in particular -- casting a wide net here) have said they enjoyed Star Trek, Space: 1999, Lost in Space, et al., but have voiced some varying degrees of displeasure with space-faring or "cosmic" comic books.

So, I would like to know what the difference is?


Garett said...

I've seen a number of Star Trek comic stories over the years, but none of them draw me in. Maybe it's the stiffness in the art, having to represent portraits of the actors involved? My favorite was Mort Drucker's in Mad magazine...he could catch the likenesses and still make them animated, lively. He drew great stories of Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Lost in Space, 2001...I don't think he did Logan's Run, but I'd love to see it!

Karen's comment about space travel...I do think it's a shame that space exploration has stagnated. I wasn't around for the moon landing--well I did see it, but I was 1-- but there was still the excitement surrounding space travel through the '70s, like the announcement of the space shuttle, and the Viking spaceships. I get more excited now by discoveries about space itself, like dark matter or subatomic particle experiments.

Redartz said...

Garett- I too regret the decline of our space program. The enthusiasm I felt for space was fostered early, when the kindergarten teacher wheeled in a television so we could watch the Gemini launch. NASA and space exploration was high priority then. As I grew into comics I was attracted to these themes in books like Fantastic Four , and later, the Gaurdians.

Oh, and count me a Milgrom defender ; enjoyed his work in Marvel Presents. He also did some nice inks over Ed Hannigan in Spectacular Spiderman. Perhaps Edo nailed it with his comment on the effect of the inker...

Doc Savage said...

I never really liked Trek episodes where they meet gods or godlike beings such a Trelane, Apollo, Q, and so on. The solutions tend to be deus ex machina or the god's whims rather than anything to do with our protagonists. I prefer explorations and conflicts with other spacefaring races and moral quandaries re: primitives.

So Galactus, Thanos, Eternity, and so on don't do anything for me for the same reasons.

Doc Savage said...

I have the Ditko Dr. Strange via Masterworks but most after that lack the weirdness Ditko was able to impart, plus it seemed to me his level of power jumped. Mainly his abilities are so nebulous I fins there's no real suspense as his writers just pull rabbits out of hats as needed, and a lot of his adventures have no real effect on the "real world." Small doses are plenty for me.

G of the G: I always thought they were ugly and never saw the need for them when we already have Silver Surfer, Thor, and so on who could handle these sorts of menaces to the cosmos.

Doc Savage said...

my perspective is somewhat shaped by having worked in publishing with hard and fast deadlines where I would rather have someone consistently good and reliable than someone brilliant but unreliable, for instance Sal Buscema vs. Neal Adams. Sal never missed a deadline and gets overlooked, Neal never met a project he couldn't get late on.

david_b said...

Agreed with Matt on most points. Doug you ask too open a question..:

1) Are you referring to cosmic tales in comics..? or
2) Garett's comment on how well visual scifi medium (Trek, SW) is done in comics..?

I assumed the former.

To answer the latter, I never liked comic renditions of sci-fi shows much. I'm too tied to the either on-screen stuff (canon perhaps..?) or perhaps the written adaptations (Blish, etc..); I never gave comic renditions of my fav stars any interest.

As for cosmic tales in general, I warm up to much more, now reading/enjoying the Thanos vs Avengers book, and liking the Silver space tales (and Negative Zone) of the FF.

Matt, agreed on Strange. I prefer the original Ditko for his surreal, and frankly stark renditions, more so than Colan's more lush stylings with monsters. Both are cool, but Ditko wins out as being slightly more edgy and cerebral.

I too mourn for our space program. Thanks to Kennedy's proclamation, we sought to beat the Russians and we did. THAT'S what got us to the moon, not pussy-footing around for 'scientific achievement' in and of itself. It was a national endeavor, in the proudest way. Don't get me started as to today's national interests/values. I do not envision any manned space exploration any more in my lifetime. We do not have the national will nor anything to push us forward in that direction. If ever conceived, it would be on the international scale, and even then I don't see a flight to Mars happening anytime soon, at least until the technology is better matched with the human concept of a complete flight there (AND back) within the span of a year or two..

Like Redartz, our classes were brought in to watch launches and splashdowns and they were fantastic. Yes, I also remember watching the 1st moon walk.

Doug said...

David --

I said: Some of our readers (no one in particular -- casting a wide net here) have said they enjoyed Star Trek, Space: 1999, Lost in Space, et al., but have voiced some varying degrees of displeasure with space-faring or "cosmic" comic books.

So no, I wasn't meaning TV properties adapted as comic books. William had restated his (and Matt's too, I guess) preference for street-level heroes and stories. That's fine -- not a problem at all with that. What I wanted to know was why any of our readers (we can use you as Exhibit A if you want to play along) love the sci-fi stuff in film, novels, and TV, but don't care for it in the comics (as some have stated today with our Guardians review).


Doug said...

I guess I should also clarify that

A) I didn't think this 2-parter was the greatest story ever,
B) There is no sense around here that anyone has to agree with Karen's or my opinions -- shoot, more exciting if you don't!
C) That I am the hugest fan ever of cosmic comic books. I do like them, but I suppose my overall preference, if forced to give one, would trend toward the street-level stories as well.


Doc Savage said...

Utterly off topic but I thought you'd all like to know the first volume of 1980s Marvel Firsts is available for preorder on Amazon. No idea as to contents but the cover gives some clues.

Doug said...

Well.... from the cover, here is what I think it will contain (by the way, thanks, Matt!)

Alpha Flight, Hercules mini, Cloak & Dagger, Vision and Scarlet Witch mini, Hawkeye/WCA mini (not sure which), Wolverine mini, Dazzler, Magik mini, Captain Universe, New Mutants, and Power Pack.

Probably going to be a "pass" from me.

I also noticed that there is an immense Inhumans tpb coming out that reprints all of their appearances from the Silver Age FF, and looks to have some Thor in it, too.


Karen said...

For my part I enjoy science fiction (using the term loosely) wherever I find it -books, TV, films, or comics. So I was a big fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, 50s sci fi movies, a variety of authors, and space-based comics adventure. It was all good to me. But that didn't mean I couldn't enjoy Spidey's latest battle with the Goblin too. Street level or cosmic -good story-telling was the most important ingredient.

I almost don't want to get started on the space program. I was raised near Vandenberg AFB and grew up watching men walk on the moon, Viking land on Mars, seeing astronauts jump around in Skylab, and I waited an eternity to see the first shuttle launch. There was so much enthusiasm for space even up to the mid 70s, and then it just all disappeared. David is right, the primary motivation for the space program ("race") was political -we had to beat the Russians. Once we had got to the moon and achieved the stated goal, and the Soviets' economy began to weaken and they were no longer serious space rivals, the importance of maintaining that ultimate high ground diminished. Plus, the public had seen NASA's "act" and was no longer impressed.

With our own economy in deep doo doo, human exploration seems very unlikely. We'll be lucky if we continue to send robots to Mars and perhaps some of the outer planets. This plan to send a robot to an asteroid seems very likely to get shot down in congress. I do have some hope regarding the commercial efforts now evolving but the age of the astronaut as single combat warrior (as Thomas Wolfe put it) are long over.

david_b said...

Doug, it wasn't necessary to retype your post.., my question was prompted by Garett's response which included franchise titles (Trek, SW) so I was wondering whether you were referred only to original concepts or the broad spectrum of titles.

As mentioned I assumed the former.

As for the Inhumans tpb, it sounds pretty cool to have everything in one book.

Doc Savage said...

Ironically, commitment to NASA is helpful to the economy as many technologies originated in connection with our space program and then went into the public sector and created growth.

Garett said...

Here's something cool for both space and music fans...Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield sings Space Oddity on the space station, fully produced video that just went up yesterday:

As for cosmic comics, I'm reading Dreadstar again...enjoyed this when it came out in '82, and enjoying it again. The colors seem even better with the new printing (though they stick to the original colors, not updated), and the ideas, adventure, art, and characters are all super. I'm up to issue 7 in the 12-issue Dreadstar Omnibus. Starlin's a great one-man show!

J.A. Morris said...

Late to this meeting, another good review from Doug & Karen.

I've never read this one, but I have to say I've never been a big fan of the Badoon. To me, they've always felt like Skrulls without the shape-shifting ability.

Karen said...

We've got a lot of cosmic-scale stuff coming down the road here in the next month, so it may not be everyone's cup of tea. But who knows? Give it a chance -it might intrigue you enough to go out and get it if you haven't read these stories already. Some of these issues have some outstanding artwork (in my opinion) so that alone might be worth checking out. I think the combo of John Buscema and Dave Cockrum was fabulous, and I wish they'd worked together more often!

Fred W. Hill said...

Having picked up both issues 4 & 5 from the corner mom & pop store in 1974, I really enjoyed this story! I'd never even heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy before, but I thought their basic storyline was cool. Seems to me that bringing back the GOTG was mainly Gerber's project and I liked their brief series much more than either the Champions or the Inhumans, maybe just because I was developing a taste for the somewhat offbeat fare that Gerber typically delivered. Anyhow, this intro whetted my appetite for more of GOTG, at least as written by Gerber.
BTW, I've never read that very first appearance, but have seen samplings of Gene Colan's art therein and gotta hand it to Colan -- in his rendition they look far more alien than the somewhat more typical '70s superhero look Cockrum & Buscema gave them. As far as cosmic sagas go, nowhere near the level of Starlin's Captain Marvel & Warlock epics, but I'd still rank it as a fun story regardless of its flaws.

Bruce said...

Totally agree about Sal Buscema. He drew more of my favorite comics of the 1970s than any other artist. I'm currently re-reading his great Captain America run with Steve Englehart & it is as wonderful as I remembered.

Doug said...

Matt's earlier post about the new Marvel Firsts intrigued me, so I was back on Amazon and found these:

Steranko SHIELD in one tpb:

The Joker solo series (9 issues) tpb:

Happy pre-ordering!


Anonymous said...

The Thing! Captain America! Guardians of the Galaxy! The Badoon! This issue had it all!

Man, I wish I had this issue when I was younger. I believe my older brother had read it because I remember he had drawn a sketch with Martinex from that very same splash panel here.

I've always loved the Badoon as the sterotypical reptilian baddies; it was somewhat amusing when Sal drew the Badoon queen in another comic with a lot of hair! Sal has always been the ultimate go-to guy in the 70s; apparently he could churn out his pages quicker than some of his contemporaries. I've always ranked him just below his older brother Big John, but above other artists like Vince Colletta or Jack Abel. As for Al Milgrom, I'm with Matt - I kinda like his art; it's not stupendous, but he does an adequate job.

If Cockrum did indeed design those new costumes, then he deserves credit as one of the best costume redesign artists of all time. He also designed the costumes for the all new X-men, if I recall correctly.
The good ship Captain America and the Legion of Superheroes space cruiser both bear a striking similarity to the USS Enterprise. I guess Dynamic Dave was as big a Trekkie as Chris Claremont!

I loved Gerber's introduction of our intrepid Guardians. It was a blast to see Link Hogthrob,er, Major Vance Astro and company here, even if their appearance here seems rushed. As I've mentioned before repeatedly, I wish the upcoming Guardians film would have this lineup instead of Rocket Raccoon or Groot.

- Mike 'hope we see the Badoon in Avengers 2' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Doc Savage said...

everytime I see "Badoon" my brain turns it into baboon...

Rip Jagger said...

Speaking as one who did buy and love Marvel Superheroes #18, I was relatively pleased when I saw the Guardians at long last show up again in the Marvel Universe, looking all superhero-like. The Cockrum redesigns of Yondu and Astro are pretty sleek though, I'll admit to that. And I'd imagine Sal himself was saddled with making Charlie's suit, it has that off-the-rack basic quality Sal used for his characters.

I still love the original Guardians, but I can see and could see even back then that they needed sprucing up to work in the Marvel mythology. Their story was woven in among others for several years. I didn't much like the addition of Starhawk as it left even less time to develop the existing team.

I do remember MTIO #5 though as being pretty exciting.

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

That Nick Fury book has me a bit miffed: that was just the thing I was looking for about 5 years ago. As it is, I now have the Agent of Shield tpb for the Strange Tales material, and the 2-issue Marvel Special Edition from the early '80s that reprints the Steranko issues of the solo series. (I also bought a copy of the actual issue #3, but that's another story...) So I won't be looking to buy this one.
As for the Inhumans, that looks like a pretty cool book, but I'd rather have an inexpensive trade collecting the series from the '70s (highly unlikely, though, since it was already Masterworked for some reason).
The Joker book looks like something I'll eventually try to find used and cheap on eBay.

Doc Savage said...

Ordered Joker, but never found Nick Fury or the Inhumans compelling characters. Given their series never lasted, I guess I'm not alone there.

Doug said...

Be that as it may, Matt, but those trades collect two of the most critically-acclaimed runs in comics history in Steranko's SHIELD run and the Lee-Kirby FF. Tough to beat that, regardless of your prejudices against the characters. I think the stories contained in those two books are treasures.


Doc Savage said...

Doug, it's not prejudice to read something and decide you don't like it. Quite the opposite. Anyway, I think you are confusing beloved stories with the characters when you cite the FF, unless you think it's the Inhumans as characters who made the Lee-Kirby years as great as they were rather than the tales in which they were infrequently featured.

Doug said...

Oh, I wholeheartedly think it was the Inhumans, and the Surfer and Galactus, and Him, and the Frightful Four, and the Black Panther, and so on that made the Lee/Kirby FF great. There is no doubt in my mind that it was that list and beyond that made up the finest 100 issues in Marvel Comics history. And looking at said list, none of those properties have been able to sustain series on their own merits. But is that due to the characters, or to the creators assigned, or to the times in which individual launches took place? Tough to say.

But it doesn't make the characters non-compelling.


dbutler16 said...

Giacoia isn’t really my favorite inker, so I think I’d take Esposito, too.

I’ve always loved the Guardians, first and foremost because they look so darn cool, so I’m not surprised that Cockrum had a hand in their design. Yes, the “heroes in space” thing is a great hook, too.

What’s the matter, Doug, you don’t like the Badoons’ taste in vintage cars?

Karen, Ben’s always been impulsive. Just ask Reed how many millions of dollars worth of equipment he’s destroyed because he got impatient, or how many doors he’s destroyed because he didn’t feel like turning the knob!

A hero intentionally killing in 1974 would be shocking indeed. I should try to buy this issue if only for the historical value.

Not only are we technologically way behind pace for sending Vance into space, Karen, but I’m starting to worry about us discovering Vulcan by the late 22nd century!

Edo Bosnar said...

Wait, didn't humans make first contact with the Vulcans in the late 21st (this) century? And isn't surreal that the question is formulated in the past tense?

dbutler16 said...

Did we, Edo? I haven't kept up with the latest devlopments in the Star Trek universe, so maybe my comment has been retconned into obsolescence.

david_b said...

You think YOU GUYS are gobsmacked about historical developments not happening..

I'm still wondering why I see the Moon every night. I could have sworn it left Earth back in 1999.

Man, and those supposed 'Eugenics Wars' must'a been backpage news during the Reagan Administration.

Ok, everyone, all together now..: "..KHAAAAAANNNN....!@!!"

Edo Bosnar said...

dbutler, I'm not up to the absolutely latest developments, either; in fact, given the latest retcon in the movie franchise, a way will be (or already has been ) probably found to move all of those dates back. What I was referring to is the events in Star Trek: First Contact, which (double-checking with Wikipedia) took place in 2063.
And david_b, the Eugenics Wars actually occurred in the 1990s; I'm guessing the world was too distracted by that whole Lewinsky thing to notice...

Goldenrulecomics said...

I remember feeling like this story was wrapped up too quickly, like it should have continued into the next issue. This was my introduction to the Guardians and I thought they were pretty cool. Later when I read their debut story I was completely underwhelmed. And I do agree that Sal Buscema never got the credit he deserved!

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