Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Super Blog Team-Up - When Friends Like These ARE Your Enemies...

Doug: Welcome to the fourth Super Blog Team-Up! This is the third entry from your pals at the Bronze Age Babies, and we're excited to have been asked again for a contribution. The SBTU just keeps getting bigger and better, too -- be on the look-out below for links to new members of our comics coalition! Karen and I will be sending some mini-reviews your way today, all fully-integrated to today's SBTU theme of team-ups. But here at the BAB, we thought we'd turn things just a bit upside down, and feature team-ups of our favorite heroes... alongside some of their major villains! And not only will you get to check out some fun stories, but we'll also feature some wonderful Bronze Age art from the likes of Big John Buscema, Jim Aparo, and Jim Starlin (with a little Silver Age Jack Kirby for good measure)! So enough of this introductory stuff -- let's get down to business -- and do we have a whopper of a post for you today! Better take a deep breath...


Fantastic Four #116 (November 1971)
"The Alien, The Ally, and... Armageddon!"
Archie Goodwin-John Buscema/Joe Sinnott

Karen: This was one of the first FF's I had, and it might have been my introduction to Dr. Doom, although that could have also occurred via Marvel's Greatest Comics. Whatever the case, it was this  issue that made the single greatest impression upon me concerning the nature of the good Doctor's personality. The FF have been battling an alien being known as the Overmind. In the previous issue, the Overmind, who is the sole survivor of his alien race, and imbued with all the power of his people, used his tremendous psychic powers to take possession of Reed's mind and turn him against the rest of the team. Without their leader, the remaining three members of the FF are left feeling hopeless -what should they do?

Karen: This issue picks up with Sue, Ben, and Johnny, still stunned, trying to figure out not only how to stop the Overmind from taking over the world, but how to save Reed as well. Oddly enough, Johnny emerges as the leader! Yeah, 43 years later and I'm still not buying that. He and Ben grab a doohickey from Reed's lab and use it to track Reed, telling Sue to stay behind and monitor them, and act as a reserve. Yes, that was still a woman's place back in 1971.  Ben and Johnny finally locate Reed and the Overmind in a wrecking yard. The alien giant has been hammering away at the FF's leader, assaulting him mentally and physically as he still resists his domination. Reed tries to mask thoughts of his family from the being but is ultimately unable to keep them hidden. Just at the breaking point his team-mates arrive and attack, but the Torch's flame and the Thing's pile-driving fists prove no match for the being.

Doug: By this time, if we look at real time, the FF had been doing their thing for 10 years. I thought that given Ben's military service as one of the hotshot test pilots, and having been such a close friend of Reed's for so many years, that Archie Goodwin really sold the other three short here. But then, it was all set-up, right? I haven't read the preceding issues (at least not in so long that I can remember them), but there was a real sense of defeat here. The Torch and the Thing were pretty ineffective. In that regard, Goodwin's crafted quite a bit of suspense. Too bad the cover gave it away...


Karen: Seeing Ben and Johnny hopelessly out-classed, Sue flies to the scene on a jet cycle, but her force fields prove useless. Ben and Johnny are defeated (in a stunning full-page takedown by Buscema and Sinnott) and then the Overmind controls Reed and sends him after Sue. She is only just able to fly off again and evade him. Sue desperately seeks help from the heroes she knows, including the Avengers,but no one is available. Meanwhile, in the streets of the city, the Overmind's power radiates, causing people to go mad and attack one another. Frightened and alone, Sue pauses on the edge of a river to gather her thoughts. Suddenly, her nanny, the sorceress Agatha Harkness, appears, and suggests she drop her prejudices and go to an unlikely source: Dr. Doom! Sue reluctantly heads to the Latverian Embassy, where she finds Dr. Doom has been monitoring the situation, and only regrets that it was not he who ended the FF. Sue then gives him a verbal slap in the face: "The Dr. Doom I remember might be ruthless and cold, but he had honor and nobility too. Instead, I encounter posturing and pettiness - or perhaps just a man a little afraid."  This gets under Doom's skin, who responds, "Many demons rule Victor Von Doom, but not those of pettiness or fear! Very well. I am with you!"

Doug: I thought it was an awesome tie-in when Jarvis told Sue about the absence of the Avengers, which was due to the Kree/Skrull War! And hey -- with folks like Agatha Harkness and the Watcher around, who'd ever need to come up with an original idea? But while Miss Harkness came across as a woman in charge, for me her witch-like qualities do not place her in the same category as a woman that I'd put Sue. And in this scene, Sue came off as a product of Stan Lee-weakness. I also wasn't buying that Doom would be at the Latverian embassy in Manhattan. Seriously -- how many embassies around the world are hang-outs for any world leader? But Sue's remarks to Doom that challenged him were wonderful -- desperate, but a sure sign of strength we'd just been led to believe that she did not possess.

Karen: After stopping at Reed's lab to pick up a gizmo, Sue and Doom return to the site of the battle to recover Ben and Johnny, who come to ready to rumble with Doom. They're not too happy about the situation but agree to work with him -for now. The Overmind and brainwashed Reed are wreaking havoc in the city, when this new Fantastic Four finds them. Doom directs the Torch and Thing to attack the Overmind and divert him, while Doom approaches directly, striding through flames in a rather dramatic entrance ("Turn your eyes from the Torch, Overmind -Doom approaches!"). He uses the device he took from the lab -a psionic refractor -to send the Overmind's mental bolts back at him Although Doom takes credit for the gizmo, it was something Reed had already begun work on. Perhaps they can share the patent? It works well enough, and for a while, they have the big alien on the ropes. But then the Overmind brings Reed into play, attacking Sue. Without her force field to shield him, Doom's psionic refractor is quickly destroyed, and his armor is badly damaged. The Torch and Thing are knocked out too. Doom fights on, but is soon dropped. Reed finally snaps out of it when he realizes he's close to killing Sue, but he passes out from exhaustion.

Doug: How much memorizing do you suppose Doom did while in Reed's laboratories? What did you think when Sue was so easily ordered around? I understand that she had little bargaining room, but there were parts of this plot I simply could not abide. While I know I have the hindsight of history on my side, in the scene where Reed was attacking Sue, I kept looking at it and adding in what would happen with Franklin several issues hence and thinking to myself that it was no wonder Sue left and went to hang out with Namor!

Karen: As you mentioned before, Sue at this point was still being written as a helpless, frightened  girl, rather than a strong, independent woman. It's a bit hard to swallow today. No one is left to oppose the Overmind -or so it would seem. As he exults in his victory, a ball of light crashes to Earth before him. A figure emerges -it is the Stranger! He explains that he is the last survivor of his world too, and the sum of its power -and his world was enemies with the Overminds'. He zaps the Overmind, shrinking him down to an infinitesimal size, where he can rule a dust mote! The Stranger departs unceremoniously, and the FF is left wondering what happened. Doom says a cosmic drama unfolded, and they played their parts. But when they meet again, it will be on his terms -and not as allies!

Doug: Deus. Ex. Machina. But I did like it. I was sort of like Ben and Johnny, "Wait, what just happened?!" said I to myself. The Stranger has been one of those characters so sparsely used that he's always mysterious, and always makes a big impact when he's on the scene. But that get-up...

Karen: I have to admit, the end was a bit of a letdown. What I really like about this story is that it always left me with the feeling that if just a few things had gone differently in his life, Victor Von Doom might have turned out to be one of the greatest heroes the world had ever known. But instead, his colossal ego led him down a much sadder path. Although a villain, there is much that is tragic about him.

Doug: Agreed. I'd have liked to see this story actually play out into a five or six issue yarn where we could get a look into Doom's heart. Is there any altruism in the man, or is he really so self-focused that he is incapable of doing right by others? Overall there was much to like about this issue, but I'm still stuck on some of the characterization deficiencies I noted for members of the first family.


The Brave and the Bold #111 (February/March 1974)
"Death Has the Last Laugh"
Bob Haney-Jim Aparo

Doug: If you're new to our blog, these Brave and the Bold reviews usually fall under the heading of "That Zany Bob Haney". Today, I think you'll agree that we're tripping on Earth-H in this issue. We open at the home of the Norton family, where every person has been murdered. A Joker card marks the crime as that of the Batman's most dangerous foe. And suddenly Batman snaps; snaps as we've never seen him before. I thought this seemed a departure from the usual stone-cold demeanor we've grown accustomed to, but let's see this through. Commissioner Gordon urges Batman to calm down and to keep things from getting personal. There are clues to be analyzed, and some of those do not point to the Joker -- but maybe to a frame-up. Chief among the missing "signature clues" is the lack of a hideous grin on the visage of the deceased. Right from the get-go, Bob Haney gives us a Batman and Jim Gordon relationship not unlike Frank and Marie Barone... However, a short while later at the morgue, the dead family members suddenly do exhibit said grin! But for the first time, the good guys find that the bodies had been injected post mortem with a chemical that caused the facial muscles to constrict into the grin. But whoever did that had to still be in the facility! A short chase by the Batman netted him a big konk on his noggin, and a fleeing assailant. Now the Batman was really ticked, and he took it out on every street thug he could find, looking for any lead as to the Joker's whereabouts.

Doug: The next day Gordon received a call from crime boss Rizzo who offers Batman a tip, with a catch. Leave all the goons alone (because after all -- it's bad for business when a guy like Rizzo has a bunch of spooked thugs working for him!), and he can have the Joker. Soon Batman's at Gotham's waterfront, where sure enough he finds the Joker's hide-out. But a clue there makes him hustle to the Turkish Baths (man, in a town the size of Gotham, they have everything!) -- where a short time later he finds the Joker in the mists, with a gun drawn! As the Batman lunges forward to strike the clown's arm, the Joker's gun fires harmlessly. But his would-be target, Burt Slade (underworld hitman extraordinaire), pulls a piece of his own and wings the Batman.

Doug: Batman ended up in the hospital; Gordon gave him (and the orderlies) strict instructions to take it easy. Well, a short time later Batman is with the Gotham City Harbormaster, wanting to know the Joker's whereabouts on the night of the Norton murders. And wouldn't you know it -- the Clown Prince of Crime has an alibi! It seems that when the Nortons were murdered, the Joker was on a barge, disguised as a hired hand. So who, then killed the family? Gordon and Batman get together and decide that Slade must be their guy -- and that maybe the Joker is out to nail him for sullying the Joker name with the playing card, etc.

Doug: Batman needs to bring Slade to justice, but knows that if the Joker gets to him first, there'll be no chance. So the only choice (ah, that Zany Bob Haney) is to team up with his mortal enemy. Now you just don't send a call or a text the Joker's way... Nope. You contact that fiend through spray paint. That's right -- Batman hires the "Graffiti Gang" to literally paint the town red, and soon it pays off. The Joker uses a payphone to ring the Batman in Gordon's office. The Joker agrees to work with the Batman, with the insurance that there won't be any tricks or police. The Joker uses a botched attempt by Batman to corral Slade as a golden opportunity to mock his former adversary. But another tip gives the Batman a chance to redeem himself. I think we all know how this is going to end -- with one humongous double-cross. And it does. Batman is lured to a dry lock in the outskirts of Gotham. Slade's there all right -- and so is the Joker! Yep... the Joker really had killed the Nortons, but set this whole thing up in such a way as to frame Slade (secretly working with the Joker) and make the Batman helpless but for the Joker's aid. Even Rizzo's phone tip was part of the charade. And now here stood the Batman, with the lock set to open! Of course he uses his strength and acrobatics to free himself from the torrent. Slade's taken out with a swift kick, and the Joker is too -- but after getting behind the wheel of the Batmobile! Darn thing wouldn't start, though. Oh yeah -- that's because the Joker didn't know the ignition was triggered by keying in the word "Batman" using the push buttons on the radio!

Doug: If you're not familiar with Bob Haney's and Jim Aparo's run on Brave and the Bold, this is pretty typical of what we've looked at through the years. I personally don't always care for my heroes being played as dolts -- or a "Bat-Sap" if you will. But Haney's so good at crafting these weirdly enjoyable tales that I usually give him a pass. Jim Aparo's art is solid as always -- he probably draws these characters second only to Neal Adams in my book.


Tales of Suspense #s 66-68 (June-August 1965)
"The Fantastic Origin of the Red Skull!"
"Lest Tyranny Triumph!"
"The Sentinel and the Spy!"
Stan Lee-Jack Kirby/Chic Stone/Frankie Ray

Doug: Although these stories were published a year before I was born, I think the decision to run the Tales of Suspense Cap feature as a sort of "Untold Tales" was brilliant. While Cap moped around in the Avengers and other stories here in his own mag, readers could get a peek into that WWII past that framed the man they were reading about in the present. Some of you may ask, "But Doug and Karen, this is a Silver Age yarn!" Why yes it is -- but young Doug came to this first in the pages of the very Bronze Bring On the Bad Guys trade paperback for Christmas in 1976. Thanks, Mom!

Doug: In the first part of this 3-issue tale, Captain America and Bucky have been captured by the Nazis. They've been separated, with Bucky in general detention. Cap, on the other hand, is in the hands of his greatest enemy -- the murderous Red Skull! With Cap bound, the Skull narrates his backstory. Periodically during the conversation Cap is able to attack his nemesis, but the Skull always regains the upper hand. Finally, near the end of the Nazi's monologue, the Skull finds that Cap can muster no further resistance -- he has succumbed to a drug given him by one of the Skull's Nazi doctors. In a scene we never thought we'd see, Cap returns the Skull's "Heil Hitler" salute. Our guy, is now a bad guy.

Karen: It's pretty jarring to see Cap saluting the Skull and saying, "May the power of the Reich last a thousand years!" But prior to his brainwashing, I enjoyed Cap verbally bashing the Skull every chance he got. When the Skull relates the miserable conditions of his childhood and how it drove him to a life of crime, a hard-boiled Cap just says, "Lots of people had tough lives! My early years were no bed of roses either! But I don't waste time telling sob stories!"

Doug: Cap's resistance to the Skull was very similar to a setting we'd see much later -- the "Under Siege" storyline in the Avengers, when Baron Zemo had Cap bound while those he loved were tortured.

Doug: In the second installment, Cap trains with a group of SS soldiers. He is of course far advanced in combat to anything they can do. Near the end of the drill the Red Skull enters the room and receives deference from our hero. The Skull hands Cap a pistol and asks him to shoot a portrait of America's "leading military official". Cap nails it. Elsewhere, Bucky is brought before a brick wall with several other prisoners. Facing a firing squad, Bucky remains defiant to the end. But the commanding officer had ordered his goons to fire blanks -- mind games! Bucky knows what to do, and attacks. So do his fellows, and before long the prisoners have the upper hand on their captors. Back to Cap's story, we look in on Adolf Hitler himself, undressing one of his adjutants. Suddenly from a secret bookcase emerges the Skull, and shortly behind him -- Captain America! Hitler must have thought back to the pop on the jaw he got from Cap in March 1941, because he's terrified. But the Skull shows that he has Cap firmly under his control, and Hitler calms down. Until he tried to return the favor to Cap's chin -- and gets his knuckles bruised on the star-spangled shield!

Karen: The confrontation with Hitler is so weirdly comedic. The Fuhrer crouches behind a chair, pleading with the Skull, asking how he could do this to his "lovink fuhrer?" On one hand, clearly Lee and Kirby want to belittle Hitler and show him as nothing but a craven, pathetic worm. On the other hand though, seeing this mass murderer being played as a clown is somewhat disconcerting. One thing I find odd about this story is that at no time do we see Cap struggling to break free of the Skull's control, but then, because these were very short stories, they probably didn't have time to develop that.

Doug: I think you hit on an important point when you remark about the depiction of Hitler here. There's a real Golden Age vibe to this, isn't there? Of course, that's the setting of the story, but Lee/Kirby play it as if it were written during those times when comics were also war propaganda.

Karen: I think you're right. Perhaps Lee/Kirby just slipped back into old habits?

Doug: Later, Bucky eavesdrops on a couple of paratroopers, and is able to capture one and take his uniform. The Nazis are going to drop Cap right into Allied HQ, where our guy will assassinate the Skull's target. Bucky ends up seated right across from Cap on the plane, but Cap doesn't recognize him. Bucky does all he can to disrupt the plan, but our second chapter ends with Cap leveling a pistol and the American commander. But when he hesitates, a Nazi accomplice puts his own hand over Cap's, and pulls the trigger! But fear not, effendi -- as we open the third issue we see that Cap has overcome the drugs that had placed him under the Skull's control and has raised the gun away from the American general. A scrum commences, but you know how it ends already -- with the good guys on the winning team. So does this work? I think in the original 10-page installments, yes -- very much so. This would have dragged out over three months, so there would have been some heightened suspense for the reader. But even when read as one super-sized story, it's still quite good. Jack Kirby always poured his energy into his drafting, and Stan's Nazi dialogue is a real hoot. For the young reader who would have plunked down a dime and two pennies at the drug store, this had to have been a blast!

Karen: Because of the abbreviated format, it's definitely a bit rushed, but taken as an action-adventure story, without a focus on character, then it's a fun little trip. I get a kick out of the way Kirby manipulates the Skull's face (a mask!) to show such a variety of expressions. It would have been interesting to see more interaction between Cap and the Skull post-brainwashing, to have them actually go out on a mission together. This might be the weakest of the team-ups here but just the chance to see Cap 'sieg heiling' is a gas.


Warlock #10 (December 1975)
"How Strange My Destiny!"
Jim Starlin

Karen: I reviewed the conclusion to this tale almost two years ago, but Thanos is too good a villain not to bring back for this special hero/villain team-up post! 

Karen: The situation: Warlock is determined to destroy the Magus, a religious tyrant who it turns out is a possible future version of Warlock! He has teamed up with the mysterious Gamora (deadliest woman in the whole galaxy), to achieve his goal. But they've proved no match for the Magus, who plans to put Warlock on the path that will lead to his transformation into his future self. Therefore, Gamora's master, Thanos, shows up to get directly involved! He says he knows how to defeat Warlock's foe. And that's where issue #10 starts. Before the Magus can call a mysterious being named the In-Betweener, who will start Warlock's change, he orders 25,000 Black Knights, his holy warriors, to attack Warlock and his comrades. Thanos quickly takes charge of the situation, as Warlock has essentially curled up into a fetal position. He shakes Warlock out of his paralysis and gets the group fighting.Despite their raw power, the sheer number of knights drives them back. Thanos holds the line as Warlock blasts an escape route for them through the floor into the holy palace's sub-basement. All escape except for Thanos, who gets trapped up above.

Karen: Despite Gamora's pleas, Warlock insists they must move on. They reach caverns under the palace and find the Matriarch, former aid to the Magus, who has been left for dead here after betraying her former leader. Warlock speaks with her briefly and she dies, and it leaves him feeling confused. Frustrated, he cries out, why must life be so cruel? A voice responds, "Because that is the way of life." It is Thanos. He says that because Warlock has chosen the path of the living, he has to pay its price, which is pain.

Karen: Next up, Starlin provides the reader with a two-page interlude, an introduction to Thanos presented by the Kree Captain Marvel. Returning to our tale, Thanos teleports the group back to his space ark. Warlock may be confused, but he's smart enough to ask why Thanos is helping him. Complicated as always, Thanos explains that he has certain plans, and some of them involve Warlock's soul gem. He has also seen that the Magus may oppose him, and has taken measures to stop him. One of these was creating Gamora, who was temporally-hidden from the Magus initially, because she was actually pulled from the Magus' future! But the Magus' god-like awareness was able to overcome her camouflage. Now they must pursue a different plan -Warlock's suicide!

Karen: While this is going on, the Magus is informed that Thanos is now with Warlock. He realizes that as a worshipper of death, Thanos would naturally oppose him. He locates Thanos' ship, and is at first unconcerned -until he realizes the mad titan has a time machine (a 'time probe')!  After seeing this, he calls all his forces and they prepare to invade. Back on the space ark, Warlock concedes that Thanos is right -the only way to truly stop the Magus is to prevent him from ever coming to be -he must destroy his own soul!

Karen: This was cosmic comics as done by the master, Jim Starlin!Thanos and Warlock have been allies, enemies, and everything in between over the decades. But in this first encounter, Thanos decidedly holds the upper hand over a mentally and morally exhausted Adam Warlock.


Doug: It would seem silly on our parts to send you packing without putting a bow on this SBTU package, ya think? In the comments section we'd of course like to hear your thoughts on the issues we've covered today, but also some suggestions of other hero/villain team-ups you've loved in the past. And generally speaking, do you think such storylines work, or are they merely novelties?

Karen: It seems like it breaks down to the hero either choosing to team up out of necessity, or the hero being duped in some sense. But the villain always seems firmly in the driver's seat -even in the FF one, Doom could have said no. So regardless of the situation, are the heroes always more reactive and the villains always more proactive? 

Doug: The Cap story seems to stand apart from the other three in that Cap was certainly an unwilling participant. In the FF and Batman stories, the heroes were desperate so yes -- the baddies definitely had all the cards. In the Warlock tale Thanos actually involved himself. You know, in all four stories it ends up that the villains are playing the heroes!

Karen: Well, I've heard it said that a really 'good' villain actually considers himself to be the hero of the story -that from his perspective, everything he does is right and correct. Certainly, Doom feels that way. The Skull likely does too, considering himself above mere morality. Thanos probably doesn't care about anything other than achieving his goals. And the Joker? Who can say?


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Anonymous said...

That German dialogue is beyond awful - but shouldn't the Germans be saying Kapitan Amerika - that would be more logical.

david_b said...

Wow and WOW. What a great, stupendous topic today. Will have to take a break later to go through it all.

As for the Lee/Kirby German dialog.., it's all down to entertaining the prepubescent audience. Yes, very golden age indeed, but remember, they weren't exactly writing high-end literature here.

Like most '60s Marvelmania stuff, it's all part of the charm which I equate to the 'merry ol' England' schtick you'd see in Haney's 'Teen Titans' with dastardly menaces like 'Ding Dong Daddy'..

Great column today.

Edo Bosnar said...

Yes, definitely a wonderful post today, with a whopping four reviews! With the exception of the Batman & Joker tale, I've read all of the stories here, and I think you made an excellent choice and a really bang-up job reviewing them.

I agree about the ending to the FF story. Very deus-ex-machina, although back when I first read it (in the Marvel's Greatest reprints?) I thought it was interesting that the Stranger's origin was finally explained. Of course, in retrospect, it probably would have been better if they kept him more mysterious.

I tend to agree with you that the villains tend to have the upper hand in these team-ups, which, of course, makes the stories more interesting.

Otherwise, here's a few more team-ups with villains that came to mind: in that last story arc in Nova, that was concluded in FF, the heroes joined forces with Sphinx and Dr. Sun. And when the Sphinx got all powerful and threatened Earth, the FF sought Galactus for help - thus another team-up with an adversary.
Also, Cosmic Odyssey, in which the various DC heroes join forces with Darkseid.

Doug said...

Thanks very much for the compliments so far, everyone! This was a marathon of writing for Karen and I that began about a week ago. Lots of emails, lots of proofreading and covering for each other in the lay-out and editing departments. I've said it before but will again -- as a writing partner she's pretty swell!

Edo, funny you mention that FF/Galactus team-up, as we'd kicked that one around. We'd originally thought we might dip back into Avengers Forever with an Avengers/Kang team-up. Our original intent was to put today's post under our "Take 5" banner we've used a few times in the past. But the scope and scale of the undertaking became a bit too much, and rather than thin everything out we thought we'd create what you see before you today.

Hopefully more come along with some thoughts, as well as other memories of heroes/villains team-ups.


Anonymous said...

Man oh man, Karen and Doug, a wealth of information. Another great job as well as another great SBTU.

One small point, I think Der Fuhrer would have given his underling a dressing down and not an undressing. One leaves you emotionally and psychologically devastated, the other leaves one showing one's bathing suit parts.

Would the whole story arc of Magneto and the X-Men fit into the villain/hero team up? There are a few stories where they worked together when mutant kind was threatened.

Another team up that became a recurring plot was Doctor Doom and Iron Man. They were thrown back in time and had to work together to get back (forward?).

The Prowler (started from the bottom now we're here started from the bottom now my whole team here).

Doug said...

Prowler --

The "dressing" point is well-taken. Still funny the way I wrote it, though.

We did consider the X-Men and Magneto, but thought it was more of an arc and would just take too much time for us to nail down. So it ended up on the cutting room floor.

Great suggestion of the Doom/Iron Man tale, which we've previously reviewed (one can find it in the library of reviews). That never came up in our planning -- probably should have!


Doug said...

Where we were hurting in this post was material from DC. Ideally, we'd have run two reviews from Marvel and two from DC. However, our general ignorance (which we've tried to correct over the years by reading more DCs and reviewing them) about the Distinguished Competition kept that from happening.

Although I did consider an issue from the Secret Society of Super-Villains where Captain Comet goes rogue. I think he had to fight Kid Flash and the Creeper, if I recall.


Edo Bosnar said...

Actually, a really obvious example from DC - which I should have recalled sooner - is when the Legion teamed up with the Fatal Five to beat the Sun-eater. That was actually the introduction of the Fatal Five (during the young Jim Shooter's run) and, yes, it is a Silver Age story, but it was reprinted at least once during the Bronze Age in (you guessed it!) one of those digests!

Anonymous said...

Outstanding post!
But y'know, I forgot supervillains used to smoke cigarettes.
Smoke 'em up, Vic.

Anonymous said...

Warlock #10 is a really good choice for this piece, not just because Starlin's run is my favourite Marvel of the 70s, but because its such a great take on the hero/ villain thing.

Actually, by the Marvel standards of the day, Warlock isn't really a hero at all - he starts off the issue joining Thanos, and killing a lot of those 25,000 knights. Not to mention that he's also the Magus.... making him something of a hero just in his own head (Warlock spent a lot of the time in his own head as I recall).

The other great Marvel hero/ villain team up would have to be Daredevil and Elektra, no? DC... maybe Etrigan in the early Moore/ Bissette Swamp Thing might just about count as bronze age.


Martinex1 said...

Really great blog today. Obviously a lot of time and effort in this. I have only read the Warlock issue so I will have to grab the others particularly the FF. I like the idea of villains teaming up with heroes and seeing where they have common ground if any. I have been thinking all day about other examples and nothing leaps to mind immediately. I will have to go through my team up, two in one, and brave and bold collections as i feel team ups with villains must have occurred more than I recall right now. But you really got me thinking. Also thanks for the introduction to some new sites.

mlp said...

Lotta stuff to dig here! Super-blog Team-Up's living up to it's own bombast.
One thing about the Red Skull is, Kirby and Lee's 60's and Kirby's 70's version is the correct and classic version.
The Skull is over-the-top, kitsch, theatrical, almost more of a clown than anything. Some doomsday device buried in Argentina somewhere. There was an element of humor there. It shouldn't be surprising, if you consider Mel Brooks' take on Hitler. Both Kirby and Brooks were Jewish guys who fought in that war, and saw combat, and both, I think, took some-well deserved glee in portraying the Nazis as clowns. Which the guys in charge certainly were, in many ways.
Another thing, I know Karen is a Starlin fan and I agree with her assessment of Adam Warlock as being, well, kind of mentally out of it during this classic run.
The guy was just not firing on all cylinders. I think that was Starlin's intent, and perhaps mirrored the way he felt at the time. Thanos led him around by the nose. But when I first read this, what a thrill it was to see them team up.

Doug said...

Again, thanks to all for the comments today. We know this post is a monster, so we're hoping to get some more comments tomorrow as folks have a chance to wade through the entire list of offerings from this round's Super Blog Team-Up.

Thanks also to our partners for pushing us. Karen and I try to do something special on these days -- hopefully that shows. It's the "competition" that makes us want to be at the top of our game.

Karen's hosting the conversation for the next two days. I'll be back in the lead chair on Monday with a look at Young Men #25 -- featuring some 1950s adventures from Marvel's (oops -- Atlas's) Big Three during the short-lived revival. It might not be a bad idea to read Showcase #4 if you have it handy, for comparison's sake.


Longbox Graveyard said...

Nice choices! I'm sure I've read that Cap/Skull story but I have zero memory of it -- I'll have to pull down my Tales of Suspense omnibus and read it again.

That Warlock run is classic, and now practically a foundational document of the modern Marvel cosmic cinematic universe. I loved how Captain Marvel broke the fourth wall recapping Thanos' origin in that issue. The Magus storyline was the peak moment for Warlock and Starlin at Marvel in the 70s, I think ... after that we had a Pip the Troll solo story (which was fun), and the Star Thief and a Space Shark, which weren't so great. At least Warlock rallied for his finest moment when Starlin wrapped everything up in that Marvel Two-In-One Annual a year or two later!

Karen said...

Thanks everyone for jumping in and sharing your thoughts. The real world conspired to keep me away from the blog today but I've caught up now and enjoyed your remarks.

It was fun trying to select the team ups for this. Ultimately time kept us from doing some of them but I think the ones we wound up with are fairly representative of the different types of hero-villain team ups. And as usual, the whole interaction is largely driven or controlled by the villains. It's pretty fascinating when you think about it. I'm starting to nod off, but I think the hero-villain dynamic could be fodder for an Open Forum at some point -unless Edo tells me we've already done that!

Dean Compton said...

The only sad thing about reading your blog during SBTU, or any time really, is how far I still have to go on The Unspoken decade to make it as great as this! Terrific job, here.

Batman & the Joker is a team that somehow makes sense to me. Maybe because they are just the opposite side of crazy.

That German dialogue is a war crime. Egads!

Edo Bosnar said...

Aw, man, when did I become this blog's continuity cop? :o

Anyway, as far as I recall, Karen, that was never a discussion topic here, although even if it had been, who cares? I think I've made it clear many times before that I have no problem revisiting older posts, topics, etc. It's always nice to look at things from a new perspective. That's why I like your now traditional January vacation in which older posts are revisited - and you occasionally let the lunatics run the asylum... :P

MikeS said...

I got Bring on the Bad Guys for Christmas too.

Robert said...

I remember the "Bring On the Bad Guys" book. Purchased at the now defunct Caldor department store. The previous "Origins of Marvel Comics" and "Son of" books it ranks with my top three favorite books of the 70's. This was produced at time when comics in hardcover or softcover were a rare item in a chain book store. I must have read all of those books a dozen times over and still cherish each one of them.

I only wish Marvel had done more of these in the 70's. The Silver Surfer graphic novel by Lee and Kirby at the end of the 70's was some what of a disappointment. However Kirby's art made the project worth buying. It's too bad Lee didn't take the time to develop a more action oriented story that the fans would really enjoy.

When I look back at those days in the pre-internet age I have to wonder why comics can't be fun like they used to be. The Marvel and DC of today offers very little to me because all the characters are over-rendered and look the same. They are not the ones, nor do they act like the heroes I knew as a kid.

The only exposure I get to DC and Marvel these days are the animated direct to dvd movies that I see at Walmart. Some are better than others, however I prefer to see the movies than read the comics. I just don't have all the free time that I used to.

Adult life quickly gets in the way of reading new comics and it's not a question anymore, I simply can't afford them in today's economic climate. I'm just as happy to read all my old graphic novels and paperbacks from the 70's, the era I grew up in. To me, it was a better time to be a kid in those days.

Karen said...

Robert, thanks for dropping in and taking the time to comment. I largely share your feelings about modern comics -I just don't find them fun for the most part. I really wonder what a ten year old today can pick up and read -but that's the problem, I don't think most kids are reading comics. I think their exposure to these characters is almost entirely through other media -cartoons, movies, and video games. It's a crying shame.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the fine review of Fantastic Four #116, one of my all-time favorite FF issues. I especially enjoyed your description of Susan Storm as a helpless, frightened girl back then!

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