1970: Sam Wilson Becomes Captain America Sooner Than You Think

A racially-sensitive trip to Harlem ends up still being sorta racist.

Sam Wilson in the red white and blue. Looks good.
No, he’s not talking about condescending comics written by white men … but we will be!

This issue presents the fifth appearance of Sam Wilson. The first four all came in a longer story that introduced him and turned him into the Falcon, so this is his first real non-origin adventure. It’s a speedy thrill ride and a racially-complicated visit to Harlem. It’s Captain America shutting up and punching bad guys and then being a little patronizing. It’s Sam Wilson’s first shot at putting on the Captain America uniform, way way earlier than you thought he did. It’s another Cap flashback with tricky racial implications. All this and Redwing, too! Continue reading “1970: Sam Wilson Becomes Captain America Sooner Than You Think”

The Fantastic Four Save Apollo 11

Cheap attention-grabber or respectful celebration? Baby we can do both!

Frightened Sue. Could be from any FF issue, sigh.Eight months after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (and Michael Collins and several thousand NASA geeks) wowed the world with a real-life moon landing, the Marvel Bullpen feels it’s time to tell the story of how the Fantastic Four helped make it happen. Treading the line between celebration and exploitation with exquisite care, Mr. Lee and Mr. Kirby reveal that that one small step couldn’t have been taken without a wham-bam robot fight being won back on Earth. Continue reading “The Fantastic Four Save Apollo 11”

May 1970: How Reed Richards Saved the Moon Landing

By fighting robots? How’d you guess?

Neil Armstrong steps into the Marvel canonAnother 9-comic month gives us a wide selection of quality comics to choose from. The Fantastic Four – the Marvel universe’s first space travelers – step in to lend NASA a hand in the race to the moon. They’re not the only folks in a traveling mood; both Captain America and Daredevil are racking up the frequent flier miles in May. The Hulk is sucked into the subterranean world, and the Avengers are off getting stomped by Arkon in an entirely different dimension. So unless you wanna stick around Manhattan with Spidey and mope about Gwen Stacy, put on your travelin’ boots for a whirlwind tour of the Marvel world!

Continue reading “May 1970: How Reed Richards Saved the Moon Landing”

Loki Takes The Throne Of Asgard

Really it’s because Odin has the Universe’s Worst Guards.

Loki rules in *style*So it’s taken me like a month to get around to writing this post. Taking a second read through Thor #175 reveals a probable reason: Loki gets his day on the throne through a plot contrivance that a moderately intelligent dog would consider unrealistic. Despite the fact that suspension of disbelief gets murdered on page 14, I think this is a pretty good comic. Let’s talk about why.

Continue reading “Loki Takes The Throne Of Asgard”

April 1970: Asgard Goes to War! Other Stuff! Things!

Loki grabs the throne.

Loki with a big honking hat
Can’t rule Asgard without a honkin’ big hat.

The Marvel line-up picks up the pace in April of 1970. We’ve only got nine comics to look at here, and a good half of them are very rewarding reads. It’s a great month if you’re a fan of Jack Kirby’s Asgardian adventures, though maybe not so thrilling if you’re looking for some quality Fantastic Four material. Highlights include Dr. Strange’s last hurrah, a nice update on Madam Masque, and the debut of Arkon the Magnificent.

Continue reading “April 1970: Asgard Goes to War! Other Stuff! Things!”

The X-Men Beat a Graceful Retreat From Marvel Unlimited

We’ll struggle on without them for four years

So the X-Men, perennial underdogs of the Marvel lineup, breathed their last – temporarily – in March of 1970. Though the title continued for another 26 issues, those books were filled with reprints. Things turned around at #94, when a fella named Chris Claremont was allowed to start telling new X-Men stories. Let’s take a peek at where Mr. Thomas and the rest of the Bullpen left the mutants before sticking them on ice.

Jean Grey's psychic mojo at work

Continue reading “The X-Men Beat a Graceful Retreat From Marvel Unlimited”

Marvel Rumbles Into March Doldrums

(March of 1970; I’m not implying anything about current events)

Well, this is a pretty rough month to chew through on Marvel Unlimited. There just aren’t a lot of exciting things happening, and title after title falls into the “20 pages of pointless combat” mold. This is an excellent month to consider skipping in its entirety, but let’s see if we can’t pick out a few bright spots worth considering.

The full month’s roster appears after the jump. Continue reading “Marvel Rumbles Into March Doldrums”

Iron Man Confronts Death and Loss

(and also lots of Commies)

The Crimson Dynamo tells it like it is
Crimson Dynamo just tells it like it is.

I don’t know exactly how, but I developed the impression that Tony Stark’s story was mainly happy-go-lucky heroics up until the “Demon in a Bottle” arc. Though I shouldn’t have been, I was surprised to find that everybody’s favorite billionaire playboy weapons designer was actually grappling with Peter Parker levels of angst well before the Bullpen decided to make him an alcoholic. Iron Man #22 is a perfect example. It forces Tony Stark to watch his primary love interest die as a direct result of her relationship with Tony and Iron Man. He’ll feel considerable guilt over this death, and in point of fact he deserves to. Continue reading “Iron Man Confronts Death and Loss”

February Means Death!

While a significant fraction of the Marvel line-up is killing time with generic baddie-beating, Iron Man ups the ante by stone-cold killing folks. (The comic, that is. Iron Man himself isn’t killing people. But people are dying!) February of 1970 is a pretty quiet time for Marvel, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that there’s nothing worth reading there!

We’ll get started with the full roster of comics after the jump.

Continue reading “February Means Death!”

Reed Richards Cures Bruce Banner

Will Banner get permanent control? (No. The answer is no.)

Hulk ready for operationIt’s time for Reed Richards to start putting that big brain to use for constructive purposes. That always works out well! Thanks to 1970 Marvel editorial policy, you won’t be lost if you decide to pick this book up without reading Incredible Hulk #122. That issue isn’t too bad on its own – it features the Hulk beating up a train. The Incredible Hulk closes out 1969 being subdued by the Fantastic Four and strapped into some classic Richards gizmos. That’s where our story opens…

Continue reading “Reed Richards Cures Bruce Banner”