Another 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!
Really it’s because Odin has the Universe’s Worst Guards.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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”
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.
Will Banner get permanent control? (No. The answer is no.)
It’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…
So, if I continue showcasing one comic per week (or less) I will actually fall further and further behind the present day, making this blog a literally endless production. While that doesn’t sound too bad, I want to move faster.
For one thing, while the last few comics I’ve talked about here are from 1965, my semi-chronological reading has taken me all the way up to 1970. So! Let’s just skip ahead to there.
As usual, we have a healthy chunk of six-month-delayed modern titles. Civil War II is really ramping up.
Notable titles: Vote Loki is kicking off, hurray! Also there’s a new infinite comic in the “Year of Marvels” series, and those are always enjoyable.
In the older titles, we get some much-need infill for early issues of Spider-Woman from 1978.
The other big release is a pile of Nick Fury comics from the late eighties and early nineties. That’s good, but make sure you scroll all the way to the end of the “new this week” list to see the real prize – a sweet issue of Steranko’s Nick Fury title from way back in 1968.