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Flashback: Review of Amazing Spider-Man 228 (May 1982) June 30, 2008

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In Flashback, LOTRKing reviews a random back issue (in most instances, one he hasn’t read before) and attempts to make sense of both the story and its place in Marvel history.

It’s two for two, as this week’s featured flashback was also a fairly enjoyable issue. What we get this time around is a classic Spidey story infused with a good old-fashioned murder mystery (not a “whodunit” type, but still it had a similar feel). It starts with Spider-Man being mysteriously drawn to an old mansion, in which lives a reclusive old man. Finally indulging his curiousity, Peter looks in and sees the man alone, eating his supper. Confused as to what has drawn him there, Peter leaves and soon runs into a street fight that he decides to break up. However, an unexplainable rage quickly comes over him, and he severely beats the fighters. Soon realizing what he has done, Peter makes a hasty exit.

The next day, Peter learns that the old man he had seen last night had been bitten to death by a horde of spiders, and naturally, JJJ is quick to blame Spider-Man. Once Peter learns about this, he decides to investigate, realizing that his own strange actions from the previous night might be related. From here, Peter becomes a “Spider-Sleuth,” and we are presented with several hints and mysterious scenes of our own, before we finally get some real answers. (I semi-figured out the mystery myself, but I was still kept guessing until the cause was revealed.)

We finally learn that an unemployment scientist/inventor had created devices to first lure spiders to a certain location (namely the victim), and then become enraged (causing the attack), and had sold them to various shady characters. As Spider-Man attempts to capture the inventor, he uses a device to nullify his Spider-Sense, and seemingly lures Spider-Man into an “explosive trap.” I’ll admit, even I was amazed that Peter survived until he revealed his own trick. This second “mini-mystery” was a great way to end it. Of course, Spidey eventually captures the inventor and turns him into the police, thus ending an entertaining, standalone issue. While this isn’t by any means one of the best Spider-Man issues out there, it was a lot of fun, and anyone who enjoys Spider-Man and murder mysteries may as well take a look at this if they ever get the chance.

Next week: Avengers 51

-LOTRKing

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Casual Saturdays: Where Things Stand June 28, 2008

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Well, the year’s (almost) half over, and seeing as how it’s been a few months since I did one of these posts, I thought I’d take the time to assess my current views on the Marvel Universe. Sometime this week (assuming I have time) I’m going to send an email to Marvel letting them know what I think, it will essentially say the same, or similar things in this post. (I will also ask for subscriptions to be available for Avengers: The Initiative!)

Secret Invasion: Three issues in, and we’ve had three big reveals: Spider-Woman, Yellowjacket, and Jarvis are all Skrulls! Bendis has been handling the story extremely well, and I can’t wait to see where he goes with it. Surprising to myself, I’ve also actually enjoyed Yu’s art in SI (though it still needs improvement). Who else might be a Skrull? Luke Cage, but I’m guessing he doesn’t know it, and will be heart broken when he finds out.

Fantastic Four: Millar/Hitch’s first arc was more than satisfying, and judging by the first issue of their second arc, it looks to be ten times more awesome! I love that Millar makes this series about the characters, not their adventures. And I love the way the Hitch draws Sue! What is there not to be happy about? 😉 Fantastic Four is one of favorite monthlies, and one of my three “must reads.” (In other words, if you’re not reading it, pick it up immediately!)

Silver Surfer/Nova: I’m reading the current arc of Nova, simply because is features ol’ Norrin Radd, and boy is it spectacular. (Reviews can be found here and here, the second review isn’t mine though.) I’m hoping what with the success of SS: Requiem and SS: In Thy Name, that if these three issues of Nova see a spike in readers, Marvel may consider giving Norrin his own ongoing again (finally!), or at least another mini-series (which could then lead to an ongoing). What with both Annihilation events, Nova, and Guardians of the Galaxy reinvigorating Marvel’s cosmic line, what better way to add to this corner of the MU by launching an ongoing for Marvel’s most famous Sentinel of the Spaceways?

Amazing Spider-Man: This is the most disappointing series that I am currently reading. Occasionally we get a glimpse of an issue that is wonderful, but it seems that the next is always a let down. Also, any regular readers know that I am very opposed to the dissolution of the marriage, and I still think that it can be reinstated, and we could still have spectacular Spidey stories. If Marvel has a greatest flaw right now, this is it. (Though I won’t lie, the upcoming “New Ways to Die” arc looks awesome.)

Mighty Avengers and New Avengers: This should be two groups, but seeing as how these two are simply telling back stories of Secret Invasion right now, these series serve the same purpose. While I enjoy the stories that have been presented thus far, I really wish Bendis would have made them a separate mini-series, like Secret Invasion: Origins, or something. One, that would let casual readers know that these stories are essential to Secret Invasion, and not “just another tie-in.” I mean, the Skrull queen posing as Spider-Woman was revealed in an issue of New Avengers, for goodness sake! These things are really too important to leave out of Secret Invasion. Likewise, I really want a good Avengers story fix. Mighty Avengers only gave us two quick arcs to meet the team, before diving straight into SI, and as enjoyable as SI is, I really want these series to get back to more adventures of their perspective teams ASAP.

Avengers: The Initiative: I think yesterday’s review of issue 14 sums up my feelings on this series. This is another one of my three must reads. Pick it up as soon as you get the chance (and ask Marvel to offer subscriptions to it!)

Captain America: Brubaker continues to weave a web of genius plot lines. With last month’s reveal of who the “Bad Cap” is and next month looking to have the “New Cap” vs. “Bad Cap” fight, along with the promise of a conclusion in September, this series continues to be an extremely entertaining read, and I can’t wait to see what Brubaker does with James after the conclusion of this monumental story line.

Thor: First, I have to admit to slight disappointment, as this series seems to have slipped onto a bimonthly schedule. Still, it is worth the wait. Thor is mythic stories infused with humor, and packed with a surprising amount of characterizations as only J. Michael Straczynski can do. Thor might just be Marvel’s best ongoing, and therefore is the final one of my three must reads. If you aren’t reading this, you are missing out, big time.

Invincible Iron Man: Two issues in, and I’m loving it! Matt Fraction is doing a brilliant job introducing new Iron Man fans to his current status quo, and keeping it plenty entertaining for regular comic book readers. My hope is that Fraction can reinvigorate this character like Brubaker with Cap or JMS with Thor, and if the first two issues are any indication, he just may succeed. If you loved the movie, you should probably be reading this.

Uncanny X-Men: Messiah Complex: Awesome. Divided We Stand: Mehh. Manifest Destiny: ??? While this last storyarc has been a bit underwhelming (note to future comic book writers: don’t use hippies), the dream team of Brubaker, Fraction, and Cary, along with the monumental issue 500 leaves me with high hopes for what is coming next.

Well, those are my current opinions, we’ll check back with another “Where Things Stand” in a few months! See you on Monday with a Flashback!

-LOTRKing

Review of Avengers: The Initiative 14 (4.5 stars) June 27, 2008

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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

With issue 13 being mediocre at best, and the original cast graduating in issue 12 (c’mon, you know you miss Cloud 9 already), I was really worried about where this series was going to go. Such worries look to be in vain. This issue takes the awesomeness from the earlier WWH tie-ins, and then steps it up a notch. Much like recent issues of Mighty and New Avengers, the story opens by giving us full light on many of “Hank Pym’s” actions. We learn that he used Super-Skrull abilities to survive his two recent near death experiences, not his lame “I shrunk real small” excuse. It also seems that he was indeed opposed to the creation of the “MVPeople.”

From here, the story shifts to Camp Hammond’s other resident Skrull (at least, the only other one we know of), as Crusader makes a rather odd lunch choice. For those who haven’t been following this series, Crusader is a Skrull who has defected from his people and wants to live on Earth as a superhero. He does not know anything about the current Skrull invasion, he has not told anyone about his true nature, and uses his ultra-powerful “Freedom Ring” to keep from being detected. When he sees that “Hank” has made the same peculiar cuisine choice (pickles mixed with strawberries, apparently it is reminiscent of a favorite Skrull dish), he knows that Hank must also be a Skrull. But before we can see how he acts on this newfound knowledge, the story moves onward once again.

The new 3-D Man, introduced as a graduate in issue 12, arrives in Hawaii to lead that state’s chapter of the Initiative: the Point Men. But before he left, he was bequeathed a gift from the original 3-D Man: the original 3-D Man suit, which includes goggles that can see Skrulls in their true form. Swapping these goggles for his own, he meets the rest of the Point Men, only to discover that member “Magnitude” is nothing but a Skrull spy. Upon revealing this, a battle results which injures two members of the Point Men, before Devil-Slayer enters and together, he and 3-D Man are able to “slay” the Skrull. (Okay, bad pun, sorry.) (By the way, anyone else become an instant fan of Devil-Slayer in this scene?) Devil-Slayer elects to remain behind and look after the injured teammates, but 3-D Man insists on travelling to Camp Hammond to sound the alarm on the invasion. Devil-Slayer uses his cloak to open an interdimensional portal to send him there.

Meanwhile, back in Stamford, Crusader continues to struggle with what to do about Hank. He is unaware of how to expose Hank’s true nature without revealing his own. As 3-D Man appears, his first warning is “We’ve been invaded!” With the knowledge that the original 3-D Man had Skrull detecting goggles, Crusader is terrified of being discovered, and in a hasty decision, decides he must use the Freedom Ring to interfere with the goggles. In a flash of light, 3-D Man is knocked down, and as he looks up, he sees that he is surrounded by Initiative cadets and staff … all Skrulls. This moment made me jump back in my seat. It’s like when you’re watching a movie, and the hero makes a really stupid choice, and you wanna yell at the screen even though he can’t hear you. I realize that Crusader wanted to protect himself, but if he’s just interfered with the only way of detecting the invading Skrulls, he may have just unintentionally doomed Earth.

This issue has been my favorite Secret Invasion tie-in so far, and has once again proved that A:TI is one of the three best books that Marvel puts out monthly (the other two being Fantastic Four and Thor, of course!) It could be real easy for a book so full of obscure and new characters to be confusing, but Slott and Gage juggle them around and make them likable as easily as if they were tying their shoes. Not mention that Caselli gives each one of them a very distinct look. I could go on for an entire post about how awesome this series is. If there is anyone not reading this, this is the perfect jumping on point, take it! And I’d highly advise getting 1-12 in TPB, ‘cause those stories were also purely awesome. Seriously, get in on this series (and write a letter to Marvel, asking them to allow subscriptions to this already!)

-LOTRKing

Review of The Twelve 6 (3.5 stars) June 26, 2008

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Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This series really seems to be slowing down, the last few issues have all been the same thing: we learn more about the characters, but nothing major happens. While these characters are extremely interesting, and Straczynski is to be praised for bringing life to one-dimensional sixty-year-old characters, I really wish he advance the story just a bit more. Consider for a moment that this series is half over. We still do not have a villain, no further information has been given on Blue Blade’s foreshadowed death, and Electro is still inactive. So far, this has been all foreshadowing and no “come to pass”ing. If this were LOST, it’d be like getting to the season finale of season three, but knowing nothing more than what had been learned in season one. (In other words, it would have taken three seasons just to open “the hatch.”)

Nonetheless, these characters still save the series from falling apart, because they are so darn fascinating. In this one issue, we see the strength and resilience of Laughing Mask as he fearlessly faces the horrors of prison. We learn the reason that Black Widow isn’t interested in Phantom Reporter may not have to do with her “line of work,” but rather she may not “like boys.” Conversely, Dynamic Man who dropped more than one hint that he may “like boys” stumbles into a gay bar and is extremely offended when its patrons get a bit too playful. We see more foreshadowing as Master Mind Excello calls Phantom Reporter and warns of something ominous on the horizon. Captain Wonder still has yet to cope with his situation, and is lost in his work. Blue Blade’s television acts are being panned. And perhaps the most interesting of all, we finally learn that Rockman’s origin is not how he told it, rather he lived in a mining town which saw a tragedy, killing all of its inhabitants, except him because he gained his powers in the process. The loss of his beloved wife and daughter drove him mad, and caused him to believe his earlier told tale of “Abyssia.” I also have to comment here, in addition to Weston’s continually astounding artwork, I loved how every frame in Rockman’s “true” origin story echoed the artwork from his “imaginary” origin story. Finally, at the very end, Phantom Reporter, experiencing writer’s block for the first time, and frustrated with the fact that he has no powers, decides to once again fight crime and prove himself.

So as you can see, we get more extremely good characterization. I just wish Straczynski would hurry up and move the story forward, and the upcoming publishing delays don’t improve my mood. I’m fairly certain that I’ll just wait to get the last six issues as a TPB. So if you don’t see a review of issue seven here in August, you’ll know why. However, I will continue to review this series at WCBR, regardless of whether or not I continue to buy the individual issues. My recommendation: to anyone who absolutely loves this series, keep picking it up. To anyone who feels it is slowing down, like myself, pick up this issue and wait for 7-12 in TPB. To anyone who is interested in this series, but is not yet reading it, buy 1-6 in TPB when it comes out in September, and 7-12 in TPB when the series is over.

-LOTRKing

Review of New Avengers 42 (3.5 stars) June 25, 2008

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Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This issue, while extremely vital to the Secret Invasion storyline, and very informative, could have been better. I can’t really think how though, it just feels as if something was missing. Perhaps it was the lack of any major reveals. Sure, we learned exactly when Jessica Drew was replaced (during her “operation” to regain her powers, which was a Skrull ruse all along) which is something that I’ve been wondering for quite some time. This is followed by some very cool art as Veranke “becomes” Spider-Woman for the first time. We also learn that the Skrulls staged the Raft breakout, in order to ensure the escape of Sauron and the Silver Samurai, though this latter detail could have been very easily guessed once we learned that Secret Invasion tied in with the first New Avengers arc. Indeed, once I learned of the tie-in, I assumed it was a given that the Skrulls hired Electro, and I was right (big surprise).

The unintentional part, of course, was the formation of the New Avengers, which the Skrull’s hadn’t planned on. Still, this seems to help their cause more than hinder it, as it allows the Empress of the Skrull Empire to not only spy on, but be a part of, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. (I’m also assuming that Jarvis was replaced either during or shortly after Civil War so the Avengers Tower could still have a spy. This also accounts for Jarvis and Aunt May developing romantic feelings for each other, though with the OMD/BND retcon, this may no longer have happened.)

The most interesting aspect comes toward the end, as we see the one thing the Skrulls could have never planned for: House of M. The issue ends with the “big white flash” that started it all focused on Veranke/Jessica. I’m intrigued to see how they handle this next issue. After all, in Wanda’s Mutant Utopia, how does a Skrull Invasion fit in? And, if my memory serves me correctly, which it likely may not, wasn’t “Jessica” the one who was skeptical about changing the world back because this might be “how mutants become the dominant species.” (Or was she the one who made the analogy and said “we shouldn’t try to stop the bomb after it has gone off”?) Either way, assuming that Jessica was also a Skrull, why would she want the House of M to stay intact? Surely, Earth would be much harder to conquer if it was full of mutants? Didn’t she say earlier in this issue that the current number of mutants was threatening enough?

While this may not have been the most entertaining Secret Invasion tie-in, the story was still essential, and the storytelling was fairly well done, after all, it was written by Bendis. Besides, next issue looks to be much better, so you have two factors making this a must read. One small complaint on the art: while montage at the beginning looked really cool, did anyone else notice that everyone had the same face? Heck, Jessica and Madame Hydra standing side by side looked like twins. Likewise, Tony Stark and Wolverine looked exactly the same except for their facial hair. Mehh, at least Jim Cheung’s New Avengers art is more pleasing to look at than Leinil Yu’s was.

-LOTRKing

Flashback: Review of Fantastic Four 124 (July 1972) June 23, 2008

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In Flashback, LOTRKing reviews a random back issue (in most instances, one he hasn’t read before) and attempts to make sense of both the story and its place in Marvel history.

Finally, for the first time in Flashback, I can say that I fully enjoyed this issue! (Perhaps the fact that Stan Lee wrote it has something to do with that. 😉 ) It wastes no time setting up the story as the very first panel shows Reed fainting and falling out of the Fantasti-Car. The next few pages show the FF trying to saving Reed and themselves (they’ve lost control of the Fantasti-Car) before they finally succeed and take Reed to the hospital. Upon entering the plot thickens as we hear a nurse raving about how she saw a monster break into the medical supplies room. The other nurses try to tell her that she must have been sleeping and dreaming, but we later find out, since this is a comic book after all, that it actually happened.

After we get an obligatory humorous scene involving the Thing (a necessary piece of an FF issue, right?), we see him step into the supply room in question, before being knocked down by an escaping shadowy figure. The mysterious creature then kidnaps Sue, using chloroform to make her unconscious. This quickly leads to a chase as Johnny flies after them, but the monster eventually makes it to a lake, and distracts Johnny by throwing a full grown tree at several nearby pedestrians. By this time, the monster has disappeared (into the lake unbeknownst to Johnny). As the doctors discover that Reed’s condition is a result of extreme exhaustion, Johnny and Ben regroup and decide to save Sue. Meanwhile, Sue turns herself invisible and the monster, thinking she has escaped, goes to recover her. Finding herself in a deserted cavern, Sue uses a stick to nudge a large boulder out of the way in attempts to escape, only to discover that said boulder was blocking a large surge of water from entering the underwater cave. As the doctors discuss what they should tell Reed about his wife, he wakes up in time to hear about her situation, and tries desperately to escape to save her, while Sue is drowning and laments that she will never see her husband or son again.

For being an over thirty-five year-old story, I was intrigued the whole time. We all know that Stan Lee is a genius, but I think we sometimes fail to forget that even his “non-groundbreaking” stories can still be a great read. Not to mention that John Buscema’s art, while a little dated, is still spectacular. Never once did anything look goofy or cheesy, as can often happen in these old-time comics. Heck, this is the first time doing a Flashback where the ending actually made me care enough to read the next issue to see what happens (and the ending was just as strong as this issue!) So if any of you guys (or gals) are looking for an entertaining old-school Stan Lee Fantastic Four tale, you may as well pick this up! (Along with the next issue, assuming you want to see why Sue doesn’t die, and the story behind the mysterious monster.)

Next week: Amazing Spider-Man 228

-LOTRKing

Casual Saturdays: I Lost the Game June 21, 2008

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WARNING: Today’s post will either cause extreme amusement or extreme annoyance; if you do not wish to risk being extremely annoyed, do not read today’s post.

Right, today I thought I’d take the time out of my life to make you waste some time in your life by teaching you what its players refer to as “The Game.” What is the game, you ask. The game is extremely simply simple, even a child could understand it, and has only three rules which must never be broken (or else you would then be dubbed a “cheater” and cause other players to distrust you in aspects of life beyond the game). The rules are:

1) You are playing the game.
2) Whenever you think about the game, you lose the game.
3) Loss must be announced.

The point of the game is to forget that it exists. There are several variations of the game, and variations of your own may be created, but the three core rules may never be changed. The most popular variation includes a “grace period” in which you cannot lose the game. For example, if I were to think about the game right now, and then say aloud “I lost the game,” I may have a grace period of ten minutes (or five or fifteen, I’ve even once heard of a group of people that played with thirty, but that is too long in my opinion) before I have to announce that I lost the game. This allows me ten minutes to get the game out of my head and stop thinking about it. Grace periods are often employed to prevent infinite losing, simply because if you think about the game and say “I lost the game,” you will likely think about the game again as you are saying it, and will then have to say it again, etc., etc. Another popular variation includes you being “safe” during the grace period if you hear a loss announced. For example, if you are in a room with seven other people who play the game, and one of them says “I lost the game,” rather than then having a chorus of six “I lost the game”s, the other six people would not have to say “I lost the game” unless another one thought about it at the end of the grace period.

No one knows exactly who invented the game, but it is often acknowledged that it originated somewhere at a British university. To give the Brits their proper respect, some believe that the game can only be won if the British Prime Minister announces on national television that he/she has lost the game. This would cause the winning of everyone in the world, but only for their regularly practiced grace period. There are others who say that whenever you are not thinking about the game (and therefore not losing) you are winning. I think this is rubbish. Just because you aren’t losing a game, doesn’t mean that you are winning (whoever thought that up has clearly never played Risk).

Of course, those who have read on this far may find this to being the silliest and most annoying crap they have ever heard. But think of the prank capabilities that come when others know the game. You could give them a glass of water in a paper cup with the words “the game” written on the inside bottom. You could send an email with the words “lose the game” embedded within. You could play a game of hangman in which the message is “lose the game.” Perhaps the most fun part of playing the game is figuring out how to make other people lose. Of course, performing any of these pranks requires you to announce that you lost the game before the person is around, and then accomplish the prank within the grace period.

Well, now that you know about the game, you must always abide by the three rules. You now know about the game, so you are therefore always playing it. Whenever you think about it, you will lose and must announce ASAP that you lost the game, failure to do so will make you a cheater and dishonest in the eyes of other players. But to ensure your enjoyment, teach your friends about the game, they will be eternally grateful! (Or angry, these emotions are sometimes hard to tell apart. 😉 ) Further information about the game can be found at losethegame.com

I lost the game! (Image how many times I had to say that aloud while typing this.)

-LOTRKing

Review of Amazing Spider-Man 563 (3.5 stars) June 17, 2008

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Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

First off, that has got to be the funniest cover. Ever. If you can’t read the captions on the small picture above, click here for a full sized picture.

Gale almost redeems himself this time for the letdown that was last issue. How? This issue was just plain hilarious, that’s how. While I can see how some might find this issue to be cheesy, I thought it was a fresh break in programming to devote a week entirely to laughs. We pick up right where we left off with Spidey in a bar full of villains, the inevitable brawl ensues before the bartender breaks it up, noting that his bar is a safe-haven from cops, and that Spidey definitely is no friend of the cops. Spider-Man quickly gets the info he is looking for as he learns where the Bookie lives (Jersey of all places!)

Cue funniness as Spidey meets the Bookie’s father and learns that the Bookie has been kidnapped by the Enforcers, and is convinced to take the father with him. As the dad and Spidey share all kinds of goofy remarks on the “transit” there, the Enforcers, on Coney Island, hook the Bookie up to various rides in order to “teach him a lesson.” When Spider-Man arrives, various fights result, and we get plenty of classic Spidey humor as all of the characters interact with one another and the story of what is really going on is slowly revealed. This story takes so many twists and turns (like a carnival ride, which I’m assuming was the intent), that it is hard to accurately summarize, but it should be enough to simply say, as I already have, there is plenty here to keep you chuckling. Anyone who needs a good laugh, pick this up.

-LOTRKing

Flashback: Review of Uncanny X-Men 92 (February 1975) June 16, 2008

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In Flashback, LOTRKing reviews a random back issue (in most instances, one he hasn’t read before) and attempts to make sense of both the story and its place in Marvel history.

Marvel’s Silver Age of Comics is an interesting time. Marvel produced many classic stories which would build the foundation for the Marvel Universe that still exists today. There were also several stinkers which are probably not worth being read. Uncanny X-Men 92 is one of those stinkers, and perhaps even more amazing, UXM 92 is during X-Men’s “reprint phase” before X-Men got its reinvigorating reboot with Giant Size X-Men 1, therefore someone thought the material here (originally from UXM 44) was worth re-reading. They were wrong. While this issue does have a few (very few) redeeming qualities, there were way too many bad ones to save it. Therefore I am going to have some fun today and go into total bashing mode. (For those who do not enjoy comic bashing please return tomorrow for our regularly scheduled program).

This issue opens with the X-Men unconscious and captured by Magneto. The Toad (in his hilarious original outfit) rambles on about how wise and perfect Magneto is for accomplishing this task, and I’m personally surprised that we don’t see him kissing Magneto’s feet. The Toad tries to convince Magneto to kill them, but Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who had recently deserted the Avengers and rejoined their father, convince Magneto to simply imprison them in hopes that they might join him. Magneto, though his original plan was to kill them, decides he likes Pietro’s idea and has Toad lock them up. Conveniently enough, Magneto had already designed and buily the perfect imprisonment apparatus for each of them, to ensure they cannot use their powers to escape. (That’s an awful lot of work when you were just gonna kill ‘em anyway.)

Of course, Angel happens to find a laser sitting right outside his cage and uses it to free himself. He is about to free the others, but Cyclops insists that it might be a trap, so Angel should escape and get the Avengers to help. That makes a lot of sense, only not. If Angel can escape without being trapped, the other X-Men should too. Seems to me like Cyclops is just trying to get the rich prep out of their hair. I can just hear it now, “Great, now that Warren is gone, we can free ourselves and not have to deal with him on the way home.”

Anyway, Angel is able to fly away and quickly realizes that he has flown into a storm (cause that is so easy to do, you know), and comes up with the brilliant idea that he should go to the Avengers for help! (You know, that exact idea that Cyclops mentioned earlier? Am I the only one sensing a Timon and Pumbaa moment here?) Eventually the storm tires him out and he decides to rest on a mysterious rock floating in the ocean. Of course, the rock quickly rises to reveal itself to be an island. Warren is intrigued and decides to explore it when he sees a large metal door on a cliff face. He reasons that Magneto probably won’t kill his friends since he is likely to ask them to join him. That’s a pretty big gamble just to satisfy your curiosity if you ask me. “Hey my friends are in grave danger, but they probably won’t be murdered, so I’ll go ahead and explore this groovy island.” It’s no wonder Cyclops secretly wanted to get rid of him.

Upon entering he discovers that it belongs to a now hibernating race of bird-people (who look exactly like Angel, that is, normal looking people but with large white wings). On this Island is a character named Red Raven who caused the hibernation of the bird-men to keep them from attack the rest of earth. (Apparently these couple hundred creatures planned on conquering the “surface dwellers” with inferior technology. Yeah, I don’t get it either.) Red Raven was the infant survivor of a plane crash on the bird-men’s floating island in the sky who was raised as one of their own. Apparently he never realized he wasn’t a bird-man while growing up (you’d think the lack of wings on his back would be a dead give away) and when he finds out his true lineage, he is bent on stopping the bird-man invasion. He uses some emergency system on the island to release a hibernation gas and sink the island to the bottom of the ocean. The downside of this is that the island was programmed to rise twenty years later (which is now) and awaken everyone. Red Raven stayed behind (those must have been a boring twenty years) to ensure that he could reactivate the hibernation process.

After learning this, Angel suggests that Red Raven allows the bird-men to awaken so that scientists can study them and learn the secrets of their race. That’s a real humane decision Warren! Let’s capture these weird people and study their secrets, but don’t do that to mutants, cause its wrong. Yup, Warren’s a jerk. Eventually Red Raven decides that there is still a chance that the bird-men may succeed in conquering Earth (how exactly?), so he knocks Angel out, lets him float in the ocean on a raft, and returns the island to the murky depths for another twenty years. Eventually, Angel wakes up, and suspects he’ll someday run into Red Raven again. (I hope not, if anyone actually followed up on this story, they deserve to be turned into a newt! Unfortunately, they’ll get better.) He then finally flies off to recruit the Avengers and the issue ends. Wow, not only do we get a completely pointless story, readers back then got a pointless wait between seeing the X-Men captured last issue and finally seeing what would happen in the next issue. I’m not even going to touch on the short story reprint from Mystery Tales 30. Let’s just say that the other anthology stories from Amazing Fantasy 15 (you know, the ones not about Spider-Man) are high literature compared to this one. Heck, the rest of this issue is high literature compared to the MT 30 reprint. So if you are looking for a good example of Silver Age absurdity, look no farther that Uncanny X-Men 92, otherwise, avoid it like the plague.

Next week: Fantastic Four 124

-LOTRKing

Casual Saturdays: Reader Feedback Day! June 14, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Other Random Stuff.
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3 comments

This is an automatically posted message since I’m going to be out of town all day. Because of this, “Casual Saturdays” will return next week. But because you have been saved the time of reading a full length post, I want ALL of you, from first time readers to faithful readers, to take that time and tell me what you like and dislike about my blog. It can be two sentences if you want. I’ve been thinking of making changes around here (and I’ve already made a few as you can see), and if you want something to be spared from change or want something to be ensured change, now’s the time to speak up. This is operating on an honor code; I’m trusting you and asking ALL of you to give me advice. (That means YOU!)

As always, thanks for taking time to read my blog, you have no idea how humbling it is to know so many people actually care about what I have to say on a daily basis.

Leave your responses below.

-LOTRKing