Saturday, 18 February 2012

Bring on the Bad Guys.

Bring on the Bad Guys, John Romita cover, Mephisto,GreenGoblin,Dormammu,Abomination,Red Skull,Loki,Stan Lee
Anyone who's ever seen me striding through the aisles of my local Poundland, pushing people aside and declaring, "Out of my way, clod!" knows I've always had a certain leaning towards the villainous.

And so it is that, while Son of Origins might have had my favourite cover of the Marvel Origins books, Bring on the Bad Guys had my favourite contents.

I received it the same Christmas as its two predecessors and still recall the thrill of reading it for the first time.

Fittingly for a man who's arguably Marvel's greatest ever villain, we got two Dr Doom tales; his first ever appearance in the Fantastic Four and then his actual origin.

There was the genesis of the Red Skull in a tale that seemed to go on forever, the origin of the Green Goblin and the creation of the Abomination.

We got the first ever appearance of Dormammu, which was a marvellous thing from Steve Ditko, as Dr Strange entered a weird and disorienting landscape. He met Clea, he met the Mindless Ones, he got a new cape. Most of all he met a villain who was not only more powerful than him but also turned out to have his own brand of morality.

The Loki section was an odd thing, giving us two tales from his childhood and then a Thor story that mostly focused on the first appearance of the Absorbing Man. Given that it was the second half of a two-parter and Loki wasn't even its main villain, it always seemed a strange choice and you'd have thought there were more suitable stories out there they could've used. Still, the sight of Crusher Creel absorbing the power of the Earth itself as he grew to gigantic size was always an appealing one.

It could be argued that having the book feature the Abomination, instead of the Hulk's true arch-foe the Leader was also an odd one but I've always felt the Abomination's first appearance was a far better story than the Leader's, so the choice made sense and did give us a reminder of Gil Kane's stint on the strip.

But the highlight of the book for me was the first appearance of Mephisto. John Buscema's art was a thing of beauty as the Silver Surfer battled the living embodiment of evil itself. I still swear to this day that Mephisto in this tale bore a remarkable facial resemblance to my dad and, despite the tale seeming to be a million pages long, it never outstayed its welcome.

5 comments:

Boston Bill said...

Much more than the heroes, the Villains origins were usually done much better in later issues. I agree that the Dr Strange story was terrific (all Ditko stuff is terrific); but like Mephisto, it was a first appearance rather than an origin. I was fascinated by the whole origins idea, but the concept drifted a bit with this one. I agreed with the notion of putting the Abomination in over the Leader. Ol' Greenjeans was always best when slugging it out with another big bruiser.

So, did you ever complete the 4 and get the Superhero Women?

Kid said...

Your dad had a red face? I've still got my Origins, Son of Origins, Bring on the Bad Guys, and Greatest Superhero Battles. I could've bought Superhero Women, but didn't. Wish I had now. Maybe someday.

Tom Badguy said...

I'm with a lot of Marvel fans in which I feel that Dr. Doom is the best villain.

Steve W. said...

Bill, it's a weird thing but, at the time, I never knew The Superhero Women even existed. It's only in the last few years that I've become aware of it.

The strange thing is there're plenty of plugs for it in the comics that I read as a kid but, somehow, it never seemed to register with me. I do wish I'd had it though.

quims said...

I got my copy of Bring on the bad by sending off a coupon on the back of some Marvel mag or other. I'd sent for both it and Origins but they'd ran out of Origins. I still have the letter signed by "Mail Order Armadillo" dated jan 1978 in with the book.......

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