Sunday, 17 November 2019

The Mighty Isis #7. Feel the Fangs of the Serpent King!

The Mighty Isis #7, Isis in chains as she is menaced by a giant snake summoned by an ancient Egyptian wizard
There was a time, long ago, when you could say you were a big fan of Isis without fearing the CIA were going to monitor all your phone calls from now on.

And that time was the 1970s when the heroine of that name was on our TV screens and in our comics.

She was like Wonder Woman but Egyptian instead of Greek, and obscure instead of iconic.

Granted when I say, "Our," I don't remember her ever being on my TV screen but I did, at least, experience her comic book incarnation, as I had a massive two issues of her mag.

Thinking about it, two issues was quite a lot, as the book only lasted for eight before folding.

Filled with the magic of Ancient Egypt, fully embracing bondage and supported by its own TV show, why did such a book fail? Why?

There's only one way to find out and that's to revisit the earliest of those two issues I possessed.

The Mighty Isis #7, Serpenotep, free at last!
Fresh from having dealt with some threat to humanity, the mighty Isis is floating around the skies, woodland and cities of America, worrying about who she really is and why she keeps being rude to people, when Rick Mason, friend of her alter-ego Andrea Thomas, decides to investigate from where this mysterious heroine came.

So, he goes to the local museum and reads up on her, discovering, via a parchment, that she's probably the reincarnation of a young woman who once helped a benign wizard defeat Serpenotep the evil sorcerer who'd briefly taken over the land of the Nile.

The only problem is that, having worked all that out, Rick decides to totally ignore the parchment's warning to never say out loud a deadly phrase it contains, and the next thing he knows, he's been possessed by Serpenotep who's been lurking inside a nearby model pyramid for a few thousand years.

Admittedly, on the cover, it says one thousand years, meaning he was imprisoned in 977 AD, which suggests a little more research might have been needed from whoever worded the cover.

The Mighty Isis #7, Snake bondage
Suitably liberated, Serpenotep sets out to get his revenge on Isis, for trapping him in the model, and sets about turning innocent people into snakes.

Needless to say, our heroine isn't standing for that kind of nonsense and it's not long before she and her foe are conducting a battle of wits in the museum, one she wins, thanks to her knowing more about vacuums than he knows about plastic.

However, as she departs with Rick, she does so unaware that Serpenotep has control of his body and that Rick's mind is now trapped in the model pyramid.

Well this all sounds fine, so, why did it fail?

I think the fairly obvious answer is it's all far too low-key. Isis spends all her time, between fights, either fretting over her true nature or being haughty with mortals. She's nothing like as bad as the Silver Surfer but, then again, her agonising doesn't have anything like the same emotional content as his did. While he was always wracked with anguish over his psychological crises, she's just sort of a bit mopey about them.

The Mighty Isis #7, shatters her plastic cage
There's also a problem that she seems to have no direct emotional link to her supporting cast of three characters, even though one of them is her mother, another is the man who loves her and the final one is her oldest enemy. They might as well be strangers for all the difference it makes.

On the plus side, her self-questioning and sense of alienation does seek to develop her more as a character than I would have expected from a spin-off of a Saturday morning children's TV show. It just doesn't develop her in a way that's particularly compelling.

In the end, writer Jack C Harris and artists Mike Vosburg and Frank Chiarmonte have given us a competent but workmanlike comic whose protagonist doesn't really engage us. There's nothing actively bad about the tale but there's nothing that makes you particularly want to find out what happens next either.

Ultimately, it all feels a bit depressed. Imagine Marvin the Paranoid Android created a comic. That's sort of what we've got here.

The Mighty Isis #7, people being turned into snakes


Charlie Horse 47 said...

I have it on good authority that Isis was actually inspired by Donovan's Jennifer Juniper.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - Nice review! I love you introduce us to some DC!

ISIS would have been a subject better suited to Charlton Comics?

During those months of non-existent distribution in the 70s, I would have perhaps bought a Charlton Isis( vs. a DC Isis) in desperation of a comic fix and the emotional bump from a non-Marvel/DC comic.

Anonymous said...

Isis seems very DC to me, although you have to wonder about the editorial thinking going on behind launching a new female superhero when they seemed to be unsure about what to do with Wonder Woman and Supergirl.
I suppose that was the power of a tv tie-in.

The only Isis story I ever read was her first appearance in Shazam #25, by Denny O'Neil and Dick Giordano, which wasn't too bad.
At that time those two were the best people DC had for a comic like this so its a shame they didn't get to continue with the series (not that I'm in any position to judge a comic I haven't read, but your reviews are usually spot on Steve, so I'm going to assume this one is too).


Killdumpster said...

Okay, I'm getting my Stan Lee carnival barker going on...

Hey, True Believers!" Remember the fun & excitement of getting something in the mail? Well... Announcing...

The FREE! Friends of Steve Does Comics HOLIDAY GIFT PACK!! You get:

Bernie Wrightson Hologram FRANKENSTEIN promo card!

SILVER SURFER foil Comics Image promo card!!

The complete ISIS television series on all-region DVD!!!

PLUS: A MYSTERY DVD, that you yourself get to format to your preforance!!!! Serials, Superheroes, Horror, Exploitation, Cowboys, etc. YOUR CHOICE!!!

Email your mailing address to:
k*i*l*l*d*u*m*p*s*t*e*r*@*g*m*a*i*l*.*c*o*m. Just deplete/ disregard the asterisks'.

No spam or mailing lists. Only wanting to share a little holiday love with brothers who put up with my pissed ass.

Killdumpster said...

Let me be be a socialist. Just this once. Lol.

Killdumpster said...

In the ISIS television series the actress' sidekick was a crow/raven. I've read that she hated that bird. I guess it constantly pecked at her while filming.

Killdumpster said...

I remeber hen I was a kid, my farm buddies had a pet crow. Joe the Crow was his name, lol!

If you lifted your arm and called his name, he'd fly down and land on it, especially if you had a treat for him. That was cool.

One day my littlest sister was with us, and he did a full-blown Hitchcock "The Bird's" on her head! She had a shiny hair clip on, and that feathered bastard was going to get it.

All us kids fought to get him off her. It was like a scene from Day Of The Animals. My buddies' grandfather came out and knocked him off with a piece of wood. The bird didn't come back for a week.

When he apparently died, they found his stash/nest/den. He was flying into their windows stealing anything glittery, including family jewelry.

Anonymous said...

I heard this program on NPR, maybe Science Friday, which is a great program, about how diabolically intelligent crows are. They are the Lex Luthors of the bird world.
They're so intelligent they have...personality quirks.
And I saw them crows at the Tower of London.
If crows got organized, we'd have a problem.
And they COULD get organized if they wanted, probably.
I was attacked by one once whilst jogging. For no reason! I took of like a stripe-assed ape to get away from that evil thing.
So watch out.


Killdumpster said...

Steve, oh my brother.
I didn't think that I may have put this site "on the radar". I'll do a disclaimer:

NOTHING BAD HERE, GENTS!! We're just talking about a cartoon character!!!

Wow. Amazing how 1984 Big Brother satellite servailance can touch off some paranioa.

Heh. Wonder if we're all getting screened right now.

Killdumpster said...

MP, outside of my sister's attack, I had a minor crow incident myself.

I was hiding out in a wooded area (it's a long story) next to a cemetery. Was there for three days. The last morning I woke up and all the trees were LOADED with crows, cawing away.

A few of them landed next to me as I was wrapped up in a sleeping bag. Then about 6 landed on me! Guess they thought I was dead, thus fair game.

Killdumpster said...

After my "crow rant" I popped in Hitch's The Birds. Though the dated efx are noticeable on blu-ray, it still has quite a punch.

Anonymous said...

They always go for the head.
I saw something wild back in September. I walk in this park which is outside of town, right, It's really kind of a nature preserve. There's these old quarries that are now ponds that are filled with all kinds of critters, turtles, frogs, geese, ducks, sandpipers, you name it. A lizard once. I've seen every bug imaginable and four different kinds of snakes. A lot of original prairie grass and trees. Just beautiful. I suspect there's mammals that come out at night. I've seen hawks and deer, and a weird black thing once that paused to look at me and then slunk into the tall grass.
Anyway, I'm be-bopping down the trail not thinking about much of anything, when something lightening fast shoots across the path right in front of me, at about knee level. About five feet or so in front of me. I nearly peed myself. I have never seen anything move that fast. I caught a split-second glimpse of a frog to my left and then that frog was gone. What was left was the long tail of what I think was a Prairie Garter Snake. Not a regular little black garter snake, like you see in the yard sometimes. Prairie garters are more grey or brown and can get three feet long. I've seen those big bastards before.
Usually snakes take off when a human's around, but this snake didn't give a damn that I was standing there with my mouth open. Its tail was sticking out of the tall brush, a good foot and a half of it, twisting and trashing. I couldn't see the head, but I could hear that frog yelping. I didn't know frogs yelped, but apparently they do. And that snake was working on it.
I couldn't see what was going on because of the tall grass, and I wasn't gonna stick my head down in there to take a look, either. I've been bitten before. But that that awful twisting and trashing of the bottom half of that snake reminded me of something out of Ray Harryhausen. Like maybe the Gorgon after the head got cut off.
Yeeikes. M.P. needed a good belt when he got home.


Steve W. said...

KD, The Birds is nothing. Only The Birds II captures the true terror of our avian friends.

MP, it is one of the great regrets of my life that I've never encountered a snake in the wild.

Sean, as you know, I never hesitate to judge comics I've never read. It's a noble art.

Charlie, I always loved Charlton Comics. I think they appealed to my love of a plucky underdog.

Killdumpster said...

Steve, I really never heard anything good about Birds II, but I am going to keep an eye out for it now. It's got to be better than BIRDEMIC, which I saw on Riff Trax. What a hilarious atrocity.

MP & Steve, as I grew up in the sticks, my encounters with snakes are innumerable. I had bales of garter snakes and black snakes as "pets" in aquariums, which I caught growing up.

Rattle snakes were very prevalent in western Pennsylvania in the 60's-80's. I came across them at least 3 dozen times. Amazingly I was never bit. Had close calls though.

Charlton comics was an infrequent addition on the magazine rack of our 1/2 horse town's general store, but they appeared more so than DC & Marvel titles. Usually all that was available was Harvey & Archie.

Charlton's horror & heroes were just enough to aleave my comics "Jones", lol.

Their Hercules comic was completely horrible, though.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I just heard a science program on NPR. It was in context of “planet of the apes” scenarios. The scientist said not to worry about apes, but about birds. They are far more intelligent and aggressive. Plus they can fly and we can’t. There’s all kinds of Youtube stuff of Crow’s doing intelligent stuff, making tools, etc.

Charlie as .50 cal anti-aircraft guns mounted on the roof and is ready for the apocalypse.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

It was one of those father-son Indian Guides fishing things on a Saturday morning. Though we lived next to Lake Michigan we were to fish in the muddy Deep River after a severe rain the night before. As we stood next to the river a big Cottonmouth Snake swam by and had a rat in its mouth. This is the world’s only semi-aquatic viper and highly poisonous. I then got to see a stringer full of Bullheads and Catfish one of the more adept father-son teams had caught. Since then, rivers have fascinated me! As in… don’t swim there, LOL.

KD! IF you go on about how SJWs forced Indian Guides to change their name to Adventure Scouts I'm gonna come and kick your ass, lol.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to Kd, Charlie, at least his mates didn't call their pet crow Jim.


Redartz said...

Back in the day, I never saw an episode of Isis, nor ever had a comic (and yes, for any organization monitoring, I'm referring to the comic character; honest). But I found her more interesting than her television contemporary, Shazam.

Don't have any bird stories, but snakes: yes. I grew up in a neighborhood that sat along a river and narrow strip of woods. One summer afternoon several pals and I decided, in our teenage wisdom, to roll some big logs down to the river and ride them downstream. All was well, until several minutes after we had all 'set sail', someone spotted a Water Moccasin (another of those semi-aquatic snakes) swimming our way. You never in your life saw five kids make it to the riverbank in such short time.
Incidentally, that snake was not the only hazard in that river. More frequently we encountered "crawdads", or crayfish to the non-Hoosiers out there. Some were as big as a lobster, and those pinchers could HURT...

Anonymous said...

These are cool stories.
You can spend a lotta time in the outdoors and not see anything out of the ordinary, then on occasion you see something pretty wild.
A while back my brother saw what was apparently a badger courtship ritual.
Like me, he doesn't hunt. He just drives around the back roads at night in his pickup drinking beer (in moderation) and listening to classic rock.


Killdumpster said...

One time after dirt-bike riding in a strip mine, my buddy & I took a break to fire up a doobie.

We heard growling noises coming out a nearby gully. Slowly walking to the edge we saw a couple little black bear cubs playing.

We watched them for about 10 minutes, then I whispered to my pal, "I wonder where the mother is."

We slowly went back to our bikes, and got the hell out of there.

Killdumpster said...

It's amazing how quiet a good size bear can move. We weren't taking any chances.

Killdumpster said...

Lol! That's funny, Sean.

Seriously though, guys, I'm really not that backwards conservative.

Killdumpster said...

Redartz, the Pennsylvania Game Commission claims that we don't have water moccasins here in PA. There's alot of folks that disagree.

Though we've had a resurgence of the bobcat population, they also deny that there are cougars/mountain lions here

My father & mother claimed they saw one roaming a field next to their camp.

Killdumpster said...

Man, this post almost turned into an episode of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, lol.

Now I wonder who are everyone's favorite animal-based heroes/villians.

Anonymous said...

It did cross my mind after posting the comment that joke might well have been a bit close to the line Kd, so thats good you took it in the spirit it was intended.
I'll be better behaved in future.


Killdumpster said...

Sean, we're cool-as-ice, oh my brother.

I really thought it was a howl, through.

I think, since we're a little older, we all may have thicker skin.

Plus I've learned you can get light abrasion on. Lol.

Killdumpster said...

Since Steve is either occupied, or concocting another thought-provoking post.. I ask you, oh my brothers...

Who are your favorite top 5 animal-based ( by name or DNA) heroes/villains? The reasons would be a plus. Mine are:

1) The Beast.
Thought he was great in the OG X-Men. I asked my parents what words meant in the text so much I got a dictionary for Christmas.

Loved the Amazing Adventure series, not so much his "class-clown" stint in Avengers.

2) Werewolf By Night.
When the art was good, as well as the writting, it was a fun book.

3) Ant-Man

4) The Wasp (appropriately)

5) Wolverine (maybe)

Keep in mind I'm thinking Marvel characters, and half-in-the-bag.

Villians would be a whole lot easier.

Killdumpster said...

As an after thought, Spidey & the Black Widow should've been there.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hello Chaps!

KD - it's funny - Charlie was going to post a bunch of animal-related comic-questions as well! Let's ride with yours!

B/c Charlie was thinking about this for 40 minutes bombing down the highway this morning he concluded the ONLY animal story he thoroughly enjoyed was in Hogarth's solo version of Tarzan's origin. Tarzan fights both an ape and a lion and a tiger IIRC.

Charlie thinks the battles were really well drawn, exciting, and plausible.

Juxtapose that on say Super and Bat dogs, cats, monkeys, horses, ponies, unicorns, or 1960s gorilla mania, or Superman vs. a Lion...

(And, should Charlie find some spare pesos, he will buy Hogarth's second book based on Sean's recommendation!)

Anonymous said...

My fave animal comic - probably my fave ongoing comic of any kind, actually - is Cerebus.
Kamandi's great too (yes, I know he's not an animal, but theres lots in it), and I suppose I should agree with Charlie on Tarzan seeing as he mentioned me.

Well, thats three off the top of my head. Maybe I'll make it into a top five after sleeping on it.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD - I hate to be picky (Charlie doesn't, but I do!).

Wasp is not an animal! It's an insect.

And Antman is not an animal either!

I mean, we just went through the whole "genre" of villains and heroes for their names/superpowers and clearly (!) delineated among animals and insects and plants and minerals!!!

And is Werewolf really an animal? I mean a Were is old english for Man and wolf is... a wolf! But there is no werewolf that exists per se?

And what the hell is a "beast?" There is no animal called a beast? I mean, it's a general reference to the animal genre but no such animal per se?

Oddly enough the Wolverine IS such an actual animal.

Maybe you want to go with Ox or Kangaroo or Ant Eater or Hornet or Man Bull or Poison Ivy? Villains is much easier.

Dude I suspect you are a wee bit more than half in the bag! LOL! IF I find out you are doing fortified eggnog and listening to the 12 Days of Christmas I'm going to bust a gut!

Anonymous said...

Apparently early on Wolverine was supposed to be an actual wolverine, mutated by the High Evolutionary (but Stan Lee thought that sounded a bit yuck so vetoed the idea before it could be revealed in X-Men).

Amazing how much useless info you can acquire over the course of a lifetime, isn't it?


Steve W. said...

When it comes to animal-based villains, my top five would probably be (in no particular order):

The Vulture
The Rhino
The Lizard
Tiger Shark
Dr Octopus

Killdumpster said...

Well I guess I meant "animal kingdom", meaning mammals/birds/fish/insects.
My fav villains probably are:

The Lizard
The Rhino
The Beetle
Man-Bat (very seldom bought Batman books, but would if he was in it.)

Killdumpster said...

As far as the Beast goes, his original hairy design was more ape-like, maybe with a little werewolf thrown in.

His run in Amazing Adventures was great reading. I was heartbroken when they kicked him out then turned him into a goofball in the Avengers.

Killdumpster said...

And though based on a mythical animal, I dug the early Griffin, before they mutated him.

Killdumpster said...

Charlie, I would've bet even money you would have listed the Gibbon. Lol.

Killdumpster said...

Sean, technically Kamandi could be considered an animal, since he was viewed as such by the supporting characters.

Killdumpster said...

Oh man, I just remembered two awful Captain America villains, the Armidillo & the Slug!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I think it noteworthy in many ways that 4 of 5 of Steve's villains were Spider Man's key villains.

"Animals" are/were an obvious venue for creating villains! Once animals, plants, and minerals were exhausted the creativity (creating new characters / villains) sort of dried up; it was inevitable.

I would add The Mole Man to Steve's list. THe dude and his saucer-eyed mninions had potential! And frankly, it seemed plausible to a kid that there could be life under the surface of the earth. I mean, there are worms, moles, ants, bunnies, badgers, etc. living underground!

Killdumpster said...

Yeah, Charlie, The Mole Man could be a pain in the butt for almost every Marvel hero. If he was more brutal, he may even be unstoppable.

I'm not surprised by the amount of Spidey villains. Ditko/Lee did a great job on his rogues' gallery.

Killdumpster said...

It wouldn't be hard for me to come up with 10-20 animal villains. Then again, I guess my standards maybe low. Always happy to see Porcupine & Eel.

I'd have a hard time with nominating Leap-Frog, though.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hmmm... given you have Leap-Frog anxiety how do you feel about Toad?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

And not so incongruentally, I would add Kraven the Hunter!

Killdumpster said...

The Toad would never be in my top list, Charlie. Frog-Man from Ani-Men would top him.

You gotta admit, Kraven is kinda "anti" animal.

I can imagine, if he were a real person, showing off his conquests on Facebook. There would be such a monumental onslaught on him that he'd go into hiding. He'd get spanked harder than any heroes ever did to him.

Redartz said...

Hmmmmm, animal heroes? Batman (what, nobody named him yet?), Black Panther, Hellcat. And going with KD's animal kingdom limitation, Spiderman and Blue Beetle.

Animal villains? Lizard, Dr. Octopus, The Octopus (the Spirit's arch nemesis), Catwoman, Black Cat (yes, I know the last two are almost interchangeable)

Killdumpster said...

It's amazing, seeing that quite a few folks like the Lizard, that Hollywood managed to screw him up so bad in that 2nd reboot of the franchise.