Sunday 28 June 2020

The New Manhunter in Detective Comics #440. One man's battle with the council.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.

Detective Comics #440, Ghost Mountain Midnight
When I was young, there were a hundred good reasons to read Detective Comics #440.

And every one of those reasons was a page.

But some pages were more reasony than others - and the final seven were the most reasony of them all.

For they were the ones which contained the all-new, all-improved Manhunter.

I say, "all -improved," but, for all I knew, he wasn't anything of the sort, as, up until this issue, I'd never read any tales of the old Manhunter who was, of course, one of DC's stable of Golden Age adventurers.

I did, however, know that - as delivered by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson - Paul Kirk's latest incarnation was a splendid character, armed to the teeth, equipped with a magnificent costume and capable of dealing with any threat life could throw at a man, whether it be tigers, multiple copies of himself or lunatic conspirators.

So, clearly, I loved it in my salad days but what of now?

Detective Comics #440, Manhunter and Christine St Clair
As we join the action, Manhunter and his newly recruited accomplice Interpol agent Christine St. Clair are strolling down a street, for reasons that are never made clear, when her old boss Damon Nostrand tries to run them over. 

That is, of course, no more than a minor inconvenience to our hero who simply stabs Nostrand's car and then sets it on fire, blowing its driver up in the process.

This leads Manhunter to stroll into flashback mode and tell of how the secret organisation known as The Council recruited and trained him to be their assassin and how Nostrand had been the first victim they'd sent him out to kill.

Lest we think too unkindly of The Council, they did, at least, tell our hero of their mission to create a better world and that the removal of men like Nostrand is the only way to achieve it.

But, being a man of conscience, Manhunter had, instead, warned his intended victim - only for it to turn out Nostrand was in on it all and the mission was merely a test of Manhunter's loyalty.

Detective Comics #440, Manhunter and his clones
After a quick battle with his own clones, Manhunter fled the scene and set about arming himself for his new life as an adversary of The Council.

The whole thing is a masterclass in concentrated story-telling as we get through a startling amount of plot and information in just seven pages, without it ever feeling rushed or any element ever feeling perfunctory. In fact, it really does feel like a twenty-page story until you make the effort to count the pages.

Detective Comics #440, Manhunter meets the man from the Council
Everything about the thing works. Manhunter is a kind of dark Captain America, a 1940s one-man army revived in the modern world and having to find a new course for himself in this brave new era. The Council are sinister, grotesque and pathetic, a bunch of old men on life support, trying to reinvent humanity, and the fact that Paul Kirk is a man at war with an army of his own clones is a stroke of genius. Why on Earth have they not made a movie of this?

What did quickly strike me, re-reading it for the first time since the 1970s, is how similar Kirk's backstory also is to that of Shang-Chi, with a well-intentioned man being trained to kill by those who claim to have pure intentions, before recognising the sinister nature of his masters and turning against them.

But Manhunter's a very different kettle of fish to Shang-Chi, having lived a full and adventurous life long before he encountered The Council and having a less philosophical and more matter-of-fact nature. 

At face value, in his modern form, he's another of those ruthless, death-dealing characters who were suddenly all the rage in the era but what sets him apart from the likes of the Punisher, Hangman and myriad others is he doesn't seem to be insane and has a clear handle on right and wrong, meaning you can enjoy the sight of him killing people, without feeling uncomfortable about it.

The one thing that does feel like a letdown is that Manhunter's armoury of weapons feels nothing like as awesome now as it did back then, consisting, as it does, of two throwing stars, an antique pistol, a knife and a pair of shoulder pads. Thus, it is odd to see him travelling all the way to Nairobi to acquire it from one of the world's leading experts in the field, when you would have thought he could have got better tooled-up just by going to Walmart.

Detective Comics #440, Manhunter - wanted!

Thursday 25 June 2020

June 25th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.

This week in 1980 was short of the kind of incident that captures the attention of this site, so I'll merely observe that Don McLean's Crying was still at the top of the UK singles chart, while Roxy Music now held dominion over the British LP chart, thanks to their seventh album Flesh and Blood reaching its highest summit.

This made it their second UK Number One album. In the USA, it peaked at Thirty-Five, meaning they still had a bit of work to do over there.

Doctor Who Weekly #37

The Fourth Doctor's still up against the Time Witch, leading to an adventure in a castle.

There's a feature about the various monsters the Doctor's faced and how he goes about telling which ones are evil and which ones aren't.

Speaking of evil; in their own strip, the Daleks destroy the planet Alvega then set their sights on Solturis. Where's the Doctor when you need him?

We get a Lee/Ditko tale of cursed Vikings, taken from the pages of Tales of Suspense #39 which I do believe was the issue that introduced Iron Man to the world.

Meanwhile, the Cybermen are still having trouble on Planet Goth, thanks to the typewriter of Alan Moore.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #381

All I know about this one is it continues the story in which the Frightful Four are out to capture Spidey, so the Trapster can borrow his identity and attack the unsuspecting Fantastic Four.

Empire Strikes Back Weekly #122

I believe our heroes and villains are still messing about on Hoth.

That particular section of the movie seems to have been stretched-out over a surprising number of issues.

There's a review of the movie version of The Empire Strikes Back.

Man-Wolf's still messing about in outer space and having trouble with Arisen Tyrk.

We get Part Two of A Martian Odyssey, as drawn by Ruben Yandoc who's not an artist I normally associate with Marvel.

And we finish off with a Jack Kirby written and drawn tale of the Watcher, in which reckless space adventurers get kidnapped by trees and have to be rescued by the more cautious individual they've been mocking.

That is, of course, from Tales of Suspense #4 

Forces in Combat #7, Machine Man

My knowledge of this one's sketchy at best but, clearly, Machine Man's in it, as is ROM.

 I believe the Howling Commandos are still attempting to rescue a British scientist from the Germans, by the cunning ploy of making their foes think they're outnumbered when they're not.

Kull, meanwhile, is no longer king but isn't letting that put him off battling to protect a city from flying monsters.

Sunday 21 June 2020

2000 AD - May 1982.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.

There've probably been two famous crucifixions in human history. The first involved Jesus; the other, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And it's the second of those which concerns us, right now, as May 1982 saw the release of the sinew-straining cinematic masterpiece Conan the Barbarian. How we thrilled as Conan did whatever he did and fought whoever it was he fought.

To be honest, I can't remember anything that happens in it. Was Grace Jones in it? Or was she in the sequel? I know James Earl Jones was in it, as Thulsa Doom.

Fortunately, for my memory, it wasn't the only movie unleashed that month. May also saw the release of Annie, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid and Rocky III.

Obviously, Annie is by far the best of those three releases and I'll fight to the death anyone who tries to deny it.

A not-quite-so lethal struggle occurred that month on the football front when Aston Villa won the European Cup by beating Bayern Munich 1–0 in Rotterdam, thanks to Peter Withe's goal. This meant it was the 6th year running the trophy had been won by an English club.

Over on the singles chart, racial harmony reigned supreme, as May kicked off with McCartney and Wonder's Ebony and Ivory at Number One.

But even that wasn't peaceful enough for the British public and it was quickly booted from the top slot by that year's Eurovision winner A Little Peace, from Germany's Nicole, which, in turn, was deposed by Madness's House of Fun.

A Little Peace was, famously, the 500th Number One in UK chart history, a milestone that prompted Guinness Superlatives to publish a book which reviewed every one of those 500 singles. So, well done to Nicole.

Over on the album chart, the month began with Paul McCartney's Tug of War on top before it was usurped by Complete Madness which then fell victim to Roxy Music's Avalon.

While all that was going off, the galaxy's greatest comic was still giving us the adventures of Robo-Hunter, Ace Trucking, Rogue Trooper, the Mean Arena, Tharg's Future-Shocks and Judge Dredd.

Dredd was still battling The Apocalypse War, Robo-Hunter was mostly up against The Beast of Blackheart Manor, and Ace Trucking was making The Last Lug to Abbo Dabbo.

It's interesting that Robo-Hunter claimed three of that month's five covers. Clearly, someone in Tharg Tower had decided he was the book's big selling-point for readers.

I was going to claim that, with selling power like that, it can only be a matter of time before they make a movie about him.

But, of course, they did.

It was called Blade Runner.

2000 AD Prog 262, Judge Dredd is dead?

2000 AD Prog 263, Robo-Hunter

2000 AD Prog 264, Robo-Hunter

2000 AD Prog 265, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 266, Robo-Hunter

Thursday 18 June 2020

June 18th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.

Do you ever feel like crying?

Don McLean did.

He felt like it in June 1980.

He felt it so much that an entire nation could do nothing but sympathise and propel his track of that name to the very top of the UK singles chart in this very week, forty years ago, giving the smooth-larynxed songster his second British Number one, eight years after his track Vincent had also hit the pinnacle.

But what of the mags put out in that period by Marvel's UK offshoot? Was whatever they were up to enough to reduce us to tears?

Doctor Who Weekly #36, the Time Witch

The Fourth Doctor's still up against the Time Witch, and Brimo notices her power is draining.

Franky, I don't have a clue who Brimo is.

This tale features a character called Sharon Davies. I'm assuming she's not the Sharon Davies who won a swimming silver medal in the 1980 Olympics and went on to become a well-known British TV presenter.

In the latest adventures of the Daleks, the Emperor's triumphed over his challenger Zeg and, now, the tin-covered tyrants are conducting experiments in time travel. The universe can only tremble at such a revelation.

We get a tale reprinted from Chamber of Darkness #1 in which a scientist travels back to Medieval times, only to find himself getting laughed at.

And we finish off with an Alan Moore tale in which a junior Cyberleader's feeling poorly.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #380

I know little of this issue's contents but it seems the Hulk's still battling the Gardener.

Meanwhile, the Frightful Four's plot to invade the Baxter Building, by getting the Trapster to pretend he's Spider-Man, is still in full swing.

Apparently, Spider-Woman's fighting a knight who's adrift in time, which must be quite an annoyance to him.

Empire Strikes Back Weekly #121

I think things are still going off on Hoth.

And Man-Wolf's still having adventures in Space.

We're also given A Martian Odyssey: Part One, reprinted from the first issue of Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction. I can say nothing of what transpires within this tale.

And, lastly, this week's tale of the Watcher is The Things From Dimension X, a Lee/Heck masterpiece in which the sculptures on Mount Rushmore come to life and thwart an alien invasion.

Had Stan and Don had a bit too much to drink that day?

Forces in Combat #6

Hot on the heels of rescuing a homicidal maniac from the Germans in the last story, the Howling Commandos are now in the process of liberating a captured British scientist from them this issue.

Someone else who might feel like he needs a good rescuing is Wulf the Briton who's seen-off the challenge of Rome's greatest gladiator.

But now there are lions loose on the streets!

Having said that, Wulf doesn't seem to care. He's too busy looking for Flavius Maximus.

Not that I actually know who Flavius Maximus is.

I'm assuming he's the local bad guy.

I've no doubt he'll soon be feeling the sharp end of Wulf's blade.

Elsewhere, ROM's in the process of foiling a bank robbery.

And Kull's seeing off an airborne attack on Atlantis in a tale drawn by Alfredo Alcala and reprinted from Kull the Destroyer #18.

On top of all this, you could win eight televisions!

Sunday 14 June 2020

Forty years ago today - June 1980.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.

It is time, once more, for us to plunge down the plughole of History and discover what delights may be found in the U-Bend of Nostalgia.

Avengers #196, the Taskmaster

After messing around, doing pretty much nothing for the last two issues, the Avengers finally decide to invade the psychiatric institution that's holding the Wasp, Ant-Man and Yellowjacket captive...

...only to discover they're up against the Taskmaster, a strangely annoying villain who knows how to counter the fighting style of any hero.

I suspect that won't do him much good when Thor hits him over the head with his hammer.
Conan the Barbarian #111

Conan's still in the city of the little people and having trouble with electricity, in his attempts to smash the king in the face.

Needless to say, no level of voltage has been invented that can stop Hyboria's finest.

This story revolves around a set of fake ears.

Fantastic Four #219

It's panic-stations-a-go-go, as Captain Barracuda gets his hands on Namor's magnificent trumpet and insists on blowing it, in order to unleash giant sea monsters upon New York.

I believe he does this to create a distraction while he robs the city's banks.

Needless to say, the Sub-Mariner can't allow that kind of misdemeanor to go unpunished and, so, teams up with the Fantastic Four to put a stop to it.

Incredible Hulk #248, the Gardener

Determined to find a suitable place for Jarella's people to dwell, the Hulk takes on the Gardener who's determined to maintain the exclusivity of the only habitable area left on the whole planet.

The Gardener may have the Power Cosmic - and a soul gem - but even that's not enough to thwart the will of the Hulk.

Iron Man #135, Titanium Man

If I remember right, the Titanium Man's trying to get back in the good books of his former Soviet masters and has, inevitably, decided the best way to do that is to beat up Iron Man.

As always, the titanium terror proves woefully inadequate for the task.

Amazing Spider-Man #205, the Black Cat

The Black Cat's still being a nuisance and stealing stuff, left, right and centre.

Anyway, it turns out she's a demented Spider-Man fan who's constructed a shrine to him, in her home.

Captain America #246, A Guy Named Joe

It's the return of the early Spider-Man foe who, possibly, very few people even remembered before he reappeared in this tale.

Despite having retired from his short-lived career of crime, he, I think, responds to the death of his son, by going on a homicidal rampage that only the nation's favourite shield-slinger can stop.

Quite how he stops it, I don't recall.

Thor #296

Do you remember when Stan Lee would leave speech balloons blank on a page and leave it to you The Reader to decide what should be in them?

Well, here's your chance to do something similar because, instead of me saying what happens in this issue, I'm going to invite you to do it.

This, of course, has nothing to do with me not having a clue what's going on in it.

From what I can remember, a man who isn't Thor but is Thor gets into a duel to the death with some bloke or other, over some woman, while Thor and Odin watch. And it's all a flashback.

Or something.

Uncanny X-Men #134, Phoenx vs the Hellfire Club

The Hellfire Club's only gone and done it. Its messing about with Jean Grey's mind has unleashed the Dark Phoenix - and now the whole universe is in danger.

I hope they learn their lesson from all this.

I know I have.

Spectacular Spider-Man #43, Belladonna

Spidey gets dragged into the schemes and intrigues of the Fashion Industry, as the woman known as Belladonna sets out to gain her revenge upon a designer who's in the habit of stealing other designers' ideas.

Thursday 11 June 2020

June 11th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.

Personally, I can never get enough LPs whose sleeves feature the singer's face melting.

I was, therefore, excited in this week of 1980 to discover Peter Gabriel's third album had hit the very summit of the UK album chart. That was, of course, the record which featured the singles Games Without FrontiersNo Self-Control and Biko. By claiming the top spot, it restricted Roxy Music's Flesh and Blood to the Number Two slot.

Over on the singles chart, the theme from M*A*S*H* still reigned supreme.

But what of Marvel UK?

Twenty Two. That's how many books the subsidiary had, so far, published which bore a cover date of June 1980.

And we were still only twelve days into the month.

Doctor Who Summer Special 1980

It's summer!

And that can only mean one thing.

Heavy rainfall!

But that's not the only thing it can mean because it can also mean summer specials!

And, this year, Marvel UK has five of them for us!

This is one of them!

From what I can make out, it's basically just made up of reprinted material from the weekly comic, so it's not as thrilling a treat as it could be for the avid Doctor Who fan.

Warrior Women Summer Special 1980

And here's a one-off.

It mostly consists of that Tony DeZuniga drawn tale in which Shanna spends half the proceedings wrestling around on the floor, with her pet python, and the other half being chained to things. I'll give that story credit, once you've read it, you never forget it.

We also get a look at warrior women in the movies, including Caroline Munro, even though I'm not sure when Caroline Munro ever played a warrior woman, unless they mean her role as Stella Star.

We also get The Fury of the Femizons, a tale set on a world in which emotions are outlawed.

And we round it all off with A Woman From Khitai, a tale reprinted from an old issue of Savage Sword of Conan, starring someone called Soosha.

Captain Britain Summer Special 1980

I don't have a clue what's in this one. I'm going to assume it's either reprints of old stories or new material that never got the chance to be used in the recently cancelled Incredible Hulk Weekly.

Doctor Who Weekly #35

The Fourth Doctor finds himself up against the Time Witch.

We get more adventures with the Daleks. This time, a Dalek scientist called Zeg challenges the Emperor himself for supremacy.

There's also a tale in which a fugitive hides out in an amusement arcade which then shows him a future he can't avoid.

And we finish off with an Alan Moore tale in which Cybermen land on the planet Goth.

I would spend good money to see the Cybermen's adventures on Planet Goth.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #379

Spider-Lizard's still on the loose and, by the looks of it, the Hulk's on Jarella's homeworld and fighting the assembled hordes of The Gardener.

From that cover, it looks like the Frightful Four are launching their latest attack on the Fantastic Four, the one which involves the Trapster pretending to be Spider-Man to gain access to the Baxter Building.

Forces in Combat #5

Back in World War II, everyone's clearing up in the aftermath of Nick Fury's fight with the bloke he rescued from that German P.O.W. camp.

Slim as it is, that's all the information I have about this week's issue of, "Britain's most exciting weekly comic."

Western Gunfighters Summer Special 1980

It's another bolt from the blue, as we get a summer special packed with tales of the Old West, featuring a highly stylish cover by Frank Bellamy.

Inside, we get adventures for the likes of Matt Slade, the Rawhide Kid, Kid Colt and Wyatt Earp.

Possibly most intriguingly, we also get the reprint of a 1971 tale written by Steve Parkhouse and drawn by Barry Smith.

Amazing Spider-Man Summer Special 1980, the Sinister Six

Hooray, it's a reprint of the first Spider-Man story I ever read; surely Steve Ditko's artistic masterpiece, as our hero takes on the menace of the Sinister Six, a bunch of people who lack the sense to gang up on their foe and insist on uniting in order to tackle him one at a time.

Empire Strikes Back Weekly #120, Darth Vader

It can only be trouble for our heroes when Darth Vader's on his way to Hoth.

Elsewhere, the Man-Wolf's being mistaken for a god but doesn't care about that. He's too busy pulling a sword out of a tree.

Speaking of trees, we get Part 2 of the tale known as The Forest For the Trees. I still don't have a clue what that's about.

But I do know that, in this week's tale of the Watcher, a Martian travels to Earth, in order to capture a human scientist who's developed a weapon the Martians could use against their foes on Jupiter.

But the Earth scientist turns out to be a Jovian - and it was all a trap!

Tuesday 9 June 2020

The Marvel Lucky Bag - June 1980.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.

Our cinemas went cowboy crazy in June 1980, as both John Travolta's Urban Cowboy and Clint Eastwood's Bronco Billy hit the box office, almost simultaneously.

Which was the more successful, I've no idea. How much resemblance the two bore to each other, I've also no idea, as I've never seen either.

I think I've always got Urban Cowboy mixed up with Midnight Cowboy and it's come as a shock to discover they're totally different films. That's the wonder of the internet; every day you learn that little bit more.

Also out that month were The Blues Brothers and Herbie Goes Bananas.

Cinematic oddity of the month was a thing called Up the Academy, a Mad magazine movie directed by Robert Downey Senior, starring Wendell Brown, Ralph Macchio, Antonio Fargas and Barbara Bach. It seems to resemble Police Academy, only set in a military school and is so magnificent that it was completely disowned by the staff at Mad.

If only they'd had the sense to put the words, "Carry On," at the beginning of its title, they'd, no doubt, have had a box office hit in Britain, at least.

Ghost Rider #45

It would seem Johnny Blaze is challenged, by a hot-shot cyclist, to exit retirement and defend his status as the world's greatest stunt cyclist.

Apparently, this is the issue in which Flagg Fargo makes his debut.

I don't have a clue who Flagg Fargo is.

Nor do I know why Ghostie's fighting a light aircraft on the front cover.
Marvel Team-Up #94, the Shroud and Spider-Man

The Shroud!

Who is he?

What is he?

I've no idea. I know he looks a bit like Cloak from Cloak and Dagger but assume he's a totally different character.

By the looks of him, he's probably in the habit of declaiming the most pompous dialogue of all time.

Savage She-Hulk #5

Someone's stealing oil from Roxxon Oil's storage facilities and the She-Hulk's determined to get to the bottom of it. As a result, she finds herself up against a giant mechanical snake.

Super-Villain Team-Up #17, Red Skull, Hatemonger and Armin Zola

The Hate-Monger?

The Red Skull?

Arnim Zola?

The Cosmic Cube?

How can the world possibly stand against such power?

Well, bearing in mind this is at least the third time the Skull's got his hands on the Cube and he totally failed to achieve anything on the previous two, I suspect the world can sleep quite safely in its bed.

In fact, my suspicion is it won't be long before the three villains are betraying each other and wrecking all their plans, in the process.

It should be noted that this is the series' final issue.

Tomb of Dracula #5

I can shed no light upon what happens in this one. I just included it because it has a strikingly coloured cover by Howard Chaykin.
What If #21, Sue Storm had married the Sub-Mariner

It's the big one!

The one that asks what would have happened if Sue Storm had married the Sub-Mariner.

Mostly, she'd have drowned, as he lives underwater.

But she's not the only one, as, tormented by his loss of Sue, Reed Richards goes mad and tries to drown the entire population of Atlantis.

Fortunately, the level head of Namor is on hand to calm things down.

The main thrill of this book is seeing the FF and Spider-Man drawn by Gene Colan.

Marvel Premier #54, Caleb Hammer

It's the coming of Caleb Hammer.

For all I know, it may also his going, as I don't have a clue if he ever appeared again.

As far as I can make out, he's basically every Clint Eastwood wild west character you've ever seen, on a mission of revenge for something or other.

Sunday 7 June 2020

Fifty years ago this month - June 1970.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.

It was all excitement in the world of football, this month in 1970, as Brazil won the World Cup for the third time, by defeating Italy, 4-1. It was also the third time their star player Pele had won the World Cup. So, well done to him.

Meanwhile, far further north than Brazil, the Beatles notched up their 20th and final US Number One, with The Long and Winding Road, the track that was, ironically, cited, at the time, as the main reason why the band had to be broken up.

Avengers #77

For some reason I can't remember, the world's mightiest super-team finds itself having to work for an unscrupulous tycoon.

I'm sure they'll get the upper hand on him, in the end, probably by revealing he's actually the mystery criminal who's been causing nothing but trouble of late.

Or something similar.
Captain America #126, Diamonhead

Diamondhead's causing trouble in Harlem.

And that can only mean one thing.

The return of the Falcon!

As far as I can remember, Diamondhead turns out to be a Maggia agent who's been stirring up local resentments, in order for that crime outfit to take over the area.

Didn't the Red Skull have a near-identical plan?

Why are all these super-villains so desperate to take over Harlem all of a sudden?

Daredevil #65, Brimstone

A mysterious villain's murdering the cast of a soap opera Karen Page is starring in.

Doesn't he turn out to be a weedy little sound-man, or something, who's in the habit of putting on an exo-skeleton, in order to make himself seem like a huge man?

Come to think of it, are exo-skeletons a thing that exist in the real world? They turned up all the time in the Marvel comics of my youth but I can't recall hearing about anyone ever developing one in real life.

Fantastic Four #99

I think this is the one in which the Torch decides to invade the Great Refuge, in order to bring Crystal back to civilisation, after she's been taken back there by her family.

I'm assuming she agrees to return, as she's in the strip for the next few issues.

I do believe this issue reveals the Abominable Snowman is actually an Inhuman!

Incredible Hulk #128, the Avengers

Thanks to circumstances I can't recall, the Hulk's travelling across America, via subterranean tunnels.

But, alarmingly, he's in danger of setting-off the San Andreas Fault and destroying California.

Clearly, the Avengers need to be called in to stop him.

But can even they stop the green gallivanter?

Iron Man #26, Val-Larr

It's a very odd tale, as Shellhead finds himself in another dimension and battling the forces of evil, alongside some magic barbarian or other.

The details of this story elude my memory.

I think the Collector may be involved. I'm not sure in what capacity.

Thor #177

At last, we discover the Schemer's shocking secret, even though we've already guessed it.

But that's a fat load of use to Spider-Man who still has to survive being trapped in the Kingpin's house!

Thor #177

I genuinely don't have a clue what happens in this one.

Apparently, Surtur's in it. In what capacity, I've no idea.

Are they sure this comic exists?

It can't do, or I'd remember it.