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Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Speak Your Brain! Part XIII. Good comics with duff scenes or episodes.

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

The Steve Does Comics Megaphone
Image by Tumisu
from Pixabay
The Phantom Stranger recently passed our way and many are the things he knows.

But the one thing he doesn't know is what we're going to be talking about today.

That's because it's time for the return of the internet's most unprepared feature.

The one in which the first person to comment sets the starting point for the day's discussion.

But of what is that discussion to be?

Might it be sport, art, films, music, books, fairy tales, myth, magic, mystery, sofas, sausages, eggs, whisky, broth, flip-flops, flim-flam, see-saws, flowers, flour, bread bins, bin bags, cola, pancakes, sci-fi, horror, sewage, saunas or sandcastles?

It might be.


Anonymous said...

What's on your naughty list?

Which 5 comics have scenes/episodes that stink? Not terrible comics - there's legions of those - but bad/mistaken scenes, in good titles/series.

Here's mine:

1.) Hulk Comic # 20

Captain Britain is killed by 'Death's White Rider'. As a kid, Captain Britain was my favourite character. Abruptly, he's killed (despite having a force field, super strength, and agility) by someone with no powers. To add insult to injury, the Black Knight (who has no force field or super strength) easily dispatched 'Death's White Rider', the following week, with 2 strokes of his sword.

2.) Avengers # 175

All through Jim Shooter's outstanding Avengers run, the reader's told that Wonder Man's fists hit like Thor's hammer (implying he's stronger than Thor, without Mjolnir). At Gerry Conway's start of the arc, Wonder Man knocks the Submariner out with one punch. Nobody's done that before - not Ben Grimm, not Thor or Hercules - not even the Hulk! Wonder Man also later defeats the Vision, and performs other great feats.

However, in Avengers # 175 - when Michelinie covers for Jim Shooter - Wonder Man tries to lift Thor's barbels, he can't manage it, and is shown to be much weaker than Thor. For the kid reader, who was avidly following Wonder Man's development as a character, this was just a great big kick in the...

4.) Captain America # 228

Originally, Len Wein's Constrictor was an articulate villain, expressing himself in grandiose terms. Yet, in this issue, Roger McKenzie made the Constrictor an inarticulate street thug - not cool.

5.) Captain Marvell # 57

The Pat Broderick Captain Marvel was an outstanding run. However, in this issue, Roger McKenzie gets the "vibe" wrong, when Captain Marvel battles Thor. Skip to # 59, if you want to see an excellent issue.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

People here know I really know ASM, so here goes:

- ASM #41 where the Rhino is easily defeated after Spider-man's specially developed web dissolves his costume. Doesn’t the guy in the suit have the superhuman strength? He's not wearing an exoskeleton.

- either ASM #127 or ASM #128. Spider-Man talks about how the Vulture is still in prison when in his last appearance (ASM #64) he escaped at the end of the fight.

- ASM #8 Spider-Man vs the Torch, Spider-Man can apparently fly if he builds web wings. Happens again in Avengers #11. Don’t get me started on everything he can do when Kirby stretches out the Spidey vs FF fight from ASM #1 in an FF Annual.

- the end of ASM #25 when he turns off the Spider-Slayer, gets changed, fills his costume with a web dummy, attaches slayer arms to the dummy, makes web strings and then uses puppetry skills from a ledge just above it all to make it look like Spider-Man is still struggling against the slayer.

- ASM Annual #1. Spider-Man's Spider-Sense helps him read what was on Kraven's card after firing some webbing at it before it burnt. And he manages to get a big punch in on Electro after putting a wire around his ankle to Earth himself - that really shouldn't work.

- Sandman so tired from the fight in ASM #19 that a bunch of coppers can take him in

OK. That's six but I'll stop there. A list like this is never completed, only abandoned.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the topic, Phillip. I'm definitely going to have to think long and hard about this one.

One that springs immediately to mind is Spidey defeating Cyclone with a big fan in Amazing Spider-Man issue #143.

Anonymous said...

Zut alors!

Steve, everyone knows ASM 143 is the Magical Marvel Milestone where Peter and MJ share their first kiss at JFK International. EVERYONE knows this! Search the entire Spidey canon for a Peter/Gwen smooch that packs anywhere near the same punch — THERE ISN’T ONE. “Hmmph!” he said, hmmph-ily.

The one you’re thinking of, with Spidey defeating Cyclone with his ridiculous Giant Fan is the following issue, 144. The actual existence of the thing is bad enough, but he buys the thing at an all-night Parisian hardware store, right off the shelf. The guy never has enough money for rent or for Aunt May’s hospital bills, but he can shell out for a Giant Fan in Paris, no problem. Maybe they were having a Giant Fan Blow-out Sale. I don’t know if it’s so audaciously silly that it borders on brilliance, or if it’s just plain dumb.

You know what’s even dumber though? A page or two before the Giant Fan, Spidey clocks Cyclone right in the jaw — TWICE — and doesn’t shatter every bone in his head. This is, of course, a recurring problem with Spidey. ANY opponent who doesn’t possess super-strength — Cyclone, Tarantula, Shocker, Punisher, Goblins Green or Hob, even Doc Ock — shouldn’t be able to survive so much as a love-tap from everyone’s favorite Bug Boy. And yet, the fight scenes would be over before they could really get going, issue after issue, so we must make allowances.


Anonymous said...

When Marv Wolfman took over the writing on TOMB OF DRACULA, he made a concerted effort to codify and be consistent with his usage of Vampire Lore. Which kinds of bullets and blades and crossbow bolts could kill a Vampire and which couldn’t? What about sunlight? And holy water? Communion wafers? Stars of David ? Would a cross be enough to hold one at bay, or would it have to be a crucifix? Will garlic actually kill a vampire or do they just find it extremely yucky-smelling? Etc.

One of the “Rules” concerned Resurrection. Die from Vampire Bite, rise from the dead three nights later. —No Exceptions. I think he was going for a parallel with the Carpenter From Galilee, or something. So far, so good. Only problem — three days is an ETERNITY in Comics Time.! Many times, the needs of a fast-paced story trumped the 3 Nights Rule. It wasn’t rare for someone to get kilt by Dracula around midnight and come back as a full-fledged bloodsucker around 3AM. Happened quite often, both in TOD and DRACULA LIVES. Oops.

(Don’t ask me to cite examples, I don’t wanna.)

Another rule: every night — and I mean EVERY SINGLE NIGHT — a vampire must return to its coffin before sunrise, said coffin lined with a layer of soil from its native country. Even though Dracula planned ahead, and had caskets full of Romanian dirt socked away in hidey-holes all over Europe, many was the time we were treated to the suspenseful spectacle of Dracu-bat racing the rising sun, only to find solace in one of his boxes, mere seconds before annihilation. Thrilling!

But— in TOMB OF DRACULA 19 and 20, Dracula and arch-foe Rachel Van Helsing are stranded together in a Transylvanian mountain range in the middle of a vicious blizzard. Even the mighty Vampire Lord can’t fly in inclement weather like THAT. So they find some shelter in a cave. Drac just stretches himself out on the ground, tells her, ‘Wake me when the sun sets” and falls fast asleep.

But — ! BUT— !!!!!!!

Not a wooden box in sight. I guess technically, they’re on Transylvanian soil, but what about the damn coffin??? We’re just supposed to forget about that rule until the next time Marv and Gene need a quick thrill sequence and have Dracula lose track of the time and try to outrun the dawn? Because I’m not so sure I’m gonna fall for that one again after the Cave Incident…


Redartz said...

Amusing, intriguing topic! And one that requires some thought. B.t., you beat me to the punch (so to speak) about Spidey and Cyclone. My example comes from the same era, nearly the same month. Giant Size Spider-Man 4 was pretty cool, but featured a similar weak point. Our hero gets taken down by a handful of guards with a couch?!? And only awakens much later in South America? Granted, he could have been faking; perhaps that was part of his plan with the Punisher. But it sure wasn't evident. And Moses Magnum, tough as he was, shouldn't have been able to take Pete over his knee. Spider-Man lifts cars and fights Rhinos and Kingpins!

Colin Jones said...

When the Hulk calmed down he was supposed to change back to Bruce Banner but he often didn't. Especially in The Defenders you'd see the Hulk hanging out with the rest of the (non) team in Dr. Strange's house, calm and relaxed but not changing back to Banner!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I'm sure you've heard me complain about when Bellini and his 6 foot scarf takes down Cap around Cap America 116. This is when Red Skull has put Cap into Skull's body via the Cosmic Cube. (Bellini is of the Exiles when Cap meets Falcon for the first time on a Caribbean Island.)

And actually any comic with a scene involving the Skull and the Cosmic Cube is dumb.

Yet, that Cap series is quite good overall, just stupid.

Lastly - almost every other issue of Iron Man wherein his armor has holes/ is melted and Stark's skin is just fine. Or, when Iron Man gets hit in the head with a brick, rock, whatever and seems staggered. My recall, when I was 11, was Iron Man 46 provides such an event, though I have not read it in 50 years.

Steve W. said...

Bt, thanks for the issue number correction. I must confess I was thinking of #144 purely as being the one in which Gwen Stacy reappears. I'd forgotten she only shows up at the end of it.

Come to think of it, in that story, Spider-Man also has a conversation with Peter Parker, thanks to the use of a hidden tape recorder, in order to fool JJJ. Which is a fairly stupid idea too.

Then again, every Spider-Man story features our hero taking perfect photos of himself battling deadly foes, all snapped with an automatic camera. I'd love to see someone try to replicate that in practice.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Four # 249 - Gladiator's stronger than any superhero, lifting the Baxter Building with one hand. Ben Grimm says he's never been hit so hard before (and he's been hit by the Hulk!)

Yet, in his previous appearance(X-Men # 137), Gladiator was evenly matched against Colossus, only finally gaining the advantage. And Colossus is weaker than Dracula - who gave him a good kicking.

Maybe, the FF should have called Dracula, to get the drop on Gladiator. Basically, FF # 249 was a load of cobblers.

Then again, M.P. has highlighted Drac's impressive credentials before. During the Marv Wolfman era, I seem to recall some reference to his having the strength of 20 men.

Phillip (exceeding my 5 examples!)

Anonymous said...

Phillip, Captain Brexit's entire career as a superhero before 1982 was supposed to be full of inconsistencies and ridiculous far fetched stories - that was all part of Merlin's plan to prepare his mind for dealing with the warped realities created by super-mutant Jim Jaspers!
As revealed in the Moore/Davis CB stories.

Inconsistencies as such didn't matter much to me. So Magneto suddenly turned out to be a misunderstood anti-fascist rather than evil, so what? The real question is - are the comics any good or not?
I mean, who in their right mind would complain about Frank Miller's Daredevil run from #168 on just because Elektra or Stick didn't get even a mention in #1?


Anonymous said...

Sean - As a kid, inconsistencies bothered me a great deal. In fact, my abandoning Marvel might be partly down to Marvel changing the formula that I liked - not just in one way, but in many ways.

To me, 'inconsistency' is Marvel changing the good stuff, to something worse. If it were a comic I didn't like - like Fury & the Howlers, for example - I wouldn't care if Marvel changed it. Whatever they did would be an improvement!

Perhaps, how much you like the original incarnation of the character relevant to how you feel about inconsistencies. You didn't like Captain Britain's original incarnation as much as I did, so when they changed it, it didn't bother you one bit.

Likewise, with Miller & Daredevil, it's not so much Stick & Elektra not being introduced previously, as characters, that bugged me - it's that Miller made Daredevil into a totally different hero.

Originally, Daredevil had his own unique fighting style (as explained in 1979 MWOM Annual). Miller changing Daredevil into a martial arts hero (like Shang Chi, White Tiger, Iron Fist, etc) means he's a different hero to the one I originally like so much. Maybe you didn't like Daredevil's original incarnation as much as I did.

To me, Miller's changes made Daredevil no longer unique (he became more like other martial arts heroes). Also, I started reading Daredevil aged 8 - and Miller's writing aimed the stories at a more mature audience. He was no longer a hero for all age groups.

I never read the Alan Moore stuff. Maybe - over the coming months on SDC - you can review some of them - and make a convert of me!


Anonymous said...

is relevant - damn typos!


Anonymous said...

liked so much - damn typos!


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

A pretty minor one because it has no bearing on the fight in that issue but there's a bit in Daredevil #2 where the Thing smashes a wooden door in two, then fixes it by putting the two bits arefully together the pressing them together with his superhuman strength. There's no way this should do anything other than produce a huge shower of splinters.

What reminded me of this scene is a French stick that the missus brought back from the supermarket this morning that had snapped into two pieces. The two pieces fit nicely together with no gaps but I've not been brave enough yet to try out the Thing's trick.

Steve W. said...

I think you should definitely give it a try, Dangermash. I need to know if it works.

I mean, thinking about it, if the bread's sufficiently soggy, it'll work. It's just a question of what the minimum sogginess level would have to be.