Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Sentinels Hunt Again!

Champions 17 is a sad issue of the Champions because it’s the last issue of the run. Marvel made a last ditch effort to push the Champions in the middle of 1976 when the team appeared in Iron Man’s annual, the Avengers and Super-Villain Team-Up (as well as an issue of Godzilla, but that comic wasn’t included in this omnibus due to licensing issues. Will I buy it off eBay? Probably!).

Apparently, the push didn’t go well and this was the last stand for Los Angeles’ favorite super hero club. I guess if you’re going to go out, you may as well go out in a mess. The art (George Tuska is listed as the artist, John Byrne as the embellisher) felt sketchy and incredibly rushed. The writing from Bill Mantlo was probably one of his worst in terms of the plot hanging together.

Spoiler alert: it’s not good. But here goes …

Three former members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Blob, Unus and Lorelei) bust in on Black Widow and Hercules who were on guard duty at the Champions Headquarters. They looked freaked out because they brought friends, the Sentinels. the mutant-hunting giant robots are the latest villains to destroy a wall of Angel’s precious Champions Tower (“I PAID BIG MONEY FOR THIS PLACE!”).

The one cool thing that the Widow does is hit the Champions Signal, which turns the windows of the tower into a gigantic “C”.

("C" for Champions! Get it? I wonder how many times they had to explain this to Ice Man?) 

It makes for a cool visual but there are a few problems:

What if the other Champions aren’t outside when the signal is lit. Or what if they are, but they can’t see the building?

On the page prior, the Sentinels were clearly shown ripping down a wall. How was the Champions signal lit when a quarter of the building is gone. Even if the Sentinels ripped the opposite wall down, that building isn’t standing tall.

Whatever. Something is going on because the Vanisher is in the corner and he looks sinister.

Warren Worthington III is flying around and he notices that the signal is lit and he knows that he has to tell his other teammates. Good thing that Darkstar and Ice Man are at Johnny Blaze’s new movie premiere. I guess after months of being ignored, Bobby and Laynia are now a couple. Though Ice Man is still acting like a douche and throwing major shade at his comrade’s new movie, “Biker flicks are the pits!”

He sees the Angel flying overhead and he immediately ices out. This excites the crowd into an anti-Mutant riot and they try to kick his ass. Darkstar knows that her boyfriend (is that what we’re calling him?) is in trouble (because of course she is) and she unleashes the darkforce on the angry citizens of LA. This makes them even more scared and they try to attack her.

Johnny Blaze arrives on the scene, angry that his premiere has been ruined by his buddies, and attempts to start punching. He turns into the Ghost Rider which scatters the other people waiting to see the film.

Ice Man and Ghost Rider bicker for the eight millionth time and it’s all so exhausting. Read the panels below if you want to be bothered by two assholes.


(No Angel and Ice Man, that's a total normal way to get one of your teammates to a battle. Looks cool!)

Ghost Rider is such a world-class dick throughout the entire run of the Series that he's number one with a bullet on the Worst Champion list:
  1. Ghost Rider – he’s just a thin-skinned asshole who believes the worst of everyone. I hate him.
  2. Ice Man – he’s a mopey douche who takes offense to everything. I hate him.
  3. Angel – he’s a rich prick who would be the lead in every slob vs. snob movie in the 80s. Not only that, but he’s completely useless. I can fly! Big deal. I hate him.
  4. Black Widow – She’s cool. I like her.
  5. Darkstar – She’s mostly confused about just everything. I like her okay
  6. Hercules – Surprisingly super cool. I like him a lot! 

Black Goliath doesn’t get votes because he wasn’t in the comic very much.

The Champions assemble and quickly kick the Sentinels’ ass. Like, it was really easy. The only really funny thing is Bobby saying how slow these Sentinels are in one panel and then two panels later, a Sentinel grabs him. This forced Ghost Rider to save his icy ass – which I’m sure pissed both men off.

The Angel is surprised to see the former BoEM members in Champions HQ and smells a rat. Great job, Warren, maybe you’re not so dumb after all. Too bad, the Vanisher appears and shoots them all with a gun. The entire Champions team is knocked out. Blob suggests that they should just fucking kill them and the Vanisher lays down a solid burn, “For one so slow, Blob, you are remarkably lacking in patience! I want to savor this moment!”

The Vanisher is dumber than the Angel. He starts telling the people whom he recruited for his rouse all about his plan. Remember, the Champions are knocked out so they can’t hear him say that he found a Sentinel, reprogrammed it and then had it chase Blob, Unus the Untoucable (I love this last part of his name, BTW) and Lorelei to Champions’ headquarters. He thought that the Champions would then lead them to the X-Men somehow.

The Vanisher would have then killed both teams. Okay, dude. Sounds completely plausible. Great plan.

Anyway, after this long and dumb story winds down, Darkstar wakes up and uses her darkforce power to reanimate a Sentinel so that it attacks the three evil mutants. It kicks their ass. As Vanisher realizes what’s going on, he’s about to vanish when Darkstar hits him with her power. The villain is frozen between being tangible and vanishing.

Ice Man is like, “Holy shit! Is he dead? Wow!”

Darkstar answers, “Oh Bobby, hold me!”

And Ice Man is like, “Sucks for you Vanisher, but awesome for me!”

(All it took was for a man to almost die for Ice Man to get a little bit of tenderness. Good going! You know that Bobby is the guy who leaves a strip club convinced that all of the dancers love him, for real.)

So the last issue ends on a cliffhanger bout Darkstar and her weird powers that we are promised will be answered in an upcoming Avengers, but I don’t think that happens because there are only three comics left in this collection: two Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-man issues and a Hulk annual. I don’t think Darkstar is in any of those mags.

Like I said, this was a pretty shitty issue; especially coming on the heels of the best issue from last month. I’ll save my final thoughts on the run as a whole for a later blog entry. As for this issue, the cover is pretty good though it looks like Ghost Rider is running away from the battle. The one thing that I know that I keep harping on, but it’s true, I am shocked at how much bickering these people do. They’re all jerks.

I give this issue two Disco Angels, and that’s being very kind.   

You know what, this is a pretty goofy picture of Angel too:

What is with this guy? How come no one can draw him looking cool?

Thursday, September 07, 2017

A World Lost!

When I was in grade school, I liked comics. My father got me into the hobby and not only did it fulfill my love of reading and weird stuff* but it also satiated my artist side. I loved drawing and creating and doodling and art, basically. Comics did two things: it allowed me to read and allowed me to look at cool pictures.

* I remember being in second grade and going through my school library’s entire collection of real ghost stories, UFO tales and cryptozoology books. I was obsessed with scaring the shit out of myself. I loved it. It didn’t stop when I went through Amesbury Elementary School’s “weird shit” (real name of the section) shelf. I went to the Amesbury Public Library and read through their stuff too. If I had the internet back then, I would have exhausted that too. While most kids were buzzing about Jude Blume or Beverly Cleary, I was stuck on ghosts.

In my neighborhood, all of my friends liked comics. Of course, they did, there were only three of us. If one of us liked comics or He-Man or Transformers or baseball cards; the others usually followed suit. At school, it was a different story. Nobody liked comics, so I had to find kids who did. In the early 80s, comics and sci-fi weren’t considered cool or mainstream like they are now. You could get your ass kicked if someone heard you talk about Wolverine or Spider-man or Bat Man.

Other than me, the only person that I knew who liked comics was a girl in my class named Robin. She liked all of the weird stuff that I liked, therefore she was one of my closest friends. I’d go over her house and we’d read and trade comics and she would do the same at mine. It was cool.

I told this story before way back in the first entry on the Champions, but one day I was looking through her books and I saw this comic, Champions 16. At the time, I thought that I knew everything there was to know about Marvel comics, but I never heard of this team. Two ex-Avengers, two ex-X-Men, Ghost Rider and some Russian girl? What the heck were they doing? Why hadn’t I heard of them before? Why aren’t they still around?

I read the book and was blown away by the action. The Champions were under the control of Doctor Doom and fought Magneto and the Beast. Oh yeah, the Hulk and Jimmy Carter were there too. It was crazy, just how much stuff was going on. I had to have it. I don’t remember what I traded her, but this comic was now a part of my collection and I must have read it 50 times. I didn’t even know that it was part two of a two-part story.

When I read this book the other day, I was a little apprehensive. Thomas Wolfe once wrote, “You Can’t Go Home Again” and from my perspective on a lot of stuff, he’s right. When revisiting things you once loved, chances are you’re going to be disappointed. I had built this book up so much, honestly it’s one of the main reasons why I bought this collection, I didn’t want to be let down.

It didn’t. This issue was bonkers from the first page to the last and I loved every minute of it.

The book opens up with the Champions fighting Magneto and the Beast. The LA super group is still under Dr. Doom’s mind-control and they’re not sure why they need to beat these two, only that they feel compelled to do so. The fight stalemates after a few pages so Magneto decides to go to Washington DC and take Doom head on. The Champions follow.

Doom is sitting in the Oval Office and he’s surrounded by President Jimmy Carter and all of his advisors. They’re all kissing Doom’s ass, which pisses him off because he doesn’t know whether they’re still under his control or whether they’re just covering their asses. The more things change, Victor. Instead of John Byrne drawing this tale, we have Bob Hall. Unfortunately, Bob can’t quite get Carter’s good side. Instead he looks like Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman’s older brother.

(Pissed off Doom is the best Doom.)

Doom storms out and summons the Hulk. He doesn’t say exactly why he summons the jade skinned monster, but he does, which is good news because Magneto and the Beast show up to kick Doom’s ass. At the same time, the Champions show up too. Magneto is still pissed off at the good doctor for humiliating him in Super-Villain Team-Up and is planning on beating Victor Von despite having to go through the Secret Service, the US Army, the Champions and the Hulk first. Plus, he’s convinced that he took the wrong Avenger in the Beast and keeps shitting on him throughout the entire issue (which, despite me loving Hank McCoy, is kind of funny because Magneto had the choice to choose whomever he wanted).

Magneto throws the Hulk into Hercules which prompts these two titans to start fighting. Of course, most of that action happens off panel, which is pretty dumb. Ghost Rider doesn’t breathe like most people so he’s not affected by Doom’s mind-control gas and realizes that Magneto and the Beast have been telling him the truth. Shit runs downhill, so the Beast starts making fun of Johnny Blaze, who ends up getting angry.

I am not joking when I say each page has a pretty decent fight on it and this goes on until the Beast falls on Doctor Doom. Doom is starting to choke the furry blue mutant out, when Ghost Rider jumps into action. He brings literal hellfire down on Doom’s mask which really makes the ruler of Latveria angry. He scorches Ghost Rider and then takes off his mask. That was a mistake because a. it breaks his mind control over every one and b. allows him to breathe his own gas. This turns his brain into a Mobius Strip of himself trying to control himself. It’s pretty cool, actually.

As the battle dissipates, Hercules isn’t mad that he had to fight the Hulk, in fact he was pumped that he got to fight him. Magneto is down-right giddy that he beat Doctor Doom. So happy, in fact that he tells the Champions that he could kick all of their butts if he wanted to (and he probably could) but he won’t because he’s so happy that Doctor Doom isn’t the ruler of the Earth and a babbling lunatic. He takes off.

(I bet Doctor Doom turns out to be an android. No one makes Doom look dumb!)

I love this issue but there are a few plot holes (which, BTW, are fine. This is a comic):

  • The cover is boss as hell. I wonder who is going to get the business end of that chunk of rubble the Beast is going to throw? BTW, Ice Man looks completely useless. He's not even wrapped up, he's just sleeping.
  • Why did Doom bring the Hulk to DC? I still don’t really understand that.
  • Don’t dis Magneto. He’ll go to the ends of the Earth to reap his vengeance. Jesus.
  • Doctor Doom already has the Avengers under his control, he should have called them to DC when it looked like Magneto was out for blood.
  • No one respected Jimmy Carter, huh? That’s too bad. He turned out to be a pretty great guy.

There aren’t a lot of comics that take me back to my childhood, but this one did. If all of the Champion issues could be as half as good as this one, I wouldn’t be surprised if there would be a Champions movie. There’s no bickering, no unrequited love, no grousing; it’s all action. I loved it.  

All these years later, I still can’t believe Robin traded me her copy.

Unsurprisingly, this gets FIVE disco Angels out of five.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tony Fossas Upper Deck 1991

On July 30, 2016, the Baseball Card bandit sent me the above baseball card. I took to Facebook to write this:

The domestic BCB has been caught and sent to the baseball gulag (Minneapolis) but there seems to be a national copycat in the mix. 
I received this pristine Tony Fossas card in the mail (think El Guapo 1.0) and the only return address is DFW. Dallas Fort Worth? Down For Whatever? (Gross) Don't Forget Willis?
What does it all mean?”

What does it all mean, indeed? The meaning of life is this: throw lefthanded. When Tony Fossas last threw a baseball, he was 41-years-old and his ERA was 36.00 over five games. It was 1999 and he was a member of the New York Yankees. If you remember your baseball history, 1999 was a year that the Yankees won the World Series.

Somewhere in his home, despite not actually pitching a single inning in October, Tony Fossas has a World Series ring. Ted Williams doesn’t have a World Series ring. Ernie Banks doesn’t either. Neither does Ty Cobb or Barry Bonds or Tony Gwynn or Carl Yastrzemski or Rod Carew or Willie McCovey or Robin Yount. All of these guys are Hall of Famers. Despite not being in the Hall of Fame, as a player, Don Mattingly doesn’t have a Yankee World Series ring. That probably has to sting a bit. 

Tony Fossas does. No matter how many games you play in a championship season, if you're on the team; you get a ring. 

Fossas is also a left-handed specialist who looks like everyone's dad and played 12 years in the major leagues without really doing anything excellent. He always got work despite giving up a bunch of hits, walking a bunch of guys and not striking anyone out. He never pitched more than 51.2 innings in one season, made zero starts and accumulated seven saves. For that, he made over $4.1 million in his career.

Again, Tony Fossas is lefthanded. I can not stress the importance of this fact. 

When he was with the Red Sox, I remember him being pretty good and his numbers show that: in 1991 he appeared in 64 games and had a 3.47 ERA. In 1992, he was even better: 60 games, 2.43. But the wheels started coming off in 1993 when Sox manager Butch Hobson began to trust him a little more and brought him into 71 games. Fossas returned that trust with a 5.18 ERA. It seemed like he was a shade better in 1994 with a 4.76 ERA, but not really.

Then the Sox released him and he bounced around the Bigs. First to St. Louis for a few years, then in 1998 he went to Seattle for a third of a season, then to the Cubs for eight games, then back to Texas (before he was in Boston he plied his trade for the Rangers and Brewers) for ten games before finishing his career with the aforementioned five games with the Yankees in 1999.

Fossas was in the minors for ten years before he made his major league debut in 1988 and he was thoroughly mediocre there too. But again, he was a lefty. And when you’re left-handed and don’t strike out a lot of guys, you get stuck with the adjective: “crafty”.

Tony Fossas was a crafty southpaw who wrung every drop of talent from his left arm. He stuck with the game for ten years, desite traveling by bus from one shithole town to the next, playing in front of dozens of uncaring fans. One day he wins the lottery, is brought up to the majors and he holds that ticket for 12 years. Even when it was evident to everyone that Tony Fossas wasn’t a major league pitcher, he stuck with it.

At the end of the day he has $4 million in the bank and a World Series ring. Baseball is a crazy game, a pitcher like former Yankees and Red Sox reliever Ramiro Mendoza can somehow accumulate five World Series champions and Ted Williams can have none, despite being a much better ball player. Every once in awhile you hear someone hold that fact against a guy like Fossas or Mendoza. Don't. Life is not fair, kids. Sometimes it’s not what you can do, but where you can do it.

Speaking of where you can do it, either this card or the Jeff Reardon card was the first card that I got from the second Baseball Card Bandit. This one was sending me cards from around the country. As I alluded to in the Facebook post, this one was postmarked in Anchorage, Alaska. I still don’t know who sends them to me, but I like their style. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A World for the Winning!

Let me explain why I’m reviewing Super-Villain Team-Up under the Champions blog banner: it’s the beginning of a two-part arc that starts in SVTU, the Champions don’t even arrive until the very last panel.

Here’s the deal: Magneto is in Dr. Doom’s home country of Latveria where he’s pushing through the streets demanding to see their ruler. Everyone ignores him because they’re in the middle of a giant party because Dr. Doom defeated the Red Skull and if they stop reveling, they’ll be in deep doo(m)-doo(m). This is the one thing that I like about Victor Von, he likes partying so much that if you stop, you’re going to die. He’s like one of those 24-Hour Party People that ran around New York City during the 1990s. He even murders like one of them.

This pisses Magneto off and rips down a Dr. Doom statue which freaks everyone out. Magneto finally just makes his way to Doom’s castle where Doom is chilling out with a chess set made up of Marvel Heroes. There’s Captain America, the Beast, Spider-Man’s a rook but Doom is talking to the Mr. Fantastic figure. It’s adorable.


For some reason Magneto has chosen today to ask Dr. Doom if they should team up and take over the world. He’s also surprised, and a little flattered, that Doom knows who he is. Magneto starts rambling on about kicking the X-Men’s ass and Doom is just staring at a statue he made of Valeria, his one true love. Finally Magneto stops talking and Doom is like, I don’t need you to conquer the world I have these neuro-canisters (spelled incorrectly in the book, BTW) that has this gas that will get people to do anything that I tell them to.

Magneto calls bullshit and the next thing you know, the Master of Magnetism is on his knees bowing to doom before trying to kill himself. Doom intercedes then gives him some wine, which is drugged, and Magneto is down for the count. When he wakes up, Doom says that he’ll have his mind back and he can do what he wants.

The first thing he does is breaks into Avengers Mansion and fights the Avengers instead of telling him what Doom has up his sleeve. Magneto pretty quickly kicks their asses—and this is a power-packed line up of Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Wonder Man, the Vision, Scarlet Witch, Beast, Wasp and Yellowjacket—before Earth’s Mightiest Heroes listen to him. Doom shows up, via hologram, and tells the Avengers that what Magneto says is true and makes them bow down to him. And they stay bowed down, though Doom says that Magneto can take an ally in defeating him.

Magneto chooses the Beast ,calling him “the weakest Avenger”, which is kind of shitty, you know?

(That's cold, Maggie. Real cold.) 

The Beast suggest to Magneto that they need more heroes to stop Dr. Doom so they go to the Baxter Building and the Xavier School for Gifted Children and both the Fantastic Four and the X-Men aren’t home. Before deciding to see what the Micronauts or the Defenders are up to, the Beast tells Magneto to hoof it to the West Coast where they can find the Champions.

The Champions have no idea what’s going on and they want to kick the Beast’s ass for brining Magneto to their headquarters. That’s the cliff hanger.

Like the Champions, Super-Villain Team-Up is a book that sounds really cool in theory, but it never really delivers. I bought and read the entire of the SVTU run a few years back in one of the Marvel Essentials trade paperback. I remember being really excited about reading these stories because they were ones that I wanted to read when I was a kid, but they weren’t that great.

They all star Dr. Doom, who is cool, but he mostly teams up with Namor the Sub-Mariner for a lot of the run. When that happens it’s like 15-pages of dick swinging in the third person that would make Rickey Henderson blush: “Von Doom is the best ruler there is!” “No! No King is better than Namor!” “Dr. Doom is the master strategist! Heed Doom’s words!” “Nay, the Avenging Son of Atlantis has no peer when it comes to the mastery of war! We do what Namor says!”

It’s like reading the argument of the two biggest assholes on the planet. When they finally fight whomever they’ve teamed up against, it takes like a half page to wipe him off the planet. Then they bicker again. Which, comes to think about it, is my main complaint with the Champions. For some reason, Marvel thought that 15 pages of bickering was cool.

The idea is actually pretty good, get two villains together and see how they act and how they’d plot, but it kind of runs out of gas every issue. They never fight the good guys, they fight other bad guys; which is lame. I’m sure there was a perception problem in that, you’re never supposed to let the bad guys beat the good guys. And I get that. I also understand that you can’t have the stars of your book get their butts beat every month. But at the same time, it might have been a cool idea to delve behind exactly why villains would team up. Set the paradigm on its ear a little bit.

Have Doom talk about how much he hates Reed Richards and tell the Sub Mariner that he can have the Invisible Girl for a wife if he aids (Dr. Doom needs NO HELP FROM ANYONE) him in destroying the Fantastic Four. Or team up Baron Zemo and the Red Skull to go kick Captain America’s star-spangled butt. They’re both Nazis, they have something in common. Or spend a few issues with Baron Zemo going to different villains and getting them to buy into a new Masters of Evil. Once assembled, they can fight the Avengers in their book or something.

There was a lot of really cool ideas that could have been done with this book that never happened.

Speaking of cool ideas, I never quite figured out why Dr. Doom needed Magneto to light the fuse of his plan. For one thing, how did he know that Magneto was on his way to visit him? How did he know that Magneto would go running to the Avengers? What if Magneto was like, “Meh. Good luck to the world, I’m going back to my asteroid and wait around until the whole shithouse goes up in flames.” There are a lot of variables here that Doom couldn’t have accounted for.

The cover, a John Byrne special, is really terrific. I like how all of the Champions and Avengers are bowing to the good Doctor and Doom is just standing in a B-Boy stance saying, “Yup. This is good.” If I saw that book on a comic spinner at the local drug store, I’d buy that thing in a second.

As far as a Champions story, there are no Disco Angels. Mainly because the Champions aren’t in it at all. But as a Super-Villain Team-Up story, it gets two Doctor Doom pinups. The plot is pretty damn flimsy, even by 1970s writing standards (Champions scribe Bill Mantlo writes it) and the art is pedestrian at best. Also, it was announced as the last issue of Super-Villain Team-Up ever, but there are three after it. They don’t come out until the following three years though (once a year). 

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Demi-God Must Die!

As a Champions story, this wasn’t too bad. As an Avengers story, this wasn’t too good.

We open the action with Iron Man hurtling himself towards the Championcar. As Black Widow said, “He’s diving at (us) at missile speed!” Since I just finished reading Iron Man Annual 4 where the Champs help ol’ Shell Head, to see him attacking his new/old buddies was a bit confusing. Writer Jim Shooter, who was a terrific writer back in the day and has a better handle on the Champions than the team’s regular writer Bill Mantlo, doesn’t give a lot of clues as to why Tony Stark is doing this.

Iron Man starts beating the shit out of Hercules. When Black Widow and Ice Man help their Olympian friend, they get a pretty nasty beat down too. Herc, BW and Ice Man are the only Champions that appear in this book because the others are all off doing something. It literally took Iron Man two pages to take down Ice Man and Natasha. And he did it in a douche-y way too. He crumbled a building on Black Widow, when there were a ton of bystanders around –don’t worry about collateral damage, Tony! And after Bobby encased him in ice, he used his chest beam to drill him in the back.

For the rest of the issue it was a slugfest between Hercules and Iron Man. They took turns trading punches. Hercules would punch Iron Man in the chest, IM would gasp about how he almost just died. Iron Man would punch Hercules in the mouth and Tony would wonder why Hercules wasn’t dead. Every other panel would center around Hercules asking Iron Man if he had lost his mind. Why was he attacking him? WHY?

Turns out Iron Man and the Beast were chilling at the Avengers Mansion—most of the other Avengers were still in the hospital after their recent fight with Ultron—when an Olympian Titan named Typhon came out of nowhere and captured the two Avengers. Seems as if Typhon has a score to settle with the Lion of Olympus and he heard that this was Hercules’ last known address.

Iron Man has to explain to Typhon that Hercules doesn’t live there anymore, but he’d be happy to get him. Typhon tells Stark that he better get Hercules and kill him otherwise he’s going to turn Hank McCoy into a furry blue pancake. In a wonderful moment, the Beast tells Iron Man not to do it, he doesn’t care if Typhon kills him and that he doesn’t want to be a pawn. You know what Iron Man says?

“Shut up, McCoy.”

("Fuck you, dude." That's what I would have said.)

See Tony Stark was always a dick, it wasn’t just the movies.

Typhon tells Iron Man that when Hercules makes it to New York, he has to fight him and if he sees him screwing around, he’s going to kill the Beast. By the way, Typhon is doing all of this because he’s trapped in Hades. Pluto, the ruler of Hades, said if Typhon can kill Hercules, he can leave the underworld. You may remember Pluto from Champions 1, 2 and 3. Typhon is down with that because Hercules clowned him a few years back so he can get revenge AND escape from eternal torment.

That’s win-win, in the bad guy business.

So now Iron Man has to go toe-to-toe with a demigod and his plan of telling the Black Widow is out the door because she’s knocked out thanks to falling debris. Debris, that Iron Man, made fall on her. Bad plan one.

He doesn’t want to tell Hercules what’s going on because “Typhon forced me to set up a monitor for him! He’s watching every move I make.” Okay, I know that people were kind of tech stupid back in the 1970s, but c’mon. Who’s filming this? How is the monitor that Typhon is watching picking up everything that these two guys are doing? I mean, they’re literally fighting over all of Manhattan. It’s a pretty big place. Iron Man couldn’t have whispered to Hercules his problem?

By trying to explain the holes in his story, Shooter just digs more.

Finally, Hercules and Iron Man fight their way to Avengers Mansion. Despite being glued to “his monitor”, Typhon doesn’t realize this. Maybe he’s never been to New York City before and doesn’t know where the Mansion is in relationship to where the fight was.

“Mid-town, I thought that the Mansion was downtown! Oh, fiddlesticks,” Typhon could have said. But he didn’t.

Hercules and Iron Man have pretty much exhausted themselves beating the shit out of each other. But guess who’s awake and followed their teammate to the Avengers Mansion? Ice Man and Black Widow! They try to attack the titan, but are getting the short end of the stick. All of a sudden, the Beast gets free and kicks Typhon.

Then he says, “Rottsa Ruck, Cluck!”

(Kinda concerning? BTW, that image of Typhon is ghastly.)

I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it sounds kind of racist. I may be a little on edge after all of the shit that went down in Charlottesville this past week, but WTF Hank? Seriously? You’re doing a fake Chinese accent. And Typhon’s not even Asian, he’s Greek. You couldn’t have thrown a “Cheebugger, Cheebugger, Cheebugger!” John Belushi thing at him? Your’re better than this, man.

Anyway the Beast kicks Typhon into the air and Ice Man freezes him solid, just like they did in the X-Men days. He breaks out, but Typhon is now facing Ice Man, the Beast, Black Widow, Iron Man and Hercules. Pluto calculates the odds and realizes that Typhon isn’t going to win and brings him back to Hades. Before he goes, Typhon vows vengeance! Vengeance on the Avengers, I like that.

Iron Man apologizes to Hercules. Our Greek buddy is a stand-up dude and tells him not to worry about it. Hercules likes trading fists, so I’m sure that he was not bothered by it at all. The last panel shows the Beast having a crisis of confidence, but we won’t find out about that because that’s an Avengers’ problem, not a Champions’ problem.

A few things:

  •  If you’re Ice Man and you find yourself in the Avengers Mansion, do you walk around and check stuff out? I would. How many times has Bobby been invited to the Mansion? Once maybe twice? I’d walk around, go to the bathroom (number two, just to say I did it), nose through the silverware, maybe have Jarvis make me a sandwich. That would be cool (no pun). What’s Iron Man going to do, kick you out? You just saved his ass. I’d probably sprawl out on the couch, let out a big yawn and loudly say, “I could get used to a place like this! I really could!”
  •  Jim Shooter really is a hell of a writer. I wish that he wrote a couple of issues of the Champions. I better they’d be really good. BTW, another issue with no petty bickering between teammates. I like the Champions better when they’re in another person’s book. If I was reading this book as an Avengers fan, I don't think I would have loved it. For one thing, there was really only one Avenger: Iron Man. Beast was locked up for 95% of the book and this was a flimsy plot. Plus, it seemed like a fill-in and a favor. Like they could have printed this thing any time they felt like it. And the favor comes from getting some eyeballs on a book (The Champions) that no one is reading. Bleh. 
  •   The cover art is great. I love George Perez, he can really draw. In fact, I think that I might like him more than John Byrne. That’s saying something. I also enjoy that the Beast calls Iron Man "Shell Head" when he's in the middle of kicking the shit out of Hercules. George Tuska’s comic art was fine. It wasn’t anything great. He does a workman’s job. Nothing awesome, but nothing terrible either.

This was a pretty good Champions story, I’d give it three disco Angels out of five. However, it was not a very good Avengers story. I’d only give it only one one-legged Wasp pants suit.



I know that it was the 1970s and the Wasp was supposed to be fashion-forward and everything, but what the hell was she thinking? Like WWIII, she's rich. Why is she flying around in a costume that looks like it was designed by a blind guy? Comics.