Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Marvel Super Hero Uncomfortable Cocktail Party Of Champions, Part Two


Picture it: June, 1982, outer space. Pretty much every Marvel super hero in existence -- plus myself -- had been teleported by an unknown person (the Grandmaster) to an unknown place ("Exposition Arena," TM the brilliant Bully). Inexorably, the assembled Marvel super tools self-segregated according to body type (robot, manimal, godlike), powers or general geographic location. It was like a junior high cafeteria, minus the tater tots. In fact, I said that exact thing to the Texas Twister right before he excused himself and moseyed over to where Razorback was standing. Then the two of them did an awful lot of whispering and giggling, with the occasional gesturing in my direction. I caught up to Razorback later that year in a truck stop men's room. I didn't hear any laughter then.

So I was the "odd man out" in Exposition Arena. That's okay; I'm used to it. Plus, it gave me a chance to do some stealth-mingling and spy on everybody! Y'know, scope out what they were wearing and what they were talking about! And then gossip about it to all of you guys, now!

For someone so vehemently anti-American-culture, it's funny how much Vanguard's hair makes him look like the lost Duke of Hazzard. That shit was shagged out and feathered to the last molecule. Also, as you can see here? He'd just dug a huge booger out of his nose and was trying to hide it behind one of his massive thighs. I'm not a fan of Vanguard's costume, by the way. It's awfully busy, and the combination of a Victorian-modest collar and gigantoid arm holes (which threaten to expose some nipple if he turns just so) is insane. Maybe a full, military-style jacket would have worked in this situation. The Crimson Dynamo, with his teeny little Dubya mouth and his pointy metal hat, also looks like a big loser. And the fact that the whole shebang is painted bright red? It's harmful to my eyes and other living things. He needs to tone it down, pronto. Throw some black on that shit. I do admire how he took the opportunity to give Tony Stark a nice verbal pimp-slap. "Obviously a sporting arena, Iron Man!" (Iron Man: "I only asked because I thought your oppressive, underhanded government might have a hand in this, but if thinking I'm stupid helps you forget how your shitty little country is falling apart, be my guest. Dickweed.") Not in this issue: a panel showing an awestruck Iron Man, with the thought bubble "This place is immense... are we in my briefcase?!"

Shamrock and Captain Britain (Crip and Blood, respectively) combine international and religious tensions with sexual tension as Captain Britain ogles Shamrock's ass... suspiciously! I did some research on Shamrock to see if she'd appeared anywhere after this and I was surprised to learn she showed up in a whole lotta comics! She even got an origin and everything! But then she broke her left foot in a slip-and-fall accident and decided it meant that her good-luck powers had run out and that she should give up super heroing. (Cut to Barbara Gordon, saying "Whiner!") As an only-in-the-comics consolation prize, she showed up in Excalibur as "the most sought-after hair dresser in all of Europe!" Swell. Now, get your bitch ass in the kitchen and bake me a pie! Oh, and leave it to Claremont to make even a tertiary character "the most sought-after *blank* in all of *blank*" No "Joe Lunchpail" types for the 'Mont! See that janitor back there? He's the most sought-after janitor in all of South America! And he's a master of Capoeira, to boot! Costume-wise, Shamrock was just kind of meh. My big gripe is with the cowl. I don't think full-head cowls are flattering on women. I prefer the kinds where at least some hair is showing. Even the half-cowls, where the women kinda look like Stephen Wright (or for you comics nerds, Vulko) is preferable to the kind that makes them look bald. Captain Britain's original duds? I liked them okay, except for the covered mouth on the cowl. What's the point? Did he have a halitosis problem? Hmm. I've seen him really tear into the fish and chips, so maybe he did! Plus, he was, y'know... English.

Hey, Iceman, I like Darkstar's new costume, too! Her old one was just a puffy-sleeved gray blouse, some tight pants, and some boots. It was very "Rhoda goes to Safeway" but not very "superhero." Iceman's costume can't be seen under his thick layer of ice -- which makes it rather pointless -- but at this point in time it was a hideous powder blue-and-white affair. I guess it's just as well we can't see it. As for the dialog, I have one word for you all: Ewww! "Thank you, Iceman. I've thought of you often -- and fondly -- since then. Why, just the other day I took a freezey-pop and jammed it right up my..."

In the dankest, loneliest corner of Exposition Arena, the Vision and Machine Man enjoy a highly efficient pity party. ("The Vision: My wife does not understand me!") The Vision's costume is one I've always hated. It's way too gaudy, given his name and personality. That big stripey girdle of his is the absolute worst. What, does he have a hernia? Oh, and I think he at least should have ditched the goofy "widow's peak" cowl -- the one that attaches to his solar gem (or whatever the hell that bindhi doohickey on his forehead is supposed to be) and which conceals his handsome crimson skull. I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I preferred his pallid, yellow-white "dead skin" look from West Coast Avengers to his so-called classic costume. I didn't agree with the whole "deprogramming and marriage break-up" deal but I thought he at least looked better then. Machine Man? Boring! For starters, he needs some kind of interesting logo on his chest. If Ikaris is a case of Kirby trying too hard, then Machine Man is a case of him not trying hard enough. That's the Shroud in the background, by the way. Looks like somebody yanked his cowl down over his eyes again! That's always happening to him. (Shroud: You guys--! Quit it! Mo-o-o-o-mmm!") Poor dumb shmoe.

Tomorrow: Part Three! (This is going to go on for a while.)


Anonymous said...

Is much laugh!

"This place is immense... are we in my briefcase?!"

>snrt!< Hell, Exposition Arena is but a speck floating in the howling emptiness that is the interior of Tony Stark's briefcase.

Anonymous said...

True! I think Earths 1-615 all reside in Tony Stark's briefcase. Maybe the Negative Zone, too.

Blockade Boy, this entry is funny as always. So true about Vanguard's hair! You'd think he'd be sporting something a little more military-like, maybe the look Dolph Lungren had in 'Rocky IV'.

Shamrock-You're right, full-headed cowls do nothing for women...in fact, the whole look makes me think of the bald chick from 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture'. Not a very good association. I think she later got a better costume that let her hair flow free. The color of her hair? You guessed it: red, just like EVERY OTHER IRISH OR SCOTTISH CHARACTER MARVEL HAS EVER MADE.

Crimson Dynamo-He got some upgrades and lost the Dubya mouth, replaced by three vertical slits, and he got the top of his head filed down. He actually looked kind of threatening then (see the X-Men vs. the Avengers mini-series), but he was still a tool underneath it all. Now if you think the way he looks in 'Contest of Champions' is bad, you should see his original look. He looked like the innards of a fuse box with legs, spray-painted red.

Machine Man and Vision-What's up with them dissing Jocasta in their A.I. meet-and-greet? Are they afraid Rom will hit on them, too? Listen to those two whine about being ostracized from the super-hero community. What's Vision complaining about? He's LED THE AVENGERS, for crying out loud, and he has a gorgeous wife and two kids. Machine Man has squat. Even his powers suck.

Vision: "My creator gave me power over my molecular density and heat rays that fire from my eyes. I also fly. What features do you have, Machine Man?"

Machine Man: "Um...I extend my arms and legs...really, really far."

Vision: "So you're basically Inspector Gadget, except without a trenchcoat and colored Magenta."

Machine Man: "Yeah."

Vision: "I think I need to go talk to Captain America and Thor now. Why don't you go hang out with the Shroud or something?"

Bully said...

Vision: "Among mutants, monsters, and man-gods..."

Don't practice your alliteration on me, Vision!

Steven said...

Shamrock. Ireland's National Superhero. Has Luck Powers.


ARRGGGHH! There's just so much... terrible in there. It's, it's like...

I'm having trouble coming up with a similarly BAD, stereotypical and LAZY character design. I guess a Russian called The Bear who had, I don't know, Communist powers, or a Swiss superhero called Fleur-de-Lis who had a really cool knife, but even THAT has more thought that Shamrock, the Lucky Irish Superhero.

But b-dow! she does fill that costume nicely.

Chance said...

Your fettle is in fine form this post, my good sir!

I never noticed before, but Crimson Dynamo does have a teeny Dubya mouth. Classic.

Jeremy Rizza said...

Chawunky: Well, that sure is a humbling thought.

Anonymous: Haw! I love the image of the Crimson Dynamo just sitting there, while some luckless Soviet cog has to file his head down.

Bully: That's our Mantlo! *wah-wah!* Before his retirement from comics, and before his tragic accident, Bill Mantlo put simply scads of alliteration into his scripts. It used to bug me; with the passage of time I now find it kind of charming.

Steven: Marvel already swiped your Bear idea for Ursa Major. ("House of Ideas" my ass!) I talk a bit about him in Part Three.

Chance: Why, thank you, kind sir! *makes elaborate, arm-waving bow*

Anonymous said...

I always had the biggest crush on Vanguard. Was it the peek-a-boo outfit? Maybe. The Dukes of Hazzard hair (priceless)? Probably ;-)

I love this blog. I just discovered it!!!