This is an amazing book stuffed with so many ups and downs it is unreal. Spidey rocks his black suit for the issue, Electro makes an appearance and he does a fine job of testing Spider-Man’s skills. There are explosions, structure destruction, good old hand to hand combat – we get a little bit of everything, and that’s just in the first few pages.
The opening page of this book promises that someone very important to Spider-Man will die in this issue. But who is it? Are they that important? Will they leave behind a mark on the book and Peter’s heart?
Growing up I was a fan of the Avengers, but not an uber loyal fan. If I missed a book I didn’t sweat it too much. But looking back, this is and always has been a mighty fine book. We get some of the greatest heroes in existence teaming up to kick a wide variety of rear-end. It’s fun. Captain America is a certified boss. Iron Man and Thor are handy to smash skulls. It’s just got a lot of really good things going for it, including the work of a much younger Stan Lee and the great Jack Kirby.
With Johnny Blaze’s origin story out of the way (see Marvel Spotlight), Marvel opens up and gifts the spirit of vengeance his very own book, and it’s a winner through and through. Released way back in September of 1973, Ghost Rider was one of the more popular horror titles post-code for Marvel Comics, who’d been hot and cold with genre titles for years thanks to the lunacy of the Comics Code. But the code’s stranglehold continued to loosen sometime around 1970 and Marvel got right down to introducing all sorts of killer monster books. While there are a few vintage titles I love, none had the staying power (or sales) of Ghost Rider, who remains a hot commodity today.
I probably can’t stress how much I love this book. Half of the entire issue is spent entangled in a battle for supremacy. The Vulture, who’s been previously bested by Spider-man already, is back with an unbreakable will to destroy the spider. So he goes all out, and these two duke it out like certified studs, Spidey often losing key exchanges, the fight eventually ending in a draw if ever there were a draw.
I’ve been a dedicated Spidey reader since 1990. That’s 26 years of adoration for one of the most colorful characters ever put to print. And I’ll openly confess that I cannot for the life of me remember the villain, Lightmaster. Maybe this guy was a, pardon the pun, flash in the pan, but maybe I’m wrong and issue three of Spectacular Spider-man will rekindle some memories or answer my little burning question: who in the world is Lightmaster?
We’ve seen a staggering number of Marvel heroes and villains introduced within the pages of X-Men (and just about every sister-book to the original series), and we’re going to spend time looking into those books in the future. Today we’re digging deep into the crates to pull Uncanny X-Men #121 into the light.
I didn’t start reading Incredible Hulk until 1990. I honestly can’t tell you why, as the character always seemed to spark curiosity. There was always something magnetic about the character, I suppose I just got swallowed in Spidey, Supes, X-Men and Batman books, primarily.
Once I did give the big green beast a try, I only looked back to track down vintage issues. One that’s always stood out to me was Incredible Hulk #162, the debut appearance of the awesome Wendigo.
The story was titled Spawn on the Flesh-Eater, and opens with a dose of reality for readers: people hate what they fear, and they fear Hulk. Men ambush him, unleashing gunfire. “Can’t Hulk ever have peace? He only wants to find friend-“ The Hulk, as big and intimidating as he may be, is a sad soul, sympathetic on a near immeasurable level. It’s hard not to feel for the character… unless you’re a frightened military man or a rogue trigger happy local.
Interestingly enough, it’s an attack by rural folk that inadvertently leaves the Hulk looking for a missing man named Paul, believed to have been taken by the Wendigo. Needless to say, it isn’t long before the Hulk meets Wendigo for the first time.
To Hulk’s surprise, the Wendigo is nearly unshakable, a beast of equal if not superior strength and ability to the Hulk. Eventually, after a back and forth battle Wendigo makes a getaway, but not before hurling Paul from a cliff. Hulk catches the falling man, and proves successful in saving the day.
But there’s an insanely clever twist to the story, as writer Steve Englehart really flexes his mental muscle. It wasn’t Paul the Hulk saved, it was his friend. Paul, as it turns out, had devoured a man while stranded in the wilderness. A curse set in, and Paul transformed into the very Wendigo that Hulk just battled.
It’s a brilliant spin on things, and even today, a reminder that I missed out on some stellar books having avoided this specific title until 1990.
Wanna talk killer Hulk tales? Talk about he first appearance of Wendigo, talk about issue #162.
A true classic that introduces a number of characters that would, decades later, find themselves firmly entrenched among a blossoming group of iconic names and faces. In X-Men #1 Stan Lee gives us the chance to meet Professor Xavier, Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Iceman and – eventually (she arrives at the Professor’s school for gifted youngsters about halfway through the book) – Jean Grey, then known as Marvel Girl. We also learn of the professor’s intentions to hone his pupils into warriors capable of defending and preserving the safety of the world’s average men and women.