Monday, August 22, 2011

Captain America week is over ( reloaded )

As you may have noticed there was no post after the german version of the big Captain America post last Thursday. After five posts in five days I needed a break to recharge my creative batteries.

I thought about doing another post during the weekend but on Saturday I took on more housecleaning than I could handle and the fact that I hadn´t eaten before ( and was probably a bit dehydrated ) didn´t really help.

These last few days it´s been prety hot in Germany and for most of the remaining day I was K.O. On Sunday I was still recovering from that but I DID manage to overhaul the Captain America posts to include links to all other parts for all readers who don´t come here on a regular basis and therefore don´t read the posts in chronological order. I also included the links in the TOP TEN POST so that from now on all new readers can read it in smaller parts that are easier to digest. At least that´s what I hope.

Like I had already expected I didn´t watch the new Captain America movie during the weekend but I saw PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN - ON STRANGER TIDES and PRIEST. The second one is the adaption of a manga and though I´m not familiar with it it was an entertaining action flick. Now the fourth part of PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN was waaay better than the second and third part and a real return to former glory. Penelope Cruz brought spanish pride to the movie with her marvelous performance ( she does a great Captain Jack Sparrow )

although the movie poster with her does look a bit familiar.

And Johnny Depp - well, he started the whole franchise and he´s still the glue holding the whole shebang together. It also seems that somebody remembered what the whole thing is about : pirates and horror and fighting and strange, deadly pirate magic and terrifying curses.

So, to close the whole matter of CAPTAIN AMERICA WEEK I wanted to do a post on Sunday ( which as you might have already ascertained ) that didn´t happen but better late than never. I have just finished reading THE THING - PROJECT PEGASUS HC which is a story I have heard a lot of good things about but I never was quite sure if I knew the story. There were some vague recollections of Ben Grimm as head of security at a top notch government facility but nothing in particular that stuck in my brain.

After my lecture of the hardcover ( I really prefer them over the trades lately ) I can say that I read some chapters of it as the first two issues were - probably - even released in german. I definitely recall the issue with Captain America, the Thing and the Man Thing. Okay, according to the Fantastic Four Index on MARVEL COMICS - ONLINE both issues are in DIE FANTASTISCHEN VIER Comic Taschenbuch Nr. 7, but like with most pocket books by Condor the text was reduced to a few short sentences.

Yes, Captain America is in issues 42 and 43 of MARVEL - TWO - IN - ONE ( and issue 43 does have two things in one : Thing and Man Thing ) and I noticed one thing. Captain America and especially the supersoldier formula are a bigger part of the Marvel universe than I remembered.

I always thought it was kind of unrealistic how the ULTIMATES were centered so much on the supersoldier formula but apparently this was also true in the regular Marvel universe. I thought about doing a " six degrees of separation of Captain America " post but since Cap has teamed up with at least 50 percent of every abled body in the Marvel universe as part of the Avengers this would probably not work.


In PROJECT PEGASUS one of the guest stars is Man Thing a.k.a. Dr. Ted Sallis who tried to recreate the supersoldier formula and, like his counterpart in the DC universe he flees some evil characters and ends up in the swamp after injecting himself with the serum. The chemicals and mystic forces ( seems he just happened to crash his car into the nexus of all realities ) transform him into a swamp creature and from that moment on " Whatever knows fear burns at the Man - Thing's touch ! "

That´s the best known line from the Man - Thing comics and you can insert your own GIANT SIZED MAN - THING joke here. The villain in the first two issues of PROJECT PEGASUS is Victorius a.k.a. Victor Conrad who - what a great coincidence - also tried to recreate the super soldier formula but who succeeded. Maybe he should have started a club with the Man Thing instead of fighting.

It seems everybody wants to copy Captain America in one way or the other and if it´s not by trying to recreate the supersoldier formula it´s by using Cap´s body as a blueprint. The Beyonder built himself a copy of Captain America´s body to inhabit when he came to earth for a visit during SECRET WARS II and when the son of the original Red Skull cloned himself a new body he used Steve Rogers´DNA. I think the usual argument is that Captain America is at " the peak of human condition " which would result in him getting laid more often - if he wasn´t Captain America. Not that being an old - fashioned superhero has something to do with scoring with the ladies, as both Aquaman and Hawkman got lucky with Power Girl. But it seems that´s some territory Marvel doesn´t want to dive into. At least until they are convinced there´s money to be made.

As it is Tony Stark is the Paris Hilton of the Marvel universe. He´s rich, he has an alcohol problem and he slept with most women in the Marvel universe including She Hulk. He gets a lot of bad press and he even was Public Enemy Number 1 during Osborn´s DARK REIGN.

Back to PROJECT PEGASUS, I did enjoy the chapters by John Byrne more than I thought and the chapters penciled by George Perez less than I expected , mostly due to the fact that this is pre - Titans George Perez.

Nevertheless is a solid read and I like these books where tons of third stringers get their five minutes of fame which in this case includes Deathlok, my favorite killer cyborg from the 70s who I just love to death ,

Fantastic Four antagonist Thundra who always pines after Benjamin Grimm but also always ends up having to go up against him

Titania ( later the Absorbing Man´s main squeeze and She - Hulk´s archnemesis ), Screaming Mimi ( later the Thunderbolt´s Songbird ) and the rest of the grapplers. It also features Black Goliath Dr. William Barrett Foster who here adapts the moniker of Giant - Man in these issues

and who is mostly known Today for being the first causality of the superhero CIVIL WAR. It´s always the brother who gets it first.

This is also one of the first adventures of Quasar Wendell Vaughn

who changes his name from Marvel Man and wears the same costume

as Marvel Boy a.k.a. Bob Grayson who first was a superhero in the 50s and who later became an adversary of the Fantastic Four.

In the fight he blew himself up ( the story behind that is complicated ) and left the Nega Bands behind which were given to the Cosmic Potector from then on. There was another Marvel Boy in the Marvel universe, Kree warrior Noh - Var who was recruited by Norman Osborn to be one of his DARK AVENGERS but he left the team after finding out who Norman really was. He´s currently one of the Avengers under the name of Protector.

And since we´re on the subject of characters with the same name, the Nth Man in this story is Dr. Thomas Lightner TVFKAB or " the villain formerly known as Blacksun ". Not the ultimate ninja from the Larry Hama penned NTH MAN series.

Despite all this confusing trivia - which you really don´t need to know to enjoy the story and the parts you need to know are explained in the story - it´s a fun read with more guest stars and surprise villains that you can shake a stick at. Not that I think shaking a stick would help against Klaw.

Or that I could do a lot of stick shaking at the moment. If you´re into 70s mayhem in the mighty Marvel manner ( back when Marvel really was the real deal ), lots of costumed villains and heroes going at it with gusto and great art by icons like Sal Buscema, John Byrne and George Perez this might be just the right book for you. And if not maybe you want to give it a try and who knows, you may become a true believer. In any case, this comic gets my recommendation. The Thing - Project Pegasus : I allow it !

The volume contains 8 issues, the initial two parter by non - Karate Kid Ralph Macchio and the six part follow - up by Ralph Macchio and Mark Gruenwald ( who wrote one of the best periods in Cap history ).

I think back at the time Marvel´s policy was not to do big sagas ( which was anything longer than two issues ) but since MARVEL - TWO - IN - ONE was not the big seller to begin with the editor greenlighted it much to the delight of future comic reading generations and it´s still one of the most popular storylines involving the Thing.

As always, I don´t expect my readers to just take my word for it so here are other comicfans who like the storyline as much as I do :

First of is Win Wiacek from NOW READ THIS ( I have no idea if he´s related to famous inker Bob Wiacek ) who writes an informative - although it includes some spoilers - review of the first trade edition of this storyline that also included MARVEL - TWO - IN - ONE 60 with The Thing and Impossible Man in ‘ Happiness is a Warm Alien ’.

Fellow bloggers Karen and Doug from BRONZE AGE BABIES discuss issues 53 to 58 - issue 53 / issue 54 / issue 55 / issue 56 / issue 57 / issue 58

Neal Patterson from POLYVINYLMAN even thinks it would make for a brilliant movie adaption and when i think about the brilliant X - MEN FIRST CLASS he might be right. Wow, this was supposed to be just a short post and now it´s evolved into a full - fledged comic book review.

Now somebody once said that those who remember the 70s did not experience them, so for all drug abusing juvenile delinquents with memory gaps here´s a version of AQUARIUS from the musical HAIR that features pin up goddess Raquel Welch, dozens of freaked out costumes and the singing voice of Tina Cole. Who has already read the PROJECT PEGASUS story knows how it ties into it - the rest will have to find out.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pretty insightful. Thanks!