Friday, February 12, 2021

Comics on the Shelf -- Marvel-5

On the Marvel-5 shelf are: Fantastic Four #202-250, Fantastic Four Annuals #13-15, Incredible Hulk #221-237, Incredible Hulk Annuals #7, 8 & 10, and Iron Man #113.
Fantastic Four #236 – Terror In A Tiny Town has long been a favorite. It shows the FF living as normal people in a small town somewhere in mid-America, while their lives as superheroes haunt their nightmares. The revelation and resolution are both equally surprising. It’s a great story written and drawn by John Byrne. One of the best!
Fantastic Four Annual #14 features Agatha Harkness, Franklin Richards, and the Salem Seven and features some of the finest George Perez artwork ever to appear in a Marvel comic. It is beautiful! It was tempting to choose Hulk #222 which is plotted and illustrated by Jim Starlin, who is an amazing talent, but for me the definitive Hulk artist is Sal Buscema. I have to pick an issue drawn by Sal, and among these it’s going to be #226 which is written by Roger Stern.
The story has the Hulk “land” on the grounds of Bruce Banner's college campus. He is flooded by Banner’s memories, but mistakes them for his own. It’s a really well written crisis of identity story, and one of my favorites.
Hulk Annual #7 is written by Stern and drawn by John Byrne and Bob Layton. It’s beautiful to look at. The story features X-men: Ice Man and the Angel. They along with the Hulk do battle with a supreme Sentinel called the Master Mold. I am amused because each is captured and placed in a containment tube with a label showing their names. Ice Man for Ice Man, Angel for Angel, and Blob for the Hulk. This tiny miscalculation with cost the Master Mold dearly. 

The only issue of Iron Man on this shelf, #113 features the art of Herb Trimpe and the villainy of the Unicorn. He’s called the Unicorn because he can shoot energy beams from his forehead. I think he turned to villainy because he wanted to be the Cyclops, but that name was already taken. (Just kidding.)
The art by Trimpe here is lovely, and if I had been born 10 years earlier and began collecting comics in the late 60's / early 70’s rather than the late 70’s / early 80's, then I would have been calling Herb Trimpe the definitive Hulk artist, because that’s what he was, before Sal Buscema came along. Trimpe’s Iron Man looks good, but not as good as his Hulk.

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