Today, we check out War of Kings: Ascension #1, Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1, All New Savage She-Hulk #1, and Blast to the Past with Marvel Mystery Comics #'s 8-10. Enjoy and spread the word!
That's a lot of new number ones for one week! That means one of these weeks will probably be even LARGER than they've been lately! Awesome.
As always, you can easily check up on past articles of Super Reads. If you're reading this on The Outhouse, you'll see a link titled "Super Reads" under the "Features" button on the top of the page. Click on it and you can check out what happened in every issue dealing with Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, and War of Kings (because I obviously have an addiction). If my directions are confusing, click here to catch up or remember back on all 45 previous articles. It's perfect for all your reading needs.
Time to get our war on.
War of Kings: Ascension #1
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Wellington Alves
Back in Secret Invasion: War of Kings, Grand Commander N'jke Jeeku tried to lead the remaining Skrull Armada ships away from earth only to encounter the Inhumans and their rage. His ships were destroyed and his men killed.
Except, it turns out that death takes a long time for a Skrull. N'jke somehow survived the Inhuman's onslaught but is left in outer space with a very faulty space suit and little time for regret. He's actually pissed off that the Inhumans didn't finish the job and give him a warrior's death. This dying of suffocation and cold is sort of a weak way to go. In his dying moments (which are extremely prolonged), he notices a flickering off in the distance and makes his way towards it. What he finds is a blue glowing gem that combines with his form to make...
Talon. That's one mystery solved.
In the here and now, Darkhawk and Talon are playing around in the Negative Zone. Talon is trying to teach Darkhawk how to fully bond with his Darkhawk gem which, as of right now, is causing him to go mad by feeding him information that he just can't process. To this end, they've gone to the N-Zone for some good training grounds and, at this point, are fighting Chitinauts of the Seventh Stridation that serve some dude named Catastrophus. Our two Brothers of the Raptor entered their territory and are easily ID'd as the outsiders they are. This battle goes on to prove two things.
1) Chris Powell, wearing the Darkhawk armor with the red visor, isn't an expert on Marvel minutae. He's never been to the Negative Zone and hardly knows what's going on inside. He also missed out on the Annihilation War which involved an attack on some space civilizations by Annihilus and his Negative Zone army.
2) Talon might be Darkhawk's best chance at sanity but he's also kind of a dick. He switches to Warflight Mode and has no compuctions about slaughtering the entire Chitinaut force. Later on, he basically goads Chris into anger.
Darkhawk is still having trouble reconfiguring his armor and has only been able to do it by accident at this point. His oncoming madness has given him quite a temper that he's barely keeping in check. Seeing Talon simply wipe out his enemies also serves to remind Chris that they operate by different codes. Darkhawk doesn't kill. Talon obviously does.
After the two get into a small fight that seems to be about Talon getting Darkhawk to control his anger. The result is Chris going to some Neg Zone mountain top to cool off. He's switched out of his armor to do that chilling.
This isn't what he expected, really. He went along with Talon not only to learn how to control his armor and not go mad but also to make something of himself much like his friend Nova did during the Annihilation War. When Talon hears about this, our Obi-Wan tells Powell that the Nova Centurions are minor peacekeepers compared to the Brotherhood of Raptors. The Brotherhood change the universe. They just don't serve and protect. The problem is, the Raptor armor was never designed to be used by humans. It's really old and humans weren't part of the equation when it was built. Because of this, it's lead to Chris not being able to access many of it's abilities not be able to access the "Datasong of the Null Source."
When Talon was reactivated, he found a universe lacking any of his brothers. Only Darkhawk remained, damaged by incompatibility. Still, a damaged Raptor is still something to work with. Talon needs the help and believes that he can still unlock Darkhawk's full potential. With that, he tells Chris to change back to armored form before the Negative Zone has an effect on his squishier form.
The two Raptors make their way to the Heteropteron. This is Catastrophus's main base and it's mobile. It's like a big Fortress RV. In the sky. Talon continues to give Darkhawk lessons on the nature of the Raptor. They are totally powerful machines but their true strength comes from insight and guile. With these weapons, they change the course of history and culture. It's time to scout the Heteropteron but they aren't going to go in personally.
Talon takes his claw-cable and alters it's form to that of a silverhawk (yes, it DOES look like something from the Silverhawks cartoon). They are both able to see through the bird's visor and get a good look at the fortress interior. Talon keeps doing his best exposition orator impersonation ever, giving Darkhawk a quick lesson on just who and what Catastrophus is. You want a bit of that? Alright!
Catastrophus is one on the Lieutenant Lords left to rule over the Negative Zone now that Annihilus is gone. He's made his own insect army to rule over his territory and probably is looking to control a bit more in the future. To this end, he's acquired the Cosmic Control Rod that used to belong to Annihilus. It's some major voodoo and needs to be liberated.
The two Raptors enter the facility and are immediately overwhelmed. Talon is in the lead and is trying to get Darkhawk to keep his anger in check while both of them are blasting the bad guys. Suddenly, the elder Raptor is no where to be seen and Chris is surrounded. Off panel, Talon tells Darkhawk that he's in deep trouble and needs assistance, begging that the younger Raptor change modes to Full Combat. Chris hasn't changed since his first reconfiguration on earth and says as much.
And here's the moment I've been waiting for since War of Kings: Darkhawk #2. Talon isn't in any trouble. He's hiding and goading Darkhawk on from a relatively safe position. This COULD just be about training Chris to use the armor by placing him in a position of stress but... well, you'll see.
Darkhawk is being completely over taken by the enemy and, finally, reconfigures to Full Combat Mode. Rippling with guns, he kills everything in sight... so it's a good thing Talon was in hiding. After the artillery fire is over with, Darkhawk has regrets but and emerging Talon is happy to see his comrade has been able to reconfigure and tells him that "before we're done, you'll be wading through the blood of thousands." That raises even more warning lights.
Talon tells Darkhawk that he has now fully bonded to the gem and is now connected to the Datasong. Listen to the sweet melodies of... assassination? Kidnapping? Is that how they shape the universe?
Makes sense, actually.
But to a morally upright earther, it's not playing for the good guys. It's getting down and dirty with the villains. Darkhawk attacks Talon and learns that Chris's services are no longer required. No, the elder Raptor isn't killing Chris. He's just removing him from the equation so that the TRUE Raptor within can take over. You see, the part where Raptor armor wasn't supposed to be wielded by a human? That was because Chris stayed in control of the armor instead of being a host for it. N'jke Jeeku isn't in control of the Talon armor. His personality has been over taken by Talon. Chris Powell was a different story and it's been the fight between him and the Darkhawk gem (and probably other incompatibility issues) that has been driving him mad and making him cranky and irritable. Talon finally forces Chris to give up his control to reveal...
Time to get to the maiming and killing.
Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1
Writer: Andy Diggle
Penciler: Tom Raney
Rogue Hulk-Buster? Check
Dark Avengers? Check
Sentry and Captain Marvel? Hmmm... suspiciously absent.
Iron Patriot is quick to call out his fellow teammates on their absence. After some grandstanding in front of the cameras, IP calls out the Hulk-Buster armor and it's inferior Stark-tech. He fires some superior Oscorp blasts from his gauntlets but they are reflected off the H-B's shields and returned to sender. Osborn and an unfortunate Ms. Marvel (who was flying right behind him) get knocked into a nearby building.
The one thing the Dark Avengers don't have going for them is a sense of teamwork. These dudes don't play well together. The T-Bolt members stand a better chance of actually having some of that work for them but the most team oriented members were left behind. This is a grand standing team if there ever was one.
Since this is his book, the Dark Avenger, Hawkeye, is going to use that to his advantage. He's not seen as a threat to the Hulk-Buster but he's gonna play the angles of the battle to make himself more deadly than the rest. While Dark Wolverine goes after a leg and gets the HB's attention, Hawkeye fires a grappling hook arrow onto the headpiece of the Hulk-Buster and follows the line up. He locates the crash-rescue system (a SHIELD failsafe) and blows the head off the armor.
The guy in the armor wastes little time ejecting from the war machine. Iron Patriot wants him brought back alive but that's not exactly what Hawkeye's blast arrors DO. They mostly blow things up. Hawkeye's not done yet, though. While his fellow Avengers climb to the top of the Hulk-Buster, Hawkeye jumps off telling them it's all over. Just then, the armor topples, hitting a bus full of innocents as Osborn stands around being inept. It is... actually pretty funny. Poor innocent by-standers and their hilarious deaths. I may be getting immune to being affected by fictional death...
You'd think something like this would be a hard sell on the American people and you'd be wrong. Only one guy in the crowd of reporters isn't eating up every word Osborn throws down and he's getting the skinny right from the psychopath. That's right! Ben Urich is in the house! Hawkeye is telling him just how much of an artform killing is and Urich suddenly finds the dude pretty familiar. Now, if you've read Dark Avengers #1 (I have!), you'll know that talking to the press should get you a one-way ticket back to Thunderbolts Mountain and, after Hawkeye's antics today, that would probably be a good place for him. Luckily, he's garnered a little favor from Norman and just gets sent back to Avengers Tower while Iron Patriot strikes a heroic pose and blames the entire incident on that terrorist, Tony Stark.
Again, the only reporter with morals and ethics in the crowd is Ben Urich. He questions Osborn on Stark even being involved here and on how the Hulk-Buster seemed to be there to commit robbery, not terrorism. The H-B was, after all, headed to the Federal Reserve. While we're at it, didn't the actions of the Avengers lead to a bus full of deaths? Osborn has Urich arrested for "national security" reasons. That's how to play a crowd. Boosh!
This doesn't mean that Hawkeye doesn't get chewed out. He does. Bullseye... I mean, Hawkeye is astonished to learn that Osborn actually isn't playing some angle here. He's actually trying to be America's top cop. Now, that doesn't mean he isn't corrupt as hell. It just means he expects the Avengers to do their damn job and not kill innocent civilians. He gets to kill the bad guys, yes, but not regular civilians.
Osborn lets Bullseye know that there will be killing in his future as soon as they find out who was behind this attack on the Federal Reserve but that the killing of the Hulk-Buster pilot puts that investigation at a severe disadvantage. There's a threat that if Hawkeye doesn't toe the line and stop killing innocents on live TV that he won't just find himself off the team but dead. Our hero leaves to work off some steam.
He wears the Hawkeye costume.
Heading to the Meatpacking District, Hawkeye is witness to a mugging... possibly a rape in progress. Three men attack one woman and try to get her into their van. It's a good thing there's a super hero around. One thug gets an arrow through the head. The other two pull guns only to have one shot through both hands and stuck to the van. The third tries to surrender only to have an arrow shot through his mouth. This... probably isn't how Clint Barton would handle things.
It does make Bullseye a little more satisfied with being limited to the bow and arrow, though.
He does his best to calm the thug's victim down a bit and, when she learns that it was an Avenger that saved her, she warms up pretty quickly. Unfortunately, it's easy to tick Bullseye off. Saying things, like, "my son was so excited to see your boss on TV" is a pretty easy way to do it. She tries to get his autograph for her kid only too have Bullseye give her pen back to her.
Yeah... just like that.
This freaks the surviving criminal out. This isn't how it's supposed to play out! Hawkeye is quick to mention that he had worse planned for the lady than a quick death but that's probably falling on deaf ears right now with all the blubbering and surrendering and I'll-never-do-crime-again-ing.
Y'see, Bullseye isn't here to do good deeds. He's here to get his kicks. Kill people. Get credit for his kills. There's one to go.
He jams the gas pedal down with an arrow, hit the ignition on the van and pops the vehicle into drive. It hits the wall of the parking ramp and goes for a big fall, striking two approaching police cars on landing.
A job well done, Hawkeye removes an arrow and starts marking his victims with a bullseye symbol on their foreheads. Unfortunately, there's a new copter getting this all on film flying above him.
That's gonna have some repercussions...
All New Savage She-Hulk #1
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Penciler: Peter Vale & Robert Atkins
There are times that you say to yourself, "W.T.F?" Other times, you just go with it.
On rare occasions, you're forced to do both.
I'm not going to pretend I know everything about the brand new She-Hulk. I'm just going to do the best I can to get through this issue and forget it ever happened. I hope you all can do the same. Here we go. Breathe deeply.
In between time and space is the headquarters of the Alternate Reality Monitoring and Operational Response Agency. ARMOR. It might not be between time and space. It might be right next door. I don't know. I just read these things. The point is, they're dealing with an emergency. Something dangerous is time traveling into New York City and it's their job to be there no matter what. So there they go, teleporting their armies we've never seen before to New York City.
Unfortunately, once they get there, the thing that's supposed to be appearing doesn't exactly appear where they think it will appear. It's actually below them. And rising fast. Oh, there it is.
You'll recognize this girl from the cover. This is the All New Savage She-Hulk and her wrist fem-puter. The fem-puter doesn't just fem-pute. It also taunts people for their lack of boobs and how superior women are. I mean, just look at that green one. She's kicking their @$$es. The fem-puter also annalyzes the battleground and delivers tactical information but, and this is key, is really annoying. Because of that, we'll stop calling her fem-puter and give her the name she was born with: Boudicca. She doesn't deserve the name fem-puter.
So, the forces of ARMOR are proving wholly inadequate at bringing down one She-Hulk wannabe and her talking wristwatch. Our resident green chick is on some sort of time table, though and doesn't stick around for a prolonged battle. She has places to go!
Back at ARMOR headquarters, the Director of ARMOR, Charles Little Sky, has seen the resultant destruction delivered to his field team and decides to switch tactics. It's time for Contingency Plan-B. That plan is all sorts of awesome. Just you wait.
ARMOR has a Shock Carrier on the scene and it REALLY wants to send in more troops because that worked out so well last time. ARMOR makes sure to tell them NOT TO FRICKIN' ENGAGE. DON'T EVEN TEST ME ON THIS! That lets She-Hulk-Wannabe run to wherever she needs to run to. Turns out, she can run pretty fast. Maybe she couldn't give Quicksilver a run for his money, but it's still pretty fast.
Since ARMOR isn't gonna give us pages of carnage, it's probably time for a flashback/forward/my-brain-hurts-with-all-the-alternative-timeline-time-travel. The leader of the future society on Earth-8009 is named Gynosure. She's a robot/cyborg thing and she leads a society of all women, all the time. They are grown genetically and there's a big problem. The genetic cradle is broken. To fix it, she summons Lyra, the offspring of Thundra and the Hulk through genetic sampling. Now we know our new She-Hulk's name.
Lyra is sent on a mission to save the future from the dangers of procreation. It's icky and wrong and is extinct in the future. The Gynosure also gives Lyra the annoying trinket we will call Boudicca. It is a back-engineered Virual Pet and that totally explains why it's so annoying. As Lyra leaves to gather her women for the long mission ahead, we see just who built those genetic cradle devises. Oscorp.
I always thought Norman Osborn would be responsible for getting rid of sex.
Lyra leads her on a long mission through the tatters remains of our civilization (also, there are sabretooth tigers because the future is also the past). The voice over tells of how the men of this world are pretty damn delusioned and worship the lost heroes of the past. It takes the women a few days to find some of these men but, when they do, the fight is fierce.
In the here and now, Boudicca has lead Lyra into the ruins of Avengers mansion. Lyra wasn't expecting ruins and, if she's after Osborn, she's at the wrong Avengers Headquarters. While Boudicca begs to have her memory deleted for this failure (and we all can hope), Lyra acknowledges that mistakes happen and that it's expected that everything can't go according to well-laid plan. Just then, ARMOR attacks her even though they aren't supposed to do so.
Obviously, they're as successful as earlier attempts. This time, however, Lyra needs information and takes one of the ARMOR agents prisoner. His name is Alexander Erde and he's as annoyed at Boudicca as the rest of us are. Still, he answers her questions because they aren't exactly secret. She's looking for the Avengers and, yes, they are in Avengers Tower. He asks her why she's looking for the Avengers and Lyra responds that she's looking for the greatest hero of the time.
Boudicca shouts that they only have five hours and fourteen minutes to complete their mission. Agent Erde doesn't get killed but that's probably got something to do with the statue of the Hulk looming over them. Instead, he gets taken along for the ride.
Meanwhile, Director Little Sky is having a meeting with Director Osborn. Norman's wondering why ARMOR troops are massing in New York City and why, specifically, they are blocking traffic outside of Avengers Tower. Little Sky assures the Director of HAMMER that they are merely boxing in a tran-reality bogey and that everything is perfectly fine. There should only be a few more issues of distraction. Osborn isn't buying it (and neither are we). He has oversight of ARMOR and promises retribution if this isn't handled quickly.
Back in New York, things are going as well as we could expect. ARMOR troops are being knocked over like ten pins and our little Mary Sue is doing the knocking. It's only a matter of time before something knocks back.
Looks like Contingency Plan-B, the REAL She-Hulk, arrived just in time. Thank you, Marvel.
And now, the very first Marvel Crossover back when you didn't even have to buy another book to get the whole thing!
Marvel Mystery Comics #8
Writer: Bill Everett
Artist: Bill Everett
The Sub-Mariner is a ticked off teenager with the mission of destroying the surface world. Unfortunately, he's conflicted. Sometimes he likes to help out the surface world only to get back stabbed. That leads the cycle all over again. The last time he went on a rampage, he was only stopped by his police woman friend, Betty, who let him know that the Human Torch was tracking him down. With that, Namor returned to his surface world palace, the Statue of Liberty, to plan his next move. Seeing as this is a Golden Age Comic, expect the most awesome nonsense you've ever witnessed.
Namor hangs out in the Statue of Liberty for not too long until his wild teenage emotions cause him to plan a plan of awesome. He dives into the water and swims over to a sub-chaser in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He steals a depth charge, buries it in the Hudson Tunnel, sets the charge, and has it go off, giving every this in the area a good shake in the process. Take that, Human Torch! The Hudson Tunnel itself is flooded and people are probably killed inside but, by that point, Namor is off to commit more acts of random mischief and violence.
Namor decides to head to the zoo as ambulances rush to the tunnel in a desperate attempt to save people's lives. On the way, he encounters a police bi-plane and rips the propeller off. The bi-plane goes into an inescapable dive and, unlike those G.I.Joe cartoons, there's no parachute. The Sub-Mariner continues on his way to the zoo.
This is, by the way, the most dangerous zoo in the history of all mankind. It's like these animals were beaten on a daily basis and are just waiting for the chance to get out and kill something. I'm guessing the zoos of the 1940's probably weren't the greatest in humane treatment of animals, after all. Namor shows up and wastes no time in freeing the lions from their cages. The Zoo keepers move to restrain the animals but that's not in Namor's plans at all. He throws an iron bar at them all and they topple to the ground. The narrative makes it even more violent than the picture. "The whirling bar cuts down the keepers like a scythe cuts down grass..." Yeah, people lost limbs just off panel. On panel, they don't look like it was a cake walk.
Unfortunately for Namor, the lions don't discriminate between surface people and water people in speedos. He's attacked by a huge cat. No sooner does he throw that one down than another lunges at him. Namor punches the second beast in the jaw and the blow kills the cat. Since this experience went so well for him, Namor prances off to the snake house for more fun and excitement.
There's no good stories at the snake house. The Sub-Mariner simply smashes the glass cages open, letting the reptiles slither out and bite people at their leisure. Namor's already run off to find bigger and more violent animals to release from their cages.
He finds them at the elephant house. These particular elephants are labeled "Dangerous Do Not Feed." They're perfect for killing people! The Prince of Atlantis lets out an entire herd of pachyderms and watches as they stampede around the zoo. The results are only too predictable until the book experiences that rare moment when a villain's heart has a sudden change...
Now, a normal super hero would rescue the baby and be off but that's not Namor's style. He lands in front of the elephant and lifts the beast over his head and then throws it towards the other elephants. It's more important to look awesome than to simply rescue a baby. Namor then picks up the baby and, instead of returning it to the cowardly nurse, flies it to a nearby medical center. They try to compliment him on a job well done but that just pisses him off. He'll have to cause more crime to make up for the good deed.
By the way, this is by far the greatest thing I have ever read in my life. More comics have to be this nonsensical and hysterical. I suddenly want to buy up as many Golden Age comics as I can find.
The Sub-Mariner flies off and lands on the George Washington Bridge. Since he knows that, in the future, it will be one of the two bridges that the Green Goblin might have killed Gwen Stacy on, he tries to stop the future debate and destroy it well beforehand. He destroys one of the uprights but then gets distracted by the arriving Human Torch. It's fight time!
The Sub-Mariner throws a steel girder at the hero only to have the Torch melt it down before it reaches him. Namor rushes his foe but the Human Torch fires a ring of flame at him. Namor expels water from his body but is still unable to rid himself of the flames. For now, all he can do is jump off the bridge and return to the river below. The two stars shout taunts at each other to end this chapter.
Writer: Carl Burgos
Artist: Carl Burgos
And now, the Human Torch's side of events which is only slightly less hilarious.
The Human Torch is a member of the New York Police Force but that only means that he unintentionally puts lives in danger instead of doing it on purpose. He's flying around looking for the Sub-Mariner and having very little luck finding the watery dude. He sees a police car and decides to see if they've had any better luck. They haven't but they offer the guy a ride to Police Headquarters. The Torch must be tired of flying around and takes them up on it.
The Torch meets with the Police Chief to tell him that the Sub-Mariner has just vanished. The Chief calls him yellow and the Human Torch nearly knocks him out for the insult (yes, he's that kind of guy). Before blows can be struck, word comes in that Namor is on the attack again. Torch burns right through a brick wall (because that's possible) in order to pick up on the Sub-Mariner's trail. The Chief is simply happy that there's gonna be a big battle between the two and orders the other officer to get a mason up to fix the wall. It'll probably be burned through a few more times before the Torch retires.
The Torch flies on the scene of a demolished elevated train and those of you who just read the Sub-Mariner chapter above might be a little confused because this didn't happen in that chapter. It actually happened in the last issue of Sub-Mariner. Yeah, Namor does a lot of bad stuff. It's hard to keep up. The Torch decides that THIS TIME he'll actually work to fix things up. He melts the pillars back into place and then gets to work on the train tracks. There's a crane on hand to lift the crashed train cars but the wheels are bent out of shape and won't fit the tracks. Torch solves that problem by melting them back into perfection. Any problem can be solved with a little open flame.
With his good deed done for the day, the Torch is visited by Police Woman, Betty, the Sub-Mariner's only friend. She takes Torch on a drive, trying to convince him that her friend, the Sub-Mariner, isn't all bad once you get to know him. He's just easily angered. Y'know what, lady? I've read his part in this story and the dude needs to be taken down. I don't think any court in the land would let him off for the destruction he's caused.
Just then, word comes over the police radio that Namor has been spotted on top of the Empire State Building (this is where he ripped the mooring mast off-- also last issue). Torch demands Betty drive them both right over but her car is stuck in a traffic jam and this is apparently the era before police sirens. The Human Torch wastes no time burning right through her car roof in his impatience to get to the scene. This causes the car to burst into flames.
The Torch wastes more time saving Betty from the destruction he caused. He flies back to the car and gathers all the flames to him. This puts out the fire by taking it away. With that, he heads to the Empire State Building. He gets to the scene just as Namor is throwing the mooring mast to the ground below. It lands, crushing people but somehow not killing some of them. Torch does the rescue thing and decides that melting the mooring mast is the best way to save lives. He then starts to drag crushed (and now badly burned by molten metal) bodies away from the wreckage but the police tell him they've got this. Torch is free to chase after the Sub-Mariner once more.
Torch flies to the top of the Empire State Building to find the Sub-Mariner has left the scene. In the meantime, Namor has been warned off by Betty, gone to the Statue of Liberty to sulk, flooded the Hudson Tunnel, and made his way to the Zoo to release a host of animals. From the top of the tower, the Human Torch spots the rampaging beasts and immediately knows that it's the work of his new enemy. At any rate, it's a situation that he'll have to deal with.
Torch lands in the middle of the animals and they all back away from the guy lit up like a match stick. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean they stop attacking the zoo keepers that AREN'T burning.
Torch uses his flame powers to round up the animals and force them back into their cages. He then uses those same powers to melt the bars back into place. Once of the zoo keepers tells him that, yes, the Sub-Mariner paid them a visit before a gorilla attacks the pair. Funny... I don't remember Namor releasing any primates...
Regardless, there's a gorilla loose. It grabs a stunned Human Torch and throws him at a wall before anyone can yell "Flame on." Lucky for the Torch, he instinctively bursts into flame and, since he's in a Golden Age comic, is able to melt through whatever the wall is made out of that he was intended to smash into before that smashing can occur. It was probably brick because those seems to melt quickly in Golden Age times. I blame faulty building materials.
Emerging from the scene, Torch finds his friendly zoo keeper informant about to have his head smashed against the pavement. A few balls of fire thrown in it's direction causes the gorilla to drop that poor zoo keeper and leap up a wall to escape. Torch meets the primate on the roof to deliver a smashing blow to his face, causing the gorilla to fall from the building and... apparently die when landing. No animals were harmed in the making of this comic, indeed.
Betty makes another appearance to tell the Torch where he can find the Sub-Mariner. He's causing mischief (and death!) at the George Washington Bridge. The superhero flies to the scene and we get a retelling of the Namor encounter.
Torch melts the steel beam thrown at him and surrounds Namor with a ring of flame. Namor's "sprinkler system" tries to douse the flame but, failing, the Sub-Mariner is force to dive into the river below. The two exchange taunts and that's our comic, folks!
Marvel Mystery Comics #9
By: Bill Everett, Carl Burgos, & John Compton
Namor wastes no time in thinking up some way to defeat the Torch (or just cause havoc, it's all the same for the Sub-Mariner). He swims down to his aerial sub and retrieves a high-pressure air tank. Namor flies it back to the Statue of Liberty only to be face to face with the Torch as he lands. The Torch flings a fireball at the Atlantean but the Sub-Mariner is quick to dodge. It's time to put his plan into action.
The Sub-Mariner aims the air hose at the Human Torch and fires a blast of compressed air at him. Now, normally, that would actually give the Torch more oxygen to ignite but we're dealing with Golden Age physics. Also, it's possible that this air doesn't have any oxygen in it. It IS Atlantean air, after all. At any rate, it douses the Torches flame and even knocks the hero out. Namor presses his advantage and, picking up the prone form, punches the Torch off the Statue of Liberty.
The Human Torch wakes up just before smashing into the water below and tries flaming on to break his fall. He's only partially successful. He saves his own life but still drops into the ocean. Now he's on Namor's playing field and that means he's pretty much done for. The Sub-Mariner knocks him unconscious one more time and drags the android back to the aerial sub to examine him.
What happens next is pure comedy and Golden Age physics at it's most incredible. Namor tries to work another air pressure hose in the aerial sub only to have it jam up on him. When it finally works, he's lost control of it and it creates air bubbles all over the sub. One of these bubbles encapsulates the Torch and carries the hero out of the sub... and Namor can't do anything about it. The air bubble is unbreakable and keeps rising to the surface. Frustrated, the Sub-Mariner gives the bubble a sharp smack only to watch it soar to the surface even faster than before. The Torch has awoken from his nap by this point and flames on just as the bubble bursts on the surface of the water.
Namor returns to his aerial sub but doesn't have enough air to give chase with it. He decides on another plan instead.
Meanwhile, the Human Torch has returned to Police Headquarters just in time to get into an argument with Betty about what to do about the Sub-Mariner (and, yes, he did melt his way in again). This fight is interrupted by a televised Sub-Mariner demanding that the Torch leave him alone or else. That's a taunt if I've ever heard one! The Human Torch rushes to the TV station while Betty begs him to stay out of it. What angle is that woman playing, anyway?
Torch ends up burning a hole through the roof of the TV station, setting back television ten years (at least!) but at least it gets him to the fight with the Sub-Mariner that much quicker. Or it would have if the Torch hadn't given his foe a means of escape. Turns out you can fly out of burnt holes in the roofs of buildings. Huh.
The two super powered foes race around the city until Namor reaches the reservoir. The Human Torch has narrowed the distance by this time but is only able to cover the reservoir with a sheet of flame moments after the Sub-Mariner has dived below the water. Namor, however, is trapped, giving Torch the time he needs to call this one in to the Police.
Below the water, Namor is having more problems. The reservoir contains a lot of chlorine and the Sub-Mariner is slowly choking to death. He tries to escape but the sheet of flame covering the reservoir prevents this. Weakening, the teenage troublemaker passes out.
By this point, the police have arrived in force (as well as the Police Commissioner's Assistant and Betty). The Torch's plan is simple in it's elegance. He's brought in some police planes that begin to bomb the reservoir. I'm hoping no one in New York needs clean water for a while. The blasts from the bombing somehow causes the Sub-Mariner to be thrown out of the reservoir. He's groggy, but alive.
The battle resumes between the two Marvels. Namor tries slugging it out with the Torch. The Human Torch flies away from that and surrounds Namor with fire once again. This time, the Sub-Mariner isn't so lucky when jumping free of the fire.
Namor hitches a ride on the attacking police plane and is, again, quickly followed by the Human Torch. There's a stand-off going for only a moment. Torch can't fire at the plane while the pilot is still aboard and Namor is stuck with the plane since his little ankle wings are damaged. The Sub-Mariner quickly stops that, though, he slugs the pilot out of the plane. Only at the last moment does he decide that nothing gets accomplished if he just lets the police pilot die and, instead, opens the man's parachute before tossing him, still unconcious, out of the plane. I'll leave it to you to decide if the pilot actually lives or not.
Up in the air, the stand off is now OVER. The Human Torch fires a successive round of fireballs at the plane before going in and cutting it in two. By this point, Namor has reached open water once more and is safely out of the Human Torch's grasp.
Below the water, Namor tries to figure out what to do to get the man off his back. Suddenly, he thinks of the perfect solution.
The Human Torch tries to find his own solution to this predicament. Betty is still advocating just leaving the dude alone but that's quite possibly the stupidest plan ever. Have you been paying attention, lady? Namor is a frickin' dangerous bastard. The Comish isn't much better, though. He suggests chemicals. Torch is just crazy enough to go with that.
Torch rushes to the Police Department's chemical lab to find out what kind of chemical would wipe the Sub-Mariner off the face of the planet. There's only one answer. Sulphuric Acid. Betty is, again, not all about this plan. It reeks of success and the death of her friend. It mustn't be allowed! The Torch laughs in her general direction and then flies off to Torpey Chemical Works, the only place where they carry sulphuric acid in enough quantity to make it successful.
Torch arrives at the plant and is given a number of large bottles of the acid. Now he just has to find the Sub-Mariner... which appears to be pretty damn easy because Namor is at the plant for his own reasons. The Torch begins launching the jars of sulphuric acid at the Sub-Mariner and it's not long before one of the jarr hits not his enemy but a painter's stage. The falling stage is directly over a vat of nitroglycerine and the Sub-Mariner is able to make it to the water reservoir in the center of the room just before that vat explodes. Seriously? A conveniently placed water reservoir? Huh.
At this point, the Torch is busy putting out fires so Namor is able to escape the room. He doesn't go far, though. The Sub-Mariner is looking for something in the testing lab. He finds it quickly and returns to cover the Torch with a two-ton translucent case. Caught within, the Torch isn't able to break through the rubbery case and lacks the air to flame on. Namor only makes the mistake of lifting the casing once to find the Torch able to flame on once more. The Sub-Mariner is quick to return the hero to the airless confines of the tube.
And so, they're at a stand still. Namor can't release the Torch or he'll start the cycle of violence all over again. If he leaves the Torch within, someone will let him out and it's back to that cycle of violence. It's lose/ lose or at least lose/win only for a while.
Marvel Mystery Comics #10
By: Bill Everett & Carl Burgos
You can tell that, at this point, Mr. Everett and Mr. Burgos (and everyone else that wasn't officially given credit but undoubtedly helped out) were tired of this story and couldn't work their way out of it easily. You couldn't have one of your babies getting beat up by someone else's hero so it was left to the ability to compromise to get out of this sticky situation. It was time for a one page conclusion to the first Marvel crossover/beat 'em up ever.
You can add to that the fact that World War II was getting closer and closer and it was more fun to have your character killing Nazis that beating on each other. They needed to get out of this jam so that they could go to town on the threat of the Third Reich. I mean, Namor could get away with killing Nazis. Anyone could.
It was, unfortunately, time to listen to Betty. No one wanted to do it. Not even Namor. But it was either that or have this thing fill up another three or four issues before ending in one of their deaths. It was way too early for that.
So, the Commissioner and Betty arrive on the scene to find Namor and the Torch in a stand still. Betty offers the compromise that, if Namor goes away and leaves them alone, the Torch will stop relentlessly pursuing him. It's no where near the perfect solution to this problem. That would involve the Sub-Mariner going to jail for a very long time. Still, it's the best that could happen then.
With that, Namor takes his leave with the Human Torch and Betty saying their last good-byes... I mean, until he showed up later on for another tussle. For now, it was Nazi killing time.
And that's all I wrote! Stayed tuned! I'll be back sooner than you think. Or maybe not! I'll keep ya guessing. :P
Until then: Who Do YOU Trust?
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