Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Gone But Not Undusted


Name This Marvel Villain??

Let's face it, it takes no small amount of courage for an up-and-coming villain to go around calling himself the Porcupine. But for army ordnance weapons designer Alex Gentry, it seemed to make sense at the time:

As for why this U.S. government worker decided to turn his invention into a weapon for himself--well, apparently those government pay grades aren't all they're cracked up to be. Nor does Gentry seem to excel in the loyalty department:

So the career of the Porcupine was launched. You can almost hear the sounds of doubled-over laughter and guffaws from the criminal underworld. But credit where credit is due--Gentry does have a lot to crow about in his suit design. Those quills have a variety of different functions, firing things like gas, stun pellets, ammonia, liquid fire, sharp quill-like darts (naturally), smoke screens, even hypnotic lights. The suit also has jet tubes that extend for limited flight. You haven't lived until you've seen a flying porcupine over the city. I don't know why Gentry didn't use something a little more fearsome--I'm thinking maybe a bat motif.

Anyway, the Porcupine starts at the bottom, as far as taking on his first super-hero. And by the bottom, of course, I mean Ant-Man. If you think I'm being too hard on Ant-Man, imagine a villain disposing of you as easily as dropping you in a bathtub:

This isn't the first time that Ant-Man has been terrorized by, of all things, water. I don't know what super-hero résumés look like, but I doubt you'd want to list "almost washed down a drain" on one. Since it now looks like he also has problems with bathtubs, I can only assume that Ant-Man can't swim. Fortunately, the Wasp is there to save the day:

How embarrassing. Maybe Ant-Man should head back to his lab and do a little research on treading water.

Eventually, Ant-Man comes up with a way of taking down the Porcupine by clogging up his weapons quills with cement--a plan which, of course, he puts into action as Ant-Man. Which means he just has to do things the hard way:

You know, if time is of the essence, I'm thinking that maybe you could accomplish the same preparations in less than half the time if you GREW BACK TO NORMAL SIZE. Nevertheless, the plan worked--the cement trap clogged Porcupine's quills but good, and that was that.

Porcupine actually did a lot better against Giant-Man than he did against Ant-Man (who didn't?), but once again went down in defeat--literally, since he'd planned to ingest one of Giant-Man's growth capsules and instead took an overdose of the shrinking one, reducing in size until he vanished. But he would turn up now and then in other books, sometimes joining forces with other loser villains (usually the Eel, the Plantman, the Scarecrow, and one or two fresh faces to keep the mix from getting old):

He also moved up in terms of the foes he decided to take on--way up. Unfortunately. How much trouble would you think the Porcupine would be to the likes of Captain America or Iron Man? As it turned out, not much:

When your foe ends your threat by tossing a curtain over you, it's probably time to hang it up. (Get it? "Hang it up"...) But this is the fearsome Porcupine, after all. And Iron Man could be in serious danger if he doesn't watch out:

Well, now you know why Iron Man never bothers listening to my warnings.

Finally, Gentry had enough of being a loser in a giant quill suit, and tried selling his suit (by now redesigned) to various criminal organizations. Shock of shocks, there were no takers. But Captain America offered to take it off his hands in exchange for helping him infiltrate the Serpent Society. Gentry agreed, but died by one of his own quills in the process. Cap, being Cap, honored the villain by encasing the suit in a glass display in Avengers Mansion, behind a sign which reads: "Battle Armor of the Porcupine--Honored Foe of The Avengers." You must have done something right to rate a dusting by Jarvis every day.


Anonymous said...

Another talented research scientist and inventor, working for a corrupt government, an evil corporation or a cruel millionaire, who decides to take his technological breakthrough, become a super-villain, maybe make a few bucks or settle some scores?
This cliché wasn't inspired by Werner Von Braun, was it?

Anonymous said...

Actually, that's not a very good analogy, but the potentially destructive power of science and the bomb during the Cold War, and all that, which is when this stuff came out, probably set Stan Lee's wheels to turning. Who knew what scientists were capable of?
Maybe not this guy so much.

Anonymous said...

It would seem the Count Nefaria's Maggia lieutenants were evolving into an anarcho-syndicalist commune. They would take turns to be a sort of executive officer for the week... but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs...but by a two thirds majority in the case of...major crimes or plots of world takeover...and such.

The Prowler (from the old Spider-Man Crawlspace).

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