Thursday, July 31, 2014

Evasive Maneuvers


Name This Marvel Villain??

With moves like this guy, you must have been mentally Rolodexing through all sorts of names for him--"the Acrobat," "the Gymnast," "Mary Lou Retton." And you were so close. Our boy is John Keane, the Tumbler, who failed to get his foot in the door as an operative of the Underworld but who saw other opportunities for himself:

But to really get a handle on the Tumbler's next move, we first need to check in on the Adaptoid, a creation of Advanced Idea Mechanics that can "adapt" to any form it imprints itself on. And in order to get to SHIELD, A.I.M.'s foe, the Adaptoid has been sent to take the form of someone Fury trusts:

Unfortunately for the Adaptoid, someone else has come looking for Cap, in order to give himself the ultimate test as a fighter:

And so these two are set to square off in a battle royal. In a way, this fight will also be a test for the Adaptoid, to see if his imprinting process has actually given him all the abilities of the real Cap. But as we and the Adaptoid will see, there's more to being Captain America--things that can't simply be Xeroxed.

So far it's not looking good for the Adaptoid. But since the Tumbler isn't the type to offer his foe a chance to surrender, the Adaptoid is forced to battle on if he wants to pursue his option of adapting what appears to be a more capable fighter than Cap. And once the Tumbler has finished running down his origin for his foe, it's time for Round Two!

Man, the Tumbler has wiped the floor with "Cap." The Adaptoid is out for the count--but what the Tumbler doesn't realize is that the real Cap has revived and freed himself from captivity. And the Tumbler has unfortunately decided to say the wrong thing at the wrong time:

I hope you're ready for Round Three--because this clown is going to get the fight he wanted, and then some!

It's pretty clear that Cap, now the real deal, is ten steps ahead of the Tumbler, who, despite his intentions to the contrary, won't be going on the offensive again. Cap is now directing every moment of this fight, and it's only a matter of moments before the Tumbler's time runs out:

Code 37-B or not, I don't know how an operator rushes a call--phone lines are phone lines, aren't they? But in Cap's current mood, I'm sure she's not about to argue the point with him.

Cap doesn't run into the Tumbler again until the villain is acting as an agent for the Committee to Regain America's Principles (which becomes quite an appropriate acronym if you join the letters) which is out to discredit Cap by setting him up for murder. Step One of the plan is to have the Tumbler pull off a penny ante robbery and have Cap catch him red-handed:

This fight isn't likely to go the distance, since at this point in time Cap is fighting with super-strength. Still, the Tumbler makes a go of it:

But the Committee's plan depends on the Tumbler making his escape, and that happens with Cap's unwitting assistance:

No, I don't know why Cap doesn't think to just toss his shield at a guy busy trying to scramble over a wall--or why, with his super-strength, he isn't able to easily recapture him. Regardless, Cap later encounters the Tumbler at a charity event set up by the Committee, and finally nails him--just at the moment that another Committee operative, Moonstone, murders Keane by sending a sliver-thin laser beam through his skull, which sets Cap up for second-degree murder. Naturally, the Tumbler wasn't in on that part of the plan.

There wasn't exactly an outcry from readers at the Tumbler's demise. Not even on the level of Nighthawk in terms of fighting ability--which you have to admit puts the man pretty low on the formidable villain scale--the Tumbler was a ready-made disposable villain for the Committee. For what it's worth, at least he went out taking on the one man he never was able to hurdle over.

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