Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Abominable Attack of the Yeti!

Good heavens! We barely make it out of the Canadian woods alive after encountering the flesh-eating Wendigo--and now look what's waiting for us in the mountains!

We don't exactly know in which mountainous region the Black Panther has stumbled onto a Yeti, a legendary ape-like being reputed to inhabit the Himalayas and often referred to as the "abominable snowman." The only reason the Panther is in such an area is because he's been forced to aid the notorious collector, Princess Zanda, by locating a hidden Samurai city and obtaining water believed to grant immortality to those who drink it. The Panther is accompanied by Abner Little, a fellow collector who has involved the Panther in other such quests and usually blunders into more than he bargained for.

In this case, their quest to find the city is abruptly halted when their craft is fired on by a sniper and they're forced to abandon ship and take their chances on foot in the cold region. But their attacker has other ideas on their fate.

Little, a collector who has a great deal of research to fall back on, has heard the horn and realized that those he and the Panther are searching for may be in the area. Of course, you never think of something monstrous blowing a horn, so they're unprepared for what soon looms over them.

The Panther is probably wishing right about now that he had a set of Wolverine's claws, rather than the practically useless claws on his fingertips; instead, he'll have to make do with speed and strength, which may not be enough against this raging foe.

(On a side-note, how does the Panther close his hand into a fist if he has claw points on his fingers?)

Fortunately, Little is a resourceful fellow--and in his circle of ruthless collectors, he's also found it necessary to be a cautious one. Pulling a weapon, he opens fire; but as often as gunfire proves useless against large, monstrous beings in fictional encounters, the Yeti turns out to be not only resilient, but easily angered.

Finally, the Panther forms a plan of attack that will hopefully save their lives. It's one that probably wouldn't have worked on the Wendigo, since that creature could withstand hits from the Hulk--but the Yeti's origin presumably isn't tied to the supernatural, so more conventional means of attack may prevail. Luckily for the Panther, his strategem, like his makeshift aim, is on target.

Yetis have made a few occasional appearances in Marvel comics--even the Silver Surfer found himself overrun by a pack of them.

I don't know how much I buy that part about the Yetis being " hounded... so ruthlessly hunted for time without measure" if they're mostly legend and word of them has trickled down through hearsay. How can you hound an unsubstantiated rumor?

The Yeti goes on to be featured again when one is encountered by the Human Torch, on his way to the Great Refuge to see his girlfriend, Crystal, whom he thinks has been taken by her family without cause. Stopping in a cave to wait out a storm while in transit, he's awakened by a Yeti who actually speaks, but turns out to be a species he's already familiar with.

It would make sense for the story of the Yeti to be attributed to the Inhumans, as their refuge was similarly located in the Himalayas. But writer Stan Lee, who wrote this story as well as the Surfer's encounter two years earlier, makes no link between the two appearances, nor did the Surfer's Yetis seem like the conversational type.

If you wanted to stretch the concept, you could also lump in one of the operatives of Weapon P.R.I.M.E. as well as Ternak's frost men as honorary Yetis (Ternak certainly seems convinced that the term applies). It's odd that neither Zanda nor Little decided to add a Yeti to their collections, given the prestige that such an acquisition would bring them. We can at least be reasonably sure that Little won't go hunting for one anytime soon.

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