Sunday, October 7, 2012

And No, It's Not Levi Johnston


Name This Marvel Villain??

Sure, go on, get your hockey jokes out of your system. "Hey, bet he's part of a team!" "Is that a hockey stick, or is he just real happy to see me?" "Does he have a specific goal?" Yuk yuk yuk. Better not let him overhear you. That stick isn't just for show.

Yeah, you'd think by the look of him that Gaard would be a team player. Instead, he's a solo player entrusted with a very important task, and empowered enough to carry it out.

In his primary battle, Gaard ended up giving the Thing quite a hard time, while Ben was on a mission in hyperspace to destroy a universal nexus. (Which Arkon was planning to use in a scheme to blow up three parallel Earths and funnel the released nuclear power to his own world.  Jeez, you certainly can't say that Arkon doesn't think big.)  Ben ran into a little obstacle that Arkon positioned to guard the nexus--the aptly named Gaard, whose weapon (yeah, a hockey stick, but really an electron-powered "cosmic sceptre") allowed him to repel one attack after another from the Thing.

The battle is further complicated when both combatants have odd feelings of familiarity:

But when Ben finally finds a way to slip past Gaard's--um, guard, and collapses the nexus, only the reader learns the truth about the identity of Arkon's henchman:

Of course, Arkon had any number of choices available to him to fill Gaard's position, even from just drawing from his own troops--he certainly didn't need to spend valuable time searching through the jungles of an alternate Earth and then trying to bring a near-death body and mind back to fighting shape.  But since writer Roy Thomas was already hip-deep in alternate concepts playing throughout this four-part story, apparently he wanted to add one more for its ending.

At any rate, it's time for Gaard to hit the showers.  Though I wouldn't want to be in his skates when Arkon gets back to the locker room.

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