Thursday, May 16, 2013

Enter, and Exit--Madame MacEvil!

What's this!? Another clash of titans??

But come on--we know there's only one titan in this story we're interested in:

Yes, Madame MacEvil, in her first and sort-of last appearance in the Marvel universe. Before the Madame here became the more recognizable Moondragon, she got her start in the pages of Iron Man #54 as your basic schemer who used her technology in order to gain control of Iron Man's armor and send the hero on a mission to subjugate and capture the Sub-Mariner as part of a mysterious experiment. With the help of her near-sentient lapdog of a computer:

As far as I'm concerned, the Namor-Iron Man battle is just a backdrop to Madame MacEvil's machinations. She's a striking character, if two-dimensional as a villain--her motives here destined to be shrouded in mystery. You'd think it wouldn't be easy to dismiss a battle between Iron Man and the Sub-Mariner--but this particular battle is nothing to write home about. Iron Man spends much of the time regretting every punch, since he's not fighting of his own free will; while Namor, for his part, spends much of the time being Iron Man's punching bag, despite the fight taking place underwater. This battle plays out too evenly matched, given the disadvantages Iron Man finds himself at:

But who cares about these two? You can see a more satisfying battle between them in their last throw-down in Tales To Astonish. It's Madame MacEvil who's running this show, and relishing it:

In addition, the back-and-forth between MacEvil and her computer is sometimes more entertaining than the fight we're supposed to be focusing on:

Unfortunately, the conflict between these two gets to the point where it has a direct effect on the orders being sent to control Iron Man, resulting in serious damage to MacEvil's ship and the failure of her plans for the Sub-Mariner:

Iron Man, now free of MacEvil's control but finding that the Sub-Mariner isn't about to listen to any excuses, takes the opportunity to leave the battle scene while he can. As for our exquisite villainess, we're assured we haven't seen the last of Madame MacEvil, thanks to this wonderful parting shot:

Yet despite the copy's promise, MacEvil only makes one more appearance in this original identity, on the cover of Daredevil #105 (with a slight but unforgivable revision to her name):

Inside the issue, though, we're introduced to Moondragon, who now has a revised history and origin and shifts to her involvement with Thanos. (While Iron Man's next issue also pivots to Thanos.) Yet I still hold out hope for the day when Madame MacEvil will reappear--and make damn sure her enemies regret it.


Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. I had always assumed Starlin created Madame MacEvil and then revamped her, but Wikopedia says different, not that Wikopedia is always right. I guess maybe Starlin just picked up an obscure character nobody was doing anything with and ran with it, which was and is pretty common in comics. If so, good for him, because Moondragon is a fantastic character who seemed quite ahead of her time.
Always cool to see Iron Man and Namor mix it up; it seemed like those guys always intensely disliked each other.

Karen said...

Ah! Now I know the story behind Madame MacEvil! I'd always intended to grab this issue some day, but now I feel like it's not essential, I get the gist of it. I had wondered how she changed from MacEvil (so terrible) to Moondragon -so now it seems that perhaps Starlin did not have a hand in her creation but merely appropriated her? I'll have to find out more about this. Thanks for the very interesting review.

Comicsfan said...

Thanks, Karen. There's not a hint of anything in the story's credits to attribute MacEvil to Starlin, so he well may have just taken a virtually dead character whose follow-up had fizzled and given her a character makeover. The IM story was scripted by Mike Friedrich; there is, however, a "Story Idea & Helping Hand from: Bill Everett" notation, which may or may not have bearing on the character of MacEvil. (I'm assuming the "helping hand" part of that has to do with "Everett-izing" Namor's features.)

Anonymous said...

MacEvil or McEvil may seem at first glance to just being an editing decision but as those in the know know the MacEvils of the clan MacEvil were a bunch of hicks yokels hill folks cattle thieves notorious sheep pluggers. Where as the McEvils had long ago moved not only into town but the big cities. Genteel refined with breeding and dignity. Though not adverse to the occasional sheep dalliance they were just as likely to dinner and a show before the deed and for some a cuddle afters.