Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Good Mandroid Is Hard To Find

You may have a feeling of déjà vu with this

Marvel Trivia Question

Is it possible we've seen these guys before?

But we couldn't have, right? Because it wasn't until Avengers #94, before the Kree-Skrull war kicked into high gear, that the Mandroids made their first appearance:

The Mandroids were a cadre of SHIELD men whose armored suits had been designed by Tony Stark and trained to take on even the Avengers. And if you're still scratching your head, wondering if the Mandroids have been around the Marvel block before, this disclaimer may clear up some of the mystery:

All well and good--but Roy Thomas, who wrote both the Avengers and the Captain Marvel stories, has nevertheless probably done a bit of recycling. Or doesn't the Mandroid featured in the earlier story look just a tad familiar?

Well, maybe and maybe not. Wait a minute, what's with these contradictory statements, anyway?! It admittedly gets a little confusing at this point. Let's take it step by step. The original Mandroid was an assassin created by Kree science used to eliminate traitors to the Empire. Colonel Yon-rogg, nemesis to Mar-vell, uses machinery hidden on Earth to recreate a Mandroid in order to take out Mar-vell:

But as you can see, the Mandroid here looks very different from the one pictured on the cover. The reason for that is that artist Gil Kane drew only the first ten pages of the story, including the cover--while the remaining pages, where the Mandroid makes his appearance, were drawn by John Buscema.

As a result, when it comes time for Thomas to create a new menace for the Avengers, he's free to appropriate one of his own creations that was only seen once on a cover published two years prior, and which already came with a really cool name that could be recycled. All of which is pure speculation, of course, with the assumption that artist Neal Adams was thrown a copy of the prior story for some inspiration in designing the SHIELD Mandroids.

Thomas would by no means be the first writer to put back into circulation prior concepts and names, of course, and it really is fun sometimes to connect the dots. For instance, in the Captain Marvel story, Yon-rogg must use a Kree device that allows him to recreate the Mandroid out of thin air:

Hmm, what other device can we think of that can create threats out of thin air? Why, a device from another Roy Thomas story, perhaps, which has a name with the same ring as "Psyche-magnitron":

As for the Mandroids, it was pretty much back to the drawing board for them, as far as being up to taking on the Avengers--but I still thought they were pretty cool, and I liked them a lot better than Buscema's take on Kane's original concept.

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