Sunday, July 21, 2013

Marvel Goes Wild!

It's probably fair to say that most comics companies at one time or another have indulged in the use of the adjective (and often adverb) "wild" to ramp up a storyline or character--and certainly to add pizazz to a comics cover, to imply that this behavior from a character is something you've never seen before. Marvel has hardly been the exception, spreading "wildness" over their line of comics while at the same time being careful not to overdo its use. That's easier to do if the word is attached to a name. For instance, Silver Sable had her Wild Pack (as did Wolverine, when he teamed up with Power Pack); the Human Fly was "the wildest super-hero ever"; there's the mutant named Wild Child; and there were of course "Wild West" comics in one form or another. There were also no less than two Marvel titles in the '90s where the character was named "Wild Thing":

(Which may or may not have sought to piggy-back on the classic Troggs cover of the '60s song.  I'm obviously going with "may.")

But by far, it's Marvel's characters who have "gone wild" over the years, though thankfully Marvel hasn't been as over the top with the move as they could have. There's little chance, for instance, of Dr. Strange or the Invisible Woman going wild (unless you count Sue's turn as Malice), nor would we care (i.e., sales wouldn't increase) if minor characters like Alicia Masters or Wyatt Wingfoot went wild. But there have been some surprises in this respect, as well--along with more wildness than you can fling a shield at.

For instance, Spider-Man, as spread out as the character has been in different titles and appearances, hasn't been advertised as going wild on any covers of his many, many titles and issues, at least that I can recall (a wild no-prize to anyone who can track down such an issue). Peter Parker, on the other hand, had a walk on the wild side:

Peter, along with others, were victims of a device Jonas Harrow was using to make himself a more active player in the criminal underworld instead of relying on others. The device was in many respects similar to the one Psycho-Man makes use of:

Also, Iron Man has had a number of instances where he could have been accused on the cover of going wild, but some other wording has usually been substituted. Thank goodness Tony Stark was always concerned about his "hip" cred:

You'd never catch Steve Rogers using exclamations like "Wild!", even though Captain America would go wild a couple of times, himself:

In his encounter with Daredevil (a pretty good one, I might add), Cap is under the influence of a designer drug he's been exposed to called "Ice"; while in the earlier issue where he's fighting a L.M.D. replica of himself, Steve is already in a sour mood because he doesn't know the location of his girlfriend, Sharon Carter. And some evidence a SHIELD agent brings him doesn't do anything to improve his disposition:

And we'd not only get to see Daredevil go wild, but his opponents would also go wild right back at him:

Daredevil never really did get to any level of wildness in his battle, or even desperation. The story really read like just another DD adventure. He was up against a few more foes than usual, but he took it in stride:

But what about the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner, the two Marvel poster boys for going wild?

In the Hulk's case, I think the real surprise would be if he had an issue where he didn't go wild. But he nevertheless had a "wild" issue all his own, though it was really nothing of the kind. One doesn't go wild battling the Missing Link. There are a number of other issues where the Hulk truly goes off-the-charts wild, #300 coming to mind immediately. As for the Sub-Mariner, Namor at the time was under the influence of the Controller, during the "Acts of Vengeance" storyline.

The She-Hulk also went wild under another's influence, this time due to being drugged by the Greek god Dionysus:

I don't remember the circumstances under which Luke Cage or the Inhumans went wild:

Cage's wild state occurred in the next-to-last issue before his title had a masthead refit and went bi-monthly; for the Inhumans, it was two issues before cancellation. Draw your own conclusions.

I suppose the hands-down winner for all-around wildness would be the Human Torch. At my last count, he'd gone wild a staggering three times:

Technically, it was really the "Rabble Rouser" who was responsible for all the wildness the first time, using his "mesmerizing wand" to inflame public opinion against the Torch and make it seem like his actions were more out of control than they really were:

The second time, though, was when he really went wild, attacking the Inhumans because he missed his girlfriend. I don't think it's any stretch to suggest that the combination of a love-sick teenager and flame powers is just a recipe for disaster:

Yet the third instance simply has the Torch in battle with the Lava Men, "cutting loose" but doing so calmly and no more recklessly than he would in any other FF battle. The Torch is more "wild" in his encounter with the Wanderer in FF #54 than you'd find him with the Lava Men.

Gosh, have I missed anyone? How about the Silver Surfer? He certainly could have gone wild in the issue following the last page of Silver Surfer #18, where he vows to become more dangerous than ever--but that storyline fizzled with the end of his title. Until, that is, almost thirty years later, in a story taking place in this under-the-radar book:

It turns out that our friend Psycho-Man was responsible for the Surfer's rage--and the sky-rider's target after he leaves the Great Refuge is New York, where Spider-Man tries in vain to stop him. The pair of heroes eventually overcome Psycho-Man's control, leaving the villain to square off against Annihilus who had invaded Psycho-Man's realm of Sub-Atomica.

Which brings us to the end of our wild look at Marvel characters gone wild. You could almost argue that the last nine years of Marvel Comics stories across the board have been in a constant state of going wild. I don't suppose we could be lucky enough to find out that Psycho-Man was responsible for all of it??


IADW said...

This is a great post! Talk about something being right before your eyes! Although the Hulk going wild is pretty regular - maybe they should call it the issue where the Hulk goes calm to differentiate it from the rest in the series.

Gotta love the Silver Surfer going wild too. He's my fav, and if anyone needs to let off a little steam now and then it's him.

Comicsfan said...

The Hulk going wild can definitely be redundant, since he's by definition out of control, and this particular story simply didn't fit the bill. A "goes wild" tag for a Hulk story is a trump card that really should only be used sparingly, and under the right circumstances.

JungGRT said...

I'm sure that my parents would have been worried about me trying to imitate the spontaneously bursting into flame. That Rabble Rouse was quite a speaker!! :)