Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bedside Murder


Name This Marvel Villain??

Of all the people who could give Captain America a hard time--you'd think that Dr. Faustus would be a poor man's Mysterio, as dependent on illusion and manipulation as they both are. Yet Faustus prefers psychology to special effects, though he certainly makes good use of props and theatrics (and indeed, entire stage sets) to co-opt his foes.

Cap came under Faustus's "care" when he sought treatment for recurring nightmares he was having regarding the death of his partner, Bucky:

Enhancing his "treatment" through drugs that affected Cap's mind, as well as enlisting hired hands to fool Cap into thinking he was hallucinating, Faustus came close to succeeding in destroying his patient--until Cap grew suspicious of the good doctor's pills, and had them analyzed by S.H.I.E.L.D. He then set up Faustus in a little sting that exposed his scheme and ended with Cap mopping the floor with Faustus's henchmen. Faustus then resorted to brute force, figuring his greater bulk would give him the edge in a fight.

And that hardly ever goes well for the villain, does it?

But don't discount Faustus as one of those throw-away villains who's good for an issue or two but doesn't exactly set the world on fire. Marvel's gotten quite a bit of mileage out of him, particularly against Cap. For one thing, this was the guy who got hold of the 1950s Cap (after he was defeated by the original) and brainwashed him into leading a neo-Nazi group called the National Force--and, later, brainwashing Cap and siccing him on Daredevil. He also dug up Cap's old girlfriend from World War II, Peggy Carter (aunt of Sharon Carter, Cap's contemporary girlfriend--small world, huh), and used her to lure Cap into a trap.

Sharon Carter has proven especially susceptible to Faustus's influence, even once appearing to commit suicide due to his manipulation. And of course there was this little act she was responsible for while under his control:

Faustus, either through his own ambitions or through his alliances with heavy hitters like the Red Skull, has proven to be one of Cap's most resilient and deadly foes. He's one doctor you don't want to keep your appointment with.


Hube said...

Doc Faustus.

WardHill Terry said...

The panels you posted of the more recent story demonstrate much of what I dislike in current comics. The figures and background are lovely and realistic, but they don't tell the story. In the first panel there are a lot of people and something in the lower right corner. It may be an accurate drawing, but this is where visual shorthand is useful. The woman (Sharon?) is approaching Cap from the left, the panel flows left to right, then the gun is coming from the right. It took a couple of careful looks from me to see that the gun is pressing against Cap's mid-section. This is when bright colors are useful. The only thing with red stripes around here is Cap's mid-section. I wish they had used red. The third panel is a close-up of Cap's face, right? He doesn't look blonde. His hair is yellow and his shirt is blue, but not here. He's looking to th right where the gun is coming from, but juxtaposed with the previous panel, he seem to be looking away from the gun. And the entire crowd has vanished. Sorry, I'm a cranky old guy. Keep up the good work on this blog!

Comicsfan said...

Terry, you make several good points. From what I recall, Brubaker's issues with artist Steve Epting were all very dark-looking, both in coloring and in the use of shadows. I can only assume that this was at Brubaker's direction, who perhaps dealt colorist Frank D'Armata into his vision for the book, as well. That said, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this team's work on the book, though crowd scenes such as the one in CA #25 make it too difficult to pick out the characters you're trying to focus on. Cap's uniform, for instance, could blend with any SHIELD agent's, were it not for his costume's pattern--and since his name is the one on the book's cover, we should be able to pick him out with ease, at a glance.

The panel sequence you note of Cap getting shot was difficult for me to get a handle on, as well, though the way it was done was probably to distract our attention sufficiently so that we'd still think that Sharon was still making her way through the crowd. But I think I can clear up a couple of points: First, the item in the lower right looks like a video camera (with its mic at the top)--which was perhaps used by a bad guy to record the event, since I can't imagine any other person wouldn't have come forward with footage like that (especially since it would clearly implicate Sharon). Secondly, the crowd probably cleared because shots were still heard being fired--I know I'd probably bolt with a sniper still firing at the scene.