Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Build Your Brute The Marvel Way!

Back in the day, it didn't seem to be all that difficult to throw together the ingredients for a Marvel fight. Take Captain America, for instance. All you needed was a bitter villain/genius:

Then, you only had to either find the formula for the Super Soldier serum scribbled down in some dusty archive, or create your own, just by using the resources at your friendly local library:

Then just go out and find some brainless muscle--or, better yet, let him find you:

From there, it's just a quick walk to your lab, where you don't waste any time:

Heh, check out that label--"ZXX Serum." Did I mention you don't need to be all that creative in naming your serum? Your hired muscle probably isn't going to give it much thought, either.

Then you just lure your target into a trap--which is simplicity itself, thanks to the Avengers, who apparently don't screen anybody:

And before you know it, voilĂ ! You've got yourself a Marvel fight!

From there, you just sit back and watch an artist of the caliber of Gene Colan dazzle us with pure panel-to-panel action:

As we watch Cap slug it out with a bruiser like the "Man-Brute," it's easy to think of other such match-ups--for example, his fight with Power Man, another opponent with superior strength that had Cap outclassed in that respect. The Man-Brute doesn't have quite the strength level of Power Man, but he's acting similarly by relying on that strength to win this fight. And as is usually the case with such overwhelming opponents, unless Cap thinks of something, he knows that's really only a matter of time:

In a Marvel fight, the tide has a way of turning--and here, Cap's opening comes with the actions of one of the orphanage boys, who gives Cap a breather but also stops this fight cold (keep an eye on the Man-Brute's face):

Our final ingredient to a Marvel fight is often to see the mastermind receive his comeuppance. Sometimes that occurs even before the hired muscle is turned loose, in a "what do I need YOU for?" scene that has the souped-up bad guy immediately turn on the one who thought to control him. But, as was the case with, say, the Disruptor, our lab rat returns to the lab to have it out with his benefactor. For the Man-Brute, he's given a twist to his story that puts the villainous scientist responsible for turning him loose in an orphanage square in his sights:

I wouldn't go so far as to say the Man-Brute is redeemed here; he may (may) be on the straight and narrow from this point, but he's also now a murderer. In these old Marvel fights, the goal was usually to leave the reader with a "crime doesn't pay" message. That's definitely true for our poor scientist smoldering in that circuit panel--and also true for the Man-Brute, wandering now without purpose, though the door is left wide open for his return. When we check in on him again, we'll see if he was able to lose his mad-on. Something tells me we haven't seen the last of the work of ZXX Serum.


Anonymous said...

How often in the Marvel Universe did some bad guy get fried by stumbling or getting thrown into a computer bank, anyway?
Writers must have believed those things were incredibly dangerous if you bumped into them.

Comicsfan said...

Anon, that's not a bad idea for a future post! ;)

Anonymous said...

I know, right? I must have seen that at least a half dozen times, with some variation on the theme. The Incredible Hulk, Captain America's origin, the Sub-Mariner, Spider-Man, always some technical mishap, like when the Hate Monger accidently opened the wrong door in his spaceship. Bad science. Go ahead and use it for a post, with my compliments! I promise not to brag about it!