Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Son, The First Man!

I know what you're thinking, and you're absolutely right--it's been WAY too long since Thor slugged it out with a common mortal who's been inexplicably changed into a monstrous, primitive savage and goes on a rampage and menaces females. Marvel seems to be able to pull those out of a hat on an as-needed basis, much like our friend the Zaniac. But let's meet one who was a bit before the Zaniac's time:

...but who still likes the ladies.

Let's rumble with Armak, the First Man!

There was a bit of contrived science behind the Zaniac's creation--but Arnold Nicolson regresses to the form of a neanderthal through nothing more than a good old-fashioned seance, set up by his mother, "Madame Cynthia," to swindle a family out of their money. Works for me.

You can't say that Madame Cynthia doesn't deliver. Unfortunately, she wasn't counting on her little show to change her son into the stuff of nightmares. But, aren't we forgetting something? What about that helpless female hostage?

I don't know what it is about these neanderthals--each one seems to think he was the first human to walk the Earth. I didn't believe it with Moon-Boy, and I'm not buying Armak's claim, either. But you've got to admit he's menacing enough:

You may have noticed an odd thing about Armak. I wasn't around in prehistoric times, but I'm reasonably sure that prehistoric man wouldn't have been able to crash through brick walls, rip up streets, or withstand gunfire. By the way, what's with this rookie cop, anyway--firing at someone who's holding a hostage? Armak doesn't look like he approves, either.

Since Thor has been hanging with Hercules lately, it looks like Herc is going to get first crack at Armak. He doesn't exactly look worried.

Neither does Armak.

No, I don't know why being the "First Man" means that you're stronger than everybody. But when Iron Man went up against Herc, I'm betting he could have used a few Armaks to run interference for him, given how easily the guy has taken Herc out of this fight when Iron Man had to battle like hell.

That brings us to Thor, who's currently getting bitch-slapped by a fellow Asgardian for spending his time moping about Jane Foster when he needs to be out trying to help Herc:

Let's not tell Hercules that Thor is racing to the scene not so much because he's worried about his headstrong friend, but mostly because he wants to deal with this nuisance a.s.a.p. and get back to Jane. But when he arrives, he's there for Herc, and that's what counts:

Unfortunately, it looks like the production department at the Marvel offices somehow got their wires crossed and apparently inserted some of the pages that follow out of order. In the issue that went to press, Thor and Armak battle their way to the top of a skyscraper under construction--only to then look like they're still battling at ground level, complete with rubble, pavement, and a car. So, to avoid confusing you, let's present the scene in the order that it was probably intended:

Either way, Armak looks headed for a beat-down. But he's putting up one hell of a fight--and why shouldn't he? He's the First Man, after all. I wonder if the Second Man appreciated having only the strength of a normal lumbering neanderthal? I doubt it.

But as the battle progresses, it looks like Thor and Armak are finally going to take that ride on the lift:

Meanwhile, Hercules has been doing some legwork--speaking with the woman that Armak abducted, and, through her, locating Madame Cynthia and bringing her to the site in an attempt to talk down her son.

Thor, unfortunately, means to send her son down to her using the express route.

Without a word, Thor flies from the scene and heads back to Jane Foster. But Hercules wants some answers:

Jeez, Herc--don't you believe that mortals just change into their prehistoric ancestors from time to time? Okay, okay, you're right--something doesn't smell right about this. But we don't have to spend eternity looking for the answer, when, in just a couple of issues, there's a God of Mischief around to lay the blame on:

You'd think Madame Cynthia would have seen that coming.

Mighty Thor #231

Script: Gerry Conway
Pencils: John Buscema
Inks: Dick Giordano
Letterer: John Costanza

1 comment:

Murray said...

When I first read that Armak story, I conjured that the "First Man" ranting meant that he wasn't a mere caveman, but a primeval demigod of some sort. The first manifested by early human brains and belief. An embodiment of the ultimate "alpha male" champion.

Working with this hypothesis, Loki's revelation-confession came as a dull thud. I always hated that plot "twist" where an intriguing mystery turned out to be Loki farting around. It didn't always have to be Loki-Loki-Loki...