Saturday, November 15, 2014

Unfriendly Skies


Name This Marvel Villain??

Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Marvel staff are brainstorming to create a new villain. After all the villains that have come before, what's left to be tried? And how to settle on the right one? If there's a deadline involved, practically anything might be given the green light. "Hey," you can almost hear one exasperated writer or artist or editor exclaim, "why not some sort of deadly man-tiger? And we'll make him fly, too!" Which brings us to our mystery villain. Unfortunately, even less thought seems to have gone into creating his name--and so we have the Flying Tiger. Oh, sure, go ahead and roll your eyes--but "the Flying Nun" helped to put Sally Field on the map.  (Well, along with "Gidget.")

The Flying Tiger is yet another costumed mercenary, who began building his rep by taking on the assignment of trying to kill Spider-Woman. He then set his sights a little lower, hired by South American rebels to kidnap a businessman, Regis Fusskey, on his way to the capital to help the government. Fusskey takes the precaution of hiring Iron Man to be his bodyguard, though Iron Man is forced to board the plane as James Rhodes in order not to draw undue attention to the flight. But Rhodes finds that that ship has already sailed, when the Tiger emerges from the cockpit and handily deals with Fusskey's unarmored bodyguard:

The tables eventually turn later in the story, this time with Iron Man responding in kind:

The Tiger has popped up since, mostly whenever there was a villain quota to fill--as when Dr. Doom enhanced the aggression of a number of villains to attack the Fantastic Four (because that worked so well during a previous try):

The Tiger also showed up during a massive meeting of villains on A.I.M. Island, and basically got trounced with the rest of them:

At one time, he was even reported to have joined the Masters of Evil, which shows how low that once-respected group has sunk on the villain meter.

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