Monday, March 9, 2015

From Where Comes... Replicus?

While it looks like the Thunder God has his hands full here:

...the question, "Who Is... Replicus?", is one he'll join us in asking even after the story ends.

Yet the mystery of Replicus, while intriguing, takes a back seat to the underlying story of this issue, one that begins with a New York crime boss, "Slugger" Sykes, making a pretty good showing in a sparring match against an opponent you'd think would be able to dispatch him with just a flick of a finger:

Jeez, it doesn't even look like Thor is going to meet Replicus, does it? But appearances can be deceiving--and as "Thor" is put away in storage (a phrase any Thor reader isn't likely to hear too often), the rest of us don't have to wait as long as the real Thor to meet this powerful creation of the man known as Chuda:

And still the question remains: Who is Replicus? It may seem we have the answer already laid out in front of us--but what did I mention to you about appearances?

As noted earlier, there are actually two stories in play in this issue of Thor. One will apparently involve the God of Thunder in battle with this automaton--but the other begins much less dramatically, as Dr. Don Blake pays a house call to an older patient whose health seems to be of concern to more than herself.

More questions in need of answering, it seems. How does "Granny Gardenia" fit into this story--and why is Slugger Sykes so interested in getting her back on her feet? Doesn't the man know that he can purchase a single gardenia at practically any floral shop in New York--or is he just superstitious about making the purchase from Granny? And finally, perhaps most importantly: When was the last time you saw a doctor making a house call--and to a stranger who's apparently just dialed him up and asked for care? What's Blake trying to do to here--start a trend??

Once Blake tends to Granny, though, he turns on the television for her, but finds disturbing news footage from a deadly new threat:

After Blake comps Granny's bill (I don't actually know if Blake did that, but at this point it wouldn't surprise me!), he initiates the startling transformation we're all familiar with--and the battle with Replicus is joined!

So far, Replicus is making a pretty good showing against Asgard's finest warrior. He's weathered a direct assault--dodged an enchanted hammer--and brought the fight back to his opponent as if he has no conception of the odds against him. Gosh, maybe Sykes would score a few rounds with Thor, at that. But let's not count Thor out of this fight yet, even though Replicus has a few more surprises in store:

As Replicus methodically sets to the task of separating Thor from his hammer, Thor isn't the only one who's being surprised. Back at Chuda's lab, Sykes is monitoring the battle with glee--but some disturbing undertones in his discussion with Chuda make him aware that Chuda has an agenda far beyond a mere business deal with a crime boss:

So we learn that Chuda is an operative from an alien race, and that Replicus is a means to an end that will throw the nation into chaos when enough of the model are produced. But if we're hoping to get more specifics from Chuda, we haven't yet reckoned with Sykes, who's been mortally wounded but whose anger and tenacity will ensure that he doesn't die alone:

Thor warns the police that they may find more questions than answers with Replicus--which will hold true for us, as well, since we never do learn any details of the race which sent both Chuda and Replicus to Earth. But one question, at least, can be answered:  the reason behind Sykes' concern with an old woman who sold him a flower every day from a street corner. A woman who always dismissed stories of Sykes' ties with organized crime:

Next time, we'll have one more brief look at Replicus, returning over thirty years later--along with the equally brief but even more surprising appearance of one of Thor's classic artists, who does some of his best work on the character in that issue.

Mighty Thor #141

Script: Stan Lee
Pencils: Jack Kirby
Inks: Vince Colletta
Letterer: Art Simek


Anonymous said...

The rampage of Replicus!
Yeah, I got the reprint. Replicus managed to give Thor a hard time, at least for a couple of minutes, anyway.
Thor seemed to have a soft spot for robots, like Replicus or the Servitor, or maybe he was just confused by them. He sure didn't hesitate to bounce his hammer off the skulls of Ulik or Mangog.
I did manage to catch Replicus' comeback. Looking forward to that post.

david_b said...

My, whaaat a weirdly-cool cover. Must track down.

Looks like a wonderful Silver Age story, always love Kirby/Colletta team-ups as much as Kirby/Sinnott.

Great post, much thanks.

Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

Replicus huh?
I'm curious as to how he returned then and how come no one else has used him since.

Good, good article.

Anonymous said...

brillant art!!!

- Mirko

Comicsfan said...

Well, M.P., in all fairness, Thor tried to bounce his hammer off Replicus--but it looks like Replicus had a few bouncing ideas of his own in order to avoid that. ;)

Dale, the return of Replicus certainly took a few years to happen. As to why no one used him in all that time, perhaps it's because there's really not all that much to distinguish him from any other robot or android out there (for instance, the Crypto-Man). Maybe it might have been a different story if the origin of his creators had been explored.