Monday, June 15, 2015

When You Can't Stand The Heat


Name This Marvel Villain??

It's understandable if you've confused this gent with Stegron, the so-called "Dinosaur Man", or any of the other scaly horrors that have pounced on our heroes over the years. But my guess is that hopes were high that this villain might make more of an impression on you. After all, some of Marvel's heaviest hitters rolled up their sleeves to bring him to you:

He also made his debut in a pretty high-profile mag--and heralding the return of the "Marvel Age of Comics," at that:

The Avengers aren't on this creature's tail (so to speak)--they're after a Vietnamese crime czar on his way to murder the Priests of Pama in their temple. But once our crimson villain disposes of Monsieur Khruul after his men have done their grisly deed, the Avengers find they now have a bigger threat to worry about.

Yes, the Star-Stalker, who the Avengers learn has slain Khruul in the last 60 seconds, but don't have the presence of mind to at least glance around, since the killer is likely still nearby--in this case, hovering near them. Zero points to the Blank Panther, for not sensing this creature practically breathing down his neck (though there are times when the Panther's jungle senses haven't proven to be the most reliable).  I think even my basic peripheral vision would have spotted this thing.

It's only when the creature descends further into the temple that Mantis detects him.

Good grief, Mantis, your soul felt just fine when the creature was looming over you. You're not exactly going to be scoring any points with the Avengers as a threat barometer; then again, they're not doing so hot in that department, themselves.

The Star-Stalker is basically a different flavor of Galactus--seeking out worlds to feed on their ion energy, once it shifts to a combustible form.

What, you still don't recall the Star-Stalker? Come on, this guy whipped the Avengers--and their A-team, at that!

Of course, it doesn't help matters when a villain does you the courtesy of describing itself and its abilities in detail, and then puts itself practically at your mercy while it hibernates as it prepares to shift to a more powerful form--yet the Avengers mill about and do nothing to take advantage of that.

Ah--sound logic! A star blaster, using star energy against a star-stalker--a creature that, by the way, devours energy! That certainly makes a lot more sense than, say, Thor transporting this creature's cocoon into a black hole. Let's see how the Panther's thorough and well-considered plan turns out, shall we?

Before they met their deaths, the Priests of Pama were aware of the one weakness which could defeat the Star-Stalker. The Avengers, falling like flies, certainly could use their counsel right about now. Fortunately, Mantis has deduced the answer:

And so the Star-Stalker stalks no more. Technically, it's a check mark in the Avengers' "win" column--but, with a quick word to Jarvis, odds are the Star-Stalker's embarrassing file will become "misplaced" in the lower lower levels of Avengers Mansion.


Anonymous said...

Not everything Englehart wrote actually WORKED, he would sometimes throw in everything up to and including the kitchen sink, but who bats 1000?
Still, I have a certain amount of affection for a comic book writer who showed us what a fight between Thor and the Frankenstein monster would look like.

david_b said...

I'm well-aware that I'm one of the few existing Mantis fans in the world, but I'm ok with that.

A GREAT issue with excellent art and story. One of my favs.

Englehart certainly threw a few science curves in these issues, such as the 'rocketing farmhouse' in ish 121-122.., followed by Thor's hammer snafu in 122, but it was still a fun ride.

Comicsfan said...

Well, mostly a brief skirmish, m.p. On the other hand, Don Blake never had a chance!

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