Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Grab Onto Somethin', Pardner


Name This Marvel Villain??

When the Frightful Four held open calls for adding a fourth member to their group after the departure of Thundra, they received their fair share of candidates that didn't make the cut. But one prospect simply blew them away--and if there's one man who could literally pull that off, it would be Drew Daniels, the southwest human tornado known as the Texas Twister.

The Twister's introduction takes place not only in the company of the evil F.F., but also in comics, the new character making his debut courtesy of creators Roy Thomas and George Perez. What the Wizard doesn't yet know is that Daniels is making the rounds in a sort of bidding tour, willing to offer his services to any group that makes the best offer--and while the Wizard and his cohorts learn the details of the Twister's origin, their operations don't conform to his terms.

It's no doubt the Frightful Four's loss; still, the Twister's departure leaves us intrigued, since it seems a good bet that he'll be turning up again at some point.

When Daniels resurfaces, his new paycheck seems to have convinced him to apply his talents within the law, as part of Nick Fury's new team of S.H.I.E.L.D. super-agents--though he's still considering other offers and hasn't yet formally accepted. At the time, Fury tries to enlist Captain America to drop what he's doing and become the trainer for the new agents--but Cap resists Fury's pressure tactics, leading Fury to sic this nascent team of agents on him. The Twister, like the others on his team, thinks that Cap poses no challenge to his power, and is educated accordingly.

Daniels appears to have shifted allegiances again, when he attacks the Human Torch at a racetrack and makes references to an unnamed employer who has directed him to capture him. With the wide open spaces available to him, the Twister is in his element, and gives a much better showing of himself and his abilities.

Johnny fortunately gets a breather when his big buddy, Wyatt Wingfoot, takes a hand in this fight and prevents Daniels from capturing the Torch and escaping. It buys Johnny the time he needs to recover--and Daniels finds, at least today, that his abilities are matched by the Torch's battle experience.

The Twister escapes--but it seems clear that he was testing the Torch while trying not to injure him. At the time, the Fantastic Four had disbanded--so we might presume that Daniels could have been sent by Fury to make an evaluation of the Torch for possible recruitment into the super-agents, something which is confirmed at a later date. It seems ridiculous for Fury to dispatch Daniels on such a scouting mission, since the nature of the Torch's powers and his ability to work as part of a team are things that Fury would already be well aware of.

At any rate, the SHIELD super-agents' days are numbered, since it turns out the group has been infiltrated by spies belonging to the sinister organization known as the Corporation, with Cap returning to confront them once he's learned the truth. And once again the Twister take him on--but in close quarters, he has similar results.

Things end pretty badly all around--and once the fight is over and the dust is settling, Daniels *ahem* storms out and heads back west, and the SHIELD super-agents are history.

Eventually, Daniels hooks up at a rodeo as part of an attraction with another powered individual known as Shooting Star. Unfortunately, it's a less than lucrative gig--and when the opportunity presents itself, they both take off for hopefully a better future for themselves.

At first glance, it seems that Daniels has made the decision to abandon any leanings he might have had toward a life of crime--though clearly neither of these two are answering to a higher calling out of a sense of altruism.

It appears that Rick Jones can make quite a broadcast for someone using a Teen Brigade wrist radio, as the message is intercepted by a number of individuals across different states who call the southwest their home. (What's the range on that thing?) As a result, we see the debut of a brand new super-group, co-created by Bill Mantlo and Mark Gruenwald and given life by artist Sal Buscema:

The newly-formed "Rangers" all converge on the site where Rick and his friends are being held by the evil Corruptor, who has brought the Hulk under his influence and was hoping Rick's broadcast would add the Avengers to his control as well. Instead, he gets the Rangers, who face quite the challenge for their baptism of fire.

Obviously Daniels isn't quite ready to sign on the dotted line as a hero; if one of his new partners threw a wad of cash at his feet, it would probably be a different story. As it turns out, it's only jealously over Shooting Star's possible interest in one of the other Rangers which *ahem* spurs him into action against the Hulk--though being humiliated in short order probably isn't the impression he wanted to leave her with.

Finally, though, the Corruptor is brought down--and while the Rangers pat themselves on the back, it looks as if the Texas Twister has found and accepted a different kind of life for himself.

The Twister would later become involved with the West Coast Avengers in a drawn-out conflict where Shooting Star is possessed by a demon doing the bidding of Master Pandemonium. Eventually he went on to join Tony Stark's fifty-state Initiative. (And three guesses which state he ended up serving in.)

It was quite a turnout for the Frightful Four that day.
We'll see how another new Thomas/Perez character coped with rejection!


Anonymous said...

Instead of continually trying to recruit a new member the remaining members of the Frightful Four should have just renamed themselves as The Terrible Trio, The Fearsome Threesome or The Masters Of Threevil :D

Anonymous said...

The Threatening Three, maybe?

Anonymous said...

The Tyrannical Triad ?

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the Hulk stories during this period where he would encounter new or little-known superheros, either in the U.S. or abroad.
Admittedly, the stories tended to be a bit formulaic, with an initial misunderstanding, a fight, the appearance of a common threat, and a brief coming to terms between the Hulk and the guest stars, followed at last by the Hulk hopping away in a foul mood.
Still, I enjoyed the formula, whether it was applied in Texas, Arabia, Russia or elsewhere. The Hulk comic always benefited from cool guest-stars, because, let's face it, the Hulk himself is not a complicated character, and he's not big on dialogue.

Comicsfan said...

Well, unfortunately The Triumverate of Terror is taken--so as much as I want to go with The Masters Of Threevil, I think The Fearsome Threesome would be a fine choice. Good brainstorming there, gentlemen!

dbutler16 said...

The Rangers didn't quite catch on as the next Avengers, did it?

I just finished reading the "Hulk World Tour" stories that MP is referring to, and I enjoyed them, too. Not high art, but a pleasant diversion.