Friday, March 29, 2019

Help Is Just A *KTANG* Away!

After its last defeat at the hands of Iron Man, one could almost have come away thinking that the Super-Adaptoid had reached the end of its road at Marvel--particularly following its "encore" appearance as the Cyborg Sinister, the result of the Adaptoid being evolved against its will by two alien scientists into a horrid form that would be used to conduct power to their sub-atomic world. Aside from the Cyborg having met its apparent end after being exposed to a vat of acid, the fact that the Adaptoid was recycled into something so changed in appearance and manner gave the impression that the novelty of this creation of A.I.M. having the combined abilities of four Avengers had worn off--perhaps a hasty conclusion to make, considering that the Adaptoid's power allows it to become a completely different threat with each appearance, thereby a perpetually fresh character to be used in stories for as long as Marvel was in the business of comics. The mad Thinker has used adaptive technology to some extent with his various androids, and look how far it's taken him.

But with the Adaptoid's next appearance nearly five years later, Marvel appears to have had adequate time to figure out the Adaptoid's advantages on its own, as it ditches the Cyborg Sinister and gives the Super-Adaptoid another shot at giving grief to Captain America and his comrades in the Avengers. And with Goliath and Hawkeye no longer on the active duty roster, the Adaptoid brings an interesting new combination of powers to the party--which may end up including those of Captain Marvel, as well!

Starting this ball rolling is the Adaptoid's attack on Stark Industries while Iron Man is testing in the field what could be considered the forerunner of the Jupiter Landing Vehicle that Stark International was developing for NASA. Unfortunately, like that project, this rig is fated for the scrap heap when the Adaptoid makes his move against the golden Avenger, and in all-too-familiar garb.

Realizing that he and Iron Man are too evenly matched, the Adaptoid creates a diversion that allows him to escape; for, with the exception of the death of the one he confronted, he has what he came for--the might of Iron Man, which will be used against the Avengers forthwith.

Having heard the Adaptoid's threat in that regard, Iron Man transmits an urgent message to the team to warn them. But if you were expecting Iron Man to send that message en route, while in pursuit of the Adaptoid, join the club. For whatever reason, writer Scott Edelman decides to sideline I.M. from the coming battle--even though for I.M. to stay where he is and simply hope the Avengers survive the Adaptoid's attack would be out of character for him in the extreme.

Regardless, it's fair to wonder if Iron Man sent his message by smoke signals, since none of the Avengers appear to have received any warning whatsoever of incoming.

The Adaptoid would go on to copy the abilities of both Captain America and the Beast, the only other Avengers present in their mansion at the time--which is fortunate or not, depending on how you look at it. The fewer Avengers, the less formidable the Adaptoid becomes; and while having Thor and/or Wonder Man in the fight would increase the Avengers' odds of prevailing, that would only be true for as long as it took for the Adaptoid to add their powers to his own form.

As it is, the Adaptoid is demonstrating a frightening ability to multitask while using all of his abilities in tandem.

But what of Mar-vell? Well, that *KTANG!* you could have sworn you heard was Rick Jones, stopping by the mansion after performing a sold-out concert and reacting in alarm at discovering that the mansion is on emergency lockdown. What's arguably even more alarming is that Rick has gone from ham radio operator and Avenger-wannabe to establish a hit solo performing career out of nowhere; but thanks to the nega bands that Rick wears, he's only a *KTANG!* away from calling forth Captain Marvel, who forces his way into the mansion to deal with this crisis. (The situation at the mansion, not Rick's stage show.) And wow, has he walked into it!

Wanda also warns Mar-vell to leave the battle to the Avengers, before his abilities are added to those already in use by the Adaptoid and it becomes undefeatable. But Mar-vell has come up with a plan of his own, one that he doesn't have time to brief the team on--providing that there's time to implement it before the Adaptoid overwhelms them all.

Disaster averted, no doubt the Super-Adaptoid makes for an interesting and unique addition to the strange beings that inhabit the Negative Zone--and certainly a powerful one, as we'll later discover.

As for Mar-vell, he's accomplished what he once had to achieve through covert (and dangerous) methods--making it possible for he and Rick to exist in the same universe at the same time, rather than each having to spend time in the Negative Zone while the other existed on Earth.

Funny how the Avengers are all smiles at Mar-vell now, when just a minute ago they were calling him foolish and chastising him for showing poor judgment for not fleeing the battle. Whose tactics won the day here, team?

Because you DEMANDED it--a glimpse of Rick's performance that evening.
(No charge!)


Tiboldt said...

I'm confused. Is it Adaptoid or Super-Adaptoid? What is the difference?

Also, when did Rick Jones become a musician (whose music won't be pigeon-holed, apparently). I don't recall it cropping up before his link to CM. Is this part of his character just extrapolated from the fact that the first time we ever saw him he was playing harmonica?

Comicsfan said...

Well, Tiboldt, there's nothing to disprove your train of thought that Rick's gravitation toward the stage stemmed from just a few simple notes on the harmonica to kill some time while out on a dare, though I'm frankly surprised he didn't take a gamma bomb detonation as a sign that music probably wasn't something he should give up a day job for. (Which begs the question: Just what was Rick's day job? Was Rick ever gainfully employed? What was he qualified for--how not to become an Avenger?)

At any rate, our esteemed comrade in comics blogging, Pete Doree (of The Bronze Age of Blogs), has a great rundown of Rick's music career, such as it was. It's a "Behind The Music" segment waiting to happen.

As for the Adaptoid, my understanding is (or, rather, used to be) that the Super-Adaptoid was so named when he took on the abilities of several characters at the same time and thus became a composite of their powers--whereas the Adaptoid copied just one person at a time. In this particular story, I would have thought he would be the Adaptoid when he mimicked Iron Man--but he clearly thinks differently when he reveals himself to Shellhead, perhaps because he's going after the Avengers next. It's possible that, having had a taste of the power available to him as an amalgam of super-powered people, he's going to stick to billing himself as "the Super-Adaptoid" for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a SUPER-ADAPTOID can copy the powers of any super-hero he fights, while a garden variety Adaptoid can imitate say, your Uncle Bob. His power would be annoying everybody at Thanksgiving. Even so, I call the super one just "Adaptoid" for brevity's sake.
This was a good one! I always loved seeing Captain Marvel team up with the Avengers. And he's perfect for the story, because Mar-vell was famous for taking out much more powerful opponents, using Cosmic Awareness and Kosmic Kung-Fu.
The Adaptoid was a tough villain to take out, of almost potentially limitless power, so you had to come up with something tricky. Not only did Captain America not defeat him in his first appearance, Cap barely got outta there in one piece. I always thought the Adaptoid was genuinely spooky, and would be in his next appearance, which I assume is coming up and won't spoil for my fellow frantic readers who mighta missed it. Suffice to say, the Negative Zone is a good place for that cat.
I didn't get that Cyborg Sinister thing at all. How do you go from the Adaptoid to that? I dunno.
Great post!


Comicsfan said...

Thanks, M.P.--I had a "super" time putting it together! :)

Anonymous said...

Whenever I see a panel with Rick Jones singing one of his songs I'm relieved comics don't have sound.
You just know his music is terrible.


Comicsfan said...

It's hard to say, Sean--aside from the reception he got from his "spacesuit show," his audiences were usually tripping over themselves in their applause, though for me that never seemed to resonate off of the printed page. I think that from a reader's perspective, it was difficult to become interested in Rick as a solo stage singer because he seemed to have lackluster interest in it himself, often showing up to his show date and stepping up on stage almost as if it were an afterthought. Is this direction for himself really what he wanted? It feels like we'd get little more than a shrug from him if we asked him.

Big Murr said...

In the mini-series "Modok's Eleven" (I think. I'm not near my collection at the moment), A.I.M. revealed

(obligatory spoiler alert)

the Ultra-Adaptoid. Tired of the Super-Adaptoid's megalomaniacal independence, this version had more potential power but required a remote operator to guide it's actions. The AIM computers had many superpowers catalogued and these were uploaded to the android as required. I enjoyed the version (and the series)!

Comicsfan said...

Interesting concept, Murray--I suppose that would mean the Ultra-Adaptoid would have some sort of storage limit if AIM had to upload rather than have those abilities stored locally for faster access. And that would be some database--AIM must have hacked a lot of computers to obtain data on things like repulsor rays and uru hammers. (Is Asgard actually "hackable"?)

dbutler16 said...

I tend to agree with Sean that Rock's music would be awful.

I hate the superpower of absorbing or mimicking others' powers, but this does look like a good story. Clever how Cap Marvel defeated the Super-Adaptoid.

Big Murr said...

Captain Marvel's ruse where the Adaptoid is unable to cope with the sudden input of a new ability puts me in mind of "World's Finest" story. I don't recall enough of the details to be able to find the issue and see if it predates this moment or not.

Anyhow, some villain has stolen Superman's powers. As he monologues on how to first establish his rule of the Earth, Batman leans over and whispers something to Superman. The villain, notices this exchange and smirks. For the first time, he flexes his new ear muscles to listen in without taking a step closer. This first use of super-hearing opens a floodgate of sound from across the room to across the country. He collapses in confusion. Our Heroes leap in and defeat the villain. Superman remarks how long it took him as a growing Superboy to adapt and filter sounds.

Not quite as cosmic-y, but from the same page of the Superhero Strategy Playbook.

I can't support this hate for Rick's music. No way to tell, of course. It'd be a quirky and independent sound, I imagine, since Rick will be out of touch with modern pop trends while bringing in some unique inspirations from the Negative Zone, hanging with Avengers or (for a few minutes) being one of the most powerful beings in the universe.

HellRazor said...

The Super Adaptoid is such a cool character concept and a ton of fun! And this particular comic was probably a lot of fun for the artist too - note how the SA's appearance morphs as he adds each hero's abilities! Most of the time, the SA appeared pre-packaged with a set number of hero powers, but in this one he starts from scratch and absorbs a whole new power set.

The downside is that, if you think about it too much, the SA doesn't make a lick of sense. What kind of earth technology can absorb Captain Marvel's cosmic awareness? Or even mutant powers?

But hey, don't overthink it. Comics, right? :) I think SA is such a crazy, fun villain that it makes it pretty easy for readers to suspend their disbelief.