Friday, February 21, 2020

In Search Of The Perfect Head

Or: "It's My Body And I'll Rage If I Want To..."

Following the dynamic Defenders' defeat of the economic and political aspirations of the evil Headmen, it would be roughly thirteen years before we would see these bizarre villains resurface. And while they're clearly still up to their old tricks in ruthless experimentation, this time they seem to be working toward an entirely different goal than world domination.

Put simply, the Headmen are interested in helping their fellow member and friend, Chondu, regain some semblance of a normal body--his current one not of his choosing, but the result of surgery conducted by Dr. Nagan. To that end, they begin conducting research on and surveillance of the She-Hulk in order to eventually capture her, for reasons which for the time being remain a mystery (aside from the obvious, which you'd think would be out of the question even for Nagan); but having failed to secure her through their proxies, the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime, they've now turned to Mysterio, who has had better luck with the use of gas to subdue her.

Suffice to say, Mysterio insisted on certain terms being met following the successful completion of his assignment, in accordance with his expertise as a master of illusion.

Mysterio would later learn to his outrage that the Headmen have double-crossed him, and not only by stuffing his case with counterfeit bills covering newsprint and play money: Nagan has covered their bases by also including a device that would trigger Spider-Man's spider-sense and draw him into battling Mysterio, as a way to prevent him from seeking revenge against the Headmen.

It's only when the Headmen are alone with their subject that we learn the extent of the horror they've planned for her.

Mind you, this is occurring in the debut issues of writer/artist John Byrne's new series from 1989, The Sensational She-Hulk--which means that it's going to be a very limited series if the title character is going to be decapitated. Since Mysterio has already made an appearance, then, we have to assume that what we're seeing is either one whopper of an illusion on the part of the Headmen--or, barring that, it's Spider-Man to the rescue in the nick of time! Right?


Seeing is believing. Let's hope that Chondu is just as sedated for the next step.
(I wouldn't mind some of that sedative myself, right now.)

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Headmen, it would seem they've become quite infamous in the news from their earlier activities*--otherwise, Spider-Man, who ordinarily would have no knowledge of them unless he chanced upon a Defenders meet-and-greet at some point, wouldn't be a virtual wall-crawling dossier in regard to the details of their members:

*Let's assume that Peter Parker read up on the Daily Bugle's coverage of the Headmen's worldwide power play.

As for Chondu, under the circumstances he's likely going to be thrilled to be free of the tendrilled, hideous abomination of a body that Nagan had originally created for him, yes? Let's just say that Nagan has a warped sense of medical remediation.

In a prior scene, the She-Hulk has already been shocked to discover her current state; yet rather than displaying a mixture of severe trauma and anger, as even a fictional character surely would, she instead reacts as if she's seeing this happen from a reader's point of view, in keeping with Byrne's format for these new She-Hulk stories which breaks the fourth wall and makes the Marvel Comics staff and creative make-believe process an integral part of the series. (E.g., "I thought DeFalco said they couldn't cut my head off??") It's an innovative approach which would be on display for the book's entire run--but as is evident, it deprives the series of any sense of drama or tension in such moments which call for those reactions. (Even Spider-Man, who isn't "in on the gag," so to speak, shows no anger to speak of at what the Headmen have done to the She-Hulk.)

As for just what the heck is really going on here, Spider-Man indeed comes to the rescue--and in dealing with Chondu, he and the She-Hulk learn of the extent of Nagan's duplicity, not to mention his improvisation.

It appears that Chondu is well on his way to becoming a running joke in future appearances of the Headmen, though we'll see if that holds true when he and his cronies show up again in the PPC.


Anonymous said...

Is "meta" the right term to describe this?
I ain't up on all the new lingo of these millenial whippersnappers.
This is new to me, and I kinda enjoyed it.
I just hope the Headmen are still around, somewhere. Pure Gerber.
And I always did have a bit of a thing for Ruby Thursday. I was sorry to see her presidential campaign peter out in '76. Still, I didn't agree to her "shrinking all humans down to six inches high so there would be enough resources for all" platform.
That would put us at the mercy of housecats.


Comicsfan said...

The Headmen are "headed" for a few more posts in the PPC, M.P., never fear. ;)