Mighty Week of Marvel #37

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Some of Marvel’s longer established characters are up first this week, which is appropriate as Marvel’s 70th birthday celebrations continue…

Jimmy Woo discovers that sometimes people don’t match up to your ideals when his former lover Suwan resurfaces as the Jade Claw, head of an evil empire in opposition to Atlas. Jimmy has been rejuvenated with little memory of the decades since he last saw Suwan, of course, but for her its been fifty years and she has few qualms about killing Jimmy or anyone else who gets in her way-notably including M11, who is destroyed but gets better! Question is, why did Jimmy’s dragon adviser, Mr Lao, not warn him about Suwan?

Continuity: Suwan last encountered Jimmy Woo in Yellow Claw #5 ( 1957). The Suwan he met in Strange Tales in the the sixties has since been revealed to have been a robot double. How Suwan’s appearance here fits in with her apparent death in Captain America #167 is still unclear.

We delve into a largely unexplored time in Marvel history in All Winners Comics #1, as we join the All Winners Squad in 1946. Jeff Mace is still coming to terms with his new role as the replacement Captain Americas when an error on his part almost kills the Squad, and sends their foes Future Man and Madame Death on what seems to be a one way trip into the past.

Then what appears to be the reanimated corpses of the original Cap and Bucky show up, demanding that Jeff and his ‘Bucky’ (Fred Davis) sacrifice their lives to save their predecessors! Of course, it’s all a trick set up by the returned Madame death, out for revenge following Future Man’s death in the distant past, and in the end Jeff Mace discovers that he really is a genuine hero after all, even as teammates Whizzer and Miss America discover the depth of their feelings for each other.

Continuity: Jeff Mace (originally the Patriot, first seen in Human Torch #4, 1941) was revealed to have been the second replacement Captain America in What If #4 (1977); the first replacement Cap was William Naslund (AKA the Spirit of ’76, who debuted in Invaders #14, 1977) but Mace took up the shield when Naslund was killed battling the android Adam II in the same issue.

Fred Davis was also revealed to have been the second Bucky in What If #4 (Davis was first seen in Marvel Premiere #30, June 1976). All of this is a retcon, of course, to explain how Timely could still have been publishing Captain America stories in the late 40s when Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes were believed dead in 1945.

Keene Marlowe’s crusade finally ends as another takes up the Destroyer identity in Destroyer #5, though not before Keene fights off three avatars of death in order to recover from a fatal heart attack-beating the odds one last time!

Continuity: well, OK, it isn’t in continuity, but anyway; Keen Marlow was first seen in Mystic Comics #6 (1941).

Moving on to more contemporary characters, Mary Jane Watson is back in Amazing Spider-Man #601, but we still don’t know where she’s actually been or what really happened between her and Peter. We don’t find out here, either, as-despite Peter having arranged to meet up with her following Aunt May’s wedding last issue, he is unfortunately too hung over to remember where or when their date was to be.

He eventually remembers and gets there on time, but MJ was so exhausted after waiting all the previous night for him to speak to her that she sleeps right through the day and misses it anyway. Oh, and Peter has slept with his roommate Michelle but has no memory of it because he was drunk. Learn from this, kids! Booze can screw up your life!

Continuity: forget it. I’m not touching BND continuity with a barge pole!

The Princess Regent-who also happens to be the new Black Panther-is in the US trying to learn who attacked her brother, T’Challa, in Black Panther #7, but it seems she herself has now been targeted! Meanwhile, T’Challa is demonstrating his usual stubbornness by pushing himself into rehab therapy. And what does he need the Dora Milaje for?

Everybody’s favourite deranged hit man is seeing double in Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #2. That’s his own double, of course-or at least, his own double’s zombified head from the Marvel Zombies universe! The decapitated Deadpool head has set itself up as the god of a tribe of Savage Land headhunters, but AIM want the secrets of the zombie virus and have sent Deadpool and Dr Betty to recover it.

Problems arise when Deadhead decides it would look better on its still living counterpart’s shoulders, but that is nothing compared to the complications which will undoubtedly ensue when Hydra arrive to claim the head! And if this is the Savage land, can Ka-Zar be far behind?

Continuity: Deadpool’s alternate universe counterpart’s head was last seen in Marvel Zombies 4 #4, being sent out to sea by Simon Garth.

There are more alternate universe shenanigans in Exiles #5, in which the team find themselves trying to save the digitized personalities of the  human population of north America from Cerebro, which is attempting to create a world dominated solely by machines. Eventually, despite the fact that his intellect is steadily decreasing as he grows stronger, Beast manages to destroy Cerebro, and the machine world’s version of Hank Pym creates new, synthetic Life Model Decoy bodies for the ‘dead’ humans. This is possibly the weirdest resolution to an Exiles adventure yet.

Continuity: Beast’s unfortunate condition here echoes the one his Earth 616 counterpart suffered from in the original X-Factor series in the late eighties.

Steve Rogers continues to voyage helplessly and randomly through his own past in Captain America Reborn #2, witnessing a battle between himself and Master Man, a meeting with Franklin Roosevelt and the death of Abraham Erskine at the moment when he himself became Captain America for the first time.

Meanwhile, back in the present, the new Cap-Bucky Barnes-and the Black Widow are captured by Norman Osborn, who has revealed Sharon Carter’s part in Rogers’ ‘assassination’ to the world and now demands that the Widow go and tell Carter to give herself up, or have the death of another Captain America on her conscience!

Continuity: Black Widow’s predicament here seems at odds with her current undercover activities in the pages of Thunderbolts. How it all fits together, if indeed it does fit together, is anybody’s guess.

Elsewhere, Crystal attempts to build bridges between the Kree and their new Inhuman leaders in War of Kings: Warriors #2, Johnny Blaze’s quest continues in Ghost Rider: Heaven’s on Fire #1, and we get an alternate take on The Hood’s operation in House of M: Masters of Evil #1. Oh, s and Bruce Banner is coming to terms with being finally free of the Hulk (again) in Hulk #13, which just goes to show that however smart they are, some people never learn…

Panel of the week: Amazing Spider-Man #601, page 7

Peter Parker’s life takes a soap opera twist this week. Well, even more so than usual…

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  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Aug 15, 2009 at 8:25am

    Now there's a panel we *definitely* wouldn't have seen in the Lee-Ditko days! ;)

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