New Reviews of Old Comics
Here’s a title that can’t be beat by true comic fans; a Captain America story followed by an Iron Man tale, all in the same issue. Make it so both stories are written by Stan Lee with Jack Kirby handling the Captain America art and Gene Colan on Iron Man and True Believers everywhere are clamoring for more. One of the earliest comics I remember having as a real little kid was an issue of Marvel Double Feature, which I likely wanted because Captain America was on the cover. It was issue #5 and I still have it. Being four years old at the time I couldn’t have known it was a reprint (much less what a reprint was), but know I think titles like these are a great opportunity to read stories where the original issue is far more expensive than anything I’ll ever buy.
Reprinted from Strange Tales # 82, “The Maddening Mystery of the Inconceivable Adaptoid!” begins with Captain America kicking back and flipping through a photo album at Avengers mansion, but things quickly pick up (because it’s a 15 page story) when Cap heads off to the showers and thinks he is being attacked by Agent Axis. From this point on the story is essentially a series of fight scenes where Cap appears to be going through a bad LSD trip; seeing another old nemesis like Fang the Warlord, or riding in a jeep with his deceased partner, Bucky, before beating down some Nazis together. Finally Cap passes out and Jarvis takes him to bed where we find Jarvis is actually the villain Adaptoid pretending to be Jarvis. The story ends with Adaptoid morphing into Captain America and taking his shield. Blast!
Next up is “The Monstrous Menace of the Mysterious Melter!” reprinted from Tales of Suspense # 89 starring the Invincible Iron Man. Tony Stark is overseeing the clean-up at his factory after a battle between Iron Man and Mole Man (last issue, of course), and everyone is thrilled to be working for Stark while he’s out dating chicks trying to get over Pepper and Happy being in love. Elsewhere the Melter breaks out of prison so he can go find Tony Stark to make the genius inventor update his melting gun using his highly advanced transistors (if that doesn’t tell you how old this story is, I don’t know what will). That little quest leads the Melter to the previously mentioned Stark factory under re-construction; a fight scene between Iron Man and the Melter ensues with the Melter getting a surprising upper hand. Finding his “invincible” alter ego to be at a significant disadvantage, Stark ditches the armor and allows himself to be captured. To be continued! Now where am I going to find the second part of this story?!?!?
As I said to open this review, you just can’t go wrong with Marvel Double Feature; two classic stories starring two classic characters. OK, so the Captain America story wasn’t the best, it was dragged out longer than it needed to be, but it’s also a set up for the second part which promises to be a pretty good wrap up. Kirby’s art is everything you would expect from The King. There are days when I think no one else will ever represent Cap as well as he did. Although it was also a set-up story, I found the Iron Man story thoroughly enjoyable. Somehow this whole Melter storyline is ringing a bell with me and I’m wondering if I’ve already read part two in a different reprint. Either way, if I ever find Marvel Double Feature #7, or any other issue for that matter, I’ll pick it up without hesitation.