Marvel Mystery Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1
By Andy Frisk
Jun 6, 2009 - 21:32
Writer(s): Tom DeFalco, Carl Burgos, Stockbridge Winslow
Penciller(s): Chris Burham
Inker(s): Chris Burham
Colourist(s): Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer(s): Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist(s): Paolo Rivera
In the first tale, written by Tom Defalco, Namor, The Human Torch, Toro, The Angel, Ferret, and Betty Dean, Namor’s policewoman friend, team up to battle Dr. Manyac, his Nazi cohort, Herr Gaufman, and their small army of Green Flames. The Green Flames are robots who generate a flame that burns freezing cold. Their cold flame is powerful enough to challenge The Torch and Toro. Turns out, Manyac and Gaufman have an even bigger surprise in store for the heroes as Project: Blockbuster forces Namor and The Torch, specifically, to set aside their differences, and make use of their unique abilities, in tandem, if they are going to have a chance at defeating the new threat. We also catch a glimpse of Electro: The Marvel of The Age in action. Electro, a “powerful mechanical man,” is a construction of Professor Philo Zog, a mechanical genius that Dean and Ferret have been searching for, as he has disappeared, and is a prisoner of Manyac and Gaufman.
Defalco does a good job juggling these characters, and bringing them together, in this short, but action packed tale. He portrays, particularly well, Namor and The Torch’s conflicts of personality, which are driven by Namor’s arrogance and distrust of The Torch. It’s an interesting dynamic. Each hero displays a personality that is at odds with their elemental and physical natures. The Human Torch, who is literally a walking, flaming, heat producing, master of fire, is the cool headed one. Namor, an ocean depth dwelling being, who is at home in his natural element of the cold ocean depths, is the hot head. The two opposites don’t mix well, much like fire and water battle each other often in nature. It is these two who receive the most attention, and are the most well developed characters. Ferret doesn’t do much more than his obvious sleuthing, and The Angel doesn’t do much more than bust up a ring of Nazi spies. They both do assist in the final battle, though. Overall, the story is an entertaining one, even if the lesser known characters don’t get much development. They do lend a worthy hand.
Burnham’s art captures the period well. Like the rest of the 70th Anniversary Specials, this one is set in the late 1930’s. His version of Namor is classic in its looks, as is his Torch. The Green Flames and Project: Blockbuster both have a look, much like The Torch did in his Special, of steam-punk tech, just a few decades later and advanced from steam-punk’s historical and fictional setting. All the elements of Burnham’s art come together to form a visually engaging finished product with Fairbairn’s colors putting the finishing touches on.
Overall, Marvel Mystery Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 is another in a line of great reads from Marvel, celebrating 70 years of Marvel Comics. While it isn’t quite the stand out issue that The Human Torch’s issue was, it’s definitely a fun read.
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