Marvel Super-Heroes Special Winter 1991


This issue isn’t important just because Erik Larsen had the foresight to draw Namor flying around with the X-Men (something the Sub-Mariner wouldn’t regularly do until about twenty years after this was published).

I know that Iron Man is in this picture as well, but lets assume that he has relapsed into alcoholism and stumbled into the frame.

What is most important is that it’s the debut of Steve Ditko’s final marvel creation—Squirrel Girl!

Before she became a nanny/babysitter for Power Man and Jessica Jones, she turned up in this quarterly special.

Ditko introduces the rodent powered hero in a short feature with Iron Man. He’s been kidnapped by Doctor Doom, and the only person he can call for help is Squirrel Girl. The character is just so ridiculous, with her only being able to communicate with squirrels (in squirrel-girlparticularly, her favorite who is named Monkey Joe) and some other squirrely powers. See what I did there?

Early in the story, she’s pleading to be Iron Man’s sidekick, but he keeps blowing her off. The poor girl is clueless. But Squirrel Girl proves her worth when she calls for some backup–Monkey Joe and about a thousand of his little furry friends. They subdue and in turn wind up humiliating  Doctor Doom.

She’s a really goofy character and reminds me of Sue Heck from The Middle with her constant cheeriness. The whole thing is just so absurd to the point that you  have to imagine that it made Ditko either really mad or he immensely enjoyed the story.

The rest of the book has some fun stuff, involving the X-Men trying to stop a half-human, half-Sentinel who has gone out of control, Namor making making some bird-like friends, and a bunch of Jim Starlin. So should you buy this? Only if you are a speculator waiting for Squirrel Girl: The Movie. No really, it’s a fun anthology and great for some light reading.

Infinity Gauntlet #3

With all the talk of Thanos the last couple of months, let’s jump right into the middle of his previous most notable appearance: I’m talking about the Infinity Gauntlet mini-series. Thanos is still planning on destroying the universe in an effort to impress Death.

Back on Earth, Nick Fury, SHIELD and the rest of the Avengers are trying to save people from the looming apocalypse. There’s a one page long sequence of Black Widow failing to save an elderly lady from falling to her demise that is kind of awkward. It doesn’t necessarily do anything to advance the story.

Anyway, Adam Warlock is building a coalition of Earth’s mightiest heroes (and Doctor Doom) to combat Thanos, alongside some cosmic types like Drax the Destroyer, Firelord and Nova. But then there are some odd choices. Don’t get me wrong, Namor and Cloak of Cloak and Dagger fame are along for the ride. But at the same time, why them? And this is coming from someone who really likes the characters.

Getting back to the story, Adam Warlock makes an appeal to the most cosmic deities in the Marvel Universe to help him save everything. So after begrudgingly getting them on board, it’s off to save the day.

This issue, and the whole series in general, works thanks to the creative team. Jim Starlin’s writing works so well with this, as he either created or revamped most of these characters at some point. On the art side, George Perez does a heck of a job. He really does an amazing job at handling all these characters.

Infinity Gauntlet is a really fun super crossover that I kind of forgot about. It makes me feel really old remembering it came out twenty-one years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Adam Strange Special #1

When I picked up this issue, there was only really two things that came struck me.

  1. Adam Strange was that cool concept that my dad tole me about when I was a kid, sort of like a John Carter from Mars type.
  2. Comics writer/artist extraordinaire Jim Starlin knows a thing or two about putting together epic cosmic stories.

That said, Adam Strange Special #1 kicks in towards the end of the Rann/Thangar War during the Infinite Crisis period of DC. I didn’t follow that cross over, but this issue is pretty self-contained. The story is a lot like A Christmas Story,with Adam visiting his past and future on the planet Rann.

Adam finds out that not only will he win up being responsible for the death of his daughter Aleea, but eventually for the destruction of the planet. Eep. Along his time shifting, he encounters a shady character named Synnar, who comes to power as a result of Adam destroying Rann. The story ends with Adam figuring out how to communicate with a younger version of himself, warning him of the impending horrors he will cause.

This could have been a really awkward one shot to read, as it directly finishes Rann/Thangar War mini series and its sequel. Instead, it’s a pretty straight forward tale, warning Adam Strange of something horrible that he will inevitably cause.

Rick Leonardi and Dan Green’s art on the book is great; it really has that 1970s/1980s cosmic super hero feel to it. At first I thought it was Starlin doing the art, but the duo really matched his visual style.

I really haven’t checked out much Adam Strange stuff over the years, but definitely got my attention.