Saturday, 18 October 2008

The Avengers Meet ... Sub-Mariner!

Avengers #3, January 1964.
(By Lee, Kirby, and Reinman)

So, where were we? Ah yes, the Avengers, a team consisting of Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man (now Giant Man), the Wasp, and the Hulk. Only, the Hulk's not much of a team player, so he's quit the team. Needless to say, the Avengers don't want to leave him wandering the deserts of the United States, so they're on his tracks. Cue a few gratuitous cameos:

Yes, the Marvel Universe has quickly become a unified body, in a way that DC rarely managed at that time. We've had cameos, guest appearances, but not yet a full-blown crossover. Watch this space.

Anyhoo, fortunately, the Hulk's old pal, Rick Jones, has managed to track down the Green Goliath, and he can always be relied on to do the right thing.

Even if the right thing, in this case, is to nark out the guy who saved his life a few months ago. Cheers, Rick..!

So, the Avengers show up to take down the Hulk, who's not so keen on a reunion with his former co-workers.

He's a shrewd one, that Hulk. He knows better than to trust Tony Stark as far as he can throw him, and history will vindicate that opinion. Naturally, conflict ensues, including an almighty broohaha aboard a speeding train.

Lucky for the Hulk, his cunning flour bomb catches pretty much the only Avenger who doesn't have any way of avoiding being blinded by the smoke screen - if only he had super-lungs or some other get-out.

And in case you were wondering, yes, the Hulk has not yet arrived at his "Hulk smash puny fish man!" persona.

And speaking of puny fish men...

Namor has just (in Fantastic Four Annual #2) been thwarted in his plan to invade the surface world, and has been abandoned by his own people, to boot. And, like the Hulk, he's got a serious grudge against humanity.

Yes, it's time for a Super-Villain Team-Up! Agreeing to work together to defeat the Avengers, the two rogues start out on stage one of their plan: the invasion of Gibraltar!

You heard me.

You see, Gibraltar has a network of caves under it, filled with military ordinance left over from WW2. Useful if a gang of superheroes turns up to arrest you, I suppose, although I'm surprised that Subby doesn't have any weapons lying around in that underwater kingdom of his.

The Avengers waste no time in setting out to confront their foes, but the Sub-Mariner is well-prepped.

However, no amount of preparation can take the place of team-work, and that, tragically, is what Subby and the Hulk are missing:

Yes, apparently, the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner have been watching too much tag-team wrestling, and are unaware of the benefits of, say, both fighting at the same time.

The result is fairly inevitable:

Bruce "Must shout out my secret identity!" Banner flees the scene, whilst Sub-Mariner decides that discretion is the better part of valour.

So, if you fight well, Thor will let you go free? That doesn't seem to be a very sensible attitude for the forces of law and order. I'm with Iron Man on this one.

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