Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Ben Has An Annoying Day.


cover art by Jim Starlin

Marvel Feature #12 (November 1973. Writer: Mike Friedrich. Pencils: Jim Starlin) picks up right where the previous issue left off, with Ben drudging through the desert after his fight with the Hulk. Ben is complaining about his lack of transportation when Iron Man suddenly flies by. Ben is momentarily happy, but though the Armored Avenger clearly sees his fellow hero, he doesn't stop to help. 

There's actually a good reason for this. Iron Man and other heroes have been getting pummelled by Thanos and Thanos' minions over in the pages of Captain Marvel. Iron Man is heading back to a secret base in the desert that Thanos once used, looking for useful clues to defeating the villain. He simply doesn't have time to stop.

But Ben is still ticked off, following Iron Man has quickly as he can with plans to do some clobberin' 

At the base, Iron Man soon encounters the Blood Brothers--super-strong alien vampires that Tony has fought before. They out-muscle him, but Iron Man manages to use some clever tactics to get some distance from them. Unfortunately, that distance takes him on a head-on collision with Ben.

The two heroes are stunned. Ben recovers in time to defend himself against the Blood Brothers. When Iron Man wakes up, they double-team the bad guys. This, along with a landslide started by the fight, help them win.

Thanos, who is monitoring the fight, dislikes failure. The Blood Brothers disappear, though Ben and Tony don't know if they were destroyed or teleported away. In either case, the good guys have won.

And Ben has a ride home now!

Or does he? Sadly, Iron Man doesn't have enough power left in his suit to carry his rather heavy ally. Ben is still stuck with walking out of the desert.

I like a number of things about this story. First, though it ties in closely with the events in Captain Marvel, it is an independent story that can be read on its own. Obviously, the story exists in part to advertise C.M., but you don't have to buy it if you don't want to do so. 

Second, Starlin's art is fantastic and the fight scene that is the meat of the story is more fun than a barrel of alien vampires.

Third, the framing gag about Ben NOT getting a ride from Iron Man and the middle-of-the-story gag about Iron Man colliding with Ben are funny. The humor fits Ben's personality to a T and the colliding gag is made an organic part of the overall fight.

These two issues of Marvel Feature were the last two of this anthology series. They demonstrate that Ben is indeed a character able to support a team-up book, so Marvel Two-in-One would soon be appearing on the newstands.

Next week, we'll jump over the DC Universe and visit with the Justice League of America.

1 comment:

  1. This is a really good blog. Comics and old time radio two of my hobbies.


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