A few years ago, I discovered the awesomeness known as Treasury Editions. I knew of their existence, but never bought one due to the hefty price-tag they usually carry. Being a huge Doctor Strange fan though, I grabbed Marvel Treasury Edition 6, as I just couldn’t pass up the book and the $10 sticker! Back to the matter at hand though. Recently issue 17 popped up in front of me and just from seeing the cover and knowing there would be work by Herb Trimpe, Roy Thomas, Archie Goodwin, Sal Buscema, etc., I couldn’t resist buying it.
The cover blurb reads…”A Cataclysmic Collection of Classic Confrontations!” That blurb isn’t one of those familiar bait and switch deals, it’s for real. Inside we get four incredible stories, and each one shows the Jade Giant in some wars that he doesn’t necessarily come out of as the winner. Yep, he’s known as the strongest one there is, but it is cool to see even the strong get humbled and beaten once in a while. One of my favorite horror creatures and Hulk antagonists ever is in the first story, too!
Ever feel alone? Like no one else even cares? The Hulk knows about these things, and a lot more! Bruce Banner/The Hulk is one of the most interesting characters Marvel (Kirby and Lee) ever created. The scientific aspects, the pain Banner feels when he realizes what the Hulk does when he’s out of control, his love for Betty but not being able to be with her, her father wanting him dead, etc. This issue focuses on a character called Moonstone (the first appearance of this villain), and her shady beginnings. Also some Doc Samson for fans of that character.
The cover to this book is one of my all time favorite for this character, and exactly why Herb Trimpe (R.I.P.) is such an under-appreciated artist (inks by Bob McLeod). His work spanned several decades and I think we should all give him more love, yes even if it is posthumous. The story is written by two gentlemen, and both are names that you will easily recognize. Roger Stern and Peter Gillis did a fine job on this one, and showed all the classic tropes that made the Hulk such a wonderful, and sympathetic character. The interior artwork is a great team, and anytime you get Sal Buscema (pencils) and Bob McLeod (inks) together, it’s a good time. The colors are by Phil Rachelson, the letters by Bruce Patterson (Bob Hall, editor).
Every good comic book has several elements in it. A solid story is the first thing, and a great art team is a big boost, but you absolutely must have at least one comedic moment within the pages. When Spider-Man is involved, the writer has plenty of opportunities to make this happen. Throw in Power Man and Iron Fist, Daredevil, and Moon Knight, and the story has now the chances of being not only humorous, but also have pathos, and of course, altruism. Now, take all of those heroes, and add the nefarious Purple Man and the Kingpin of crime! Having these characters in the same book is all but a guarantee it will be good (it helps that the book is from a great era of comic books as well).
The name Frank Miller means different things to different people. Some immediately think of Daredevil (count me as one of them), some of The Dark Knight Returns. He’s done so much to transform the industry, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to appreciate fully the impact for years to come. He wrote this hilarious story (which shows he can do more than just gritty), and also penciled the cover, along with Josef Rubinstein on inks! The interior art is by the team of Herb Trimpe (pencils) and Mike Esposito (inks). This was a very good team that is very rarely talked about, and that is a bit of a travesty. We see Diana Albers letters, and George Roussos on colors, as was the case with many books from this era (which gave an immense amount of consistency). Editing was none other than Tom Defalco (check out his work with Ron Frenz on Thor)!
This recent grab was…grabbed mostly for one reason- the appearance of Dr. Strange! Not that I don’t like the Hulk, I do, just more so in the pages of books like The Defenders, and The Avengers. I also love the “Beehive” and their insidious plots! In their second attempt at creating a god-like being, they unleash an even more powerful creature that initially tries to kill Dr. Strange! The old Doc has a difficult time with the man-made entity, but the Jade Giant is on his way to smash!
With a plot by editor, Len Wein, David Anthony Kraft (writer) gives us a story that is fairly simplistic but also solid in its delivery. No frills, just a slight mystery followed by straight up action! The art work by Herb Trimpe (pencils, the interiors and cover), Frank Giacoia (inks) and Mike Esposito (inks), give the reader a less rigid look than you typically get from Trimpe pencils (he usually has a more block-style, a la Kirby), and the inkers get credit for that, no doubt about it. Colors by Janice Cohen, and letters by Gaspar, round out the team!
You might think by the cover, that you’ve got the villain for this issue figured out. Well, you kind of do, but there’s a twist inside these pages, and this story couldn’t work in any other title, than Marvel 2-in-One! In this fantastic tale, we see the Puppet Master, who had been thought dead from a previous battle, as he uses his magic to take over Thor’s mind, and force him to attack the Fantastic Four. After laying a pretty bad beating on them, Thor regains his senses, and backs off. Later, the Thing finds out that the perpetrator of these foul deeds is in fact Puppet Master. Now though, we see that he has made a puppet of the Thing, and he forces he and Thor to fight. We also see that there is another helping Puppet Master achieve greater feats. The radioactive power of Radion, is helping him! Dr. Henri Sorel was originally a research physicist, but is now in the employ of Puppet Master!
This super cool story from the 1970’s was definitely a fun ride. There is also a special guest appearance by Wundarr, as well! What else is to be expected from Chris Claremont, Steve Gerber, & Herb Trimpe? You really get a sense that guys truly enjoyed working together on this book, and in the industry as a whole! Check out that awesome cover, by none other than the fantastic Gil Kane! See you in three days!