Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Classics - Amazing Adventures #1

   Just a little over two years after Marvel ditched their "split books" (a single comic sharing the adventures of two heroes), in 1970 they brought them back with Amazing Adventures and Astonishing Tales.

   AA focused on two of the most popular supporting cast members from the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, and assigned both of them some of the company's top talent.

   So the Inhumans was handed over to its co-creator, Jack Kirby - not just as the artist, but also as the writer! Ironically, it was one of Kirby's last jobs for Marvel - in a couple of months he would move over to DC, where he'd write and draw an assortment of comics.

   His story here is pretty straightforward - it introduces the members of the Royal Family - Black Bolt, Medusa, Gorgon, Karnak and Triton - and sets up a threat that may destroy their homeland.

   It's all action and intrigue and it sets up a cliffhanger guaranteed to bring you back for the next adventure. Oh, and it also includes one big mistake - Kirby gives the (for all intents and purposes) mute Black Bolt a thought balloon - the first and last, as far as I know. Better to keep BB mysterious.

   The second story starred the Black Widow, and it's written by Gary Frederich and drawn by John Buscema. It's her first solo story, and to be honest, it's just so-so. It has an idle, rich Natasha deciding to get back into heroics because she's bored.

   The story springs from her recent appearance in the Amazing Spider-Man's comic, where she gave the (admittedly exhausted) wall-crawler a good fight. Here she goes to the rescue of her housekeeper's son, who's in trouble with some loan sharks. And that's about it.

    The series was, frankly, a pretty mixed bag, with constantly-changing creative teams (though it would include some amazing artists, including Neal Adams and Gene Colan), and it didn't last in this form for a year.

   After issue #8 it focused on a single feature, and eventually it would be home to the new adventures of the Beast (in his new hairy form) and then Killraven. And then it was gone.

   But it was fun while it lasted!

Grade: B+



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