Avenging the Fantastic, Part 5: Nick Fury Joins S.H.I.E.L.D.!

Continuing the read-through of as many Avengers and Fantastic Four–related Marvel comics as possible!

Books Read

Fantastic Four #31-38, Annual #2; Journey Into Mystery #110-113, Annual #1; Tales to Astonish (starring the Hulk) #60-64; Strange Tales (starring the Human Torch and Thing) #125-134, (starring Nick Fury) #135; Tales of Suspense (starring Iron Man and Captain America in separate stories) #59-65; Avengers #8-14; years: 1964-65.

ST 135_ce_HKFantastic Firsts


The Avengers battle time-travelling villain Kang for the first time in their #8, though technically the character already debuted as Rama Tut over in Fantastic Four. Then they meet Immortus in #10, who we’ll later learn is another version of Kang from a different point in time (pesky time-travel shenanigans).

Future Avenger Wonder Man is introduced in Avengers #9, though he’s not entirely a good guy yet. Then they meet Count Nefaria in #13, and with a name like that, you know he’ll always be a bad guy.

Thor is the first to utter the famous catchphrase “Avengers Assemble!” in #10, uniting the team against the Masters of Evil.

We meet Sue and Johnny Storm’s father in FF #31. (He’ll be in the upcoming movie, but it looks like he’ll be an entirely different character than the disgraced surgeon who appears here.)

FF 36 MedusaThe Fantastic Four first encounter the Frightful Four in #36. The group includes previously established villains the Wizard, Sandman, and Paste-Pot-Pete (now Trapster) and new character Medusa, who is the first of the Inhumans we meet, though she’s not yet identified as such.

SHIELD debuts and recruits Nick Fury in Strange Tales #135, where we’re introduced to SHIELD staples such as the Helicarrier, life-model decoys (LMDs), a flying car, and recurring enemies Hydra.

Avengers’ mansion butler Edwin Jarvis first appears in Captain America’s story in Tales of Suspense #59. Like his television counterpart in Agent Carter, he’s in the employ of a Stark, but unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, no computer is named after the guy.

Golden Age villain Red Skull is reintroduced in TOS #65, though it is a World War II flashback story, so he hasn’t yet appeared in “modern” continuity by this point.

Norse and Greek mythology cross over when Thor accidentally visits Olympus in Journey Into Mystery Annual #1 and gets into a wee little misunderstanding with Hercules (another future Avenger).

The Hulk’s new solo series in Tales to Astonish features several notable first appearances, including Major Talbot (Adrian Pasdar’s character in the Agents of SHIELD TV series) in #61 and the villainous Leader in #62.

R.I.P. For Now

Wonder Man does not survive his first appearance. But we haven’t seen the last of him! (Don’t expect to see him in the movies, though. It’s possible, but I suspect Warner Bros. would object to another “Wonder” character floating around Hollywood.)

Dr. Storm, the Invisible Girl and Human Torch’s father, makes it to a second appearance in FF #32, at which point he’s killed by the alien Skrulls. I could be wrong, but I don’t think he ever rises from the dead—a rarity in the Marvel Universe. Continue reading

Avenging the Fantastic, Part 4: The Black Widow Strikes!

2678806-talesofsuspense50Continuing the read-through of as many Avengers and Fantastic Four–related Marvel comics as possible!

Books Read

Tales of Suspense (starring Iron Man) #50-58; Tales to Astonish (starring Giant-Man and Wasp) #52, 53, 59; Strange Tales (starring the Human Torch) #120-124; Fantastic Four #25-30; Avengers #5-7; Journey Into Mystery (starring Thor) #105-109; year: 1964.

Fantastic Firsts

The Black Widow joins the Marvel Comics Universe as a foe of Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #52, and Hawkeye gets seduced into helping her out when we meet him in TOS #57.

The Mandarin begins menacing mankind in TOS #50. Movie fans will never see him coming…primarily because he’s basically a different character with the same name.

In Avengers #6, Baron Zemo, an old Nazi foe of Captain America, forms the original Masters of Evil (Black Knight, who had fought Giant-Man and the Wasp; the Melter, who had fought Iron Man; and Radioactive Man, who had fought Thor—such balance).

The Fantastic Four and Avengers meet for the first time in Fantastic Four #26, where they bond while fighting the Hulk after first fighting over who gets to fight the Hulk.

Future Avengers Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have been introduced in X-Men as reluctant members of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but they first appear in this corner of the Marvel Universe when they cameo in Journey Into Mystery #109. Dr. Strange, who has been appearing in own series (which we’re also not covering) in Strange Tales, begins guest-starring elsewhere in FF #27.

Tales_of_Suspense_Vol_1_52The Status Is Not Quo

–Black Widow is a villain from Soviet Russia, without any hint of future heroism—nor any fighting skills. In her first appearance, Natasha and her partner, Boris (yes, really), are charged with killing Tony Stark and ex-commie Crimson Dynamo. The Dynamo sacrifices himself stopping Boris, and the Black Widow slips away, only to brazenly return to Stark’s office in the following issue.

“I feel so ashamed…to think I once tried to harm you!” she sobs to Tony.

“There, there! I don’t make a practice of harboring grudges,” Tony responds, right before showing her the dangerous gravity gun he accidentally built, which she promptly steals.

Granted, he figured she was up to no good—he’s just cocky and underestimates her.

“Boris is finished! I’ll let the Black Widow go! After all…she is just a woman…and a lovely one at that!” he thinks in a flashback to the previous issue’s events. Continue reading