Thursday, October 1, 2015

Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up (1975) [COMICS]

Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up (Marvel) (1975)

Always wanted to read a comic with three hyphens in the title?  Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up is the book for you!  Although it only lasted two issues, GSSVTU (as those in the know refer to it) featured Doctor Doom and Namor the Sub-Mariner in a sometimes uneasy alliance to gain dominion over the lands and seas of this fine planet of ours.  The issues really were giant-size, coming in at 68 pages (though with some cheats, such as reprints).

In Issue # 1, we find out how the monarch of Latveria survived the explosion in space at the end of Fantastic Four # 144: Doom fell to Earth and was found by Namor’s submarine (his “long weeks of constant vigil rewarded”).  Namor asks Doom to join with him to conquer the surface world, which has long menaced both Atlantis and Latveria.  This leads Doom to think back to the last time the two discussed an alliance, which takes the form of a reprint of Sub-Mariner # 20 (Namor wouldn’t go for it then, and the two fought when Doom tried to keep him prisoner).  Then, Doom thinks about the last time he was in alliance with someone else (Diablo, the Master of Alchemy) which takes the form of a reprint of Marvel Super Heroes # 20 (an interesting issue, as Diablo holds Doom’s childhood love, Valeria, captive; Doom pretends to ally with Diablo and then betrays him to rescue Valeria, but she rejects him, knowing he really values power more than he values her).  So after some deep thought, Doom decides that allying with Namor makes no sense, as they would betray one another at the first moment it would be advantageous to do so.  A fight breaks out, but Doom escapes.  Essentially, the original material is a framing sequence for the two reprints.  Still, as far as framing sequences and reprints go, it’s done well.  Roy Thomas is a master at continuity and I’ve always liked his stories; he captures the majesty and arrogance of the two monarchs quite well.

Issue # 2 begins with Namor sinking a massive oil supertanker as a warning to the surface world that he won’t abide the environmental devastation on the oceans.  Namor then returns to Atlantis, where (apparently established in other, previous comics) the population is comatose.  Doom sends a force to attack Atlantis, but his real goal is to draw Namor to the surface world so he can offer an alliance this time: he’ll split the world with Namor, with Doom controlling the surface and Namor controlling the water.  As a bargaining chip, Doom says he’ll reveal to the surface world how vulnerable Atlantis is unless Namor agrees to join him.  Doom takes Namor on a tour of Latveria to show off his legion of recently-constructed androids, nuclear capability, and (apparently most exciting and dramatically) his solar batteries.  But there’s a problem with those new androids: they’ve gotten religion from “Andro, Lord of the Androids” (who’s really a former foe named the Doomsman) and decide to mutiny.  Namor and Doom fight side by side to defeat the androids, forcing the Doomsman to flee.  The issue ends with Namor and Doom planning their team-up.  (and a completely unrelated, not unenjoyable, reprint of Amazing Spider-Man # 8).  Although this issue had more original content, the battle against the androids was pretty rote stuff and I think I actually liked the previous issue better.

In any event, Namor and Doom’s team-up wouldn’t take place in giant-size format, as these two issues were the only ones published.  Marvel would go on to publish a regular-sized Super-Villain Team-Up to continue the story, and I think I might have to invest some cash to find out what happens next!

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