Reviews out of Time 2:

The X-Men #1, Tales of Suspense #39, and Sgt. Fury #1

I’m told that there’s been a lot of e-mail in response to the last column, and what’s apparently called “printouts” of it has been sent to me, since I don’t do e-mail myself. In fact, the local library just got a computer, and they say you can do e-mail on it, but I find it all perplexing and am going to keep sending my reviews in by the good old United States Post Office. So, for all of you clamoring for a reply, I can’t give one. Sorry.

I must say that I find a lot of your “e-mail” confusing, and I’m not sure what to make of it. Generally, when someone refers to something called a “mini-series,” I just toss the comment into the garbage. I mean, who talks like that? I sure don’t.

In answer to Sean, who writes “where the fuck have you been living?,” I’ve been living where I’ve always lived, in Clark’s Ridge, Wisconsin, about as far north as you can go in these here United States. Yes, it truly is God’s country, and I love it. The town’s not much to speak of, but it does have 12 bars and a very happening drug store where I get my comics, which are all a bit banged up, like they’ve been well-loved by the staff between serving their world-famous deli sandwiches at the lunch counter. It’s not much, but it’s a good home. And if you want big city life, Harper’s Point is just a few miles to the south, but — between you and me — they’re a bit Southern for my tastes.

So without further ado, I give you my reviews of my newest purchases at Clark’s Drugs.

The X-Men Vol. 1 #1

The X-Men #1

The X-Men #1

This is a weird one that seems to focus on four students who fight each other a lot, led by some guy in a wheelchair called “Professor X,” though I’m sure his real name will be revealed in later stories. His parents worked on the A-bomb, so he can’t be that old. He calls these students the X-men because of their “Ex-tra power” in comparison to human powers. I guess they should really be called the E-men then. After seven pages of them fighting each other, which we’re told is their “training” (yeah, I trained like that in junior high on the playground with all those kids my parents won’t let me talk to because of my religion), a girl arrives. Her name is “Miss Grey,” but the professor names her “Marvel Girl,” and boy is she a hottie! All the guys immediately take to hitting on her. They don’t get anywhere, as when Hank, appropriately known as Beast, kisses her, she lifts him up to the ceiling with her telekinetic powers. Man, she’s a tight ass. I can tell that bulky Hank’s a real anti-intellectual guy, but she could at least give the man some love. This comic would’ve been a lot better if she’d just given in and let the guys have some free love like my parents are always telling me about. It seems like Marvel Comics is looking for a mascot in Marvel Girl, hence her name, and her slinky body would sure look good as a corporate logo — and even better if we knew she was putting out!

Without warning, a villain is introduced. Named Magneto and dressed in red and purple, he attacks a missile base, which he conquers with his magnetic powers. It seems as if they’re making it up as they go along at this point, just like they had Marvel Girl drive in to join the team because they realized, seven pages in, that all these adolescent boys would have to be drawn with zits if they didn’t have someone to empty their bodily urges into — hence the introduction of Marvel’s new mascot. Anyway, this Magneto guy’s taking over of the base feels a bit awkward, including what can only be the worst placement of a word balloon in history (the fourth panel on page 15, if your drug store has a copy too) in which, as Magneto “finally” meets the soldiers face to face, what seems to be Magneto’s threatening word balloon obscures the entire upper half of his body.

Professor X has apparently had the same idea as me, and has arranged for a uniform for Marvel Girl, who we get to see trying it on. She wonders who designed it, as if no one bothered to tell her, but it can only be that kinky professor. I suppose it could have been one of the guys, but they don’t say anything about this as they spy on her voyeuristically as she models it. In fact, one of them says that it “looks like she was poured into that uniform!” How long have they been watching? Did they see her strip down and slide her legs into its tight form? Did they see her pull it snug around her sweet titties? I sure hope so. And that seems to be the professor’s intent for giving her that uniform. He knows, as I do, that what these boys need is a good orgy. The proof? He knows they’re spying on her because he’s a mind-reader, having displayed his casual reading of their thoughts earlier in the issue, but he doesn’t mind, so to say, their voyeurism. No, it’s all part of his plan.

These sex parts are good, and they’ll surely be an important part of this feature. But then the X-men drive (in one panel) and then fly (in another) away in order to fight Magneto. But the professor, pussy that he is, waits by the sidelines even though he’s so powerful! I guess that “Ex-tra power” doesn’t go so far, does it? Who cares if he’s in a wheelchair when he’s got an “Ex-tra power,” right? Apparently not. Anyway, during the fight, Magneto pushes a burning tank of rocket fuel at them. I guess Magneto also has flame-causing powers, because there’s no explanation for how it suddenly catches on fire, though Cyclops says Magneto “ignited” it. Then, instead of, say, running away, Iceman creates an “ice igloo” — I suppose he’s so used to putting “ice” before everything that he makes that it doesn’t occur to him that igloos are ice — and Cyclops creates an underground tunnel for them to hide in, no doubt a complex and time-consuming maneuver. I don’t know why they’re so afraid of that rocket fuel tank since it’s apparently rolling so slowly, but, thanks to the magic of comic books, we have no idea how fast it’s rolling, so the team’s obvious insanity doesn’t get in the way of the drama. Magneto abruptly flies away, using “magnetic repulsion,” and that’s it.

Well, rushed as the conclusion was, and awkward it all was, there’s a lot of promise here. First, there’s Marvel Girl’s tits and the team’s voyeurism, no doubt a great running element. Then there’s Professor X’s cowardice in battle, and it’ll be an added hoot when Professor X’s parents who worked on the A-bomb turn up. Then there’s Magneto, who escaped but will no doubt return, not only flying around with his newly revealed magnetic repulsion, but using his flame-causing power as well. Man, I can’t wait for him to figure out that we have iron and metals in us that he can pull out. In fact, his magnetic fields should be affecting people as well, even in this issue. Oh well, at least we’ll get to see him massacre the X-men once sales drop enough.

Which will probably be soon, since I can’t imagine this title lasting long after the issue with Professor X’s parents and once the gags about Marvel Girl’s sexy body run dry. Which, along with its shitty fight scenes, is why this gets just .

Tales of Suspense #39

Tales of Suspense #39

Tales of Suspense #39

Iron Man rocks! Now here’s a good strip. It’s hardcore!

We are introduced to Tony Stark, an inventor who is inventing devices to help the army in Vietnam and who is a playboy, a “millionaire bachelor.” We then abruptly cut to Wong-Chu, a communist guerrilla who is in the process of terrorizing a South Vietnamese town. During a test of Stark’s miniature technology, Stark steps over a concealed booby trap and is captured by Wong-Chu! Due to shrapnel injuries, this millionaire playboy and inventor now has one week to live — during which he will be forced to work on a weapon. He knows the claim to operate and save his life if he succeeds is fraudulent. He begins to work on a device not to help the communists but to keep himself alive — as the clock ticks.

During his second day, Wong-Chu dumps an anti-communist Vietnamese scientist named Professor Yinsen into Stark’s room. They work for days on a giant suit of armor that will not only empower Stark but keep him alive. But the communists approach before the armor can be charged, and Yinsen bravely rushes out to distract them, knowing that he’ll be killed. And he is — he’s shot dead right there and then. Hard ass shit, yo.

Stark begins to learn how to walk and use his armor, but he recognizes that he’s got to live in this “iron prison” to stay alive. He challenges Wong-Chu, throwing him around. Wong-Chu’s guards open fire on him, but the bullets bounce off of the armor. This cast-iron man uses magnets and transistors to send the shells fired at him flying off in various directions, exploding in the guerrillas’ own camp. Wong-Chu uses a microphone to call the camp to attack Iron Man, but Iron Man intercepts the signal, putting his own voice on air instead. After catching a filing cabinet pushed onto him from the top of a flight of stairs, Iron Man is nearly out of power. Seeing Wong-Chu running past an ammo dump, he squirts his lubricant (sexy!) at the ammo dump — then sets it on fire, deliberately blowing up this hated man who killed his friend!

This is good stuff. Here we are. The harsh realities of war, of death, on being a prisoner of the commies. The reality of Vietnam. This is super-heroes the way they should be done: powerful characters in a real-life situation. This is super-heroes mixed with war comics. And it’s fucking great. Fucking great. This super-hero kills. He kills bad men. Killers. Scoundrels who torture people, use their own men like cattle. Asshole motherfuckers who should be killed.

You won’t see the Avengers having to deal with that. You won’t see them execute someone. Hell, you won’t see them so much asdealing with someone like Wong-Chu, the bastard. And there are people like that in the world. Commies. Bastard murderers. Butchers. These people don’t even care if they kill their own people. And they’re a part of the world, hard as it may be to fathom. And you can’t just put them in prisons all the time, the same prisons these bullshit super-criminals escape from all the time.

I’m telling you, this is the wave of the future. Super-heroes in the real world. Super-heroes dealing with bastards like this. Real-life bastards. And killing them.

Mark my words: Iron Men killing dictators and terrorizing bastards is what we’ll be reading in five years. The Avengers and that shit just doesn’t hold up. The Fantastic Four with their pathetic attempts at realism just doesn’t cut it. They chat it up like real people while fighting foes as ridiculous as Mole Man — I mean, what the fuck is that? Here we have it. In five years, no one’s going to remember the Fantastic Four. They will remember Iron Man winning the war in Vietnam and the horrors he saw doing it.

That storyline oughtta take some time. And then, I imagine, he’ll be going to Moscow. And maybe, after that, killing lynching black-killers here. Then he can get in conflict with the Avengers or some other pussy-ass group that thinks “you don’t kill” – riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Well, welcome to the real world. Welcome to Iron Man.

This is a great strip with a great future. And I’ve seen it. .

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #1

Sgt. Fury #1

Sgt. Fury #1

See, this is an example of what I was talking about. A good war comic. In which people die. Harcore fuckin’ stuff.

Why the fuck does anyone read shit like The Avengers or The Fantastic Four when we’ve got this?

And when we’ve got something like Iron Man that combines the best of the two.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

In 1996, while still an undergraduate, Dr. Julian Darius founded what would become Sequart Organization. After graduating magna cum laude from Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin), he obtained his M.A. in English, authoring a thesis on John Milton and utopianism. In 2002, he moved to Waikiki, teaching college while obtaining an M.A. in French (high honors) and a Ph.D. in English. In 2011, he founded Martian Lit, which publishes creative work, including his comic book Martian Comics. He currently lives in Illinois.

See more, including free online content, on .

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