Beginners Guide to the Marvel Universe Apr 16, 2011 5:53:33 GMT -5
Post by owene on Apr 16, 2011 5:53:33 GMT -5
The Carbon Copy Man
By Stan Lee with Larry Leiber, Al hartley
Villains: The Carbon Copy Man
Guest Appearances: none
So what happens?:
As an alien fleet prepares to invade Earth Blake finally gets up the courage to tell Jane Foster that he is Thor and is in love with her. Odin appears and tells him he can never reveal his identity to anyone.
Blake stammers some excuse and leaves for the hospital. On his way he notices increasingly bizarre behaviour all over town. Cars are driving on sidewalks, billboard posters being put up over windows and Jane Foster decides to quit because Blake is too soft-hearted.
Thor goes to the mayor to try and make sense of it all but the mayor’s security try to arrest him. Thor eventually finds a hidden space ship in the park but gets his hammer stuck on it’s magnetic hull and has to change back to Don Blake.
The aliens capture him and bring him inside their ship where he is reunited with the Mayor and Nurse Foster. The aliens take the time to tell Blake that they are shape-changers intent on spreading chaos before they invade the earth. When Foster and the Mayor warn the aliens about Thor; Blake promises them that he will help them defeat the thunder god.
After Blake distracts the aliens he manages to grab Mjolnir and transform into Thor. Thor deals easily with two alien warriors in all the forms they take to battle him. Grabbing the alien leader Thor tosses him into space. He hurtles past the waiting invasion fleet and causes the aliens to turn around and leave the earth alone.
Thor deals with the aliens remaining on Earth by forcing them to become trees, once in a form that can’t think they are unable to ever get out of it again. The day is saved and Blake gets to tease Jane Foster about his not being as brave as Thor.
So is it any good?:
No, it’s a fairly poor alien invasion story featuring yet another load of shape changing aliens and the second such story in Thor’s first 7 issues and the solution is extremely close to FF2.
The main problem however is the art and the unlikeability of the central Blake/Foster/Thor triangle.
I haven’t seen any of Hartley’s work from other genres but he wasn’t a super hero penciller and he is no way right to follow Jack Kirby on the title. His characters are twisted and unrealistic and he doesn’t even really work on the civilian scenes let alone the super heroics.
There is absolutely no dynamism or excitement in the action sequences but given his background as a romance artist there is also no spark at all to the Blake/Foster scenes.
The idea that Odin has decreed that Thor’s identity be a secret at least explains some of the bizarre lengths Thor has gone to in recent issues. A shame it had never been mentioned before now.
However it works as an explanation, it leads to some truly pathetic Don Blake scenes, with Jane Foster convinced he must have been terrified by the thunder that came with his latest transformation into Thor.
Scenes like this mean that when Foster is later replaced by an alien and acting out of character there isn’t really a huge contrast with her regular self. You can tell that she must have been replaced but she is hardly sweetness and light about Blake the rest of the time.
Are there any goofy moments?
Some of Hartley’s depictions of Don Blake have to be seen to be believed.
Thor’s latest convenient one off hammer power, the power to send his mind back to the past so he can listen to Odin’s advice from days gone by. A platitude time machine.
Thor’s idea of turning the aliens into trees because he knows they will then be mindless and unable to change back doesn’t really hold up to much scrutiny. How does he know all this? The aliens themselves make the change thinking that they will just change back when Thor’s gone. Maybe that’s what they did.
This was Al Hartley’s only super hero pencilling assignment of the 60s although he did also draw some westerns and romance comics for Marvel during the period. He also wrote the final Tales to Astonish Giant Man story and an Iron Man story featuring Count Nefaria. Neither are particularly great.
The Carbon Copy Men or Xartans appeared years later in an issue of X-Factor of all places before turning up in a storyline in Byrne’s She Hulk that had them pretending to be the D’Bari people from the Dark Pheonix saga. The art on this story was so bad that when they were shown in the Marvel Saga recapping of the silver age they were redrawn by Walt simonson.
Is it a landmark?: No