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Friday, November 07, 2008

Comics' Greatest Battles, Entry 2 - Amazing Spider-Man, Vol 1, 269-270

(Click any image for a better look.)

In 1985, Marvel Comics' Spider-Man had one of the greatest battles in the character's history, in one of the best comics stories of the eighties.

In issue 269, former Galactus herald Firelord came to earth, and one of the first things he decided to do is grab some pizza. (No joke.) After melting the owner's pizza oven, city-wide panic ensued and Spidey got involved.

What made this story so enjoyable was that it further established Spider-Man as a character to be reckoned with, both to other Marvel characters, as well as with fans. People love underdogs, Cinderella stories and classic comebacks. This was all three wrapped into one senses-shattering tale.

The battle lasted all the way to the end of issue 270, and saw the Avengers arrive in time for clean-up duty. Extremely satisfying to me, a teenage fan of the wall-crawler at the time, were the thoughts of Hercules in a corresponding issue of The Avengers, as he reflected upon the battle, thinking something to the affect of "Firelord, bested by a mortal? Surely, there be more to this Spider-Man than meets the eye!"

Ah, good times!


Action Force #20/original price $1.50, 24 pgs., Marvel Comics

I got a freebie, I got a freebie (stated in a sing-song, irritating manner).

For those obsessed with sex, that actually means that when I won a magazine on eBay, the merchant included a free book with my purchase—Action Force #20 from 1987.

Yes, I am easily excited.

As backstory, Action Force was a 24 page, magazine-sized comic book published by the British division of Marvel Comics every week. It featured edited reprints of G.I. Joe published in America with added British stories and filler pieces. It was published to stimulate the sales of a line of “action figures”, i.e. toys for boys.

I’m glad my copy was free. It was worth what I paid for it.

The British produced stories based Action Force in Europe. The G.I. Joe reprints were edited for continuity with these stories.

The art is serviceable and the stories difficult to follow since they are only a segment of a larger continuity. The dialog is a bit stilted, and certainly the primary audience for Action Force was young boys since melodrama and action, action, action dominate. The theme is international military intrigue with just a touch of James Bond thrown in for spice.

So why review a comic book title that was not exceptional and was published more than twenty years ago? There are two reasons.

First: One of the joys of this still relatively new hobby of collecting comic books and strips is that you can now find and purchase almost anything, no matter how old.

Second: If you haven’t read Action Force, it is new to you.

Alright, you caught me. The real second reason is that it was a freebie.

Action Force #20/original price $1.50, 24 pgs., Marvel Comics/various writers and artists/sold in some comic shops, on ebay, and on-line comics dealers.

Review by Michael Vance

Check out Dark Corridor #1 for two Michael Vance short stories at