Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bride of Skrullduggery Week...
Always the same with Tigra, heard it all before...

A while ago, we took a brief look at the Super-Skrull, and mentioned his defeat at the hands of Tigra. Yeah, Tigra. Seems hard to believe, eh? Maybe we should take a closer look. And I just so happen to have a quarter-box copy of Marvel Chillers #7 right here! "The Masque of the Green Death!" Written by Jim Shooter, art by George Tuska, inks by S. Trapani.

This was the last issue of Marvel Chillers, so it's probably safe to say Tigra's solo adventures weren't setting the spinner racks on fire. Which is too bad, since I always thought it was kind of interesting: hard boiled private eye, briefly a costumed mystery-woman, turned were-catwoman, then super-heroine. (You can build up quite a character arc, when it switches directions with each new writer...)

I could give him the benefit of the doubt, that this whole storyline was all planned out; but I'm thinking Shooter might've thought if Red Wolf and a biker gang weren't bringing in the readers, then a good old-fashioned super-villain slugfest might. But how to do that, and wrap up the already running plotline? Well, if the big bad was secretly the Super-Skrull, slumming...As usual, I make fun, but that's part of the fun of the old Marvel Universe: anyone could show up anywhere, and if Galactus can appear in Dazzler and the Impossible Man in Uncanny X-Men, why not the Super-Skrull here?

Tigra and Red Wolf (with sidekick real wolf Lobo) were all set to give an old fashioned ass-stomping to Joshua Plague, biker/technology thief, and his Rat Pack; having Plague turn out to be the Super-Skrull and one of his boys a robot, well, that's taken the fun out of it for them. (The rest of the Rat Pack ditch, showing remarkable smarts for random gang members.) Red's having a hard time delivering enough damage to stop the robot, and SS is more than a match for Tigra.

The Super-Skrull doesn't bring the backstory for a little ways into the issue: how he had posed as Joshua Plague to use the Rat Pack to steal "Medicinal Astro-chemical Serums," bold type his, how he was going to use the stolen Native American Soul-Catcher to crush Captain Marvel, the Fantastic Four, etc. Which kind of makes it dumb for SS to set the stick down while smacking Tigra around, which then gives Lobo a chance to play Extreme Fetch.
Stick! Stickstickstick! Stick!
As Super-Skrull flames on to go get his Soul-Catcher back, the battered Tigra destroys the robot...mostly. The one-armed torso crawls for a handy destruct button, while Tigra and Red Wolf try to catch up before it's wolf flambé. They get out in time to avoid the building blowing up, which possibly takes out another of the book's subplots: a friend of Tigra's that was secretly Joshua Plague's spy. (Why would the Super-Skrull have a spy...oh, never mind.)

SS gets to Lobo before the heroes, and incinerates him. Or so it seems: even though Tigra sees it happen, not five seconds later, Lobo comes strolling up behind her and Red wolf, still with the Soul-Catcher. Before they can do anything with it, the cops show up, figuring the costumed types that were running out of the building blew it up. Red Wolf tries to point out the flaming super-villain, but Super-Skrull's turned into a homeless guy, and is sifting the ashes trying to find the Soul-Catcher.

The cops also give Red Wolf the hassle about "that unlicensed dog." After allegedly blowing up a building, they're worried about tags. Red Wolf refuses to have Lobo chained, and tells him to break for it. Realizing Lobo's a wolf, the cops then open fire, one of them shooting at least five times, but Lobo disappears. Man, Lobo makes a better showing in this one than Tigra, Red Wolf, or the Super-Skrull. Reminds me of the game Dead to Rights.

Handcuffed and brought to the police station, the police captain takes them into his office, and frees them. Marek says he recognizes Red Wolf, "the famous Indian Avenger!" and gives him his tomahawk back. Red Wolf offers to contact the Avengers, even though I don't think he was a member, but Marek asks to see the 'soul-stealer,' since he had a stolen goods report on it.
The most dramatic part of that reveal, was how he got that body crammed under that desk.
Once he has the stick, Marek throws aside his desk, revealing another Marek dead underneath it. Totally snowed by the Super-Skrull, Tigra and Red Wolf try to get the stick back, but are still getting crushed. Meanwhile, the cops are understandably curious about the racket coming from the captain's office.

Tigra is starting to Hulk out...no, she's got the blood lust, and wants to tear the Skrull apart. Yeah, good luck with that. SS waves the Soul-Catcher, since he plans on using the hell out of it later, and it fails immediately, stealing the Super-Skrull's soul and trapping him within it. Tigra and Red Wolf escape through the window, since they don't really see how they could explain a dead police captain and a stick to a bunch of angry cops.

In the end, around the campfire with Red Wolf and Lobo, Tigra is a little worried that the Soul-Catcher decided it would rather take the Super-Skrull than her, like her soul had gone bad. Red Wolf rightly scoffs at that, saying the wand probably ate SS because he was evil, which sounds about right; and as we've already seen, it didn't hold him long anyway.

This issue reminded me of the 70's Ghost Rider or Werewolf by Night: not Marvel's shiniest, prettiest, most polished book; but not unenjoyable either. Unlike those two, which can be found in big cheese-laden Essential volumes, Marvel Chillers is one of those hodgepodge comics that's almost certainly not going to get reprinted anytime soon, though; unless Tigra breaks it huge...yeah, I'd start checking the quarter-boxes too, if you're interested.

1 comment:

Heinrich7 said...

You can't really beat a half-naked were-catwoman... Oh wait, Super-Skrull did.

I did find it interesting that so far into the story SS managed to get in that little boast about impersonating humans. Gee whiz, good to get that out of the way!