Tuesday, April 11, 2017
There were a few go-to disguises in old Marvel comics, that in hindsight couldn't work. At all. Ever. Like Captain America wearing his shield on his back, under his shirt. Or Iron Man concealing his chestplate under his shirt. Or the Beast wearing a latex mask and wrapping himself in straps, under his shirt, like today's issue! From 1972, Amazing Adventures #14, "The Vampire Machine" Written by Steve Englehart, art by Tom Sutton.
Huh, I actually thought this was a reprint; but it's the original. This was the fourth issue of the Beast's new status after he accidentally mutated himself, although he wasn't quite the fuzzy, jovial blue Beast we'd see in Avengers: he was grey, hunched-over, and still trying to cover his appearance at his job at the Brand Corporation and with his girlfriend. Actually, Hank's girlfriend here may have been a spy or some kind of foreign agent; but I don't think he was the only one with relationship problems here. Patsy Walker appears here as Mrs. Buzz Baxter, her husband an air force major working security for Brand and trying to stop the mysterious Beast that kept showing up. "Military-man going totally Captain Ahab on the hero" was already a Marvel staple, but I don't think it took Buzz anywhere near as long to go bad (or wreck his marriage) as it did for Talbot or Ross over in Hulk.
Iron Man has a brief guest-spot; and the "vampire machine" of the title is the robot Quasimodo, the fugly computer. I think he had already rebuilt himself a couple of times at this point, and the sorry bastard may have gotten even uglier. Quasimodo had wanted to steal Beast's powers, which were gone, but weren't what you would think: Hank briefly had a healing factor. That's a silly power, it'd never catch on...