Monday, November 13, 2023

Here's a lucky find from a dollar bin; with the first full appearance of an old friend! An unfriendly old friend, but still. From 1974, Marvel Team-Up #23, "The Night of the Frozen Inferno" Written by Len Wein, pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Mike Esposito.
It always seems weird to me, Marvel Team-Up without Spidey; but he's only here for a minute, as he borrows a very action-figurey looking flyer, and zips up for Giant-Size Spider-Man #1. But, earlier that evening, Spidey had a run-in with a hidden weirdie trying to rob a jewelry store, and suggests to the Human Torch that maybe he could field that one. Enh, beats doing any sort of introspection, so Johnny's on-board. More astutely than usual, he notices a patch of ice by the store--but it was sixty degrees out! And somebody throws an "ice-bolt" at him--whatever that is. Looks like a two-by-four made outta ice, which conceivably could do some damage. Johnny only knows one guy that maybe could "throw snowballs in a steambath," and conveniently finds him five seconds later--literally, five seconds!--Iceman!
Johnny attacks Bobby, and recaps Spidey's story: he had tried to stop a shadowy burglar, but his webbing just slid off him, and Spidey skidded out on an ice patch himself. Bobby has no goddamn idea what he's talking about, and Johnny tries to arrest him...something I don't think we see him try to do often, even then. (It reminds me of a recent banger of a Ralph Wiggum line: "I'm gonna get Daddy's gun and under-arrest you!") He mostly just doesn't like Iceman. Bobby is just as willing to throw down; maybe especially after Johnny makes a crack about how many "eskimoes" would he need to help him. (The term is largely considered a slur now; although I'm positive anything Johnny knows about them is from Chilly Willy cartoons.) I feel like the guys were about on the same level, since I'm pretty sure they both had some training, yet paradoxically weren't very good hand-to-hand? It would rarely if ever be the first thing they'd try. So the slapping match is interrupted by the arrival of the rest of the (original) X-Men (minus Beast!) who bust up the fight, with Cyclops blasting them but Marvel Girl catching their fall.
While the X-Men confirm Iceman was with them the same time Spidey fought the burglar, Iceman still wants to find whoever's dragging his name through the mud, and tells his team he'll catch up to them later for the big secret mission Professor X needed him for. (Which was...nothing? Checking books on the rack that month, and I think X-Men was all reprints at the time!) Now teamed-up, Johnny and Bobby search...for about five more seconds, as the crook makes another run at that jewelry store! The mysterious figure has burned a hole through a wall this time, and appears to have ice and fire blasts. He makes a break with his stolen goods, but the boys blast him, damaging his metalic containment suit, and revealing...
Equinox, the Thermo-Dynamic Man! I gushed about him a gazillion years ago, since him fighting Yellowjacket is one of my earliest comic-book memories. Johnny and Bobby snipe at each other while fighting with Equinox, who both doesn't seem to want to fight them but also isn't hesitating in trying to kill them. But the fight doesn't go the distance, since the cops show up, possibly because the same jewelry store keeps getting robbed. Equinox tries to escape, while acting like Bobby and Johnny were both twelve-year-olds, which, well...They both hit him with a shot at the same time, which does something to Equinox's "internal reactions," and he blows up. Only the package he tried to steal remains--an atomic clock. A jeweled atomic clock. I...I don't think that does what anybody here thought it would do. Johnny notices, the crater leads to the sewer, which had enough current for someone to escape...


Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

Goddamn if that 1st page shot of Spidey isn't a perfect potential toy ad shot!

It does seem odd not having Spidey in his own team-up book, but this pairing of Johnny & Bobby certainly seemed to make up for it. They really should've been allowed to be paired up more often, so we could seem they play off each other, as they really were the immature wise-asses of their respective teams.

Wonder what Johnny would think of Bobby becoming gay?

googum said...

There's a fairly recent FF, where every substitute team member is called back in, including...Iceman! Which the Torch decries as BS. Johnny would probably want Bobby to know, he hates him for reasons that have nothing to do with him being gay. reasons, OK?

(Both of them hate each other because whenever the other does something stupid or immature, it reminds themselves of being stupid and immature; they hate being reminded of what they don't like about themselves. Or it could just be fire no likey icy.)

Mr. Morbid said...

I legit didn’t know Bobby was ever a substitute FF member. I have to say his power set would make an interesting addition & dynamic to the team.

Definitely those last two.