While I’m skipping around my long boxes, I usually try to avoid repeating creators or series’ as much as possible, but we’re in for some repeats over the next couple posts. I hope no one will object if two posts regarding Neal Adams appear in a row, and if someone does, what the hell is the matter with you?
Amazing Adventures #8
This one I waited too long to post about. I have several issues from this series and have always had it on the back burner to write about, taking the opportunity to chastise Marvel for not getting around to reprinting this series since it first appeared in 1971. Seriously, if you had a multi-part story lying around that was started by Jack Kirby and handed off to Neal Adams, would you wait 38 years to collect it into a single volume? Who’s been asleep at the wheel all this time? I picked up another issue at MidOhio and decided to finally get around to writing that post, only to discover that coincidentally a Masterworks edition including this very series is being released later this month. So at the risk of doing something nice for corporate Marvel, let me finally get this one out of the way and recommend that Masterworks to everyone. They’re still idiots for sitting on this one for so long, though.
The Inhumans shared this book with the Black Widow in her first pre-Daredevil
solo adventures which weren’t exactly standouts, so we’ll ignore them. The earliest chapters of the Inhumans story were by Jack Kirby, who created some memorable clashes between the Atillans and the Fantastic Four and the whole of the outside world. Somewhere about halfway through the series, however, Jack defected to DC and the series landed in the capable hands of Roy Thomas and Neal Adams.
I say capable hands, but there are some interesting contrasts. Neal’s figure work is brilliant, but anyone following in the steps of Kirby will have their weaknesses exposed. Kirby depicts an Atillan filled with super-science and bizarre landscapes whose every exposed surface is covered with functional gadgetry the King designed with a purpose in mind for every piece. Neal’s backgrounds don’t have the same gee-whiz effect Kirby communicates so easily.
Roy Thomas addresses this by moving the action to San Francisco where Adams’ work can shine in more familiar urban settings. An amnesiac Black Bolt befriends an orphan who is being manipulated by his criminal uncle, and all three fall under the influence of a black militant determined to burn down the ghetto he escaped from as a youth (yes, this issue was published just a few months before the Captain America comic I reviewed a few posts back…). It seems the well-meaning madman spent his life trying to change the system from within before discovering he has cancer, and now has only two months to try to change the world by force. He appears to have Black Bolt under his control and intends to use the power of his voice to destroy the slums.
As the Inhumans race to the scene to rescue their missing monarch they are met by Thor, whose alter-ego Don Blake is the doctor who has been caring for the misguided lunatic. A tussle ensues as the thunder god seeks to defuse the situation and save his patient, while the Inhumans want simply to barrel in and recover their leader.
Since I just recommended a book that’s coming out in a week or two, I’ll leave the denouement off the end of the review; but I will add that this issue provides evidence of my own deep and terrible sickness regarding these funny books: that first page scanned above, showing Neal’s splendid version of the Avengers? I was able to date this comic based solely on the membership pictured there.