B&B 2-in-1 Round 15: Power Man vs. the Flash

With a 9 to 5 lead over the Thing, Batman may be running away with this one. Can Ben Grimm come back despite the fact Bill Mantlo's not involved with this issue? Find out in Round 15!

In the orange corner... it's the Thing and Power Man written by Roger Silfer and Len Wein and drawn by Ron Wilson and Vince Colleta, Marvel Two-in-One #13, I Created Braggadoom!

In the black corner... we've got Batman and the Flash (second outing!), written by Bob Haney and drawn by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, Brave and the Bold #81, But Bork Can Hurt You!

Let the preliminaries to Friday Night Fights begin... DING DING DING!

The Stars
Our man The Thing fights toe to toe with a giant monster in the center of New York for what seems like a long time before Power Man shows up (or anyone else, for that matter - you'd think there'd be more people there given that most Marvel heroes operate out of NYC). Even once his "rookie" of a guest-star shows up and starts screwing things up, Ben never loses his cool. Check out this calm and collected conversation held in mid-air after being thrown a good mile or two:
That last panel is really begging to be memed, isn't it? Once he stops their flight one-handed, he gets a pogo plane, slams it into the Hudson River and starts pounding at the monster's ginormous foot, never coming up for air. And see his Farewell for Ben-as-fount-of-wisdom. Really, the only reason he doesn't get 10 points here is that he keeps getting into pointless fights with Power Man instead of listening to what he has to say. +8 points

Oh Batman, why you gotta be such a chump?
Batman's a surprisingly humble guy, making this issue the Flash's even though the Scarlet Speedster is following his plan. But getting his ass handed to him by a moron called Bork and getting lambasted by City Hall, that ain't good for his image. Redeeming moment: Sliding the batmobiole in the way of bullets meant for "vengeance commandos" has got to register on the Haney meter. +4 bat-points

The Guests
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire, gets hired by a scientist to help the Thing beat the monster he inadvertently created. Funny thing is, he's not really interested in taking the job until he finds out his ol' pal Benjy may be in trouble. I just didn't know they were that tight (again refer to the meme-panel above). But before that, Cage has other things on his mind.
Hey, Kids! Nudy magazines! (There's also a billboard selling cigarettes this issue.) Sadly, aside from bringing some crucial info to the Thing (who really should have gotten it from the scientist in the first place, except the nerd conveniently forgot to mention it), Power Man's not much use. He needs to be told not to let himself be picked up by the giant freakin' monster ("NOW, you tell me!"), and tries some maneuvers any reader can tell won't work. +2 points, and that's for the skin rags.

B&B #81 is Barry Allen's second guest-starring role in Batman's crossover book, and though he did ok the first time, this time Haney has decided to play the Flash's powers for broke. Batman's plan: To have the Flash race across the globe, retracing Bork's steps until he finds out how the big lummox has gained his magical invulnerability. Once the Flash finds the mystic idol responsible, he ties it to a position outside his friction shield and tries to burn it up through the power of speed alone! He evens runs to the future and then another dimension!
Finally, he ramps himself out into space, races through the heart of the sun and leaves the idol to be disintegrated! Pinballing off some stray asteroids gets him back to Earth. Jumping the shark, you say? Why yes, he does that too!
Might have gotten 10 points, except he pulls a Hal Jordan at one point and gets knocked out by a rock to the head. Nice superfast reflexes there. +9 bat-points

The Villains
Braggadoom the Mountain That Walked Like a Man, is a most ridiculous name for a giant green monster. A pun on Brigadoon? Not really. No, it names itself based on a sound effect made when the Thing crashes into a building. Looking through the issue, Braggadoom might have named itself Ska-Runtch, Zzzip or Chudd instead. The point is, nothing actually makes the sound "Braggadoom", so wtf?!? It started life as a piece of play-doe that absorbed a couple people and mutated into a giant creature that, well, doesn't really look like the one on the cover:
Total destruction: An arena and a bridge. Final fate: Regressed to tiny size and raised by its "father" as a "normal" child.
You think that playpen and beach ball will keep him from becoming a destructive agent when it grows up? +4 points

Bork, aside from having one of the stupidest names in comic book history, is a big, bulky moron who speaks in the third person (more like the Hulk than Julius Ceasar). Still amazingly well-travelled, some cannibals or something made a magic idol in his likeness giving him invulnerability. Apparently, on the Gotham docks, that's something you can rally people around, and the city immediately fears a crippling strike by people holding up "Bork Power" signs. Still, props for making the Batman all black and blue (uhm... on his face, I mean) and demolishing a cell wall by hitting it repeatedly (see, he's not superstrong, but if you can't feel pain, you could just erode a wall that way). Believe it or not, Bork returned in 2002 as a mutated creature who even got his own one-shot comic. +6 bat-points

Odds vs. Ends
From Marvel Two-in-One:
-You know how much I like deus ex machinae (hint: not at all), so what do you think I'm gonna say about Braggadoom about to go thermonuclear and then, not. For no other reason than the guy who said it would happen being wrong. Yeah. -2 points

From Brave and the Bold:
-I'm sorry. I can't let that atrocious title slide. -1 bat-point
-Haney goes a little overboard with the Flash's nicknames. Scarlet Speedster is fine, but the Sultan of Zoom? Needless to say, the Wizard of Whiz is right out. -1 bat-point
-After the Flash loses sight of the statue in a volcanic eruption, it falls in the hands of a sailor. A very lonely sailor.
As long as he only wants to talk! +1 bat-point

Farewells and Scoring
Power Man was all ready to pal around with the Thing, and then Ben has to get all grim and realistic:
I'm walking away now. Most definitely Unfriendly. +2 points

Meanwhile, Batman and the Flash must have their Friendly Farewell off-panel. They do wave their hankies at Bork though.
+0 bat-points

Checking scores... rookie Power Man 13, veteran Flash 18. And the Batman scores another victory, rocketing his score to 10-5. Can Ben EVER recover? We may soon be able to call it, guys!

2 comments:

rob! said...

nothing, BUT NOTHING, beats "But Bork Can Hurt You!"

Siskoid said...

Funny aside: The Showcase Presents has a typo in its Table of Contents. It calls the story "But Cork Can Hurt You!"

Watch out for low-flying champagne corks!

 

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