Monday, October 15, 2007

"Miracle on Yancy Street!" (Marvel comics)
Fantastic Four #361 When: February 1992
Why: Paul Ryan & Tom DeFalco How: Paul Ryan

The story so far...
It's Christmas Eve and festivities come to the Thing with mixed fortunes. His night begins with having his broken arm mechanically aligned, and set in a cement cast by Reed Richards -- but quickly turns around with the emergence of an old friend!

William "Slugger" Sokolowski was one of Ben Grimm's running buddies from the golden days of life on Yancy Street, and as Thing soon learns, things have gotten considerably darker around the old neighbourhood, with a spate of disappearances.

Concerned his son may be involved with drugs, Sokolowski turns to his friend as a college graduate success story of Yancy Street, in the hopes that his hero status will turn his son around. A good plan, that is unless young Jimmy has become one of the missing -- and the person responsible is none other than the nefarious Latverian monarch: Dr. Doom!!!

Previous Form:
Thing (#9): Blazing up the ranks with wins over Doom, Paibok, Super Adaptoid & Tombstone.
Dr. Doom (#150): Doombot victory over Silver Surfer, with assists to the FF.

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Thing 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Dr. Doom 6 (Genius)
Speed: Draw 2 (Average)
Stamina: Dr. Doom 6 (Generator)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting Ability: Thing 3 (Street Wise)
Energy Powers: Dr. Doom 5 (Lasers)

- Ace test-pilot Ben Grimm joined a trio of friends on a space race to beat the Russians into outerspace. The wreckless launch would change he and his colleagues forevermore as insufficient shielding would leave the quartet vulnerable to strange, unknown cosmic rays! Rays that would transform them into the Fantastic Four!

- As the Thing, Grimm has a rocky exterior that is both super-durable, and maneuvered by exponentially increased muscle capacity. Along with super-strength, Thing can also survive in harsh environments relatively unscathed.

- Victor Von Doom was the college rival of Reed Richards, noted as a genius in his own right, despite a legendary arrogance. It was this stubborn insistance that would lead Doom to conduct rushed experiments that merged the sciences with the occult, and ultimately would result in an explosion that would scar him.

- Travelling across the Himalayan mountains of Tibet, Doom would don a metal suit of armor crafted by monks, and adopt this visage as his own as the newly christened, Dr. Doom! His armor would be upgraded to include cutting edge technologies of his own invention, and supply him with the power necessary to overthrow his native Latveria, and become the world-threatening menace faced by the Fantastic Four!

The Math: Dr. Doom The Pick: Dr. Doom

What went down...
Heading back to the old neighbourhood, Thing finds himself on the schmuck-end of a snowball courtesy of his arch-nemesis -- the Yancy Street Gang!

The passing confrontation becomes the perfect meeting as Thing goes on a fact-finding mission to discover the secret behind the disappearances on Yancy Street. The Gang reveal Jimmy Sokolowski's fate, snatched by shady goons, just as his father had feared. The percussive communications of Rhythm Ruiz had alerted the gang to the situation, and through his drum and beats they learn the location of the trenchcoat tough's hideout.

The Thing tags along to an abandoned warehouse where he discovers, not a shady crackhouse, but instead the super hi-tech lair of something far more sinister! The Gang don't go undetected, discovered by the hat and coat muscle that had menaced the streets by night.

Thing and the Gang tangle with the villains who are revealed to be incognito Doombots! The YSG represents long enough to distract the mechanical monsters, while Thing uses his required super-strength to get the job done on them!

Confused by the scale of the operation for their position on the economic ladder, it comes as something of a shock when a blast of energy ushers the arrival of the financer of these evil experiments.

Dr. Doom reveals himself, prompting thing to order the Yancy kids out of what was clearly a much more dangerous situation than even they knew. Despite their on-going rivalry, the Yancy Street Gang proves reluctant to leave Thing's side, as Dr. Doom launches himself by jet-belt to avoid Thing's crushing attack.

With his good arm, Thing hoists a heap of the twisted metal that was just previously a staircase, looking to use it as a projectile weapon against the Latverian monarch. Before doing so, he challenges Doom to justify himself for stooping low even for him, to be involved in the street trade of drugs on the streets.

In a shocking twist, the arrogant Doom reveals he was actually working to eradicate such base ailments as drug addiction, conducting experiments that he could one-day employ on a world-scale in preperation for his ascension as leader!

Doom fires a blast from a gun to accompany his retort, obliterating the scrap metal projectile Thing holds with intent. The blast rattles Thing's grim rock-hard hide, almost as much as Doom's earnest arrogance in his intentions.

Not wanting to abandon one of the good guys, the Yancy Streeters toss Doombot parts at the Doctor, seemingly disarming him. Instead, they earn themselves a wreckless spray of energies from Doom's personal armored gauntlet blasters!
With a second show of twisted nobility, Doom intentfully avoids causing mortal harm to the gangsters, unwilling to do harm to ones so young.

Doom's personal sense of restraint does little to earn him grace from a ticked off Thing, returning from Doom's blast with a vengeance! With the sum total of his super-strength, Thing pushes on load baring columns, causing an avalanche of technology!

Doom's foresight sees the design of a suit of armor with a force field strong enough to repell the falling debris, but whether or not it could confront the unrelenting blows of the ever loving blue-eyed Thing is another story!

Thing looms at Doom who describes the kidnapped as expendable experiment subjects that he could snatch without anyone missing them. His disregard for human life enrages Thing enough to see him resist a point-blank blast from Doom's gauntlet, but eventually even Thing is forced to yield to Doom's power.

With the Thing subdued, Dr. Doom declares himself laboured beyond acceptable degree. Given the interference of his muscle-bound nemesis, Doom lumps responsibility on his misformed shoulders, opting to abandon the drug-cure in favour of more fruitful efforts.

With that, Dr. Doom turns and leaves American soil, to strike another day.
Though roughed up by Doom's efforts, Thing is still able to herd the Yancy Gang (and Jimmy Sokolowski) out to the snow covered street, where they're treated to a Christmas Eve fireworks display, courtesy of Doom's self-destructing lab.

This Christmas, Thing finds himself with the gift of satisfaction, knowing he saved the life of his old friend's son, and put to bed his feud with the Yancy Street Gang. Or, did he?...

The hammer...
Well, despite a fairly peaceful conclusion, I feel I have no choice but to declare Dr. Doom the winner on the basis of his physical dominance over the Thing. What a revoltin' development!

So, I have a confession to make. I very nearly marched in here with the same European arrogance as Dr. Doom. Among other comic-related frustrations, the sorry state of the internet as I sifted through an impossibly irrelevent glut of Google hits searching for who it was that broke Thing's arm prior to this issue.

Unlike many of my online contemporaries, I do pride myself on being as thorough with the Infinite Wars as possible, but for the life of me, I cannot remember who broke Thing's arm! Not that it was a particularly significant period in the FFs lives, but you'd think a simple "thing fantastic four broken arm" style search would suffice, but no matter the degree of information - as specific as issue numbers - I could not turn up this information.

In fact, it's worth noting that like the life and times of Jesus; Thing's Wikipedia entry is notoriously abbreviated, roughly skipping twenty years to detail events from the mid-eighties, to the mid-naughties. Which is a shame, because I think while they might not be the most revolutionary tales in comics lore, the Fantastic Four's run through the nineties is among the less cringeworthy efforts.

I managed to reflect on my chagrin, and simmered down and reevaluated and arrived at this familiar discussive tone you're reading right now. Actually, no small thanks go to someone who's visited forty-something times, who hit the site not an hour ago, for contributing some faceless encouragement. Danke!

This post, for those who don't know, is part of our month-long look at Dr. Doom as we wrap up our Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Mondays features that detailed the villains of the multi-platform video game. You can browse the archives right now to check out some of the other entries, and look forward to a recap in the upcoming November Punch-Up.

Top 25 Marvel/Capcom
#1 Spider-man (M)
#2 Captain America (M)
#3 Iron Man (M)
#4 Wolverine (M)
#5 Hulk (M)
#6 Storm (M)
#7 Rogue (M)
#8 Guile (C)
#9 War Machine (M)
#10 Iceman (M)
#11 Cable (M)
#12 Ryu (C)
#13 Cyclops (M)
#14 Venom (M)
#15 Akuma (C)
#16 Sakura Kusanago (C)
#17 Dhalsim (C)
#18 Jubilee (M)
#19 Dr. Doom (M)
#20 Ken Masters (C)
#21 Thanos (M)
#22 Colossus (M)
#23 Chun-Li (C)
#24 Juggernaut (M)
#25 USAgent (M)
Even with an improved demeanour, I don't have a lot to say today. It wasn't a good day to feel obligated to talk about comics, because I've been struggling along with my own projects, and counting the days since July when I last smelt the corny-gloss of a new comic. Alas, on the stakes of food/ecommerce/entertainment, the latter loses out. Bummer.

That said, if you enjoy the unique brand of statistical analysis, informed opinion, and factual review that makes up the Secret Wars on Infinite Earths -- and you know of an online retailer looking for promotional space -- do the math! I will gladly whore out my corner of the internet to schill for retailers/publishers!

Speaking of which, you should also remember to check out The Kirby Martin Inquest #1, available for online purchase thanks to ComixPress. If you have any enquiries about purchase or shipping, you should refer to them. If you'd like to know more about the project, that's certainly my department.

Just like double features were all the rage last month, I'm going to throw up another list here, bridging the gap between the themes used on the weekends and Monday, because it is worth noting that Dr. Doom managed to do what the FF could not -- and that's appear in a Capcom video game!

I didn't feel I had the room for this list in yesterday's entry [Triumph or Die!], but it seems like pitting Capcom and Marvel characters that have appeared in the games - by way of the Infinite Wars statistics - is the perfect way to remind everyone of some of their experiences with the Street Fighter characters.

Now I'm going to go and cry myself to sleep!

The Fight: 4 The Issue: 5
[For anyone interested in getting a little closer to the Thing character, this is a great back issue that you can probably find pretty cheap, and elaborates on the softy quality of the character. It's not the greatest characterization of Dr. Doom, but it's got a great underlying duality to his character - noble causes for selfish reasons.]

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