Thursday, August 07, 2008

Don't You Daaare Miss It! (Marvel)
Where: West Coast Avengers Annual #5 When: 1990 Why: Dwayne McDuffie How: Grant Miehm

Strength: Wonder Man 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: USAgent 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Wonder Man 3 (Athle)
Stamina: Wonder Man 5 (Marathon)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting: USAgent 4 (Trained)
Energy: USAgent 2 (Projectile)

Math: Wonder Man
Ranking: USAgent (#73)

Here on the Infinite Wars we have a pretty strict format policy.
Sure, expanded content has managed to dwarf the classic battle blogging, but when it comes to contributions to our cumulative win/loss statistics it all boils down to combat - until now!

Tomorrow marks the official opening ceremony for the Olympic Games [wink wink] in Beijing, but we thought we'd get in early with a little bit of friendly competition amongst the Avengers. More specifically, a weightlifting challenge waged by the USAgent, who, at least according to Hawkeye, is going for some kind of record.

With month-long themes that have engulfed the Infinite Wars of late, this marks yet another opportunity for us to take a closer look at the grand tradition of the short story in superhero comics.
Earlier in the year, during one of those very montly spotlights, we took a look at the Iron Man annual [#11] from the same year as this entry's (1990). It was to our surprise and pleasure that we received contact from the author of that particular short, who, as it turned out, was not an aspiring comic book professional, but rather a Jill of many trades who came to the rescue of an Editor in need! [Those interested in Carrie Lowery's experience can learn more from her blog: My Cool Job!]

Short stories like these really provide a unique perspective of the American comic book experience, and for a blog like ours, provides endless objet d'art!

This short, which ultimately sees USAgen'ts record attempts thwarted by a well meaning, but completely oblivious, Wonder Man, provides valuable curio. Sure, aside from being a minor contribution to USAgent's exploits as the teeth-grinding straight man of the West Coast Avengers; it's also one of the early works of a writer many will now know as the man behind headline titles like Fantastic Four and Justice League of America - Dwayne McDuffie!

Among McDuffie's most significant contributions was his immediate impact at Marvel with the creation of Damage Control. Pitched as a Marvel Universe sitcom, the series detailed the exploits of a superhero insurance/construction agency which, with much bumbling, helped rebuild oft destroyed locales like Josie's Bar, which was destroyed during a scuffle between Daredevil and Turk, in Damage Control's 1989 pre-series debut [Marvel Comics Presents #19].

Despite fading into obscurity, Damage Control has been a lasting concept in the Marvel Universe. Most recently they played a conspiratory role in Civil War, revealing corruption that had newly appointed CEO, Walter Declun, providing Mutant Growth Hormones in an effort to drum up business. To this end, he was ultimately responsible for the Stamford tragedy that begun the conflict, having provided MGH to enhance the powers of Nitro, who exploded beyond his means in battle with the New Warriors.
After Wolverine weeded out the corruption, the group resumed their super-logical function by rebuilding New York after it was destroyed by World War Hulk.

The legacy of Damage Control continued into the Ultimate Universe, where Brian Michael Bendis used the concept to introduce a benevolent incarnation of the Wrecking Crew, who act as superpowered employees of the agency.

Dwayne McDuffie Buys:
- Icon: A Hero's Welcome
- Civil War: Fantastic Four
- WWH: Damage Control
- JLA: The Injustice League
- JLA: Sanctuary
- Beyond!
- F4: The Beginning of the End
- Static Shock: Vol. 1 DVD
- Justice League: Season 1
- Justice League: Season 2
- JLU: Season 1
- JLU: Season 2
McDuffie is also noteworthy for his role as writer/producer on a string of WB/DC animated series that include; Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans, and the popular animated adaptation of his own 1993 comic creation, Static Shock.
In this instance, however, way back in 1990, Dwayne McDuffie was the writer of Don't You Daaare Miss It!; the story of Wonder Man stealing USAgent's thunder! Oh, yeah, and all hell breaking loose as the Avengers find themselves beseiged by rampaging, animated monster trucks -- but that's a battle for another day!

The Fight: 0 The Story: 3
Winner: Wonder Man

An interesting bonus footnote: This issue of the West Coast Avengers Annual also includes another back-up short written by Carrie Lowery, this time detailing the caper of a misplaced miniature by Hank Pym. Unfortunately, the high quality tale doesn't feature combat, so it's unlikely to feature on the Infinite Wars, but is well worth checking out! "Honey, I shrunk the Hyperatomic Anti-Proton Cannon!" is only available in this issue, so keep an eye out in back issue bins, folks!

Stay tuned for even more features as we celebrate the diverse possibilities of a world of superheroes, and the competition of the Beijing Olympics! Coming up is our own take on an Infinite Wars Olympics, plus; the ultimate race, and statistical gold! Vote in the polls (top right)!

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