Friday, July 20, 2018

Rest and Sweet Glory Part 2: The Bootstrap Model (Marvel)
Marvel Comics Presents #114 When: October 1992 Why: Dwayne McDuffie How: Ron Wilson

The Story So Far...
Bill Foster's experience working with Hank Pym granted him incredible powers that come with exposure to Pym Particles! The wonders of increasing and reducing his size have made him the newest Giant-Man -- but it's his scientific prowess that Dr. Edwin Hawkins wants!

Recruited at the recommendation of Mister Fantastic: Bill Foster is embarking on a new journey working for Stane International. His knowledge of Pym Particles and biochemistry can help Hawkins build a working quantum mechanical model that could revolutionize physics!

Just one problem! Project Head Dr. Michael Stockton isn't all he appears to be, and Stane International is interested in more profitable markets for their super-science. Recovering from a prototype malfunction - Giant-Man finds the truth!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Draw 5 (Super-Human)
Intelligence: Draw 5 (Professor)
Speed: Draw 2 (Average)
Stamina: Draw 4 (Athlete)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting: Giant-Man 3 (Street Wise)
Energy: Dr. Nemesis 2 (Arsenal)
Total: Draw 22 (Champion)

A couple of weeks ago we had the long & short of it, but today it's big & tall all the way! We're super-sizin' our fightin' fun with two challengers whom, by any other name, would smell as sweet! Info's in the introductions...

Doctor Nemesis is scientist Dr. Michael Stockton, whose field of research is the subatomic. He was recruited by Advanced Idea Mechanics, becoming a self-styled nemesis to Hank Pym and the Wasp! By stealing Pym's unique particle technology, Stockton acquired similar skills of shrinking and enlarging.

This Doctor Nemesis is not to be confused with James Bradley: A World War II-era vigilante, and Nazi collaborator turned hunter, whose unique biochemistry saw him associate with Beast and the X-Men into the modern age. The potential for confusion doesn't end there, though...

Stockton had multiple run-ins with Hank Pym as Ant-Man, but today's battle with Giant-Man is not a rematch in his oversized alter-ego!

At this time: Dr. Bill Foster had assumed the mantle of Giant-Man. He adopted the moniker at the suggestion of his good friend and Project Pegasus colleague - Thing! He had previously adventured as the costumed Black Goliath.

Foster worked alongside Hank Pym as a biochemist at Stark International. He was later responsible for duplicating the Pym Particles formula and removing it of harmful side effects. This was how he acquired his powers, which most typically involve increasing his size to goliath proportions.

Goliath grappled with Pym (as Yellow Jacket) during the Avengers Civil War between registered and anti-registration heroes [Civil War #3]. Goliath and the Secret Avengers were ultimately undone by Iron Man, and a bio-mechanical clone of Thor dubbed Ragnarok. Ragnarok killed Goliath in Civil War #4.

Dying is neither here, nor there. Bill Foster's alive and ready to take on Doctor Nemesis in today's story! As an experienced adventurer - he's got a compelling case for beating him, too! Giant-Man's gone toe-to-toe with the Hulk! The only snag could be Nemesis' ability to warp the science of size-manipulation for devious ends -- combined with the element of surprise!

These two are incredibly evenly matched! Let's see who takes the win!

The Tape: Draw Ranking: Giant-Man (#586)

What Went Down...
Growing to gigantic proportions: "Giant-Man" Bill Foster intimidates his way through his employer's restricted access doors. Inside awaits a hi-tech device -- quickly identified by his colleague, Dr. Edwin Hawkins, as a warhead!

The shock that Hawkins' research has been utilized for military application is quickly interrupted by the arrival of Stane International security, led by project head Dr. Stockton. The revelation of international arms dealing provokes action!

The super-sized super-hero rips a sheet of metal from the lab floor and wraps it around a scrambling, armed security team!

Giant-Man challenges other security forces to join the fight, but instead finds another opponent revealing himself! Dr. Stockton removes his lab coat and dons the guise of the notorious Doctor Nemesis!

Foster knows his enemy thanks to Hank Pym, but not the new developments he's made thanks to the search of Dr. Hawkins! Nemesis plucks a button from his lab coat and demonstrates the manipulation of weight but not size!

The tiny button strikes Giant-Man in the stomach with unexpected force! He doubles over, dropping to his knees as Nemesis postulates the button must've weighed a focused forty pounds by the time it hit its target!

Embarrassed by the simplicity of the attack, Giant-Man recovers to his feet - getting even bigger to tower ominously over the bad Doctor! A body-sized fist collides with Nemesis for an equalizer!

Giant-Man follows instantly with a crushing hammer fist to finish the job!

The battle may be won, but the war with Stane International is just beginning! A shadow casts over Giant-Man as he contemplates calling the Avengers, signaling the arrival of another foe -- the gargantuan Goliath!

The Hammer...
A short story delivers a big winner: Giant-Man claims victory!

We're back in Marvel Comics Presents territory, exploring Part 2 of a six-part adventure starring Bill Foster! As covered in The Tape section [above], you may know Bill Foster better as "Goliath".

Foster debuted as the in-fashion "Black Goliath" in 1975, back referencing a character first seen in Avengers #32 (in 1966). He's part of a tangled web of monikers: one of three heroes to have gone by Giant-Man -- and a small handful of heroes and villains who've answered to Goliath.

If I had to pick one Goliath to rule them all - it would be Bill Foster - but to make matters a little more complicated, he's under attack from another well known Goliath at the end of today's featured chapter.

Erik Josten towers as Doctor Nemesis' extra muscle, but looms largest in Marvel Comics lore as the altruistic "Atlas". That was an identity he grew into, having adopted it as one of Baron Zemo's insidious Thunderbolts: villains pretending to be heroes while capitalizing on the Heroes Reborn disappearance of the Avengers and Fantastic Four. [A long story that started in Incredible Hulk #449 if you're really interested!]

I'm sure at some point we'll get around to checking out Foster v Josten, if only for its curiosity factor!

A little bit like Wasp's adventure in Marvel Super-Heroes #3, these Bill Foster asides are some of the fun curiosities you got from Marvel's anthology offerings in the early nineties. Hidden gems buried beneath usual MCP cover star Wolverine, and at this time, Ghost Rider and Iron Fist.

If you feel like you've seen a different cover for Marvel Comics Presents #114 - you aren't mistaken. The series was running with a flip-book gimmick around this time, so there's another cover on the other side. I guess it was somebody's idea for pushing dual lead stories, and it's kind of fun as an artefact, but it's also a needless complication on the racks, and when reading.

"Rest and Sweet Glory" (the title of the Giant-Man serial) doesn't seem like it was ever intended for elsewhere, as is sometimes the case with these anthology series. It doesn't have the heft of a new series pilot, or ambitions of Dwayne McDuffie's introduction to Damage Control in Marvel Comics Presents #19.

It's actually kind of the perfect secondary story for a series like Marvel Comics Presents. A fun episode with a super-hero who might not otherwise be in the spotlight, but is part of the wide, wonderful Marvel Universe.

In this case, the story serves a purpose of helping establish the new identity of Giant-Man. A security guard even gets a helpful correction when he refers to him as Black Goliath -- a nice acknowledgment of his established history, and meta-reference for readers who might be making a similar adjustment.

The shift to Giant-Man wasn't the right fit given its iconic association with Hank Pym, but it probably seemed like a good idea, at the time. It's a classic Marvel moniker that somebody might as well have been using. Pym had been doing his own thing in West Coast Avengers and didn't seem likely to go back. Thirty years into the Marvel saga, it was easy to be naïve about a thing like that.

The Tarantino fueled retro-appeal of haphazardly throwing "Black" in front of an African-American character's name wasn't there yet. I don't know the origins of the practice, but it's always seemed weird. "Black Goliath" probably needed a nineties update and just Goliath had those villain ties. In the end, it turned out to be a much better choice. "Black" or not, Goliath was a well earned name.

Goliath is also a name you'll now have heard if you saw Ant-Man and The Wasp in theatres! Laurence Fishburne brings a maturing Bill Foster to the screen. Sadly, he doesn't perform any feats as Goliath -- which is exactly why we had to go rummage in the comics for that kind of real shared universe fun!

If you'd like to find more curios and classics, you can find every featured fight index by publisher, series, and issue in the Secret Archive! Follow along on Twitter and Facebook for daily links to fights inspired by the topics of the day -- or do it the old fashioned way, and steer your own destiny by following links to characters and series throughout this post! You never know when there'll be a follow-up! Tell your friends while you're at it, too!

Winner: Giant-Man
#357 (+229) Giant-Man (Bill Foster)
#853 (new) Doctor Nemesis (Michael Stockton)

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