Category Archives: Super Blog Team-Up

SBTU Presents VS: War Machine vs. Cable

 

 

Hello, Legions!

Welcome to another fabulous edition of not just The Unspoken Decade, but that nifty blog crossover epic we call “Super Blog Team-Up!”  This go-round we at SBTU have decided to utterly enthrall you with some of the most violent and spectacular clashes of all time, as we present VS!

Here where it’s always 1996, we bring you two of Marvel’s heaviest hitters when it comes to firepower.  One is James Rhodes, better known as the operator of he most offensively-powerful armor this side of a Hulkbuster, War Machine!  The other is the son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor, sent to a far future to cure his techno-virus, he has now returned to the present day as the telekinteic cyborg warrior known as Cable!

Personally, I have always wanted a Punisher/War Machine/Cable team-up.  They could call it “big guns, bigger attitudes”.  It writes itself!  WHERE ARE YOU, MARVEL?  GET THIS DONE.

The fight between Cable and War Machine takes place over the first few issues of War Machine’s first solo title. Written by Len Kaminski and Scott Benson, penciled by Gabriel Gecko, and inked by Pam Eklund, War Machine #1 hits our reality in April of 1994 (according to the copyright indicia) as an attempt to sort of stretch the parameters of the super hero game.  The first issue has James Rhodes getting caught up in an international incident that ties the hands of most of the other heroes.  It also sports a die-cut foil cover that is sort of hard to display on the internet.

War Machine #1 - Page 2
You decide which is deadlier;  THE ARMOR OR THE ATTITUDE!

War Machine’s armor is probably my favorite Iron Man armor ever.  I mean, just look at it.  Right there on that cover, you can see two guns on his wrist, a giant cannon on his shoulder, and what appears to be a missile battery on his other shoulder.  Beautiful.  Also, you just know that his chest circle fires SOMETHING AWESOME.

In real life, I tend to be a defense first guy (as a fan of the 2015 WORLD CHAMPION Kansas City Royals, how can ya blame me?).  In my genre fiction, give me the guy who has little protection who comes out with every gun he has firing as he simply overpowers his enemy with a fierce barrage from his armada!  That’s War Machine in a nutshell, although I am underselling the brilliant strategic mind of one James Rhodes as well.

The selling point of these early issues of War Machine is that James Rhodes isn’t gonna sit idly by as the technicalities of the world prevent him from taking the fight right to the bad guys.  After he makes a connection with a famous international diplomat, Vincent Cetewayo, who is looking to start a corporation known as “WorldWatch” that would help deal with international crises before they develop, James is intrigued.  He refuses Cetewayo’s offer at first, but after reading his book, James seems to be coming around on the idea.  Of course, then said international diplomat is kidnapped by the regime he once fled, Imaya.  Due to the fact that this African nation is full-fledged member of the United Nations, many heroes are paralyzed by international law as it prevents them from acting…

War Machine #1 - Page 20
Nick Fury’s fingerless gloves will be available at a K-Mart by you soon.

The angry phone call Rhodes is on doesn’t seem to get Fury on the line, as Rhodes quickly shows up at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ with harsh words for Nick Fury.

War Machine #1 - Page 21
As a matter of fact, what is Punisher’s GPA?

C’mon War Machine, how could you possibly figure that Fury wouldn’t know who you were and what you were up to?  It’s his game!

War Machine #1 - Page 22

It’s insanely hard not to side with War Machine here.  It isn’t like Fury doesn’t go off half-cocked when he feels like it, the UN and S.H.I.E.L.D. be damned.  Now that War Machine needs some help,  though, Fury is acting like these rules are suddenly sacrosanct.  That’s government bureaucrat types for ya, amirite?  Also, ain’t it against international law to, y’ know, just kidnap a guy off a hijacked airline?  Oh, UN, you’re so delightfully unwieldy.

After seeing that he’ll get no help from Fury in regard to this, War Machine says the line that seemingly has to be said in nearly every action flick and story:

War Machine #1 - Page 24
My Mom said the same thing, but then she made me do whatever she was talking about.

War Machine plows into Imaya, taking out soldiers and warplanes left and right.  He’s doing very well against these instruments of war, which might be ironic because he is a War Machine.  Or is it just meta?  I dunno, Alanis Morissette forever ruined all of our understandings of ironic.  (Also, if you think that joke is too old, you’re the one reading a 90’s comics website, pal.)

While War Machine’s attack may make for impressive viewing, X-Force’s leader Cable doesn’t like it.

War Machine #1 - Page 26
Despite being a super computer that allows Cable to teleport places, the computer is somehow incapable of telling Cable about this “Dragonfly” ship once he leaves.  If only they could text in the 90’s.

So it appears Cable has taken umbrage with War Machine going solo in a War Zone.  Apparently, Cable is the only guy allowed to do what he wants with big guns, a gleam in his eye, and a devil-may-care attitude.  When it isn’t him, Cable is super concerned with geopolitical events and how a solitary man with an advanced suit of armor trying to rescue a man destined to be tortured and killed could upset the entire balance of power in Africa!

War Machine #1 - Page 34
Cable’s entire history as a character, whether with the Wild Six Pack and X-Force has been nothing but Lone-Wolf Hot-Dog Stunts.  Also, I am pretty sure lonewolf and hot dog don’t have hyphens.

Now, before we can get to laser fights, Cable and War Machine have to try and win the debate.  I’ll spare you my opinion of who is right, but I’d love to know yours in the comment.  (Here’s a hint as to whose side I am on; it’s War Machines’s.)

War Machine #1 - Page 35
I don’t necessarily think Cable is wrong, (although barring some development in X-Force or his solo book of which I am unaware, it is odd to see him as the voice of so-called reason and restraint here), but to sit around talking when any number of heroes could save a man who is definitely going to be tortured and killed is just wrong in my eyes.

This exchange of philosophy does nothing to change the mind of either Cable or War Machine, and so we get Cable and War Machine throwing down!  We also get Cable spouting a line that’d lead one to believe he was trying out for a Viagra commercial.

War Machine #1 - Page 36
HEYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Cable draws first blood, knocking War Machine down and into some boulders.  War Machine doesn’t take this lying down, however, and quickly takes over on offense.  He separates Cable from his firearm, which leads to the most ineffective strategy Cable has ever employed against an opponent.

War Machine #1 - Page 38
At least the kick was with Cable’s cyborg leg, but it seems to me like a master strategist like Cable would have done a smidge better than punching War Machine in the head with his normal arm.  I’m gonna give him an out and say it was telekinetically aided. See how nice I can be, folks?

The back and forth is fairly evenly matched, but just when it appears that Round 2 is about to start, a new competitor enters the ring and it becomes a triple threat match!

War Machine #1 - Page 41

War Machine #1 - Page 42

 

That’s where War Machine #1 leaves off, and Page #1 of issue #2 may be my favorite page by Gecko in either issue. But first, the cover to War Machine #2!

War Machine #2 - Page 1
You probably could have mentioned that Deathlok is guest-starring too.
War Machine #2 - Page 2
War Machine busts into a country, bullets flying, and now he wants to talk, haha!

Not only is this a great page artwise to me, I love the succinctness in getting all three of the players across.  With just three panels, you know who everyone is, what their motivation is, and how they are feeling about the situation.  One can even reasonably assume that Deathlok is housing two personalities based on what we see here, which he is.

What we really need, though, is a two-page splash showing us just how badass all these guys look together.

War Machine #2 - Page 3
Cable’s gun is the best thing about the 90’s.  I love it.

Basically, we get the same conversation that Cable and War Machine have been having, but now Deathlok is thrown in, and he is on War Machine’s side.  This sits none too well with Cable, who decides to use that awesome gun of his (for real, I could talk for hours about Cable’s guns.  Ask Emily.) to solve a problem.  That problem’s name is Deathlok!

War Machine #2 - Page 4
If the computer part of Deathlok was really that smart, then he probably would have armed defensive systems before Deathlok got shot.

War Machine tries to play peacemaker, but all that does is rile Deathlok up in his direction.

War Machine #2 - Page 6
War Machine pines for the days of Gardner Fox’s Justice League of America.

War Machine finally uses his massive firepower to overcome the both of them, as he attempts to talk some sense into these guys.  It’s sorta funny how all of a sudden after breaching international borders and shooting down Imayan warplanes in Imayan airspace that War Machine now fancies himself the voice of reason.  Of course, seeing as he is the only 100% human guy here, maybe he’s the only one we can trust.  One way or another, War Machine incapacitates them both, and then he gets to deliver a lecture because to the victor go the soliloquies.

War Machine #2 - Page 7
Deathlok is still holding a grudge because Cable shot him in the back?  Sheesh!  It’s been 30 seconds, dude.  GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE!

For those of you placed your wager on “the three guys yap until Imayan ground forces show up,” head to the window and collect.  You have to wonder what sort of resistance they could possibly put up to these three, seeing as how War Machine just single-handedly thrashed their entire goddamn air force.  I do suppose that being in the military in a despotic dictatorship probably just has you going out in your tank even after a solitary armored figure has taken out all your air support.  Your choice is get killed by War Machine or get killed by your superior in the ranks.

Cable, though, can teleport, so he has lots of choices, including the choice to allow Deathlok and War Machine to reap what they have sown without him around.

War Machine #2 - Page 8
Deathlok is now mad at Cable for not taking part in a war he never wanted to happen. What?  That makes no sense. Unless Deathlok is jealous. Something tells me that Deathlok’s envy circuit is on OVERLOAD!

And that’s the end of the Cable vs. War Machine showdown.  It’s a rather typical Marvel hero vs. hero fight, in that there is no clear winner, although it’s a little less like a typical Marvel hero fight because Cable and War Machine are at odds from the start and there is no misunderstanding between them before they pal up and head after the baddies!  I suppose Deathlok is the one who handles that role with ol’ Rhodey here.

The rest of the early War Machine story arc is good.  You get to see War Machine take on a nation’s entire armed forces as he teams with Imayan freedom fighters to liberate their country.  Cable plays a small role by evacuating Cetewayo to the camp of said freedom fighters.  If he had just done that to start, there’d have been no fight!  But then again, I wouldn’t have this article, either.  Hmmm.

For real, though, scope out the rest of this early War Machine arc if for no other reason than to just see this image explained:

War Machine #3 - Page 24

Now that you have had a nice fight here, maybe you should go take a gander at the other folks playing along with Super Blog Team Up!  Check out the links below:

Coffee & Comics Blog

Bronze Age Babies w/ Tales of Suspense #58!

Between the Pages w/ some Star Wars action!

Crapbox Son of Cthulhu 

Chris is on Infinite Earths -Guy Gardner vs. Blue Beetle

Longbox Graveyard features Human Torch vs. Sub-Mariner!

Superhero Satellite -Batman vs. Green Lantern

The Retroist-Joker vs. Sherlock Holmes

In My Not So Humble Opinion-Captain America vs. Wolverine

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Two Wrongs Making a Right-SBTU-Punisher Meets Archie!

Hey, folks!  I hope you have enjoyed the last couple of weeks as Sparky Ryan brought you the history of the Marvel UK incursion into the states from the early 90’s.  I had a great time with some of those books back in the day, and his work was a great trip down memory lane, but now your good 90’s comics aficionado and pal Dean Compton is back, and I am back just in time for one of my favorite elements of this blog…THE SUPER BLOG TEAM UP!!!!!

If you weren’t around last time or haven’t had the chance to look at the Super Blog Team Up subpage here, the SBTU (I ain’t gonna keep typing that out folks; I ain’t getting paid by the word.  Hell, I ain’t getting paid at all!) is a quarterly gathering of sorts where many blogs publish on the same day about the same topic.  At the bottom of my random meanderings, make sure you click the links and take a gander at what all the great folks have shared in SBTU.  We all work really hard, and we all appreciate every view and comment we get.  Except for the ones from spammers.  It’s really sad how excited I will get when I get a notification for a comment, only to find it is poorly written spam imploring me to spend some money on something to filter out spam comments.  As an aside to this aside, I think I’d like spam comments better if their grammar was correct.

But I have digressed so far that one might believe this not to be a blog about comic books at all!  You’d be sorely mistaken!  As I was saying about SBTU, the concept is that all of these blogs look at the same subject on the same day.  This time, the subject is Team Up, Tear Down, and from the second I heard that, I could not help but think of the team up that never should have happened, but somehow tore down every preconceived notion one would have about this comic working or being good.  I am talking about the time comic book hell froze over.  I am talking about Punisher Meets Archie…

That's the most honest blurb in the history of comments; many, myself included, dreaded this one.
That’s the most honest blurb in the history of comments; many, myself included, dreaded this one.

The dread was punctuated with the entire “why are they doing this?/oh my god, they’re ruining everything/they don’t know what they’re doing” mentality that seems to permeate every fanboy’s good sense at some point.  This time, though, our cynical malaise seemed justified (to the max, as we would say in the 90’s) because how could this be readable, let alone good?  I mean, it’s Punisher Meets Archie, for Christ’s sake!

The answer to the question of how could it be readable or good can be found on the  credits page:

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 3

Indeed, that is the fine talent of the late John Buscema and the late Stan Goldberg combined with one of the best inkers of all time, Tom Palmer, to bring you this tale.  You see, the first element of this endeavor that would have doomed it to disaster, would have been seeing the character drawn in a style dichotomous to what we usually see with them.  Punisher in the Archie style would have made all the Punisher fans angrier than Hulk driving a compact car while he is stuck in rush hour traffic.  Now try getting that image out of your head!

Conversely, seeing Archie done up all grim and gritty would have made Archie fans feel angry and betrayed as well.  I’d come with some metaphor or simile for the anger of Archie fans, but based on their choice of comic fare, I am unsure that they get angry.  I mean, nothing in that world can’t be solved with just a waltz down to the choklit shop, right?

So that solved one problem, but the elephant in the room would have to be how one would mesh such strikingly disparate worlds without compromising the integrity of either, or in Punisher’s case, without compromising what was left of the integrity of an emotionless and psychopathic mass murderer who was being used as a guest in seemingly every book at Marvel to increase sales.  We talked about his ubiquity here at The Unspoken Decade when we covered Darkhawk.  I mean, who could possibly bridge this chasm?

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 6

According to both of the publishers involved, enter Batton Lash:

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 4
If they had gone with the whole metal detectors story that Victor mentions, it would have been a debacle on the level of the Segway, a vehicle that PEOPLE STILL RIDE.

Batton Lash concocted a premise that would work for both universes, and the only caveat that any Punisher fan might have a quarrel with is the fact that Punisher is working with the feds in order to bring in our villain, and he has agreed to bring this quarry in alive.

Being the gigantic Punisher fan I am, I understand their point.  Frank Castle ain’t known for playing nice with the feds.  It’s basically the real world equivalent of teaming up Kruschev and Kennedy.  That’s something that just won’t and should not work; however, if one thinks about it, Punisher is always compromising.  I have seen numerous Punisher team-ups with Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Captain America where Castle agrees not to kill anyone (one example being The Omega Effect).  I think too often, folks think Punisher=murderer, and while yes, he is indeed a serial killer, what one should really think is Punisher=Force of Nature.  While Punisher would greatly prefer to murder his adversaries, it is much more important for him to achieve his goals.  This means making temporary alliances, such as the ones I named earlier (or even the times he makes temporary alliances with criminals, such as in Punisher:  P.O.V. ) in order to get done whatever it is that Punisher needs to get done at that time.  That’s what makes him a force of nature to me; he allows nothing, not even compromise, to stop his forward progress.

So to me, this isn’t a big deal, although again, I get why some Punisher fans cannot sign off on it.

The twist of the story, though, is almost 100% an Archie gag, and man, it is a good one.

No character in an Archie comic book has ever looked sleazier, and that's saying something because REGGIE MANTLE is an Archie character.
No character in an Archie comic book has ever looked sleazier, and that’s saying something because REGGIE MANTLE is an Archie character.

So Punisher heads for Riverdale in search of the mookiest doppelgänger in the history of mooks, doppelgänger, and mooky doppelgängers.  Of course, this leads to trouble due to our mook’s resemblance to Archie.  Also, call Guinness and let them know I just set the record for more uses of mook in a paragraph.

Are these the first crosshairs in the history of Archie?
Are these the first crosshairs in the history of Archie?

Could it really end this quickly?  Nope.  This is a crossover folks, and you don’t need ‘ol Dean Compton to let you know that crossovers can’t end this fast, especially not when there are 48 PAGES!  NO ADS!  to fill!  So in what is the biggest swerve since Vince Russo ran WCW (WARNING: WRESTLING JOKE), Archie was only shot by a water gun.  In true Archie fashion, though, this instance leads him into a disagreement with Veronica!

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 11
What does Archie mean about his costume being ridiculous? Isn’t that what he always wears?

So, in true Archie fashion, having already asked one of the ladies out, Archie goes with his second choice, Betty.

I feel really badly for Betty here; who likes being second best?  Betty is a pretty lady; she’s nice, she’s funny, and she’s smart.  Why does she just wait for Archie to call her AFTER he has ruined his chances with Veronica?  Betty should play second fiddle to no one, and neither should anyone reading this.  Learn from Betty, folks!

Punisher in the meantime, heads for Riverdale, very unaware of it and very prepared for it to be a cesspool.  Even his super genius partner, Microchip, apparently has never heard of Riverdale, despite it being a suburb of New York and how, with a name like Microchip, he is required to know EVERYTHING.  That’s one of the few things I learned from 80’s movies.

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 13

Of course, it takes little time for Archie’s doppelgänger to insert himself into Archie’s circle in Riverdale, and of course, what would an Archie comic be without Veronica (or possibly Betty) making Archie jealous via the most emotionally devastating weapon in the history of mankind:

THE DATE WITH ANOTHER GUY!

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 14

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 15
How did Mr. Lodge and Veronica miss Melvin’s act of child abuse that occurred right in front of them?

Emily and I often watch this show, American Greed, on CNBC that focuses on how folks scam rich people, and we both find it shocking how easy rich folks get scammed.  Like, it seems that the only thing required to scam a rich person is to know one and to then ask them for money.

Mr. Lodge is no exception, as it seems that Melvin just SHOWS UP and tells him of his business exploits, and Lodge cannot unlock all of his safes and vaults fast enough.  Also, doesn’t it seem like acquiring a business would be small potatoes to Mr. Lodge?

Speaking of safes and vaults, wouldn’t you like to see Uncle Scrooge and Mr. Lodge have a crossover?  I have seen Mr. Lodge do regular swimming in one of those old timey swimsuits that are always hilarious, but I bet he could swim though coins just like Uncle Scrooge.

BAM!  There’s the premise!  They can have a coin swimming race.  You.  Yes, you.  Call Archie and Disney and let them know about my idea and tell them to GET IT BOOKED.

Still, fun times are happening, at least until Punisher shows up and has the emo Punisher moment he always has that we all love him for. It is the one shred of humanity that makes us feel compassion for everyone’s favorite skull-chested psychopath…

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 16

Punisher’s last shred of humanity causes him to pass over a malt, which would have led him to those guys in the corner, something I believe would cause even Riverdale denizens to take notice.  Alas, Pop’s dedication to the dollar and fear of government overrides his sense of danger, and those shadow punks take Archie, who is apparently upset that his second choice for a date dared not to wait for him to see if he called her.  Well, Archie is about to have bigger troubles anyhow.

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 18
Archie’s patriotism is not be questioned, but neither is Jughead’s insatiable power to mooch.

I wonder what Pops is hiding that he doesn’t want to be audited.  Maybe Riverdale ain’t so squeaky clean after all!

While Archie’s life is in danger, the faux Archie shows up at the dance with Veronica.  He quickly shows the biggest difference between him and Archie is that he’s such a giant dick that perennial dick Reggie Mantle is put off by him.  If Reggie Mantle thinks you’re a creep, you must be a creep on a galaxy level.  Or at the very least, the type of person Punisher likes to kill catch for the feds.

Reggies smile as he puts his arm on Melvin always makes me smile.  It is the best creepy smile in the history of comics, and if you disagree, you can start your own blog and talk about it.
Reggie’s smile as he puts his arm on Melvin always makes me smile. It is the best creepy smile in the history of comics, and if you disagree, you can start your own blog and talk about it.

Man, Betty is awesome.  She’s the only one who wonders where Archie is and what’s going on.  Archie is making our crossover complete, as Punisher follows the criminals who kidnapped him.  Get ready Archie, because you are about to meet The Punisher.

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 20

Yes, Archie, The Punisher.

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 24

That may be the image that makes the book.  Also, Punisher would probably have had an easier time differentiating Melvin and Archie if he had, you know, OPENED HIS EYES.

Of course, no matter how ominous that panel may look, Punisher at some point decides that pointing a gun is just a smidge safer if one opens their eyes, and he realizes that Archie is not his prey.

Archie manages to get away with an assist from his pal Jughead, which I love.  In the face of imminent death, Jughead and Archie are best friends, and he finds a way to help his pal.  We’d all like to be that person; perhaps you can find the Jughead in you.  I have done so via massive consumption of fast food.  You’ll have to find your own path, however.

For real though, this is an incident that exemplifies what I spoke of when I sad that Batton Lash showed us these characters together without violating the integrity of either set of characters, and this little bit with Jughead helping Archie speaks volumes to that.

Archie does exactly what America’s favorite whitebread teen would do, or also what most sane folks would do, and that is telling the cops that Punisher is loose in Riverdale and that some mob guys have kidnapped him.

Hopefully, you have not been as big an idiot as Mr. Andrews has when he has called the police in the past.

I am not sure that Archie blew that undercover cop's cover so much as the uniformed cop did when he informed the entire world that this guy wasn't a spy, but rather he was an undercover cop.
I am not sure that Archie blew that guy’s cover so much as the uniformed cop did when he informed the entire world that he was an undercover cop, not a spy.

Why are Archie and Jughead winking like they got over on the cops?  I mean, not only are the cops obviously not going to help, but you asked them for help.  You didn’t fool anyone.

I do enjoy the touch here where Archie’s concern is for his parents, not himself.  Again, Lash shows us Archie’s character simply and naturally.

Also, that is the worst undercover cop ever.  He looks like every stranger I was warned about in elementary school, and he would fool no one into believing he is not with the fuzz.

Of course, once we see Punisher interact with Riverdale’s finest, we see that maybe they don’t know much about policing, possibly because they have no crime.

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 29 Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 30

Riverdale cops don’t put up with anything.  They hadn’t even run the tags and they were already demanding that Microchip get out of the van!  Where’s Occupy Riverdale to deal with this?

Archie goes to the dance where his doppelgänger is, and that’s when we see some gunplay and some great infiltration skill displayed by Punisher.   Also, Archie and his pals are sharp, except for Jughead, who has more courage than brains, it seems.

Do they really need Reggie to warn Veronica?  Wouldn't that really just take one of them?
Do they really need Reggie to warn Veronica? Wouldn’t that really just take one of them?

Punisher gets emo again during his infiltration of the school, and he also stumbles upon the reason that Betty tolerates so much from Archie.  Graffiti.

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 33
The way he is looking at that sign, I feel as though Punisher would murder a litterbug to maintain Riverdale’s innocence.

Melvin proves he is not Archie in another way, but the really fun thing is the little Easter Eggs stuck in everywhere.  One of my favorites is a conversation between Katy Keene and Millie the Model!

But let’s not make light of Veronica sticking up for herself, or the cluelessness of Mr. Weatherbee.  How can folks really confuse this guy for Archie once they are up close?

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 34
Mr. Weatherbee’s response to being physically accosted is to make sure his tie is cool. That seems appropriate.

Punisher’s infiltration works like a charm, maybe too charming, as Miss Grundy basically offers to marry Frank Castle on the spot, while Flutesnoot gives Castle the cover he needs to continue to monitor this dance, as Riverdale High is expecting a new gym teacher.

Also, the caterers now have guns and are after Melvin, but you’ll have to read that to find out how that happens; I can’t give it all to you, folks!

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 35
Mr. Weatherbee know that if the food ain’t out for the guests, a party will die.

Miss Grundy knows what she wants when she sees it!  You have got to like that!  Miss Grundy is also a woman who would never let you down and definitely carry her fair share in a relationship (probably more, as my beloved Emily does.  Check out some of her work under the Archives!)

Oh Moose, you want to help so badly.

Punisher and Archie finally find themselves able to sort out their identity crisis, and they pool their resources, which leads to what s, in my mind, the funniest moment in the book.  Archie’s War Journal.  To think of it is to chuckle, but to read it is to laugh until one’s ribs ache.

Jughead apparently managed to pay off his tab, as he is waving that hamburger around like that drunk guy at 4th of July parties does.  You know the one.
Jughead apparently managed to pay off his tab, as he is waving that hamburger around like that drunk guy at 4th of July parties does. You know the one.

There’s lots more, but if I keep going, I am just going to wind up ruining the entire book for you!  The last image I shall leave you with is one of the best Easter Eggs in the book, that being the Spider-Man/Shield crossover!

Note that I said Shield, and not S.H.I.E.L.D.  Shield, for anyone who doesn’t know, is an old patriotic Archie character, and I believe he is the first patriotic superhero, predating even Marvel’s Sentinel Of Liberty, Captain America himself!  At this point of the 90’s Shield had been in limbo since the end of DC’s Impact Comics line (which we will definitely be covering here at The Unspoken Decade and soon!).  I don’t known when the next time after Archie Meets Punisher we would see him, but I do know it would be a while.  We also have Sonic the Hedgehog, which Archie licensed and published.  If memory serves, it was quite successful for quite some time, and it had appeal to multiple markets, as kids like my cousin would buy it, even though they did not care for comic books in general, because it had Sonic, Tails, and all the characters from that universe in it.

It only happens in balloon form, but it happens, kids.  It totally happens.

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 45

To find out how Archie, Punisher, and the gang save the day, you’ll just have to read the rest yourself.  Normally I have no qualms about spoiling comic books published twenty years ago, but in this case, I don’t want to reveal all of the magic.

There’s a true art to combining franchises that is usually done in a heavy-handed manner and appears clumsy.  Take a gander at the first Aliens vs. Predator movie if you need to reminded.  Actually, don’t.  I don’t want to ruin movies forever for you.

In this case, the amalgamation of the Archie/Punisher universes is done so effortlessly that one almost instinctively knows that this was a lot of hard work, as nothing so slick could ever be easy.  Lash, Goldberg, J. Buscema, and Palmer are to be commended over and over for taking these two wrongs and making them into something right.

I also cannot help but believe that this was the genesis for Archie publications like the Afterlife with Archie zombie stories or the recent death of Archie in Life with Archie.  Hell, without this comic book, we might not even have had the adult Archie stories in Life With Archie that preceded his demise.

I think this is the first time in a long time that Archie Comics stretched what an Archie comic could be, and while it may not have paid immediate dividends, it did impact the line in the future.  For Punisher, not so much, as he dove right into another crossover right after this one.  In fact, despite my saying that was the last image earlier, here’s one more.  Check out the rest of the Super Blog Team Up at the links under the pic, and thanks for dropping by the Unspoken Decade!

Punisher Meets Archie - When Worlds Collide #435 - Page 50

Super Blog Team-Up 4:  Team Up, Tear Down

  1. Bronze Age Babies:  FF/Doom, Red Skull/Cap, Joker/Batman
  2. In My Not So Humble Opinion:  Solomon Kane and Conan!
  3. Between the Pages:  World’s Finest Couple: Lois Lane/Bruce Wayne
  4. Flodo’s Page:  Green Lantern and the Little Green Man
  5. Superhero Satellite:  Superman & The Masters of the Universe 
  6. Longbox Graveyard:  Thing/Thing
  7. Superior Spider-Talk:  Spider-Man and the Coming of Razorback
  8. The Daily Rios:  New Teen Titans/DNAgents
  9. The Middle Spaces:  Super-Hegemonic Team-Up! 
  10. Chasing Amazing:  A Once in a Timeline Team-Up
  11. Retroist:  Dr. Doom/Dr. Strange
  12. Fantastiverse:  Superman/Spider-Man
  13. Mystery V-Log-Avengers #1