Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Monday, January 28, 2019

In the Cards

Power Man & Iron Fist #64 pits the heroic duo against evil brothers Muerte (Death) and Suerte (Luck). Suerte's talents enable him to win a game of poker against other crime bosses within the issue. Although Suerte uses ordinary playing cards in the story, the cover creatively pictures the heroes and villains on a hand of cards. Trying to find irrefutable meaning in the cards, however, is challenging.

As the stars of the series, Power Man and Iron Fist both appear on the cover as Aces. Power Man's suit is Clubs while Iron Fist is Diamonds. (Within the issue, incidentally, Bob Diamond of the Sons of the Tiger describes himself as an "ace" martial artist and a sparring partner to Iron Fist.)

As for the villains, Suerte appears as the Eight of Diamonds—the same suit as Iron Fist. Suerte's pet cat is also an Eight but instead holds the suit of Clubs—the same suit as Power Man. Meanwhile, Muerte appears as the Jack of Spades—a different rank and suit from everyone else on the cover.

Bob Layton illustrated Power Man & Iron Fist #64 (August 1980).

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Ambiguous Amphibian

Introduced in Avengers #148 as the resident water-breather of the Squadron Supreme, the character Amphibion was an homage to Aquaman of the Justice League of America. In fact, The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe revealed that Amphibion's given name was Kingsley Rice, a play on Aquaman's secret identity of Arthur Curry.

During a showdown between the Squadron Supreme and the Avengers (#148), Amphibion faced Hellcat on her first adventure since donning the costume previously worn by the hero Cat. Reminiscent of the chauvinism Cat had faced, Amphibion dismissed Hellcat as a member of the "weaker sex"; Hellcat, however, easily defeated him.

During that first appearance, Amphibion commented on his mother's human heritage, implying that his father wasn't human. Amphibion also described himself as "King of the Seven Seas" (not necessarily a royal title like Prince of Atlantis).

By the time the Squadron Supreme appeared in Defenders #112-114, Amphibion had changed the spelling of his name to Amphibian.

In the 12-part Squadron Supreme limited series, Amphibian referred to his "sea-born muscles" (#4) and "my native ocean" (#6) without offering further insight into his past.

The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (deluxe edition) described Amphibian as a mutant, yet the possibility of a more complicated origin remains. After all, the half-human, half-Atleantean Sub-Mariner met the criteria for membership in Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

This image of Amphibian appeared with the Squadron Supreme entry in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (deluxe edition).