Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What WAS the Comic Battle of the 20th Century? Part 5 - The Thing vs. Thundra!

Continuing my 12-part series reviewing comic books that claim The Battle/Fight/Bout/Showdown of the Century on their covers. Today's battle---

The Thing vs. Thundra! First presented in Fantastic Four #133, 1973. Written by Gerry Conway (a man). Drawn by Ramona Fradon (a woman). Inks by Joe Sinnott.

Note that the cover claims not only is it “The Battle of the Century”, it’s of “Any Century!”  Basically, this is the greatest battle of all-time! This is going to be insane!!!

They are fighting because Thundra wants to fight. She’s incredibly straight-forward about it.

But before we get to that, I have a quick detour I'd like to make. In the Fantastic Four #25 (which we looked at two days ago), Ben refused to take an antidote to change him back to human because he was afraid his girlfriend, Alica, would no longer love him. Of course everyone thought that was ridiculous! However, in this issue of the FF, we get this panel with Alica--

Well, well.

This all takes place on New Year’s Eve at Times Square. Thundra stops the clock to challenge the Thing to a duel in Shea Stadium, in three days. She’s up high, so the Human Torch goes after her. Thundra breaks off a clock hand, uses it as a giant fan blade and blows out the Torch’s flame. Then she gets all sexist, and throws snow on him as an added bonus.

Oh! Medusa is in this comic too. The Invisible Girl’s away. (Just a little tidbit. Totally irrelevant to the story.)

Thundra grabs Alica to insure the Thing will show up for battle.

Reed is anxious to get back to FF headquarters, so this happens--

I’m hoping this is how they get around in the upcoming movie.

Note: Important Factoid: This story takes place in early 1973, during a high social awareness of the lack of sexual equality. Feminism was in the news quite often. Later in ’73 is the famous “Battle of the Sexes,” with Billie Jean King facing Bobby Riggs on the tennis court. (Look it up, if you must.) So, of course, in the Marvel universe, this battle has caught the attention of the entire nation!

It turns out that Thundra is a part of the Frightful Four! Their hideout is an old water tower, which I think is cool. It’s kinda like a tree house.

The day has arrived!

I'm not sure why everyone looks angry. Soon, Thundra shows up and throws the referee aside. Referee? I'm not sure what he was going to do anyway.

Thundra immediately grabs Ben and throws him out of the stadium. Home run!

No worries. He lands on a buffalo.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Frightful Four are upset because their plan was to blow up the stadium and get rid of both the Thing and Thundra! It turns out she's not much of a "team player."

The battle continues on top of a giant globe. It's not much of a fight. 

Thundra basically beats on Ben for a couple of pages. He did better in his other Battle of the Century against the Hulk.

Suddenly (and this comes out of NOWHERE!), Reed has a gun that changes the Thing back into regular ol’ Ben Grimm!

Thundra says, "...You've won this round, Ben Grimm." What?! He didn't win! He was losing, and on top of that, the Fantastic Four cheated!

Thundra flies away on that very convenient flying disc of hers. It was never really explained why she wanted to fight in the first place. For women's rights in the 70's, I guess. Later, she attacks the Frightful Four and returns Alica to Ben, all off-panel.

Perhaps... metaphorically. If you consider the Thundra and Thing skirmish to be the comic book “battle of the sexes”, then maybe it IS the Battle of the Century. It pits one half of the population against the other!

But... I’m not going to do that. The fight was too lame.

The Battle of the Century title remains with the Hulk/Thing fight of ’64. At least as of 1973.

Come back Friday for Part 6! Superman vs. Spider-Man!!!


Jonster said...

The "giant globe" is the Unisphere from the 1964 World's Fair:


Kerry Callen said...

Thanks, Jonster. I had that in my initial write-up, but edited it down for a shorter read.

Anonymous said...