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Marvel Fanfare #29: Review

Nov 1986
John Byrne, John Byrne

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Story Name:

A Terrible Thing to Waste

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Marvel Fanfare #29 Review by (March 17, 2021)

Review: Impressive art accompanies flawed storytelling in this dual story issue. First, John Byrne gives us a Hulk story told in all full-page panels and looks very nice; the theme is to show that Mindless Hulk isn’t entirely mindless, he remembers all of his friends. But the Indian turns out to be Scourge of the Underworld in disguise. Wait, why would he set a trap all that way out in the desert to kill two bad guys (Hammer and Anvil)? And why would he create a trap that supposedly depends on the Hulk, not the most reliable of heroes, to succeed? And why would John Byrne want to link a nice story to the odd ongoing tale of Scourge, who would pop up unexpectedly in various comics to kill a C-list baddie and who would be taken down by Captain America in a less than satisfying story arc? No idea.

Then there’s the Cap story, told with a minimum of dialogue, making it mostly an action tale—and a very good one too. It’s the added lesson that falls short. Why do the two kids, the bully and his victim, becomes pals in the end? Inspired by Captain America? Well, yeah but all they see is his strength and courage, so it makes sense that the smart kid starts exercising but how does this lead to the bully studying science? It wasn’t Reed Richards who saved him and Cap doesn’t speak to the kids to tell them about being nice to one another so the lesson looks like it was just tossed in, possibly by editorial fiat. It’s a nice message but it doesn’t follow from the story.

Comments: Editor Al Milgrom provides illustrated introductions for each story. Issue includes a back-cover illustration of Captain America by Norm Breyfogle. The title to the first story is a play on “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” motto of the United Negro College Fund; the second story’s title really isn’t a title. The Scourge of the Underworld storyline wrapped up in CAPTAIN AMERICA #320. One of the letters on the letter page is by future Marvel writer Barry Dutter.



Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvel Fanfare #29 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

An elderly Indian waits in the desert for the Hulk who arrives and instinctively wants to smash the old man. But the Indian says the word “friend” and Hulk suddenly calms down. [At this time Hulk has been separated from Bruce Banner and is supposedly mindless.] The man lights a brazier of incense and that keeps Hulk calm, thinking about all the people he’s ever known. The Indian goes into hiding and soon Hammer and Anvil arrive and attack Hulk. Hulk naturally knocks them down, surprising them because he is supposed to be mindless. Before the battle gets too intense, though, the Indian shoots Hammer in the face which, because of their deep link, leads to Anvil’s death too. The Indian shouts “Justice is served!” (identifying him as Scourge of the Underworld) and escapes, leaving his disguise behind. Hulk picks up the mask and wonders “Friend?”

Writer: Norm Breyfogle. Art: Norm Breyfogle. Color: Bob Sharen. Letters: Norm Breyfogle.
Synopsis: Outside a public school, a bully waits for a smart kid to walk by then knocks his books out of his hands, and then knocks him down, slapping his face. Criminal “Colossal” Craig, pursued by Captain America, smashes up his car then scoops up the two kids as hostages and dashes into the school. Cap pursues him and they engage in a drawn-out battle, the kids getting away and watching from a safe distance. Cap beats the guy and the kids cheer. Later, we see the bully studying science and the smart kid exercising.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

John Byrne
John Byrne
Andy Yanchus
John Byrne (Cover Penciler)
John Byrne (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: John Byrne.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Bruce Banner)

Plus: Anvil (Johnny Anvil), Hammer (Leroy Jackson), Scourge (Scourge of the Underworld).

> Marvel Fanfare: Book info and issue index

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