Friday, August 13, 2010
TOP FEMALE/MALE FIGHTS IN COMICS #4
Thundra first appeared in 1972's FANTASTIC FOUR #129,courtesy of Roy Thomas and John Buscema, replacing Medusa as the distaff member of the villainous Frightful Four (even as, around that same time, Medusa displaced the Invisible Girl from the starring hero-team). Despite her alliance, Thundra had no particular interest in being a super-criminal, or doing anything except proving female superiority by beating the stones off the orange carapace of the FF's strongest member, the Thing. However, a lot of these early fights were pretty short of duration, as if editor Thomas was trying to keep the two combatants from having any prolonged bouts, perhaps to whet the fans' appetites for more. Not until MARVEL TWO IN ONE #56, about seven years after Thundra's premiere, did the redheaded amazon and the orange-skinned "idol o'millions" have a fight of a respectable length of roughly four pages (as I recall; can't find the damn issue). And even here, collaborators Gruenwald, Macchio and Perez gave Thundra a bit of a handicap, for as John Byrne's cover shows, the Thing has to fight with one arm in a sling. It's still the best Thing-Thundra fight I've seen, though.
Thundra's one of those characters who never quite seemed to find her mission in the Marvel Universe, possibly because of being retroactively tied in with the futuristic "Femizon" race that had first appeared, Thundra-less, in SAVAGE TALES #1 (1971). The tie-in seemed a cute continuity-nod at the time, but it may have handicapped the character's development. Recently an alternate-world version of Thundra used a kind of artificial insemination to give birth to the Daughter of the Hulk (who's under consideration for an entry on this blog). It would be ironic if the character of Thundra has become better-known in present-day Marvel for the quintessentially-feminine aspect of maternity than for being a world-class butt-kicker.