Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

Two parallel universes from two silver age comic book publishers examined ad naseum!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Battling Blondes: Round 7 - Teamup Tribulations!

This week we shift gears away from the solo adventures of our pair of battling blondes, and dissect how well they work with fellow heroes. Actually we had a sneak peak into John Raymond's teammate chemistry, for when  last we saw him the Web worked well with his brother-in-law, Ralph (the Jaguar) Hardy. Only now, we review Web's inter-team dynamics with fellow Mighty Crusaders. And in a first, we consider Peter Cannon's sole documented case alongside the Sentinels of Justice! How well do both fare? Proceed if you dare...

Right from the start, the Web aspired to join the Crusaders, which we've previous joined fellow heroes Captain Flag and the Fox as potential recruits for the team. When that didn't go so well (in part thanks to John's aching back), they decided to go it as the terrific trio known as the Ultra-Men! They were so successful... they never reappeared. At least two of them bonded, that being the Web and Fox, no doubt due to the fact that both were sons of golden agers under the same monikers.


By the time the 1980's rolled around, John's stock had risen much like most of Wall Street, and he was immediately inducted into that decade's incarnation of the Mighty Crusaders. He carried such clout, he brought along good friend Doc Reeves in tow. In fact, he seemed to be the peacemaker in the group, no one had (or at least expressed) ill feelings towards him. However, on one occasion Web displayed some uncharacteristic prejudice towards Thunder Bunny, although he soon learned to trust the rascally rabbit rounding-up rough rogues relentlessly!

During an epic battle to save their allies from the Druid and his mercenary band of supervillains, the Web even faced death plummeting towards the Earth with death-defying fear and a tinge of remorse only for how his beloved Rose would be affected by her loss of her beloved husband! This same pattern of self-sacrifice for his teammates was reflected in his pursuit of evidence absolving his pal the Shield of a murder charge, and of his avenging the death of Reeves at the hands of Sting and the Brain Emperor.

Alas, Peter Cannon's record as a teammate was not quite as sterling! Mister "I can do it I must do it I will do it" was anything but when his world came under the influence of another Earth's Psycho Pirate. While the rest of the Sentinels of Justice were attempting to fight a perceived alien invasion under emotional duress, Thunderbolt uncharacteristically fled into a wall of white anti-matter. Saved by a superspeeding Jay Garrick aka the Flash, Peter was left in the next issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths as a hysterical looking rookie! What caused this change of demeanor for the normally cool/calm/collected hero? No one can say. Bad writing?

Battling Blondes Rating

1.) Story Drama: With more story to draw from and a solid track record of appearances alongside fellow Crusaders, the Web aces this category easily. Poor Thunderbolt needed some better P.R. when he was purchased by DC Comics, which leads to #2...

2.) Imaginative Use of Abilities: While the Web eventually gained exploding "web balls" created by Doc Reeves during the Mighty Crusaders run, it was Thunderbolts unexplained ability to seemingly run at superspeed that earns him a nod. Again, bad writing not referring to the source material when introducing classic characters into today's comics.

3.) Adversary: Thunderbolt faced a faster foe and a more fearsome fiend than had the Web, yet the Web's variety of enemies were varied in their approaches and diverse in their motivations. Attempting to transform humanity into mindless snakes beats out scaring the pants of people such for cheese and grins any old day. Web claims this one by a mile.

4.) Intangibles that Worked: Both in the silver and modern ages, the Web's charm laid in his everyman approach to superheroing, and this was never more clear than how well he worked with other champions possessing greater abilities than he. Had the Pete Cannon we all read and loved in the 60's returned during Crisis, he might have had a chance here.

And so the Web has a clear cut victory in this round, and the score is now 3-2-2 with 3 wins for the Web, 2 for Thunderbolt and 2 ties for the lad. So, as Round 7 is where we finish this epic duel, the Web is the victor but not by much. Hence T-Bolt gains honorable mention.

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