Comics : Bubble Funnies: #4 - Spider-Woman vs. Doctor Doom

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: A Word From Our Sponsor

This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

These Bubble Funnies are "trading card" sized mini-comics produced by Marvel Comics Group (a division of Cadence Industries Corporation at that time) and Amurol Products Company, who presumably provided the bubble gum.

Specifically, the six mini-comics in this series were 2 3/8" x 3 5/8". They featured 10 pages of story with two panels per page. The main story pages were spine-stapled. There is also a fold-out back flap which covered the bubble gum which, 28 years on, is a 1 1/4" x 2 7/8" pink rectangle of a slightly perfumed substance which I do not intend to put into my mouth under any circumstances.

The six comics featured: Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Woman, Archie and Sabrina. The last two features characters property of Archie Comic Publications, Inc. not Marvel.

In Detail...

Bubble Funnies: #4 - Spider-Woman vs. Doctor Doom
Year 1981 : SM Spin-Off
Publisher:  Marvel Comics Group
Sponsor:  Amurol Products Company
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Page 1: To cure her of a fatal disease, young Jessica Drew's father injected her with a serum of spider blood! She gained unbelievable powers - and now, with her glider wings and her spider sting, she is - the Mysterious Spider-Woman!

Hmm... is it actually possible to be "cured of a fatal disease". Surely "fatal" means "inevitable death". The fact that she survived must mean that in fact it was not a fatal disease. Is it really wise to base an entire character on such a flawed premise?

Damn! I'm doing it again! These stories are not meant to be dissected or analyzed. MUST... RESIST... APPLYING... RULES OF LOGIC...

Page 2 (panel 1): One day Jessica (just co-incidentally hanging around out of costume on a rooftop) sees what seems to be a kidnapping of "Prof James - world's foremost specialist in PLASTIC SURGERY!" Wow, she's pretty good. Could you (based on a brief view of the back of a man's head from twenty yards away) identify and name the world's foremost plastic surgeon? In fact, given that according to a National Geographic Survey half of young Americans can't locate New York on a map, you have to applaud Spider-Woman's superb ability to keep abreast of such key facts and influential personalities.

Page 2 (panel 2): "Using her spider powers to climb to the rooftop" (the rooftop that the previous panel showed her already on top of) "Jessica sees... they've got their own private plane waiting..." Yes, and there it is, only a hundred yards away. That's pretty convenient. I find it tough to find a car park in town near to the Dentist's surgery. And yet these guys managed to find a landing strip for their private jet within a minute's drive of their kidnapping spot. Bad guys have all the luck!

Page 3: Spider-Woman can't fly fast enough to catch the plane. But she does see... "LATVERIA" written in giant letters on the side of the private plane. Hmm... who can be behind it all?

Anyhow, Spider-Woman immediately calls the police and reports the kidnapping. No, just kidding. She takes a commercial flight to Latveria.

Page 4: In Latveria, Jessica Drew walks up the front door of Doctor Doom's castle and asks to see Doctor Doom. Strangely, that doesn't work too well. So later that night she sneaks in as Spider-Woman.

Page 5: Spider-Woman incapacitates two guards.

Page 6: Spider-Woman sneaks round a corner and sees Doctor Doom talking to Prof. James on a castle walkway. Outside. In the cold. Doom, naturally, is demanding that Prof. James restore his face. He is the only man who can help him.

Wow, I didn't realize that there was such a gap between the best plastic surgeon in the world and the second best. The best can restore his face. None of the others can do a damn thing for him. Freaky!

Page 7: Prof. James asks what will happen if he refuses. The answer of course... is DEATH. Though, I can't see why he would refuse. He's a plastic surgeon, right? Why would he refuse? Surely Doom would reward him. So what's the big deal. It's not like he's being asked to build an atomic bomb.

Page 8: But Spider-Woman helpfully leaps in at this point - to be immediately captured by Doom, who threatens to kill her if Prof. James won't help.

Page 9: Instead of just saying "sure, I'll do it... I would have done it anyhow", the Professor grabs Doom's gauntlets. "You fool! My gauntlets are electified!" The Professor's hands are ruined.

So... what have we learned? (1) Electricity burns, it doesn't shock people. (2) Doom's gloves are always electrified and he can't turn them off (I guess he uses a plastic fork to eat dinner). (3) Spider-Woman (being held at the time) is immune to electricity.

Page 10: Well, Prof. James' hands are ruined - though they may heal, and the Prof says he will come back later. Doctor Doom is ashamed by his actions, and says that Spider-Woman and the Prof. are free to go.

In General...

So, thanks to Spider-Woman's intervention... Doctor Doom must live with his disfigurement, and the world's greatest plastic surgeon suffers potentially permanent damage to his hands. Once again, Jessica Drew saves the day!

Overall Rating...

The gum smells. The comic stinks... so bad that it's good. Four webs.