Chaos at the Earth’s Core
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Gil Kane
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Jean Izzo
Originally published: January 1974
What’s up with the “everybody!” credit for the inkers? That’s just weird.
Spider-Man and Mr. Fantastic versus the Mole Man. When I was a kid watching the old 60s Spider-Man show, the Mole Man was always one of my favourite villains. I found the idea of people living under the surface of the earth — undetected — completely fascinating. I also have always loved the character design on him for some reason, especially his bitchin glasses. Because of this history with the character, I was pretty stoked to read this issue, the first in my project featuring the Mole Man. (Note: he’s shown up twice before, but never as a main character.)
First of all, I loved Gil Kane’s art in this. Regular readers know that I flip flop on Kane all the time, but this is one of his better issues, in my opinion. Check out the expression on Mole Man’s face here:
…or this amazing laser cannon page:
Good stuff. The story moves along at a nice clip, but the dialogue feels unpolished. My biggest complain is that my high hopes for the Mole Man were let down here. He’s not bad, but he doesn’t have much characterization beyond simple mad-scientist clichés. This was still an entertaining story, though, and the art pushes it up past average calibre.
Note that once again, Spider-Man is completely unaffected by the death of “an almost-infinite number of” subterraneans, the Basilisk and (evidently) the Mole Man. He doesn’t even bat an eye. It’s weird.