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Strange Tales 167
"Armageddon!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND April, 1968

STAN LEE Editor

JIM STERANKO Writer/Illustrator

JOE SINNOTT Inker

SAM ROSEN Letterer

STEVE CHUNG
Reviewer

Merely One Of The Greatest Teams Marvel Has Ever Assembled!

(Originally Reviewed On October 31, 2001)

On the cover, Nick Fury and his agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division), Val, Clay Quartermain, Dum-Dum Dugan, Jimmy Woo, and The Gaffer rush forward, bearing Sterankoesque SHIELD guns and rifles, while defending Old Glory, which proudly waves behind them!

With Jimmy Woo about to die in The Yellow Claw's death-trap, the villain's daughter, Su-Wan, saved the man she loved, but perished in the attempt, while her father and Nick Fury were in close combat! Now wishing that he had died in her place, he places the blame on both men, who also blame the other for her death!

The next moment finds The Yellow Claw's base of operations under attack by underwater mechanical borers, from which spring SHIELD's Suicide Squad, who attack with the force of a tidal wave, while Nick Fury fires his gun, Clay Quartermain cracks a grin, as one of The Claw's men seeks to club him!

On a platform, Dum-Dum Dugan punches another of The Claw's men, while The Contessa shoots at another from beneath the platform, with The Gaffer preparing to fire at the marksman who would shoot her, and Jimmy Woo is oblivious to all of this, cradling the dead form of Su-Wan, while Gabe Jones is tackled by two of The Claw's men, and The Yellow Claw uses his mental powers to fade away from this most impressive tableau!

With Nick having The Claw in his sights, the next moment finds his shot going through the villain, and Val greets The Director, telling him how they found his dye marker, but Nick is upset that he has fouled up again, but he still has a trump card to play, having planted a bug on The Claw as they grappled! Using his pseudo-elliptoid wrist tracer (Holy Chester Gould, Batman!), Nick knows that The Yellow Claw is making his getaway. Breaking into a nearby chamber, Nick sees The Yellow Claw activating his infinity sphere, which enters into the space-time continuum beyond his reach! (Holy Infinity Effect, Batman! I bet even The Yellow Claw couldn't be seen in a crossover event!)

Having passed by many of The Claw's experimental devices, Nick rushes towards the prototype warp-vest, which The Yellow Claw had on when SHIELD arrived. Activating it, Nick seeks to lock onto The Claw's interdimensional path!

The Yellow Claw gloats, knowing that he has to merely activate the nuclear detonator, and his base, located beneath New York's East River will explode, with the force of a thousand volcanic eruptions! No sooner does he begin to grin, that he hears footsteps behind him, and The Claw turns, and sees The Director of SHIELD, whose fellow agents must have perished in the explosion, but upon seeing his silent foe, The Claw notices the warp-vest, and is annoyed that the normally verbose Fury is seemingly under a code of silence. The Claw sees Nick remove his eye-patch, then prepares to unleash his psychic storm, which once brought Nick to his knees, but now The Director of SHIELD speaks, and it's over for The Yellow Claw, as his psychic storm ricochets against the special circuitry beneath Nick's eye-patch!

The infinity sphere continues on its timeless path, with both men engaged in a psychic duel, and it is The Yellow Claw who topples this time, thanks to the mind-amplifying apparatus which SHIELD built for Nick! Seeing The Claw in agony, Nick vows that New York will not be blown up on his watch, thanks to an explosion-absorber, and the damage done was to The Claw's own base. Striding forward, Nick introduces The Claw to The Satan Claw, using it to cut open his armor, but what is beneath the armor is the stuff of nightmare, as he sees the prone form of The Yellow Claw is nothing more than the remains of a sophisticated robot!

Within the walls of a Latverian Castle, The Prime-Mover's sensors indicate The Yellow Claw's defeat by Nick Fury, as white king has taken the opponent king! The SHIELD rooks have brought down its opponent's pawns, and the game of chess has ended, with the humanoid chess-pieces defeated by Nick Fury and his agents of SHIELD... Checkmate!

Victor Von Doom claims to have wearied of the game some time ago, and the game had gone on for month after month. It was a momentary amusement for Dr. Doom to have SHIELD face off against his humanoid chess-pieces, and the computer-complex has allowed The Lord of Latveria some sport, indeed. Although claiming not to be a poor loser, beneath the iron mask, he despises SHIELD for their triumph over his superior weaponry and technology, and must now devote his full attention to more pressing matters, but the thought occurs to him to someday challenge SHIELD in person...

A patriotic cover, with Classic Nick Fury and His Agents of SHIELD by Jim Steranko.

Although the fight went on between Nick and The Yellow Claw, Jimmy Woo's will to live ended when Su-Wan died. The True Yellow Claw and Su-Wan would appear in the pages of Captain America's mag in the '70s (Cap #165-167, I think), with Su-Wan being revived by her uncle, and possessed by an ancient Egyptian Queen of Evil, only to be killed when the spell is broken by The Yellow Claw, and be turned to dust.

The four pages comprising SHIELD's timely arrival at The Yellow Claw's base was depicted by Steranko on four pages. Truly a scene of titanic proportions.

A pseudo-elliptoid wrist-tracer. Not only am I amazed that Nick can say it, but I wonder if Reed moonlighted as The SHIELD Director, having no shortage for big words, but that would be stretching it a bit.

The Infinity Sphere runs on pure Steranko, making me wonder if The In-Betweener was having any ill effect from this battle, on par with kidney stones. Only Jim Starlin would know, I suppose.

Nick Fury and The Yellow Claw see eye-to-eye, with Nick striving to "patch" up their differences, and The Yellow Claw turning out to be a shell once The Satan Claw was introduced.

The Prime-Mover and Dr. Doom played another game in the pages of Master Of Kung-Fu in the late '70s/early '80s, I believe.

One wonders what a game between The Prime-Mover and The Grandmaster would be like. (Holy Kasperov, Batman!)

Steve Chung
"Armageddon Review!"