I love the medium of comics. Just like other people love film, TV, music, photography, or whatever. And just like those other means of expression there are sometimes moments so absurd that they are highly entertaining. Some people are so entertained by bad movies that they call friends over to watch them and laugh all the way through. These bad movies and bad comics are not made on purpose. They’re just made because humans are flawed and have to make decisions while tired, hungry, and underpaid. Sometimes the best one can do is not very good. But the job has to be done. This leads us to giggles.

My latest ha-ha’s came as I was reading a reprint collection of some old comics. Specifically: Essential Super-Villain Team-Up Volume 1. This is large collection of stories from the 1970’s starring Dr.Doom. It was a different type of series from your usual super-hero comic because it starred super-villains rather than the heroes. Each month Dr. Doom would feud with some other villain as each tried to take over the world. Sometimes Doom would try to make an ally out of one of the other villains but there would always be a betrayal. Sometimes there were two or three betrayals a month! This was no “anti-hero” clap trap; these guys were villains! There is some good stuff in the volume especially Astonishing Tales 1-4 which were drawn by Wally Wood. But this was the 1970’s so there is plenty of bad stuff in this volume too.

I came across this gem in Super-Villain Team-Up 1. The rocket fish. You see, Dr. Doom was trying to convince Submariner to be his ally. Or was it the other way around? Every issue they switched of on convincing or betraying each other so it is hard to keep track. Anyway, Subby flew off to his ocean home swearing to not be allied with Doom but Doom wanted to keep track of him anyway. So what does Dr. Doom do? He sends out his flying underwater spy the rocket fish.

What intrigues me the most about the rocket fish if the fact that when it gets over water the rocket drops off and it looks like a normal fish. Since Doom is a master of robotics I have to ask why he didn’t build little rockets right into the fish. Was it beyond his genius? Are these the limits of the bad doctor’s intelect? Maybe he thought Subby’s eagle eyes would be able to spot little built in rockets and give his spy away. Yet Doom didn’t worry that Submariner would notice a rocket fish flying after him. And rockets aren’t quiet.

What made Dr. Doom create his rocket fish as a two stage rocket fish? I would have created a rocket fish that didn’t have to jettison it’s rocket. For a device that was at the ready to track the Submariner back to his ocean home it really wasn’t that well thought out. I think Doom dropped the ball on this one. I think he could have come up with a much more elegant solution to his spying problem. Yes, when I run into moments this absurd as I read comics these are the goofy things that run through my head.

I thought I was done with the rocket fish after it appeared on page six of SVTU 1 and not again in the issue. It was obviously just a silly throw away plot devise so Doom could know where Subby went. Then I read SVTU 2. This is the sweet creamy icing on the cake because the rocket fish had one last plot point left in him. Let the madness continue.

The plot point the rocket fish now had to illuminate depended on the mechanical fish looking as artificial as possible! No more “looks just like a fish” rocket fish.

A bunch of underseas bad guys captured Subby and dragged him onto an island that is acting as their headquarters. As they do this Tiger Shark notices a metal floating fish. Yes, now not only does the rocket fish look robotic but it is actually floating on the surface of the water like a real dead fish. Tiger Shark picks it up and looks at it giving Dr. Doom a good idea that he has to go rescue Submariner now. The rocket fish has fulfilled it’s role as a plot device and goes to its watery grave; crushed in Tiger Shark’s hand. So what that it is a completely different rocket fish than we saw last issue. Maybe it swam so fast that its skin fell off! Maybe a shark bit it! Ahhh.. it doesn’t matter.

Those are mere details. Unimportant details in the grand scheme of bad storytelling. Until next time, keep giggling.