I just finished reading X-Men #50, and that means it’s time for another update. Here’s what happened in the Marvel Universe in November of 1968. (with the usual exclusions) Note: Since a few annuals were published this time, and Spectacular Spider-Man contains tangental events, some of the continuity is off, Norman Osborn knows he’s Green Goblin, then he doesn’t, then he does, then maybe he does, but he doesn’t, but yeah. I have yet to reconcile this cleanly in my mind, so I won’t bother to tell you how I think it all fits together.
Mysterio escapes incarceration and plots his revenge against Spider-Man. During this time, Norman Osborn remembers that he was the Green Goblin and that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Falling into Mysterio’s trap, Spider-Man is miniaturized to a six inch height.
Doctor Faustus, who Captain America has been seeing for therapy, attempts to drive Cap mad with nightmare pills. Cap gets wise and is able to defeat the evil doctor.
Quasimodo, now a villain on his own, sends his computerized minions against the Earthlings, but Mar-vell devises a way to defeat him while still proving his loyalty to the Kree.
Mr. Fantastic, Thing, and Torch travel back to the negative zone and steal a cosmic power source from Annihilus to use to save Sue Storm and the baby she is about to have. Franklin Richards, though not yet named at the time, is born healthy at last.
In an attempt to escape the continued pursuit of men who wish to hunt him down, Hulk flees and finds himself in the Savage Land. He reverts to Bruce Banner and in that human form is recruited by Ka-Zar to stop a doomsday weapon that will destroy both worlds.
Dane Whitman, the new Black Knight, is given the Ebony Blade, rightfully inheriting the mantle of the timeless hero.
Destiny, masquerading as Paul Destine, a politician running for president, draws Prince Namor into a fight which ends in a standstill, though it appears Namor dies. In a ridiculously non sequitur moment of complete and total lunacy, Destiny kills himself. In the nearly 800 issues of Marvel comics I have read since FF #1, this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen.
Lord Nekron makes a bargain with Satannish, who grants him power if he supplies another human to take his place as prey to the demon. Nekron lures Doctor Strange and Victoria Bentley into a trap to make the exchange, but Strange defeats the upstart sorceror, condemning him to the fate Satannish has planned for him.
Norman Osborn remembers that he is Green Goblin (again?). He plans a party for Peter and his friends, fully intending to out the teenager and kill him. Once Peter is aware that Osborn’s memory has returned, he creates a diversion, flees the trap, and later confronts the Green Goblin as Spider-Man. Using the Goblin’s own psychedelic pumpkins against him, Spider-Man effectively erases Osborn’s memory again.
Meanwhile, or perhaps either before or after : /, Peter Parker uncovers the truth about his parents’ death as spies. He travels to the Middle East to track down someone who might know what happened and eventually discovers that not only were they apparently spies, they also worked directly for the Red Skull. Red Skull, catching Spider-Man in his hideout, confirms instead that Peter’s parents were counter-spies and loyal to the USA. Spider-Man escapes feeling better about his legacy.
The Fantastic Four aid Wyatt Wingfoot in defeating a communist-built robot meant to resemble an ancient legend of Wyatt’s people: Tomazooma, the Walking Totem. The robot’s purpose is to cause the Native American tribe to flee the land, which is oil rich. The FF defeat the robot with Wyatt’s people’s help.
The Gladiator, now even more powerful after using designs he stole from his previous employer, the Masked Marauder, joins the Maggia. Whitney Frost, still acting as Big M, engineers a heist of Tony Stark’s weapon plans. Iron Man faces the stronger Gladiator while the Maggia muscle close in on Stark’s factory, endangering an unsuspecting Jasper Sitwell.
Cosmic refugees from another universe are willing to destroy Earth to open a portal back to their own dimension. Nick Fury and an unexpected ally from within the alien refugees are successful in preventing the cataclysmic disaster.
The Avengers question Vision about his origins and it is revealed not only that he has the brain patterns of Simon Williams, the late Wonder-Man, but that his creator, Ultron was in turn a creation of Hank Pym. Ultron had erased Hank’s memories and forced him to abandon the lab which Ultron then used secretly. The Avengers, including a returned Iron Man and Thor, unanimously accept Vision as the newest member of the team, an event which causes Vision to become … emotional.
Back during World War II, Captain Savage’s Raiders are tasked with kidnapping two Japanese Generals. The Raiders fail in their mission only to learn it was a training exercise. They are then ordered to train on the mission further, and prepare for a joint mission with Sgt. Fury’s Howling Commandos. On the Fury side of the war, Dum-Dum Dugan faces Court Martial.
Daredevil escapes police custody and discovers how the Jester was able to frame him. Daredevil purchases a Jester costume and impersonates Jester on Johnny Carson’s show. The stunt immediately infuriates Jester, who crashes the set and inadvertently admits the truth, exonerating Daredevil and getting himself caught at the same time.
Following the Mangog incidents conclusion, Thor travels to Earth and returns to his identity as Donald Blake. After reminiscing about his original discovery of the walking stick that became Thor’s hammer and gave him powers, Thor/Blake has an identity crisis and begins to question which side of him is real – Donald Blake or Thor.
The remaining X-Men allow themselves to be captured so that Mesmero will lead them to where Lorna Dane and Ice-Man have been captured. The evil mutants have placed Lorna in a mahcine that will awaken her latent powers. She emerges apparently in support of the X-Men, using her new powers to defeat Mesmero’s men. Before she can defeat Mesmero, Magneto himself appears and greets Lorna, claiming to be her father.
Best moment of November 1968:
I have a new favorite superhero, Vision. Call it bias talking, but Vision joining the Avengers, learning of his origins, and finding out how Ultron came to be, definitely gets my vote.
While the return of Magneto and Lorna Dane gaining her powers is significant … I know something you don’t. Probably.