Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death

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Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death

Post by DonCampbell » Thu May 08, 2008 6:33 pm

Analysis of Green Mist of Death

IMMORTAL IRON FIST: ORSON RANDALL AND THE GREEN MIST OF DEATH #1 (cover-dated April, 2008)

First, this one-shot contains four different stories concerning Orson Randall’s encounters with John Aman, the Immortal Weapon known as the Prince of Orphans. Although all four stories are written by Matt Fraction, the artist(s) for each story is/are different.

Second, while “The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death” appears to be the title for the overall story, the artistic credits on the first page refer to each story separately (i.e. Part One, Part Two, etc.). Thus, for the sake of convenience, I’m going to subdivide the listing into its four component stories.

Third, I really have no idea what code to use for this one-shot. If we just go by the initials we get “IIFORATGMOD” but that’s too long. Maybe “ORATGMOD” would be better? Anyway, until someone corrects me, I’m just going to use “GMOD” because its short.

Finally, there are no flashbacks in these stories and no exact temporal references as to how much time passes between each of them. This is a bit frustrating but fortunately there’s enough context in the stories to allow for their placement relative to the Orson Randall stories that appeared in IF@ 1.

Since the only two characters who appear in all four stories are Orson Randall and John Aman, I’m going to analyze each story separately.

Page 1 is a recap/title/credits page. It doesn’t provide any new information.

“The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death” (Part One)
Pages 2 to 10
Appearances: Confederates of the Curious (Orson Randall, Shadu the Shady, “Chores” MacGillicuddy, Wendell, L.P., Contessa, and “the dog”), Prince of Orphans (John Aman)

Synopsis: While performing at an occult speakeasy called the 53rd Card, Shadu the Shady passes out on stage. After he revives and tells his fellow Confederates of the Curious that he had passed out after seeing a whirl of green smoke associated with a man in the audience, Orson realizes that John Aman, the Prince of Orphans, has found him. Orson warns his friends that they are in danger and they all flee through a mystic secret passage, barely escaping from Aman. Later, when the Confederates regroup at the docks, Orson learns that Wendell has gone after the “magic coins” and he then goes back for Wendell. Orson finds Wendell but Aman shows up and Wendell has to rescue them both (using the retractable glider in his backpack). The reunited Confederates then travel by boat to Singapore.

References: This is the first (of two) encounters between the Confederates of the Curious and John Aman. The fact that L.P. is a member of the Confederates indicates that it’s after his first meeting with Orson in 1926 (IF5 #3). Since Wendell appears to be younger in this story than the fifteen-year-old he was in the second flashback in IF Annual #1, I’m placing this story before that flashback. However, there’s nothing in either story that proves that conclusively.

Finally, the (unnamed) dog that appears in this story is a different colour and breed from Barko who was in the aforementioned flashback.


“The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death” (Part Two)
Pages 11 to 19
Appearances: Confederates of the Curious (Orson Randall, Shadu the Shady, “Chores” MacGillicuddy, Wendell, Contessa and several unnamed other), Cowgirls from Hell (four members, only “Red” is named), Prince of Orphans (John Aman)

Synopsis: In an Old West-style town, Chores MacGillicuddy wakes up in a cell after a night of drinking and the “lasses from the saloon” inform him that he’s fallen into a honey trap and is being used as bait so that they can collect the bounty from John Aman, the Prince of Orphans. Orson arrives to bail Chores out but Chores manages to warn him about Aman. The Cowgirls from Hell attack Orson but the Confederates of the Curious ride in to help Orson. In the midst of the battle, a green mist gushes from Red’s mouth and John Aman appears. Aman states that he’s come to retrieve the stolen property that Orson has in his possession, the seven sacred coins, one from each of Heaven’s capital cities. As Orson and Aman battle, Chores frees himself but is fatally injured when he gets in between them. His injury ends the battle and Aman allows Orson to use the Iron Fist to heal Chores. Aman states that Orson using his friends as human shields violates the code of the Immortal Weapons. As he disappears, Aman warns Orson that if he allows his friends to stand with him, then his crimes and his punishments will also be theirs. Orson states that Aman will resume hunting him at sunup and he then disbands the Confederates of the Curious.

References: Since this is the last adventure of the Confederates of the Curious, it must take place after both the first story from this special and the second flashback in the IF Annual.

L.P. does not appear to be with the Confederates at this time. At least, he is not identified by name and none of the unnamed characters look much like him. Also, there is no dog with the group in this story but there are several unnamed men riding with them.


“The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death” (Part Three)
Pages 20 to 28
Appearances: Orson Randall, Wendell, the Frankenstein Monster (aka “Frank”), Dr. “Doc” Frankenstein, John Aman

Synopsis: On a rainy night in a forest somewhere in Europe, Orson carries a mortally-wounded Wendell to a castle where he is recognized by the Frankenstein Monster who lets them in. Orson carries Wendell down to the laboratory and begs “Doc” (the son of his friend) to treat Wendell. Doc agrees to operate on Wendell but then has the monster knock Orson unconscious. When Orson revives he finds himself strapped to an operating table and Doc reveals that he is not the son of Frankenstein, he is Frankenstein himself who has transplanted his brain into the body of his own son. As Doc prepares to cut open Orson’s skull, a green mist appears and kills him, then reforms into John Aman. After revealing that he had found them by following the unique vibrations emitted by the coins, Aman works together with Orson to save Wendell’s life. The next day, Aman promises that he will nurse Wendell back to health but that Wendell will now stay with him instead of Orson. As Orson leaves, he challenges Aman to find out exactly how the coins got out of the seven cities and to Earth.

References: The only temporal reference in this one-shot occurs when Orson reminds the Frankenstein Monster that he wasn’t afraid of him when they met “in Germany fifteen years ago.” For reasons I’ll explain below, this story probably takes place after 1963 and that would place Orson’s encounter with the monster in 1948 (or later).

The castle is described as an old hiding place of Doc’s father. It is somewhere in Europe but not in Germany.

Although from his size “Doc” appears to be a boy, the fact that Orson came to him for medical treatment would seem to indicate that he is actually a small adult.

The involvement of the Frankensteins and their monster in this story complicates things somewhat. Apparently some members of the Randall and Frankenstein families had been friends for two generations. It began when Orson’s father Phineas and the senior Frankenstein were roommates at university. Since Phineas was an adult and an accomplished inventor before 1900, that suggests that their university days were in the 1890s. At some later point, perhaps when Orson met the monster in Germany, that same “Doctor Frankenstein” met Orson and they became friends without Orson ever knowing that this doctor had known Phineas. At the same time (or maybe later) Orson may have met the doctor’s son, “Doc.” Apparently, the older Frankenstein later supposedly died but actually survived by having transplanted his brain into the body of his own “useless” son in order to escape “those damned Germans and their mobs and pitchforks.” I can only assume that this story depicts the first time that Orson had encountered “Doc” since the death of the older Frankenstein.

So, how do these Frankensteins fit in with the previously-established Frankensteins in the Marvel Universe? Not very well at all. According to the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe, the only adult male Frankensteins known to be alive between the late 19th Century and the modern era were Vincent, Basil and Ludwig. Vincent was killed in 1898 but was survived by Basil, his newborn son. As an adult, Basil worked with the Nazis until killed by his own monster in early 1942. Finally, Basil’s son Ludwig died during an encounter with the Silver Surfer in the early modern era. Vincent could have attended university with Phineas pre-1900 but he was dead before Orson first traveled from K’un-Lun to Earth. Basil was Vincent’s only son but he could only have been at university with Phineas if the latter had attended university after he returned from K’un-Lun. Also, Basil died at least 20 years before “Doc” was killed. Finally, Ludwig is known to have been alive at least 20 years after “Doc” died. Since none of these three could have been the “Doctor Frankenstein” known by both Phineas and Orson Randall, I am forced to conclude that this Frankenstein and his son were members of a previously-unknown branch of the family. Maybe Doc’s father was Vincent’s cousin?

As for the (original) Frankenstein Monster, he was frozen in the Arctic from the late 18th Century until he was thawed in 1898. After a brief period of activity, the monster was frozen again and remained that way until the second half of the 20th Century (i.e. in the modern era). I don’t see how Orson’s two encounters with “Frank” can be made to fit in with the original monster’s chronology. Perhaps this “new” Frankenstein also created his own monster?


“The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death” (Part Four)
Pages 29 to 37
Appearances: Orson Randall, L.P., Contessa Vera, various HYDRA agents (all unnamed), Professor Phineas Randall, Prince of Orphans (John Aman)

Synopsis: Now living in a small house (maybe in Tibet?), a drunken Orson receives a telegram from France which informs him that his father is dying in Paris. Orson goes to Paris and asks L.P. and Contessa to help him see his father because he suspects that Aman is using Phineas as bait in a trap. L.P. and Contessa check out all the hospitals in Paris and discover one where the personnel are wearing HYDRA rings. When Orson sneaks into the room where he believes his father is he discovers that it’s a set-up for him to receive a message from Aman who offers to let him see his dying father if he allows Aman’s HYDRA agents to escort him to Aman’s jungle kingdom of Z’Gambo in Africa. Orson agrees and is taken to Z’Gambo but is surprised when Aman confesses that he was merely playing the part of a villain because that’s what Orson was expecting. Aman reveals that he listened to Orson’s advice and his investigation of the coins led him to Phineas who refused to answer his questions unless Orson approved. With Orson’s consent, Phineas reveals that he built a gateway to Earth in each of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, information which devastates Aman. Orson stays with Phineas until he dies and then Aman reveals that he will no longer hunt him. When Aman states his determination to make someone pay for this betrayal, Orson suggests that he seek out the Thunderer of K’un-Lun who is raising an army in preparation for staging a revolution at the next time the Seven Cities intersect. Orson leave Z’Gambo, determined to find Wendell and stop him from becoming the next Iron Fist.

References: The fact that Orson knows about the gateways between Earth and the Seven Cities and that L.P. can recognize the HYDRA insignia means that this story must take place after the IF Annual’s third flashback (which was set in 1963).

Also, the fact that Orson had to tell L.P. about how he left Wendell in Europe means that the previous story also must take place after the IF Annual’s third flashback. Otherwise, if that “1963” flashback had taken place between the third and fourth stories in this one-shot, then L.P. would have already known that Orson had separated from Wendell.


Character Listings:

In IF #10 & 12 it was revealed that the Prince of Orphans is the only Immortal Weapon who had fought in previous tournaments, that Orson’s killing of the Crane Champion from K’un-Zi occurred during the last tournament, and that the Prince of Orphans was one of those who tried to take Orson’s gifts from him. With these facts in mind, some of the listings for Orson Randall should be shifted in his chronology. I’ve marked them with a “+” as opposed to a “*” for new listings.

Also, although I’ve placed the second flashback from IF@ 1 between the first two stories of GMOD, it could be that those two stories are meant to BOTH take place after that flashback. In either case, I think that the only three stories which feature the Confederates of the Curious should be grouped together.


COUNTESSA VERA VIDAL
*GMOD 1/1
{IF@ 1-FB}
*GMOD 1/2
*GMOD 1/4
IF@ 1


ERSKINE, ERNST/”LUCKY PIERRE”/”L.P.”
{IF5 3 (1926)}
IF@ 1-FB (1928)
IF5 6
*GMOD 1/1
IF@ 1-FB (Harlem)
IF@ 1-FB (1963)
*GMOD 1/4
IF@ 1


IRON FIST-1915/ORSON RANDALL/"Golden Age Iron Fist"
IF5 4-FB (pre-birth arrival in K’un-Lun)
IF5 4-FB (training under Lei Kung, becoming the Iron Fist, leaving K’un-Lun)
IF5 2-FB (1916)
IF5 4-FB (fighting in WWI) – may be before and/or after IF5 2-FB
+IF5 4-FB (returning to K’un-Lun) – moved from later
+IF5 5-FB (killing the Crane Champion in 1933) – moved from later – also, does NOT take place in 1933 after all
+IF5 4-FB (fleeing K’un-Lun) – moved from later
IF5 3 (1926)
IF@ 1-FB (1928)
IF5 6 (first meets Wendell in Nepal)
*GMOD 1/1
IF@ 1-FB (with 15-year-old Wendell in Harlem)
*GMOD 1/2
IF5 9-FB (training Wendell)
IF@ 1-FB (1963)
*GMOD 1/3
*GMOD 1/4
+IF5 6 (warns Wendell not to go to K’un-Lun) – moved from earlier
{IF5 1}
. . . . .


MACGILLICUDDY, SEAMUS/”CHORES”
*GMOD 1/1
{IF@ 1-FB}
*GMOD 1/2
IF@ 1


PRINCE OF ORPHANS/JOHN AMAN
IF5 5-FB
*GMOD 1/1
*GMOD 1/2
*GMOD 1/3
*GMOD 1/4
IF5 8
IF5 9
. . . . .


SHADU THE SHADY
*GMOD 1/1
{IF@ 1-FB}
*GMOD 1/2


RAND, WENDELL
IF5 6 (first meets Orson in Nepal)
*GMOD 1/1 (as a “boy” with the Confederates of the Curious)
IF@ 1-FB (15-year-old Wendell in Harlem)
*GMOD 1/2
*GMOD 1/3
IF5 9-FB (being trained by Orson)
IF5 6 (warned by Orson not to go to K’un-Lun)
IF5 8 (arrives in K’un Lun)
. . . . .


RANDALL, PHINEAS
*IF5 4-FB
*GMOD 1/4

Note: I've edited this post to correct an error I made in the listing for the Prince of Orphans. I had mistakenly listed IF5 5-FB as occurring between GMOD 1/4 and IF5 8 when it was actually his first appearance.

Don Campbell
Last edited by DonCampbell on Sat May 10, 2008 2:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death

Post by ShadZ » Fri May 09, 2008 10:27 am

Interesting fact that doesn't affect chronology:

Prince of Orphans/John Aman is apparently the Earth-616 version of Earth-1136's Amazing Man/John Aman (I learned this from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Ma ... den_Age%29)
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Re: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death

Post by Enda80 » Fri May 09, 2008 6:24 pm

Roy Thomas has noted that he intentionally homaged Amazing Man in fashioning Iron Fist.

Other than that:
Did the monster in this story wear a bear pelt vest? The original FM wears a bear pelt.

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Re: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death

Post by Enda80 » Fri May 09, 2008 7:02 pm

http://en.marveldatabase.com/Frankenstein_6
There was also a Jason Frankenstein, whose place in the family tree was missed in Doctor Strange III#37's retelling of the Frankenstein family history.

Silver Surfer I#7 refers to a Henry Frankenstein, but that probably represents Peggy Webling's influence, renaming "Victor" as "Henry".

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Re: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death

Post by DonCampbell » Tue May 13, 2008 6:16 pm

Enda80 wrote:Did the monster in this story wear a bear pelt vest? The original FM wears a bear pelt.
Yes, this Frankenstein Monster (called "Frank" by Doc) is shown wearing a fur vest. Whether or not it's a bear pelt isn't mentioned. Also, his speech is impaired so that he can only grunt. Most of those grunts are unintelligible but when he recognized Orson he was able to grunt "ORRRTH! ORRRRRTH!" which I take to be him trying to say "Orson."
Enda80 wrote:There was also a Jason Frankenstein, whose place in the family tree was missed in Doctor Strange III#37's retelling of the Frankenstein family history.
If this mysterious Jason was the right age to have been "at university" with Phineas Randall prior to 1900, then he could be the Dr. Frankenstein who later became Orson's friend. Of course, if he was (at least) a teenager in the 1890's, then he would have to have been over sixty years old when Orson first encountered him (in or after 1948). And "Doc" would be his son.

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Re: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death

Post by Enda80 » Tue May 13, 2008 6:31 pm

"Yes, this Frankenstein Monster (called "Frank" by Doc) is shown wearing a fur vest. Whether or not it's a bear pelt isn't mentioned."

I guess this apparently new Frankenstein Monster was created as an intentional duplicate of the original Frankenstein Monster. If so, perhaps the Frankenstein (I refer to the scientist) went to such lengths to match detail that he studied reports of the original Frankenstein Monster and when he heard of the vest the original monster wore had a duplicate made.

(By the way, the fur vest of the FM in his MVL appearances was inspired by the 1939 film The Son of Frankenstein, released in 1939. This film was also the first appearance of the Ygor or Igor character, who later appeared in a story in Creatures on the Loose#12-despite being a creation of Universal and not being present in Mary Shelley's novel. Anyway, in that story, Igor served a member of the Frankenstein family who perished. Igor decided to create a new servant for himself, but ended up becoming a servant again, as he used the brain of the "original Baron Frankenstein".)

I guess the writer, being on a retro-1930's and 1940's kick, decided to throw in an homage to the Universal films of the 1930's and 1940's, but it is too bad that he used the Frankenstein family instead of, say, Dracula; for homage purposes, the Frankenstein family is more appropriate, since Universal made more Frankenstein films than Dracula films in the 1930's to 1940's, but the Frankenstein family's history has been rather comprehensively detailed.

I just remembered something. In the Marvel Atlas#1, reference was made to a Viennese branch of the Frankenstein family. Also, Jean-Marc Lofficier has an unpublished story about the Frankenstein family whose script floats around. The story was to feature Shamrock and Le Peregrine.

Also, Sporr, whose story from Tales of Suspense#11 (1960) got established as a part of Marvel continuity by Hulk Annual#5, got produced in the Frankenstein castle-unfortunately in Transylvania! (Placing the Frankenstein family in Transylvania is one of those faux pas moments where people meld elements from different series that stands on par with people who think Jason Voorhees uses a chainsaw-that is actually Leatherface's m.o.).

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Re: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death

Post by wolframbane » Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:46 am

ShadZ wrote:Interesting fact that doesn't affect chronology:

Prince of Orphans/John Aman is apparently the Earth-616 version of Earth-1136's Amazing Man/John Aman (I learned this from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Ma ... den_Age%29)
Amazing-Man also has a non-Marvel appearance in Project Superpowers by Dynamite Entertainment. And his original Public Domain adventures may be viewed here:
http://goldenagecomics.co.uk/

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Re: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death

Post by Enda80 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:28 am

The recent hardcover Handbook notes this recent story in the Frankenstein Monster entry, but makes no attempt to fit it in with the established Earth-616 family tree of the Frankensteins. The mention of the story appears in a note en passant referring to various Frankenstein stories I dredged up from Donald Glut's The Frankenstein Catalog.

Since Miskatonic University exists on Earth-616, one starts to prefer that Herbert West had appeared in this story in place of the Frankensteins.

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