Like the Asthma Monster the Tzin are bad guys who Captain America can fight to show kids how to live a healthier life…unlike the Asthma Monster, the Tzin have Peter David going for them, so that already shoots them up to all sorts of cool.
And yet, they haven’t made a mark on the Marvel Universe yet – what gives?
As stated, the Tzin were introduced in one of those free give-aways intended to teach kids right from wrong. In this case, that means Captain America Goes to War Against Drugs, the aptly named book co-sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
That’s right, the FBI produced a comic book about finding aliens hiding among us causing our nation’s ills. Mulder was right!
Ah-chem… anyway, the PAD-written story featured interesting alien conquerors who (despite the promising comic title) Captain America never actually battles!
In the story, unseen Tzin scouts observe Earth from their ship. While they hope to conquer humans for slave labor, they worry that even if the world’s military might and super-powered protectors can be defeated (not really a big concern for them, it seems), they might face a greater threat in the long run if human slaves eventually cause a destructive uprising or kill themselves off in a futile battle for freedom. It seems the latter problem affected the “Halvings of Origi III” who were obliterated after resisting an unsuccessful enslavement attempt. A fairly reasonable concern actually.
To test human suitability, they decided to test “four special individuals who have the potential to be major contributors to mankind.” As in, children who could be something important some day if they don’t screw themselves over with the transgressions of youth. If at least two of the four fail, Earth should be considered a prime candidate for attack.
What better way to test this than with free drugs?
Cap gets involved when Teen Brigade member Keith Wilson wrote him a letter expressing concern over promising teen athlete Mitch Baskin who has been acting funny.
It seems Mitch was getting performance enhancers from “Harry” and nearly kills another player with a bean ball when Cap arrives. Before our hero can save the day however, Mitch shows “Harry” what he thinks of his drugs, only to discover “Harry” has a secret of his own…
Cap doesn’t learn the truth here, but it’s clear the first of the four tests ended in Earth’s favor, what will happen next?
We know the Tzin have conquered and/or obliterated entire races before. We know they can observe Earth without being spotted by our best sky-watchers (remember, this includes Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four). We know they can make some tempting drugs.
That’s about it. We never even get to see their faces, just those freaky hands.
Why haven’t these characters shown up again?
Well they did, in another free not-quite-in-continuity book, Captain America: The Drug Wars. The book included a reprint of this story and the New Warriors going after more Tzin agents.
Other than that, these are just more characters left to comic book limbo because they debuted in a free book.
How could these characters be brought back?
Well, it’d be fun to hear a reference to, or even see the Tzin (maybe their known victims, the Halvings) in one of Marvel’s cosmic books, or Peter David could revisit them for a cameo or something.
Too bad he isn’t doing the Captain Marvel comic anymore, since space and PAD’s unique humor were a great combination, and would’ve been the perfect spot to see the Tzin.