Friday, February 23, 2018

Ugh, success went to the Panther's head...

Sometimes I wish I planned ahead around here a little more, since I had thought about blogging these issues prior to seeing Black Panther; but this might have worked out better anyway. Today we've got the first part of "Cat Trap," from 2000, Deadpool #44, "Cat Trap (or: Wakanda Merc Are You?)" Written by (Christopher) Priest, pencils by James (Jim) Calafiore, inks by Jon Holdredge.

Priest was writing both Deadpool and Black Panther at the time, so a crossover between the two seems reasonable enough, but I don't think I can understate how idiosyncratic and unique both were then. He had rebuilt T'Challa and his whole world, and introduced viewpoint character Everett K. Ross for the Panther's Marvel Knights book; while in Deadpool he picked up what was left after Joe Kelly's run and went a completely different direction. Pool was living with "roommates" the Constrictor and Titania, who he describes here as willing to "...kill me for a sack of gummy bears!" He liked having people around, but didn't necessarily want to get attached to or count on them. Also, he had "Thom Cruz's" face, after a somewhat convoluted encounter with Loki. Meanwhile, T'Challa was injured and recovering from his loss to Erik Killmonger: while he was still king, Killmonger was now chieftain--and Black Panther! The Avengers had been trying to reach T'Challa, to see what was up with that.

To throw more fuel on the fire, this issue has the Reverend Michael Ibn al-hajj Achebe (a Panther villain, described as "a kook of the first order," with a hand-puppet in his likeness named Daki) hire Deadpool to recover his beloved pet leopard Ukatana. This is a lie, and Pool knows it, but is self-destructive enough to take the job anyway. Or maybe he just wanted to keep Daki. The leopard was in fact Killmonger's companion Preyy, and was currently playing frisbee with Triathlon on the lawn of Avengers Mansion, while inside Tony Stark, Hank Pym, and Janet Van Dyne try to figure out what, if anything, they should do with Killmonger; who seemed to show up there like Black Panther was a post on the team. (Tony nixes that, saying the team voted in the man, not "the office of Black Panther.") Pool shows up, unmasked and posing as an animal control officer (with a slight aside to another of Priest's characters!) and slips a teleportation device on Preyy; which also takes Triathlon with it. The exit portion of Pool's plan is not as well thought out, as the Avengers have some questions for him.

Outside the mansion, Titania (who has a secret we won't go into here!) and Constrictor wait for their signal, while Achebe uses an image inducer to pass himself off as T'Challa and calls Tony. (Who himself was using an inducer to appear in armor!) Achebe's just muddying the waters here, telling Tony to go ahead and induct Killmonger and not worry about Wakandan doings and largely blowing him off. Pool is mostly having fun fighting the Avengers, since, as often happened in Priest's run, "I've convinced myself none of this is actually happening!"

He's also impressed with Killmonger, and his moves!

Pool and his crew try to escape, in an ice cream truck with the music stuck on; and it becomes readily apparent Achebe screwed them over: he's gone, and Preyy and Triathlon have been teleported to Wakanda. T'Challa is told of both that and the Avengers trying to reach him, but says to ignore them both, since the real fight was tomorrow...

This feels more like a Black Panther issue than a Deadpool one, and we'll see if the reverse is true when we check out the conclusion. It was also Priest's second-to-last issue of Deadpool, next month he and Calafiore would wrap up Titania's secret, Pool's face, and the villain behind some of his current problems. The later is somewhat incidental, Deadpool was responsible for most of his problems...
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

In 2001, Apocalypse Now Redux was released, with an additional 49 minutes of footage. That's like finding almost another half of a movie in there! Similarly, we just found a whole bunch of additional chapters to this one today, but I'm not as enthusiastic about that: from 1994, Thor #470, "Ruins" Written by Ron Marz, pencils by M.C. Wyman, inks by Mike DeCarlo.

In chapter nine of "Blood and Thunder," Thor and his formerly imaginary girlfriend Valkyrie have arrived at Asgard, which is currently pretty wrecked. Still, an enraged and insane Thor is intent on wrecking it up some more; and it's up to Warlock and the Infinity Watch, along with Dr. Strange and the Silver Surfer, to stop him. It does not go especially well, as they're all beaten pretty badly, mostly because there were still four parts left to this thing? The hell...ugh, I'm going to have to go back and edit, since I thought this was a nine-part crossover, and it was actually thirteen! This isn't the last chapter, it would end with next month's Thor #471. Crap, I think I forgot it wasn't just Thor, Silver Surfer, and Warlock and the Infinity Watch, but also the Warlock Chronicles. I think I completely missed those, but it seems like it still read okay.

So I thought I had blogged this whole crossover, but I may have only blogged eight of thirteen? With a couple of issues leading up to it. Urrrrggg...anyway, Strange and Warlock try a combined "karmic-mystic attack" on Thor, which Warlock was worried he would find a counter for: yeah, the Power Gem, in about two seconds. Gamora has a better showing, but is downed when Valkyrie throws Moondragon at her. Although Sif and Beta Ray Bill are on their way, Pip has to act quickly, and grabs the Surfer and teleports them, Thor, and Valkyrie, to Thanos! We've seen that chapter, but I think I'm still missing a chapter between this and the end! Well, considering I started covering this crossover back in 2010, I guess maybe we'll get to all of them sometime.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018


I wrote this a couple weeks ago, before going to see Black Panther; and I was glad to see a somewhat less ruthless T'Challa: in the comics, he could sometimes be singleminded in his defense of Wakanda. His country and people came first; even at the cost to others. I also wrote this when I got the figures for Okoye and Nakia, before seeing them in the movie, so they don't quite line up, but go with it.

I know Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman were exploring the multiverse after Secret Wars, but I don't think they were barred from earth or too far away to get back or anything. Plus, we had that figure from recently, so yeah.
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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

At least Scrooge didn't charge payday-lender interest on that...

I learned how to read when I was very little, and I'm told I went through a period that whenever the family went to a restaurant, I would try and order haggis, because I had seen the word in an Uncle Scrooge comic. Ironically, I was a super-picky eater back then, so I don't know what I would've done if I got it; or maybe I became so picky because I never did get it! Anyway, I don't think I've blogged any of these, but here's one from a quarter-bin: from 1997, Uncle Scrooge Adventures #50, reprinting 1954's Uncle Scrooge #5, "Secret of Atlantis" Story and art by Carl Barks, from a story idea by Chase Craig.

I'm not sure there's a name for this, but the Simpsons does it pretty often as well; where the story starts with one mundane little goal--in this case, Scrooge trying to collect on a very minor debt--and spirals to the point that he and Donald are trapped in the undersea kingdom of Atlantis. Scrooge hires Donald as a bill collector, and promises him half of what he collects; which turns out to be a nickel, since the debt was a dime Donald had owed him for four years! Donald pushes back to get his change, but Scrooge tries to shortchange him with a bum nickel from a defunct country...that turns out to be worth five bucks to a collector! Donald taunts Scrooge at being taken on the deal, but Scrooge promises to make that money back, and then some, with the rarest coin in the world--the 1916 quarter Donald had paid with before! (I suppose a 1916 quarter may well be rare now, but it wasn't at the time this was originally published!)

Scrooge sets into motion a plan that's almost a textbook in artificial scarcity, beginning with an ad blitz to buy up 1916 quarters, until he had all of them. Keeping one in his vault, he dumps the rest in the Atlantic, making his last 1916 quarter worth "ten skyrillion dollars!" And he's hoping that price might go up, but loses it, setting up a pie fight and skyscraper ledge walk that wouldn't have been out of place in a Buster Keaton movie. (On the "Vampire State Building"!) And we haven't even got to Atlantis yet, but I don't think it's a spoiler to say Scrooge has to learn a bitter lesson at the end here.

Old Uncle Scrooge comics are like EC classics or even Groo, in the sense that while I feel like I've read a lot of them, I haven't read all of them. Which is a comforting thought, like I still have a reserve of good comics out there, waiting to be found. And a good one like this has a shelf life of about forever.
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Monday, February 19, 2018

Sometimes the quarter bins come through for you, sometimes you get Soviet Super-Soldiers #1.

That's a little harsh...just a little. From 1992, Soviet Super-Soldiers #1, "The Red Triangle Agenda" Written by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Angel Medina and Javier Saltares, inks by Jeff Albrecht.

I may be harshing on this a bit because it builds off of at least two comics I liked: Captain America #352, wherein the state-backed Supreme Soviets nearly murder the Soviet Super-Soldiers Vanguard, Darkstar, and Ursa Major; and Thor #358, in which the Titanium Man's scheme of using armored American flunkies runs afoul of Beta Ray Bill. In fact, there's one more issue involved: X-Factor Annual #1, which introduced several Russian mutants, many of whom are subsequently killed off here.

The mutants (including Vanguard, Darkstar, and Ursa Major) are mostly on the run this issue, while the Supreme Soviets have to deal with...a name change. And an attempt to discredit the Crimson Dynamo, that leads to the Titanium Man's return, a new character in an old armor, and an old character in a new suit and name that are probably never brought up again. The Dynamo's teammates really don't help him out much. Still, there's a lot of potential plotlines laid out, but none of them are that great since there's not really any reason to care about any of these characters; unless maybe you really liked them from some other comic. Unlikely, but possible.

The art starts to fall apart towards the end of this 64-pager; and as with some of these oddball one-offs, I wonder if this was intended to be a one-shot, or if it wasn't meant to be a serial in Marvel Comics Presents. Well, maybe better to get this over with all at once, instead of over twelve weeks.
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Friday, February 16, 2018

I know Daredevil has had girlfriends that lived, like, um...wait, don't tell me...

Don't say the Black Widow, she's dead at the start of this one: from 1982, Daredevil #189, "Siege" Story and layouts by Frank Miller, finishes and color by Klaus Janson. Which is what we're looking at today, and not maybe the reprint I've read before, from Elektra Megazine #2. Which will explain part of my upcoming confusion...

Yes, the Black Widow is pretty much toast here, having succumbed to poison from the Hand; but she is saved by Stick. The Chaste are shorthanded, as it were, as the Hand attack Matt's apartment; and several die fighting before Stick and Shaft absorb the lifeforce of their attackers--which causes them both to explode! That might be the last we see of Shaft, but I'm pretty sure Stick would be back, as he seems to get "killed" whenever it's more dramatic for Matt to have to go it alone or without his guidance, or whenever Stick doesn't feel like putting up with Matt's crap.

Matt also fights with a pair of sais here and on the cover, telling Natasha he had fought someone who used them recently, and taught himself!

After the battle, Stone meditates, to try and figure out their next option against the Hand; and Natasha takes a shower and makes a pass at Matt, who declines, since he was engaged to Heather Glenn! Who shows up on cue, drunk as a lemur. Now, this kind of threw me, since I thought I had read this stretch of issues before, but I didn't remember Heather; and that may be because her subplot might've been cut from the Elektra-centric reprints I read! Anyway, I don't think this was the expression at the time, but Natasha gives Heather a blistering amount of side eye.

Matt and Natasha hit the rooftops looking for the Hand, but split up after Matt clams up about Heather. She goes to visit Foggy, and asks about Matt: at the time, Foggy knew Matt knew Natasha, but I don't think he knew Matt was Daredevil. Or maybe he just didn't let on. Still, Foggy dishes about Elektra, then about Heather, and how Matt had "ruined her, professionally, just to convince her to marry him." A bad situation. What to do, what to about forgery! Matt and Heather both receive notes, supposedly from each other, to the effect of I don't love you, don't call me, goodbye. In a two-page sequence, Heather seems pretty distraught, while Matt is looking at his...well, he's blind, so I don't know what he's doing. Actually, would this work at all? Could Natasha forge a note that would fool Matt's senses? I'm thinking he could literally smell her hand in this, so to speak. But there are bigger fish to fry, as Stone tells Matt and Natasha that the Hand would be looking for a replacement for their number one guy, Kirigi, and would have to recruit from the know who.

So I had a big blind spot on the Heather Glenn thing, except I knew this wasn't her last appearance! Hmm, back in the day, Karen Page went from being a supporting character in Daredevil over to Ghost Rider; and Ms. Glenn did the same over to Iron Man! Her appearances were during the stretch when Rhodey was IM and Tony was a raging alcoholic on a downward spiral. I had thought she was killed off there, but nope! She would return to die in Daredevil #220, an apparent suicide. (I don't know if that qualifies as fridging, but it was almost definitely to make Matt feel guilty. Guiltier. There's always a strong baseline of guilt to Matt.)

Also, I liked this issue's cover, even though it really looks like DD's gonna be filled full of arrows or stab wounds shortly. Reminds me of this Michael Golden Savage Sword of Conan cover; I don't know what Conan's aiming to land on there.
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

I think I had too much flash in that photo...

...and I'm really waiting for the 90's TV Flash, so we'll probably have some more at some point! But I did get out today and pick up the Multiverse Flash two-pack from Target: it was clearance-priced down to about the cost of a single figure, so okay.

Likewise, I got the Marvel Legends Thor/Valkyrie two-pack, and while the unhelmeted Thor is pretty nice, Valkyrie carries it. And Walgreens has a sale going on, so I got Shatterstar for $12.99. I don't have any particular attachment to the character, but maybe we'll find something for him to do sooner or later.

Right now, shooting for Black Panther on Saturday. Fingers crossed.

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"Salvage the Day" may not be as inspiring as "Seize the Day," but it's more accurate here.

Crap. I thought I was going to be able to go see Black Panther today with the Youngest, since he had the day off for conferences or learnding or whatever. But the early shows don't start until tomorrow! I seriously considered taking a day off to go, since now I might not get to until next Saturday. The challenge now, is how to not let my whole day get ruined...Maybe we'll see a little later.
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