Friday, August 26, 2016

Not unlike the Hulkbuster armor, I think it's had more action figures than comic appearances...

I may have confused it with some other armor--possibly the Hulkbuster--or maybe a sarcastic comment I took at face value, but I swear I thought the Spider-Armor only lasted like three pages. It lasts at least eight, in 1992's Web of Spider-Man #100, "Total War" Written by Terry Kavanagh, pencils by Alex Saviuk, inks by Joe Rubinstein.

With the Kingpin currently out of the picture, it's gang war season in New York City again, and currently the New Enforcers are trying to destroy the Foreigner's evidence against them. New Enforcers? What happened to Montana, Ox, and Fancy Dan? This new group was a grab-bag of villains, including old pros like the Vanisher, the Eel, and Plantman; newbies like Thermite and Tangle; and robot types Dragon Man, Dreadnought, and the Super-Adaptoid. (The Super-Adaptoid by itself should've been plenty!) While Spidey's trying to deal with that lot, Richard Fisk--the son of the Kingpin, and former crime boss the Rose--has taken the identity Blood Rose and was going vigilante against the criminals plotting to take his father's place. Richard's motivation was always a bit questionable--was he plotting to destroy the Kingpin, or for his own power?--and was further complicated by his friend Alfredo, who had helped him as the Rose, then betrayed him and took his place. Alfredo was brought down, but then came back with a mysterious gauntlet stolen from another vigilante, Nightwatch. Alfredo named himself Gauntlet, and was coming back for revenge against Richard.

The whole thing comes down to a slugfest, with Spidey's new armor--an "experimental hard-web agent" that had to cost Peter Parker a few bucks--giving him enough of a edge to mop up most of them. Several of the New Enforcers, Richard, and Alfredo are all left for the cops; although Spidey is confused since Richard and Alfredo look very much alike, and he had thought Richard had been shot. Nightwatch recovers his power gauntlet, and the rest of the issue is the new hero's origin, where a young man is saved by a dying vigilante, who appears to be an older version of himself! This origin may have been retconned some time later...

I picked up the Web-Trap Spider-Man last month, but there have been a few versions. He's got a pretty good spring-loaded launcher arm, too. I don't recall if I bought it before the comic here, though.
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

I was confusing her with another character, but still wrong.

Got this little trade for a buck-fifty: from 2013, Iron Man: Armored Vengeance, reprinting Iron Man #258.1 to #258.4, script by Bob Layton and David Michelinie, pencils by Dave Ross, inks by Layton. Why #258.1 on? Because the numbering for Iron Man wasn't already a nightmare...actually, as the introduction points out, while Michelinie and Layton were the creative team for the original Armor Wars storyline, John Byrne and John Romita Jr. did the follow-up, Armor Wars II, in the original Iron Man #258. This series was Michelinie and Layton's own spin on a sequel...

There are a couple good points for it: it does tie in to a point from their run when Rhodey was nearly killed and a bit gun-shy about suiting back up, and gets him back on track. There's also some classic IM foes, the Dreadnoughts and the Mandroids. Unfortunately, I don't consider Justin Hammer a classic, even if here he's the aged industrialist and not the hip douchebag of the films. Hammer used nanites on Stark, which combined with the biochip in his spine to form the Entity, an online consciousness out to destroy any that might stop it. (EDIT: The biochip and the Entity weren't still in Stark's spine, that might've raised the stakes some!)

A couple supporting characters are killed by the Entity, namely Stark's personal physician Dr. Sondheim, and his girlfriend Rae LaCoste. But that doesn't fit, continuity-wise: LaCoste dated Rhodey in the War Machine book. That makes this a "What If?" kind of story; I wish I had the original Armor Wars II handy to compare it to. I was misremembering and confusing Rae with the much, much cooler Bethany Cabe, and I was going to be pissed if she was killed off.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Picked up "Bluepool" here from eBay a couple of weeks back, and had no idea what to do with first. Where is he from? Ooh, it's a surprise; a deep Marvel cut that still turns up from time to time. And we'll check out some of the comics we're referencing as well, next week!
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

So, we mentioned the Forgotten One, Gilgamesh, last week; why not check out his Avengers Spotlight story?...I can't think of a reason why not, and I'm really trying. From 1990, Avengers Spotlight #35, "Call Me Whatshisname" Written by Danny Fingeroth, pencils by Jim Valentino, inks by Jeff Albrecht.

I may have read this back in 1990, but offhand I thought this issue was part of that "Avengers Reborn" thing this title was doing, that gave us Black Knight, Tigra, and Dr. Druid stories: it's not. Maybe it was supposed to be, but it may have been used as a fill-in for whatever reason; a caption on the splash page notes the book's usual headliner, Hawkeye, would not be seen that month.

Instead, we get the return of Gilgamesh...which I'm not at all positive anyone was jumping up and down for. He had recovered from the beatdown that took him out of the Avengers (the group and the comic!) but was still rather grumpy, and the puckish Sprite had taken it upon himself to both cheer up his Eternal brethren and work on his name recognition. The latter may be the harder sell, since Gil notes no one ever took notice of his deeds before, someone always poached the credit. Sure enough, moments after the start of their visit to Paris, Gilgamesh stops a robbery, and the press fawns all over a nearby actor, mistakenly assuming he stopped the crime. Gil figures his lot in life is to be unsung and unappreciated, unless there was a mighty foe he could prove himself a dragon or something...

Cue dragons, stage left. Riding a dragon and leading a pack of them, B'gon the Sorcerer confronts his ancient foe Gilgamesh...who, amusingly, has never heard of him. B'gon recounts his earlier defeat at the Eternal's hands, and in many stories this would involve time-travel or such; this time I think it's merely mistaken identity. Gilgamesh covered for Hercules for at least one of the god's twelve labors, perhaps it was Herc who defeated B'gon and the sorcerer simply couldn't tell. Anyway, long story short (too late!) Gil defeats B'gon, who disappears with his dragons, and Sprite, disguised as Captain America, gives him a hearty endorsement to the gathered press. Who, the next day, give "Cap" the credit; although Gilgamesh does have to smile: at least his name's out there.

This is a little throwaway story, with far too many coincidences for even this type of one-shot comic, but Valentino's art still has some charm.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Is a supporting character's birthday party ever going to end well?

Oddly, we mentioned this issue while looking at the previous one, but it's not the only thing I find inexplicable here: from 2001, Batman #587, "Officer Down, part one: These are your Rights" Written by Greg Rucka, pencils by Rick Burchett, inks by Rodney Ramos.

The GCD's synopsis is brief and to the point: "James Gordon's fellow officers throw him a birthday party. It has an unhappy ending." Well, the cover and title of this crossover pretty much spoil it right off; but Gordon talks to his daughter on his birthday and from the start it seems pretty obvious something's going to happen to him. At his party, he also has a gift for each of his fellow officers in attendance: a handcuff key. Not merely for its utilitarian value, but as a metaphor for the "power of arrest" and the responsibility they as cops have. (I hardly ever give lectures on my birthday!)

Leaving the bar, Gordon is accosted by none other than the Catwoman! Who seems to be there just to give him the hassle a bit, but when he tries to arrest her, Gordon is shot three times in the back--and accidentally shoots Catwoman in the leg! "Officer Down" would be continued in the next issue of Robin, and at a glance this would be a relatively quick crossover--all in March 2001, but across seven issues. (Eight if you count a Batgirl tie-in.) Not having the next issues handy, I'm not sure if a better reason is given for Catwoman's involvement, other than the need for her to get in on the crossover...
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Friday, August 19, 2016

Mildly surprised Marvel hasn't given up on Inhumans, and started trying to make the Eternals happen.

A bit ago on Twitter, Kurt Busiek mentioned he thought Jack Kirby's Eternals should have been left on their own--as Kirby may have originally intended--rather than folded into the Marvel Universe. By extension, that would also remove the Deviants and the Celestials, and overall I think I've read more stories with them than the Eternals! (Ghaur of the Deviants was one of the heavies in Atlantis Attacks, and the Celestials had multiple arcs in Thor.) I do still like Ikaris's costume, though. From 2008, the Incredible Hercules #116, "Prelude to Sacred Invasion: Metamorphoses" Written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, pencils by Rafa Sandoval, inks by Roger Bonet.

This was early in Herc's run, spinning out of World War Hulk, and a bit of a breather issue before the next storyline. It's also a crossover with the most recent run of the Eternals, as Ikaris and Thena confront Hercules, believing him to be one of their own, Gilgamesh. (AKA the Forgotten One, from his brief Avengers tenure.) Thena explains, most of the Eternals have had their memories wiped by Sprite--Thena describes him only as "mischievous," which makes it sound like a prank that got out of hand--and the speedster Makkari had been told by the Celestials the Forgotten One was coming. They assume Herc only thinks he's Herc, and it doesn't help that he doesn't have the best memory. Or isn't super-forthcoming about it.

Eventually, Makkari lets Ikaris and Thena know, oops, the Celestials were on about metaphorical "forgotten ones," not Gilgamesh specifically, and everyone kind of just wanders away from the fight. Herc mentions to his companion Amadeus Cho his mild disappointment at being a god with a jerky opposed to an Eternal with "that eye beam thing." The issue closes with Athena (not Thena!) summoning "the Council Elite of the Divine Pantheons" to warn them earth had already been conquered by the Skrulls! While I know they're both beardy, paternalistic white guys; that Council Elite looked a bit thin without Odin or Zeus in it...
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Thursday, August 18, 2016

80-Page Thursday: Marvel Super-Heroes Fall Special #7!

Usually, I'd say "the dramatic conclusion!" Except I'm not sure it is the conclusion, and I'm not sure I can call any story with a backwards-R in the title dramatic...from 1991, Marvel Super-Heroes Fall Special (#7), featuring stories by Roy & Dann Thomas, Peter David, Steve Grant, and Barry Dutter; art by Vince Evens, Steve Ditko, Gary Hartle, Larry Alexander, and more.

The lead story, "Sterility 'R' Us!" is the second of three parts: Still on the trail of the Mark II Sentinels, the X-Men find a Dr. Cynthia Chalmers, daughter of one of the Mark II's builders. She had been researching them, and is present when the robots repair themselves for another go at sterilizing humanity. (Their logic: if mankind stops having babies, mutants will stop being born. Making them somewhat lazy robots, really.)

The X-Men track the Sentinels down, in time to rescue the captured Storm, Doc Samson, and Abomination. The latter is apparently killed in the battle, but returns after Samson and the X-Men have left; and is approached by Dr. Chalmers to rebuild and control the Mark II's! Psylocke had done a shoddy job of scanning Chalmers, not realizing she was dying of cancer and wanted to kill all mutants...Ugh, I actually have read the conclusion and technically even blogged that issue, but have virtually no recollection of it off the top of my head...

Also this issue: Peter David writes a Cloak & Dagger story featuring the return of the Golden Age Angel, who is now an old man living with the homeless beneath NYC. There's a Shroud story, and a Marvel Boy story made problematic by later continuity: although he isn't close to his dad, he agrees to go see wrestling with him...later in New Warriors, Marvel Boy would change his alias to Justice, and serve time for the manslaughter death of his father.
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