Tuesday, July 07, 2020

This week, on Space Bucky...

Special guest-star, Grandpa Space Bucky? From 2015, Bucky Barnes: the Winter Soldier #4, "Chapter four: Past the Known Universe" Written by Ales Kot, art by Langdon Foss and Jordan Boyd; and Marco Rudy.

This was during Bucky's brief stint as "the Man on the Wall," defending earth from alien threats. Wait, is "the Man on the Wall" a Game of Thrones reference? I don't think this lasted long, though; since I know he was with most of the original Thunderbolts sometime around then, too. Marvel seemed to love the Winter Soldier, yet either be at a loss as to what to do with him, or unwilling to commit to a direction. Meanwhile, DC has somehow decided Jason Todd absolutely should have a comic as the Red Hood, just let it run. Doesn't seem fair.

Bucky is partnered up with another character Marvel can't seem to do anything with comics-wise, Daisy 'Quake' Johnson. While Bucky is getting some lovin' from Ventolin, an alien queen he was supposed to be assassinating (he's going to kill her the Kyle Rayner way: date her, then wait, it'll happen...) Daisy tries to sort out the story of Bucky's future self. Old Man Bucky says Bucky and Ventolin have hooked up many times across the multiverse, and that he's seen it happen, and helped it happen. Weird, but I'm jealous; that's way more helpful than my future self has ever been. That bastard's probably pissed at past-me...Anyway, Old Man Bucky was basically a retiree from 200 years in the future, and why not? Thanks to him, his universe was at peace, and his job was done. His robot helper (resembling a chattier version of Tony Stark's robot helper arm from the MCU) 'tattoos' a white flag over the red star on his cyborg arm; but when he checks on alternate reality versions of himself and Ventolin, he sees the 616-Bucky--ours--dead. Time to take off the white flag, and say a sad goodbye to his helper, as he did not seem to think he'd be coming back.

While Ventolin shows Bucky "the polarity paradox engine," Daisy races to catch up to him and pass on a warning. She runs smack into an unexpected face, though: Crossbones! The recap page had mentioned he was there, but was lacking on the how or why. I wouldn't have expected to see him in space, but Marvel seems to have a clearer idea what they're doing with Crossbones than Bucky or Quake...
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Monday, July 06, 2020

I had to look this up on Comichron: this was the #7 best-selling book for April 2018, although it was down about 30,000 copies from the previous issue the same month. It's probably the best-selling book with Booster Gold in a starring role in years. I pretty much hate it. From 2018, Batman #45, "The Gift, part 1" Written by Tom King, art by Tony S. Daniel, inking assist by John Livesay.

And we open with a three-page sequence of Green Lantern Hal Jordan using his power ring to kill himself, in front of Booster Gold, just to prove he had the will to do it. Booster seems more impressed than disturbed by this. As Skeets complains this is probably the worst thing he's ever done, they go looking for Batman, over a Gotham City that looks war-torn and largely on fire. Which, hell, I'm only assuming is worse than usual for Gotham. We then get the first check-in with Bat-supporting cast members in an obviously altered timeline, with Tim Drake as a workaday cubicle drone for Wayne Engineering, Jason Todd selling the lethal "Todd-Taze-Tire," and Duke Thomas seemingly partially lobotomized by his family to keep him from going all Joker like a good chunk of the rest of the city. There is no Damien, since while R'as has taken over a chunk of the world, Talia doesn't think there are any worthy men, and she will be the last of the line. It's not very encouraging, and gets worse when Booster and Skeets light a makeshift Bat-Signal--and get shot at, by Batman!

As he hangs Booster, Batman explains he can't risk super-heroes becoming "Jokered." Rescuing Booster for about the billionth time, Skeets also notices this Batman is Dick Grayson. Booster decides, they should just go see Bruce Wayne then. He complains about Skeets being "mean," which might be the one joke that landed for me.

Bruce Wayne is celebrating his birthday, with a dance with his dear old mum; as Booster comes flying through a window. It's a bit of an inversion of the classic "Batman busts-in" panels; as instead of a dark creature of the night, we get a shiny showboat. Is Booster high? That also would help explain him trying to explain to Bruce what's happened. Based on "For the Man Who Has Everything," because DC just can't help it with Alan Moore anymore; Booster wanted to try and show Batman that his life was "worthwhile," by showing him what would happen if Bruce Wayne's parents hadn't been shot. Yes, without Batman, Gotham City and the world are horrible; but how Booster thinks Batman would remember anything of him changing the timeline back and forth is beyond me. Bruce is actually shaken by this news, since he had nightmares, and a sinking feeling something was wrong with the world and that he would be asked to "fall." As Booster thinks mission accomplished, Bruce smashes Skeets with a fireplace poker! "(Alfred) will show you the way out."

Man, I think Skeets is tougher than that, but I don't like seeing the little robot get 'hurt.' Honestly, Skeets was the only likable character in this thing: King writes Booster as a dolt. I might've liked this better if it had been one issue, but this was a three-parter, so I don't think Booster was done screwing up yet; and honestly it feels like a bit of a stall to prepare for the Bat-wedding, which didn't happen anyway. On the other hand, it does undercut the belief that Batman 'created' his villains, since the Joker, R'as, and President Cobblepot were there without him.
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Friday, July 03, 2020


That Killer Croc may not quite be gamma green, but he's oversized. On the other hand, that Spider-Hulk seems to have shrunk a bit: he's still a fair lump of plastic, but Build-a-Figures seem to have the freedom to go a bit bigger. Eyeballing it for a second, and Spider-Hulk is pretty close to the same size as the Thing, which is probably the biggest non-BAF we're going to see for a while.

The last time we saw Jackal and Sinister, it was the pre-Hasbro, Toy Biz Mr. Sinister. There are fewer and fewer of those that haven't been replaced or upgraded.
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Thursday, July 02, 2020

80-Page Thursdays: New Year's Evil #1!

Halfway through the year, and we're just now using the 80-pager tag because while DC still puts out a few, I don't usually buy them immediately: if I time it out, I can get them a bit cheaper from EntertainMart. I don't think this one saw the first six months of 2020 coming, though: from 12/04/19, New Year's Evil #1.

For a change, I don't think these stories were all complete downers, and some weren't even evil evil. The opener, well, probably: "The Amateur" Story and art by Gabriel Hardman, story by Corinna Bechko. A gas attack on New Year's seems like a typical Joker crime--except he's torturing a society party when he sees it on the news! It doesn't take Joker long to find the "amateur" misappropriating his name, but the amateur defends his work as more efficient and less hackneyed than the Joker's. While the amateur may be almost as nihilistic as himself, it leaves the Joker in a pickle: killing the amateur does nothing, but would taking the credit for his work be unsatisfying? What to do, what to do...ah, you can probably guess.

"Slaybells Ring" (Written by Kenny Porter, art by Ramon Villalobos) features the Toyman, again complaining that kids today spend too much time on their phones and not enough on action figures. A helpful child explains, he just doesn't like Toyman's figures, and assists Superman in taking him down.

In "Bright and Terrible" (Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, art by Sumit Kumar) Sinestro, with Lex Luthor on the holographic phone, visits a planet he once defended when he was Green Lantern, and finds the locals have made a little religion based on him. But their leader may have drawn the wrong conclusions. I think this was set during recent Legion of Doom stories; and does a good job of explaining Sinestro's motivations.

Next, "Auld Lang Ivy," written by Jim Krieg, art by Aneke: Poison Ivy tries to connect with humanity, starting with her contemporaries at a super-villain bar, using her powers to give them a little nudge towards their New Year's resolutions. This does of course lead to murder, but hey, she's trying.

Dan Watters writes and Alessandro Vitti draws "Winter's Root," which has Wonder Woman but is an Ares story: he's trying to start a war because he needs to spill blood. His blood, to sustain a lover he turned into a tree centuries ago and felt kinda bad about. Diana should appreciate seeing even Ares has a heart in there, but wonders if he's helping, sorry or not.

Black Adam stars in "A Coal in My Stocking," where to make a little orphan girl feel better and to bring Christmas to his homeland of Kahndaq, he beats the stuffing out of a mystical Santa figure. Kind of...all over the place there, man. (Story by Ram V, art by Anthony Spay, inks by Jon Sibal.)

Remember when Calendar Man was one of the New 52's Channel 52 presenters, along with Ambush Bug? Yeah, he's a murderous loon again. In "New Year, New You" a new therapist at Arkham thinks Julian Day is a cliched loser, but takes the bait at rehabilitating him, Firefly, Amygdala, and Killer Croc. Which Julian completely turns back on itself, but can he break his own cycle? (Story by Christos Gage, art by Karl Mostert.)

The Chronos story is a good one, as the villain tries again and again to change his own history by turning his dad around. There may only be one way to do that, though. ("Father Christmas" Written by Dave Wielgosz, art by Cian Tormey.)

Kurt Busiek returns to the Prankster: I'm not sure he had been used in the New 52 continuity, but he sets him back up as the guy villains go to for a distraction. (Go read Superman #660 if you can!) The New Year's party may have gone a bit awry, though...(Art by Dale Eaglesham.)

Finally, a Harley Quinn story, "Little Christmas Tree," in which she attempts to cheer up Renee Montoya for the holidays. (Script by Vita Ayala, art by Elena Casagrande.)

We had to go with the digital camera for pictures instead of scans this time; so they're probably...not especially more crooked than usual, actually. Still, I don't think there were any outright stinkers in this one, so not bad! Better than the 2020 we got, anyway.
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Wednesday, July 01, 2020


Shorter one this week, since it's a bit of a transitional one. But Stan fills some panels! I'm pretty sure that's the same Stan head as the recent release with the signed shield, but in the fancier suit. Which is going to come in handy later...
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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

This way you don't have "Part 9 of 47" on the cover.

I've got a moment for a random comic, so let's start this pile of recent-ish Green Lantern books. "Act III, part I." Oh, comics. From 2015, Green Lantern #37, "Godhead, Act III, part I: Wall" Written by Robert Venditti, art by Francis Portela, breakdowns by Scott McDaniel.

Unfortunate event numbering aside, this was the various Lantern corps vs. the New Gods, and without looking anything up; this one opens with the bulk of them trapped in the New Gods' multiversal prison, "the Singularity Stockade." Kilowog is surprised they were betrayed by the Indigo Tribe, while Sinestro explains this is why you should have no allies. (I've recently accepted, the reason Kilowog doesn't always murder Sin on sight is that both have died, multiple times, and I'm just going to count that as evening the score.) Even with Parallax inside of him, Sinestro can't break out, but points out they all may learn a lot about fear in their prison. A valid point, that was more just for Sinestro to grouse about "the fear of our fate resting in the hands of Hal Jordan." Scary!

Back on earth, Hal is surrounded by zombies under the big top, courtesy of Black Hand. He even has the corpse of Hal's dad shuffling around, which Hal calls too far, but Hal needs Hand as an ally to stop the New Gods from using "the life equation." Death-obsessed Black Hand doesn't like the sound of that, but perks right up at the idea of space war, and joins him. Hal promises they'll settle up afterwards, which maybe gets a chuckle out of Hand. Flying out to the Source Wall...which seems like it should be more of a trip than the turn of a couple pages...instead of the Lanterns, they find Orion and his New Gods redshirts--I mean, Divine Guard! While Orion is openly contemptuous of the "glowbugs," Black Hand's ghoulish undead Lanterns put up a good fight.

Hal calls out Orion, like he wants to go fist-to-fist with him--he says "no constructs," but he's still using his ring, and a pile of undead Lanterns pile on Orion; until Black Hand gets distracted. Giddily, Hand realizes the Source Wall isn't a wall: "It's a mass grave!" Yeah, he's a little too excited.

Even with his Astro-Harness, I feel like Hal could fly circles around Orion; but hand-to-hand? No. Nooooo. Orion would leave him trying to pick up his own teeth, which would be even more challenging in zero-g. That would be a top-shelf beating; but the next chapter of Godhead wasn't the next issue; which we'll see some other time.
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Monday, June 29, 2020

I wonder if I would've been more or less pissed off reading this month-to-month: as it stands, it feels like I've been in this storyline for fifteen years now, but that probably isn't the case. Maybe. Also, all space cops may be bastards. From 2010, Booster Gold #36, "This Man...This Chipmunk!" Written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, art by Pat Olliffe, cover by Kevin Maguire.

The Maguire cover makes this one look like it's going to be deadly serious, as Booster was still trying to put together the pieces of Maxwell Lord's plan, which no one else believed was a thing. He had made multiple trips back to his Justice League-heyday, and this month while Blue Beetle gets some with an alien queen; Booster, Mr. Miracle, and Big Barda are getting the hassle from a pair of Darkstars, who don't believe they were trying to disarm a planet-destroying weapon. The Darkstars had previously impounded said weapon and put a failsafe in it, then are about to get violent after they get the records on their "perps" from Apokolips. Mr. Miracle boom tubes them back to earth, then realizes they forgot Beetle, but Barda has had enough of "future boy's" nonsense. (A running gag: past characters claim they recognize future-Booster by the thinning hair, which he vehemently denies.) Barda says they had agreed to help Booster get the Book of Destiny, and unless there was something he wasn't telling them--like Beetle's future death--he didn't need their help. Booster tries to play on Barda's heartstrings, which not only gets him no help, it also gets past-Booster punched through a wall.

Booster has to return to the present to check in with the rest of his anti-Max team, in Justice League: Generation Lost, a 24-issue series with 49 covers that I have managed to not read a single one of. That goes poorly, so it's back to the past to save Beetle...who has been turned into a chipmunk by the spurned queen! I don't know if the planet is named this issue, but Queen Artemis has magic powers and the eye-antenna things the Legion's White Witch had. She claims the transformation is permanent, worse, before Booster can talk her out of the Book of Destiny, the Darkstars show up again and zap him! Beetle, Booster, and the Book are taken into custody, classified as "illegal combatants" and shipped off to Starlag. That name should ring a bell...

Booster and Beetle are in "another fine mess" verbal sparring, when they meet Vril Dox, who is not super-impressed with them. Booster realizes it's from Invasion! and that he really shouldn't discuss it with Beetle since it hadn't happened for him yet. Still, Booster knows Skeets will come for them, and the brave little 'bot is--but the gold-skinned Estrogina is making her break first!

This issue was cover-dated November 2010, and Generation Lost ran until June 2011? Giffen and DeMatteis may have stayed on until around then with BG #43, but I don't think it stayed 'bwah-ha-ha' the whole time...but Booster might not have made a lotta progress against Max Lord, either. There is an issue in there where Booster finally has to accept Beetle's death; I still haven't.

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