Wednesday, August 15, 2018

"Dinosaur." had a review of the Indoraptor--which is on Mattel's website as "Villain Dino," even now--that pretty much sold him for me. I forgot he was a Mattel figure until I looked him up again there. Did I buy him before I saw the movie? Well, it's a very nice dinosaur even if I didn't like the movie.

I also got my "Pig Iron Medium" lettering back; possibly since I have to reload this software every month or so since it's so old I can't validate it any more. We'll see if we stick with it...I might alternate with the "AnimeAce2" for the Black Cat/Satana strips. We'll see.
Read more!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Anyone could talk up the Weapon X feature; no, I gotta deep-dive on Woodgod.

Hmm. I know I read Marvel Comics Presents a fair amount during its seven year, 175 issue run. 90% sure I have the last issue waiting to be blogged during some year's "The End" posts, and I know I read all of "Panther's Quest," which I think was 25 parts! But I don't know if I read all of "Weapon X" as it was serialized; like today's book! From 1991, Marvel Comics Presents #76.

Barry Windsor-Smith's "Weapon X" was the main feature here, taking up the entire front cover: since there were usually four eight-page stories an issue, sometimes another story might be featured or at least mentioned on the cover, but here the only nod was Death's Head in the corner box! This was chapter four, as the Professor, Dr. Cornelius, and Ms. Hines work on conditioning their new weapon; and it gets out of hand as Logan first (to them, anyway) manifests his claws. They can see on their monitors what's in Logan's head, though: namely the Professor, dead as hell.

Next, the penultimate chapter of Shanna the She-Devil's ten-parter, "The Bush of Ghosts," written by Gerald Jones, pencils by Paul Gulacy, inks by Gary Martin. Yeesh, I know Jones was charged with possession of child pornography a couple months back; which means the odds of this one getting reprinted is just about none. Gulacy's art is killer, though.

Then, a Death's Head story! "The Deadliest Game" Written by his creator, Simon Furman, pencils by Bryan Hitch, inks by Mark Farmer. Yay, but it's just a short riff on the old "the Most Dangerous Game," so a little slight. But always nice to see classic DH, yes?

Finally, a Woodgod story...hey, those copyrights don't renew themselves, y'know! "Lonely at the Top," written by Robert Campanella, art by Dave Cockrum! Somewhere in Colorado, Woodgod had genetically engineered other animal-men Changelings like himself; and today we find him breaking up with Dovinia, who is pissed. Still, the snake-in-the-grass lion-man Leoninus sees this as an opportunity--I realize that's a weird metaphor there, but even more oddly, he appears to shop at the same store as Adam Warlock! He's got pretty much the same outfit, except with a little lion instead of the skull! It's kinda cool, actually; I already like Leoninus better than Woodgod, or I would if he wasn't a budding MRA: his whole plot is motivated by striking out with the ladies, so he kidnaps the girls to sell to Roxxon. Dick move, dick; although it does look like maybe Woodgod should have genetically engineered a lion girl, maybe? There's also a creepy scientist digging on Dovinia the deer girl, and now I'm grossed out; even if I want to see our old pal Man-Beast take Leoninus under his wing and teach him proper evil.
Read more!

Monday, August 13, 2018

I wonder why Yellowjacket didn't get cover billing...

...ow, that might do it. From 1978, Marvel Two-In-One #39, "The Vision Gambit" Written by Roger Slifer, pencils by Ron Wilson, inks by Pablo Marcos.

I don't have the previous issue handy, but the Mad Thinker has captured both the Thing and Daredevil, and was gassing the former to blackmail the latter: the Thinker was convinced DD had precognitive powers. Frantically, Daredevil has to bluff his way out: he tells the Thinker the gas was going to leak and kill them both, then confirms his "psychic" status by announcing the unexpected arrival of a kid Ben had met the previous issue. The kid is promptly captured by an android, but that gives Ben time to get loose while the Thinker goes into his presentation: Vision knockoffs! He demonstrates one that's pretty good, but could be better if he could capture and study the real deal. I don't know if I agree with his supposition that the Hulk would eventually tire and be killed, though: the bad guys always forget about him getting madder and stronger. During his little presentation, Ben is about to clobber him, but the Thinker has absolutely seen that coming.

Now thoroughly hypnotized, Ben is 100% on Team Thinker. He opts against doing the same to Daredevil, for fear of interfering with his "psychic" abilities; but with hostages he knows DD doesn't have a choice. Meanwhile, at Avengers Mansion, their target is lounging around watching hockey. (Aside: you could imagine an android, or synthezoid, having rigid posture, but I love how Vision often seems to be almost languid when he sits.) The Thinker had already calculated that Yellowjacket was the only other person at the mansion today, and Ben sucker-punches him. This puts the Vision on the defensive, but the Thinker had given DD a weapon to zap him when he went intangible, then contain him in an "ionic field." Then Daredevil has to lug over a box to scoop the Vision up for transport. (It takes him a while, and the Thing would've been quicker, except the Thinker didn't want to give DD time to plan with Vision.)

Victorious, the Thinker just has one little chore to take care of: kill Daredevil! He had checked his gas lines and found no leak, so knows DD had bluffed him. Thinker resigns himself to relying on his calculations, but they've done pretty well for him...up to when "Daredevil" shrinks and escapes Ben! Back at the mansion, DD had revived Yellowjacket, then they did a bit of costume switching: YJ wore his costume under Daredevil's, except for his pants, which were left full of ants as a decoy; and Daredevil had Yellowjacket's mask! As DD dodges Ben, Yellowjacket gets the hypnogoggles and releases Ben, then restores the Vision to normal. All good, except the Thinker still has his Vision knockoff--actually, several! DD and YJ are both knocked out, as multiple Visions pile on Ben; before the real one disintegrates them with his "searing optic blasts!" That sounds like an oops, since Vision usually had a beam from the gem on his forehead, and I don't think it was usually this effective.

Oh, yeah, that kid: the Vision checks the Thinker's math, and finds it pretty accurate, but he had jumped to the wrong conclusion. Daredevil wasn't the psychic his computers predicted, the kid was. That struck me as mildly unnecessary, since I thought Thinker got the psychic idea from observing DD. (Strictly speaking, the kid wasn't psychic either; just intuitive based on observations.) I have an Essential Two-in-One or two, might need to see if I have the prior issue in one.
Read more!

Friday, August 10, 2018

So far this week we've looked at Atlantis Attacks and Julius Schwartz tributes, as I very slowly progress towards blogging all of them. This next crossover we've blogged maybe four parts of over the years; and it was upwards of 40 issues, so I don't think we'll get all of these! From 1998, Shadow of the Bat #1,000,000, "A Never-Ending Story" Written by Alan Grant, pencils by Mark Buckingham, inks by Wayne Faucher.

Batman is MIA this issue, trapped in the 853rd Century with the rest of the Justice League, so today we've got the future's version from Justice Legion A. As he tries to stay ahead of the cops and get to the Batcave for equipment to fight the Hourman Virus that was driving the city paranoid and insane; Batman One Million narrates on a tape for his villain, Xauron, that promises to reveal his secret identity in the end.

Despite looking like a small-b batman, Xauron was the future Batman's Joe Chill: on the prison planet Pluto, after infecting the guards with "the Laughing Virus," Xauron led a massive prison riot that culminated in the murder of the entire prison staff and their spouses, before the eyes of their children. Some fifteen thousand kids, most of whom were traumatized perhaps beyond repair, but one would become the Batman. As the tape ends--and that's more than a bit weird of an anachronism, in that future--Batman swoops in, taking down Xauron and his gang, sentencing them "to life imprisonment--in tesseract space!" I'm guessing that's not unlike the Phantom Zone, if not actually the Zone. They sure don't seem happy about it.

Like I mentioned, we've seen the Creeper, Nightwing, Green Arrow, and Superboy issues; but it seems like it would take me to the 853rd Century to finish this one...
Read more!

Thursday, August 09, 2018

There were eight DC Comics Presents Julie Schwartz tribute issues, and we've blogged Adam Strange's, the Atom's, and the Flash's. Maybe we'll get to them all eventually, but I just got today's book! From 2004, DC Comics Presents: Superman #1, written by Stan Lee and Paul Levitz, art by Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone, and Keith Giffen and Al Milgrom; with a cover by Adam Hughes based on Nick Cardy's cover to Superman #264.

We've got two versions of "Secret of the Phantom Quarterback!" here, and I'm not positive I've ever read the original version. (The back-up story, "The Headband Warriors of Krypton!" has been reprinted more!) Stan and Darwyn's story is a retro-flavored number, with a scientist inventing a robot to impress his lab assistant, and using it as an invisible quarterback to trounce the local golden boy, in a game guest-refereed by Superman.

The second version is a little closer to the original, as fading quarterback Steve Lombard abuses an experimental steroid treatment, which accidentally turns him into a energy-radiating menace. Maybe not quite invisible, though. Superman takes Lombard for a little jog on his "cosmic treadmill" (he has one too?) to burn off the energy. Lombard is disappointed to realize his career is over, but had heard there was an opening at the Daily Planet for a sportswriter.

Looking back, I mention getting the Julius Schwartz Justice League of America issue, but I didn't blog it! Wonder where I put it...
Read more!

Wednesday, August 08, 2018


Maybe my parents were right: you do meet bad influences in arcades...

The arcade today is store-bought, which does have the bonus of being playable games. The skill crane is based on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Skill Crane," an episode both hilarious and horrible, as Squidward fails miserably and repeatedly at it. We aren't done with "White Kitten" yet, and I'm honestly not sure why she doesn't speak up; but next week back in space with Pool and Kurt and a couple very recent figures--one of which isn't a Marvel Legend! That seems few and far between lately.
Read more!

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

When I found today's chapter of Atlantis Attacks in the quarter bin, I also grabbed Avengers Annual #18 and Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #9 since I might not have...totally blogged those already. All part of the method! From 1999, Daredevil Annual #4 (it's really #5!) "A Friend in Need" Written by Gerry Conway, pencils by Mark Bagley, inks by Sam de la Rosa.

Spider-Man had been hypnotized and captured by Tyrannus in the aforementioned previous chapter, but this issue starts in Daredevil's current continuity, namely walking the earth like a bum, around about Daredevil #268. On reflex more than anything, DD saves a man from getting killed by snake-men: the man, Leo, was on the trail of his missing friend Wally, who had gone into the "Save Our Society" rehab program, which was a front for Tyrannus! Who should probably have his own tag, since we've seen him multiple times over the years, even outside of this crossover.

Daredevil isn't willing to further help Leo, since at this point he really didn't want to be responsible for anything. Which Dr. Strange finds a little out of character: he had been believed dead for some time, but DD doesn't seem especially surprised to see him. Still, even at this low point, Daredevil still has to help. Meanwhile, Tyrannus was planning to step around Ghaur and take the forefront in Set's return, by using the Viper as a human sacrifice. Unfortunately for him, while his plan allows him to summon and control Set (and Spider-Man has a fair handle on Daredevil) Tyrannus loses concentration on controlling Viper, and gets tossed into the pentagram with the demon, which seemingly takes a bite out of his head. While it's feeding, Strange casts it out, the place explodes and the serpent-men are returned to normal. (Viper makes the traditional escape.) Spidey is also freed, but Strange disappears without him seeing, telling DD no one but him will remember him being there. Leo finds his friend, who doesn't want to go home, and tells him they weren't friends, they were drinking buddies. Harsh.

There's a Frenz/Sinnott cover on this ish, that makes it seem like it's going to be more retro: DD doesn't have his beleaguered stubble, or Strange his eyepatch. The interior art is slightly more gritty, but not much. Bagley also penciled "the Saga of the Serpent Crown," but there were bigger names in the back-ups: Jim Lee on a Wild Boys story--they were two trashy recurring thugs; they had nothing on Turk. (And they may have just recently died in Old Man Logan #44!) John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson draw a Fat Boys story: they were a kid skate gang, and kind of suck. And Whilce Portacio does a Ben Urich story; all of these were written and colored by Gregory Wright.

Read more!