Monday, June 18, 2018

New computer, who dis?

I loved my old computer to death, almost literally. It was pretty rickety towards the end, so it'll be fun to have a new computer that will maybe work LIKE IT'S GODDAMNED SUPPOSED TO! Ahem, sorry.

Getting things set up today, back to work tomorrow!
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Friday, June 15, 2018

It's been eight years, but we're up to chapter 3!

Look, we'll finish "Blood and Thunder" sometime. Maybe. Today we're up to chapter 3, in 1993's The Warlock Chronicles #6, "Aftermath!" Written by Jim Starlin, pencils by Kris Renkewitz, inks by Pat Redding.

We open with Moondragon using the Mind Gem and her own telepathic powers, to try and unlock the memories of the amnesiac Maxam. It's less than successful, although she suspects his mental defenses and his powers were given to him. While Pip is willing to trust Maxam, since he helped out against the Goddess; Gamora is not. She had a vision from the Time Gem, of Maxam standing over Adam Warlock's body. She's willing to kill Maxam rather than take the chance, but Adam is willing to wait and see what happens; which she calls "a grotesque fascination with the man, almost like a death wish!" She may be not wrong...

Shortly thereafter, Maxam and Moondragon watch Drax the Destroyer...blow a mean sax. She recaps a bit of his history (which would be completely alien to his movie fans!) as he used to be her father...before she accidentally killed him, and he was resurrected with brain damage. Moondragon sounds like she's trying to rehearse a conversation she doesn't want to have, and knows isn't going to go well. After a slightly less uncomfortable conversation with Adam, Maxam talks to Pip, who decides to take him to a bar in New York City. A country bar.

Warlock checks out his Orb of Eternity, and sees Thor, and notices something wasn't right. (Namely, the imaginary Valkyrie with him.) Eternity appears to him, and Adam suspects Eternity wants something from him; but Adam wants something as well: he was trying to put superhumans in his debt, so he could call in the favor later. The usually emotionless, often dour Adam seems remarkably smirky about this.

On Monster Island, Gamora is increasingly fed up with everyone just doing whatever, but notices the depressed Drax, who wasn't invited to go with Pip and Maxam. At the country bar, the requisite fight breaks out, and Maxam is surprised at the locals' bigotry: either it wasn't a thing wherever or whenever he was from, or he just didn't remember. Although, it is hinted that he does remember anti-paranormal racism, and may be somewhat uncomfortable with the thought that he could be a mutant. No time for that now though: Adam calls Pip to transport him, into space, where Thor was about to kill the Silver Surfer!

We'll get to the end of this crossover someday! "Blood and Thunder" is collected...but don't, like, go nuts or anything. It's not the worst Marvel crossover I've ever read, but keep in mind I've read some doozies...

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Maybe if one artist had drawn the whole thing. (The first artist!)

I've mentioned before my love of Batman: Year Two, and how I've always wished Alan Davis had drawn the whole thing, instead of dropping out with no explanation after the first issue and being replaced with Todd McFarlane. Today we've got the conclusion of another retelling of the hero's early days, started by an artist I really liked, then finished by someone else: from 1991, Conan the Barbarian #240, "The End Must Come" Written by "Justin Arthur" (Roy Thomas, per the GCD, and you can tell!) pencils by Gary Hartle, inks by Ricardo Villagran.

This was part nine of "Young Conan," which began in #232 written by Michael Higgins with art by Ron Lim. Lim would only stay on for four issues, though, since I think he was doing a ton of other books at the time as well. And this issue sees Higgins replaced by "Justin Arthur," actually original series writer Roy Thomas, which does not strike me as a show of confidence. The storyline is wrapped up fairly quickly: Conan is returned from the dead, but possessed by a demon, and knocks out his friend Jorrma and his girl Melanie and takes them to be sacrificed. The witch Acegra drops four pages of backstory, about her elaborate plot to wipe out Conan's bloodline before he destroyed her and her demon partner, and how Jorrma had been specifically bred for that purpose. Conan fights off the mind-control and refuses to kill his friend, but when the control switches to Jorrma, he isn't as strong, and accidentally kills Melanie. Jorrma then kills Acegra, and is then killed by the demon Nuraldin, who ages to death without Acegra before he can kill Conan. Conan lays his friends on a funeral pyre, and then rides on to what would be his first issue.

But the last five pages could be seen as a bit of revisionism, or at least an unreliable narrator, as this, and by inference all of "Young Conan," has been the older King Conan telling the story to his son Conn. Conn wants to hear "the Tower of the Elephant" next, but it's bedtime; but he mentions to his mom Zenobia how much he loves his dad's stories, "even if they change a little, every time he tells them." Zenobia asks Conan about that, pointing out some inconsistencies with earlier stories; which is such a Roy Thomas bit he could've signed it.

We've previously blogged one chapter of "Young Conan," but I could stand to re-read it. Or at least see if the Ron Lim issues are as strong as I remember; although I think I might've been disappointed that Conan only appears as a baby in the first chapter. That issue also features a very nice, very Barry Windsor-Smith looking cover; penciled by Michael Higgins...and inked by Jim Lee!
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Wednesday, June 13, 2018


The tag for him is "I heart Man-Wolf," and I still totally do. I don't know if I could tell you the last time he's appeared in proper Marvel continuity though, so like Gwenpool, I figured he was fair game! I think when he appeared in the 2005 She-Hulk book John might have referred to himself as "Stargod," which seems a proper pompous thing to call yourself. I'm not sure he still would, though. Would he?

I did a wee bit of searching, to see if maybe Bill Sienkiewicz might've done a variant cover or something for Gwenpool--he did the cover for the '89 Alf Annual, so it wouldn't be the weirdest thing he's ever done; but didn't find any yet. (There was a Jim Mahfood one that seem very Sienkiewicz, though!)

Anyway, like a lot of these strips, the dialog has to do the heavy lifting; especially for an action sequence I couldn't possibly manage with a space shuttle, several astronauts, and a Dire Wraith. Big thanks to Blog for ROM fans who aren't dicks, who had the scan of ToyFare (still missed!) covering Toy Biz (also missed, sometimes) hyping their unreleased Dire Wraith figure. That little blurb also mentions the only alien figure they had planned that did see release, the Meegan from the Silver Surfer line; who we have of course used for these strips...about four years ago now...
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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Part of the crossover only in name, and not even that!

We've seen two issues of the "Batman Dies!" event so far: Batman #586 and Nightwing #52, and the latter actually featured Catwoman's imaginary version of Batman's death--and wedding! So in her own book, we get...Harley Quinn's vision of Batman's death? No, her creative vision? From 2001, Catwoman #89, "Always Leave 'Em Laughing" Written by Bronwyn Carlton, pencils by Staz Johnson and Craig Rousseau, inks by Wayne Faucher.

An early issue of Superboy is probably a better known example of this: an in-story version of DC's animated universe/Batman: the Animated Series. (Ooh, Mike Parobeck art on that Superboy! I know I've got a copy somewhere...) Dr. Quinzel is having trouble getting past the pitch stage, though: her vision of Catwoman and her best bud Harley Quinn (and their pal, Poison Ivy) is undercut by notes and revisions, until "Catwoman" is a "16-year old science prodigy," and Harley and Ivy are even more drastically changed. Pissed that it was no longer her story, Harley murders the network exec types with Joker gas. Which is more-or-less done for a lame punchline, but does kind of undermine Harl as a sympathetic character, doesn't it?

The "Batman Dies!" on the cover is crossed out and corrected to "Batman doesn't die!" Not that there was any continuity or crossover on that event, though. Four issues of that event left, and I don't think I have any of them off the top of my head. Again, this was largely to have a laugh before the "Officer Down" crossover; though offhand the Birds of Prey issue looks funnier than this.
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Monday, June 11, 2018

I have to wonder if they got a better Green Lantern movie than we did...

When last we saw Cameron Chase, Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, helped Batman and Nightwing cover their secret identities; today after watching the Green Lantern movie she tells a friend about when she and her pals met him, in her second-to-last issue: from 1998, Chase #9, "In Darkest Night" Plot and script by D. Curtis Johnson, plot and pencils (1, 22) J.H. Williams III, pencils and inks (2-22) Charles Adlard, inks (1, 22) Mick Gray.

Cameron and company had another run-in with the Cult of the Broken Circle, who they describe as "always getting mixed up with the wrong sorts" like Klarion the Witch Boy or talking gorillas--it's tough to narrow down the specific one of the latter, from that description. This time, the Cult appears to be worshiping, and making sacrifices to, an ATM machine. Which sounds nutty, but they see a cultist seemingly disintegrated by "Atem"!

Green Lantern shows up and helps mop up the Cult, then his 'friend' Hal Jordan goes to Cameron for help finding his cousin, also Hal, whom we know as Air Wave. Kinda seems like he might have something to do with "Atem," huh? After the story, one of Chase's friends wonders if they shouldn't have seen GL was going bad (I didn't realize his Parallax turn was public knowledge) but she feels the good outweighed the bad. Also, if GL came back from the dead, it would make that movie seem pretty silly...

Like the Creeper, Chase would end with the #1,000,000 crossover issue; but unlike the Creeper, I don't think the regular Chase would even appear in her last issue!
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Friday, June 08, 2018

We mentioned Trekker the other day, and based on the description for the Ominbus I'd guess I've read...maybe a third of the series? More than I'd have guessed. I had thought there was a bit more; like today's series, which I've read maybe 10% of? From 1991, Grimjack #80, "Behind Blue Eyes" Written by John Ostrander, pencils by Flint Henry, inks by Bruce Patterson.

Karma can be a bitch, especially when you invested in the junk bond version of it: James "Grimjack" Twilley's family is up to their elbows in bad debt, after a financial crash on Cynosure that might be Grimjack's doing...He was off the hook since he had long since been disowned, but his dad and brothers were facing liquidation. Possibly literally. Grimjack notes that's a little harsh for this kind of thing, but the "adjudicator" handling the case won't cut a deal, and is going to throw the book at them. His baby sister has already been sold into prostitution...

Confronting the adjudicator, Grimjack realizes the problem: it's former warden Jagart, who he had previously conned into getting a pardon. Jagart was going to get his revenge through his family; and this seems like the kind of problem that could be solved with violence, but Grimjack decides to try a different tack.

It's going to come to a confrontation, but the stakes and the tension ratchet up more before the close: Grimjack tries to call in some favors, including contacting a dead wizard; but sees his own afterlife as a blasted wasteland, indicating his own karma might not be doing so well. Jagart receives a note (possibly, but possibly not from Grimjack) indicating for each one that dies, he would lose a member of his rosy-cheeked, Puritan-looking family. Columbo makes a cameo as a cop telling Jagart that note wasn't really enough to go own, and Jagart's superiors suggest maybe he shouldn't abuse his power (or press his luck) by going after Grimjack's family; and they weren't going to waste the expenditure (or lives) defending his family if it came down to it. His wife says they are "sacrifices on the altar of (his) pride!" and has a point, but Jagart can't back down. Instead, he goes to have an illegal hit put on Grimjack; as Grimjack's dad is headed to "default."

I had thought this might be the last issue of the series when I grabbed it, but I'll definitely have to watch for the conclusion: Jagart only had twenty thousand credits, which I'm guessing doesn't buy the kind of quality hitters that could give Grimjack the serious hassle, but I want to see if I was wrong.
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