Friday, October 21, 2016

Last gasp.

Taking a long weekend, since I have to take care of a little home redecoration project. Which will probably involve picking up about a metric ton of comics...

In other news, the last local Hastings will close up shop tomorrow. There's a receipt there that's taller than I am, yet I'm still wondering if I got everything I could've before they folded. Probably? At least for what I was willing to pay. I may make a final sweep in the morning, but there may not be much left. Maybe Tuesday we'll check out what we got, so have a good one!
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Probably should've saved this post for Thanksgiving.

Apocalyptic fiction comes in and out of fashion, and while it may be on an upswing now, it usually doesn't try to set a date for the apocalypse anymore. Well, this issue doesn't mention it either, but still: from 1975, Astonishing Tales #31, "Twice Removed from Yesterday..." Plot and layouts by Rich Buckler, script by Doug Moench, pencils by Keith Pollard, inks by Klaus Janson.

The cover blurb promises "The most savage Deathlok shocker of all!" And it over-promises more than a bit. This was maybe Deathlok's sixth issue (Astonishing Tales #29 was a reprint of the debut of the Guardians of the Galaxy) and the cyborg finally catches up to his old friend, Mike Travers. Traditionally in this kind of story, old friends are statistically likely to betray the hero, and Mike has, to Deathlok's eyes: since Luther Manning had been declared dead five years ago, Mike married his widow six months back. Disraught, Deathlok punches Mike, and it's mildly surprising he didn't accidentally-on-purpose kill him.

Luther had been clinging to the hope that he could get his life back--which seems ridiculously optimistic, he was basically a corpse with some aftermarket upgrades--and while part of that may have been lost, he was still trying to find the surgeon that turned him into the cyborg Deathlok. Stumbling across a mob hit, he overhears them talking about the surgeon, and after a shootout, gets in an argument with his onboard computer about whether or not he can make a jump to an escaping helicopter. The rest of this issue was a Tales of the Watcher reprint, although the next-issue blurb promises a full-length Deathlok story next month. (Between this and the fill-in, I imagine there were deadline problems sometime there.)

Deathlok was set in the far-flung future...of 1990. While there have been a variety of other versions in recent years, Luther Manning appeared in All-New Invaders in 2014. None of which explains why Deathlok calls two different people "turkey" this issue; except that I guess that was a Comics Code-approved epithet then...

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016


It sounds like an honest mistake, really...
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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wow, Shatner's stunt guy is throwing down today...

We got the Art Asylum Captain Kirk figure last year, even though it came out in 2003. It's pretty good, even if the new Mezco One: 12 Collective Kirk is like an evolutionary step up from it. An evolutionary step back, however, is the Diamond Select Star Trek Captain Kirk.

Diamond's version is from 2014, but feels older; like a diorama piece McFarlane Toys was doing a decade ago. Kirk doesn't have a ton of articulation, although he comes with an alternate set of hands and legs: the spare hands are gripping a length of pipe, while the other legs are virtually the same, just in slightly more of a running pose. Both sets of legs have cut boot-tops, and that's about it. The Kirk likeness is marginal at best, although the paint seems nice enough.

Kirk also comes with an unarticulated Khan figure, and a clear support rod; to attach him to the real star of this set: another sweet Diamond base, this time of a console from the Enterprise's engineering section. The cardboard backer is reversible for an alternate look. The promo picture on Amazon shows Khan with a crushed hand phaser, which wasn't included with mine.

I think I've said before, that thanks to a childhood spent watching old Star Trek and Dr. Who episodes on terrible no-def televisions, my suspension of disbelief is mighty. But if you watch them on modern flatscreens, some of the flaws are a little more glaring. Like the stunt doubles, on the multiple episodes where Kirk fights Kirk. But this figure might work for that!

So I didn't love this one, but admittedly I'm someone who fiddles around with my action figures more than most: if dioramas are your thing, it might be up your alley, but I don't think it's top shelf there either. (To cram a bunch of metaphors together!) I got this cheap at a closing Hastings, along with a couple more Diamond Select figures we'll check out later. So far, the bases have been the best parts of them, and they probably will be there, too...
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Monday, October 17, 2016

I think that billboard's parallel to the road; not great placement.

That's a huge billboard for leaving town, but it may be more effective if it was turned 90 degrees. But then we couldn't get it and sad Superboy in the same shot. From 1984, Superboy #51, featuring a Frank Miller cover...over reprints from Bob Rozakis and Kurt Schaffenberger.

I got the previous issue just a little while ago: #50 is a little lark guest-starring the then-current Legion of Super-Heroes, and a misused Dial H for Hero H-Dial. Superboy #51 opens with Superboy getting ready to move out of Smallville after the deaths of his foster parents, Ma and Pa Kent. (Y'know, they had names.) Bit of a downer, especially since as Superboy, he has to act like he's fine, while Clark is visibly despondent. Superboy bakes a colossal cake for everyone in Smallville, which most attendees save as a momento. (Do people still do that, save pieces of cake? Seems weird.) Later, Clark's cake is stolen by a boy trying to escape from his kidnappers, Superboy rescues him and takes it as an omen to move to Metropolis.

As Clark, and Lana, settle in at Metropolis University; the nation gets Superboy-mania, trying to guess where the Boy of Steel is going to hang his cape. Laying low for the time being, Superboy still saves reporter Perry White from mob gunmen, and White finds melted bullets later and realizes SB has made his choice. Perry's editor, somewhat understandably, is holding out for confirmation: when he gets it, the Daily Planet proudly proclaims "We've Got Superboy! Suck it hard, Gotham!" (OK, maybe not that last bit, but it's implied.)

In 1985, Frank Miller also did covers for the mini-series Superman: the Secret Years: like this cover, they seem odd now, since from Dark Knight Returns you get the impression that Frank didn't care for Supes...
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Friday, October 14, 2016

When Moon Knight's the voice of reason in your comic, you know there's problems.

Admittedly, Daken is having more problems than the last time we saw him, like having been shot in the head. From 2011, Daken: Dark Wolverine #15, "Moonwalk, part III" Written by Rob Williams, pencils by Michele Bertilorenzi and Riley Rossmo, inks by John Lucas and Riley Rossmo.

While Daken was fighting Moon Knight, an impostor attacked and convinced FBI agent Donna Kiel that Daken was the wanted "Claws Killer," and Kiel shot Daken in the head. Crammed full of drugs and short his healing factor, things look bad for Daken; and he spends most of the rest of the issue in a bizarre afterlife with the recently deceased Johnny Storm. (Was Johnny ever really dead? Well, that may all be in what's left of Daken's head.)

Kiel and Moon Knight continue to work the Claws Killer case, with MK discovering his true identity, actor and drug dealer (and former lover of Daken) Marcus Rosten. Who already has Kiel hopelessly addicted to the drug Heat...

I grabbed a few cheap issues of Daken, often thinking I'd get the last issue for "The End" week, still haven't. Still, I have kind of enjoyed how for having his own title, Daken is rarely portrayed especially sympathetically in it. The villain may be worse, but it's hard to say Daken doesn't have this coming to him.
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Storm swears to kill Doom later, good luck with that.

Continuing our longstanding tradition of missing one issue of a limited series, today we're checking out 2010's Doomwar, written by Jonathan Maberry, pencils by Scot Eaton, inks by Campanella, Mendoza, Meikis, and Lanning. I'm missing issue #2, have to keep an eye out for that.

Even though I read Priest's Black Panther, I fell off the book afterwards, so wasn't real up on the continuity here: in fact, T'Challa wasn't even the Black Panther here, his sister Shuri was. (I honestly don't know if she had been introduced prior to rather suddenly getting the title...) And the series starts in a dark place, with the revolutionary Desturi having overthrown T'Challa in a coup. Storm was a prisoner, facing trial for a variety of trumped-up charges, including witchcraft; T'Challa and Shuri had gone to Storm's former teammates, the X-Men, for help. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Cyclops declines to help. (For political reasons, not because he remembers Storm beating his ass.)

Luckily, Wolverine, Colossus, and Nightcrawler elect to help out; and somewhat surprisingly the first issue ends with Kurt teleporting T'Challa and Shuri in to murder the Desturi's leader. (I seem to recall some review site of the time wondering if that was in character for Kurt; but it may well have been to prevent further bloodshed in prolonged battle. Y'know, that isn't even my biggest problem with that, but we'll come back to that another time.) Still, the Desturi weren't the real threat, their secret backer was: Doctor Doom, who orchestrated this entire thing to get access to T'Challa's vault of vibranium. Which Doom does.

The cover for the third issue is Doom at a chessboard, and that's much of the rest of the series: Reed Richards and T'Challa trying to figure out Doom's endgame, which is largely stall the heroes until he's used the vibranium to take over the world. There is an interesting scene where T'Challa can't figure out how Doom got through his vault's final lock, which he describes as "a kind of psycho-spiritual polygraph." Doom is able to justify his end goals, if not his means, to the panther god Bast: Doom believes without his iron rule of law, mankind will always, in every timeline, destroy itself.

It's spoiled in several of the covers, and I believe the solicits for this series, but midway through T'Challa realizes Doom knows exactly how he and Richards think, and has already planned for exactly what they would do. Unless they do something crazy, like hire Deadpool to kill Doom and teleport him straight at him. (Reed seems to disapprove, in general principle.) Of course Pool doesn't make a ton of progress there, but he seems to have fun. The series ends with T'Challa neutralizing most of the world's vibranium, which wouldn't do wonders for Wakanda's economy or defense, and T'Challa's marriage to Storm may have been on the way out here as well.

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