Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Icebox."


Did I buy that refrigerator specifically for this kitchen set? Possibly, I can't remember. Meanwhile, or rather since, the Wife bought her own fridge, since I said she was hogging the old one! She likes having her own stuff, and generally needs the newest bestest available; whereas I'm usually content to slog along with whatever old thing. Moreover, even though we go shopping together, we still buy our own groceries, and don't really share food. (Except for a few dishes like peanut chicken, or the stuff she buys and doesn't like and gives me!)

The Wife also loves the stubbly look, and I may actually be allergic to my own stubble. Seriously, I've rubbed my hand on it, and gotten itchy as hell, not sure what's up with that...
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016


In combating alcoholism or other substance addiction, a traditional twelve-step program involves some degree of faith in a higher power. Alcoholics Anonymous's current wording of the third step is "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." This can cause some issues with those with different beliefs, like atheists. (A quick Google search and "twelve step program without god" was the fourth search...right above "twelve step programs don't work.") Some people may have a legitimate problem with "surrendering" to a higher power...like Bane, in today's book: from 2006, JSA Classified #18, "The Venom Connection, part 2 of 2" Written by Tony Bedard, pencils by Scott McDaniel, inks by Andy Owens.

The new Hourman, Rick Tyler, had been working with Bane to stop a designer drug epidemic that may have had its roots in the Miraclo formula. Bane claimed to have found notes from the formula's creator, original Hourman Rex Tyler, but he also claimed to have been forced back onto his drug, Venom: both were lies.

Bane double-crosses the Tylers, since his plan all along was to destroy anything related to Venom, saying he'd "rather die than be a slave to that drug again." Rick gets a solid thrashing and his power-gauntlets taken away; while Rex is not afraid of Bane: he had straight-up been killed and brought back multiple times, he wasn't scared of a bully in a luchadore mask.

Unable to finish Rick right away, Bane takes Rex hostage, back to Santa Prisca. Rick follows, with only one power left: his "time vision" that prophecies moments an hour ahead, where he sees Bane throwing him in a cell. Still, it gave him the lay of the land: Bane was going to blow up the abandoned Pena Duro prison where he had grown up, and had rigged the cells to lock and stay locked. Bane rolls all over Rick, and is pissed since he doesn't believe in "overcoming addiction by admitting your weakness..." He wouldn't believe in a "higher power," Bane would be all about gutting it out yourself. Which makes sense, since Bane has never had anyone or anything he could rely on; while Rick can rely on his team and his dad.

Bane throws Rick into a cell, and tells him he can either die in the upcoming explosion, or take some Venom to save his dad...and later die of withdrawals. Rick has outmaneuvered him, though; by grabbing the detonator. Bane uses Rick's gauntlets to hulk-up on Miraclo, but Rick tosses the detonator into the cell Rex was in, then gets Miraclo to Rex, who seems willing to go toe-to-toe with Bane. Rick blows the detonator as Rex runs them out of there, leaving Bane to possibly-but-probably-not get squashed in the explosion. (Even though Pena Duro was abandoned when it was blown up...I'd be mildly surprised if it didn't appear again. Bane's prison seems too good a location to let go.)

So Miraclo seems like a step up from Venom, which is probably super-addictive. Versus the only somewhat addictive Miraclo...Rex may have been less addicted to it, then the rush of "goddamn, I'm a super-hero, let's go!" Rick is admittedly an addict, but it's OK because he's a superhero? And at a glance, I think Bane was back on the Venom five years later in Secret Six #36, if not earlier. But it has to be tough to "let go and let God" when the next writer or editor puts you right back on the stuff!
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Monday, September 26, 2016


I dropped the ball on this one, but no one called me on it in the last four years: we were looking at some of the continuity in Dark Horse's Aliens comics, specifically the return of Ellen Ripley at the end of Nightmare Asylum. I didn't think , or at least wasn't sure, that it was followed up on; turns out it totally was! In 1990's Aliens: Earth War, written by Mark Verheiden, art by Sam Kieth. (With covers by John Bolton.)

Continuity-wise, so far everything has sprung off of Aliens, since Alien 3 was still a couple years out. Hicks and Newt--still Hicks and Newt here, in the original issues, not Wilks and Billie--hadn't seen Ripley in years. They had gone into coldsleep at the end of Aliens, but Ripley was gone when they woke up, and here we see where she went: a second, government ship had been sent to follow-up on LV-426 Acheron. Ripley was intercepted and forced to go back on a "scientific expedition." For good measure, she gets to watch helmet-cam footage of Kane from Alien, in case she was working through any of her survivor's guilt; but she goes along to protect Hicks and Newt.

Somewhat predictably, the second expedition doesn't go any better than the first, but is over right away. Based on the distress call from the derelict ship on LV-426, Ripley discovers the aliens aren't just spreading "like some horrible cancers," they were trying to get back to a Queen Mother. "Why," isn't especially clear; but the aliens were still somewhat mysterious in that fashion. It had been implied that they had some level of telepathy, which also helped make a mess of earth: the planet was infested with aliens, but a lot of people had also lost their minds to the aliens' influence. (To mix a couple genre metaphors, think failing a sanity check as in Call of Cthulhu and going full Renfield.)

Escaping with some soldiers, Ripley had been working on a plan to capture the Queen Mother, take her to earth, and blow them both up. Ripley believes the QM and her drones would both be vulnerable then, and had little reason to care about what happened to earth anyway: the corporation and/or government had betrayed her multiple times already, and referencing a scene deleted from the original theatrical release of Aliens, Ripley's daughter had grown up and died of old age while she had been lost after the first movie.

Events are complicated by broadcasts from earth of a little girl struggling to survive, that reminds Newt of herself; and the terraforming of earth by a third party...This was Dark Horse's maybe fourth or fifth Aliens mini-series, and each had built off the last, but this does feel a little crammed. The continuity would be adjusted a bit afterwards: I think this was the last with Ripley, Hicks, and Newt; the next mini-series was Aliens: Genocide. This was also pretty early work from Sam Keith, who has done more Aliens work since.
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Friday, September 23, 2016


As is often the case, if I can pull a whole mini-series from the quarter bin, I'm kinda obligated to get it; and poor Hastings is almost all quarter bin at this point. Still, just because I got it for under a buck doesn't mean it isn't worth reading, right? From 2013, Hit #1-4, written by Bryce Carlson, art by Vanesa R. Del Rey.

This was set in Los Angeles, 1955; when some factions of the police were fighting crime on its own terms, as in with murder squads. Detective Harvey Slater leads one such team, wiping out mobsters that the law couldn't get otherwise; and seems to be having a pretty good time of it until one bad day:

I've read a middling amount of crime fiction, but it's not a period I seem to see that often in comics. (It reminded me of the movie L.A. Confidential, which I wouldn't mind seeing again now.) Hastings had a pile of assorted Boom! Studios titles in the back issue bins, but so far this was the only one I could find a full run of: doing a quick check, the Midas Flesh was eight issues, the Last Broadcast was seven, but I haven't seen all of either yet.
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Look, you can sort these into order later. Yourself.


The current plan is to slowly, eventually, blog all of Marvel's 1989 annuals, the Atlantis Attacks crossover. So far, in no particular order, we've covered four (and an issue of Quasar that tied into the What If? for this event) but now we hit a chapter I hadn't read: New Mutants Annual #5, "Here Be Monsters" Written by Louise Simonson, pencils by Rob Liefeld, inks by Tim Dzon.

So, I didn't read this one back in the day, because I've never been a fan of the New Mutants: the phrase "ah'm near invulnerable when ah'm blastin'" just makes my jaw clench up, for one thing. (I know I had Cable's first appearance, though; and New Mutants #100...) But this issue also ties into New Mutants #76, which I also hadn't read, guest-starring the Sub-Mariner in a fight for the Horn of Doom. You know, the one Subby blows to summon big, cool monsters, like that one that looks like Moby Dick with feet. (Giganto.) This time around, Ghaur and Llyra send some Deviants to steal the Horn, with they do from Namorita. Because the Deviants resemble some of the New Mutants, and Namorita knows about their recent encounter with Namor, she goes after them, accompanied by super-powered Atlanteans Sharkskin, Eel, and Undertow. Their group name was Surf, which doesn't really make sense: they were underwater all the time, they might see currents, but would they see surf? If they were a DC team, they'd probably get killed in a crossover, but Marvel's allowed Surf to sink into obscurity.

While the required Marvel-misunderstanding brawl rages, Ghaur blows the Horn, drawing a giant, poisonous, squid-monster to destroy Atlantis. Ghaur's sub does take a hit, and the Horn is lost, but he still declares this a pretty good sacrifice to Set. The combined heroes manage to stop the monster by burying it in an undersea trench, but while most of the Atlanteans are saved, the city is (once again) destroyed. This was chapter nine of fourteen, and we've looked at five now...I doubt we'll do this faster than we did with DC's Ghosts annuals, but you never know.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Overhead."


Machine Man of Counter-Earth? Sure, why the hell not. There was an actual thought process to this notion, that we'll come back to next time we see him. And this version of Deadpool's favorite lackey, Hydra Bob, is the most recent Hydra figure (we've used it before) with the unmasked Black Panther head. (Chadwick Boseman.)

In the meantime, I'm waiting for an insurance check and loan approval, so I can get a new car. Riding the bus takes too long--it's adding over an hour to my commute, each way, at least--and it's complicated. I have to take three buses to work, and it took me a while to figure it out. I'm not looking forward to spending all day at the dealership, either; perhaps I'll go in Sunday and hopefully everyone's in a hurry to catch the game...(EDIT: And I actually did, after I wrote this! Got a very nice Ford Focus for a pretty solid deal. I'm generally useless at the car buying--I always forget to bring paystubs or mail to prove I live somewhere--and the Wife saved me by having a screen capture of the listed price! But here's a pro-tip: go early on a Sunday during football season! Even if you're a fan, it's worth it, the dealership will be dead as hell and happy to help you out!)


Also, I forgot this panel: I thought I had scheduled another week of regular Kurt yelling at Bluepool first, and then this would've been the last panel for that one; but I guess I wanted to jump in here right away.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Not a definitive punch-up for them today.


Some time back, we looked at an old Hulk issue, wherein General Ross commits treason, perhaps at least in part to save his daughter Betty from the Hulk, and the Abomination was a simpering wreck from taking too many beatings from ol' Greenskin. Today we've got an earlier, stronger showing from the Abomination, and possibly more treason from Ross: from 1967, Tales to Astonish #91, "Whosoever Harms the Hulk..!" Written by Stan Lee, art by Gil Kane. (Reprinted in 1974's Marvel Super-Heroes #47, which we have here!)

The Abomination had already beat the Hulk down and taken off with Betty as the issue opens, and General Ross is less overjoyed that the menace of the Hulk was over, then torn up with worry over Betty. He orders his men to attempt to revive the Hulk, but they fail. Rick Jones makes his way in, and suggests the "gamma electrodes," which do the trick; except now the Hulk thinks the soldiers were trying to capture him, and just wants to leave. Rick pleads with the Hulk, seeing this as a chance for the Hulk to be seen as a hero, but he's not having it until Rick mentions Betty was in danger. The Hulk reverts back to Banner, who gets Ross to put him in charge of the "infinite weapon lab" and come up with a way to lure the Abomination back and drain his powers. Which works, until Banner hulks out again and wrecks it. Now evenly matched, Abomination and Hulk throw down...for about four panels.

Four panels? That's it? Well, meanwhile, the Stranger--who isn't mentioned the rest of this comic, until the last page! (Well, I guess Stan would say that's what you get for missing an issue, true believer!) He decides the Hulk is too unrelenting to serve as his underling, but the evil Abomination just might. (Spoiler: no, not so much.) The Stranger releases any hold he might've still had on the Hulk, and abducts the Abomination into space. The Hulk leaves, headed for a new chapter in the next issue...Meanwhile, I had to flip through the GCD for a while to find the Abomination's rematch with the Hulk, and we already saw it here! While he would show up in Silver Surfer and Thor, he wouldn't face the Hulk again until 1971's Hulk #136! (Incidentally, those old posts had the tag "The Stars My Aggravation," which I've used a few times since...)
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