Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The cover proclaims "The final triumph of Typhoid Mary!" but she wasn't done yet. Although you can see how you might think that...From 1988, Daredevil #260, "Vital Signs" Written by Ann Nocenti, pencils by John Romita Jr, inks by Al Williamson.

I misremembered a little from this one: it opens with Matt and Karen, blissfully happy together. Matt wonders how he even could have been tempted by Mary Walker, the demure, sweet, alter-ego of Typhoid Mary. And I may have to dig up some back issues, since I'm not sure how far Matt's relationship with Mary went...certainly, far enough to cause problems later. But this issue begins with a cheerful, upbeat Daredevil; on his way to a Fourth of July anti-nuke counter-protest, who then proceeds to catch beating after beating for the rest of this issue.

Nocenti largely avoided traditional DD villains, although this campaign was funded by the Kingpin, and uses her and JRJR's creations Bullet, Bushwacker, Ammo, and the Wildboys. (Bushwacker was co-created with Rick Leonardi; and I had completely forgotten Ammo: he was from DD #252, another double-sized issue that was really good, and another X-book tie-in; DD would have another shortly...) It's a gauntlet intended to wear DD down, but facing them one at a time (two in the case of those Wildboys losers) he still probably could take them, if not for one misstep: jumping off a roof to avoid getting shot by Bushwacker, DD lands on a rather elaborate parade balloon, which Bushwacker then blows up. I have never lived anywhere big enough for a proper parade, but are those pressurized to the point that it would explode like popping a balloon? Bushwacker is using high-end bullets, sure, but I feel like it would probably just shoot a hole straight through it, not the massive "B-TOOM!" that happens. Did they use hydrogen by mistake again?

Even so, the explosion and resulting fall do not do Daredevil any good: his enhanced senses are shot, and he's probably concussed at the very least. DD accosts a wheelchair-bound blind man, thinking he's Bushwacker; but is stopped--and lectured--by a young woman, who quite rightly suggests maybe he should go to the hospital. Instead, wandering off, he's an easy target for Ammo; a Vietnam vet in an inexplicable outfit...back-of-the-envelope math, but Ammo would've had to be at least 35 at the time. Ammo kicks Daredevil's ass into the anti-war protest, which was about to cross paths with the more conservative Fourth parade; no one in either helps the unconscious DD in the slightest. Neither does the passing Human Torch, setting up the next issue.

Now internally injured, Matt crawls into an alley, where he's visited by the flashbacks of Christmas past: his dad, Battlin' Jack Murdock; a ghost of himself; then classic villains Bullseye, Gladiator, Elektra, Typhoid, and Kingpin. (Typhoid is a bit of a cheat, since she was still on-deck.) The Wildboys give DD a thrashing, and a trashing: disappointed he's not fighting back, they throw him in the garbage, then get mad when he throws some back on them, and take him to drop off a bridge. Typhoid saves Daredevil...saves him for herself. Giving him a final kiss, she drops him, shedding a single tear over his body in a ravine. (I don't know if that bridge is still there, but I would bet it's based off a real location. Couldn't find it, though.)

Daredevil still isn't quite to rock-bottom yet, if you can believe it: I feel like that would come a little later when Karen goes to see him in the hospital and finds Mary already there. Traditionally, the hero would have to dig deep, and bootstrap himself back up to get back at his assailants...and it would be a long time before any of that would happen! This wasn't the usual situation, where the hero might have to get back in there to stop the villain from doing something terrible--or more terrible--they just wanted to wreck up Daredevil. Mission accomplished. DD would have a rematch with Bullet in #267, but that may have been merely in passing to him leaving town. (In fact, I was thinking of #291, Ann Nocenti's last issue on the book, which says "Rematch! DD versus Bullet!" right on it.) It wouldn't be until #297 that he would bring down Typhoid, and he may have fought dirty there; but that was incidental to bringing down the Kingpin.
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Monday, November 12, 2018

It's only been like five months since the last chapter of this we looked at, but c'mon, we've been picking at this for like eight years now: from 1994, "Blood and Thunder" part seven, the Warlock Chronicles #7, "Guile" Written by Jim Starlin, pencils by Tom Raney, inks by Keith Williams and Al Milgrom. (I think I messed up the cover links on previous entries for Warlock Chronicles, and I don't think I've ever seen the limited's last issue.)

The titular "Guile" isn't the Street Fighter character, nor is it from a character you'd normally expect of it. Warlock and his Infinity Watch have joined up with Dr. Strange and the Silver Surfer to portal into a secluded forest in Asgard, since they need to see Odin about his kid: Thor was currently insane, his imaginary girlfriend Valkyrie had come to life, and he had stolen the Power Gem (now Infinity Stone) from Drax. But Sif is dead-set against the heroes tattling on Thor: if Thor was found to have come down with the "warrior's madness," Odin would have no choice but to banish him from Asgard forever. (We'll ignore the fact that Thor and/or Loki had doubtless both been banished from Asgard "forever" multiple times...) Beta Ray Bill wonders how he got talked into this, but still helps for Sif's sake, and throws himself into battle, starting with sucker-punching the Surfer. That's only a stall, though: Sif's main plan is to set the local trolls against the Watch, and she starts things up by slicing the nose off of the troll king Geirrodur!

The furious trolls chase after Sif, who has a magical Norn stone as a cheat for this level: she had previously, and unexpectedly, used it to eavesdrop on the Watch; then uses it to disappear around here. The Watch is caught by surprise, and with Strange and the Surfer already downed by Bill, they are brought down one by one until only Drax and Maxam remain. They probably still could've beat the trolls, if a little one hadn't got them with a sling and a gas bomb. The noseless Geirrodur orders the captives mystically bound...and prepared for ritual sacrifice!

Huh, I'm missing the next chapter as well, but with this post we're down to three left for this crossover! And we've narrowed it down to the issues we need:

Need: Thor #468

Silver Surfer #86

Warlock Chronicles #6

Warlock and the Infinity Watch #23

Thor #469

Silver Surfer #87

Warlock Chronicles #7

Need: Warlock and the Infinity Watch #24

Thor #470

Silver Surfer #88

Need: Warlock Chronicles #8

Warlock and the Infinity Watch #25

Thor #471

Mind, I'm not exactly racing out the door for those.
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Friday, November 09, 2018

Everyone wants to be the fifth Beetle, or the new Fantastic Four.

I didn't spring for it, since I've long since soured on Bendis, but I'm still curious about his Infamous Iron Man #2, guest-starring the Thing; who probably was not overly supportive of Doom's new role as 'Iron Man.' I wanna see Ben just shut him down, although I'm not sure that's what ends up happening. On the other hand, I did hop on this dollar book: from 1994, Nova #11, "Those Who Would Destroy Us" Story and pencils by Chris Marrinan, inks by Mark Stegbauer.

If that title sounds familiar, it was a classic Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four; and this one guest-stars the team's only current member: Ben Grimm, recently scarred up by Wolverine. Who had been part of the previous new FF, it almost feels like Marvel was really considering changing up the team. Former replacement She-Hulk and 'associate' Ant-Man are there as well, and would be needed as Four Freedoms Plaza is attacked by the Hulk, Dragon Man, and Dr. Doom; all of whom are there to kill Nova? All three are robots--technically, Dragon Man had always been a robot; I'm not sure if this was the original or a dupe. They're joined by Armada, who flees when Ant-Man figures out how to defeat the robots.

Dragon Man splits, the Hulk robot is seemingly atomized but very obviously could've escaped into the sewers, and the Doombot is smashed up real good by Ben, who just has to hate those things. The heroes briefly consider forming up as a new Fantastic Four, but "Naaah!" Nova doesn't get a break, either, as he's immediately swooped up by Nick Fury, to take care of some loose ends from previous issues, even though his girl Namorita protests. (She may have been 'Kymaera' then, but Rich still calls her Nita.)

I wasn't familiar with Marrinan, but he had penciled most of the series to that point, took over writing in #8, and would stay on until #16. New Warriors writer Evan Skolnick would write the last two issues for this series, possibly an attempt to consolidate those titles.
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Thursday, November 08, 2018

Back in the neighborhood, but hardly friendly today.

I've had this story for years, in the glorious Marvel Treasury Edition #22, which also included the delightful "Here We Go-A-Plotting!" But we finally have a copy to put in the scanner! From 1973, Marvel Team-Up #13, "The Granite Sky!" Written by Len Wein, pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Frank Giacoia and (per the GCD, an uncredited) David Hunt.

Spidey is honestly, surly as hell this issue; although with good reason: this was still shortly after Gwen's death in Amazing #121. That issue was from June and this from September, and while Spidey had multiple adventures in his own book, Marvel Team-Up, and a guest-spot in Daredevil; it may only have been a couple weeks in Marvel-time since she died. Spidey had just returned from San Francisco, where it inexplicably took him, DD, and the Black Widow to beat Ramrod; and was looking for a fight to take his mind of his troubles. After he ditches out on a drunken sailor, though, he just misses a meteor land near the docks, that opens to reveal...the Grey Gargoyle?

Not far away, Spidey runs across two A.I.M. beekeepers running down the street: they seem mad since they had to run "from one costumed fanatic--and right into another!" He wallops them, then backtracks along their trail to find Captain America taking out more A.I.M. troops. Afterwards, Cap calls in S.H.I.E.L.D. for clean-up, and Spidey is remarkably testy, right before they're both...beamed up? To the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier?

An overzealous (and over-confident) agent wants to capture Spider-Man for questioning, and gets shellacked with webbing for his trouble. Nick Fury strongly suggests Spidey not try that with him, but invites him to a briefing with Cap: A.I.M. had been after a missile "telemetry system," and while Cap had defended one and S.H.I.E.L.D. another, A.I.M. managed to steal a third. Still, it had been fitted with a homing device, leading them to a base in Queens, beneath the Science Pavilion of the '64 World's Fair. Instead of MODOK today, though, A.I.M. is being bossed around by the Grey Gargoyle, who had been launched into space in Captain America #142. (Two years prior, don't ask what he ate or breathed that whole time...) The Gargoyle had contacted A.I.M. to bring down his stony prison, and together they were going to take control of earth's airspace, or something.

For some reason, instead of S.H.I.E.L.D. sending in the troops, Cap and Spidey take on the base, but are both turned into stone fairly quickly. They are then chained to the rocket that will launch the Gargoyle's satellite, with a "power-beam...capable of turning entire cities into lifeless stone!" With the launch seconds away and about an hour until the Gargoyle's stone-touch wears off, Cap and Spidey are doomed...unless the touch wears off early, for no apparent reason! Cap wonders if the venom that briefly gave him super-strength saved him, but can't even guess what saved Spider-Man. (They were on the second-to-last page, that's what saved him.) Cap throws the Gargoyle, who gets snagged in the chain that had held them, and dragged into space with the rocket. Other than that, it seemed like a pretty successful launch...I'm not sure where the Grey Gargoyle appeared next, or if he mentioned his stone-satellite-beam, but I don't think he and A.I.M. teamed up again. Captain America would appear in Marvel Team-Up again fairly soon, though: just got that issue, which we'll see some time later.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2018


I am not sure that Captain Marvel figure had appeared on the blog before, except perhaps in passing or a crowd shot. And Carol's movie figures are probably just a couple months away now!
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Tuesday, November 06, 2018

If Nick was lucky, he was killed before the concert.

Country Joe and the Fish is a name I recognize as a Woodstock-era band...and that's it. Couldn't name one of their songs if I tried. Of course we live in a magical future where I could doubtless listen to any of their songs in a matter of seconds, but I think I'm good. Nick was probably hoping to get shot when they were playing, in today's book: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #15, "The Assassination of Nick Fury" Written by Gary Friedrich, pencils by Herb Trimpe, inks by Dick Avers.

Nick Fury seems like well, if not a relic, at least his age this issue; as he has a date with Laura Brown for a concert in Central Park, the aforementioned Country Joe. It's not to his taste: Fury was a WWII veteran and probably in the neighborhood of 50 here...and probably at least twenty years older than his date! Still, he's game if Laura enjoys it, so good for him. Not so good for him is HYDRA's assassin Bulls-eye, who, with a computerized sniper rifle, kills Fury!

Bulls-eye was looking for a million dollar payday, but is left hanging out to dry by current HYDRA head Number Two, who had planned to launch an all-out assault against S.H.I.E.L.D. with Fury's death, but instead decides that's when they would be most on guard. #2 had intended for Bulls-eye to be killed in the crossfire, but leaving him to get shot by Dum-Dum Dugan works just as well. Dum-Dum gets Bulls-eye right in his unfortunate chest logo; then tries to rally what's left of S.H.I.E.L.D, if anything.

The next issue box asks "Is this...the end?" And based on the GCD, yes! The next three issues of the book were reprints. Luckily, the GCD also noted Fury returned a couple months later, in Avengers #72. I think I read that one back in the Marvel Super-Action reprint, and I don't know if the explanation of how Fury survived was plausible at all: he didn't send an LMD on his date, did he? Maybe he tags back in later.

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Monday, November 05, 2018

We referenced this issue almost eleven years ago! But I never had a copy...until now! From 1986, Booster Gold #8, "Time Bridge, chapter 1" Story and pencils by Dan Jurgens, inks by Mike DeCarlo.

In 2986, the Legion of Super-Heroes Ultra Boy, Chameleon Boy, and Brainiac 5 visit the Time Institute, where Chronarch has made an interesting discovery: the excavation of a time machine! It had been Rip Hunter's, but had been stolen from a museum in 2462 by a security guard named Michael Carter. Inside the sphere was another oddity: a section of Brainiac 5's force-field belt. Brainy guesses someone took the machine into their future, stole the belt at some point, then returned to the past; but he's wrong: the odometer on the time machine indicates Carter only took it back to 1985, then it was left for a thousand years.

In flashback, we see Carter--better known by his football nickname, Booster--and his security robot Skeets arrive in 1985. The time machine is shot, but he's got no plans on returning to 2462: instead, with a power suit and a familiar looking "magic little flying ring," and a stolen credit card (expiration date, 1998!) he starts putting together a costume and a plan. They need to hurry though, before their window of opportunity closes: tomorrow, a shape-changer was going to attempt to assassinate the president and vice-president...unless they're saved by America's "brilliant new idol!"

Elsewhere, the Director of the 1000 goes over his plan with his hitter, Chiller. Chiller would kidnap and kill Reagan and Bush, leaving Bush's body to be found, then shape-changing into Reagan. The 1000's agent, Senator Dillard--really the Director himself--would heroically work out a deal to "rescue" Reagan, who in gratitude would appoint Dillard as his new VP. Simple as pie, right? And it's not even the most evil way to become president that I've ever heard. Meanwhile, the Legion arrives, and realizes the date, now wondering if Carter was maybe trying to impress Jody Foster...Things go predictably awry at Reagan's speech, as when Chameleon Boy sees the newly minted "Mighty Booster" flying in, he assumes it's an attack; and Booster had himself been expecting a shape-shifter! While Chiller, disguised as a Secret Service agent, gets Reagan and Bush to "safety," after a short scuffle, Chameleon Boy wraps up Booster! Mission accomplished, Brainy suggests they "may as well head back to the thirtieth century!" (Booster had sent Skeets to make sure the president's limo was safe, so we have a little hint of what might happen next!)

I know part of what happens next--like how he ended up named "Booster Gold"--but I have to keep an eye out for the next issue. And I'm not sure if Booster even has the flight ring in the current continuity, but he sure as hell should. I think Booster should have a Legion crossover every year or so where the team comes back to hassle him for the flight ring and Brainy's belt, and every time it's a different continuity version: post-Zero Hour, Threeboot, New 52...
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