Monday, August 31, 2015

This month, Thor pitches his A-game...


...and Sif is not really having it, in 1983's Thor #336, written by Alan Zelenetz, with art by Herb Trimpe and Ernie Chan and Vince Colletta.

This was the last issue before Walt Simonson took over and completely reinvigorated the title, so it was mostly wrapping up a few loose threads: Jane Foster had been returned from the world of the Possessor to earth, and was going to marry Keith Kincaid. (Keith is definitely a consolation prize: Jane couldn't have Thor, so they had to marry her off to somebody...) Thor and Sif are a happy couple; at least as far as Thor knows: Sif doesn't share his attachment to earth, and doesn't see the appeal. Although Thor does his best to try to include her and show her the wonders of the mortals, it's kind of tough when perennial third-stringer Captain Ultra has a jealous fit and attacks him.

As Donald Blake, Thor saves a patient in a difficult surgery; but Sif is still not sold. She accompanies Blake to the Kincaid/Foster wedding, but then returns to Asgard, where she tells her tale to Queen Frigga. Then, dashing Fandral asks Sif to join him in smiting some storm giants, and Frigga wonders if a wedding might not be in Sif's future after all.

This was of course clearing the boards for Simonson, but Thor was absolutely working the wrong angle in getting Sif interested in earth: "There are super-villains on earth, my love. That need punching. Lots of punching."
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Deadpool vs. Kraven!...will be seen in part today.

Back in 1997, Deadpool encountered Kraven the Hunter in Joe Kelly and Pete Woods's classic Deadpool #11; when trapped in the past, Pool Forest Gump's his way through Stan Lee and John Romita's 1967 classic Amazing Spider-Man #47! It's a particularly, go out of its way to be funny issue, but that was a conscious choice by Kelly since the next one began "The Drowning Man" storyline, where a visit to the Field of Dreams cornfield ends amazingly wrongly for Pool, and that's before T-Ray just demolishes him.

Anyway, we're not checking out any of those today; but another book with a Deadpool/Kraven match-up, that's a little less renowned. Possibly for a reason...from 2010, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #4, written by Paul Tobin, pencils by Ronan Cliquet, inks by Amilton Santos.

This stretch of Marvel Adventures had more issue-to-issue continuity than the previous series of one-and-done stories; as well as a different team roster. Traditional Avengers Cap, Thor, and Iron Man were still there, as was Spider-Man; then classic members Vision and Black Widow, and newbies Nova and...the Invisible Woman? An ongoing plot thread is that Sue joined the team at Reed's suggestion, ostensibly to expand her horizons and have room to breathe apart from the FF...although Reed had another, ulterior motive in mind as well. (It's also somewhat overcomplicated, involving Namor the Sub-Mariner and a double-agent within the Avengers!)

At the start of this series, the Avengers lobby for and get sanctioned to operate worldwide, but here Kraven tries to use that to his advantage to coerce the team into helping him, as a licensed bounty hunter, round up his quarry: Deadpool! Who is never referred to by that name, and is actually somewhat underused here: it feels like the ongoing storyline eats up a little too much space for the "villains of the week" B-plot. I also suspect Tobin mostly just needed a character that could evade Kraven long enough for the Avengers to show up; while Kraven increasingly endangers bystanders trying to bag Pool.

Cap seemingly caves and accedes to Kraven's extortion, in order to maintain the Avengers' peacekeeper status; but may be doing so just to keep tabs on Kraven. And he does, arresting and decking him in the end; after Wade Wilson is stopped by the Vision. Not a great showing for Pool, then; but it does manage to keep him kid-friendly. Which has to take some work...
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Taking a day!


I spent a good chunk of the weekend playing with some styrofoam chunks, five dollars worth of discounted paint, and scraps from various boxes; cobbling together new background pieces. Fun, but I haven't taken as much time to read this week.

Also, yesterday I picked up the DC Collectibles Batman: the Animated Series Creeper, and his elbow sheared off right out of the package! Haven't had that happen before. After a couple minutes of working on him, I couldn't fix it and will have to look into exchanging him. A mild disappointment, but should be fixable. Then, I was considering the new Marvel Legends, but someone stole the Rhino Build-a-Figure piece! I don't run into that often, either. Anyway, we should get back to work tomorrow! Hopefully.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Safari."


Derp, I actually lost a panel somewhere and had to redo it. Still had the pictures but not the script, so god only knows what the first one looked like. Well, I guess that almost counts as doing a second draft or take, something awfully rare around here...

We're probably going to take a look at a Kraven vs. Deadpool comic in a couple days, but I figure it's not the one you're thinking of!


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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The logistics of evacuating the planet? Easy-peasy. The politics? Well...


From 2007, Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #26, "Countdown to Oblivion" Written by Fred Van Lente, art by Cory Hamscher. A slightly abridged, slightly altered retelling of the FF's first encounter with the Silver Surfer and Galactus. Millions of alien refugees converge on earth, seeking a new home, but they don't have time to conquer the place before they're forced to flee the arrival of Galactus. Reed makes plan after plan to save humanity: his first idea, to build space arks to leave the planet, is hindered by both politics and skeptics, including some mockery from a thinly-veiled Conan O'Brian type!

Decoy holographic earths don't fool the Silver Surfer, and Reed doesn't have time to teleport earth into the Negative Zone, either. (Sue points out that the latter is probably just as well.) The Surfer beats the Four handily, but Reed plays one last gamble, and tricks Galactus into altering earth's magnetosphere into a form inedible to him. (Whether or not that would do earth's environment any good isn't dwelt upon.) Enraged that he can no longer devour the earth, Galactus intends to merely destroy it; but the Silver Surfer stands up to him, getting exiled on earth for his trouble.

I love these Marvel Adventures books, but collecting them could give you a bit of OCD: you could get this issue as the original single issue, the squarebound Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four vol.7, or the larger-sized Target reprint Spider-Man: Silver Surfer. The latter also includes another Silver Surfer guest-spot in Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #28, the classic Lee/Buscema "The Spider and the Surfer!" from Silver Surfer #14, and the origin of Galactus. The latter's a kind of heady choice for a collection aimed at children, but there you go.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

If the Time Trapper remembers each reboot, no wonder he's a villain...


Legion of Super-Heroes continuity is renowned for being an utter wreck, with reboot after reboot, and another one inevitably coming in the future. But sometimes, a creative team manages to get a good story out of that continuity wreckage--like today's book! From 1998, Legion of Super-Heroes #105, "Time Won't Let Me" Plot by Roger Stern, co-plot and dialogue by Tom Peyer, pencils by Jason Armstrong, inks by Ron Boyd. (And an Alan Davis cover!)

Previously in Legionnaires #61 (yes, the LSH was basically a biweekly title then!) the mysterious and chatty villain the Time Trapper had most of the team locked in battle with their alternate timeline counterparts, but had saved a space for the heroes who didn't have alternates! Gates, XS, and Monstress were completely new; Kid Quantum, Kinetix, and Ferro Lad were substantially different from any prior versions, and young Lori Morning hailed from the 20th century...but the Trapper had taken an interest in her, giving her the H-Dial previously used in assorted versions of "Dial H for Hero." He explains that he's "been both 'villain' and 'hero'...I may even be one of you." (And he was, in the "Five Years Later," pre-Zero Hour version of the Legion's continuity, the Time Trapper was Cosmic Boy.)

While most of the alt-Legionnaires are good and band together pretty quickly, there's enough evil ones (or ones seeking revenge for misfortunes that befell them in their own timeline) to still be a problem. The Trapper granted Lori one of her wishes, aging her back to a "glorious" young adult, which is somewhat creepy, but he also takes away the H-Dial before she can betray him. Lori rejects the Trapper and dials...turning into Galaxy Girl, now even younger than she was before! Confused, she only remembers being pissed at the Time Trapper, who realizes he may have given her too much power. Ferro Lad convinces Galaxy Girl to stop beating on the Trapper for a moment to free the Legionnaires; by play-acting as the Tin Man and that without them, he'd never get a heart. Multiple Legionnaires compare differences and similarities (including a few members who may be dead elsewhere) before Superboy gives the Time Trapper the "old 'planet-smasher'" punch. Still, it takes all the teams at once to shut down the Trapper, although this was just another of his tests for the current Legion.

Returned to the moment they left, Lori is distraught, afraid her H-Dial may no longer work properly, and that the Legion might even take it away from her. And Ferro Boy and Triad share a moment to think about what they saw, since in other continuities they both died; but Triad tells him they're going to watch out for each other.

The book may have even got rebooted before this plotline went the distance, but Lori (who first appeared in the Underworld Unleashed crossover, of all places) was going to be revealed to be Glorith, who had a brief one-issue appearance in the original series as the Time Trapper's henchwoman. Memorably, the Trapper de-aged her into protoplasm; but she made a big comeback to be one of the major bad guys of the "Five Years Later" era. The plan here may have even been to make Lori the Time Trapper, but I think Abnett and Lanning took the title in a different direction when they came on in issue #122's "Legion of the Damned."

I know Alan Davis even did an issue or two in there somewhere, but it looks like he did the covers up to #118, and they really make that look like a fun batch of books. DC needs to put, like even the least little effort into leveraging their back catalog of Legion stuff into sales of new books. (And they need to start, oh, I don't know, maybe nine years ago when the Legion had a cartoon...) I honestly think getting these comics in people's hands, even if it was at a loss, would only create more Legion fans down the line...


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Friday, August 21, 2015

I'm probably wrecking someone's set. As usual.


I know I've mentioned before how one of the fun things about collecting Nightcrawler merchandise--besides getting the quality goods, that is--is that there's a fairly consistent flow of new items, without having the complete deluge you get following say, Batman or Deadpool or something. So, last week at my local comic shop (conveniently, the Comic Book Shop...) I got the Eaglemoss Nightcrawler White Pawn! I think I've got other Nightcrawler pieces from Eaglemoss, but I'm not getting the whole chess set, just a Nightcrawler. So hopefully I'm not breaking up someone's collection...! (And please excuse the low-even-for-around-here quality pic; I took a few then took the piece to work where a chunk of my Nightcrawler stuff is at my desk!)


Then the other day
Entertainment Earth had a sale on Dark Horse's Nightcrawler Syroco Statue: $17, down from $49.99! Well, I hadn't planned on picking that one up, but I'm not made of stone either. It's an odd thing, part of a small pile of statues released by Dark Horse in the last few years, done in "syroco" style, resembling wood-carved pieces. (Sort of? Perhaps more like, resembling a faux-wood piece created from the base of a wood-carved original, maybe.) Not my favorite sculpture, then; but not without some charm. Although, these were all numbered (and I got #354 of 625! Suck it hard, #355! Whoo!) but I wonder if some collector putting the X-Men set together isn't going to come one short!

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

80-Page Thursdays: Justice League of America #58!


A quick one today: a battered copy of 1967's Justice League of America #58, featuring stories by Gardner Fox and art by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs.

Out of the three stories reprinted this issue, "The World of No Return!" from Justice League of America #1 is easily the most classic. Despero--in his svelte, pre-80's steroid-monger version--plays a deadly game with the Flash, as his teammates are transported to dimensional worlds "of no return!" The three-eyed space tyrant gets beat by Snapper Carr, yet has somehow overcome his shame to appear many times since.

"The Wheel of Misfortune!" from Justice League of America #6 is another iconic cover, featuring another recurring villain, Amos Fortune. Not as good as Despero, but Fortune would turn up again and again. The final story, "For Sale--the Justice League!" from Justice League of America #8 gives some garden-variety gangsters a shot, after they find a strange ray and mind-control the JLA for use in crimes. Which they kind of suck at, and they're saved by Snapper again. Get your heads in the game, guys.



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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"Reconnecting."


For years, I've wanted to get a door for the set. Maybe sometime.

No points for guessing "The Cat of Hel," although we'll come back to that one.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

This is a weird point for Superman, but at least Steel has something to do.


From 2000, Superman: the Man of Steel #100, "Creation Story" Written by Mark Schultz, pencils by Doug Mahnke, inks by Tom Nguyen. Superman and Steel--with the assistance of Steel's niece Natasha and the Kryptonian robot Kelex--work to restore the lost Fortress of Solitude. They also hope to bring back the likewise lost bottle city of Kandor, which had been sucked into the Phantom Zone, or something like it; but I don't think this was the Kandor from Krypton. Just a colony city now mostly inhabited by aliens, but anyway.

Unknown to our heroes, the band of tech-criminals known as the Cybermoths were plotting to hijack the Kryptonian databases when they came back up. The 'Moths weren't the most memorable of bad guys, certainly liking the panache of Skull, but they do succeed in bringing back a big Superman baddie: the Cyborg Superman! Who is defeated fairly quickly, by the arrival of the tiny Kandorian Rescue Squad!

The Fortress is restored, even if Kandor isn't yet; and Superman gives Steel a new cape, since he thinks of John Henry as his partner. A fun issue, but it feels like a bit of an odd time in the Superman titles, as shown by Superman having a persistent cough and by Lois acting uncharacteristically bitchy about it. This was about a year out from the start of the "President Luthor" storyline, and Steel would briefly be believed dead after "Our Worlds at War." He'd be back!
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Monday, August 17, 2015

"This is your captain, speaking: SSSSK!"


This is another comic where the cover somewhat misreads regarding the story within--or rather, writes a check the interior can't cash. Not to say it's bad, but...From 1994, "Dark Cargo" from Jurassic Park Adventures #2, reprinting Jurassic Park: Raptor #2, written by Steve Englehart, art by Armando Gil and Dell Barras, cover by Michael Golden!


Set immediately after the first Jurassic Park movie, Drs. Grant and Sattler have been trying to track down some raptor eggs that may have gone missing. They have, stolen with the raptor mom, by the hunter Lawala, who's working for parties unknown. Previously, the mom was killed, the eggs have hatched and grown remarkably quickly, and Grant, Sattler, and the young raptors are all in cages aboard a cargo jet. Grant tries picking the lock with a piece of his belt, but may have just shown the adaptive raptors how to do the same themselves! (Everyone seems surprised the raptors are smart enough not to blindly walk into ambushes or hazards like moving propellers or off cliffs, let alone have any stalking cleverness.)

The story appears to continue in Jurassic Park: Raptors Attack, or in reprints in Jurassic Park Adventures: the last issue appears to have a raptor willing to give flying another shot! Like another title I picked up recently, the early issues are readily available, but the print runs slid downward and the final issues are doubtless a little more scarce. Still, I saw the cover for this one at Kalispell Comics, and passed the first time; only to have to run back for it later!

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Friday, August 14, 2015

I love that third panel so much...


...and this isn't even the first issue it appears in! From 2008, Moon Knight #21, "The Death of Marc Spector, chapter one" Written by Marc Benson, art by Mark Texiera, layouts by Javier Saltares.

Previously, Moon Knight managed to get a registration card and become one of Iron Man's approved superheroes...and abuse the hell out of the privilege by continuing to beat up criminals and carve crescent moons on their foreheads. Spector would quite probably be utterly insane even if his god Khonshu wasn't talking to him, but after his long-time girlfriend Marlene catches him wearing the skinned face of his old enemy Bushman, well...that relationship's over. (Bushman's Marvel Wiki doesn't mention it, but Bushman would return even after being killed and his face torn off: the Hood would resurrect him! To probably get killed again.)

This issue, with his old friends Frenchie and Marlene given up on him, Khonshu forsaken him, and Iron Man after him; Spector gets back to the basics of punching criminals, hard. Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. are forced to turn Spector's case over to the CSA, as Norman Osborn makes plans for Spector's demise at the hands of his new Thunderbolts! This is Tony Stark at his peak of post-Civil War dickishness, while Osborn is just a loon that likes breaking things, with nothing against Spector as such.

I'd have to do a hard count, but I think I like every other writer's version of Marc Spector's insanity. I absolutely loathed Bendis's Avengers-hallucination storyline, but loved Warren Ellis's suit-wearing solo vigilante. I don't know who set up the notion that Spector had multiple personality disorder, either: he may be crazy, but I thought his personas were merely an act.
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Thursday, August 13, 2015

80-Page Thursdays: Amazing Adventures!


Per the GCD this one has 84 pages; but it also calls it "Amazing Adventure," no 's,' per the indica. Well, let's go on with it anyway.
From 1988, Amazing Adventure #1, with stories by Chris Claremont, Bill Mantlo, J.M. DeMatteis, and more; and art by Michael Golden, Mike Vosburg, Rick Veitch, and more.

This issue perhaps should've picked a different title, since the adventures within are less amazing and more bleak. In the cover story from Claremont and Golden, a young woman raped and left for dead is offered the chance for revenge...or something better. Even with dragons and Golden's snazzy, Micronauts-style designs; it's a dark story. (And since this is a squarebound book, it was a pig to cram into the scanner, so that's about it for scans today.) There are two separate stories of Jews fighting oppression: a composer finds the will to fight in "Men of Peace," and a survivor confronts the leader of a massacre in "Pogrom."

A spy loses a loved one but completes his mission against Mata Hari, in Mike Vosburg's "Spies." That's the second-closest to a straight adventure story, just behind Mike Baron's history lesson "The Turtle," recounting the first use of a submarine in naval warfare, in 1776! (Baron may be taking a few liberties with the historical record!) "In the Dark Ages," about a knight in search of the Holy Grail, gets things grim again; as does the odd memoir "Ahhhh...Christmas," in which a young man spending the holidays alone receives a phone call offering him a reunion with his family, that doesn't take the turn you might expect. (Oddly, shortly after reading this issue, I was told of something similar happening, so perhaps you might!)

Certainly not a bad little issue, just not as thrilling "Yay! Adventure!" as you might expect.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Skull."


Ooh, forgot to add any commentary! Well, let's see...NECA had some Predator figures a while back (I think they're on like their eighteenth wave or so, albeit with some clever reuse and repaints) that came with various skulls for a display of the trophy wall from Predator 2. I had a few assorted loose skulls, but instead went with Predator taxidermy and a pterodactyl skeleton from a vending machine. Those dinosaur skeletons are a lot of fun with silly putty: instant fossils! Not that I'm doing that at my desk at work...Also, the "Predator blood" on Pool's knife is from a highlighter borrowed from the Wife!

Have Wolverine and Kraven met, in proper Marvel continuity? I wanted to say yeah, but I'm not positive. Of course Kraven would look down his nose at Logan, because he probably assumes with mutant powers and claws, being the great white hunter would be cake. Kraven ignores the fact that if he went through what Logan had, he'd be even more of a drooling psychotic.
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