Friday, September 30, 2016
This issue was near the end of the "Threeboot" era, although it looks pretty close to a traditional Legion story, even without the try-outs. From 2009, Legion of Super-Heroes #48, "Enemy Manifest, part 3: the Edge of Doom" Written by Jim Shooter, pencils by Francis Manapul, inks by John Livesay.
A new planet had appeared in the solar system, which I'm pretty sure was the plot of a Godzilla movie, and the aliens living there may know more than they let on. Suspecting trouble, the Legion decides to boost their roster with the traditional try-outs, although they're only testing four potential members here: Turtle, Sizzle, Night Girl, and Gazelle. The Legion had a ton of members, if they wanted more I don't think less than four at a time is enough.
Along with the new recruits, the Legion also votes on whether or not to reinstate the returning Sun Boy. Interestingly, we see the results of the individual voting here: former lone wolf Timber Wolf votes a flat 'no' across the board, for example. Sun Boy is reinstated, Gazelle is inducted, and the rest are offered spots in the new Legion Reserves.
Short one today, but I'm having scanner trouble. See you next week!
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Today we continue our sporadic coverage of the Atlantis Attacks crossover, with the third chapter, featuring a guest-star I love to death, used badly; in a trope I somehow associate with the book's regular writer even though he didn't write this one. From 1989, X-Men Annual #13, "Double Cross" Written by Terry Austin, art by Mike Vosburg. Now, Austin's a name you've seen on a ton of X-Men comics, but he was an inker--aside from that link there, I didn't know he had any writing credits.
Set during the X-Men's Australian outback days (which lasted maybe two years, but still seems a definitive era) the story opens with Dazzler about to jump into bed with Wolverine, in a somewhat hammy pass. She is interrupted by Alison--herself!--and the rest of the X-Men, since she's actually Diamondback, from Captain America! By way of explanation, Storm goes through her taped account: rejoining the Serpent Society, DB was on a mission for Ghaur and Llyra, who wanted some mystic artifacts stolen from Mr. Jip. Instead, the somewhat cadaverous and apparently pantsless Jip captured Diamondback, and Dazzler, then swapped their bodies in order to blackmail them into collecting the magic items...that I thought he supposedly had. Hmm...
Splitting into groups and teleported by Gateway, the X-Men fight the Serpent Society in the Savage Land, Ohio, and Iceland; collecting the items. Longshot is believed lost, but upon receipt of the items Mr. Jip restores Diamondback and Dazzler, then returns Longshot to leverage his position. But Jip and the X-Men are double-crossed by Diamondback, who is retrieved by her boss, the teleporting Sidewinder; they had likewise double-crossed the Serpent Society and bilked them of most of their fee. Ghaur and Llyra receive the mystic doodads, and have a chuckle at how humans can be so short-sighted, since they would use them to raise Set and kill them all...while Mr. Jip laments the setback: he had been trying to stop Ghaur and Llyra's plan only because it involved Dagger, and Jip had his own plans for her. Jip also notes their plan may have repercussions for Storm as well...
Even though Austin wrote this, the body-swap aspect feels like regular writer Chris Claremont; and I'm not sure why. I don't know if he used that one that often, but still. I don't think I've read another comic with Mr. Jip, so I don't know if he's used correctly; but Diamondback is a bit out of character here, far more shallow and callow than she had become in Cap. Also this issue: a Jubilee story, written by Claremont under a pseudonym; and another chapter of "The Saga of the Serpent Crown," featuring a cameo from Kull!
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
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...
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!
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.
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.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
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.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
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.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
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...)
Monday, September 19, 2016
For Marvel, "Invaders" has become something like "Manhunter" has for DC: a name they keep trying to do something with, with varying degrees of traction. For example, I think I was only peripherally aware of this title when it came out: from 2015, All-New Invaders #12, "Martians Attack!" Written by James Robinson, pencils by Barry Kitson and Marc Laming, inks by P. Craig Russell and Laming.
Traditionally, Invaders had been a World War II-set title, featuring Captain America and Bucky, the Sub-Mariner, and the original android Human Torch, among others. This version was the same batch of characters in the modern day, a "band of brothers" as Cap puts it. It was also very tied to the current continuity: The returned Toro now had an origin tied to the Inhumans. Cap was aged into an old man between issues #10 and #11, and was also for most of the issues I've seen, somewhat pissed at "Subby" for his Illuminati crap. For his part, Namor is played more sympathetically here than in other titles; having a good deal of comradery and affection for his teammates, and admitting a lot of his problems are self-inflicted. (Namor is certainly treated more sympathetically here than Robinson would on his next title, Squadron Supreme!)
Somewhat as he did at DC, Robinson plays a lot with legacy here; more than I've seen at Marvel recently. This particular issue features a World War I team, Freedom's Five: the original Union Jack leading the Orson Randall Iron Fist, Phantom Eagle, Crimson Cavalier, and Sir Steel. I think Cavalier and Steel were new: Steel may have been inspired (or derived) from the original Black Knight, while the Cavalier was a relation of Batroc. The Phantom Eagle is also played traditionally here, not the somewhat unsympathetic prat of Garth Ennis's version. While planning an assault on Ursula Frankenstein's castle, the Five are interrupted by a Martian invasion in London. Not the first one, either: some of the team recall hearing about such before, although it had been hushed up by the government. The Martians are defeated again, with the assistance of Eben Stafford and his mysterious "Men on the Wall." (Notably, the Men lose a man who is on a tripod when it disappears...)
Years later, Lord James Falsworth, the retired Union Jack, puts the tale to paper; which is read years later by his daughter Jacqueline, the Invader Spitfire, as they try to figure out why the Martians have appeared again. (Jacqueline is also somewhat distracted by her father's admission of suicidal thoughts.) Spitfire, along with the Mighty Destroyer and the current Union Jack, had fought another tripod that had disappeared; and now Bucky, the Winter Soldier, brings them someone who may have some answers: Jonathan Raven, better known as Killraven.
I completely slept on this title before, but after getting a few issues cheap it's got my interest. Still, there were only three issues left to come, and I'm not sure the Martian plotline was resolved there. Oh, and today's title is from an old song by a somewhat obscure band called Rise Robots Rise.
Friday, September 16, 2016
A recent issue, but why not: from 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy #7, written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Valerio Schiti, color art by Richard Isanove, and the cover for this version was Art Adams. The interiors are pretty good, but c'mon, Art Adams. And the Thing is in full Warlord of Mars territory on the cover, but inside it's jailbreak; as Ben and Rocket free a planet of slaves from the alien Badoon. The Badoon had been the bad guys in the future setting of the original Guardians of the Galaxy stories, and I'm not sure they've ever been portrayed as anything except monsters. (Even the Kree and Skrull have the occasional likable character!)
Ben seems to be really enjoying his time as a space hero (I was thinking of "Rocky Grimm, Space Ranger," there) and I think it does some good to get him away from the Fantastic Four every now and again. And Rocket seems to like having someone else around to knock stuff over and punch stuff, hard. When he giddily implores Ben for his catchphrase, okay, that's pretty cute. Rocket's made-up alien swears grate a bit for me: let the frakking raccoon frelling swear, drokk it.
Ben also meets, and is immediately smitten by, an alien woman; who for her part seems pretty impressed that Ben's going to free the entire planet. (Well, it looks like a big prison camp; not an entire planet of slaves...) He does shoot a Badoon in the back though, to save his new girl and some children; and I'm not sure that's in character for Ben. Then again, I'm not sure it isn't, since I know Ben took quite a dislike to some alien meanies like the Skrulls. Can't say I ever saw him plug a Skrull, though...
Labels: Guardians of the Galaxy, Nightwing's tag is gonna come up less often than Rocket Raccoon's, the Thing
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Our biggest 80-pager ever, since it's a giant treasury edition! From 1979, Marvel Treasury Edition #24, featuring the Rampaging Hulk! Guest-starring the Inhumans and Adam Warlock! Art for all four issues by Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel.
These were reprints from 1974, leading off with Incredible Hulk #175, "Man-Brute in the Hidden Land!" Written by Roy Thomas, this opens with the Hulk re-entering earth's atmosphere after being blown sky-high by the Cobalt Man. Although "Ol' Greenskin" shows up on Chinese radar, they aren't overly concerned, since he's going to crash in an isolated, desolate section of the Himalayas...namely, smack into Attilan, home of the Inhumans! Black Bolt deflects the flying Hulk, who reverts to Bruce Banner shortly thereafter. The Inhumans are hospitable and friendly (at least the royal family are...) but aren't planning on hanging about, since they've discovered another earth, in the same orbit as their own, but the opposite side of the sun! (They've also noticed the other earth doesn't seem to have many, if any, super-powered types, and think it may be a better home for them. Uncharitably, that would probably seem like an invasion...) Still, when some rank-and-file, no-name Inhumans pick a fight with Banner, they get immediate comeupance, as he Hulks out and wallops them. Although Black Bolt is able to knock out the Hulk, he knows he will be enraged and destroy Attilan when he wakes up, and opts to launch the Hulk into space--not to that other earth, they plan for him to "hurtle through empty space--forever." So, you're murdering him, then...
By the way, the GCD entry includes an excerpt of the USPS Statement of Ownership for that issue: "Statement of September 25, 1973. Average number of copies sold during preceding 12 months (total paid circulation): 187,318. Actual number sold for issue nearest filing date (total paid circulation): 209,124."
The next issue, "Crisis on Counter-Earth!" (Incredible Hulk #176, per the GCD written by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway.) Hulk, unreasonably pounding on the rocket he finds himself in, inadvertently sets it on course for the sun, but crashes on Counter-Earth. Found by the Feds, Banner is questioned--they recognize him, but think he's an impostor--and when shown a picture of Adam Warlock, Bruce realizes he's been there before, and Hulks out. The President is given a report, though--President Man-Beast, that is! His approval ratings are a bit down, as the people may be rallying behind the new messiah Adam Warlock; but he's getting a nuclear war ready to take care of those dirty hippies...
Manny's New Men soldiers have captured the Hulk at the start of "Peril of the Plural Planet!" (Written by Thomas and Conway) and he plans to use the Hulk as his weapon against Warlock. The Hulk "escapes" and in short order catches up to Warlock and his group, which includes a few good New Men and a Recorder. Together, they plan their Counter-Earth counter-attack, but the Man-Beast's implant in the Hulk sets him off, turning Hulk into an unwitting green Judas. The revolution is seemingly over before it can begin, with Banner and Warlock captured. Man-Beast, past wanting to control Warlock, begins a smear campaign that leads to Warlock's "crucifixion." Questioning if the High Evolutionary abandoned him, Warlock dies, reverting back into a cocoon.
In the final chapter, "Triumph on Terra-Two!" (Written by Thomas, Conway, and Tony Isabella.) the Hulk, enraged over the death of his friend, grabs Warlock's cocoon and splits with him. Warlock's revolutionaries (or apostles, or whatever) comfort the Hulk, who mourns the loss of one of his few friends, while the Man-Beast steps up his march to war...to mix a metaphor. The Hulk throws down with Man-Beast, but is stopped from killing him by Warlock's inexplicable-yet-not-entirely-surprising return. Claiming to now be "far more than a man," Warlock de-evolves Manny back into a wolf (although he escapes!) and then
These last three issues (and #158, Hulk's prior visit to Counter-Earth) wrap up Adam Warlock's stint as messiah figure there, and the Christ-allegory is pretty thick. Warlock seems far more friendly and approachable than he would be his next appearances: under Jim Starlin, Warlock was broody and tortured, like saving Counter-Earth wasn't as rewarding as he might've hoped.
Also this issue: for good measure, a new Hercules story, with Herc vs. Wonder Woman's mom, Hippolyta! OK, probably not the same Hippolyta, but there you go. This isn't even the first oddball Hercules fill-in I've seen, although it might be in order of publication: there was another short one in Marvel Treasury Edition #26, that I saw reprinted in 1986's Incredible Hulk and Wolverine #1. I wouldn't have thought four comics would fit in an 80-pager, with a two-page pin-up, and still need a filler back-up, yet here we are. ("Welcome to the Hotel Macedonia" Written by Mary Jo Duffy, art by Ricardo Villamonte.)
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
I wanted the Matchmaker's bridge to look entirely different from the Blame's, and the easiest way is to not show a helluva lot of it. But there's a reason why it's all fancy and crystal, that we'll get to later.
Today's our first strip with the new X-Men Legends Deadpool! So, counting Bluepool, we've had four Deadpool figures since we started this storyline...I'd be mildly surprised if there wasn't a new Nightcrawler figure in the next year or so, but we'll see if this is still going then.