Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"Arrangement."




The Matt Murdock missing poster was part of a promo on Twitter for the third season of the Netflix show, which is a couple weeks away as I write this, but will have been out for a couple weeks by the time this posts! Back ahead of schedule for a bit. I used it for an alternate alley side, but didn't have the blocking exactly right on that shot.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2018


It's been years since we started checking out Atlantis Attacks annuals, and I honestly thought we were close to the end here! Still a bit left to go, but today chapter eleven, from 1989, Web of Spider-Man Annual #5, "War Zone: New York" Written by Gerry Conway, pencils by Javier Salteres, inks by Randy Emberlin.

There's about 80 super-heroes, mutants, and assorted costumed vigilantes in New York City (and the rest of this crossover...) but today it's Spider-Man and the five current members of the Fantastic Four left to face the invasion of the Atlantean army! (They had Sharon Ventura as She-Thing and Ben Grimm was currently human and his Thing exo-suit was still in the shop!) The Atlanteans are outgunned and outmanned, but the launch of their kaiju "Megasaur" turns the tide at least temporarily: Attuma refuses to hear any naysaying about his victory. The real powers here, Ghaur and Llyra, know better; but this is just a distraction, to get the army away from Atlantis so they can destroy it! Why would they turn on their allies? This would be the sacrifice they needed to summon Set, although the real push would be the Brides of Set--and Ghaur captures the Invisible Woman to add to their number!

The narration this issue is carried by reporter in the field Trish Fox, largely arguing with the talking head news anchor back at the station. It wears a bit thin...Attuma and the Atlantean army are completely demoralized by the loss of their home, but Reed and Spidey are more concerned with getting Sue back. There's also a brief scene with a mysterious figure saving some soldiers, but he's wearing a coat and long hat, so we have no idea who he is. It really works! (Once again, since I've gone out of order on these, it might not be readily apparent.)

Also this issue: more "Saga of the Serpent Crown," some Fred Hembeck, and Captain Universe and Silver Sable stories! And we're down to two chapters to go, including the next one, West Coast Avengers Annual #4. Getting there...
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Monday, October 29, 2018


Even though I had at least some of the material, the last time I was in Seattle I got the Essential Killraven, because I didn't think I could count on seeing it again. Looks like it does reprint the Joe Linsner one-shot from 2001, and the Marvel Graphic Novel with P.Craig Russell art, and I have both of those. But I know I don't have all the Amazing Adventures issues he was in...then just bought this one to fit in the scanner. From 1974, Amazing Adventures #27, "The Death Breeders" Written by Don McGregor, pencils by (P.) Craig Russell, inks by Dick Ayers. And a Jim Starlin cover!

This issue was set in the far-flung future of...2019? Eek, creeping up, not unlike how Deathlok caught up to his. Taking concepts and inspiration from H.G. Wells and gladiator movies, Killraven's stories were set years after the second Martian invasion conquered earth, enslaved humanity, and let loose any number of genetic monstrosities; like the one Killraven and his crew face at Lake Erie. (When this was published, Lake Erie was brutally polluted; it's implied it was doing better under Martian guidance even if you count the tentacle-things; but it has gotten a bit better in recent years.) Killraven was headed for Yellowstone in search of his brother; but not unlike other post-apocalypse tales like Kamandi or Thundarr, there were a lot of stops and side-quests on the way.

In what's left of Milwaukee, K-R and company meet Volcana Ash, who appears to have powers and may be a mutant: she would be his love interest in the Alan Davis version, but I don't know yet if she progressed that far here. Ash isn't cold at all in the middle of winter...actually, everyone in this book shows a lot of skin, cold or not. Killraven also has a vision of the terrible human breeding pens in Chicago, and the Death-Breeders, but that would keep until the next issue. The rest of this one was a three-page sci-fi reprint, "the Strangers."

I hadn't dove into that Essential since I know some of these stories can be a bit...verbose; but this issue is pretty lean in comparison. I would love a book that reset and revamped this and some of Marvel's other future-set characters, like Deathlok, the Maestro, Iron Man 2020, maybe the MC2 or Alan Davis's "Days of Futures Yet to Come." Actually, I'd throw in Excalibur from the Cross-Time Caper era; they would just think this was the worst alternate universe yet...

Oh, and this issue's Marvel Value Stamp: Man-Thing!
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Friday, October 26, 2018

My love for you is like a truck...wait, that's not quite right.


I pulled this one out of the quarter bin pretty sure I had read it before, but perhaps not. Nor do I recall seeing the movie, although that plot has been done a few times. I do know I've seen the cover about four million times online, though. From 1974, Worlds Unknown #6, "Killdozer!" Based on a story by Theodore Sturgeon, adapted by Gerry Conway, pencils by Dick Ayers, inks by Ernie Chua (Chan), with additional art and corrections by John Romita.

Because a comic book doesn't have to work within the limited budget of a made-for-TV movie, Killdozer's origin is a little more in-depth here: a race that existed on earth before man, fought "sentient electrons" that took over their machines. A new weapon destroyed them all, "save one hardy mutant!" which would wait a billion years. In the movie, I think it goes bulldozer hits mysterious meteor, goes evil. Same difference.

I have a certain morbid curiosity how well seventies special effects conveyed the scene of how the just-possessed Killdozer "bucks" off its operator. I'm going to guess, not well. I had to look up Sturgeon, since I knew at least some of his work: he wrote two Star Trek episodes, but I also thought we had seen some other adaptations of his work from Marvel. Yeah, I thought we looked at Masters of Terror #1, which adapted his muck-monster story "It," but I guess not.

Still, the value stamp this issue hints at the next book we'll look at...actually, I guess it just tells you. Hmm.
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Thursday, October 25, 2018

I don't wanna say "Another downer from Peter B. Gillis," but...



We saw his last issue of Strikeforce: Morituri a bit ago, and I'm not sure I've ever forgiven him for killing off the Micronauts; but today what I think might've been a fill-in from Peter B. Gillis. From 1980, Captain America #246, "The Sins of the Fathers!" Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencils by Jerry Bingham, inks by Alan Gordon. With a cover by George Perez and Terry Austin.

This is a grim one, possibly more so since it brings back one of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's oddest antagonists: Joe Smith, from Amazing Spider-Man #38! But while Joe appeared to be headed for a Hollywood ending after that issue, it didn't quite turn out. He had a lead role on the superhero TV show "the Crimson Bat," which was cancelled after three seasons. (Only three seasons? That sounds familiar somehow…) His son was born with severe birth defects--possibly due to his one-time super-powers--and died young, as Steve Roger's friend Josh Cooper relates to him. Distraught and enraged, and with his powers seemingly returned (if, in fact, they had ever been lost) Joe smashes up an administrator that cut his son's benefits, a Social Security office, and then goes after his son's teacher.

Cap reaches out to Joe, and while it's trite to say, tells him "These--things--happen--Joe!" None of them were to blame, not even Joe himself, who is taken into custody. It's pretty sad, but his wiki entry indicates Joe later work to help kids with problems like his son's, so that's a slight ray of hope. That wasn't in the issue, but still.

This was the issue before Roger Stern and John Byrne started a pretty great, if too short, run. Their issues have been reprinted several times, in fact, I think I have a couple trades of it!
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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"Image rehab."


Like a lot of old, white guys, Odin used to be the patriarchal, unquestionable authority figure; whose reputation has taken more than a few hits of late. He doesn't really deserve the heat on this one, though!

EDIT: Derp, I forgot, I was going to mention in real Marvel continuity, Odin really is known to the Shi'ar! He testifies in the trial of Reed Richards (for saving Galactus) in Fantastic Four #262! That and #250 I bought off the spinner rack, back in the day.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Putting the genie back in the bottle, then smashing it.


We checked out the Venom chapter earlier this year, but today we've got the conclusion: from 1994, Daredevil #325, "Fall From Grace, conclusion" Written by D.G. Chichester, pencils by Scott McDaniel, inks by Hector Collazo.

The quest for this storyline's MacGuffin, the body-shaping "About Face" virus, is down to a few players: living vampire Morbius, a holdover from the previous issue, who is taken out by Daredevil early on. The Snakeroot ninja clan wants it for Erynys, the evil side of Elektra, to make her their perfect assassin. The cyborg Siege was still in the chase, mainly for former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and fellow cyborg John Garrett, who follows Erynys like a lovesick, insane puppy. Hellspawn, the Daredevil-doppelgänger from Infinity War, wants it to become a real boy, or at least free of voodoo control. And Daredevil is just trying to contain the fighting from spilling over into his city, with mixed results.

DD should have bigger fish to fry, though: he manages to discredit a reporter that stole his secret identity from Ben Urich's files, although he suspects it would just be a matter of time before some nutball believes it and comes after Matt Murdock, or his friends. He also reconciles with Karen Page--they had broken up when Typhoid Mary went after him around DD #260, and I really want to re-read Ann Nocenti's run.

When the final fight for the virus comes down in the subway tunnel where it had been lost years before; DD and Elektra are forced to, as is often the case, go with the devil they know. Rather than risk Erynys get it, they give the virus to Hellspawn, who starts to transform before a furious Erynys kills him. Siege teams up with Garrett against the Snakeroot, while Daredevil throws Erynys's barbed sai at Elektra, knowing she would make sure to get Erynys in front of it. Her evil side returns to her, and Elektra cries over her loss of peace. And Matt discovers Hellspawn's corpse has turned into a double of Matt Murdock...and calls an audible. He lets the cops find "Murdock's" body, even letting Ben Urich, Foggy Nelson, and Karen Page think he was dead. (The Kingpin greets the news with a mere 'Heh. All good things come to those who wait..." but I'm not sure he was convinced.) Matt does tell his mom, the nun Maggie, who suggests his new name, Jack. DD gets ready to start his new life, only barely considering what the "About Face" virus could have done for him, but seemingly feeling he got the better end of the deal.

In hindsight, Matt's decision seems messed up--or, I guess not telling his friends seems messed up. Honestly, just because you have the opportunity to fake your death, doesn't necessarily mean you have to...does it?
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Monday, October 22, 2018

Who left these wet footprints on the floor? And these dishes in the sink? And used my toothbrush?


If you've ever gotten mad when a household chore was left undone, knowing damn well it was you that was supposed to do it...it would probably be worse for Rose Forrest, of Rose and the Thorn! From 1972, Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #128, "Edge of Madness" Written by Robert Kanigher, art by Don Heck; and Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #117, "The Ghost with Two Faces!" Written by Robert Kanigher, pencils by Rich Buckler, inks by Dick Giordano.

We don't see her very often, but I usually like Rose and the Thorn stories, and I should keep an eye out for Gail Simone's 2004 limited series. After Rose Forrest's cop dad was murdered by crime syndicate the 100, her unconscious mind leads her to become vigilante the Thorn at night to seek vengeance. Rose is portrayed as sweet, innocent, and perhaps not especially observant: I'm not sure if I've seen any stories where she wonders why she's so tired when she wakes up, or wonders where any nocturnal injuries came from. Or maybe her subconscious lets her shrug it off.

In "The Ghost with Two Faces!" Rose rents a vacation house that's said to be haunted. ("For example, all of us say that.") She doesn't believe in ghosts, and it makes a great base for Thorn, who's seen by the locals multiple times and even photographed. Rose, who earlier received a Thorn costume in the mail, thinks that's kind of weird, in a way that you're pretty sure she's not going to follow up on at all.

I liked the Rose and Thorn backups more than the lead Lois Lane stories, although the covers are usually pretty good.

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