Wednesday, May 22, 2019

"Speak."


We're a couple of weeks away from Dark Phoenix, which may or may not be any good; but it's a safe bet there's no big fight with Gladiator and the Imperial Guard. In fact, rumor has it a big fight at the end changed locations, from space, to a train. For...reasons. To ground the film or some such. It's probably going to be the big kiss-off for the X-Men in movies for a few, since I doubt any of the unannounced Marvel movies scheduled now are X-related.

We're maybe one chapter away from the conclusion of this Kree plotline, in two weeks! Does that mean the end of space nonsense? Doubtful, but stranger things and all that.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Budget cuts, so the narrator/host was the first to go. Guest-starring That Yellow Bastard!


I wouldn't say I've read a ton, but I've read a fair amount of Western/Gold Key's old horror comics. Among others, they had Twilight Zone and Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery for years. They were a little hit-or-miss, ranging from legitimately clever to crude and hackneyed to just tame weaksauce. Bit of the latter today...From 1982, Shadow Play #1, featuring Leo Dorfman and several uncredited writers, and art by Jose Delbo, Adolfo Bullya, Al McWilliams, and others.

The lead story, "Monster Clock," actually was from an old Boris Karloff, albeit with the narrator removed; and the original had a better cover. (In the same vein, their last issue of Twilight Zone came out the month before, and was entirely a reprint of the first issue, just with a cover nowhere near as good as the original.) Likewise, the sci-fi number "Time for a Change" could very likely have come from the Twilight Zone, it just needed that last panel of Rod Serling expressing dismay over the unfortunate events you had just read.

There were several ghost stories in this one, that almost seem blasé about it: ghosts are real, and you're absolutely going to be haunted by them, so...meh, what're you going to do? In one, "My Granddaughter will Haunt You!" a French peasant couple force their seventeen-year-old daughter to marry a rich 56-year-old, but she dies on the altar. Her grandmother swears they will be haunted by their daughter, which they laugh off, until grandma dies and the haunting starts up: the daughter had been too nice to haunt her parents, but her grandma definitely will haunt 'em up good.

I got this from the quarter bin last week, and I suspect it was from the same collection as some lower grade Twilight Zone's I had picked up earlier. Still looking for a not-overly-expensive copy of #70, with Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez's "The Tyranny of Time." They had a nice run of covers in there, though. (EDIT: Had the same scan twice! Fixed.)
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Monday, May 20, 2019

My love for you is like a truck...wait, I've used that one already.


Perhaps because it's fresh in mind, but I liked this issue more than any single episode I can remember of either version of the show! From 1980, Battlestar: Galactica #16, "Berserker" Plot and script by Roger McKenzie, plot assist by Bob Layton, art and colors by Walt Simonson.

Still on the run from the Cylons, the Galactica and the surviving fleet are in desperate need of fuel; and Adama reluctantly sets to order a geologist team to check out a planet described as "one huge active volcano." Before that happens, a Cylon satellite orbiting the planet sends out an alarm, which the Galactica can block temporarily, at the cost of interfering with their own communications. A Viper patrol is sent to destroy it (interestingly, and suspiciously, there's no one we know in that patrol...) but finds it too easy. Scanning, they discover the satellite is booby-trapped: destroying it would set off an explosive charge in the planet, destroying it and still warning the Cylons. The satellite would have to be disarmed first, so the demolition team is sent in. One member notes none of them have any experience, except "Master-Tech Shadrack," who I think was a recurring character in this stretch of comics but I don't think was from the show. They may have needed a Scotty-type, though. As the shuttle launches, Apollo realizes they wouldn't be able to contact the Viper patrol or Galactica, and takes another patrol after it.

Before reaching the satellite, the shuttle is attacked, by a murderously powerful fighter. The first Viper patrol is already gone, and the mystery fighter guns down the rest until only Apollo remains. And even he gets shot up, with the enemy pilot snarkily taunting him! Meanwhile, Shadrack and his team work on the satellite, which is full of deadly traps.

About to crash land, Apollo has to pull a desperate trick perhaps more Starbuck's speed: blow his canopy, then blast the fighter with his sidearm! Both ships crash, but both pilots survive, with the enemy revealed to be a Cylon--Mark III! A Mark III Imperator series, he explains chattily: you get the feeling he's grateful to have someone to talk to, even as he tries to kill Apollo. III explains he and his prototype brethren were feared and exiled for being too ambitious, but with a faster-than-light ship he could return to take the Cylon Empire from the Imperious Leader. On the run and out of breath in the volcanic craters, it's not helping that Apollo emptied his laser shooting down the Mark III, but he still has a plan: feign injury, lure him into a snare, and dump his metal ass into the lava!

By then, Shadrack had disarmed and destroyed the satellite; which was probably there to keep III there more than anything. Apollo contacts Galactica for pickup for himself and his surviving pilots; and they spend a couple weeks mining fuel from the planet. Sometime after that, a figure emerges from the lava; the Mark III lives! And while the humans may be gone, there were several wrecked Vipers for him to salvage: he had already waited a thousand years--er, 'yahrens'--for revenge, this would take no time at all. III was pretty talky for a Cylon, but I guess with Lucifer there was a precedent.
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Friday, May 17, 2019


The power was out for a bit tonight, so just a quick one for today: from 1986, Power Pack #18, "Kurse!" Written by Louise Simonson, pencils by Brent Anderson, inks by Scott Williams. And a Walt Simonson cover!

This was a Secret Wars II crossover, as well as with Thor: the Beyonder had taken the fallen dark elf Algrim, and given him a nice set of armor and immense power, to see how the newly minted Kurse would do on his single-minded quest for revenge. Power Pack's only non-family member, Franklin Richards, was having nightmares about Kurse destroying the team; but it's their mom Margaret Power that is injured by Kurse as he rampages through the city. Alex in particular takes it hard, feeling responsible for his mom being in the wrong place at the wrong time; and pushes the team towards his own revenge. Together, they wreck a building under construction and drop it on Kurse, but he wasn't done yet. Meanwhile, the Beyonder is mildly helpful to the kids, but not especially, he wants to see what happens next.

I read the Thor chapters when they first came out, but I don't think I read any Power Pack until years after the fact. And they weren't bad!

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Phrasing!


I mentioned the other day I was at a local Wal-Mart, and someone had stolen a Marvel Legends Living Laser from the packaging! Left the Thanos piece and everything. I'll probably get him eventually, probably after he's been marked down; but I wonder if I would've preferred his look from this issue: from 1981, Iron Man #153, "Light Makes Might!" Written and plotted by David Michelinie, pencils by John Romita Jr., plot and finishes by Bob Layton.

Ah, this issue features communist bad guys! That takes me back. Co-incidentally, I don't watch it often, but last night's Final Jeopardy was, "The Cold War became entrenched in the mid-1950's after the formation of these 2 rival military alliances." I got it, but I think only one contestant got it right, "What is, NATO and the Warsaw Pact?" Which means I'm older than Jeopardy contestants; that's not a good sign...Anyway, the Living Laser is working with the East Germans, and while he does feel a little bad about some light treason, he's doing it to save his life. With his metabolism altered after his run-in with Count Nefaria, LL was constantly absorbing energy from light and would probably eventually explode. The East Germans had a plan to drain energy off of him to power their orbiting weapons satellites, but the ensuing fight blows up most of their secret mountain science base. (It's not drawn very East Germany, it looks like a southwestern mesa!)

The Laser overloads, and Iron Man tosses him into the sky to explode away from a nearby reactor: necessary, but you can see how feelings might be hurt. Meanwhile, Bethany Cabe was ending her tenure as Tony's girlfriend, since her husband--drug addicted and believed to have been dead--had been found. Beth and Tony are both pretty broken up, but this feels like a way to get her out of the book without wrecking the character. She'd be back.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"Cameo."


Last year there was supposed to be a Stan Lee Build-a-Figure, which would've involved several multi-packs, but it wasn't included for some reason. But at the toy show over the weekend, we got the Stan Lee figure from SDCC 2007. Weirdly, I got the Spidey mask a couple years back; but I don't have the rest of the pieces to turn him into Spider-Man. Why would you, though?

We also got the Batman v. Superman Batmobile on deep clearance last week, and I'm hoping the driver will be a surprise in a week or two. Might need to expand the set, though.
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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Maybe I only like Wolvie in 8-page installments...

Actually, that doesn't quite line up: I bought the new Marvel Comics Presents last week, because it featured a Moon Knight story with his "Mr. Knight" outfit. It also had the first Wolverine story I'd read in forever; and I'll be reading the next issue as well, since it features Nightcrawler and Venom. The Wolvie feature was ten pages and a recap; but I was used to eight pages from the old biweekly MCP. Then I picked an issue without Wolverine for today...from 1994, Marvel Comics Presents #149, featuring stories by Chris Cooper, Kelly Corvese, Floyd Hughes, and John Figueroa; and art by Reggie Jones, Phil Hugh Felix, Fred Harper, and Alexander Morrissy.

Surprisingly, this looks like a completely stand-alone issue: Vengeance was still the series lead, but this was a single-issue story and not part of a serial. Vengeance decapitates a convenience-store robber that kills a clerk; then doesn't think much of it until the news reports the robber had been a cop, strapped for cash because his son needed an operation. In his secret identity, Lt. Badilino visits the family, and finds the son had taken his father's gun, intent on calling out...Ghost Rider. I don't think Vengeance was widely recognized, and he doesn't correct him. Badilino talks the kid down, but perhaps starts to wonder where vengeance--capital or small 'v'--is taking him.

The rest of the issue is three shorts: Namor, the Starjammers, and the Daughters of the Dragon. They're okay. MCP was pretty good at giving everyone a showcase; and if you were a fan of some of these characters, you were just happy to see them. I wonder if you could do that now...This was a quarter-bin purchase, but I may have bought the next issue off the racks: MCP #150 was a full-issue story with Vengeance, Wolverine, Daredevil, and Typhoid Mary. That would run into the next issue, but the first had Steve Lightle art; judging by #151's cover Lightle may have been one of the few to do a good job on DD's armor costume.
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Monday, May 13, 2019


The Toy Show Saturday was super fun, once I got through that part where I question my own mortality and the piles of crap that'll be left behind when I die, which didn't stop me from getting a good pile of figures! We began with a solid set of Art Asylum Star Trek figures, with bases and accessories! I was told there was a Thomas Riker in there somewhere but didn't see him; and I left some stuff for whoever came after me; but a great haul.

From the same seller I got the Klingon Borg, Worf in Klingon gear, battle-damaged Kirk--always love a phaser rifle--and St. Walker. He was the Blue Lantern guy, right? He looks embarrassing, like a hugger, like Kyle would try and tell the guys being a Blue Lantern was actually super-badass then Walker would show up crying over a nature documentary he saw. Then Hal would laugh...that may be why I didn't buy the White Lantern Hal, come to think of it. Anyway, I bought one more figure from that seller that I can't show you yet, but I never thought I would get. Wednesday.

I also bought a loose Toy Biz Nightcrawler, that will go on a window somewhere: it's basically my flag, how you know I live there. And that Predator, he's gotta be a McFarlane with that articulation. Top it off with a few comics that I'm sure will get blogged here in a bit, and a damn good show. The local comicon is inside of a month, but I doubt it will beat this.
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Friday, May 10, 2019

I honestly thought this was going to involve time travel...


Ooh, so close to an 80-pager! From 2005, Justice League Unlimited #3, featuring "Small Time" Written by Adam Beechen, pencils by Carlo Barberi, inks by Walden Wong; "Escape from the Slab!" Story and breakdowns by Steve Vance, pencils by John Delaney, inks by Ron Boyd; and "Rolling on the River" Written by Steve Vance, pencils by John Delaney, inks by Ron Boyd.

In the lead story, the Atom discovers a microscopic invasion of the JLA watchtower satellite, and shrinks Wonder Woman, Ice, and Firestorm to help him fight it. (Firestorm has a fair question, "Couldn't we just, you know, step on them?" But there's a fair in-story reason.) Since none of them have shrunk before, Atom has to give them a crash course on the basics, like maybe don't eat a bean burrito before shrinking. Tiny vomit everywhere...

The "Johnny DC" kids books all had bonus pages this month; this issue reprints two shorts from Adventures in the DC Universe. Mr. Miracle gets forced to help a prison break, and Power Girl helps a harbor patrol cop with some hijackers stealing superweapons. The Miracle story is better, partly because it also features Big Barda and Oberon, as well as a recognizable host. There's also some coloring pages, and ads for a ton of games and Kangaroo Jack: G'day, U.S.A.!

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Thursday, May 09, 2019


I thought I had read all of the original series, but maybe not? Well, that just means there's a couple surprises out there still. Like today's book! From 1979, What If? #18, "What if Dr. Strange were a disciple of Dormammu?" Written by Peter Gillis, pencils by Tom Sutton, inks by Bruce Patterson.

This ties into Strange's origin, with a very effective twist: when Strange was at the Ancient One's, Dormammu suggests to his disciple Baron Mordo befriend Strange. Mordo tells him the Ancient One is senile, and would go on and on about being worthy and never fix his hands. That...that's not inaccurate, really. Mordo cures Strange, who returns to surgery, and being a dick. Found guilty of malpractice, Strange rails against his accusers; and Mordo approaches him again, suggesting he didn't become a doctor to help people, but to have power. And he could get him some real power...

While Strange enters Dormammu's service and begins to learn magic, including freeing and hooking up with Umar; the Ancient One approaches Dr. Doom about the disciple opening. Even fixing Doom's face, it's no sale. Still, the Ancient One gathers earth's mightiest white magicians, including Dr. Druid and Agatha Harkness. (That would've been about it then; no Scarlet Witch, Shaman, Brother Voodoo, etc.) He also has the Eye of Agamotto, even if he can't really use it: the Ancient One had used it as a gateway to Eternity, but wasn't found worthy, and was told to keep the Eye for his successor. Druid thinks the Eye is their only hope, and another of the magicians, the senile Genghis, had a scroll detailing the spell.

After killing Mordo, Strange follows his spectral minions to the Ancient One, but Druid and Genghis use the Eye, which creates a vortex that sucks in Genghis and Strange. Genghis is gone, but Strange is brought before Eternity, who gives him the brushoff. Furious, Strange demands more power from Dormammu, who is not willing to support that vendetta. The Ancient One sends Strange the Eye, who plans to attack Eternity, and also realizes Dormammu is afraid of the Eye. Strange and Dormammu both plan to kill the other, while Umar plans to rule after they destroy each other. Wearing his traditional comic outfit, Strange attacks the Ancient One again, but this time sees his goodness, which he can't stand. He then tells Dormammu he's taking the fight to Eternity, but Dormammu was ready, and uses Strange as a lens to attack Eternity. Torn between the two, Strange chooses the good, and is returned to earth, to finally be the Ancient One's disciple. Now with knowledge of white and black magic, Strange would go on to become perhaps an even stronger Sorcerer Supreme. With a not-as-good green-and-yellow color scheme, but still.

Umar kind of falls out of this toward the end, but I suppose they don't have to tie every loose end up. Still, I wonder if the improved Strange still saw her...
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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

"Halt."


For a long time in Uncanny X-Men, before he first left the team, Nightcrawler seemed to do an awful lot of support jobs for the team. Repairs on the Blackbird or the Danger Room, medic duties, even the odd bit of hacking...and this is just pissing me off now, you never saw Storm, Wolvie, or Cyclops on that detail. Just like most jobs though, you show a bit of competence at something, next thing you know it's "your" job, even if you don't get any more cash for it. Bah! Kitty Pryde, of course, did the lion's share of computer duties; but there were a couple occasions where Kurt mentions using her training. I wonder who was a worse teacher, Logan or Kitty? Figure both of them would hit you when you got it wrong...

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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Geez, Cap has to cover Newfoundland, too?


The Ameridroid has, somehow, turned up on occasion since; but with his look updated to a more modern Cap. Nuts to that, he should've always looked like Sal Buscema drew him! From 1978, Captain America and the Falcon #221, "Cul-De-Sac!" Written by Steve Gerber, with "co-scenarist" David Kraft, pencils by Sal Buscema, inks by Mike Esposito.

Former Nazi spy-slash-movie special effects artist Lyle Dekker has just transferred his mind to his greatest creation, the Ameridroid, a twelve-foot replica of Captain America. He's on the rampage, intent on creating a new world order, starting in a little village in Newfoundfand. He even has some goons as seen here--who disappear from the story entirely, as Dekker has something like the opposite of a psychotic break, a moment of clarity. Now that he had achieved his goal, he suddenly wondered why he thought living in a massive copy of Captain America was a good idea: tough to make friends, get dates, or go to the movies; just for starters. Cap, for his part, is remarkably understanding, and seemingly forgiving of multiple crimes Dekker had committed, as he lets the Ameridroid wander off into the woods, in search of "pennance." The extra 'n' is for 'not giving a crap what happens to a Nazi, former or otherwise.'

Returning to his apartment in New York City, Cap discovers the milk in the fridge has gone bad and the power's been disconnected; since he's hard-pressed to recall the last time he had been Steve Rogers. (Still, I think he wasn't quite done with that place yet, and I don't think he was going to get the deposit back for it...) This isn't a fondly remembered stretch for Captain America, and this issue really feels like something was changed mid-stream. The GCD mentions Don Glut plotted the first few pages, so maybe.

Also this issue: "The Coming of Captain Avenger!" Written by Scott Edelman, pencils by Steve Leialoha, inks by Al Gordon. It's a brief fantasy set back in early Avengers days, where Rick Jones gets electrocuted and imagines himself as a superhero. He laments he'll never be a superhero, even as Captain Marvel seemingly watches. Why this story was here, I don't know.
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