Thursday, August 06, 2020

Tough to read comics about a dystopian future now; it's like got that, got that, that's probably next, got that...

I read the first two issues of this series back in 1988, when I was living in Montana and it would've been probably an 80-mile drive for them. It's probably best remembered for early appearances of Death's Head, yes? But not without its charms. From 1988, Dragon's Claws #7, "The Quality of Mercy!" Written by Simon Furman, art by Geoff Senior. Cover by Dave Gibbons!

Mercy was the girl member of Dragon's team, a former rich girl-turned-vigilante who joined the 'Game' to follow leads on the supposedly accidental death of her father. The Game was squad-versus-squad gladiator-like battles, no holds barred; and apparently occasionally bled over into civilian areas with commonplace bystander deaths. I don't think the Game was necessarily deathmatches, though: it may have involved reaching a goal or capturing a flag. While it had long been a popular spectator sport, once shut down the violent squads were left to get into all kinds of trouble on their own; and Dragon's Claws were brought back in to stop them, although they may have been unaware of the political maneuvering behind-the-scenes, a larger conspiracy. Mercy had eventually got her father's killers, but gave up the vigilantism after killing an innocent. Today's mission, guarding a government official who had been cleared of murder charges, didn't sit well with her even before a new vigilante comes for him: Scourge. Scourge had even been inspired by Mercy, but now sees her as a sellout; while Mercy wonders how much blood is on her hands now.

While Dragon first wants to go looking for Mercy, the computer-brained Digit suggests they have a job to do, and Scourge would certainly come to them, and Mercy would have to live or die with her choices. Dragon reluctantly agrees; but Scavenger finds Digit's decision cold, and sends his dog Scratch to help Mercy. Mercy finally has a final showdown, gunning down Scourge: Steel understands why she did what she did...but also notes Mercy could have shot to wound.

Later, back in England, an ambulance crew is waylaid by Dragon's Claws' former rivals and recurring foes, the Evil Dead!

The Wikipedia article for Dragon's Claws mentions the UK market wasn't big enough to support the book, which was also oddly sized in relation to other British comics. And probably a bit too violent for the Thundercats or Transformers crowd.
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Wednesday, August 05, 2020


Yes, neither Daredevil nor Wolverine could tell that Typhoid Mary and Mary Walker were the same person, but Face ID can. Do they both have the same fingerprints? I suppose unless she was fingerprinted while unconscious, Typhoid would burn hers...

Does the Kingpin know Matt's Daredevil in the current continuity? I'm a bit behind.
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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

This is probably a throwback to when I was first buying comics off the spinner rack, but I'm not adverse to buying a random issue of a mini-series: I had X-Men and the Micronauts #4 for years before I was able to get the rest of the series. Hopefully, this one won't take me that long. From 2018, Rom and the Micronauts #3, "Entropy" Written by Christos Gage, art by Paolo Villanelli.

Rom and the Micronauts never got a team-up back in the Marvel runs, so this was a long time coming; but you have to make do with the reimagined versions rather than the 'classic.' Still, a lot to like here, including nice modernizations of classic Micronauts toys/characters like Membros, Ampzilla, Lobros, and Antron! The Dire Wraiths and Baron Karza have teamed up, forcing Rom and the Micros to team up against them. This issue was midway through the miniseries, so it's mostly a fight issue, and not a bad one at that.

I've mentioned before how Rom, the Micronauts, and other Hasbro properties were in a shared universe at IDW, but added somewhat late in the game to their long-running Transformers continuity, which just got a reboot a couple years back. Rom at least may still have some books coming, with a Dire Wraiths book due in July. (Check the link, it mentions a Sal Buscema back-up feature!)
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Monday, August 03, 2020

"The Wolverine serial prior to Weapon X" would be a Jeopardy answer nobody gets.

Partly because the title is better known for something else, partly because it's not very good. From 1991, Marvel Comics Presents #69.

Ghost Rider shares the lead with Wolvie in "Acts of Vengeance, part 6: Brass Tactics" Written by Howard Mackie, pencils by Mark Texeira, inks by Harry Candelario. But this is the origin of Brass: Navy SEAL, ninja, badass, Poochie. His girlfriend was killed during the Acts of Vengeance crossover (off-panel, until now at least) and he swore well, vengeance, on the Mandarin, and the rest of his conspirators; the Red Skull, the Kingpin, and Magneto. Ooh, don't forget the Wizard! And Loki! sap. That sounds like a really good way to commit suicide, but so far this seems to be played straight, like Brass thinks he could do it. Wolvie and Ghost Rider aren't the type to laugh in his face, or talk somebody out of killing themselves either, I guess.

This issue also has another Shanna the She-Devil chapter that we won't go into, but she barely appears in it. Next, the first of a four-part Daredevil serial, "Redemption Song, part 1 of 4: Hot in the City" Story and layouts by Sandy Plunkett, pencils by Dwayne Turner, inks by Chris Ivy. Pirate radio, mad dogs, and possibly a mad scientist all bother DD.

I liked the next one better, the Silver Surfer in "A Howling in the Void" Written by Len Wein, pencils by Hugh Hayes--that's Hugh Haynes, he had been the artist for the last First issues of Nexus! He draws a nice little Surfer vs. alien zombies story.

Am I buying Marvel Comics Presents issues whenever I find cheap ones, so I have a quick book to blog? That may be too much planning to give me credit for.
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Friday, July 31, 2020

God, I wish this had got a relaunch in the New 52 or something: it almost certainly would've got cancelled again, but we would'a got maybe another 15 issues out of it. From 1998, Major Bummer #8, "Turn of the Screwball" "Ghost writer" John Arcudi, "Apparitions" Doug Mahnke, "Power of Darkness" Tom Nguyen.

Slackjawed moron turned super-powered slackjawed moron Lou Martin had been blackballed by a former employer, and his powers had done nothing to make him any money, so he's reduced to taking a babysitting job. As usual, if a kid has scared off prior nannies and sitters, there's probably a reason. Like demonic possession! Half-asleep after finally getting the kid to bed, Lou inadvertently realizes he has the power to see ghosts; in this case a 1950's suburban couple who had been murdered by a demonically possessed child they had adopted. The ghost dad's dad killed the demon-child, and buried them all in the basement; so the ghost couple was still there, as was the demon. Lou has to knock out the demon, then bury all the remains on consecrated ground.

Meanwhile, setting up a brawl for next issue, bad-girl Nancy visits Nunzio in prison: the gang wanted him back, since he was the only one that was bulletproof; but Nunzio was waiting for his lawyer to get him off. Nancy offers him a lot of incentive; which he was probably going to take.

This was a great series that you should absolutely buy every time you see it in a quarterbin; I know I do.
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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Yes, but does he have to take the Thor-sleep now?

When we looked at Thor #432, we mentioned DeFalco seemed to make up a rule that "immortals of Asgard (are) forbidden to harm an 'innocent' mortal, or to kill a fellow Asgardian." I kind of feel like something like that is going on here, as Balder gets ready to drain the Thor-power! From 1988, Thor #396, "Into the Realm of Death!" Written by Tom DeFalco, pencils by Ron Frenz, inks by Don Heck.

Thor is donating blood to his old friend Hogun the Grim, who had been injured several issues back: Hogun was beat by Daredevil and shot by a SWAT team in #393. He wasn't fully recovered, though: Seth had marked him for death, the scar still showing on his face. Thor is dismayed to hear Asgard was besieged by Seth, but ever since the Rainbow Bridge had been destroyed, getting to Asgard was much more difficult. Thor has a plan, and some new allies: Earth Force, who had been given powers by Seth but wanted to make amends; and his teammate in the Avengers, the Black Knight! The Knight is more than willing to help Thor, even though he was going through his own thing right now: the Avengers were currently disbanded, and the curse of the Ebony Blade had been immobilizing him, forcing him to use an exo-skeleton.

In Asgard, with the situation looking desperate, Balder was considering a desperate measure: "the Celestial Siphon," to drain Thor's power for their use. Sif is furious, but Balder frames it as a tough call and one he wouldn't be disputed on: it's also pointed out that the Siphon was built by Odin, which 100% seems like the kind of crap he would pull. At the Vault, Thor and company visit one of Seth's men, Grog the God-Crusher. Thor goads him into opening a portal to Seth's dimension, and everyone follows him through. (The Black Knight goes through partially because he doesn't think he has any reason to stay, but also because he did not want to be the one to have to explain this to the authorities!) Facing one of Seth's "Death Legions" Thor begins tearing into them: "'Tis only a minor outpost!" Wind Warrior, the girl member of Earth Force, gets to have a crisis of confidence that she'll hopefully get to overcome later; but everyone else fights behind Thor.

As Seth's main forces invade Asgard, Balder activates the Syphon, draining Thor's power mid-battle: Thor realizes what has happened, but is charitable enough to consider how much that must have cost Balder. Grog is now able to curbstomp Thor, as everyone else gets bogged down by numbers: even Mjolnir seemed to have lost its mojo, as Grog is able to pick it up! This was of course building up to the 400th issue, so this probably wasn't their darkest hour yet--after all, the next issue banner proclaims "and Loki enters the fray," so things were probably going to get worse.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2020


I've read a few of the Hickman X-Men books, but I can't recall if humans were allowed to visit Krakoa, or if they were expressly verboten. I feel like the latter...but also that there's probably some wiggle room if someone has super-powers, or is really hot.

Moon Knight has a rep for crazy, but I wonder how often he leans into that to get out of things. Or takes a day off claiming it's the Feast of Khonshu.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

I said (over and over, honestly) how much I didn't like the Black Cat/crime boss storyline, but looking back I don't think that did her as dirty as the last season of Jessica Jones did Patsy Walker. So let's check out a more cheerful one: from 2016, Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat #11, written by Kate Leth, art by Brittney L. Williams.

This title was much, much lighter than most Hellcat received in the past or on Jessica Jones, as Patsy was currently starting a temp agency for super-powered types who didn't want to be heroes, or their powers didn't lend themselves to it. Unrelatedly, the Black Cat here also recruits her own squad, a band of vigilante-thief girls, after they trash a musician's apartment for writing an unflattering song about one of them. Black Cat seemed to want Patsy out of the picture, either as Patsy or Hellcat; but didn't think she could "disappear someone that notable," so she opts to steal her rolodex of contacts.

Back at Patsy's apartment, Zoe, one of Black Cat's new gang, spills a lot of beans, furious that Patsy was living in her old apartment, with her ex-boyfriend, who now had super-powers. Lot to sort through there. Back at Patsy's office, Black Cat meets assistant Bailey, who seemed to have what would be a Bag of Holding in D&D, which the Cat then shoves her into!

Checking the ComicChron numbers, this issue sold 11,902; a little less than some other titles that had been already cancelled like Venom: Space Knight or Mockingbird. I think Patsy Walker's numbers might have been shored up by variant covers up to this issue, though. The scans today are mostly Black Cat since she's doing all the instigating, but I'm glad Marvel went with this version of Hellcat instead of a Netflix-like one: I swear that series decided in the last season, Patsy was never going to make a right decision ever again.
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Monday, July 27, 2020

Up until the other day, I think I had more Silver Sable action figures than I had Silver Sable comics, but this ties up that score! From 1994, Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #31, "Overload!" Written by Gregory Wright, pencils by Gordon Purcell, inks by Pam Eklund.

Silver is in a bind this month, as she was feeling a surprising amount of guilt for murdering the man that killed her mother, and on top of that she was pregnant, courtesy her ex-husband Basil. Basil? You might know him by his alias, the Foreigner. Although, I'm pretty convinced their relationship was a bit of continuity backfill based on what was probably intended as a joke in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #118: Peter David had talked up how slick the Foreigner was this issue and in #116 with Sabretooth. In #118, the Foreigner arrives in disguise for a luncheon meeting with the Kingpin, who is largely annoyed by him but obviously can't do anything about it. Kingpin hears an explosion across town, that he hadn't scheduled, and Foreigner explains that was "orchids," for his ex-wife. I think that was just a bit of snark, not intended to connect these two. (I've had those issues since they came out, but unfortunately not handy!)

Having apparently only slept with him again to save one of her Wild Pack, Silver had been careful, but is more than distraught at the thought of Foreigner being the dad. The Sandman, who had been crushing on her pretty hard for most of this series, probably would feel the same way, since he discovers the pregnancy when a co-worker hacks into Silver's files to find out why he hadn't been contacted recently. Still, Silver's recently returned father reminds her, she did have to honor her word and complete one final job for the Foreigner, who had invested heavily in a luxury train in Japan. Unfortunately, some were upset at foreign capitalists moving in; as well as outright gangsters looking for a score: Hammerhead! Hesitant to kill after her recent murder, Sable is reluctant to shoot Hammerhead in cold blood, and ends up captured to save hostages. (Plus, I don't know if shooting Hammerhead even in the face would be likely to kill him. Maybe in the eye...)

Silver Sable would end with #35, which I don't have yet! But that was a fairly decent run for the time; and she seemed to avoid some of the lower-end art that plagued other mid-to-lower tier Marvel books then as well. I've always liked Purcell's art, Steven Butler did a number of issues, and I just found out Tom Grindberg had a couple too.
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Friday, July 24, 2020

Of course I got this too late for the Fourth, but I never get anything scheduled right anyway.

I didn't recognize this one, and turns out I had read most of it, but that's okay: from 2011, Captain America: Rebirth, framing sequence story and art by Karl Kesel.

The first Captain America movie was in 2011, which of course seems like a hundred years ago; but this issue also has a "Got Milk?" ad for the Green Lantern movie, which feels even longer ago! (How many of you have the DVD's for both? Okay, when did you last watch them?) This was a 68-pager of Lee/Kirby reprints the Cap stories from Tales of Suspense which...huh, I thought I would've read those reprinted in Marvel Double Feature, but nope, probably the black-and-white Essential Captain America. These are all nice and recolored, though.

In the framing sequence, Cap has a clandestine meeting with the granddaughter of one of the architects of Project: Rebirth. Although not referred to by name in the classic issues, General "Fitz" Kilroy had brainstormed or worked on a number of secret projects; none of which turned out as well as Cap, but that's still not too shabby of a legacy. It was a good enough track record that the Nazis tried to murder him on several occasions, scared he might have another good idea in him. Cap either wasn't sure or couldn't say, but Fitz disappeared about the same time as the fabled Philadelphia Experiment, a popular conspiracy theory that's pretty crap but fun to pretend about. (It would play into a Warlord storyline that was pretty fun and I thought I had blogged, but maybe hadn't posted yet. There's time-travel for you...)
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Thursday, July 23, 2020

There's a better than even chance I already have a copy of this one, but I only had a few books the other day, so a quarter-bin copy: from 1988, Daredevil #255, "Temptation!" Written by Ann Nocenti, pencils by John Romita Jr, inks by Al Williamson.

The title makes it sound blatant or obvious, like a road sign warning of a hazard; but, my god, Matt is so blind. He'll never see it coming. Although he was having nightmares about Tyrone, a boy blinded by pollution, and was frustrated that he was still 'ghost-lawyering' the case instead of presenting it himself, he still has it pretty well; as he wakes up and rants to Karen, who seems to find it charming. The lack of pants might help...Still, after Karen leaves but before Matt heads out, Mary arrives, with Tyrone, from the "blind school." He's learning to get around well, but not so much that he can realize what Matt and Mary are doing, while Karen leaves a message on the machine. You bastard, Matt.

The Kingpin wants Matt to lose this case; not out of any financial concerns or interest in Tyrone; but to teach him some are "beyond the law." Foggy is among the phalanx of lawyers representing the polluting company, and after Karen shuns him entering the courthouse he realizes Matt must be involved, and recognizes his old partner in the arguments. But where is Matt? He's held up, by his first encounter with Typhoid. She quickly confirms, Typhoid presents as completely different than Mary, and Daredevil finds she blurs his radar sense as well. Typhoid shows off her telekinetic and pyrokinetic powers--you know, I think I forgot about the telekinesis? Or maybe she just throws flaming garbage at DD from off-panel. That would be easy to handle, but Typhoid's mocking cuts him as well: Matt thinks it's almost like she knew he had been tempted to do wrong, with Mary. far would that have had to go to be 'wrong,' Matt?

Typhoid disappears in short order, content to continue tormenting him, and maybe to let Mary keep falling for him as well. She's doing this for a million from the Kingpin, but this was back when that was a bit more money. Still seems like a bargain. Back at the trial, Foggy stumbles in presenting his portion of the case when Matt arrives, and it looks like it's going to be an easy win for Matt and Tyrone. The Kingpin, furious, tells his Arranger to buy a juror, immediately. Karen is thrilled, but Matt is shaken; more for them than the case.

God, Romita Jr. was so good in this series. Nocenti would make Typhoid a bit more sympathetic character much later, but she is so bad here, and loves it. Great issue from a great run.
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