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.
Read more!

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

"Denny's."



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.
Read more!

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!)
Read more!

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!...you 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.
Read more!

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.
Read more!

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.
Read more!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

"Chagrin."


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.
Read more!