Wednesday, June 23, 2021

"Feeble."

I know I've had more than one Contest of Champions fight against Doom, where I thought I had him on the ropes and he absolutely rallied to clobber me. Also, maybe someday I'll get tired of bagging on Spider-Man's "One More Day," but I doubt it. Even if I agreed with "erasing" Peter and MJ's wedding, getting Mephisto involved is both terrible and lazy. And terribly lazy, to boot. Read more!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

I paid two bucks, cover price, for this in 1991; and fifty cents for it last week: what's that saying, "Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice I have no idea what this crossover was about." Pretty sure that's the saying. From 1991, (Uncanny) X-Men Annual #15, "Kings of Pain, part 3: Queens of Sacrifice" Written by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Tom Raney, inks by Joe Rubinstein and Art Nichols. Cover by Mike Mignola! Not his best, but still!
You know what's a great plan for an X-Men annual? There's maybe 19 heroes in this one, and no X-Men except maybe Polaris, and that's barely at that point! The New Warriors and X-Force have got their fights out the previous two annuals in the "Kings of Pain" crossover, and now race to Muir Island to warn Moira Macaggert that A.I.M. is plotting to somehow resurrect her son, Proteus. In Claremont's main book, the Shadow King had control of Moira and the others there, but lets them react normally to New Force there. Which means a three-page fight, before Moira is like, oh yeah, hi Cable. (Had we seen them meet before? It's more likely she would've known Cannonball.)
The bad guy in this crossover was Harness, who actually had kind of a cool armor design. She had "harnessed" young mutant Piecemeal, and was forcing him to absorb loose, dead mutant energy. At least that's what they're doing with Proteus here; I don't think I've read the prior two issues in like 25 years. Piecemeal is getting progressively more Blob-like as he takes in more energy than he can comfortably hold. Excalibur's Brigadier Alysande Stuart makes a rare appearance here, to warn of super-human activity in Edinburgh, where Proteus fell; then a brief visit with the instigators of the crossover, Toad and Gideon, playing chess. (Which may or may not supposed to be a surprise at this point. I feel like you can tell?)
X-Factor and the Warriors split up to take down Harness, while some try to drain some of Piecemeal's energy and save him. Warpath manages to shatter Harness's helmet, revealing--gasp! A woman! Look, Metroid was five years prior, it's not that surprising. She is Piecemeal's mother, which is mildly surprising, since he called her Harness previously. (I could definitely see her being an abusive hardass and demanding to be called that, but also Piecemeal would accidently call her mommy if he so much as stubbed his toe.) Piecemeal explodes, into a new merged Piecemeal and Proteus, then explodes some more. To be continued...?
There are a lot of gratuitious butt shots in that one, and slightly less in the back-up features: a Freedom Force story, featuring Blob, Avalance, and Pyro versus Iraqi super-team Desert Sword! Oh, I bet this aged just as well as everything else Desert Storm-related. Long-time recurring C-lister Arabian Knight has somehow been forced to serve on the team, since his wives and kids were being held hostage, which I'm not sure would ever be followed up on again. Crimson Commando, a WWII hero still active into the 90's despite first appearing in 1987, gets cut up some more and loses another of his teammates; while Blob and Pyro complete their mission by killing the hostage they were there to rescue. In their defense, they didn't go to that first, for a change. ("The Killing Stroke, part 2: the Razor's Edge" Written by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Jerry DeCaire, inks by Joe Rubinstein.)
Next, a brief recap of the X-Men's origin, for Mojo, who isn't having any of it; and five pages of Wolverine, because fans would've rioted if there hadn't been any Wolverine in this one. ("The Enemy Within" Written by Len Kaminski, pencils by Kirk Jarvinen, inks by Brad Vancata.) 

Of course, later that week I went out to the garage, looking for something else, and found this one and the next chapter, which we'll get to at some future date. Can you stand the suspense...
Read more!

Monday, June 21, 2021

You know what we're talking about here, but I keep things more PG on the blog. Follow me on Twitter for swears and whatnot!

There was so much discussion last week on Twitter, over things Batman could or would not do (ahem!) and without getting into it, that's what headcanon is for, people. I don't think the corporate explanation was worded right, and it wasn't supposed to be "Batman doesn't" or "heroes don't," they just didn't want the inevitable kids watching the Harley Quinn cartoon to have a weird discussion with the parents regarding a character primarily used to sell merchandise. Although, at least a few people argued of course Batman does, because he's trained in everything, right? And what he doesn't know, Nightwing does, right--wait, we're talking about something else here! From 2000, Batman: Gotham Adventures #28, "Notes" Written by Scott Peterson, pencils by Tim Levins, inks by Terry Beatty.
Batman and Robin think they have Riddler's latest clues figured out, except there's music in the background neither can quite put their finger on. Tim suggests Nightwing maybe could identify it, and he comes in for the next round of riddles, after Batman has to escape a somewhat pedestrian deathtrap. Dick recognizes the music as the work of Jack West, reclusive singer for the Substitutes, but with unusual notes that could be clues. At the Riddler's next clue drop, he had announced an appearance by West, bringing a mob of fans to the scene, and Batman has to swipe the clue on CD from a young fan. That's the secret origin of somebody that goes on to steal a lot of music, he'll probably grow up to be Kid Napster or something.
Nightwing hits a wall in trying to puzzle out the incongruous portions of West's melody; but Batman encourages him, thinking he was on the right track. Working out the German notation of the musical notes, Nightwing believes Riddler is hiding out in Little Italy. On the way there as he explains, Nightwing assumed Batman had figured it all out already, but for a change, Bats had not. Riddler was hiding out at one of the Joker's old hideouts, which surprises Batman that the Joker would just let the Riddler use it. Well, Riddler's sure he would, if he knew about it...Riddler's thugs are not thrilled to hear about that, and surrender, rather than possibly face the Joker's wrath later. Riddler is furious, but then dumbstruck when Batman tells him they ignored his clues, following West's more inventive ones instead.
West is rescued by Nightwing, although he tells him he just wants to finish this bit first: he seemed to enjoy the challenge, and Nightwing may have to admit, he did too. Read more!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Grubs calls Hawkman "rooster," but may just wish he had a cool mask, to cover his crazy eyes.

Ugh, I knew I remembered reading the previous issue, I should've remembered that one was two out of four. From 2004, Hawkman #30, "Fate's Warning, part 3 of 4" Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, pencils by Ryan Sook, inks by Mick Gray.
Hawkman had been arrested for the so-called "Angel killings," taken to a police station that seemed to have a movie marquee with gargoyles, and given the business by hardass cop Grubs. Hawkman calmly refuses to unmask, citing the first amendment, claiming that he symbolizes Horus and that it was an "emblematic mask to be worn in public." That...that kind of sounds like a load, not like something he actually believes, but it holds for now. I wonder how it would go over if he was heard talking to himself in a cell; where he was actually conversing with his old friend Ray Palmer, who thought he needed to get out and find the killer. Meanwhile, Hawkgirl was shaking down various thugs for leads.
Singer (and possible love interest for Carter) Domina Paris is attacked by the killer, a monstrous sort that wore a red 'X' across his chest that resembled J'onn J'onzz's harness, except in blood. Hawkgirl joins the fight, with Domina getting a pretty solid shot in with a microphone stand; but the cops interfere again and the killer escapes with Domina over his shoulder. Hawkgirl is captured by Grubs, but busts out of the wagon, and goes to "the one rational cop left in this city," Isabella; who agrees and gets Hawkman his wings and out of jail. 

Elsewhere, the killer goes on a long speech involving plague rats and the city's namesake, St. Roch; to an unconscious and distressed Domina. Maybe in four years we'll get to the conclusion... 

I liked seeing Ray here, but I wonder if he'll get to do anything except serve as Hawkman's conscience here. I also wonder if the relationship between the Hawks and the cops would continue to deteriorate; I thought they were usually pretty close.
Read more!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Winning with Ted would probably be like playing on hard with no continues; but should be more doable than this.

I buy a fair amount of quarterbooks, and more often than not they're delightful. Every once in a while we hit one that's we don't like, and sometimes we still have to blog it, so we don't buy it again, like I did here...from 2017, Injustice 2 #5, "Hostile Takeover" Written by Tom Taylor, layouts by Bruno Redondo, finishes by Vicente Cifuentes.
This was set in the video game's continuity, where...honestly, I forget. Pretty sure Lois is dead and Superman has gone totalitarian, and while his reign may have ended at this point, the world was not in good shape. At Kord Industries, Ted Kord and Skeets are training the very green Jaime Reyes, the new Blue Beetle. Feeling Jaime was shaken up after blowing up an expensive robot, Ted sends Skeets with him, and the little security robot ominously notes "Yes. This is how it happened." Ted doesn't have time to dwell on that, since he's then visited by the skulking Batman: Ted angrily says Jaime isn't ready, but Bats is actually there for him. Not as Blue Beetle, god no. He needs people with honesty, and assets, to help in the rebuilding. Ted is in, but soon gets another visitor.
Booster Gold is there, to say goodbye, although he promises to be there at the end. To his credit, Booster had tried to stop it, more than once, apparently getting sent to time jail more than once. He suggests Ted put on his costume, "make a few of them regret it." He suits up...and is almost immediately shut down by Damian, now Nightwing, with Deadshot and Katana. Katana cuts off his hand, even! Why those three and Cheetah are working for Ra's al Ghul, your guess is as good as mine, I haven't played the game. Cheetah forces Ted to read an statement, but Ra's gets on camera as well: it's not a ransom demand. Demanding the immediate stop of "everything" from deforestation to coal burning, Ra's has Ted and a dozen other captured industrialists murdered to make his point. It looks like they're going to be fed to the sharks, but it's to Killer Croc and Orca, which may be worse. For good measure, Ra's also blows up several of their buildings with the workers inside.
True to his word, Booster is there with Ted when he dies, as his best friend makes him laugh one more time. I think I'd be less pissed at this comic if Ted had got more than just one punch on Deadshot; and I don't know how the rest of the series would go down, but Katana and Damian need to pay for this. That and I hate the recurring motif of Ted's death, partially to make way for Jaime, not quite to make him the replacement for Saint Barry Allen. Read more!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

"Jumped."

That Kang on the fire escape is not in the most naturalistic position; yet I don't think he's going anywhere for a bit. Read more!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

I remembered the striking cover of this issue from the house ad above; so when I found this in the quarter bin, kind of had to. I may have to look now, I'm 60% sure I got that Batman & the Outsiders issue from the same bins! From Infinity Inc. #4, "The "Generations" Saga, Part IV: Origins and Outcasts!" Written by Roy Thomas and Dann Thomas, pencils by Jerry Ordway, inks by Mike Machlan; and "The Land of the Bird People!" Written by Gardner Fox, pencils by Joe Kubert, inks by Alex Dellinges.
This was still pretty early in the series; I think several of the Infinity Inc. kids might have been trying to sort out their parentage, since I don't think most of them had been mentioned in previous Justice Society stories. Jade and Obsidian were accompanying Northwind to his home, the hidden city of bird-people, Feithera; where they were going to imprison Solomon Grundy with an equilibrium-distorting weapon. Grundy claimed to know what Jade and Obsidian so far only suspected, that they were the kids of Green Lantern: Grundy hates GL, and he also hates these kids, so via the transitive property...Jade recaps what she knows of her origin: she had a relatively ordinary suburban upbringing, with the exception of an unusual green birthmark on her hand. Post-high school, she started to occasionally turn green; and her parents have to tell her she was adopted, and she had a twin brother. They couldn't afford to adopt them both, and Obsidian got the worse of that deal, with an alcoholic adopted dad. Still, he had developed shadow powers, and after Jade finds him with her powers, they begin training together, then apparently showed up at JSA headquarters the same time the other kids did.
As far as hidden cities go, Feithera is a nice one, and Northwind introduces them to his folks, a human scientist and a bird-woman. They reveal the story of the first human visitors to their city, from an old issue of Flash Comics with Hawkman. When a group of hunters get word of the hidden city, they think it will be great sport; Carter Hall thinks it would be murder, but didn't really believe the legend until the birds spread the word. Hawkman could talk to the birds, he's able to talk to the Feitherans too, and after some trouble with a double-crosser, he's able to convince them to stay safely hidden.
Northwind tells his parents he intends to return to man's world, but they are interrupted by news from there: the Feitherans immediately assume that nuclear war finally happened, but it may be worse, since Hawkman is dead! They quickly reunite with the other Infinitors in Colorado in a morgue, over the bodies of Hawkman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Atom; all apparently drowned. Living up to her namesake, the Amazon Fury leaps to the conclusion that the Ultra-Humanite was responsible, and has to die...He probably was, but I could definitely see Fury killing her way through the Society's then-geriatric rogues' gallery. Read more!