Monday, October 19, 2020

I tell myself that like every morning, too.

The other day at the Comic Book Shop, I got a pile of books before they made it to the quarter bins! Starting with this one: from 1973, World's Finest #220, "Let No Man Write My Epitaph" Written by Bob Haney, pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Murphy Anderson, cover by Nick Cardy.

Aw, this was the second of a two-parter? Wait a minute...I have absolutely no recollection of the lead feature, but I've blogged the previous issue! The Metamorpho back-up feature, anyway. The lead story features Supes and Bats in search of El Monstro, a Swamp Thing-like brute who's giving Nazi gold to the peasants and may be Carlotta Esteban, a nude girl! How could I forget something like that? Well, Haney stories hit me like watching low-grade horror movies with a hangover, I may black out occasionally.

Carlotta can't stay in human form long, but monster-form is better for revenge anyway. Batman feels that; but Superman says her revenge is illegal, and she's not supposed to have that gold, either. They split up to continue searching for the downed U-boat; but Bats had already found it, and wanted Supes out of his way while he "saved El Monstro from herself!" Supes wasn't fooled, and heads to where Batman had been looking. Meanwhile, cruel landlord Don Ernesto and his lawyer tell the peasants that they can't buy their land with illegal gold, but they can pay him "a modest rental" by working in the mines! Or get murdered, if they want to get uppity. Batman saves a peasant, but is then held at gunpoint by the lawyer on horseback! El Monstro saves Batman, who then goes to Ernesto's hacienda, which had previously been the Esteban estate before Ernesto had Carlotta framed for her father's murder. Oh, and "she masqueraded as a boy all her life," for...reasons? (At a guess, to dodge getting married to Ernesto?)

In the attic, is a colossal painting of Carlotta, in her male disguise, and in a fetching dress: Batman seems impressed. El Monstro agrees, she was pretty smokin' back in the day. Bats tries to get her to give up the quest for vengeance, because everyone knows that's just for boys--no, because killing Ernesto would make her the bad guy. She clobbers Batman, then smashes through to Ernesto, as his lawyer either falls or jumps out the window. Ernesto flees to his old mine, with El Monstro and Batman giving chase; then tries to start a landslide to kill them, but falls in himself as well. Ernesto is killed, and El Monstro gathers the battered Batman and heads back to the sub, which Superman has found--but he gets hit with depth charges from the local government, "atomizing" the sub and the treasure. Um, no...Earlier in the story, Supes noticed diesel fuel on Bats to catch him in a lie; here a bomber sneaks up on him.

A government copter also hits El Monstro with defoliant--they seem pretty on top of things, why were Supes and Bats there again? Bats can only...throw his bat-rope in frustration, as Carlotta, seemingly mortally wounded, plunges into the water and "vanishes...dissolves...forever!" Forever forever? Swampy-sludge monsters have a way of coming back, but apparently that was that. Not a great showing, guys. Haven't got to the Metamorpho back-up yet, maybe later this week for that.

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Friday, October 16, 2020

I have never seen anyone in one of those "Anti-Bat" shirts; running from a monster or otherwise.

I needed to research something, so had to dig this one out of the garage; and I noticed a big-ass hole in the wall out there! Like somebody shot a hole in it. Hopefully not taking any shots at this one: from 1990, Avengers West Coast #54, "The Troubled Earth" Story and art by John Byrne, inks by Paul Ryan.

This would be the second of three Acts of Vengeance tie-in issues for the book; as previously the U-Foes had attacked the team from out of nowhere; and now the Mole Man is tearing up Los Angeles. Or, his monster is, in this case Giganto! Best known from the cover of Fantastic Four #1, it may not have had a name before now. Also, it apparently weighs less than 85 tons, since Iron Man is able to pick it up!

While Wonder Man and the android Human Torch backtrack down Giganto's tunnel and encounter the Mole Man--who is confused as to why this Torch doesn't sound like the "witless stripling" he's used to--Hank Pym and the Wasp are bringing the catatonic Scarlet Witch home when their quinjet runs into another of Moley's monsters: Tricephalous! Kirby's version of Ghidorah, although Tricephalous was also from FF #1 in 1961, predating Ghidorah by three years. Anyway, the flying dragon destroys the quinjet, which inexplicably doesn't crash, saved by a mysterious magnetic field...Also inexplicably, Pym thinks said field is somehow related to Tricephalous; but I suppose he's concentrating, since he shrinks it "to the size of a sparrow!" Pretty cool, actually.

The Mole Man thinks he's getting revenge for the Avengers attacking his Monster Island; although a brief interlude with Magneto and the mysterious "lackey" make it apparent that he's been fooled. To convince him, Wonder Man lets Moley blast him a few times; although I doubt Simon was in any danger, it still convinces the Mole Man to withdraw. Still, after multiple attacks from different foes, the Avengers have started to realize something was up.
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Thursday, October 15, 2020

As usual, if I find an entire series in the quarter bin, I'm pretty much obligated to get it. Today we found nine issues out of ten, which is a good start. From 2015, Lady Killer #2-5, story by Jamie S. Rich and Joëlle Jones, art by Joëlle Jones, colors by Laura Allred; and from 2016, Lady Killer 2 #1-5, story and art by Joëlle Jones, colors by Michelle Madsen.

I had seen ads for this one in the Hellboy books but hadn't tried it before: set in the 50's, charming suburban housewife Josie Schuller is a loving wife and mother, and as you might've guessed from the title, a hardened killer for hire. While she's put in 15 solid years with "the company," and looks like she could easily continue for 15 more; she still has to put up with her overly familiar handler Ward, and her bad boss, Stenholm. Stenholm sets her up for failure, and gives Peck the job of killing her. Peck protests, but goes along with it. Meanwhile, Josie gives it a try, but can't bring herself to kill a kid probably the same age as her kids; which means Peck has to take her out...You've probably guessed, but Josie's husband is blissfully unaware of his wife's secret life; he does make a comment in the last issue about "pride of accomplishment" that made me want to smack him.

No spoilers, but Josie does survive for another series, trying to build her own clientele in Florida while keeping her mother-in-law from blowing the whistle on her. While she approaches situations with her usual aplomb, the problem of body disposal is becoming an issue, until she's approached by old school killer Irving, who suggests a partnership. But there are others who want Josie's services, and Irving may be hiding more secrets. The second limited ends on a cliffhanger, but I don't know if she is scheduled to return anytime soon.

Still, Dark Horse has a fairly solid track record of properties being turned into movies or TV shows; this would be a solid one. Like a stabbier Mad Men...I hope that doesn't sound dismissive; I've never actually seen Mad Men. I'd rather watch this.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020


Why do Kurt and Marc get pumpkins while Abstrakt gets steak? It's entirely possible the waitress is messing with them today; but they have bigger fish to fry.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Today, future superheroes vs. a Nazi earth--no, not ours!

I always remember the cover for this issue from a slightly sexist joke in an old Wizard, so I kind of felt obligated to grab it out of the quarter bin. From 1999, A-Next #11, "Crucible!" Story and words by Tom DeFalco, story and pencils by Ron Frenz, finishes by Al Milgrom.

It's the next generation of Avengers, featuring stalwarts like American Dream, Stinger, and for some reason, Juggernaut's illegitimate kid; versus a Nazi dimension's evil Avengers, the Thunder Guard. Stinger and Thunderstrike are a bit shaken, since evil versions of their dads are there: Pincer and Stormtrooper. While Cassie beats the tar out of her dad's double, Kevin had lost his father, and finds Stormtrooper had gone bad when he lost his son. They have a bit of a cry together, although I don't think it excuses anything he did...

Somehow, even though this is a Nazi earth, their version of Doctor Doom is in charge. Presumably, he didn't advertise his gypsy heritage. He also had Baron Zemo and Reed Richards as his underlings: I'm sure Doom would have no problem with a Richards that knew his place. And American Dream ends up with the shield of the fallen Captain America of Nazi-world, while the MC2 Captain America stayed behind to continue the fight. Thunderstrike also stays behind, to learn about his alt-dad.

Spider-Girl ran for a hundred and one issues, but I don't think any of the other MC2 lasted anywhere near as long: this was the second-to-last issue of this one. There are some panels that I'm pretty sure are homages to classic Avengers, but I can't quite nail them down. Read more!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Wish I could nap for 832 centuries...

Kind of steps on your heroic legacy, though; when you have Black Adam go bad around 1250 B.C. or so, some kids in the 20th century, and then a break until the 853rd century!? From 1998, the Power of Shazam #1,000,000, "Between the Rock and a Hot Place" Written and penciled by Jerry Ordway, inks by Dick Giordano.
In the DC One Million future, Mercury is the communications hub for the entire solar system and beyond; yet there are still have-nots, the "information-poor" who can't afford access to the "headnet." (That doesn't seem like it's coming true goddamn now or anything...) A single-mom explorer finds a strange tesseract-space, filled with antique artifacts--that VHS copy of Star Wars may still be worth something, if the original editions never get re-released!--and a bearded, costumed man on a stone throne. She tries to get her claim registered, since this motherlode could pay to get her son Tanist the medical attention he needed for a bad leg. (Internet and healthcare still aren't socialized in the 853rd century? This is what happens when the Republicans stack the courts.)

Unfortunately, her claim is jumped by the shifty, slumming Prospero; who pushes his way past Tanist but gets them both sucked into the tesseract. Dicking around with a "power-icon" for heat vision, he gives the bearded figure a trim, but is surprised when his eyes open and accidentally lights the brazier! Captain Marvel, now possibly older than the wizard Shazam had been, awakens; momentarily confusing Tanist with his old friend Freddy Freeman. Prospero tries to murder them both for the claim; and Tanist is injured by falling rock.
Tanist's mom discovers the claim had already been filed, and tries to get back to her son, only to be trampled by the callous, thrill-seeking upper crust. They're a little cheesed the wi-fi isn't working in the tesseract, and Billy's none too thrilled to have his home invaded by gawkers and looters. With their borrowed, artificial powers, they attack Billy, more for kicks than any malice, for the most part. While disappointed that man really didn't seem to have advanced much, Billy doesn't have time for them, since he needs to help Tanist. The newly orphaned Tanist, since this is a Disney picture...actually, Billy had been orphaned young as well, this seems familiar to him. He advises Tanist to speak his name--"not Lightning Man or Flash. It's Captain Marvel."
Transformed by the magic lightning, Tanist wants to thank him, but is advised saying the name would turn him back, and that he should call Billy "Wizard." The locals are not impressed, though, because the headnet just went down; and if you think people bitch about outages now, well...This was going to continue in Flash #1,000,000; maybe Tanist would get a name there. I kind of wanted to see Prospero get it, too; I don't know if he was supposed to be an analog or future version of Uncle Dudley, but he was awful.
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Friday, October 09, 2020

They don't fight a giant werewolf this month, sadly.

I was going to blog this issue the other day, when I was watching The Beast Must Die...y'know, I think I've seen it more than once, and still haven't guessed right at the "Werewolf Break"! Anyway, from 1973, Doc Savage #7, "Brand of the Werewolf!" Based on the story by Kenneth Robeson, adapted by Gardner Fox and Tony Isabella, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Frank Springer.
I am not especially familiar with the Man of Bronze; partially since I don't think he's ever had the comics presence his contemporary the Shadow did. In fact, I know I've read more pastiches and knock-offs of him than the genuine article! This issue, Doc's uncle in Canada is killed by a werewolf; and he and his crew take the train out to help his cousin, Pat. I believe she would be a recurring character in his stories, and she is established as "a capable young woman in a time before capable young women became fashionable." Unfortunately, this is a two-parter, and the next issue would be the last at Marvel!
Eight issues doesn't seem like much of a run; which makes me wonder how much the Doc Savage license was. I feel like, cheaper than Tarzan, more expensive than the stuff that ended up at Gold Key? Best guess. Read more!