Friday, June 28, 2013

So glad this Ares design didn't get a figure:

Wonder Woman isn't traditionally thought of as having a deep rouges gallery of villains, particularly in comparison to Batman or the Flash. And this design of Mars, or Ares, isn't helping. From 1979, Wonder Woman #260, "A Warrior in Chains!" Written by Gerry Conway, art by Jose Delbo and Vincent Colletta.
Fortunately, this issue doesn't spend a lot of time on the women's prison aspect of it. With Zeus "off on a quest to the furthest star," the god of war Mars is free to play a gambit to enslave mankind. First, he has Hermes steal Wonder Woman's bracelets of submission, which turns WW into a berserker. She goes on a rampage in New York City, only to be stopped by the convenient, and planned, arrival of Hercules. With Hercules hailed as a hero and the Amazons' reputation in tatters, Mars can now present himself as the savior of earth.
Meanwhile, Diana is struggling to restrain herself, to the point she can barely even talk. Pretending to be beaten, she convinces a guard to uncuff her, but the jail cell wasn't holding her back, it was being bound by a man. Recovering her lasso during her escape, she changes back to her Diana Prince identity, so she can get back to her apartment and contact Paradise Island, but Mars already thought to block that. Enraged, she nearly smashes her transmitter, but instead finally controls her berserker rage and prepares herself to face a mysterious hooded figure (no, not Pandora!) holds her bracelets...

Although it doesn't live up to the promise of the cover (like a lot of DC Comics I've read lately!) this wasn't a bad issue, and it seemed like a step in the direction of getting rid of some of the more iffy aspects of Wonder Woman's continuity, like the "bracelets of submission."

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

80-Page Thursdays: Batman 80-Page Giant #2!

I still find the occasional 80-pager, but today's was a bit of a disappointment: from 1999, Batman 80-Page Giant #2, featuring stories from Scott Beatty, D.G. Chichester, Jim Alexander, and more; with art by Karl Waller, Sal Buscema, Jim Balent, and more.
The theme this issue is "luck," like we don't see heroes luck out enough in regular stories. In the opening story, Batman is forced to play a game of "Gotham Roulette" by Two-Face; and only survives because Two-Face was using a Belgium knock-off of a Smith&Wesson .44 that backfires on him. Batman plays it off like he knew that would happen, but this story pretty much sets the tone for the rest. Huntress faces a trap of the Riddler's, and although she tries to reason out his puzzle, her guess may have been, the Ventriloquist and Scarface, with Killer Croc and the Mad Hatter, try to change their luck with a little breakout from Arkham and a trip to the Penguin's casino.
In a story set before Tim Drake became Robin, Nightwing worries Drake isn't being careful enough, and tails him to a strange destination. Then, "In Clover," Batman faces Poison Ivy and her dog roses "...made with real dogs" and gets an unexpected assist. In "Lucky's Seven" Catwoman tells of a cat she knew that actually was Lucky, and that story probably has the best of this issue. Finally, in "A Run of Bad Luck," Deadshot takes a potshot at Batman, on Two-Face's dime. When Batman confronts Two-Face, he's a little out of it since he's thrown his coin on the good side a hundred and thirty-eight times in a row...

This issue is a miss, but I'm still keeping an eye open for other 80-pagers, so here's hoping.
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Possibly my favorite accessory of the year...

...although I'm not sure the figure is from this year. And it's from a game I haven't played, either. It's DC Unlimited Dragon Age: Duncan, and for the love of Crom, don't pay those prices. I got mine for six bucks at Hastings in March.

Duncan himself isn't a bad figure--although I had a devil of a time standing him, he doesn't have holes in his feet for a base! He also came with a perfectly fine sword; but the real draw is his goblet. My god, look at that thing. You can get buzzed just glancing at it...

I had a little trouble getting it into Conan's hand, but it looks great with him. I love that Battleground Teela figure, too; and I've seen other collectors make their own customs by swapping heads for her. Makes me wish I had more Masters of the Universe Classics, but maybe someday.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sure, Kull hunts with a bow, but he doesn't get all weird and Nugent-y about it...

Did you know Marie and John Severin drew some Kull comics? And I mean drew the living hell out of, this issue looks great! From 1972, Kull the Conqueror #5, "A Kingdom by the Sea!" Written by Gerry Conway, pencils by Marie Severin, inks by John Severin. I would have to rely on the GCD to even hazard a guess how many issue #5's Kull has had...

This issue, the prince of said kingdom by the sea approaches Kull, to enlist the king's aid in driving demons from his land. Kull's royal court is all for the trade they'll get out of the deal, and Kull's citizens are all "Yay! War!" Kull still wants to help the prince out, but as is often the case, not everything is as it seems...Not a deep read, but the art is nice; yet I don't believe this has been reprinted to date. Keep an eye out!

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Monday, June 24, 2013

My current shelf--I'm sure I'll knock it over at some point.

When I was a kid, I had a bunk bed, that my dad made for me. It was in the shape of a trolley car: I think he got the pattern from the local newspaper. I never used the top bed much, except on the rare holiday where we had guests; but I loved that bed until I was old enough for another one. Then I got a waterbed, which I also loved dearly, but that's another story.

Years later, when I had kids, my dad brought the disassembled bed up for me, and we put it together for the kids. It would even survive another move, when I got my own apartment; although the kids rarely slept in it after that, preferring to just camp out in the living room in front of the TV. When I moved out of that apartment, I wasn't going to have the room for the bunk bed, nor did my folks think I should save it; so I took it apart for the last time. It did not want to go, either: even after all those years, it held up pretty well, but had a slight smell, possibly water damage.
But, the bunk bed had a ladder; and that I saved. I did chip a chunk off the top of it when I took it off, but I had an idea for it: to keep it for action figures by my desk! I don't usually use a lot of action figure stands, since I like to crowd them into a display; so it's a given I'll knock them all over at some point. I also need to get some bases out for the bottom, to get a few more down there. Still, I'm pretty happy with it, and it's a nice reminder of that bed. Thanks, Dad!

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Superman has obviously never seen a scary movie:

Otherwise, he'd know better than to mess around with the Necronomicon. Presumably, Superman didn't see The Evil Dead...

I do miss the days when Superman seemed to have a lot of side projects and experiments running in his spare time, and every once in a while he would do something kind of crazy like try to cure his weakness to Kryptonite, or as in this issue, to magic. Since all his other powers obey scientific, physical laws--stop laughing!--Supes can't figure out why magic wrecks him, and tries to define magic's place on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Meanwhile, Zatanna and her dad Zatara have been doing a little research on her mom's race, homo magus. That race of humans could use magic instinctively, and occasionally bred with normal homo sapien humans, passing on some magical ability; although the magic ability would be diluted. This theory conveniently also explains why Superman, an alien with no homo magus genes, is vulnerable to magic.

While Superman tries to "immunize" himself against magic, and Zatanna tries to contact the magic dimension of her mom, some impish looking fellows--they look like they're from Mr. Mxyzptlk's fifth dimension--were also trying to contact earth, so now everything's gone ka-blooey: the magic dimension has sprung a leak, spewing magic into this world. Don't worry, explains one: the leak will stop when the energy levels have equalized between the two worlds, although that would probably leave earth full of who knows what, and the magic dimension sucked dry. Magic is going nuts on earth, the old villain Caligro now has full-on magic juice, Zatanna's lost her powers, and Superman has magic as well.

It's good see Superman knows Ray Harryhausen, though.

Luckily for everyone involved, the wizard Caligro teleports Zatanna and Superman to him, intent on revenge; but they're actually the only ones who might be able to fix things. (And they didn't meet this issue until 13, 14 pages in!) While Superman is bewildered by magic, Zat is pretty capable of talking Supes through it, and the Man of Steel is able to ape her backwards-magic talk. Wiping the floor with poor Caligro, the heroes reverse the flow of magic, returning both worlds to normal; although Superman charitably is concerned for Cal and anyone else who saw magic for a moment, before it disappeared again...

From 1980's DC Comics Presents #18, "The Night it Rained Magic!" Written by Gerry Conway, art by Dick Dillin and Frank Chiaramonte. Zatanna is wearing her less-often seen superhero leotard and cape, which is nowhere near as iconic as her traditional magician's outfit and fishnet stockings.
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Wait, that sounds familiar...

So I read the 1988 reprint Sgt. Rock Special #1, reprinting the classic meeting between Sgt. Rock and Easy Company and the Viking Prince. ("The Prince and the Sergeant!" Written and edited by Robert Kanigher, art by Joe Kubert.) For daring to love a Valkyrie, the Viking Prince is cursed by Odin to be invulnerable to metal, wood, fire and water; which means he would have a hard time dying in battle and getting back to Valhalla. Rock stumbles across the Prince frozen in ice Captain America-style, and accidentally frees him to fight the German "Huns."

I could've sworn I heard that before--not the frozen part, but the whole Valkyrie girlfriend/Hun fighting thing. Duh, the Viking Commando! We took a look at him years back when I claimed irrationally pointed out he'd make a great DCUC figure!
Actually, both the Viking Prince and the Viking Commando were created by Robert Kanigher, so a little overlap isn't a big deal. It is a little strange that the Viking Prince looks like a young Dolph Lundgren, while the Commando looks like Hagar the Horrible, but so it goes. It does amuse me a bit that DC had not one, but two bona-fide suicidal heroes in their war books. And that in the DC universe, Vikings are really cheerful about their deaths, because a smoking-hot Valkyrie will take them to Valhalla, but it's look-but-don't-touch, since Odin's a stickler for that one.
"When you get to Valhalla, tell 'em the Viking Prince sent you!"

"Sorry, what was that name again? My ears are filling with blood, I might have a concussion..."
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

His biggest success was a secret, to himself and others.

Often at comic shows or the quarter bins, I'm replacing books I used to have but somehow lost. I had a flood a few years back that took a lot of books; I've lent out dozens that never made it back to me; I've even sold a book or two. Today's book I may have thrown out a window...from 1990, Avengers Spotlight #37, "Interlude in a Peaceable Kingdom!" Written by Roy and Dann Thomas, art by Bob Hall, inks by Win Mortimer. Before I should go on, I should point out all the above creators have done work I've liked far, far more than this issue! But, they only have so much to work with here, "The Reincarnation of Doctor Druid!"

This was the first of four issues of Avengers Spotlight--which was mostly terrible every issue I ever saw of it--under the heading "Avengers Reborn." The next three were Tigra, the Black Knight, and the Vision, and I haven't read them and thus shouldn't badmouth them sight unseen. But this issue starts with Dr. Druid, amnesiac and lost in an Eden-like paradise, with a blonde in a torn-up costume and telling pinstriped thigh-high boots. Suffering from nightmares and feeling he has to find the truth, Druid uses his mental powers to dig through his thoughts and drudge through his origin and history: years ago, in the Himalayas, Druid tried to save the life of an aged lama, who on his deathbed bequeathed Druid powers to fight "sinister occult forces." Which he did for some time, until he eventually joined the Avengers; but fell under the control of the mysterious Nebula. Nebula had at various times claimed to be the granddaughter of Thanos, and worn the uniform of Kang the Conqueror, and appeared as an alien with blue skin, or a blonde beauty that somehow was still interested in Druid. Regaining his memory, Nebula likewise regains hers, and they realize their "Eden" was merely a shared hallucination, and they're still in the time bubble of the Renegade Celestial they fell into when last seen.

Nebula absorbs "anti-time" power, and returns herself and Druid to earth, in 1961. And Lincoln, Nebraska. There, Nebula figures there will be no super-heroes to stop her, and casts Druid out. Inexplicably, Druid lands in Tibet, outside the lamasery where he first got his powers. Druid runs through his origin again, but this time, the "lama" reveals the truth: Druid was a test case. The "lama" was actually the Ancient One, who needed to test his ability to pass on his powers, and create an interim mystic champion until Doctor Strange was ready. Druid isn't even mad about this, because "it's not everybody who gets to be point man for a Sorcerer Supreme!" (This is all pretty meta, since Druid was formerly "Dr. Droom" and was pretty much the beta version of Dr. Strange.) Druid feels his missteps, like his Avengers tenure, were the results of him feeling like a second-rater; but he did succeed at his previously unmentioned and unknown to him mission, so now he thinks he can step up to Nebula.
Meanwhile, Nebula is terrorizing 1961's Lincoln, Nebraska. Fun fact: I hate this page.
Druid uses some borrowed Celtic artifacts to manifest himself threefold: a young version, if he'd had his powers then; the present balding one, and a geezer. This actually has a bit of druid-ness to it--just a bit. Druid reflects Nebula's anti-time blast back at her, and that's pretty much all she wrote. Druid wakes up in 1990 Lincoln, and realizes he somehow is still the younger version of himself. He doesn't know how long it'll last, so merely resolves to enjoy: "Maybe this time I'll even keep my hair!"

Dr. Druid would turn up another couple of times, like in Mark Gruenwald's Captain America a few times (most notably during "Cap-Wolf!") but his revamp didn't take. But if you've read this issue, you're probably more than OK with Warren Ellis's treatment of Druid...
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I do believe NECA is putting out an update this year (check out Big Bad Toy Store for details!) but I found the old McFarlane Hicks Movie Maniacs figure at a yard sale. Two bucks with base, even! And of course Deadpool promptly stole his pulse rifle.

I put this strip together while what I believe is the most recent DVD release of Aliens was on in the background. Every couple of years, they seem to re-release that movie with somehow more footage every time, so it may be well over six hours long the next time it comes out.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"The Junkie that Outdid Superman!" Sounds like a Silver Age title, huh?

(Some minor spoilers ahead for Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3...and another movie I don't want to mention yet.)

So I went and saw Man of Steel on Father's Day. I was in a pretty good mood, which may have affected the results, since I pretty much enjoyed it. Oh, there are a couple of moments of Superman=Christ imagery I thought were beyond heavy-handed, and I do remember thinking this was a pretty big body count for a Superman movie, but I still came out feeling positive. Popular opinion, however, seems somewhat split. To put it mildly; and you could just as easily argue what opinion isn't split in America these days, but that's another story. Both Mark Waid and Chris Sims were somewhat less than thrilled with it. There may be something to the idea that this was a Superman movie for people who don't read comics or have a more than passing familiarity with the character; and that the more concrete your idea of Superman, the less you would enjoy this version.

NPR's review of Man of Steel mentions a scene I hadn't thought about at the time: "You can save [them]," Jor-El (Russell Crowe) assures Superman (Henry Cavill) at a key juncture; "you can save them all." Um...Jor-El may have been speaking metaphorically there, since Superman emphatically doesn't save everyone. (And that scene isn't really with Jor-El, but sort of a program/ghost of him, but we won't split any more hairs on that point!)

But a rising body count, much as I feel it's a little out of place in a Superman movie, is almost to be expected in a summer blockbuster today. So far this year I've seen Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, and now Man of Steel; all of which feature the bad guys killing hundreds, if not thousands, before the heroes finally stop them. We don't see all or even most of those deaths onscreen or know most of these faceless victims--it's tough for even a Red Shirt to get a death scene anymore--but the scale and spectacle of the destruction implies a huge death toll (and dramatically raised stakes.) Of course, this isn't a recent development: there were probably four-figure casualties or more in the previous Star Trek, Avengers, or the DC movies Green Lantern or the Dark Knight Rises. It used to be, the hero had to stop the villain, before people died. Now that's the part that doesn't seem realistic enough for a superhero or sci-fi movie anymore; civilian deaths are accepted as a matter of course. Sure, the heroes manage to stop whatever the armageddon du jour is from destroying everything, but not without immense losses.

Which brings up another film I saw recently: the recent remake of The Evil Dead. Like a lot of movies I watch, I had to file it under "Enjoyable, not very good." Fun as all get out while you watch it, if critically you could poke so many holes in it. And that was rather an odd duck of a movie to start with. It's not a straight remake of the Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell classic, and there isn't an Ash character; but there are ever so many callbacks, references, and homages to the earlier films. There's also more horror cliches in the new version: a character dumb enough to read the big evil Necronomicon, characters left alone or unattended for seemingly ever so bad things can happen to them, the characters possessed by the Deadites don't talk as much smack as they used to and more just lurch and jerk about like common infected zombies, and somewhat unnecessary Chekhov's gun weapon placement: it's an Evil Dead film, we know there's gonna be a chainsaw sometime...

There's also a gem of an idea, that's in the wrong place: the five friends are out at the secluded cabin in the woods, so one of them, Mia, can go through heroin withdrawal. At first, it's set up like maybe she's not really seeing the Deadites; they're just a junkie's hallucinations, and maybe Mia is really the killer. That's a great hook...that doesn't belong in this movie at all. We know the title, we know the Necronomicon, we know the story, we know she's not crazy. But here's the thing: after a couple fake-outs, Mia ends up the final girl, up against a final Deadite. And this one's for all the marbles: if she loses, not only will she die and her soul be eaten, but it would probably open a gateway for the Deadites to swarm and destroy earth. Mia digs deep, doing things most people would not be capable of, and saves herself...and humanity, while also in passing seeming to kick the junk quite handily. The Evil Dead is a different genre of movie than Man of Steel, with different rules and values--it's low(er)-budget and filled with buckets of blood--but only five characters die, four of whom we know the names of. Hundreds, if not thousands, that we never see or meet, are killed in the disasters of Man of Steel or Star Trek Into Darkness, among other films. And a junkie, not a superhero or starship captain, managed to stop the bad guys before they killed more.

Of course, that's not a fair comparison, especially since the writers and producers of Evil Dead might have had the Deadites slaughter the entire population of, say, Michigan, if the budget had allowed for it; but it's what occurred to me after seeing both films the same week...

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Everything you know is wrong! Including this title!

Today, another Comicon pickup, and a book I knew of but never thought I'd actually read: from 1985 and Eclipse, Miracleman #3, reprinting Alan Moore and Alan Davis's Marvelman stories from Warrior #9-11. (With a Howard Chaykin cover!)

If you aren't familiar with Miracleman, or Marvelman...yow. Over at the Beat, there is a series of articles called "Poisoned Chalice" about the history of the character, and the decades of behind-the-scenes machinations about who owns what, which is still kind of a mess to this day. Marvel may have the rights, but I'm worried they'd do something really stupid like try to make Miracleman, Marvelman, whoever, part of the Marvel Universe. I don't think he'd be a good fit three, or that it would do the character any favors either; but I have a sinking feeling that wouldn't stop Marvel editorial from pushing it.
Anyway, this issue is where Marvelman's origin really starts to unravel: instead of being a relatively innocent Captain Marvel, say the magic word type; he was an orphan used in a secret government experiment using recovered alien technology and headed up by what I presume was the villain of the piece. Marvelman also tangles with Big Ben, the Man with No Time for Crime; who likewise wasn't a straightforward superhero, but instead an earlier experiment and quite insane. This probably wasn't the earliest example of the "Everything you know is wrong" origin retcon, but it's one of the prime examples.

It's not exactly "fun," but it's so well done--you really do see why everyone's fighting over the rights. Pick it up, if by random chance you come across a copy.
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Friday, June 14, 2013

"Lof" and English professors, that is.

I've read only pieces of the old poem Beowulf, and seen the movie Beowulf maybe once, but I did pick up a few issues of the short-lived, and somewhat odd, DC Comic Beowulf. These two scans are from the first issue, "The Curse of Castle Hrothgar." Written by Michael Uslan, art by Ricardo Villamonte.

Not a bad-looking book, just a bit all over the place. Still, so am I: out today, see you next week!

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

I should save this for the end of the year:

I have a smattering of Secret Society of Super-Villains issues--the late seventies series from DC, that's a lot like the more modern Secret Six. Except not as edgy. Or funny. Or readable...they weren't really much of a "Secret," either, now that I think about it. I think they had a "Sinister Citadel" somewhere...oh, yeah! Way back when, we saw Sinestro try to level it, pummel Hawkman down, then get beat by Captain Comet. Why, you ask? I don't know. Funky Flashman, maybe? (Crap, I shouldn't have mentioned that name, he'll probably get a 52-reboot next...)

Today, though, we've got "The Wizard's War of the Worlds!" (Written by Bob Rozakis, art by Mike Vosburg and Bob Smith.) Back in the pre-Crisis day, hopping back and forth from Earth-1 to Earth-2 was easier than me driving across town, and the Wizard has enlisted the Society's Plant Master (or Floronic Man, Jason Woodrue) Star Sapphire (not Carol Ferris, maybe?) Blockbuster (the one that gets killed in the Suicide Squad) and Professor Zoom (aka Reverse-Flash, etc.) to fight his foes, the Justice Society. The guys are mostly down with the plan, but Sapphire's had enough and wants to go home, but can't beat Wizard.

That is kind of a weird line, there...

The Wizard's plan is pretty simple: using a mystic summons to draw a hero into a trap, they'll beat the hell out of them one at a time, then gang up on Superman and Power Girl later. Blockbuster beats down the Atom, and Zoom and Plant Master take down Dr. Mid-Nite; with Captain Comet arriving too late to see the fight. Meanwhile, back on Earth-1, the Silver Ghost (who?) hires the Society, or rather thinks he does: Mirror Master and Copperhead tell him they're the Society to get the job! It's a simple gig: Kill the Freedom Fighters!

Will the Mirror Master's "Society" be a match for Uncle Sam and his team? Are the Atom and Dr. Mid-Nite done for? Will Star Sapphire turn on the Wizard? Can the Justice Society defeat the Secret Society of Super-Villains? All these questions and more will be answered...never. SSoSV #15 was the last issue! Per the GCD, "Continuation of this story presented in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #2, and summarized in the follow-up story in Justice League of America #166-168."
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Only on my blog will you hear things like "I biked ten miles with a Spider-Car on my back, then the next day walked ten miles for a Superman figure."

Last Saturday was a big local yard sale, so my girlfriend gave me a ride out there, and I biked a good chunk of it. Not a lot of action figures to be seen, and even then some of them were ones I already had! There was a Playskool Millennium Falcon set, which is nice, but already had one for the boys. The Spider-Man and Spider-Car above were from separate sales, but both only a quarter. And could probably stand a dusting...

Then Sunday I wanted to take the dog for a good solid walk, since he's been a bit of a brat lately. And local chain store Fred Meyer had Superman figures 40% off, so I sprung for the Movie Masters Superman.

I'm not overly impressed. My girlfriend pointed out his five o'clock shadow seems to go right over his nose; I'm not sure if it actually does or it's just a trick of the light, but it seems too high. And Supes can't look up! He really should be able to look up for a good flying pose, or the old "Up, up and away!" That should just be a given for a Superman figure; yet I think I'm the only one complaining about that. The texture's nice, though; and he might look good with the other Movie Masters figures; whenever I dig those out.

I do plan on seeing Man of Steel, but I'm worried it's going to fall into the same sort of trap Star Trek Into Darkness did, a little: for both the Superman and Star Trek movie franchises, the second movie was so popular its shadow still lingers over the entire series. And now that both series are rebooting, both homage and/or swipe like crazy from their second film. Hence, the return of both Khan and Zod; which feels somewhat unnecessary to me, even if done well. You've already seen Kirk fight Khan and Superman fight Zod; why do you need to pay another twelve bucks to see it again? Move forward! Ah, we'll see in a couple of days...
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tell me Age of Ultron ends like this...

Even though I enjoy seeing long-time Avengers foe Ultron show up, he's taken some pretty bad defeats in other books, too. You may have seen that time Daredevil beat Ultron with a stick, but what about the time a one-legged Machine Man kicked his ass? From 1982, Marvel Two-in-One #93, "And One Shall Die--!" Written by Tom DeFalco, pencils by Ron Wilson, inks by "D. Hands."

After being encased in adamantium in Avengers #202, it looks like the threat of Ultron is over once and for all. Except, just as he hypnotically pre-programmed Tony Stark to rebuild him in that issue; this time Jocasta is forced to construct a new body for Ultron. Machine Man tries to stop the evil robot, but is woefully outclassed. Worse, Ultron hypnotizes the Thing, and has him attack MM!

Machine Man manages to escape with Jocasta, to try and get repairs from his friend Gears Garvin. He's also pretty obviously smitten with Jocasta already. Meanwhile, Ultron uses the Thing as cheap labor, as he starts work on "an army of Ultrons! Exact duplicates of himself!" Sure, Ultron would probably have a better chance against the Avengers if he took away their numerical advantage; but I don't think Ultron's thought this through entirely. His personality is a bit...grating; and I don't know if he'd be able to boss himself around effectively.

Meanwhile, lacking parts, Machine Man is left with little choice but to face Ultron one-legged. (Well, I guess he could've called...anyone; but says there's no time.) As Gears and Machine Man work through Ultron's traps and fight the hypnotized Thing, Ultron tries to convince his "bride" Jocasta to join him. Somewhat unsurprisingly, she doesn't go for it, and overloads Ultron's cannon in the hopes of taking them both out. Unfortunately, since he's made out of adamantium, he's far more durable, and isn't even scratched; but Jocasta is shattered. Machine Man is enraged, especially when Ultron refers to him as "a gallant knight" who's too late. Still, the explosion shook the Thing out of his hypnosis, and he gets back in the fight.

Ultron talks a lot of smack to the heroes, which proves to be his undoing: Machine Man reaches down his throat, and rips out chunks of his circuitry. Does Ultron's jaw work, or is it purely decorative? I don't think his mouth moves...Dying, Ultron pleads with Machine Man to save him, saying only he could restore Jocasta. Machine Man refuses, knowing Jocasta would have too; and she stayed dead for a good stretch. Even though Mr. Fantastic probably could've rebuilt her over the weekend. (I got that issue with Jocasta's return at the Comicon too, so we might check that one later.)
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Monday, June 10, 2013

A reminder why this series was forgotten:

Sometimes at the local comicon, or if I hit a store I haven't picked clean before, I check for some books I used to have but lost over the years. And then sometimes, I'm reminded why I lost them. Like today's book! From 1995, Tekno Comics Gene Roddenberry's Lost Universe #7, "Crash and Burn" Written by Ron Fortier, pencils by Mike Harris, inks by Aaron McClellan. With a nice Bill Sienkiewicz cover!

This was actually the last issue of this series, although it was quickly relaunched as Gene Roddenberry's Xander in Lost Universe. I want to say the Xander character was a cloned version of another from the first run, but I'm a little vague on the details, and he doesn't appear this issue anyway. The starship Deliverance loses power and nearly crashes into the planet Malay, but a plucky young engineer restores systems as the pilot figures the planet deflected the ship when it came too close. I know I read this issue when it came out, and I thought it was a little thin then, too; and it may or may not have had anything to do with the previous six or so issues. (This was the nineties, so there were a lot of #0 issues; the next one would be a #0.)

Also this issue, an appearance by Lady Sensua, who I think was the big bad behind the scenes through most of the book; and appeared usually in leather pants, leather jacket, and possibly a leather bra.

Lost Universe, or sometimes even more specifically Xander, was billed in ads as "The Final Legacy of legendary Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry." But it wasn't: both Andromeda and Earth: Final Conflict would come after had been cancelled. I was curious if anything from this comic was later used in those series, but didn't see anything that looked like it carried over yet. (I liked Andromeda, although I didn't see every episode, which may be why I can remember it fondly.) I don't recall if Lost Universe made it to the end of the line, before Tekno went under...
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Friday, June 07, 2013

We appreciate your Kandor. (Boo!)

Sometimes, when I read early eighties Superman comics, the only thing I can think is, "Crisis on Infinite Earths couldn't come soon enough." It took care of this issue: from 1982, Superman #371, "Kandor Lives Again!" Written by Len Wein, art by Curt Swan and Dave Hunt.

Which coincidence goes too far: sometime after restoring the inhabitants of Kandor to normal size in another dimension, Superman builds a replica of the bottle city. Later the same day, a group of alien refugees from a far-off planet, start squatting there. The aliens, the human-looking Sh'str, tried to escape their homeworld's sun going nova. They thought they could integrate with the humans they resembled, but once they got here they realized they were flea-sized compared to the earthlings. Superman uses the micro-wave tunnel he used to use to shrink or enlarge the Kandorians, but can only enlarge two of the Sh'str at a time. As Clark Kent, Superman helps them integrate into human society, but they first develop a case of the sniffles, which escalates into devolving into violent cave-alien types.

Bringing the mutated Sh'str back to the Fortress of Solitude, they nearly crush the faux-Kandor, but Superman uses white Kryptonite--which kills plant life--to kill the germs and bacteria in their system and return them to normal. Supes vows to keep trying to help the little aliens, who keep their new home's old name, Kandor. Yeah, I don't think they're seen again, before the Crisis. Must not have caught on.

In the back-up story, things get even crazier: Supes is "drilling" holes in the universe, creating hyperspace warps, when he accidentally flies too close to a violet star going nova--lot of novas today--and develops mind-over-matter abilities, with which he creates cash a couple of times. Crazy. From "Mind Over Money!" Written by Bob Rozakis, pencils by John Calnan, inks by Pablo Marcos.

Also this issue: Superman fights the Purple Pile-Driver!

And not for the first time, either! That...that's not a metaphor or anything, the Purple Pile-Driver had actually appeared before.
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Thursday, June 06, 2013

Over the yahrens--I mean, years---the various incarnations and eras of Battlestar: Galactica have been popular enough for comic book versions. Yet, I don't think any lasted as long as Marvel's, and I don't think it's been reprinted, either; which means finding any for me has been strictly by chance. Like today's book! From 1980, Battlestar: Galactica #12, "The Trap!" Written and co-plotted by Roger McKenzie, penciled and co-plotted by Walt Simonson, inks by Klaus Janson.

And there are several traps here! Commander Adama is still trapped in the Memory Machine, where he had been trying to recover any lost recollection of the lost Thirteenth Colony. Starbuck is trapped by Eurayle, the somewhat-psychotic empress of the Scavenger World: she could possibly use her mental powers to save Adama, but only if Starbuck will become her consort. Or boy toy. Whatever.

As Starbuck says his goodbyes to his, um, several true loves; and gives himself to Eurayle; three Cylon base stars close in on Galactica. Tigh leads the fleet in setting a trap with the Scavengers, but welcomes the return of Adama! His tactical genius will surely save the day...

...really? "Launch all vipers"? I could'a done that...

Anyway, I need to keep an eye out for more of these; which of course didn't occur to me at all the other day.

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Wednesday, June 05, 2013


So, while I'm ostensibly moved, I don't have a new set up yet. Perhaps this weekend. If you're a superstitious sort, you might be interested to know I've shot the pictures for most of these strips on a Ouija board I bought at a church rummage sale...

And while since I don't have anything else set up, I don't have a lot of figures handy. Just a Marvel Legends Toy Biz Red Skull I picked up at the Spokane Comicon...and Matter-Eater Lad.

Yeah, not a pairing I expected, either.
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