Monday, March 31, 2014

OK, this (last) week's comics:

I haven't done one of these in a bit, but here's the stuff I bought last week.

First up, Amazing X-Men #5, "The Quest for Nightcrawler, conclusion" Written by Jason Aaron, pencils by Ed McGuinness, inks by Dexter Vines. A number of plot threads Aaron had brewing for some time come together, as the Red Bamfs and the Blue Bamfs battle at the Jean Grey School, Nightcrawler's regathered the X-Men to fight the demon hordes of his dad Azazel and save heaven. The late Professor X tries to get Kurt not to go through with his plan to stop Azazel, but Kurt feels it's his responsibility, and pays the price for it. It's a pretty, pretty issue; but feels a bit rushed, and slightly grimmer than the art would indicate. Also, I know Wolverine doesn't have his healing factor currently, but I thought he did at the start of this one!

Somewhat conversely, we're up to the seventh issue of Satellite Sam, and the question the book started with--who killed Carlyle White, the actor who played Satellite Sam?--is seemingly no closer to being answered. It's still a fun, smutty ride, though I wonder: does it need closure on the murder, or will that wrap up the book? This issue will probably read better collected, a common trend for today's books. (Written by Matt Fraction, art by Howard Chaykin.)

The end of the world continues in both B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #117 and Abe Sapien #11. (B.P.R.D. written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, art by James Harren, inks by Dave Stewart; Abe written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie, art by Max Fiumara, and colors by Dave Stewart.) This issue of B.P.R.D. is the third of a five-parter, but still feels like there's some forward progress; as Liz Sherman and her team, along with the freaky Iosif of the Russian Special Sciences Service, fight through the monster-infested New York City to get to the mysterious Zinco Corporation and the Black Flame. Meanwhile, in Abe's book, a former Satanist makes some progress in Seattle, while Abe seemingly fails to save the small town of Payson, Arizona. Abe's book seems to be spinning it's wheels a bit, but still works as part of a larger tapestry.

The twelve-part crossover concludes in Transformers: Dark Cybertron finale, written by John Barber and James Roberts, with layouts by Phil Jimenez, pencils by Brendan Cahill, inks by Brian Shearer. The wrap-up is to come and will set up a new status quo for the two Transformers books, but not one but two former villains may have found a measure of redemption here. It remains to be seen how much it sticks, and if the death from the previous issue (which I still need to find!) does either.

Brandon Graham does most of the art for this week's Empowered: Internal Medicine one-shot, written by Adam Warren. Empowered and Ninjette race to help an alien living spaceship deliver it's baby, at a somewhat-deranged superhero hospital. It's cheesecakey fun! Except there may be more than a bit of foreshadowing for later issues.

Dark Horse Presents #34 was purchased mainly for the conclusion of Nexus: Into the Past. It's not Baron and Rude's best on the book, but seems to draw a line under thirty-three years of stories. (On and off!) I may have been better off waiting for it to be collected, because aside from the recent short Hellboy serial, there hasn't been much else in the anthology that's grabbed me, and it's $7.99 a pop. Still, it only has two issues left, so we'll probably ride it out.

Another book I may not keep for much longer: Regular Show, since this issue finds the gang at the park fighting the 90's for the second straight issue, and it's been moving a little slowly. For four bucks an issue, it wasn't enough.

Speaking of four bucks, I did splurge for Silver Surfer #1, written by Dan Slott, art by Michael and Laura Allred. Marvel's pricing seems a bit steep, but it is a good start to the series, as the Surfer is recruited to save the massive alien city the Impericon, and a young girl is placed in jeopardy to motivate him. Only, the Surfer has no idea why. Doctor Who may be an influence this time around, but both the story and the art place the book far and away from the usual gloomy, soliliquy-spouting Surfer. I may be in for at least another issue at this rate.

All this, and I missed Warren Ellis's Moon Knight! I'll have to hold out for a second printing.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Ugly, and not Hollywood ugly:

We mentioned some Punisher comics with the Kingpin, that were released after the Kingpin had been brought down. Well, here's another, with the bonus of being released after but set before the X-Men comics references, too. From 1993, Wolverine and the Punisher: Damaging Evidence #3, written by Carl Potts, art by Gary Erskine.

A Punisher/Wolverine crossover book was probably an easy way to Marvel to print money, although I kind of wonder if this wasn't past it's sell-by date since it tied into bad guys from the first year of Punisher War Journal: Damage, Sniper, and Wolverine. Wait a minute...

Using technology from Donald Pierce and the Reavers--which, really, really sounds like a band--the Kingpin has the crippled thug Damage rebuilt into a cyborg, than further has his face rebuilt to look like the Punisher. With his new face, Damage begins a shooting spree to both discredit and gaslight the Punisher; while Wolverine tries to warn him and Sniper wants to kill him himself. Wolvie and the Punisher don't see each other until the last issue!

Erskine's an interesting choice for art on this one: Frank and Logan are both ugly as hell here. And they're handsome compared to Damage and Sniper, who are so scarred up you'd think they ran into Wolverine, not the Punisher.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

A choice of Dooms! (One here, one not.)

The Spokane Comicon is a couple of months out, so I was thinking of some issues I'd like to pick up: these first two are probably out of my usual range (of quarterbooks...) but even the reprints are probably spendy. From 1971, the Incredible Hulk #143 ("Sanctuary") and #144 ("The Monster and the Madman") Written by Roy Thomas, art by Dick Ayers and John Severin. Reprinted in the super-awesome Marvel Treasury Edition #20, along with Hulk #136-137.

Doctor Doom fakes the Hulk's death, with a Hulk-robot; in order to offer Bruce Banner sanctuary in Latveria, but as you might expect, he's not doing it out of the kindness of his heart. Doom plans on subliminally controlling Banner and the Hulk, to use them to conquer a neighboring nation; but Doom's occasional girlfriend Valeria takes pity on Banner and frees him. The Hulk proceeds to just wreck Doom up. Seriously, it's a top-drawer beating, and although Doom is too stubborn to give up, cry uncle, or pass out; even the Hulk reaches a point where he's tired of hitting Doom. I've often wondered: does Doom know he's beat, or how close he came to death? Or does his ego refuse to acknowledge that?

Since I don't want to go without a scan today, we'll look at a slightly more recent Doom appearance; the unfortunately titled "Doom Service!" from Amazing Spider-Man #350, written by David Michelinie, pencils by Erik Larsen, inks by Randy Emberlin. Senior citizen jewel thief the Black Fox steals a gem called the Dragon's Egg, which belonged to none other than Dr. Doom! Or, rather, his mom, which makes it one of Doom's few keepsakes of her. Spider-Man had on multiple occasions let the Black Fox off the hook before, and this time he pays for defending him, as Doom beats Spidey into a concussion. Spidey's on defense the whole time, and even when he does connect, Doom so angry it doesn't faze him.

I was hoping those Hulk issues had been reprinted, perhaps in Marvel Super-Heroes, but so far it doesn't appear so. Have to keep an eye out...

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Deadpool may have a point: most people don't understand the fundamentals of the internal combustion engine or the differential, yet still drive all over town. (I'm aware those are both things, but that's about it.)

In other news, I'm waiting for some more figures and pieces for this storyline, which still haven't shown up. Sooner or later...
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

They should say "Don't yield, back S.H.I.E.L.D." more on that show...

Since I'm old and senile, I thought Clay Quartermain there was going to be in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, possibly played by Robert Redford. No, Redford's playing Alexander Pierce, a relatively newer character from 1988's Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.

Pierce was the rookie character for most of the series, but was pretty well settled in by this, the second-to-last one: from 1993, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #46, "Revelations" Written by Gregory Wright, pencils by John Heebink, inks by Don Hudson. (We already saw the last issue a while back!)

Quartermain had been believed killed in the aforementioned Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D., but like many of those agents he had returned, albeit as a brainwashed tool of HYDRA. HYDRA was also believed to have been destroyed, but had returned bigger than ever, with the return of it's believed-dead leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. Wow, nobody stays dead in comics, huh?

Also this ish: Fury gets some info from Terror, Inc! HYDRA goes after Gideon and Crule (Krule?) of the Externals! A lot of HYDRA guys are mis-colored red for some reason? Maybe so they didn't blend with Romulus? Ah, this book was being cancelled, so who cares.
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Because Gotham needed another mysterious lady-thief...

Every so often, Batman writers want to create a new villain, rather than using the Penguin or Joker again. Sometimes it works, sometimes, eh. From 1983, Batman #363, "Elegant Night Crimes" Written by Doug Moench, art by Don Newton, inks by Alfredo Alcala.

Batman is being clowned by a burglar hitting high society types, even more so when the thief hits a party at Wayne Mansion! Which also ruins Bruce's game, as he hits on the new lady in town, the mysteriously pale Natasha Knight. As Lucius Fox explains to Bruce later, she had been in an laser accident at her observatory, that had caused her to lose her pigmentation. That aside, she's also a gold-digging nutbag, an orphan raised by a gangster and addicted to luxury.

Further complicating the issue, Nocturna isn't the thief: that's the gangster's son, who met her at the funeral, and conveniently had spent a good deal of time in the Orient learning pretty impressive combat and stealth techniques. In the dark, the Nightslayer (Or Night-Thief, Thief of Night, or Anton) is almost a match for Batman, who finally resorts to turning on the lights to beat his ass. Nocturna escapes, via a balloon she had at her observatory...

The villains aren't the scariest thing this issue; there's also the early look of Jason Todd, pre-Crisis. And I know Nocturna would adopt (officially or unofficially) Jason, and the Nightslayer would escalate from a thief into a psycho-killer (because that's what Batman villains do) but most of that would be wiped post-Crisis. There's just too much going on here: it's a good name and a good look, but tries too hard.

I know the most recent cartoon version, Beware the Batman wanted to use villains that hadn't been animated before, and went with Magpie, Anarky, and Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad. Nocturna has yet to get her time in the limelight, although there had been plans to use her as a vampire in Batman: the Animated Series, but they fell through. (Which seems a simpler and more elegant solution, if a bit pat.) And now she's set to turn up in the New 52 in Batwoman. I can't say there couldn't be a good story with Nocturna, but I'm not sure it's happened yet.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Taking the afternoon to finish Peter David's Star Trek: New Frontiers novel, Blind Man's Bluff. I had read the first few NF novels, but hadn't read any for some time, and there had been changes--far less static than the usual Star Trek novels or licensed fiction in general. Really enjoying it, so of course when I look it up, it might be David's last...

That's it for this week, so have a good one! I have some Star Trek stuff coming, that I'm really impatient for now...
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Today: some perfectly cromulent Punisher comics!

Spinrite has spun my computer rite, er, right; so why not get back on point with a pleasant little comic I paid $1.25 for in 1992 and a quarter for last week: the Punisher #67, "Swiss Timing (Eurohit part 4 of 7)" Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, pencils by Dougie Braithewaite, inks by Al Williamson.

After a Chuck Dixon fill-in, Abnett and Lanning were taking over the main Punisher book from Mike Baron, who had been writing it for five years or so. (I loved Baron's Punisher, although sometimes it seemed the issues were plotted by an elaborate plot wheel: "In...Brunswick...the Punisher kills...heroin smugglers...with...two lead pipes and ten feet of hose? OK, whatever.") And Braithewaite was a new and refreshingly solid artist: not overly flashy, but good, and apparently fast enough to cover the book while it was on sale twice a month. (Your guess is as good as mine how many Punisher comics Marvel would've been putting out a month in 1992; probably between four to six? With guest-spots to boot?)

This was the Punisher's European adventure, as the Kingpin plots to consolidate and then eliminate the major crime families in Europe, then take over. This was coupled with Wilson Fisk controlling interest in the burgeoning Eurotunnel project; but was also undermined by repeated editorial notices that these issues took place prior to Daredevil #300, where the Kingpin was exposed and brought down. (Although not put away, he would be off the board for some time.) Batroc makes a welcome appearance as a mercenary working for the Kingpin's mercenary, Snakebite.

Later in the same issue, Frank also gets kicked in the face by the Tarantula--the second one, not the one that ended up turned into a giant spider. He and Batroc kick it out a couple times over the course of the storyline, with Batroc seemingly outclassing his opponent, but forgetting an important detail.

I read these at the time, but they may have been close to the last regular Punisher books I read for some years, until Garth Ennis brought him back. I found three through seven of Eurohit in a quarter bin, only a pity the first two weren't handy as well.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I wanted to get across the notion that Deadpool had Amy put in a temporary bridge, just enough for them to fly the ship until they can get it refitted. But where would you go for that sort of thing? Where indeed...

Also, Nightcrawler's wearing the belt for a reason. A reason more than the need to accessorize in space, even.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Spinrite continues to spin away: I thought it would take about 50 more hours, yesterday; now I don't know. I may have to buy a new drive and put it in, by which I mean buy a new drive and have my girlfriend put it in. (I could do it, but I have to say she'd do a better job!)

Meanwhile, last week I found the new Transformers Kre-O blind-bagged Micro-Changers. Thanks to the decoder from, I was able to grab the two I wanted most straightaway--Rodimus and Cyclonus--then got Iceberg, Sandstorm, and Demolishor next. But I had really wanted Rodimus and Cyclonus, since they are onboard the Lost Light in Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. I had intended to play with them and do some robots being snarky homemade strips, but may have ported the plot ideas I wanted to use there, to the Deadpool/Nightcrawler space story. Oddly, I still want to write some Megatron strips, though.

Oh, and poor Iceberg isn't in the Autobot assortment above: he turns into a snowplow, and is the only one I've bothered to transform into a vehicle. Sadly, it rained pretty much all of last week, and the snow may be all but gone for this winter. (EDIT: I mean sadly for Iceberg, certainly not for me!)

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Recovery effort:

My computer's in the middle of a Spinrite Data recovery...and has been for some time now! I still have my laptop going, though; and the next week or two's worth of homemade strips is ready to go. Hope I didn't lose any...

Meanwhile, it's given me plenty of time to go through eBay: I have a new figure coming from overseas that I'm really looking forward to, that might be here in a couple weeks. And I'm looking for "set dressing" pieces for the Blame, but I've got the local Comicon in a couple months and might be able to get them there, as opposed to paying postage...well, we'll see. And I'm finally making my way to the end of Breaking Bad...
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Another random Fleetway/Quality reprint, but germane to the topic at hand.

These postings may give the impression that my comics collection is perhaps more of an accumulation of whatever issues are found by sheer chance, but here we are with Dare the Impossible #6, featuring "Mutiny!" Written by Jack Adrian (or Chris Lowder, per the description of the original, 1978's 2000 AD #76 or so) art by Dave Gibbons.

This time, in the "Lost Worlds" region of space, "veteran starfighter" Dan Dare is hip-deep in it: Dare's star fortress is being hit by "a meteor mega-storm!" Dare's best pilot...Pilot, could get the ship out of it, but he's dead. (Or believed dead...) Some of Dare's crew is mutinying, and a brain-damaged crewman turned homicidal maniac has busted out of cryosleep! Like the best of the British weekly strips, there's a ton going on, and Gibbon's art keeps it all clear.

I had this issue sitting in a pile, and went back to it when I read Comics Alliance's review of Mark Millar's Starlight. I don't usually have any patience left for Millar anymore, but Goran Parlov is a hell of an artist. Still, Dan Dare is mentioned in the review, since he's exactly the type of space adventure hero Starlight is riffing on; and Grant Morrison already did the revisionist version of Dare. Hell, I only have the first two issues of that one. Warren Ellis did a Flash Gordon/Dan Dare book too, Ignition City--that one's not bad, just a bit seedy. I'll keep an eye out, but the originals are more fun.

And with that, we're out for the week! Tomorrow's my first (non-weekend) day off for the year; and I'm more than ready for it. Have fun!
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Chain of Command."

I have another episode or two or this done now, but several weeks worth written! Why, I'm almost far enough ahead I could do a second draft! Whoo!

Actually, I have to do some set building, and get some aliens for later strips. I do have something in mind--a couple, actually--that I need from eBay, too. And I have what the Blame looks like in mind, but that's a ways off.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Seriously, I thought I was missing a #0 issue.

It's odd to pick up an old first issue, and find out you're coming in midstream. Like this issue! From 1995, Gene Roddenberry's Lost Universe #1, "O Brave New World" Written by Lawrence Watt-Evans, pencils by James Callahan, inks by Aaron McClellan; with a concept from Gene Roddenberry and additional characters and development from Majel Barrett Roddenberry. Bill Sienkiewicz did the cover, along with some for the rest of the series; and they're pretty much the selling point for them. (Seriously, his cover for #2 would probably sell some issues of any random book you chose to put it on!)

Regardless of the level of the Roddenberrys' involvement, this issue seems to be written like part of a TV pilot, albeit the first fifteen minutes or so: Dr. Alexander Grange, returning to his homeworld Malay after recovering from a coma, finds he may have been gone for much longer than he expected. And...that's about it. It's pretty sparse, all things considered. The ship, which I believe was called the Deliverance, isn't named here; nor is his companion Penaltra given any motivation--why she's there, why she brought Grange there, what she knows, nothing. I'm not sure either character would be around by issue #6 or so, so it may not matter; in hindsight, that's almost like an actor leaving a series...

Man, I must've been flush with cash in 1995 to keep dropping it on this series. I know I read Tekno Comix Mickey Spillane's Mike Danger as well, and that had better stories from Max Allan Collins and more consistent art from Eduardo Barreto, hence that series lasted a lot longer.
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