Friday, January 30, 2015

That's known as "burying the lede," Canary.

We mentioned this one yesterday, but here goes: making an exhibition at a track meet in Star City, Black Canary saves a pole vaulter from a sabotaged pole, but the spotter who cut said pole is killed by an arrow to the back. An arrow with multicolored fletching, that emitted a bright flash of color when it hit. Canary asks Green Arrow who could've made a shot like that, and Ollie starts by denying it was him. Well, yeah, Ollie.

Ollie then runs down a couple of other archers who maybe could've done it, in terms of pure archery--Speedy, the late Blue Bowman--before the rainbow flash comes up again. Oh, yeah: maybe the Rainbow Archer, then.

Man, those Robin-booties are not helping. Looking him up, he was a former counterfeiter who turned to archery to try and get revenge on Green Arrow; and now he's color-coordinating his murder weapons. That seems like a bad idea from a legal standpoint...From World's Finest #244, "Rainbows of Doom" Written by Jack C. Harris, art by Mike Nasser and Terry Austin.
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

80-Page Thursdays: World's Finest #244!

From 1977, World's Finest #244, featuring stories by Bob Haney, Dennis O'Neil, Tony Isabella, Jack C. Harris, and more; with art by Mike Nasser, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, John Calnan, and more. With a Neal Adams cover!

The cover is suitably dramatic, although it leads into a typically oddball Haney story: three mobsters across the county are murdered, by bullets that came out of nowhere, one of which went through the mobster's dog without hurting it! Working the case, Batman and Superman check out surveillance film of the mobsters, looking for someone tailing them, and find...Superman? Supes denies having been anywhere near the mobsters, but he could've done it...when word is leaked that Supes is under suspicion, Commissioner Gordon has no choice but to put Supes "in honor custody until Batman can clear you!" Batman works the case for 24 hours, but gets nowhere; so he decides to take a break and put in an hour at Wayne Enterprises. Ooh, a whole hour!

Wayne sees L.C. Barton of Red Star Ventures, who needs a certain alloy for construction of a giant solar power grid in Arizona. Needing the alloy in two days, Barton dumps a suitcase full of money on Wayne's desk to have the alloy shipped by air. Superman then arrives, having left a robot to cover for him in jail, and points out some clues "the world's greatest detective" may have missed: Barton's pulse was very slow, 20 beats per minute, and synced with his watch. The cash he paid with was from 1974, yet felt unusually old. And Barton passes out in the street, but then recovers quickly when Superman replaces the watch. Batman sneaks into the trunk of Barton's limo, and Superman follows invisibly at super-speed, as the limo drives into another dimension, to arrive in Arizona under an hour from Gotham City! (This would mean more if we knew how far away Gotham was from Arizona...)

Supes and Bats check out Barton's set-up, before he confronts them, revealing his real name as "Robespierre 2," and that he knows their secret identities, since he's from the future. Robespierre used the model of his solar station to test his invisible death ray on the mobsters, healing the dog since he loved animals. But the model was just a test, since he was going to use the completed station to kill everyone on earth. From a future filled with war and death, the scientists of the orbital settlement he was raised on sent Robespierre back in time to destroy humanity, a preemptive mercy killing. Framing Superman and getting Bruce Wayne to supply a needed component were just to keep the heroes occupied--wow, that seems convoluted, even for a Haney story! Superman tries to explain that merely by coming back in time, he's changed his future; but Robespierre doesn't buy it, and zaps Supes with red sun energy, then sets his hired hands on Batman. (They're just workers hired for construction, and Robespierre tells them Bats is an industrial spy in disguise; which is such a dumb excuse Batman may be holding back out of pity.)

Recovering, Superman uses a quartz asteroid to block red sun energy from the star Betelgeuse--reasoning the converter must've been getting red sun power to affect him--and stops Robespierre's weapon from getting enough power to destroy humanity. (Or do anything, it didn't even blow up Arizona.) Robespierre is then zapped back to his time, which may or may not even happen now; but again, DC seemed to assume there would be a nuclear war or biological disaster or some other terrible thing between the present and the pretty utopian future of the Legion of Super-Heroes...

Also this issue: Black Canary versus the Rainbow Archer! (Hey, no laughing! Actually, we're going to come back to that one tomorrow, since it features one of the dumbest exchanges I've ever seen in comics.) Green Arrow versus Slingshot! And Vigilante and Wonder Woman stories, both involving a crap-ton of dynamite.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015


As per usual, our heroes have made absolutely no forward progress. This is somewhat intentional, since there are tons of games where you have to keep going back to a central location like the Meegan station.

And the sickbay is a pretty traditional set in sci-fi TV; unfortunately here it's one Deadpool has devoted absolutely no thought to.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ten million in 1974 dollars, roughly like demanding the entire state of Wisconsin...

Is there anything better than finding an old comic from your childhood? How about a dollar-bin copy! From 1974, Action Comics #442, "The Midnight Murder Show!" 'Teleplay' by Cary Bates, 'art design' by Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger, 'directed' by Julius Schwartz.

Thirty million people tune in every night for the Midnight Show, hosted by Johnny Carson, Johnny Nevada. Except tonight's show has a special guest host, Steve Lombard. His guests assume Nevada is merely on vacation again, but Clark Kent knows better: Nevada has been kidnapped by gangster Touch McCoy! Superman heard the gunshot fired as a warning, but only caught McCoy's men. Now, Lombard hosts the show live as part of McCoy's ransom demands, airing a specified cereal commercial at 12:31 AM to show that the network, GBS, would pay the ransom. McCoy has no intention of letting Nevada live, and Superman is stymied with false leads and red herrings.

Lombard bumps Clark Kent as a guest, when a better one arrives: Superman himself! Who's there to reveal his secret identity, live on the air...Johnny Nevada? Actually, Nevada explains, at Superman's behest, he traded identities with the Man of Steel for a day; meaning McCoy's 'victim' is really Superman! An elaborate ruse, that McCoy doesn't buy, and he shoots Nevada--which was precisely Superman's plan, as he used his super-hearing to find them! And of course, Superman is faster than a speeding bullet!

Meanwhile, back on the Midnight Show, Superman has just disappeared...and so has Clark Kent, leaving Lombard scrambling to fill eight minutes of air-time.

It may have been almost forty years since I've read this issue, so I was thrilled to find it.
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Monday, January 26, 2015

I'd been holding out on them for a while, but I got the Marvel Legends Winter Soldier and the Captain America in the darker, movie suit; for half-off at a calendar place. Mostly, they're here to complete the Mandroid! And I managed to use all the parts I had from the Winter Soldier figures, since I had extra arms from buying Zemo, Red Skull, the Hydra Soldier and A.I.M. Soldier.

The Iron Monger and Mandroid actually do have a lot of reuse, which reminded me of DCUC's reused robots, S.T.R.I.P.E. and Stel.

The DCUC guys are good-sized, but I'm not sure we'll see Build-a-Figures any bigger than the Mandroid any time soon. And only took me a year and a month to complete him!
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Friday, January 23, 2015

At a calendar place in the local mall, I got the recent DC Collectibles New 52 Superman, for half-off. Not a bad deal, but DCC would make leaps and bounds in the articulation department in the years since this figure. Still, it's an excuse for a bit of fun with the DCUC New 52 Batman, Kandor, and this Kryptonite from a little book.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

80-Page Thursdays: The Unexpected #1!

This tag probably won't be back full-time, but we have our first 80-pager for 2015!...and it's from 2011. The Unexpected #1, with stories and art from Dave Gibbons, G. Willow Wilson, Jill Thompson, Farel Dalrymple, Brian Wood, David Lapham, and more.

Like the Ghosts and Strange Adventures ones we checked out before, The Unexpected was an 80-page anthology book for $7.99 cover; which seems like a tough row to hoe in the current comic market. It would sell (per the Beat) 10,416 copies, of which I just bought two! And I thought Unexpected was the strongest so far.

Dave Gibbons opens with "The Great Karlini," a tale of an escape artist, who might not be able to escape his nature...or a father-in-law's promise. Next, G.Willow Wilson's "Dogs" has the titular animals getting sick and tired of bad people, and maybe thinking they could do better. (I'm 90% sure my dog wouldn't have replaced me. Might've hogged the remote, at most.)

Alex Grecian and Jill Thompson bring a different zombie story, "Look Alive," and that one's a lot of fun. Next is Joshua Dysart and Farel Dalrymple's "The Land," featuring monsters both figurative and literal from both north and south of the border; then "A Most Delicate Monster" from Jeffrey Rotter and Lelio Bonaccorso, in which a scientist studying a cloned Neanderthal learns much but not enough.

"Family First" has a brother and sister fighting for survival--and fighting dirty--and "Alone" is a cautionary tale about always clearing your history modern ghost story. Brian Wood's "Americana" follows a woman trying to save her family from America's collapse, and the issue closes with "Blink," a preview tale for the short lived Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child series. This issue trails off a bit at the end, but altogether a stronger-than-usual anthology.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I know I've seen Inception, but I don't recollect it especially well. Although I do keep a Spider-Man top at my desk at work, to spin to make sure I'm not in some hellish nightmare from which there is no awakening; but we're getting off-topic. Hans Zimmer allegedly hates the overuse of that "BRRRRAAAAM!" sound that is in or approximated in a lot of trailers:

It sounds like they're trying, really, really hard, to find that brown note. And would blowing out your own eardrums like Deadpool protect you from a sonic blast like that? Probably not, but Pool's healing factor might've kept him upright anyway.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Often in comics, a super-villain will have a gimmick that, if not used for robbing banks or hassling the super-hero, could be worth millions of dollars in and of itself, and possibly even change the course of human development. Cold rays, transporters, weather controllers; often the refrain is, why doesn't the villain just sell his invention and cash in? Possibly because whoever might buy the invention, might be just as big a jerk! From 1985, Blue Devil #9, "Shoe, Fly--Don't Bother Me!" Written by Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin, art by Ernie Colon and Gary Martin.

The super-villain Bolt has been after the Flash rogue Trickster for a couple of issues now, with Blue Devil and his girlfriend Sharon trying to keep the Trickster from causing more trouble, getting murdered, or robbing a bank in mid-air. After Bolt forces their car off a cliff, the Trickster saves them, but seems overly concerned about the loss of one of his air-walker shoes; which Bolt has recovered for the scientists that hired him. Trickster admits those scientists had hired him as well, since they wanted to use his anti-gravity tech to levitate the entire state of California! (EDIT: I can't believe I forgot to make a "California Uber Alles" joke!)

The scientists' scheme isn't all that well thought out, and they had blown through all their cash on the tech and hiring Bolt--they didn't have any other staff, and their other goons were hired through the Monitor of Crisis on Infinite Earths fame! But they did build a giant replica of Trickster's shoe, and faced with Blue Devil, Trickster, and Bolt, they decide to try and lift the Santa Veronica peninsula. The duplicate-shoe has enough power to initially lift the ground, but it settles back down almost immediately, while some smaller items like the heroes continue rising. And Trickster points out, they only copied one shoe--for ascension, not the other one controlling descent! (So, one of Trickster's shoes went up, the other down; your guess is as good as mine as to if this ever came up before or since.)

Bolt seems halfway reasonable here, although he seems to have the same southern accent the X-Men's Rogue had at the time; and he alludes to knowing Blue Devil's civilian identity of Dan Cassidy by reputation. But I'm pretty sure he would be portrayed as a pretty standard villain-for-hire type later...even though he probably could've cashed in on his electrical and teleportation powers. And I want to say he was killed off in some, apparently, Bolt was killed in Teen Titans, which strikes me as worse.
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Monday, January 19, 2015

A Zoltar robot does seem pretty standard, mind you...

As a kid, I loved the redubbed anime import Battle of the Planets. I remember making my own little wrist communicator like G-Force, from paper and a rubber band: I wanted toys from that show in the worst way, but had to settle for a somewhat subpar comic. From 1979, Battle of the Planets #4, "The Creeping Forest" Written by Gary Poole, pencils by Winslow Mortimer.

I only had two issues of this back in the day, and wasn't sure there were more until I found a couple in the dollar bin at the Comic Book Shop. Not unlike some of Gold Key's Star Trek comics, these seem to have been produced with only a passing glance at any sort of reference material. On the other hand, I know I read the 2002 Image version as well, but I'm not sure I remember anything about it except it may have ended on a cliffhanger. Well, it's been due for a re-read, the next time I see it...
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Two down, sixty-six to go!

Ah, the GCD is going to have to clear some space for this one: Per Bleeding Cool there are sixty-eight variant covers for Marvel's new Star Wars #1. (You can also check thirty at Blastr.) That's so many variants, you might think the plain cover is going to be the rare one...

Oddly, while I counted three (plus variants of the variants, like sketch versions) with Boba Fett in various homages to classic Marvel covers, I didn't see a Deadpool one. That probably would've bumped that number up a few. But, I picked up the plain version, and won a variant at Hastings! Good news, the actual issue is pretty swell too, so I figure I'm probably on for the first arc at least.
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

I'm enjoying the show more than this series; but that could just be me.

As usual, when the Comic Book Shop puts a whole series in the dollar bin, I'm pretty much obliged to pick it up. Like today's book! Hellblazer Special: Bad Blood, written by Jamie Delano, art by Phillip Bond. It took me a bit to find any bits I could scan without swears...

Set in 2025, John Constantine is still alive, and gets involved in a royal scandal...that doesn't do much for me, since even though I enjoy the hell out of the usual British pop culture nonsense like Dr. Who, Judge Dredd, and Monty Python, I have barely a nodding acquaintance with the politics of Britain and their royal family. Some the monarchy, some don't? Ah, I don't know. And so I can't tell how much of this is supposed to be jokes, and how much is supposed to be pointed commentary. (Like how quickly monarchists would turn if their heir apparent wasn't lily white...) So this wasn't my cup of tea, as it were, but hey! Phillip Bond art! Always worth flipping through.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I hope it didn't influence me, since I did write this after reading a couple of Marvel's Axis crossover books, where Nightcrawler is "flipped" to evil, after being caught in whatever the hell was going on in the main book; I just read Axis: Revolutions #2 and Amazing X-Men #14. Nightcrawler throws down with Sabretooth and Mystique, but as is often the case, evil does not equal efficient: Kurt doesn't teleport their heads off three panels into the story. Both Sabretooth and Mystique are "flipped" as well: now good, they try to keep Kurt from murdering anyone, without hurting him.

Anyway, we're going with a different genre cliche reason for Kurt going evil, tying into to all the space crap Kurt and Pool have had to deal with so far! But we'll get to that next week maybe.
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