Friday, January 29, 2016

All the Deadly Venoms!

I didn't think I was going to get him right away, yet here we are. Finally, new Legends! Got Spider-Gwen, Speed Demon, Morbius, and Venom the other day. One of them I had a script waiting for already, which hopefully we'll see next week! Have a good weekend!
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Vader's motivation seems right, but I'm not sure about "Score one for justice."

So I was re-reading an old Star Wars comic, as you do, when it occurred to me that Darth Vader must be single-minded as all get out, or he would've had the Millennium Falcon shoved offa Cloud City after he captured them in Empire. 'Cause I'm pretty sure, even if he doesn't know who's flying it, he haaaaaates that ship. Vader must have been focused on getting Luke, or else he probably would've rage-hacked the Falcon into scrap himself.

Hmm. In-story, the Falcon has a pretty stock body, so I wonder how many innocent YT-1300's Vader had shot down...from 1979, Star Wars #23, "Flight into Fury!" Written and edited by Archie Goodwin, art by Carmine Infantino and Bob Wiacek. This issue, Luke and Leia escape from the gambling satellite the Wheel, but are happy to see Han faked his death a couple of issues back. Han does foreshadow the ship trouble that would lead to his next appearance, as well as to a running subplot in Marvel's adaptation, that he can not hang on to money for the life of him.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016


If I ever have the funds available for investing, I wonder if putting said cash into horror films might not be the way to go. They're usually lower-budget than other genres of film, not necessarily just in the pejorative sense, but less expensive to make; yet usually generate a return, since like Satana a lot of horror fans are up for whatever. And every so often one breaks unexpectedly big, like a Blair Witch or Paranormal Activity.

Anyway, this miWorld AMC set was on sale the other day at Target, and I couldn't resist. In the meantime, waiting for some other stuff to go to clearance, but I kind of hate this time of year: the new Marvel Legends haven't shown up locally yet, and the NY Toy Fair is still a couple weeks out. Well, as usual, we'll amuse ourselves somehow...

By the way, that's Agent Coulson working the register, and I think that's a Jennifer Garner Alias figure getting snacks: they were the handiest "civilian" figures at the time. That Alias fig did not want to stand, though.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

This month, Thor once again pitches his A-game...

...and it's really not the time, Thor. From 1982, Marvel Team-Up #116, "Between Sword and Hammer!" Written by J. M. Dematteis, pencils by Herb Trimpe, inks by Mike Esposito. Reprinted in Marvel Adventures: Thor/Spider-Man.

The cover and accompanying blurb "Have Sword...Will Travel!" makes it seem like this issue is going to be a light-hearted one, but it's a little heavier than that. Valkyrie wonders about her place in that world, and if she would ever find that special someone; before she gets possessed by the spirits of a murderous alien couple, from the previous issue. (An aside: I think this happened a lot about this time, where the writers needed an alien for an issue's bad guy, but wanted them to have more motivation than the usual none. The writer would then overcompensate, by giving them entirely too much back story for a single comic. We saw the same thing back in an old issue of World's Finest, where the aliens are straight-up out of Les Miserables, to fight Green Arrow and Hawkman.)

Meanwhile, Spidey is being his usual mopey self--actually, the level of his self-loathing seems a bit high today, as he wonders if he'll be "exposed as an academic fraud" when he has trouble finishing a term paper. He takes a break to go for a swing, and sees Valkyrie: while not knowing her well, he thought she was okay, which is why he's a little surprised when she attacks. Realizing pretty quickly that she was possessed by her sword, Dragonfang, Spidey makes for Dr. Strange's place, where the doctor is of course out. Meanwhile, since a woman on a winged horse chasing Spider-Man through New York City makes pretty good TV, Dr. Donald Blake sees the televised action, and is struck by feels, since he and Val used to be a thing. Not really, but sort of: they had shared a mortal incarnation together, centuries ago, as Siegfried and Brunnhilda. They died, and their memories of that life were taken by Odin: this was all around Thor #296-300, in a pretty weird adaptation of the opera Gotterdammerung by Richard Wagner. OK, maybe not the weirdest adaptation of it, but still.

Thor actually gives Spidey a thump for attacking Val, but she turns on him as well. Dragonfang was actually what the aliens possessed, not Val; so when Spidey gets the sword away from her she returns to normal. Giving Thor time to realize, man, Valkyrie's kinda got it going on. Val realizes her life was too confusing by itself right then, or maybe Thor was coming on a bit strong; but Thor does get his head in the game long enough to smash Dragonfang and send the aliens' spirits to another dimension. (Possibly the same one he dumps everything else.) Thor and Val head off to get Dragonfang reforged, and Spidey wonders how NYC is going to blame him for this one.

Well, you probably have "Spear and Magic Helmet" stuck in your head now too, so my job is done...

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Monday, January 25, 2016

They're supposed to be lovable rogues, but up against my guys! Screw them!

Gee, looks like I only read the second half of this crossover, and completely bailed on the issue in the book I wasn't reading at the time. Well, now we have it, meaning the second part will turn up the first of never, unless I cave and just buy it again. From 2011, Secret Six #30, "Suicide Roulette, part one: Like a Star on the Horizon" Written by Gail Simone, art by Jim Calafiore.

Even though the Secret Six were ostensibly villains, hey, this was their book, so they were usually the heroes in their story. And they usually come off pretty well, as when Bane, struggling to ask out a girl, punches a guy inappropriately groping her; and compared to the bad guy of this story, a young slacker named Eric who's given his grandfather's will and discovers grandpa was a super-villain, a founder of the crime organization the 100. Eric quickly takes to his grandpa's legacy, becoming a murderous, sexist thug in short order; starting with hiring the Secret Six to take Oolong Island! Because he wants a volcano base, apparently; even though the island's full of genetic monstrosities, mad scientists, and oh yeah, the Doom Patrol!

Simone doesn't quite nail the Patrol's voice, for me anyway, but pretty close. Actually, even though the Six are unfriendly and dangerous, the Doom Patrol seem mostly confused about what's going on: King Shark bites off Elasti-Woman's leg! Which doesn't really seem to hurt, but still. But it's alluded that the Six and the Patrol had a run-in before, or at least some of them, like Robotman and Catman. And Black Alice badmouths Elasti-Woman's movies--oh, hell no! I want to see the Six beat down, but unfortunately Eric has the volcano blown as the issue ends!

Crud, now I'm not even positive I have the next chapter! Man, even though Simone rebuilt Catman from the ground up, I still wanna see Robotman feed him his teeth!
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Friday, January 22, 2016

Like Sixpack, I may have been a trifle deluded...

I could've sworn I was a week ahead here. Yeah, maybe, a week ago.

From 1997, Hitman #10, "Local Heroes, part two" Written by Garth Ennis, art by John McCrea. This was the storyline where then-current Green Lantern Kyle Rayner shows up, and is not portrayed especially flatteringly. Kind of wish it had been Hal, since Tommy (and Ennis)would've loved taking him down a peg...which Ennis would, in All-Star Section 8!
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Is it really a Suicide Squad without Boomerang? Or Deadshot? At least they have a Firestorm villain...

From 1998, Chase #2, "Letdowns" Plot and script by D. Curtis Johnson, pencils and plot by J. H. Williams III, inks by Mick Gray. The titular agent Cameron Chase is the one looking unthrilled to be there. She was an up-and-comer in the Department of Extranormal Operations, with an as-yet unknown superpower. Her early successes have put her on the radar of Amanda Waller, who gives her a new assignment: take the Suicide Squad to Peru to destroy the artificial intelligence (and occasional JLA villain) the Construct.

Bolt, Copperhead, or Sledge were never core members of the Squad; but Killer Frost would turn up on the team a few times. She would appear in the animated movie Batman: Assault on Arkham with the Squad as well.

I think this may have been reprinted in the DC Comics Presents collection for this series, and I have to dig it up to see what happened the next issue.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"Turkey Shoot."

Possibly the last strip with blood...for now.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Admittedly, it's more ink than I have.

If you ever read the book Red Dragon, or saw the movie Manhunter; the killer has a giant tattoo on his back, of the dragon he thinks he's becoming. Those are set in the 80's, when that tattoo would've been a lot of work and super-expensive and quite rare. When it was remade in 2002 as Red Dragon, that tattoo would've been old hat and about as remarkable as any other bro's. Which is kinda what I feel is happening in today's book! From 1993, the Original Ghost Rider #10, reprinting "The Son of Satan!" from 1973's Marvel Spotlight #12, written by Gary Friedrich, pencils by Herb Trimpe, inks by Frank Chiaramonte.

The cover makes it look like "The Original Hellstorm," and I was scratching my head trying to figure out how this reprint title could get ten issues out of Son of Satan: duhr, 'cause the previous nine issues were Ghost Rider reprints! The series would run a full twenty issues, with Phantom Rider backups written by a young Dan Slott! I had thought this was Daimon Hellstrom's first appearance, or maybe his first appearance as the full-on Son of Satan, but he'd had a few by here.

It may be difficult to believe today, but I think that was a considerable amount of ink back in the day. Daimon fights a biker gang that seemed shocked by his "tattoo" or brand or whatever, like he had more ink than the entire gang. (The gang also seems to have one guy with a gun; if this had been even a decade later everyone would've been armed to the teeth!) He also faces off again Big Daddy Satan, who may or may not be capital-S Satan depending when you ask, and badmouths his dad's flagging virility. Maybe he has low-T, it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Kind of a busy issue, although I think that's how those titles were back then: Satan sets off a volcano in Arizona, Jesus shows up in Ghost Rider, all in an afternoon's work.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Sales were around the 100,000 mark; better get a Venom appearance in there quick!

Over two years ago, we took a look at an appearance by Venom that may have been intended to limit his exposure, so today we've got one that came almost two years later, and may have been the start of a ton of appearances for him: from 1992, Darkhawk #13, "Heart of the Hawk, part IV: Journey" Written by Danny Fingeroth, pencils by Mike Manley, inks by Ricardo Villagran.

That's actually not a bad recap page, for a monthly book: it would be a touch redundant collected in a trade, but the creators almost assuredly weren't planning ahead for that.

Rookie hero Chris Powell isn't having a good day as Darkhawk, since he's had the amulet that gave him his powers ripped out of his chest by Tombstone. (Tombstone had been introduced in 1988, and was still a relatively new villain.) But that's not even the worst of his problems, since he still had the mystery of the armored Savage Steel, and mob boss Philippe Bazin was still trying to have Chris's mom killed, revenge over her successfully prosecuting his murder trial. Chris's dad had been kidnapped in Bazin's escape from prison, which was his priority, if he could keep from dying. After a visit to try and get information about the Darkhawk armor at the amusement park where he found the amulet, Chris works over a snitch, to find Bazin was having some of his things sent to an island in the Caribbean. Stowing away aboard the cargo plane, Darkhawk is discovered when Bazin's men get a message they had not picked up a favorite statue of their bosses. Which is just as well, since the plane crashes during the fight.

Bazin's men are "charred remains" by the time Darkhawk lurches out of the wreckage, where he's immediately attacked by Venom! Darkhawk recognizes him from the papers, but has no idea what he's doing there, and Venom's speech patterns don't help either: Venom says Darkhawk must die to protect "our" privacy, meaning Eddie Brock and the symbiote, but Darkhawk wonders if Venom is working for Bazin or something. He does have the good sense not to correct Venom about killing Spider-Man, though; as Darkhawk steels himself to go out fighting and take Venom with him!

Owtch! I kinda like that one.

I didn't read this title at the time, and some of it is completely boiler-plate Marvel standard: Darkhawk, Nova, Speedball, Sleepwalker, probably all the way to the new Ms. Marvel; all take a lot from classic Spider-Man comics. But it's a perfectly fine, mid-level title that you don't see anymore. It would run for fifty issues, you don't see that anymore, either. Checking this issue's U.S. Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation; line C. Total Paid and/or requested Circulation...Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 98,611. Average no copies single issue nearest to filing date: 185,500. Woof, you don't see that enough anymore, either. Going off Comichron's November 2015 numbers, 98 thousand in sales would be the number 14 title; just behind Batman!
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Friday, January 15, 2016

He's the New God of...getting killed off, maybe.

The trouble with being a lower-tier character on a lower-tier team is that you're the first one to be killed off for shock value. And worse, your death may be completely forgotten--not in the sense your sacrifice won't be remembered, but that everyone forgets you died and you show up again! From 1977, New Gods #15, "The Apocalypse Child" Written by Gerry Conway, art by Rich Buckler, inks by Bob McLeod.

In this series, Orion and some of the other New Gods were trying to defend the humans who had the Anti-Life Equation locked in their minds, from falling into the hands of Darkseid. Orion disguises himself as a security agent to stay close to paranoid General Torch; while cheery Lightray watches Richard Roe, paranoid junkie. It actually does make sense for Torch and Roe to be paranoid, since they were being watched, and Lightray may be working on Roe's girlfriend; but neither man comes across well. (Possibly the Equation's influence?) Elsewhere, lone wolf Lonar watches an Eskimo family openly, having befriended them, and they warn him of the sudden arrival of a boy seemingly escaped from Granny Goodness's orphanage on Apokolips! Lonar knows this can't be coincidence, but as the Eskimos care for the boy, he's uncertain what to do. (The somewhat turgid narration refers to Lonar as "paralyzed by his own misanthropy." I don't know if I'd usually think of misanthropy as a paralyzing condition...well, you know, just maybe.)

Lonar calls Lightray for advice, who decides the boy, Lucifar, should be taken to New Genesis. The Eskimo family doesn't want to leave the boy, so come as well, but are completely unprepared for the spectacle of the New Gods' home. Their leader, Highfather, questions Lucifar, and they realize he was sent to earth in "exchange" for an earth boy captured by Darkseid: a mockery of the pact that exchanged Orion and Mister Miracle. Still, they don't have much time to think about it, as New Genesis is attacked by Parademons! (They look a little generic and un-Kirby like here.) They are a distraction, though; as Darkseid uses the opportunity to extract the Equation from the Eskimo man, apparently killing him. An enraged Lonar tries to kill Darkseid, and is himself slain instead.

Furious, Orion is on the verge of murdering Lucifar, but Highfather points out the boy wasn't any more responsible for what happened than Orion had been in the pact. Still, while Lonar was killed here, I know he was back in 1986's Warlord Annual #6! And maybe even in Kirby's 1983 graphic novel the Hunger Dogs. Then Lonar would be (presumably) killed again in Jim Starlin's Death of the New Gods. He would appear in the New 52's Threshold, but would probably be overshadowed by the gritty Captain Carrot reboot.

Orion and Lightray were often a team, but rest of the New Gods watching the human's with the Anti-Life Equation besides Lonar, were Forager, Metron, and Jezebelle. It's odd to see Metron as a team player, but I hadn't seen Jezebelle before this issue--although, from her entry there, it appears like Lonar she's been killed off and returned by accident as well! Still, Orion's new costume, Lonar's death, Jezebelle...I'm not sure what, if anything, from this series was referenced the next time the New Gods appeared.
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Thursday, January 14, 2016

How can you ignore someone who gave you a sombrero and sweet mustache?

Years before R'as al Ghul tried it in JLA, Mr. Mxyzptlk tries taking away language--not just from the citizens of Metropolis, but himself as well! From 1975, Superman #290, "Babble, Babble, Toil and Trouble!" Story by Elliot S! Maggin, art by Curt Swan and Tex Blaisdell.

Invisibly eavesdropping on a Sunday school class, Mxyzptlk gets an idea from the bible: confusing the languages of everyone. (I wonder if anyone was offended that Mxy is cribbing from God here...) Superman, of course, understands all of earth's languages; but Mxy's magic changes them every few seconds, so he can't even say his own name, let alone backwards. Supes has to take a second to stop an armed robbery, where the language barrier had proven to be a problem, but notices now Mxyzptlk is costuming the people based on their languages! Or broad stereotypes thereof. Fed-up, Superman elects to simply ignore Mxy, but then passersby start greeting Mxy by random names, which frustrates him to the point he can't even remember his own name! Supes asks if Mxy dropped this business card, and reading his name backwards, he's back to the fifth dimension in record time.

Well, at least the production values were better than when R'as would try it. Costumes can go a long way.

I would love to see this mentioned in passing on Supergirl, like a radio announcement: "Traffic is backed up eastbound into Metropolis; looks like Mr. Mxyzptlk has animated all the billboards down there, and they're causing a ruckus." "Has it been 90 days already?" "Guess so." Read more!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


For some reason, the yellow fill fell apart on a couple of Pool's word balloons. Not sure why.

The blood is from a spray bottle of black zombie blood--red might have worked better in some situations, but I'm not making a 70's vampire movie. And I know the Wife is going to be upset that Stripe got got, but he was a very bad Gremlin even before or without turning into a green monster.
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