Thursday, May 31, 2018

Spring for the collection, or keep running down the singles...tough call.

A $75 price tag is a bit steep, especially since I already have Druid, but Warren Ellis's Hellstorm is being collected. I already have some of it, but not all. Like the second-to-last issue here! From Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #20, "Femme Fatale" Written by Warren Ellis, art by Leonardo Manco; and "Fur Bible" Written by Ellis, art by Martin Chaplin.

This reminded me of British comics, in that the lead feature was a mere 18 pages, even though the letters page obliquely hints the next issue was the last. And nothing seems to be headed for a wrap-up here: Satana puts insane detective Gunyon under her power, then sets him on a mission of "mass murder." In San Francisco, Daimon's girlfriend and partner Jaine Cutter is attacked by Gabriel Rosetti, who steals her Breathing Gun, a weapon designed to murder the supernatural. And in Normandy, a journalist interviews an aristocratic writer of coffee-table magic books, who tells a surprising story of LaVoisin, her possible ancestor, inspiration for her pen name, and witch. And the story closes with the writer sending a message to Daimon: she was going to have a boy...

Also this issue: ads for Stridex, X-Men 10-inch figures, and hockey, basketball, and football cards! All of which are jarringly out of place in this book.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2018


I get off so easy this time, in terms of filling those balloons; but I totally pay for it next time...

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

It's like Pixar's Up, except set during No Man's Land!

Gotham was recently renewed for a fifth and final season; and the season finale is setting up No Man's Land, since the show's goal seems to have been to burn through as many Batman plotlines as they possibly can before Bruce Wayne even puts on the cowl. But I picked this issue out of the quarter bin based on the artist, not the event: from 1999, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #86, "Home Sweet Home" Written by Lisa Klink, art by Guy Davis.

Even though large chunks of the city have been wrecked by the Bat-quake and the ongoing turf wars, a pleasant little house still stands; home of Sergeant William S. Riley, known to the neighborhood as Sarge. After the war, he had built that house and lived there with his wife for many years, and although they had never been able to have children of their own, they befriended local kids and had a good life. Now alone, Sarge wasn't about to give up his home, even when confronted by Zsasz.

While Sarge is forced to give 'tribute' to Zsasz, he's not dumb enough to have all his stuff out in the open, and had stockpiled enough in his bomb shelter to still help out his neighbors. Still, the area changes hands several times just over the course of this issue, with the Joker ultimately taking charge, "elected mayor of this little community, by a majority of one."

This wasn't the first bad bit of business Sarge had seen, and it's implied it probably won't be the last; but at least he'll be there to face it, at home. I have to wonder if that house is still there now...Also, the GCD entry makes a point of it: Batman doesn't appear this issue. Batgirl (Cassandra) makes a brief appearance defending the neighborhood, but that's about it.
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Monday, May 28, 2018

Maybe a bounty-hunter named 'Bounty' gets more search results...

Another annual from Chris Claremont: from 2000, Peter Parker, Spider-Man 2000, "No Sleep 'til Brooklyn!" Plot by Chris Claremont, script by Bill Rosemann, pencils by Joe Bennett, inks by Mark Pennington.

Pete's having a fun night, covering as bartender for his roommate; but worries he may have overserved the somewhat aggressive seven-foot-tall brunette at the end of the bar. Trying to cut her off may have been a worse idea, as she throws Pete across the building. He recognizes her as Bounty, who had recently tangled with the Fantastic Four: I know I've read those issues but have no recollection of her at all. I had the impression that she wasn't from earth, but she may have just been well-travelled. (She does refer to earth booze as weak, but doesn't seem as out of place as the average alien visitor.) She was a bounty hunter, so I don't know if that name really works: it's like if your barber's name was 'Hair.' And like Tigra and Thundra before her, she was smitten with the Thing, but got shot down since his on-again-off-again (to the nth power...) relationship with Alicia Masters was on again.

After the requisite scuffle, Bounty is mildly annoyed with Pete's hopping about, and calls him "Rabbit," but is grateful for the sport and the care. If the rest of the issue had been them hanging out and commiserating over love problems (for instance, I don't think Mary Jane is mentioned this issue...) that would've been more than fine, but then the plot kicks in: a Romeo & Juliet riff with lovers from rival gangs. One gang's a generic Triad rip-off, the other is the Bacchae, an all-girl gang in silver armor with a possible connection to Greek mythology. They're terrible, yet I think I have every single one of their maybe three appearances; and they're basically girl versions of the thugs you beat up on maybe the first level of any fighting game. I'm lying, they're not even that interesting. But the role they play in the plot, the Bacchae don't really have to be; but trying to make them less generic only makes them distracting.

Also this issue: a Black Cat story, "From the Rich to the Poor" Written by Gregory Wright, pencils by Joe Bennett, inks by Mark Pennington. Spidey thinks the Cat is going back to her old stealing ways, but she's Robin Hood-ing a thug, which leads to a fight with Hydro-Man. Cat's having fun, and has a couple decent lines here.
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Friday, May 25, 2018

Chris Claremont wrote two of the annuals I love more than anything, and that probably cemented my lifelong love of comics: Star Wars Annual #1 and X-Men Annual #6. He also wrote today's annual, from 2001, Iron Man 2001, "Hunted" Written by Chris Claremont, pencils by Michael Ryan, inks by Sean Parsons, letters by David Sharpe. I make it a point to mention the letterer on a Claremont book, since they've got their work cut out for them...

This issue, Tony Stark is a fugitive in the People's Republic of Sarawak; which is at least the third nation Claremont has created in the Marvel Universe! It's more developed and cleaner than Madjipoor, and techie without the mutant-hating angle of Genosha. The government is making a big grab for the Iron Man armor, hitting Tony with an EMP and a tapeworm virus, leaving him no choice but to bail out: the armor would hide and shut down until he could get it later. His identity was a secret (again) at this time, and the government didn't care about who was in the suit; but Tony was pretty much on his own, and manages to make it about twenty feet before he stops to help a kid being hassled by a gang. The kid looks about 8, the gang members about 13; Tony is getting his ass kicked until the kid's mom shows up, and she looks like she's 23.

When the cops show up, Tony covers long enough for the mom and kid to get away, and gets arrested. The kid also stole (or found and picked up) Tony's wallet, so Tony gets put into the system and is probably looking at getting disappeared when the mom bails him out. Now, the mom is a very, very Claremont woman: super-badass-competent. She knows kung-fu, she's a single mom, she's tech-savvy on the same level as Tony, honorable and noble and a bona-fide genius. Of course she's never going to be seen again.

Also this issue: "Black and White" Written by Frank Tieri, art by Craig Wilson. I'm pretty sure Tieri was the regular book's writer at the time, and this featured Tony's old friend-turned bitter enemy Tiberius Stone and on-and-off again girlfriend Rumiko Fujikawa. Stone tries to convince Tony he's still in the virtual reality "Dreamvision," but Rumiko reveals it's really Stone that's trapped inside it, unable to completely disconnect himself from it. Tony would've maybe helped Stone if he had just asked, but when Rumiko asks him to do it, he remembers she cheated on him, and they can both go to hell. Rumiko isn't real pleased with herself, either: she had wanted to hurt Tony, and made a bad decision., she did not fare well during some of this run: she was introduced by Kurt Busiek early on after Heroes Reborn, but would be killed off before this series ended with Disassembled. I'm like 40% sure I was still reading up to then...
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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Every year I think I've miscounted this.

I've checked four times, and it's still the twelfth anniversary of this blog! I keep thinking it's more or less than that. I don't really have anything prepared for the occasion; since I've got another of my craft projects lined up for the weekend.

Still, we're not even halfway through the year and we've got 31 Marvel Legends so far! And that's after avoiding a couple. But we've completed three Build-a-Figures already: Okoye, Sasquatch, and Cull Obsidian. The Cull wave was at Wal-Mart last week, and I splurged on all six at once. I liked that Black Widow more than I had thought I was going to, and that's not my favorite Black Knight head, my Youngest liked it. The Wife has the new Thor, although she far prefers his Ragnarok look.

I do have about half a movie Thanos, and a single Lizard piece still unattached. I haven't seen Mysterio yet in the area, but might not go all-in on Lizard; and unless I luck into a very cheap Iron Spider, Steve Rogers, and Taskmaster, that Thanos isn't going anywhere.

As far as comics go, in the next couple days I'll have to sit down and put together another bingo card for the next Lilac City Comicon! I didn't get all of the above at the con; but I'm still not quite to a bingo! I should get to work on that now. Ooh, what comics do I want, what a grind.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Admittedly, if I met Kurt, I would probably be just as bad as Gwenpool.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The dramatic conclusion, just not the conclusion I was thinking of.

The art and and the B-villain added to my confusion, though: we looked at Secret Defenders #12 three years back, but today we've got Secret Defenders #10, "Revenge, part 2" Written by Ron Marz, pencils by Tom Grindberg, inks by Don Hudson.

Nebula, with her loyal henchman Geatar, is about to use the captured Silver Surfer as part of a warhead to destroy Titan: I'm not sure why she's out to blow up her (alleged) grandpa Thanos's home, except maybe to rebuild her rep as first class space criminal. Dr. Strange couldn't intervene directly, but has sent this issue's Secret Defenders, War Machine and Thunderstrike--presumably USAgent missed the callback. War Machine has to chase down the missile, leaving Thunderstrike to fight hordes of henchmen, but it turns out all right. Geatar gets blown into space and is presumed dead, but he'd be back in two issues.

Grindberg was deep into his Mignola-phase here; and I wonder if Hudson broke even on the ink costs for this one...
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Monday, May 21, 2018

Darn, now I wanna read the Krypton/Oa War...

With the exceptions of Krypton and possibly Oa, Rann and Thanagar are probably the two best known alien worlds in the DC universe. (Unless you're a Legion fan, in which case it's obviously Bismoll.) So of course they've been pitted against each other multiple times, like today's book! From 1978, Showcase #103, "Adventures on Other Worlds" Written by Jack C. Harris, pencils by Allen Milgrom, inks by Murphy Anderson.

This would have been on the racks about a year after Star Wars, and feels very old-school in comparison. And it's only 17 pages? That feels like two strikes already; but on a positive note this feels like a greatest hits for Hawkman, with returning bad guys the Manhawks, Byth, and the Shadow-Thief. The latter of whom has his own Shadow-Squad now, in service to Thanagar's current queen, Hyathis. She had managed to cure the Thanagarians of a recent "equalizing plague" that took their individuality; and was rallying the rebuilt world against her old foe, Kanjar Ro, who had managed to likewise set himself up in power on Rann.

Ro's attempt on Hyathis's life is foiled, but that leaves her ruling Thanagar. And without Ro, Adam Strange was worried Rann was going to fall into civil war, which it apparently did. Hawkman and Hawkwoman are banished from Thanagar, and would be for a few years! I know I have the World's Finest issue where they might return; we might check that out sometime.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

I hadn't planned on all annuals this week, but here we are.

Today's book falls smack dab in the middle of a plotline I vaguely recall the start and the end of, but just barely. Still, let's check out from 2009, Captain Britain and MI13 Annual #1, "The Harrowing of Hell" Written by Paul Cornell, pencils by Mike Collins, inks by Livesay.

Meggan had been lost while trying to save the 616-universe during House of M, and ended up trapped in hell. That would've been confusing in and of itself, but it seemed odd she wasn't in more pain in hell; which leads to a meeting with the lords of Hell, which includes Dormammu, Mephisto, and Hela. (Apparently Ahpuch of the Mayans had lost his seat at the big table.) Dormammu tricks her into using her empathic powers to be judged by hell, and takes a misshapen, monstrous form. Still, they've managed to piss her off, which gives Meggan a much needed focus.

Rallying an army behind her, Meggan has another meeting, this time with Pluto; who wanted in on the lords of Hell, and gives her the gift of a new form not unlike her usual self. I'm not sure this was how it always worked, but in hell, her empathic abilities were perfect: her armies, and even the opposing armies, would feel what she felt; a righteous anger towards the lords. But she still felt hope too, which her armies thus felt as well, possibly for their first time. In gratitude, they name Meggan "Gloriana," and always wanting a super-hero name, she takes it.

Meggan then leaves instructions for her army, to set up a new territory called Elysium (and give Pluto his due) then she begins her quest to find a way out of hell. Which she does, eventually finding what appears to be moonlight streaming in, a reminder of her early, werewolf-inspired days. But it's not just moonlight, it's a "fellow gypsy..."
Also this issue: a cricket match, in "British Magic" Written by Paul Cornell, art by Adrian Alphona. Brian Braddock, Captain Britain once again, is a bit distracted during the game; thinking of Meggan. But he remembers what she would've wanted for him in the end. And hey, an Excalibur era flashback with Kurt and Meggan playing video games!

I didn't read this title when it was new; and I'm not positive why not. I really liked Cornell's earlier Wisdom. Maybe I was just broke at the time...
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

I was thinking I might've bought today's book with Tuesday's, because sometimes if I'm going though a quarterbox, an annual or special seems like a good get, right? Extra pages, usually a self-contained story, even if it's not necessarily a life-changing issue. (That said, there's a couple annuals I love more than anything, but this wasn't one of them!) I wasn't super-impressed with this one, but then I found out I missed the first half! Here's part two, from 1997, the Amazing Spider-Man '97, "...Before the Dawn" Written by Roger Stern, pencils by Tom Lyle, inks by Robert Jones, with Kurt Busiek as "unindicted co-conspirator"!

Dr. David Lowell, better known as Sundown, has just been released from prison. What, you don't know him? Yeah, me either, since I missed Untold Tales of Spider-Man '97, which kind of sounds better: Lowell had been an Osborn Chemical employee (before it became Oscorp, apparently) working on a "photogenesis process" that Norman didn't sign off on. In fact, Norman shuts him down and orders his work destroyed. In a scuffle, his formula was accidentally dumped on him, giving him a pretty impressive batch of powers after he fell into the solar lamps. As Sundown, he went on the rampage, facing Spidey and Marvel's entire 60's lineup; before he inadvertently injured a young girl, Mary Kelleher, who would lose an arm.

After serving his time, Lowell is approached by an Oscorp employee (that had been partially responsible for his accident) but turns them down. That meeting interrupted the mob's attempt to sign him: later, mob boss 'Lucky' Lobo (a Lee/Ditko creation!) tells him it sure would be a shame if something happened to Mary Kelleher's other arm. Sundown fights Spidey, but it's for show: together, they turn the tables on Lobo, and Sundown is free to slink off into obscurity like he wanted. Spidey wasn't sure if that would work, but guess so!

While Lowell walks the city and laments the changes he missed and mistakes he made, it's juxtaposed with Peter and MJ together: despite all the drama of being Spider-Man, he had it pretty good.

This held up a little better on the re-read; it might even be halfway decent with the Untold Tales issue to go with it.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018


I know Wakandan science is the new hotness, but I also know the Black Cat could beat Panther's security. I'm not as sure if that's because she's good, or because she's lucky. And while Satana certainly has no interest in Cat stealing anything she wants, if she sees it as a slight or an injustice, she would do about anything to get her that necklace if it came down to it.

Oddly enough, that's my last Satana/Black Cat strip scheduled...but I'm reasonably sure they'll be up to no good sooner or later.
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