Thursday, January 31, 2019

Continuing our tradition of buying video game figures for games I don't play: Destiny 2!

Admittedly, I don't play a lot of games lately, but not unlike the Evolve Funko figures we've seen here; today we've got a batch of discounted action figures that we'll figure out something for. It's McFarlane's Color Tops #43-46 for Destiny 2: #43 Cayde-6, #44 Zavala, #45 Ikora Rey, and #46 Titan.

I'm not going to research the characters, but I did look up the voice cast for Destiny 2, since I thought I remembered seeing an ad for it. I also thought Patton Oswalt was involved; but the voice of Cayde-6 was Nathan Fillion. (Or, alternately, Nolan North for some of it.) That seems like I'm more way off than usual...This game was also from Bungie, the studio that made Halo; and I did check because I wasn't sure if it did well, but apparently Destiny 2 did all right. Maybe not Fortnite good, but still.

In fact, Fortnite might be the reason these are being cleared out: locally the Cuddle Team Leader sold out pretty quickly, maybe even the Raptor as well. I'm not sure how long these Destiny figures were on the pegs, but the character design isn't as...lively as Fortnite. Or Evolve, really. But then, without looking I'm not sure any of these four are player characters; they might be NPC's doling out missions or exposition.

Not so much in the armor, but Zavala's head has a very Kree feel; particularly if you watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. These are all fairly decently articulated--not Marvel Legends good, maybe not as good as McFarlane's own Fortnite, but not bad for the designs.

None of the characters have holsters; not even Cayde-6 who seems like he should. Instead, the guns all have pegs that I (stupidly) thought were for a two-hand grip; they're for stowing them on their back or Cayde's leg. It looks okay on the bigger weapons, but not as good on his revolver-like pistol. The Titan comes with two guns, one that's bigger and more ornate and may mean something in the context of the game; and a little orange...thing, that looks like it's supposed to float around following the character, but there's no attachment or anything. Cayde and Titan also have sculpted, non-removable knives; and they all came with bases. Titan's base is larger, the others are nice and unobtrusive.

Without having any attachment to the characters, these still aren't bad. Definitely five bucks worth, anyway!
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Wednesday, January 30, 2019


If you've read a zillion Marvel comics--or at least, some damn good ones--you might recognize Wilamean: it's from the classic Bob Layton Hercules mini-series!

In Solo: a Star Wars story, L3-37 would not be thrilled to be seen as a typical, obedient, slave droid; but she makes a nice fill-in here.

I don't know, yet; if there's any particular reason Darkhawk thought he couldn't go back to earth; and yes, Pool, the FX team did halfass that one.

But, if you've read this blog for a long, long time; we have brought up the Great Game before! I think I've brought it up more often than Marvel has, honestly.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

I mentioned one-and-done issues yesterday, which was part of why I liked Marvel and DC's "kid" books, like Marvel Adventures or DC's animated tie-ins. But I didn't buy them consistently off the racks, usually depending on the cover or a guest-star. Or in this case, getting several on sale...from 2007, Justice League Unlimited #37, "Hard Spirits" Written by Matt Wayne, pencils by Min S. Ku, inks by Jeff Albrecht.

Particularly in Unlimited, they had the freedom to add some characters that didn't get to the cartoon, like Jay Garrick, Blue Beetle, or today, the Spectre! Who is acting more like a villain today, smashing up a prison on his way to deliver some old-school, old-testament, old-Wrath of the Spectre style justice. Turning criminals into fish, punching out Superman's literal "glass jaw," and turning Wonder Woman and the Martian Manhunter into candles when they try to stop him.

In Jim Corrigan's body, Deadman goes to Batman and Hawkgirl: Corrigan explains usually he's able to contain the Spectre before he goes ape. Batman tries to call Dr. Fate (literally, just by shouting for him) but he and Zatanna were both unavailable, so Deadman takes them to see Rama Kushna, who will help...after examining Batman's soul, by forcibly rewatching his parents' murder! Batman is visibly shaken but recovers quickly, as Rama explains she had to see what moved him: justice, not vengeance. She gives an exception to her laws, allowing this once for a spirit to possess a spirit. Deadman understands, as he is then able to possess the Spectre and undo his damage; although Batman is a bit peeved. Dr. Fate arrives to explain what set the Spectre off: Talia, causing trouble in the spirit realm. (Which would set this after the episode "Alive!")

Hawkgirl tries to console Batman, praising his toughness at being forced to relive the most traumatic experience of his life. Batman shrugs it off: "It's nothing...I do it all the time." That's a bit of a gut-punch for a kid's book, there.

I was thinking I needed to see a Spectre cartoon with him melting criminals, and I might have! Per Wikipedia, there was one with the DVD of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths; which I've watched multiple times but I'm not sure the Spectre short is included with the bare-bones DVD or just the Blu-Ray. Better dig it up!
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Monday, January 28, 2019

That demon looks familiar somehow.

I think because there was a similarly-shaped one, without a tail, and covered in lawn clippings, in later issues. Or maybe the shape of it reminds me of Domo. Anyway, from 1984, Conan the Barbarian #155, "The Anger of Conan" Plot and art by John Buscema, script by Michael Fleisher, inks by Steve Leialoha; and a Paul Smith cover.

In a border trading town, Conan is checking out some local girls when Yadlo, a Brythunian thief, runs into him. Yadlo was trying to get away from the local baron, who was going to punish him for some misdemeanor; and Conan couldn't care less, until the baron starts to cut off Yadlo's nose! That seems a bit excessive to the barbarian--a horsewhipping might be acceptable, but cutting him up was too far--so Conan intervenes, saving Yadlo and most of his nose, making a loyal friend of him and an enemy of Baron Vjerzak. Conan had seen dozens of fat toadies like the baron before, but this one had a little something extra: he was an amateur wizard! Having killed a mage and kept his stuff, Vjerzak enthusiastically used his pet demon as his enforcer for his reign of terror.

At a tavern, Yadlo defends Conan from a girl pickpocket, then sets himself to guard while Conan slept, where he's immediately killed by Vjerzak's thugs. Furious, Conan tears through the thugs, then stomps his way to the baron's house, with the entire village turning out to see this one. Vjerzak is fine with that, since he thinks his demon will make short work of him; instead Conan finishes it off inside of a page. Panicked, Vjerzak tries to get another spell to stop the barbarian, but he wasn't a natural sorcerer, and stammering his way through the pronunciation gets his ass thrown out of a window. The townspeople rise up and tear Vjerzak apart, but a sad Conan only wishes little Yadlo was still there to hear the screaming...that's sort of touching, right?

I haven't read Marvel's new Conan books yet, but I'm kind of doubting there's going to be a lot of done-in-one issues going forward. That doesn't seem to be the market anymore.
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Friday, January 25, 2019

I'm glad to see Indy doesn't go in for that Marie Kondo business...

John Byrne and Terry Austin house ad for the Further Adventures of Indiana Jones; from 1983's Conan the Barbarian #143.

Oh, what the heck: I've been reading a bunch of Conan lately, let's have a peek at this one. "Life Among the Dead" Written by Bruce Jones, breakdowns by John Buscema, finishes by Ricardo Villamonte. A somewhat convoluted plot involving a sword stolen from a statue, a sculptor trying to run a game on Conan but changing his mind, and doubles wearing latex--er, clay--masks that wouldn't be out of place in Mission: Impossible. Then a dragon!

Man, big John Buscema was great...

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I was feeling a little down on comics the other day, but I managed to get to my local Comic Book Shop for their back issue Mondays sale, and recharged the batteries with a solid pile of stuff. Including one that brings us so close to the finish line! From 1989, Iron Man Annual #10, featuring "Two If By Sea" Written by David Michelinie, pencils by Paul Smith, inks by Mike Gustovich.

This was the second chapter of Atlantis Attacks, and the revived Lord Ghaur is already starting to build his alliance, with Attuma, Llyra, and Krang. But someone else is under the sea today: the invincible Iron Man, tailing a pair of Mafia Maggia mini-subs off the California coast. The subs are tailing a larger ship, which is itself stopped by Namor, the Sub-Mariner! It's innocent enough: Namor was looking for the creepy alien spawn of his wife Marrina, and was just going to ask if the crew had seen any. Instead they panic, since they were secretly Hydra! Routed, the Hydra goons elect to blow themselves up, leaving Iron Man to wonder what they were up to and why the Maggia was after them.

Iron Man and Namor team-up and work the case, which leads them to the Panama Canal, where Hydra is planning a big drug giveaway, in the hopes of taking over in the ensuing chaos. Speaking of ensuing chaos, the Atlantean army is also there, using the canal to prepare a sneak attack! While Iron Man scuffles with the Atlanteans, Namor has to split off to stop Hydra's drug ship, and that captain also opts to blow himself up--and Namor with him! This barely gets a page, so I don't know if this was mandated somewhere and had to be squeezed in, or if they just ran out of space, or what. Even with that, this isn't a great showing for Hydra: they're completely disposable villains, who act like even they think they're completely disposable.

I also don't think Smith and Gustovich were a good match, but the art was stronger for some of the next feature, the pin-up story "Can You Top This?" (Written by David Wohl, with art by Jackson Guice, Gene Colan, John Byrne, Keith Pollard, and Bob Layton.

There's also the inexplicably titled "There Are No Wire Hangers Underwater!" (Written by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Don Perlin, inks by Don Ald.) Returning to Atlantis after the reports of Namor's death, Andromeda confronts her father, Attuma. Then a few pin-ups, and the second chapter of "The Saga of the Serpent Crown," in which we discover that in the Marvel Universe, the battle between Set and Demogorge was what killed the dinosaurs! (Written by Peter Sanderson, pencils by Mark Bagley, inks by Keith Williams.) I don't think that comes up very often; I'd love it if it took like five different things to kill the dinosaurs there: a comet, giant god battle, the Celestials, multiple alien invasions...
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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Yeah, but Carl's Jr. and 7Up haven't got me any comics lately.

I was fairly certain I hadn't read this one, but now I'm not sure if I did and just don't remember, or if Curt Swan's art always just looks familiar to me. Moreover, I didn't know there were Carl's Jr. restaurants in 1983, either. From 1983, The Superman Movie Special #1, "I Have Met the Enemy...and He is Me!" Adapted by Cary Bates, based on the film script by David and Leslie Newman, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Sal Amendola. This was a very beat-up copy, but I didn't find this cover in the GCD, so I uploaded it; we'll see if it sticks!

This adaptation of the movie came with a different cover, with 7Up and Carl's Jr. branding; so it was probably some kid's meal giveaway promo. It was 48 pages of story, so to their credit it looks like they sprung for the full issue and didn't cut it down any. Not that the story flows really well, which is hardly Bates or Swan's fault. It feels a little rushed in spots, with some pages that don't look like Swan: maybe because he was trying to go with the movie likenesses. Still, this page, some of the faces remind me of Klaus Janson:

There are some weird choices in this, though: a satellite changing weather in South America gets a full page, as does Gus Gorman trying to puzzle out what to do for the unidentifiable element in his synthetic Kryptonite. (It's been a while since I've seen it, but I think the punchline was "tar.") Some of the more fun scenes, like the dark Superman in a bar, are cut; possibly because they weren't kid-appropriate.

It's not the best one, but it's still impressive how wrong Christopher Reeve looks as dark Superman. Wish the comic had done more with that!
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019


The "buggo corpses" and that helmet Pool's wearing indicate the alien invasion might've come from the DC Universe: it's the Parademons and the Collect-n-Connect Steppenwolf's helmet! I doubt I'm ever going to finish him.

Our friendly civilian colonist the last few episodes has been Qi'ra, from Solo: a Star Wars story, played by Emilia Clarke, who of course was also Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. And we saw her figure just a bit ago with Kraven!

EDIT: Oh, and the idea of abandoning an entire continent for compost is almost certainly from Power Records Star Trek story, Alan Dean Foster's "The Logistics of Stampede." I listened to that about a million times as a kid, although "A Mirror for Futility" is probably my favorite: an anxious and agitated robot ship delivers a great reading of the line "Die, social misfit!"

I'm hoping to get back to Black Cat and Satana soon, but Pool and Kurt's apology tour for Gladiator is probably starting next week, as we catch up with someone we recently saw...briefly. Maybe two someones.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

DC has a ton of characters that, put bluntly, couldn't carry their own title in a bucket. That's not to say they don't have fans or aren't worthwhile; just that they get cancelled more often then not. I often thought, maybe these second and third-bananas should if not team-up, all be in the same book, that they could support together. I wonder if maybe they weren't headed towards that notion here: from 1977, Challengers of the Unknown #83, "Seven Doorways to Destiny!" Written by Gerry Conway, pencils by Keith Giffen, inks by John Celardo.

In Perdition, NE; to try and save the life of Prof. Haley; the Challs face, and get beat down, by creepy cultists worshipping a fungus called "M'ynagala." Meanwhile, wannabe team member Clayburne does his research, and finds another expert that could help: Dr. Alec Holland, who had been believed dead but recently returned. He hadn't been dead, of course, he had been the Swamp Thing! I'm not an expert on him, but I think that happened towards the end of his '72-76 series: the last two covers look like they were trying to pivot from horror to super-heroing. Although Holland gets a moment to smooch his girl, he still goes with Clayburne to try and help.

The cultists keep Red and June as hostages, then send Ace and Rocky on their fetch-quest to complete a ritual and let M'ynagala into our world; which Rocky somewhat stupidly does, although he may not have expected it to work that well! Back at Perdition, Clayburne and Holland--suited up as Challengers--find Prof. Haley, infested with the fungus, but he thinks he knows a cure: sound. There's no cure for Holland, though: he had fought M'ynagala before, and knew he had to help, but that meant giving up time to work on his "bio-restorative" cure. Reverting back to the Swamp Thing, he runs away, not wanting to be remembered as a monster; but as Haley activates sirens to weaken M'ynagala, Swamp Thing is in position to finish it off.

Ace saves Rocky with a firebomb idea cribbed from Jaws, so all's well that ends well. Unless you're a Swamp Thing, again; perhaps forever. The next issue blurb promises another guest-star: Deadman! And I think both of them would remain for the rest of the series! Could've sworn I had that last issue somewhere...
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Monday, January 21, 2019

It happens sometimes, but it feels like it's been a week or more since I've read any comics. Well, any that I'd blog, anyway. I did read a couple weeks worth of Uncanny X-Men, as X-Men Disassembled trundles on...Crap, I just had to stop and order the variant cover for #8, I'll post it when it turns up. That's fitting though, since I was mildly enjoying the series to that point, and the last two issues didn't quite sit right with me. Maybe because I had gone back and read #2-#8 at once; or maybe because I've seen the upcoming Age of X-Man solicits: the series seemed to be moving along well enough, and then moved into a hard push to a bunch of spinoff miniseries. Marvel's chasing that Age of Apocalypse high; and not for the first time; but again, hard push.

Spoiler for #9, if you're not reading week-to-week: There's also a scene where Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, who had been mind-controlled and turned into a weapon earlier in the series, is nearly taken over again. It doesn't work, since he had bagged out and sent a duplicate instead. X-Man (controlling Legion at the moment) isn't able to force him to make more dupes, and the dupe is less than thrilled with the original. I don't know if that had changed at some point, but I thought the dupes could make more dupes? Also, while he is doubtless the absolute easiest character for a writer to bring back from the dead, I don't recall if Jamie's most recent demise in Death of X was even mentioned.

Storm and Kitty also badmouth Jamie, which I thought was mean and beneath them. And unfair, since I don't recall the X-Men ever helping Jamie in the least. Storm gets taken over and turned into a "Horseman of Salvation" almost immediately thereafter; joining Magneto, Blob, and Omega Red under X-Man's control. Outpowered, the X-Men clear the benches; with a ton of mutants we haven't seen regularly getting the call. There's Meggan and Kylun from Excalibur, Dazzler, Firestar, Sunfire, Maggott...It's getting everybody in one place for that Age of X-Man, yeah. And I'm already on the hook for the Amazing Nightcrawler book, so we'll see how that goes.

Scans from Uncanny X-Men #9, "Disassembled, part 9" Written by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, and Ed Brisson; art by Yildiray Cinar, color art by Rachelle Rosenberg. We're up to 61 covers by the tenth issue, because Marvel, that's why. I did have a reason for ordering the variant I did, but man, that's a lot of them.
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Friday, January 18, 2019

Wouldn't a solid silver crossbow bolt be pretty heavy and fly like crap?

Well, I'm sure there's a reason for it. From 1979, Warlord #22, "The Beast in the Tower!" Written and penciled by Mike Grell, inks by Vince Colletta.

Travis is at a low point this month: in the previous issue he defeated Deimos again, but seemingly at the cost of his son's life. (Not really; Deimos had a clone made.) Without his wife or his companions, Travis is drinking abusively in a bar in the terminator area of Skartaris: that's a section of perpetual twilight instead of eternal daylight, and probably easier to drink your problems away in. An old seer offers to read his palm, and Travis drunkenly tells him he knows his future. He's not completely wasted, though, as he's able to fight off some bandits outside the tavern, with the help of a mysterious girl, who saves him by killing one with a silver crossbow bolt.

Immediately after, the girl is captured by soldiers, and locked in a tower before Travis can intervene. Shooting his way in, he finds the tower bigger on the inside, but enh, that probably wasn't even the weirdest thing he saw today. He's attacked by a giant snake that gives him two pages of hassle--with four pages of ads between them, which made it seem like a tougher fight--then the remaining soldiers, before encountering...whatever this thing is!

Pinned, Travis stabs the beast with the crossbow bolt he picked up earlier, killing it. Of course, it reverts into the girl, and he realizes she was a werewolf...of some sort. (Not the last he'd meet in the series; nor the first if you count the Snowbeast from Warlord #9.) The old seer explains she was his daughter, and this had been a ruse to set Travis up to save her.

This issue would be a return to single issue stories for a bit, and this might've been a start of pulling Travis out of depression. Maybe. I'm going to read the next issue in a moment, even if I won't post about it for years...
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Am I going to find the missing issue of this series?

We blogged the first issue of this series a couple months back, but a recent action figure pickup made me give this conclusion another look: from 1997, Imperial Guard #3, "A Mad God Awakens!" Written by Brian Augustyn, pencils by Chuck Wojtkiewicz, inks by Ray Snyder; and dedicated to the memory of Mark Gruenwald.

I had thought the Kree Commando may have been a conscript to the Imperial Guard, but he may have been a volunteer. Or obeying the voice in his head. Still, while his time on the Guard has impressed him of their heroism; as they face Kree convicts on earth, the mysterious voice seemingly abandons him. It may have found a new sucker: perennial hanger-on and second banana Rick Jones, who is being offered the chance to become a hero.

The Kree convicts plan on blowing "nega-energy" all over earth, which their leader thinks will get them both revenge on the Avengers and domain over what's left of the Kree. Rick is given power, which he is able to use to help, but then weakens after taking too much radiation. Gladiator braves it to throw the sabotaged reactor into space, but is then so weakened he will fall into earth's atmosphere and die. Commando saves him, and they return in time for the power to be sucked out of Rick--into the returned Supreme Intelligence! Which isn't a surprise, it's on the cover.

S-I offers Commando a spot at his right hand, but Commando can't get past how it sacrificed 90 percent of the Kree in the hopes of restarting their evolution. The Intelligence leaves, but Commando has earned his place on the Imperial Guard, even if I don't think he would be seen again. And Rick Jones, powerless again, has to comfort himself with the thought that he helped save the world here, as he slinks back to his wife. I'm not sure the Guard would be seen again until maybe Grant Morrison's run, with Smasher?

I picked up the Captain Marvel movie Yon-Rogg a week or so ago; and he has some of the Kree design elements that Commando does: the blaster-gauntlets, the fin helmet, the green. The starburst logo on the figure is stronger, though. Can't wait to see that movie...
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