Friday, August 30, 2019

He can fly and is rich, but I'm still not sure he'd be my first call for help...

I know I flipped through the first issue on the spinner rack because of the guest-stars, but after that Dazzler was completely off my radar. I must've had to flip past it when I looked through everything, but looking at some of the covers they didn't seem familiar at all. And up until this issue, they were fairly straightforward super-hero numbers, just with a female lead. I wonder if I would've noticed, or appreciated, this one: from 1983, Dazzler #27, "Fugitive!" Story and art by Frank Springer, inks by Vince Colletta, cover by Bill Sienkiewicz.

This was the first of nine issues Sienkiewicz did covers for, although he did return to ink Paul Chadwick's cover for her final issue. And it's a gorgeous cover, even if it has nothing to do with the interior: Alison Blaire, Dazzler, is incognito in a black wig and on the run with her half-sister, Lois London. Lois was also a mutant, and had accidentally killed a mugger with her melty-hands power; now Alison was "'accessory after the fact,' or is it 'aiding and abetting'? Whatever..." She thinks back on the villains she had faced in her book's run, and the friends she had made, particularly Warren Worthington III, the Angel. But, on the bus to California, she gets an unpleasant surprise when she asks a hooded passenger the time: it's her old foe, Rogue!

Dazzler finds a boom-box, to generate enough sound for her powers, but Rogue smashes it; then steals Lois's power, and melts Dazzler's face! Terrified, perhaps dying, Dazzler channels a the sound from passing truck's horn into a light-blast, knocking out Rogue...and blinding the driver, who goes off a cliff! Luckily, this was just a dream, although Alison does the cliché wake-up scream on the bus, which would probably be embarrassing if she wasn't scrambling for a mirror to make sure she was "...all right! Alive! Pretty!" She wouldn't know, but Rogue was currently in Westchester: this issue was the same month as Uncanny X-Men #171! When much later they were both on the team, it took a long time for Dazzler to accept Rogue; she may have even held this one against her.

At a motel, Alison tells Lois they may have to return and "face the law," but they're interrupted by a knock on the door: someone left a note, with photos of Lois's mugging. Lois freaks out a bit, since that may have meant they were being watched even then, but Alison calls the blackmailer's number, and instead of being hit up for money, they're given a job: murder! Alison plays along, but makes another phone call hoping to reach some back-up.

In a rich neighborhood, Alison and Lois are supposed to kill someone in bed, then rob the joint; but when Alison calls out for Warren the blackmailer appears, dressed like a taller version of the Penguin. (The coloring and stripes match! Also, Alison recognized his voice.) The Angel swoops in through an open window, and is promptly shot; while Alison finds a TV and turns it on full blast: since this is the second time she's done this in this issue, I suspect this was not unlike the Sub-Mariner always having to find water to turn the tide of his fights. Zapping the blackmailer, she then tends to Angel; while Lois looks at the drugged man they were supposed to kill, and they know each other...somehow, it's not gone into here!

The above page bothers me a little, but is pretty typical comic book fight scene shenanigans: Angel would have to be moving at a pretty good clip just to stay airborne; he couldn't hover like a hummingbird. No one should have time to say more than "FFF--!" if that long, before he would have smashed into the blackmailer. I'm also not sure he could just swoop through that window. In the same vein, the bus is drawn as roomier than an aircraft carrier; but that was a dream sequence.

The letters page mentions Dazzler had gone bi-monthly, because it was a special book and needed the extra time. I'm not sure if I buy that...maybe for the covers, though.
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Thursday, August 29, 2019

The quantity of Bat-deaths is to cover some other, Bat-death deficient chapters.

Man, I bought a couple more issues of the "Batman Dies!" event a while back...then buried them in a pile. So far we've seen Catwoman #89, Batman #586, and Nightwing #52, and today we're up to Robin #85, "Fool's Errand" Written by Chuck Dixon, pencils by Pete Woods, inks by Jesse Delperdang.

Unlike the Harley Quinn chapter in Catwoman #89, this one does feature a pile of Batman 'deaths,' but most of the focus is on Robin. Somewhat surprisingly, even though it's Robin's comic, but because the story is being told by the Joker! In an observation cell in Arkham, he wonders if Batman should be putting a child in frankly horrific danger, although less out of concern and more because he wants to be the one to kill him. After all, he'd done it before. Joker had long ago realized the first Robin had grown up, but didn't seem to know (or perhaps care) what had happened to him. When the second, "edgier" Robin showed up, Joker made sure he was the one who got to kill him, but then felt like he was going through the motions, in a rut. Until the third Robin--Tim--showed up.

That creates a momentary crisis of faith for Joker--how many times was he gonna have to kill that kid? But he realizes, there were at least three Robins. And if that's the case...maybe there's been more than one Batman. Maybe the Joker actually had killed him--maybe even more than once! That happy thought is undermined by the fact that Robin had actually beat the Joker, without any help from Batman. The idea of Batman's extended Bat-family agitates Joker more than usual, and he smashes a one-way glass window to reveal he was being Robins! They're everywhere! (It's not entirely the same, but Dixon did this bit better with the Riddler!)

Hmm. Three issues left of "Batman Dies!" and I know I have one. Which will it be?
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Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Since I had the end of "The Stars My Aggravation" in the can lllllong before, I couldn't switch to the new Nightcrawler figure until they got back to earth. (Although that didn't stop me with Deadpool.) If I had kept it going long enough, I was hoping they'd return and not believe a word of anything that had happened in the last four years. "President who? C'mon, be serious." But, that worked out well to show all three of the new Nightcrawler's heads! It's a pretty great figure, grab it if you can.

The paper's from Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15; also pretty great!
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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Since Disney just announced his upcoming show, let's go back and look at the first Moon Knight comic I bought: from 1981, Moon Knight #11, "To Catch a Killer" Written by Doug Moench, art by Bill Sienkiewicz.

I would've maybe just turned 10 when this hit the racks, and I don't know what compelled me to buy it. I may have just thought MK's throwing darts were cool. Most of this story revolves around his assistant Frenchie: the great love of his life returns, only to be lost again. Said love Isabelle shows up at Steven Grant's estate, since she knows Frenchie's friend Marc Spector gets his mail there...somehow. Marc knew her, and merely tells her Grant is the name he uses most often these days. Frenchie actually being there should've been a pleasant surprise, but becomes heartbreaking when she's murdered. Frenchie joins Moon Knight on a mission of vengeance to New Orleans, where it is, of course, Mardi Gras. Frenchie gets shot, but still manages to put in the knockout punch. He was also retconned as gay in Charlie Huston's run, which doesn't really line up with this one, but okay.

That inset panel of a downed Frenchie, you can feel Sienkiewicz starting to open it up a bit.

I just double-checked: this issue came out before Iron Man #161, but it is cover-dated the same month as Amazing Spider-Man #220, which I remember reading someone's copy of at an extended family gathering where I was bored out of my mind. Maybe that turned me on to Moon Knight? Could be.
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Monday, August 26, 2019

Although lately I'm more likely just to buy the whole wave at once if I want the Build-a-Figure, sometimes I have the bright idea of holding out for sales or clearance. The trick then is to get any figures that might sell out before that point, which is why I sprung for Mr. Sinister now. (Using some points and whatnot, he was under nine bucks!) He does look pretty happy with his evil, I have to admit. I don't have all the Wendigo parts yet, but I really figure a couple will be dirt cheap down the line. (COUGH! Cannonball! COUGH!)

I bought Silver Samurai a couple weeks ago, but hadn't opened him until today. I thought he would be the tough one to find, but I hadn't seen Storm until now; and I didn't think I could count on seeing her later. I paid full price for Dazzler earlier and I also suspect she'll be discounted later; probably the Iceman as well.

Other recent purchases: DC Multiverse figures! Remember them? Depending on your area, you may or may not see these on the pegs; and Amazon thinks they'll be out mid-October. So far in this Batman/Killer Croc series, I've picked up KGBeast, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Alfred.

Alfred is the money figure: he comes with a drink and a tray--and four heads! Starting with a comic-based likeness. He also has a better neck joint than most Mattel DC figures, and can look up! (That joint is ugly as homemade sin from some angles, though.)

There's a Michael Gough likeness; he played Alfred in the movies from 1989 to 1997. Perfect for letting just about anyone into the Batcave! Interestingly, Gough was actually close friends with his predecessor:

Batman '66 Alfred, Alan Napier! I had thought the fourth head was the ancient Alfred from the Dark Knight Returns, but Dale corrected me, it's Alfred as the Outsider! Or Riff Raff from Rocky Horror Picture Show. (I didn't even like that movie, but that's what it reminded me of!) Mattel has a Michael Caine Alfred head; and I wonder if they lost the likeness rights or if the neck peg didn't match these others. We've seen the Diamond Select Gotham Alfred as well. I wonder if that Pennyworth will get a figure eventually.

Ah, I did find Batman and Katana before posting this! Katana is...pretty blah, honestly. The Batman is Dick Grayson, and comes with an unmasked head and loose cowl accessory. I don't know if I love the unmasked, but it's not bad.

Killer Croc may be a bit oversized, depending on your tastes; but he doesn't look like a scary villain, he looks like a cheerful yokel that maybe lives three manholes down from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Maybe we'll see him more later.

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Friday, August 23, 2019

I can almost hear that narration...

That of Vic Perrin, the "Control Voice" of the original the Outer Limits. This comic must be an easier gig than the Twilight Zone, you don't have to draw Rod Serling a couple times a story...From 1967, the Outer Limits #13, featuring "The Thing in the Well," "Multiman," and "Final Curtain." All with art by Jack Sparling, but no story credit in the GCD.

I had a coverless copy of this one, but the cover gives the game away for the first story; it's basically the secret origin of Mothra. If you cocoon up a giant radioactive caterpillar, what do you expect to happen? In the second story, "Multiman," a disgruntled mad scientist and a forcibly retired wrestler join forces to conquer the world, but the devil is in the details. The last story is more of a Twilight Zone number: an aging actress turned amateur horticulturist thinks she's stumbled across a de-aging formula, and you can probably guess this one: she may have wanted to check her dosage.

I think I knew of this series before, but it had a fairly short run: 18 issues, with the last two reprinting the first two. Twilight Zone had 92, and Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery 97...yes, all these Gold Key comics are largely interchangeable, but still.
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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Ah, Sonja does him like Bullseye did Elektra!

Usually, I'm all about getting cheap comics, but this was part of a fistful that cost me a bit more than I wanted. But I'd never seen this one before, it lured me in! From 1995, Red Sonja: Scavenger Hunt #1, written by Glenn Herdling, layouts by Ken Lashley, finishes by Harry Candelario. With a fistful of assists: Alex Jubran, Daniel Horn, Joe Pimentel, R Micheletti, Harry Candelario, Edde Wagner, Grant Nelson, Hector Gomez; and a cover from Greg and Tim Hildebrandt.

Although I like Lashley's art, the cover really carries this one: it's a 36-page fetch quest, as Sonja gets sucked into said 'scavenger hunt' after killing a handsy brute at a bar. Or possibly, um, a more adult establishment. Lotta whores in there for a Conan-era bar; but it does set up the line "The legs of a street-walker aren't meant for running," which is a savage burn. The search is on for a fallen warrior woman's mystical suit of armor, although in the usual Red Sonja, sword-and-sorcery tradition, that armor covers less skin than your mom's swimsuit.

Sonja teams up with the "diminutive Pict" Freyda, and meets three other warrior women on the journey; and it's probably not a spoiler to say it doesn't go great for most of them. There's a bit of a twist and some ironic comeuppance in the end, but it's nothing amazing.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019



This ending wasn't just in mind; like last week's strip, it was completed some time back. Maybe too far back: Cat mentions her stolen file and Kurt remembers not being able to find a bathroom on the Blame, and neither have those have been plot points for some time! Also, since he got new figures, Deadpool was updated twice during the course of the story, with this being his second outfit.

Next week: …?
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Surprisingly not a riff on "The Thing," nor a jab at McFarlane's book.

This may not be 100% accurate, but there are some villains that you just expect to 'die' in an explosion or something at the end of every one of their appearances. Red Skull, perfect example. I feel like Diablo got blown up a lot, or escaped in explosions quite a bit. Maybe the Leader? But, on the other hand, there are some villains where it kinda seems like the writer is going out of their way to kill them as dead as possible. For whatever reason, they want this character as gone as they can make them. Somehow, that's what it felt like with today's book: from 1995, Thunderstrike #20, "Spawn" Written and plotted by Tom DeFalco, pencils and plot by Ron Frenz, finishes by Al Milgrom.

Avengers Black Widow and Black Panther bring Thunderstrike on a mission to an Antarctic listening station, an observation post set up by S.H.I.E.L.D. to monitor the Savage Land. Contact had been lost with the station, but the Avengers find a few survivors that had barricaded themselves in to hide from something that had arrived not from the Savage Land, but from the most recent supply plane. Exploring the station's surprisingly expansive basement, Panther and 'Strike find the culprit: Stegron, the Dinosaur Man! Who has pretty much given up on mankind and the world, and decided to take off to the Savage Land.

Stegron gives them a pretty good fight, until Thunderstrike smashes a wall and lets all the heat out. A storm was coming in, but Stegron takes off headlong into it, intent on getting to the Savage Land or dying. And it's the latter: they find him, frozen, mere feet away from a marker to the entrance. The Panther is sympathetic, suggesting Stegron was merely looking for a place to fit in; but neither of them take his body and bury it or anything. The Savage Land had itself been done away with for a few years, but this really feels like they wanted to write Stegron off for good. Maybe they felt he was silly, or that the Lizard already did his job, I don't know. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it: I guess in the first Stegron comics I read--reprinted in Marvel Treasury Edition #20--he drowns in the Hudson river or something. It does feel like a slight that his story only gets twelve pages: the rest of the issue is Eric telling his son Kevin a bedtime story about Thor, trying to work up to telling him his secret identity.
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Monday, August 19, 2019

Don't leave home without it!

Although I love the character, and we saw the Infinity War tie-in some years back, I don't think I bought any of this series fresh off the racks! Maybe we'll see why...from 1992, Marc Spector: Moon Knight #40, "Endgame" Written by Terry Kavanagh, with a plot assist from Ron Garney, pencils by Gary Kwapisz, inks by Tom Palmer.

At least right this moment, Marc seems less crazy than usual; with the multi-national corporation Spectorcorp, a "Shadow-Cabinet" of advisors and operatives that I'm hoping is named that because he stole the idea from the Shadow, and a new suit of armor. The villains are pretty low-grade: the Latverian Sensor Squad, but of course they're just lackeys of Dr. Doom! Who seems pretty invested in getting a mysterious amulet back. Moon Knight consults with Mr. Fantastic on this one, flashing his Avengers ID card to convince Reed his mission is on the up-and-up. It totally isn't, and I almost wonder if Reed wouldn't have suspected that; but I suppose that would give him deniability. Or maybe he just thinks Moon Knight's cool; after all, he kinda is. (Man, I had forgotten the surprisingly nice gimmick cover for MS:MK #50 where Moon Knight burns his card!)

After a fight in the Latverian embassy, Doom realizes MK may not be well: in fact, he looks like his skin is falling off, and I'm not sure why at this point. (If you want spoilers, you can check the cover of MS:MK #44. The Infinity War crossover went longer than I'd thought, four issues!) With Doom having shot up a good portion of his own house, Moon Knight decides they're even for him coming at Spectorcorp, and gives Doom the amulet: it had been his mother's, and may have held a picture of Doom's father.

This isn't my favorite look for Moon Knight, even if more armor would make sense. Somehow, it makes him feel more Batman-y than he did before, and he could be mighty Batman-y. Also, it is somewhat telling that even with millions invested in tech and equipment, and using gear stolen from Doom, Moon Knight's weapon of choice is still his trusty truncheon, which is rarely drawn as having any sort of handle, or weighted end, and instead looks like a lead pipe. Something to be said for the basics. And I do love how the only thing he ever really did as an Avenger, was abuse the hell out of the privilege with the ID. And he was able to get ID multiple times!
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Friday, August 16, 2019

Like strapping a giant buzzsaw to your spine and flying around with it. Sign me up for that.

People--mainly romantics and/or chronic complainers--disappointed with the present have been asking "Where's my jetpack?" for years now; but to be honest they aren't as simple to create as science-fiction writers led us to believe. Everyone wants the Rocketeer, but as of today the best option...eek, that one's actually out of business. And it was basically strapping a couple big fans to your back. If you're going to go that route, why not go all in, and strap a propeller spinning god knows how many RPM to yourself, like Lex Luthor here? From 1976, Superman #302, "Seven-Foot-Two...and Still Growing!" Written by Elliot Maggin, pencils by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, inks by Bob Oksner.

Through sheer chance, from the some quarter bin (and possibly from the same collection) over the years we've seen Superman #282 and #292, and all three have kind of the same plot: Lex zaps Superman with something designed to disrupt his powers somehow, in today's case, "a ray which super-activated his pituitary gland." As the title suggests, he finds himself over a foot taller, which causes some problems in his usual Super-activities, as well as his secret identity. Still, when he catches himself about to make giant suits for Clark, he realizes he isn't thinking clearly, and calls for help to today's guest-star, Ray Palmer, the Atom!

Using an x-ray vision trick, Ray is able to see inside Superman's skull, which had grown considerably, while his brain had not. His brain was working harder and harder to keep up with his oversized body, leaving him dim and confused. Ray talks Supes through contacting WGBS for a remote newsvan, which Steve Lombard drops off; giving Superman a chance to scare him as a giant Clark. Building a fake set and using camera tricks and super-speed, Clark interviews Superman, both at normal size; mostly to cover for Clark's absence, but also to draw out the guilty parties. Meanwhile, Lex robs several banks, but Ray has time to set up a helmet with a camera and mike, so he can advise Superman. That only works for about the three seconds it takes Lex to figure out the helmet's importance, and zap Supes with the ray again so he outgrows it. Lex than kicks Superman around, but holds off on finishing him, leaving him "a giant vegetable--totally incapable of thought!"

Not quite yet, though: Superman calls to Ray with super-ventriloquism, then grabs Lex and flies him back to the fake news set. There, somehow, Lex now seems to be growing! Panicked over being somehow infected, Lex destroys the "growth-gland device," which somehow causes a sizable explosion, knocking him out. He'd never know Ray had been shrinking the set and Superman, to create the illusion Lex was growing. Superman figures Lex won't try that one again, but really, he needs to take like the last three things he zapped Superman with, and hit him all at once. If he found himself younger, huger, and uncoordinated at the same time? Shoot, Lex probably has three or nine other rays that 'failed,' throw 'em all in there.

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Between his self-titled series and All-Star Western, writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti got over a hundred issues with Jonah Hex. Over at Marvel they were lucky to get one with Kid Colt. From 2006, Marvel Westerns: Kid Colt and the Arizona Girl #1, "Last Stage to Oblivion" "Story ropers" Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, "pencil wrangler" Federica Manfredi, "ink brander" Jimmy Palmiotti. Oddly, we saw another Kid Colt #1 from 2009, which seems too soon for copyright renewal purposes?

Kid Colt is paired up the Arizona Girl this issue, and I was surprised to find she had appeared before: not often, but yeah! And not as many times as relatively recent addition Tallulah Black in Jonah Hex. (She's from 2007, and her and Hex are head-and-shoulder better characters.) Still, it's nice to see a girl in Marvel's western stable, which was traditionally a sausage-fest; and it adds some mildly suggestive dialog, since the western titles were usually G-rated. The Kid and the Girl were hired to defend a stage into Wilcox, but someone may have neglected to mention the angry Apache. They're able to fight their way through all right; but find Wilcox...creepy. And surprisingly full of outlaws, but a dearth of horses. Kid Colt admits he's technically an outlaw himself, but Arizona Girl is less accepting.

After a couple gunmen try to cash in on Kid Colt and get themselves shot up, the horse problem is solved; but then they run into an old friend in the bar: the Rawhide Kid! Who is surly as hell, and claims not to know Kid Colt, then draws on him. Arizona Girl plugs him, and then something weird happens:

"Rawhide Kid" was really a Skrull! As was the rest of Wilcox. Luckily for our heroes, the Skrulls apparently only had period weaponry handy, although one does turn into a bear. Kid Colt and Arizona Girl gun down and/or dynamite the lot of them, while arguing over who's fault this was. Afterward, they're in no condition to deal with the Apache, who are merely glad the town has been cleaned out, and offer them safe passage away. Kind of pissing off the Arizona Girl in the process, but still.

I was trying to look up if there were any other "Mighty Marvel Westerns" that came out with this one, and duhr, "the Marvel Western Bulletgram" mentions the Two-Gun Kid, Western Legends with Hurricane and Red Wolf, Strange Westerns starring the Black Rider, and an Outlaw Files guide. And hey, Kid Colt and Arizona Girl (or Arizona Annie) made an appearance in the 2017 Lego Marvel Super-Heroes 2 game! Surprising.
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