Friday, November 29, 2019

I've been pretty guilty of the sin of envy, lately; as people on Twitter keep posting finds like six longboxes worth of comics at a nickel a piece or something. Or a ton of good finds at cut rate prices. Meanwhile, I paid a dollar American for 1994's Spider-Man #51, "Power and Responsibility, part 3: A Heartbeat Away!" Written by Howard Mackie, art by Tom Lyle, finishes by Scott Hanna; and "The Double, part 3: Who Am I?" Written by J.M. DeMatteis, pencils by Liam Sharp, inks by Robin Riggs. With shiny covers! I was wondering if this was multiple fancy ones in a row, but I was thinking of the next chapter in this storyline, which was Spectacular #217.

The recently returned "nobody!" a.k.a. the clone of Peter Parker, visits the hospitalized Aunt May to agonize over if he should help Peter Parker at Ravencroft Asylum; or do nothing and then claim Peter's life after he dies. Luckily, he remembers Aunt May raising him right, so his moral compass is way too strong to let him not act. The clone still had his Spidey mask, gloves, and web-shooters; and leaps back into action. In a leather jacket, jeans, and sensible shoes.

Original flavor Spidey is currently captured by Judas Traveller, who wants to figure out why Ravencroft's inmates are so obsessed with Spidey, and why there is two of them. Spidey has to fight (briefly) through a nightmare army of (better) villains, while the clone makes his way past Traveller's operatives Boone and Medea. Facing both Spidey's, Traveller calls the clone 'Ben,' I wasn't sure if he had taken that name at this point.

In the back-up feature, the Jackal uses drugs, hypnosis, and psychological torture to give his clone of Spider-Man the memories and moreover, personality of the original. While the clone seems to have spirit, Miles Warren mentions having a ton of "time bombs" in the clone's subconscious. Well, I'm sure that'll never come up again.

I was sorry to see Tom Lyle passed away recently; I remember him from the Impact comic the Comet.
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Thursday, November 28, 2019

"(Don't) Ride the Lightning."

I posted this one on Twitter some time back, and was really hoping to see something like this in the big CW Crisis crossover. It's a good one to fill-in a day I may be out, so have fun!
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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Not only was making this investigation board fun, it was great to get the Question and the Creeper out again. I'd love to show you Batman's virtual board, but sorry, that's not in the budget!

This was another one posted to Twitter, but I knew it would find a home here eventually.
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Monday, November 25, 2019

And we're back! I'm not sure I love my new house, or my current set-up--it's not what would traditionally be considered "ergonomic," and I may have to look into a lower-profile scanner since it's blocking my view of the TV but it's the only place it could go outside of well, outside--but it's gingerly moving towards what I want. I bought a ton of shelves to go with the ones I already had, in the hopes of getting a place for everything, everything in its place, and so forth; but I may have outsmarted myshelf--er, myself: I may have more shelves than I have wall space without blocking heaters. I needed one of the shelves for my kitchen, though: there wasn't a pantry, so I needed a wire shelving unit to put everything on--like the approximately 1800 bottles of water I have. I exaggerate, of course...slightly. Over the course of time, I'd occasionally buy big packs of water when it was on sale, to store in case of emergency. Then I'd put them in a pantry or a closet or my garage or whatever and forget about them, then buy some more. Ah, I'm sure they're fine. Maybe I could even stand to drink some, probably wouldn't kill me...

There were a few things that didn't make the move: one shelf spectacularly collapsed when my son and I were moving it. Most were cheap, Wal-Mart shelves. I swear some of them are meant to be put together with load-bearing cardboard...I also got rid of a pre-flatscreen Zenith that I remembered as weighing about the same as a dead sun, but it wasn't quite that bad; as well as my beloved but sadly defunct VCR. Still, I have books. So many books. After awhile, when your feet start to hurt from lugging them around, you wonder if they're all worth it; so I checked out a lesser-known title from the pile to see: from 2014, the Absence, written and illustrated by Martin Stiff.

This was a collection of a six-issue self-published series, which is impressive as hell. The art is reminiscent of Guy Davis, I think, and that's not a bad place to be. After World War II, a young man returns to a coastal village in England. He may be the only soldier to return; moreover, the town may not have been sorry to see him go. Meanwhile, a mathematician is funding a massive undertaking outside of the village, but what? And how could he afford it, which leads to the question 'what did you do during the war?' And are either related to a long-running, and accelerating, string of disappearances?

It's not a quick read, but it's an interesting one. It might have a few questions, but the one I get from it is, 'can you escape?' A horrible village, gossip, your reputation, your destiny; can you dodge any of them? The answer seems to be, 'not so much,' but give it a try and draw your own conclusions. I think I'll hang on to this one, even though it's a heavier hardbound to drag...
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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Hey, my set was shorted Witchfire and Windshear!

Good news! I got my Alpha Flight Marvel Legends from Amazon! Bad news, I haven't had time to open it yet, so let's look at an Alpha Flight comic I somehow had handy! From 1991, Alpha Flight #94, "Mind Over Matter" Written by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Michael Bair, inks by Mike Manley.

Since this was several years into the title's run, the titular team's roster was much larger than the eight figures that have come out this year: original Guardian James "Mac" Hudson was back, although currently he was Vindicator and his wife Heather was Guardian. This issue also features Windshear and Witchfire, although the latter may have been from the trainee program Beta Flight. (Looking it up, she would be Belasco's daughter and the bad guy in the X-Infernus mini.) Windshear I had seen more of; he was a mutant with hard-air powers and a suit of armor from Roxxon. That entry said he lost his powers but was still active under the name 'Chinook,' which is awful. (It's a Native American name for a type of wind, but also a small town near my hometown!)

This issue guest-stars the Fantastic Four, and half of them and four Alphans are mind-controlled by Headlok into fighting the others, in the Canadian town of Tuktoyaktuk. It goes pretty quickly, although after getting slapped around by the Invisible Woman, Windshear wonders if he has what it takes. That was a bit of set up for the next issue, where he, Aurora, and Diamond Lil all do some respective soul-searching.

Also, Sasquatch beats down the Thing, even repeatedly chipping chunks off of him! It's not the decisive win it appears to be: Ben was human, and wearing a Thing exo-suit. This would've been set just before Walt Simonson's Fantastic Four #350, which came out the same month. There's also a Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation this issue: Paid circulation, actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 96,220.
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Don't get high on your own supply. Or eat the guy that's high on his own supply...

I'm positive I had a subscription by this point, but aside from the cover looking familiar I had no recollection of this one. That's not to say it was bad, though! From 1989, Conan the Barbarian #224, "He Who Hungers!" Written by Larry Hama, pencils by Geoff Senior, inks by Steve Buccellato.

I had to check the year, since I thought this might be a Predator riff: after a mercenary legion is routed in Kipchak, only five survived to try and escape, and things weren't looking good. It's the dead of winter, no game to be had, and the band is still deep in enemy territory: bowman Thorg, Stygian lotus-eater Faheed, warrior woman Gudrun, Captain Gavrilo, and Conan. You could probably make a pretty good guess who's going to make it out of this one...

Gavrilo is wounded in a skirmish with a Kipchak foraging party, but before they can claim their booty, a horde of wolves overruns them, killing Thorg. The rest are cornered and ready to fight to the end, when a howl, not from the wolves, seemingly scares them off. That night in the forest, Gavrilo, poisoned by his wounds, raves about how they were just "meat" to whatever stalked the forest. Gudrun asks Faheed to share his black lotus with the dying man, and Faheed claims to be out. Sure enough, there is a creature in the woods, a huge wolf-man style beast. Who is cannier than he would seem, since he doesn't attack outright, he knocks half of their woodpile into the forest, so they won't have enough to keep the fire going until dawn to keep it back.

Conan takes Gudrun--whom he can trust--to re-gather the wood, but the creature circles around the cleaning, and kills Gavrilo as Faheed flees. Conan chokes Faheed, and might be about to finish him when the monster throws Gavrilo's corpse back: with the gangrene or blood poisoning, he wasn't good eating. Gudrun considers them all dead, but refuses to "go to the hall of fallen warriors with a sword-debt unpaid on my soul!" Running towards the monster, she throws herself on her sword, intent on sacrificing herself to give Conan time to flee. The monster won't take her either, apparently wanting a fresh kill. Panicked, Faheed cracks open his black lotus stash; furious, Conan crams most of it down Faheed's throat...and it's fast-acting stuff. Faheed's mind is long-gone by the time the monster gets him, and Conan takes off running. Finally exhausted, Conan collapses on the ice...

...only to awaken to the monster! Whose mind is just as gone as Faheed's, and Conan decapitates it in short order. He's set for the winter's journey home then, with a nice new fur, and a pile of meat with the black lotus cooked out of it. I don't know if this was completely a Predator-type story then; but that movie would've been a lot different if Arnold had eaten that thing...
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Wednesday, November 20, 2019


It's true! The last time Wendigos were tearing up Canada, they couldn't cross into American soil! See:

(Page from Amazing X-Men #11, "World War Wendigo! Part 4 of 5" Written by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, pencils by Carlo Barberi, inks by Walden Wong, Marc Deering, and Juan Vlasco.)

Somewhat unintentionally, we actually have an excuse for Wendy's visit, next time!

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

I thought this was the last comic I hadn't moved yet, then noticed another freaking longbox over there. Maybe I should've looked through it first...From 1987, West Coast Avengers #16, "The Dive" Written by Steve Englehart, pencils by Al Milgrom, inks by Joe Sinnott.

With Tigra and Hellcat on the cover, I thought this would be more about them, since the latter was wearing the former's old costume. That could be simpler: we've seen an old issue of the Cat where Greer Nelson wore that before she became Tigra. Then, Patsy Walker took up the costume and the name Hellcat in Avengers #144.

Against expectations and the cover, though; most of this one was about Hank Pym. There's a page-and-a-half flashback of Hank's fall from grace that really derails the issue; after Hellcat and Tigra defeat Tiger Shark: he had been one of the villains in Egghead's Masters of Evil that tried to break him. T.S. makes a snippy comment at Hank when he's being taken away by the cops, and Hank protests too strongly that he's not owned, you are! And while the West Coast Avengers are proud and impressed at how Hank has turned his life around, there are hints that maybe he's not doing as well as he fronted. Tigra had previously told him she loved him, but after reconciling her cat and human halves she was backpedaling on that a bit: Hank takes the 'nice' label badly, but forces himself to keep it together by remembering another Avenger who lost it: Quicksilver.

Tiger Shark had angrily let on that his supposed 'partner' Whirlwind was in the area, after some MacGuffin or another. Hank had fought Whirlwind many times before, and knew he could coach Tigra and Hellcat to beat him. Facing his old foe, Whirlwind is not impressed: he feels he has his own unique worth, which is more than he can say for Hank, since there were maybe four other people using his size-changing gimmick at the time. (Or had used it; and I don't think I counted the Wasp in that total, even!) Pym tries to take a swipe at Whirlwind, and ends up falling off a building: Hellcat saves him and Tigra catches Whirlwind, and Hank seems to shrug off his insults. Still, as Tigra gets him so they can leave San Francisco, Hank seems to imply he's thinking about suicide. Which he would attempt the next issue, which wouldn't get him on the cover, which went to Cactus, Gila, and Butte!

Son of Satan Daimon Hellstrom appears here as well, but just as Patsy's husband. And to be on the receiving end of Hank's recap.
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Monday, November 18, 2019

Even though I'm just hemorrhaging money on this move, I have to remember to shell out for those Command picture hanging strips, since I've had a print of this issue on my wall for a couple years now. Even though I'm not sure I had read it until recently, save for possibly a reprint. The print is distressed-looking, but might be in better shape than the cheap copy I found! From 1975, Captain America and the Falcon #184, "Cap's Back!" Written by Steve Englehart, art by Herb Trimpe, embellishment by Frank Giacoia and Mike Esposito.

Previously, short-lived Captain America replacement Roscoe had died, driving Steve into renouncing his Nomad identity and retaking the Cap mantle. I wonder if that was always intended as Roscoe's fate, if Nomad was only meant to last a few issues; and wasn't an experiment to see how much shaking the status quo could take. This feels like a return to the tried-and-true, as Cap faces off against his most classic foe, the Red Skull. The Skull had, of course, been responsible for Roscoe's demise; all part of a plan to destroy America and break Cap by April 30, 1975--the 30th anniversary of Hitler's suicide! (We all know in the Marvel Universe the android Human Torch killed Hitler, but I'm not positive that was ever common knowledge? Or maybe in the 616 the A&E Channel is chock full of Human Torch documentaries...)

While trying to piece together the Skull's scheme, Cap is three TV news crews! Cap back in uniform was a story, and while he doesn't feel like he has time to talk to the press, a reporter gets him with "too many people are hiding behind 'no comment' today." (As opposed to nowadays, where no one shuts up, ever...) Englehart seems to feel like while 1974 may have been a tough one, this was a new year and a new chance, although that optimism is hampered by the Red Skull murdering a guy with his new "dust of death" in broad daylight in Washington D.C. With a jetpack, he escapes from Cap and the Falcon, but taunts them with his next target: the next member of the "federal open market committee," who the Skull promises to kill at midnight. (The nature of that threat reminds me of the classic "the Laughing Fish," but it may even be more common than that.)

Before Cap goes to guard the next target, he visits long-time love interest Sharon Carter, who is markedly unthrilled with his return to form. His wartime girl Peggy was doing much better though: she was seeing fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Gabe Jones. Still, guarding the target in a lighthouse, Cap, Falcon, Peggy and Gabe all fail to save the victim, killed in a locked room, somehow. (Probably with a cat and a, this predates that one!) It's interesting that Cap's return wasn't a triumphant one, at least not right out of the gate. But, in an era not especially known for the best representation, Sharon seems to be a throwback to when girls were there to scream, or cry, or faint. She had been a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent as well, but is completely defanged here. Geez, I think Betty Ross was written tougher than her here.

Sadly, my Marvel Value Stamp was clipped outta this one...and, President Supervillain used some panels from this issue the other day!
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Friday, November 15, 2019

The move continues, and while it's not quite to the point that I regret every single life choice that brought me to here, I can see it from here. Luckily, I have all of the next week off! There will still be a few posts, maybe more if Comcast gets me hooked up right away. (The installation charge they hit me with is a load of a load, since I'm bringing all my own equipment and hooking it up; all they're doing is flipping a switch and starting billing.) See you then!

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Every once in a while you have a book where either they didn't get the memo about the crossover, or just decided 'nah.' Like today's book! From 2001, Birds of Prey #26, "...The Suitor!" Written by Chuck Dixon, art by Jackson 'Butch' Guice.

The cover has the "This Issue: Batman Dies!!!" blurb, but Batman isn't so much as mentioned here. Instead, it's largely Bane's show: spurned by Talia, he's acting out by destroying Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pits. Only, someone is there first: the Black Canary, who's there to destroy a terrorist arms cache. Bane is at first annoyed, then interested, then even helpful; as he starts a nuclear warhead to blow up the place! That may be a bit too far. He also comes on a bit strong there; but c'mon, the guy grew up in a prison, he probably doesn't have a lot of game. Canary could actually be the second woman he's ever talked to.

While Bane claims "in time I would prove my worthiness to you," Canary doesn't appreciate the grabby hands, and gives him a well-deserved knee to the groin. With Oracle guiding her via radio, Canary escapes, but almost feels sorry for Bane. Oracle is pretty sure he'd be back, but the observing Talia hopes the "oaf" is gone...and sees something that may get her father's mind off of the destroyed Pit. Canary may have another new stalker coming.

I don't know if the crossover was sprung on Dixon too late to do anything for it, or if this story was planned crossover or no. Bane would years later show better dating manners, sort of, in Gail Simone's Secret Six. He would also, like many characters, get a little prettier by then too.
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Wednesday, November 13, 2019


I got a couple McFarlane Call of Duty figures (and one for Toys for Tots!) on deep clearance at Target.'d really think those would come with guns, right? Or grenades or something? Ruin--the fellow with the questionable haircut who looks like the soldier that's going to go off the rails in any given sci-fi/horror movie with soldiers--only came with his battering-ram thing, which feels undersized. The other, Seraph, has a revolver and that's it. Feels light, but I bought them mostly for crowd filler. Seraph was able to do that carry unassisted, though.
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