Friday, February 28, 2020

This pirate: still a jerk.

We saw his first appearance years back, and he may have been intended to be a recurring foil, but today's the last of his three appearances: from 1985, Warlord #95, "Dragon Doom!" Written by Cary Burkett, pencils by Adam Kubert, inks by Ian Akin and Brian Garvey.

This was the second of a two-parter, set during the larger storyline of the war with New Atlantis: the pirate Cap'n Hawk was an ally of Travis's in that war, albeit an extremely mercenary one. When their meeting is interrupted by Vashek assassins (basically Skartaran ninjas, largely coasting on their rep) they escape, only to be swamped by a sea-dragon. Hawk, Travis, and Shakira were saved by catching a ride on a passing barge, of a princess fleeing her kingdom out of boredom. With the promise of a reward to return her, Hawk ditches Travis and Shakira, leaving them to be jumped by the Vasheks at a waterfall!

After going over said waterfall, Shakira wonders why they're even looking for Hawk; and while there's other good reasons, Hawk stole Travis's trademark helmet! That's like tugging on Superman's cape! Tracking Hawk, they run across a dead tyrannosaurus, and wonder what could've killed it. Still, they catch up to Hawk soon enough, only to realize if they could follow him, so could the Vasheks!

Somewhat surprisingly, Travis was out of ammo for his .44 Automag, so the fight wasn't looking good; until the princess's troops arrive: the Danko Warriors, riding their huge tricorn horses! While the Vasheks are able to take down a few, they are outmatched.

They meet the Lord Kaldustan, who had a sword not unlike the one the clone of Travis's son used way back in Warlord #21. Weird. Anyway, Kaldustan would have joined the Warlord's fight against the New Atlanteans, except that sea-dragon made it impossible to move his forces off the island. If only someone could get rid of that thing...Travis rigs up a diamond-tipped giant crossbow--thanks to D&D, it's called a ballista, and I was disappointed they didn't call it such. Hawk agrees to help for two additional chests of diamonds, even if Travis has to do all the work.

All's swell that ends swell: Hawk delivers another load of prisoners freed from the Atlanteans, Travis has made another new ally, and Hawk steals Travis's diamonds as payment for his help against the Vasheks! God, what a dick. I suspect he might've returned, but Burkett only had four more issues in his run; and I suppose Travis's quest after #100 was taking him in the opposite direction.
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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Maybe not as good as "The Poke of Zorro," but that's a high bar.

The Bullpen Bulletins page in this comic closes with "Remember, you don't have to buy one copy of every Marvel Comic every month...but it sure helps!" I could barely guess how many they had coming out this particular month, and I wouldn't have remembered this one, either: from October 1991, Zorro #11, "Engagement with Death" Story by Bruce Lansbury, adaptation by Ian Rimmer, pencils by David Taylor, inks by Colin Fawcett. Cover by Alex Toth, which is pretty much what got me to grab this one.

I had no recollection of a Zorro book from Marvel; or would've thought it might've been a more kid-oriented, cartoon tie-in. Or for a movie, but the Mask of Zorro wasn't until 1998. Still, having watched way too much TV, I recognized Bruce Lansbury's name from a ream of shows. This was an adaptation of a 1990 TV episode, "Deceptive Heart," guest-starring Duncan Regehr, the "sex candle ghost" from that episode of Next Generation. Regehr was the lead on this version of Zorro, actually. 88 episodes over four years.

Toth art might've been nice; but while I didn't recognize their names, Taylor and Fawcett do all right. I'm really sure this was during that stretch when Marvel was cranking out like 100 titles a month in the hopes of choking the market, but this wasn't the worst looking I've seen from that lot. Plot-wise, Zorro has to prevent his dad from marrying a golddigger without exposing his identity. Geez, it's your dad, you can probably trust him; but no, Zorro has to make a scene. Maybe your dad just wants a little companionship, and it's up to him if he leaves your inheritance to a trophy wife, ya ungrateful bastard. Ahem...I just hopped up to check Disney+ for a moment, but the only Zorro they had was the Mask of Zorro, edited together from their TV series: the rights for Zorro have been around, yeah. He's been parodied multiple times and the character and setting are probably not as culturally sensitive as you might hope, but he'll be back.

Probably with a rap. That just seems inevitable, now.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020


There's yet another Fortnite set--McFarlane's Shopping Cart Pack with a nice looking cart, but I went with this one from Figures Toy Company, or their sister site. The vodka bottles were from eBay, and didn't scale as well as I'd like. 1:12 scale varies, more than you'd think.

Are there Costco stores in New York? Oh, good.
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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Men of Steel! Or low-grade pig-iron, anyway.

I wouldn't have guessed this, but going back through the build-a-figure chronicles tag there's been at least two prior times where I completed two at the same time: Thanos and SP//dr and Monster Venom and Dr. Psycho. Today, we've got the Marvel Legends Spider-Man: Far From Home Molten Man and DC Multiverse Lex Luthor!

We already had most of Lex, with the alternate Darkseid-Lex head from Spoiler; but I used some Amazon points to get the Gotham by Gaslight Batman for, let's nine cents. That gets us the regular Lex head and Superman cape; and Lex's neck has better range of motion than any Superman figure I've bought in years. Still, his right arm did not peg in well; a problem I've had before with the Rookie Collect-n-Connect. This may be the last one I build--unless I get a bee in my bonnet to go finish Lobo; which seems unlikely, but I do have the head/crotch parts.

"Bee in my bonnet" kind of describes why I eBay'd a couple parts for Molten Man, and he's a glorious mess. In Far From Home--which isn't on Disney+, grrrr--I'm pretty sure he's usually much, much bigger. He's nowhere close to the comic version, although I'm probably still going to use him as something like that. He's supposed to be a scary, molten-steel monster; but he's more like a doofy, shambling thing. Like the recent Super-Skrull, Molten Man was tough to peg together: the gloopy, melty left leg has a weird little tab and some ridges. Still, I have a feeling I'm going to use him more than Luthor...
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Monday, February 24, 2020

You shouldn't wear white after Labor Day, but when should you start again?

It's white suits all the way around today, as we glance at some more Fortnite figures: from McFarlane Toys, Fortnite Wild Card Black; from Jazwares, Fortnite Legendary Wild Card; and...

From Mezco, One: 12 Collective Moon Knight. As always, the Amazon links are for reference only: if you're interested in the figures, please buy them somewhere someone cool gets a kickback.

The two McFarlane Wild Cards I'm not sure I had seen before finding at Ross, which was like getting two for one. The Jazwares figures have been easier to find; Heart there was from a Fred Meyer with a double-coupon bringing him down to under five bucks. Moon Knight is running about $80--for now. Some of the One: 12 offerings might hang out for a while, others disappear quickly and more than double in price. The earlier crescent edition MK is already creeping up; so if you have any interest it had best be sooner rather than later. (I used points to get mine about half-off, so roughly the price of two new Marvel Legends.)

The McFarlane Wild Cards came with two heads, Club or Spade. Heart and Diamond are in another box, with alternate accessories: Club/Spade have the suction-cup grappling-hook gun and a blue llama backpack that probably means something if you play the game. Heart/Diamond have the crowbar and briefcase, and both have a plain black base. Jazwares comes with alternate faceplates for each suit, along with the briefcase (and dangling handcuffs), crowbar, and a gun that resembles a Desert Eagle. I didn't take a picture, but comparing them both with an average-sized Marvel Legends figure--the most recent Mr. Fantastic--McFarlane is about half-a-head taller, Jazwares about half-a-head shorter. It's up to you if they play well together!

Likewise, Moon Knight scales well, with the top of his hood a bit taller than Mr. Fantastic. I know some might not care aesthetically for cloth outfits with other figures; again, up to you. There is a lot of cape, but it's pleasantly light compared to some of the hard plastic shells you get with Legends sometimes. I do feel like I have to wash my grubby little paws constantly to play with him, though. As usual for the line, he has a ton of accessories: alternate partially-unmasked head and hood piece, a staff, grappling-hook, nunchucks, crescent blade, eight alternate hands, and a stand with very elaborate cape-posing pieces. The One: 12 slipcase packaging is also collector-friendly--you could pack it back up for resale easily enough--if overly fancy for my tastes. But I'm cheap; I wouldn't mind if Mezco just threw it all in a bag and tossed it at me.

This is my first Marvel One: 12, but I've had a few of the Star Trek figures for a while. The joints take some getting used to, since you can't see where they are under the cloth outfit. The head and hands all pop on and off easily enough; but I have heard complaints the staff and nunchucks are sharp! Don't poke yourself and bleed on him, I don't know how you would clean that off.

I hadn't read the Mr. Knight version of Moon Knight in a while, from the Warren Ellis relaunch. I forgot that it was all white--tie, gloves, everything--and there was a moon-symbol on his mask. I did try both Mezco heads on the McFarlane body; but they are just sitting there: the neck-peg is actually part of the head.

So far Hasbro hasn't announced either a "Mr. Knight" or a classic Moon Knight; and if they don't this year I suspect that will be it until the Disney+ series comes out; which is scheduled for what, 2022 or something? Another date that seems both a million years away and optimistic as hell, but I suppose will be here soon enough. The clickbait sites had indicated Daniel Radcliffe from the Harry Potter movies was a front-runner; which could be either wishful thinking or scaremongering depending on if you're a fan or not. I don't think casting is even that far along, yet.

I was out for a bit this weekend and hoped to randomly stumble across a McFarlane Heart/Diamond, to finish the hand, as it were. Maybe later. In the meantime, I'm still using the last Hasbro Marvel Legends Moon Knight in strips, because in-story I haven't hit a point to swap off! One:12 may get more play later.

I still haven't played Fortnite either, but my oldest son does. He played a few games while doing laundry a bit ago, and got second twice! Which is pretty good, but also like getting tackled on the goal line as time runs out. I'd better ask if he's gotten a win yet!

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Tsop Eslupmi Rehtona Tey.

I have not been keeping up on DC books--although I need to get that issue of Young Justice guest-starring Warlord--but has Bart Allen been rolled back to Impulse? His runs--so to speak--as Flash and Kid Flash did not seem to take, possibly because DC seems steadfastly opposed to any legacy heroes moving up the ladder; but also because Impulse just works. There's also piles of material waiting to be mined teaming him up with some poor sap--um, lucky hero, every month. Editorial should consider a DC Comics Presents style book for him--or Brave and the Bold, if you wanted Bart to ask which one he was every month. But, today from his old book. from 1996, Impulse #17, "Quicker than the Eye" Written by Mark Waid, pencils by Humberto Ramos, inks by Wayne Faucher.

Bart's mentor Max Mercury is always trying to teach him patience, often by dragging his own feet; but he might have a treat for him today: a backstage visit to Zatanna! Whose regular assistant is out, so why not use Bart? Although Zat seems to know Max's secret, she doesn't seem to realize Bart is Impulse, and Max can't explain in public. Despite having a handle on talking backwards, Bart is terrible onstage, with a frustrated Zatanna eventually blurting out "Trab--teg tsol! (EDITOR: Read Zatanna's magic spells backwards!) Bart disappears, possibly the first successful trick of the evening, so he shouldn't read too much into the thunderous applause it gets.

Bart appears in the mystic land of Kroz, which he treats like a videogame and largely walks all over its assorted dangers like giants, mummies, and Chun-Li types. Having followed him, Zatanna is having less luck, since her magic isn't working there. Or, at least it only works on Bart, but he's still able to defeat the final boss and recover the mystic power doodad; which he uses to make a pile of videogames, dress up Max as a maid, and summon dozens of rabbits for Zat before she takes it away and sends them home. The doodad doesn't work back on earth, but Bart graciously thanks Zatanna for the 'game' and offers to help clean up; she politely declines, figuring Max was waiting for him...

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Way better than that "MARTHA!? WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME!?" business.

I may have read more Ghost comics than Shadow comics when this came out; but there may have been more issues of Ghost than Shadow had at that point. (No. Not even close. Super wrong.) From 1995, Ghost and the Shadow, written by Doug Moench, pencils by H. M. Baker, inks by Bernard Kolle.

It's going to be a run on .45 ammo in Arcadia, after a commando team storms a Tibetan monastery, killing the monks and stealing a large jade idol. A message is sent to the aged Harry Vincent, who then revives Lamont Cranston from suspended animation. Cranston is momentary taken aback that his old operative is so old, and then his other assistants had "passed on," including Margo Lane. The message reads, "Tulpa Arcadia," and the Shadow is on his way; after a momentary joke about where that city is. The Shadow blows up a couple people before we even get to his guest-star, Ghost, and her sister Margo: the commandos attack and kidnap Margo, leaving a message to lure her to a sleazy Club Hell.

Ghost is nearly trapped in a jade net--jade was her Kryptonite, she couldn't pass through it--but the Shadow saves her, and gives her the exposition; without eyeballing the heroine like every other man she had run across in her book. Ghost goes along with him, to rescue Margo; the name striking a chord with the Shadow. He doesn't get all Batman v. Superman about it, though. Margo is freed and the bad guys killed off, although with less shot in the face than I'd expect from either character.

This feels like it was maybe hoping for a modern Shadow relaunch, set in the present, which would've been fine: 40's or 90's, he would've been blazing away with those .45's either way. I'll have to get to the Ghost/Hellboy crossover sometime as well.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2020


Moon Knight does that fireman carry very well! But he won't have to for much longer. Not because they're getting rid of Crossbones, though. Next time!

Citizen V was a recent clearance purchase, and I may have been just as excited as Kurt to realize he had the same sword! He doesn't have the same wrist hinge that Kurt has for fencing, though--does he? No, in fact, his is even hindered a bit by his wrist wraps.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Is he even called "Death-Man" in this issue?

Over the course of seven hundred years doing this blog, we've looked a bit at Thor comics from before Walt Simonson rebuild the book, and we've seen a few from before Frank Miller did the same for Daredevil. The latter seeming like a longer stretch now: from 1976, Daredevil #130, "Look Out, DD--Here Comes the Death-Man!" Written and edited by Marv Wolfman, pencils by Bob Brown, inks by Klaus Janson.

Daredevil is racing across New York City, but not to stop a crime; he's late for the opening of his new legal clinic, the Storefront. He's so late, he's stripping off his DD-costume mid-swing! There's something for the ladies, although I really thought Matt would have more stylish shorts. Matt gives a business card to his longtime partner Foggy, who is a bit distracted since he's getting crushed in the polls. (He was trying to get re-elected as district attorney; and I gotta ask: has that ever been a super-big deal in NYC? It got so much page time you'd think he was running for Jesus.) Also at the little party: Matt's current girlfriend Heather Glenn, and Foggy's possibly underage sister Candace; both of whom seem more than willing to stab the other to bang Matt.

Meanwhile, somebody--or somebodies--keep burying chicken heads in Central Park. Yep, it's a voodoo story; with the skeleton-man Brother Zed telling a young widow if she can't come up with the cash, she's going to have to come up with a better sacrifice than a chicken; like her son.

More interestingly, that night Foggy Nelson appears on live TV, with a list of why he was unworthy of re-election--but Foggy was at home, watching the broadcast! And that's burying the lead: the prior story was the shocking return of both John and Robert Kennedy, as well as allegations that a past president had been kidnapped and replaced! But back to the district attorney race. Actually, no, it would barely come up the rest of this one: DD hears the voodoo cultists after they bury the kid up to his neck. Brother Zed makes a little Daredevil-effigy voodoo doll right quick, and uses it to cast a spell that kills DD in moments!

Yeah, no. DD was playing possum, all the better to hear all of Brother Zed's plan. Which wasn't much, it's pretty basic voodoo extortion. He is at a loss as to how DD resisted his hypnotic trance, but a scoffing DD isn't about to tell him. This was a rare, clean win for DD; especially since only he could've avoided Brother Zed's hypnosis: (tapping forehead gif) can't hypnotize a blind guy. The next morning, back at the Storefront, a sad Foggy shuffles in, having lost the election, to beg for a job. Matt tells him, he should've looked at the card he gave him yesterday: it already had Foggy's name on it. Matt was trying to make a friendly gesture, that Foggy would always be his partner, but it could also be read as 'yeah, I totally knew you were gonna lose, loser.'

Per the GCD, this was the first issue with a UPC barcode; and the Marvel Value a chunk of the Hulk's hair?
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Monday, February 17, 2020

If I was writing Batman and had to introduce a new villain, I sure as fun wouldn't let my editor overhype it, since that would just kill it stone dead. "Introducing Batman's most bizarre foe!" is too much. From 1978, Batman #303, "Batman's Great Identity Switch!" Written by David Vern [as David V. Reed] pencils by John Calnan, inks by Dick Giordano.

Yeah, the villain, the "Dodo Man" is a little thin: at the Gotham City Museum of Natural History, he's disguised himself as a caveman to hide in one of the exhibits and rob the place later. Batman nearly has him, but catches a stone to the side of his head, and then things get weird. Spying the Bat-Signal outside, Batman leaps into action and changes into Bruce Wayne! Confused, Commissioner Gordon recognizes him as Batman, just disguised as Bruce Wayne, for some reason. He gives Bruce a tip about a criminal coming out of hiding at a gambling den, whom Bruce kicks the crap out of before heading back to Wayne Tower for the night. (You remember that one, with the tree in the middle of it?) Alfred wonders why Bruce's suit is all torn up, and realizes he had been fighting crime "in his real identity." Bruce argues Batman is just as real as Bruce Wayne, and doesn't see what the problem is.

Alfred has an idea what the problem is, the next morning when Bruce comes out for breakfast, in full Batman costume. Somehow, the lump on his head has derailed his usual processes. Alfred consults with a doctor, without naming any names, and checks Batman's case notes about the Dodo Man...who "compulsively steals anything having to do with the extinct dodo bird." His M.O. was to immediately try again if foiled, which gives Alfred an idea. Meanwhile, Batman is getting a lot of attention out in the daytime; which hinders him from trying to go about a normal day. Still, he's excited to go into action again, following one of his bugs to the dodo exhibit in the museum, which apparently is enough to trigger him to change costumes. Beating up the Dodo Man, Batman swings home, as Alfred drives Bruce Wayne's car home: Alfred had planted the bug, to give Batman a nudge.

Not great. But the back-up story might be something: an Unsolved Case of the Batman, "If Justice Be Served" Written by Denny O'Neil, pencils by Michael Golden, inks by Jack Abel. Um, no, it's kind of a grim one too: Bruce is playing tennis with the older Angus McKame in 107 degree heat, and Angus has a heart attack and dies. That night, in the terrible neighborhood the wealthy Angus inexplicably lived in, Batman ponders the rumor that Angus kept a wall safe full of cash, as he finds reporter Marty Rail sprinting away from a seven-foot tall man. But Batman made the wrong choice: the bigger man was Buzzy, Angus's kid; and Marty had taken off. Angus had robbed the safe, but only taken documents showing Angus was a wanted criminal fifty years ago in Death Valley. Buzzy tries to stop Angus and gets shot, but manages to shove the dirty reporter out a window. Batman's 0-for-3 here, but lets the documents be taken away by the wind, leaving Angus's reputation as a decent man untouched.

Also, if I had to come up with a new Batman villain, on the, Knockoff! He's cribbed gimmicks and weapons from every bad guy in Gotham, from Mr. Freeze to the Ten-Eyed Man! So he's not just causing trouble, and the bad guys are after him too, he's also a forensic nightmare...
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Friday, February 14, 2020

Oh, Zabu's in this one.

Anyone else do this: you run across a couple books in the quarter bin, maybe tangentially related, or from around the same timeframe, and you figure they were maybe from the same collection so you had best keep them together like two old friends?, just me? Huh. Anyway, from 1972, Astonishing Tales #10, "To End in Flames!" Written by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, pencils by Barry (Windsor-)Smith, inks by Sal Buscema.

Ka-Zar, Zabu, and marooned stranger Paul are separated after fighting an ichthyosaur in the Savage Land's mysterious "Lost Lake" area; with Ka-Zar getting captured by German-accented men and Zabu and Paul hassled by Brits. While they try to rope up Zabu, Paul is reunited with his girl, Barbara, who tells him their leaders are "old men--ancient! and Paul--they're still fighting World War II!" The German leader--complete with monocle!--tells Ka-Zar his U-boat was hit while sinking an English destroyer, and the survivors from both ships took mates, had kids, and had been continuing the war for the last three decades. (I don't know how their "mates" felt about that, or about being taken for that matter; and wouldn't there be a long lull before the kids were old enough to do anything?)

Wait, it's even worse than it sounds! The German and British survivors are in direct contact with each other: they have a meeting to try and figure where Ka-Zar came from, and worry he might spill that the war was over, ending their power over their kids! Ka-Zar is caged up next to a "smilodectes" they had been saving for a while to keep the kids from exploring the caves, and the German and British leader launch their final, all-out attacks...why, exactly? Because it wouldn't be fair to all the soldiers that died if their kids didn't die too? Goddamn boomers. (Technically, WWII veterans wouldn't be 'boomers,' their kids would be. Any that survive this probably return to the Savage Land forty years later to try and frack it or something.)

Ka-Zar manages to get the kids' attention, and point out to them how pointless their fight is: none of them have any particular grudge with each other, which makes me wonder how much fighting they did before this. Still, the German and British leaders, virtually hand in hand, are going to throw a bomb into the volcano on the island, blowing up everyone, possibly the entire Savage Land! Again...why, exactly? They hate their kids and nature? Sure sound like boomers...They give a half-assed explanation about their little war giving their kids something to fight for, and "man cannot survive without war," but before they can knock out any more horsecrap clichés Zabu stops them from dropping the bomb in volcano by knocking them both in. Zabu nearly goes in himself, but Ka-Zar pulls him out; and goes on to his next adventure with Paul and Barbara--and looking it up, 'Barbara' wouldn't have her full name revealed for a few more issues: she's Bobbi Morse, who would later become Mockingbird! Paul went on to...I dunno, an early grave?

Ka-Zar, at this point, did not have good diction; but Zabu as always is the best. I know I still have the old Toy Biz Ka-Zar and Zabu, and Zabu still holds up. Kinda wish Hasbro would knock out a new set, though; the Marvel Legends set with Shanna is stupid-expensive.
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