Friday, July 31, 2020

God, I wish this had got a relaunch in the New 52 or something: it almost certainly would've got cancelled again, but we would'a got maybe another 15 issues out of it. From 1998, Major Bummer #8, "Turn of the Screwball" "Ghost writer" John Arcudi, "Apparitions" Doug Mahnke, "Power of Darkness" Tom Nguyen.

Slackjawed moron turned super-powered slackjawed moron Lou Martin had been blackballed by a former employer, and his powers had done nothing to make him any money, so he's reduced to taking a babysitting job. As usual, if a kid has scared off prior nannies and sitters, there's probably a reason. Like demonic possession! Half-asleep after finally getting the kid to bed, Lou inadvertently realizes he has the power to see ghosts; in this case a 1950's suburban couple who had been murdered by a demonically possessed child they had adopted. The ghost dad's dad killed the demon-child, and buried them all in the basement; so the ghost couple was still there, as was the demon. Lou has to knock out the demon, then bury all the remains on consecrated ground.

Meanwhile, setting up a brawl for next issue, bad-girl Nancy visits Nunzio in prison: the gang wanted him back, since he was the only one that was bulletproof; but Nunzio was waiting for his lawyer to get him off. Nancy offers him a lot of incentive; which he was probably going to take.

This was a great series that you should absolutely buy every time you see it in a quarterbin; I know I do.
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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Yes, but does he have to take the Thor-sleep now?

When we looked at Thor #432, we mentioned DeFalco seemed to make up a rule that "immortals of Asgard (are) forbidden to harm an 'innocent' mortal, or to kill a fellow Asgardian." I kind of feel like something like that is going on here, as Balder gets ready to drain the Thor-power! From 1988, Thor #396, "Into the Realm of Death!" Written by Tom DeFalco, pencils by Ron Frenz, inks by Don Heck.

Thor is donating blood to his old friend Hogun the Grim, who had been injured several issues back: Hogun was beat by Daredevil and shot by a SWAT team in #393. He wasn't fully recovered, though: Seth had marked him for death, the scar still showing on his face. Thor is dismayed to hear Asgard was besieged by Seth, but ever since the Rainbow Bridge had been destroyed, getting to Asgard was much more difficult. Thor has a plan, and some new allies: Earth Force, who had been given powers by Seth but wanted to make amends; and his teammate in the Avengers, the Black Knight! The Knight is more than willing to help Thor, even though he was going through his own thing right now: the Avengers were currently disbanded, and the curse of the Ebony Blade had been immobilizing him, forcing him to use an exo-skeleton.

In Asgard, with the situation looking desperate, Balder was considering a desperate measure: "the Celestial Siphon," to drain Thor's power for their use. Sif is furious, but Balder frames it as a tough call and one he wouldn't be disputed on: it's also pointed out that the Siphon was built by Odin, which 100% seems like the kind of crap he would pull. At the Vault, Thor and company visit one of Seth's men, Grog the God-Crusher. Thor goads him into opening a portal to Seth's dimension, and everyone follows him through. (The Black Knight goes through partially because he doesn't think he has any reason to stay, but also because he did not want to be the one to have to explain this to the authorities!) Facing one of Seth's "Death Legions" Thor begins tearing into them: "'Tis only a minor outpost!" Wind Warrior, the girl member of Earth Force, gets to have a crisis of confidence that she'll hopefully get to overcome later; but everyone else fights behind Thor.

As Seth's main forces invade Asgard, Balder activates the Syphon, draining Thor's power mid-battle: Thor realizes what has happened, but is charitable enough to consider how much that must have cost Balder. Grog is now able to curbstomp Thor, as everyone else gets bogged down by numbers: even Mjolnir seemed to have lost its mojo, as Grog is able to pick it up! This was of course building up to the 400th issue, so this probably wasn't their darkest hour yet--after all, the next issue banner proclaims "and Loki enters the fray," so things were probably going to get worse.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2020


I've read a few of the Hickman X-Men books, but I can't recall if humans were allowed to visit Krakoa, or if they were expressly verboten. I feel like the latter...but also that there's probably some wiggle room if someone has super-powers, or is really hot.

Moon Knight has a rep for crazy, but I wonder how often he leans into that to get out of things. Or takes a day off claiming it's the Feast of Khonshu.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

I said (over and over, honestly) how much I didn't like the Black Cat/crime boss storyline, but looking back I don't think that did her as dirty as the last season of Jessica Jones did Patsy Walker. So let's check out a more cheerful one: from 2016, Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat #11, written by Kate Leth, art by Brittney L. Williams.

This title was much, much lighter than most Hellcat received in the past or on Jessica Jones, as Patsy was currently starting a temp agency for super-powered types who didn't want to be heroes, or their powers didn't lend themselves to it. Unrelatedly, the Black Cat here also recruits her own squad, a band of vigilante-thief girls, after they trash a musician's apartment for writing an unflattering song about one of them. Black Cat seemed to want Patsy out of the picture, either as Patsy or Hellcat; but didn't think she could "disappear someone that notable," so she opts to steal her rolodex of contacts.

Back at Patsy's apartment, Zoe, one of Black Cat's new gang, spills a lot of beans, furious that Patsy was living in her old apartment, with her ex-boyfriend, who now had super-powers. Lot to sort through there. Back at Patsy's office, Black Cat meets assistant Bailey, who seemed to have what would be a Bag of Holding in D&D, which the Cat then shoves her into!

Checking the ComicChron numbers, this issue sold 11,902; a little less than some other titles that had been already cancelled like Venom: Space Knight or Mockingbird. I think Patsy Walker's numbers might have been shored up by variant covers up to this issue, though. The scans today are mostly Black Cat since she's doing all the instigating, but I'm glad Marvel went with this version of Hellcat instead of a Netflix-like one: I swear that series decided in the last season, Patsy was never going to make a right decision ever again.
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Monday, July 27, 2020

Up until the other day, I think I had more Silver Sable action figures than I had Silver Sable comics, but this ties up that score! From 1994, Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #31, "Overload!" Written by Gregory Wright, pencils by Gordon Purcell, inks by Pam Eklund.

Silver is in a bind this month, as she was feeling a surprising amount of guilt for murdering the man that killed her mother, and on top of that she was pregnant, courtesy her ex-husband Basil. Basil? You might know him by his alias, the Foreigner. Although, I'm pretty convinced their relationship was a bit of continuity backfill based on what was probably intended as a joke in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #118: Peter David had talked up how slick the Foreigner was this issue and in #116 with Sabretooth. In #118, the Foreigner arrives in disguise for a luncheon meeting with the Kingpin, who is largely annoyed by him but obviously can't do anything about it. Kingpin hears an explosion across town, that he hadn't scheduled, and Foreigner explains that was "orchids," for his ex-wife. I think that was just a bit of snark, not intended to connect these two. (I've had those issues since they came out, but unfortunately not handy!)

Having apparently only slept with him again to save one of her Wild Pack, Silver had been careful, but is more than distraught at the thought of Foreigner being the dad. The Sandman, who had been crushing on her pretty hard for most of this series, probably would feel the same way, since he discovers the pregnancy when a co-worker hacks into Silver's files to find out why he hadn't been contacted recently. Still, Silver's recently returned father reminds her, she did have to honor her word and complete one final job for the Foreigner, who had invested heavily in a luxury train in Japan. Unfortunately, some were upset at foreign capitalists moving in; as well as outright gangsters looking for a score: Hammerhead! Hesitant to kill after her recent murder, Sable is reluctant to shoot Hammerhead in cold blood, and ends up captured to save hostages. (Plus, I don't know if shooting Hammerhead even in the face would be likely to kill him. Maybe in the eye...)

Silver Sable would end with #35, which I don't have yet! But that was a fairly decent run for the time; and she seemed to avoid some of the lower-end art that plagued other mid-to-lower tier Marvel books then as well. I've always liked Purcell's art, Steven Butler did a number of issues, and I just found out Tom Grindberg had a couple too.
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Friday, July 24, 2020

Of course I got this too late for the Fourth, but I never get anything scheduled right anyway.

I didn't recognize this one, and turns out I had read most of it, but that's okay: from 2011, Captain America: Rebirth, framing sequence story and art by Karl Kesel.

The first Captain America movie was in 2011, which of course seems like a hundred years ago; but this issue also has a "Got Milk?" ad for the Green Lantern movie, which feels even longer ago! (How many of you have the DVD's for both? Okay, when did you last watch them?) This was a 68-pager of Lee/Kirby reprints the Cap stories from Tales of Suspense which...huh, I thought I would've read those reprinted in Marvel Double Feature, but nope, probably the black-and-white Essential Captain America. These are all nice and recolored, though.

In the framing sequence, Cap has a clandestine meeting with the granddaughter of one of the architects of Project: Rebirth. Although not referred to by name in the classic issues, General "Fitz" Kilroy had brainstormed or worked on a number of secret projects; none of which turned out as well as Cap, but that's still not too shabby of a legacy. It was a good enough track record that the Nazis tried to murder him on several occasions, scared he might have another good idea in him. Cap either wasn't sure or couldn't say, but Fitz disappeared about the same time as the fabled Philadelphia Experiment, a popular conspiracy theory that's pretty crap but fun to pretend about. (It would play into a Warlord storyline that was pretty fun and I thought I had blogged, but maybe hadn't posted yet. There's time-travel for you...)
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Thursday, July 23, 2020

There's a better than even chance I already have a copy of this one, but I only had a few books the other day, so a quarter-bin copy: from 1988, Daredevil #255, "Temptation!" Written by Ann Nocenti, pencils by John Romita Jr, inks by Al Williamson.

The title makes it sound blatant or obvious, like a road sign warning of a hazard; but, my god, Matt is so blind. He'll never see it coming. Although he was having nightmares about Tyrone, a boy blinded by pollution, and was frustrated that he was still 'ghost-lawyering' the case instead of presenting it himself, he still has it pretty well; as he wakes up and rants to Karen, who seems to find it charming. The lack of pants might help...Still, after Karen leaves but before Matt heads out, Mary arrives, with Tyrone, from the "blind school." He's learning to get around well, but not so much that he can realize what Matt and Mary are doing, while Karen leaves a message on the machine. You bastard, Matt.

The Kingpin wants Matt to lose this case; not out of any financial concerns or interest in Tyrone; but to teach him some are "beyond the law." Foggy is among the phalanx of lawyers representing the polluting company, and after Karen shuns him entering the courthouse he realizes Matt must be involved, and recognizes his old partner in the arguments. But where is Matt? He's held up, by his first encounter with Typhoid. She quickly confirms, Typhoid presents as completely different than Mary, and Daredevil finds she blurs his radar sense as well. Typhoid shows off her telekinetic and pyrokinetic powers--you know, I think I forgot about the telekinesis? Or maybe she just throws flaming garbage at DD from off-panel. That would be easy to handle, but Typhoid's mocking cuts him as well: Matt thinks it's almost like she knew he had been tempted to do wrong, with Mary. far would that have had to go to be 'wrong,' Matt?

Typhoid disappears in short order, content to continue tormenting him, and maybe to let Mary keep falling for him as well. She's doing this for a million from the Kingpin, but this was back when that was a bit more money. Still seems like a bargain. Back at the trial, Foggy stumbles in presenting his portion of the case when Matt arrives, and it looks like it's going to be an easy win for Matt and Tyrone. The Kingpin, furious, tells his Arranger to buy a juror, immediately. Karen is thrilled, but Matt is shaken; more for them than the case.

God, Romita Jr. was so good in this series. Nocenti would make Typhoid a bit more sympathetic character much later, but she is so bad here, and loves it. Great issue from a great run.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2020


...wait, you don't eat baba ganoush with a fork; it's a dip, isn't it? I don't think I've ever had proper gazpacho, borscht, or Billy Beer either! What the hell am I even eating? I do know I eat a fair amount of cereal, but mixing cereal doesn't do anything for me, I may be trying to stay kosher.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

I was thinking it had been a bit since I had blogged any non-Marvel/DC book, but we had a Bongo comic recently. Well then, when was the last Flash Gordon book I blogged? Eleven years ago? And it's not the first picture at the link? Maybe we'll double down today: from 2013, Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist #9, "Chapter Nine: Coronation" Plot and script by Eric Trautmann, co-plot, art direction and cover by Alex Ross, pencils by Ron Adrian, colors by Slamet Mujiono; and from 2015, Flash Gordon #8, "Stuff of Legend" Written by Jeff Parker, art by Evan Shaner, color by Jordie Bellaire.

Zeitgeist was a bit of a greatest-hits approach, taking elements from many different iterations: for example, Klytus, from the Flash Gordon movie, had a major role in the series and this issue. Both Ming and Klytus had been captured at this point, and while his various allies were on the verge of turning on each other, Flash has a conversation with Klytus about Mongo and what it would take to live there: absolutely no mercy. He doesn't think the earthlings are up to it, but there's no way he would be able to even conceive a different way. Still, even captured and missing an arm, Klytus still seems to hold a lot of cards, including his wife, who was leading a team from Mongo against the Nazis back on earth.

Forced to work with Klytus, Flash has a surprising announcement made: since he defeated Ming, he could take over...or name a regent to govern in his name. Dale Arden is named Empress of Mongo...a decision that Ming may raise an eyebrow at, but did it play into his hands? There was only one issue left, so he must've had something going.

Zeitgeist had been set in World War II, back when the original newspaper strips had been published; the Parker/Shaner version seemed to be set present day, but Ming may have rendered much of earth's technology useless: TV and computers weren't working, so newsreels and newspapers were back in business. Flash, Dale, and Zarkov return to earth this issue; with tales of Mongo and new science for rebuilding society. Only Flash seems downbeat: he was a little worried he would be seen as "too valuable to lose" and grounded, and they hadn't finished the job on Mongo. Weary from the interview circuit, Flash considers finally answering "the question they always ask," regarding his nickname. Which is somewhat more gloomy than usual, I believe.

Before their rocket can be put on a pedestal at the museum, Dale and Zarkov know Flash is their direction, and they head back into space, arriving to save Vultan from Ming. Flash impales Ming, who isn't concerned: in fact, this justifies his "practice of never appearing physically outside (his) domicile." The Ming-duplicate melts down to an eyeball and speakerbox, very retro.

This was the last issue of this series, but a new number one was forthcoming as part of Dynamite's King books with the Phantom, Mandrake, and Jungle Jim in a shared universe. (There was a Prince Valiant book as well, but I don't know if it would've tied-in.) At a glance, looks like those maybe ran four issues a piece and then a crossover in 2016-2017 that huh, got Prince Valiant in there too. I don't know that Dynamite still has the King licenses, though, and neither does Doc Shaner. While they have a variety of licensed titles, Dynamite also recently opted to publish a dire-looking Comicsgate related book. That decision may have burned a lot of goodwill; since I wouldn't want to be tied to those hatemongers.
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Monday, July 20, 2020

Yes, the Kool-Aid is intact! Time to get this baby slabbed!

I remember back in the 90's, when I was young, and my heart was an open book (stop doing that!) there was a Marvel Comics/Kool-Aid promotion. Collect Kool-Aid points, mail in a couple bucks, get a mini-subscription for three comics, I think. Maybe you remember the ad; it wasn't in this one, but a packet of Slammin' Strawberry Kiwi was! From 1996, Over the Edge #9, "The Killing Time" Written by Bruce Sakow, pencils by Robert E. Brown, inks by Mike Witherby.

Pretty sure the comic crash was in full effect by this point: this was the second-to-last issue of this series, and the Bullpen Bulletins page mentions the last issues of Spider-Man 2099 and Captain America. Marvel was no longer flooding the racks with books of varying quality; but I liked the art in this one: it's very 90's, with a cartoony look to the characters but a lot of detail. I thought it had a bit of an early Greg Capullo feel? "REB" did not appear to have a ton of credits, but he did an issue of Excalibur back in the day, and I wouldn't mind checking out his Savage Sword of Conan issue.

Story-wise, bad guy Skinner, one of Lilith's brood from the Rise of the Midnight Sons crossover, breaks out from the wreckage of the Black Hole, which I guess was the Ghost Rider books' answer to the Raft. Although he had been forced by Lilith to kill the family he had built, he still blamed Johnny Blaze and Ghost Rider, and started a rampage of murder on his way back to them. Meanwhile, Dan Ketch worries that he's got to get his life together, although he does somehow have a girlfriend: I still suspect his motorcycle did a lot of the heavy lifting. Johnny is at Dan's mom's house, telling her he's going to try to run down another lead on his missing kids; but of course Skinner starts blowing things up before he gets anywhere. Ghost Rider and Johnny beat Skinner down, although they feel he's more to be pitied than scorned.

Hmm, I haven't made a proper pitcher of Kool-Aid in years--possibly because they aren't bribing me with comics! But it looks like strawberry-kiwi is still out there, even if it is no longer "Slammin'." In the same vein, the back cover of this issue is an ad for Spider-Man cereal; another classic. Still have my Spidey cereal bowls from it!
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Friday, July 17, 2020

Back in 2014, I wrote that I seem to be blogging "an issue or two of Warlord a year, so I could be done by 2089 at this rate." I have no intention of blogging every single issue, but I have done more than a few; and in 2017 I wrote up several and scheduled them years out! Which seems optimistic as all get out today, but maybe we'll see if my writing style has changed any since then...that also seems optimistic. Anyway, from 1981, Warlord #50, "...By Fire and Ice" Story and art by Mike Grell, inks by Bob Smith.

For the entire run of the series to date, Deimos had been the recurring big-bad; the Skeletor to Travis's He-Man, if He-Man tended to violently eviscerate Skeletor at the end of every episode. I've referred a few times to Deimos's recurring returns from the dead, and the letters column this issue has a helpful recap of the last 50 issues. Deimos was killed in Warlord #4, brought back by the witch Ashiya and the Mask of Life in #10, and he kidnapped Travis and Tara's newborn son Joshua in #15. In a bit of a shell-game, in #20 Deimos clones Joshua, then ages the clone to adulthood, and forces Travis to fight his "son" to the death; then Deimos falls to his death in #21. Except Deimos was undead and seemingly unkillable at that point, and would be seen in #26 recruiting new henchman Chakal. Travis wouldn't run into Deimos again until #36, where he hacks the undead wizard into pieces, and is a little dismayed at how much he enjoyed that. That still doesn't kill Deimos, who has been working behind the scenes the last few issues, partially because he's currently a head on a hand! (Shades of Re-Animator here, but predating that!) To raise the stakes, Travis's daughter Jennifer never made it back to the surface world after #38, but in #44 she was rescued by Faaldren, who had been carrying his master Deimos around in a box. Jennifer appears to lose her mind in #49 when she wakes up to Deimos creeping in her bed, but still makes for a good hostage.

As Travis and Shakira run across Tara and Aton on their way to Castle Deimos (and Tara greets her hubby with the traditional sock to the jaw...) we check in on ye olden days of "the age of the wizard kings," where supporting cast members Machiste and Mariah have been for some time with the wizard Mongo Ironhand. The Evil One is on the verge of rising, and they're hoping to shut him down before he gets full run of his powers. Meanwhile, several thousand years later in the present, Deimos summons the witch Ashiya, to help him summon the Evil One for a pact. Ashiya is a little put out that Deimos has claimed Jennifer as his new "consort," but he knows Ashiya's beauty is an illusion. Deimos suspects Ashiya knows something about what he thinks was Joshua's clone, but she won't say: Deimos had also tried to clone himself a new body, but as an undead thing there were no living cells for him to make a clone of!

Reaching through time, Deimos asks the Evil One--who was the villain in the first Warlord comic I ever read, #66!--for a boon, to be returned to life. The Evil One obliges, but is then attacked by Machiste, Mariah, and Mongo; since he wasn't at full steam yet (and also as a cruel joke) the Evil One opts to steal Deimos's powers, then splits. With Travis almost at his doorstep, Deimos panics and offers to make Ashiya his queen, but she laughs in his face, and rubs it in by telling him the real Joshua survived. Deimos isn't licked yet, since he still had Atlantean technology, like the laser-bazooka he ambushes Travis's party with, killing Aton! Moreover, when Travis has a shot, he finds his daughter being used as a human shield! Travis is forced to surrender, and step out into the open.

What Deimos couldn't have predicted, was that Faaldren would turn on him, to save his friend Jennifer. Actually, yeah, he probably could've seen that coming, I'm sure he was a terrible boss. With Jennifer clear, Travis shoots Deimos's bazooka, which explodes. After falling a good couple of stories, Deimos scrambles to a horse and flees. Travis takes a moment to mourn Aton, who he felt could have been better than him; then asks Shakira to stay with the wounded Tara and take care of Jennifer, while he goes after Deimos. The chase takes them far from the eternal sunlight of most of Skartaris, deeper into the more-arctic terminator region of perpetual twilight. Morgan rides his horse to death--he did not appear to always be great to his horses--then trudges on through the snow, finally finding Deimos near an old shipwreck, surrounded by wolves!

The last few pages of the issue are nearly wordless, as Travis saves Deimos from the wolves, then starts a fire and bundles up his foe. He waits until Deimos wakes up, and points his .44 Automag at him, but doesn't shoot him. Instead, he kicks snow on the fire, and leaves Deimos to the wolves without a backwards glance...! Would this be the end of Deimos? Just about! Later writers on the book seemed to content to leave him dead, although there would be a fake-out in Warlord Annual #3, when on the tail end of a time-travel storyline, Travis encounters Daamon, an ancestor of Deimos's that looked so much like him Travis nearly kills him at first sight! Mike Grell would bring Deimos back for the 1992 mini-series and again for the 2010 revival. Offhand, I can't recall if he was killed off again in that one, but both Travis and Deimos would return again in 2015's Convergence, for whatever that's worth. Maybe they'll have appeared again since I've written this...and they have, more than once I think!
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