Wednesday, March 31, 2021


"What's Up Danger" indeed...You should probably keep your headphones volume low: I listened to my headphones for years but have developed a little tinnitus in recent years. (Which I kinda feel could be job related, although I'd never be able to prove it or anything.) I don't think Miles has Spider-sense, does he? He should probably keep his ears open for the Vulture or whatever. 

I held off a long time on buying the Alex Ross Captain America, because honestly, I have so many Caps! Then I got him at a bit of a markdown, but kept him in package until recently. He's so pretty! I thought Sat was going to comment on that, but maybe we didn't have the time. Also cut: Cap was going to apologize for throwing Moon Knight out the window, if not to Moon Knight then to the bartender. Cap might then have paid for the window and Sat's drinks; but not unlike Daredevil, Cap is going to smash the hell out of that window and then not acknowledge it in the slightest. 

While this one wraps up a plotline and will be the last appearance (for now) for Cap, Falcon, the Spideys and the Venoms; I thought we'd be done with Moon Knight and Morbius for a bit. Nope! I plot these largely by the seat of my pants, influenced by what figures we might have picked up recently, or that haven't made a major appearance yet. In fact, next week features a new guest-star (which will lead to another guest-star...) whose figure we've had for a little over a year. (Not their first figure, by any means.) Here's a hint: Kurt and Moon Knight have met him before, but Sat and Morby have not. (To the best of my knowledge. Although, arguably, Kurt and MK might not have met him, either...)

  Also, I've read a couple of King in Black crossover issues, but am not up on symbiote end-boss Knull. I know I've seen him, and it just hasn't stuck in my memory? Like, I want to say Knull looks like a monochrome version of Marvel's Dracula? And not the Tomb of Dracula, the crappy modern one. Anyway, Cap could've been under Knull's control, but neither he nor I care enough to mention him in the strip!
Ugh, I messed up the panel below and had to redo it!
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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

It literally may have never occurred to me to search for it by name before.

Also, I'm not sure I'd rest my burgers on anyone's ass, unconscious or otherwise...After a discussion on Twitter about Archie Comics digests and the difficulty in finding a specific one, I searched for about five minutes on eBay and found what I was looking for! I had this Captain Hero digest as a kid--it's from 1981--but have no recollection of buying it. (My dad was a principal and my mom a teacher, so it's entirely possible a kid left it behind--or had it taken away for reading in class!)

This digest was a collection of most of Jughead's short-lived superhero series, Jughead as Captain Hero from 1966-67. It's pretty obviously "inspired" by the Batman TV show, but it's fun. Archie also had a superheroic identity, Pureheart the Powerful, with an amusing explanation on why no one notices his super-powered antics: his power "fogs the mind of ordinary beings." Reggie gets into the act as Evilheart the Great, only doing good deeds incidentally to showing Pureheart up: his unrepentant dickishness seems more amusing to me as an old grouch. Betty appears as Superteen in one story to bail out PH; while Veronica was usually the hostage to get the plot going and sadly doesn't get her own heroic identity.

I'm not sure what happened to my copy; it could well be somewhere. But I'm not sure I ever looked for a replacement, since there are like fourteen million Archie digests, and I thought it would be under "Archie" or "Laugh" or something. There's another old digest story I remember, with Reggie claiming to have the power of mind over matter, as he's able to withstand winter chill in a light sweater; but of course there's a trick and comeuppance to it. Finding that one, though...that's going to be trickier.

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Monday, March 29, 2021

I don't usually post the covers, but this one, well, two things: Doom's mouth looks weird, but I know we've seen Doom with a drink or goblet in hand before (his Select figure came with one!) and how does he drink in that mask? His eye is right there, but where is his mouth? It looks like it has a hinge in it. And the other thing...Doom has blue eyes. (I did have to look that up, but looking something else up, there could be a reason!) From 1990, Alpha Flight #91, "A Thirst for Power" Written by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Michael Bair, inks by Mike Manley. Cover by Jackson Guice.
Working on a tip that someone was smuggling high-tech weapons, Alpha Flight confronts a group that turns out to be the "Latverian Liberation Front," in some brutally dorky armor. The defeated Latverians blow themselves up, which the recently returned Vindicator finds suspicious as he reports to his wife, Guardian. If they're still married: Heather notes he had been back for two weeks now, but was cold, possibly mechanical now. She has other problems, though, as the tipster was none other than Victor Von Doom, in the midst of trade talks with Canada, and now demanding Alpha Flight serve as his protection while there!
There are a few subplot pages, as Heather visits Shaman and the currently injured Flight members Talisman and Laura Dean; and Sasquatch and a team visit the construction site for their new base, even though he's not keen about sharing a city with the Maple Leafs. Vindicator and Aurora have drawn guard duty, as Doom wants a treaty with Canada to provide Latveria with fresh water after a bacterial infection; but Vindicator doubts that's the real Doom. (Doom also seems to have brought his own chair for the meetings, but I guess he'd have to? That armor would be too heavy for most seats.) The next day, more of Alpha is present, just in time for more of the LLF to attack. Doom's force field protects him from an assassin's blast, which leads Puck to ask why he needed them? Northstar points out, "for the petty sake of looking sympathetic." The Latverian rebels self-destruct again, only Vindicator knows it wasn't "self" destruct--it was triggered by Doom! With his control of electromagnetic frequencies, Vindicator could see Doom's signal and reach through his force field: he realized this 'Doom,' who may or may not have been the real one, was angling for international sympathy. Invoking diplomatic immunity, Doom teleports away, with a variant on his time platform.
Meanwhile, another Doom provides the means to clean Latveria's tainted water, to the ambassador from Symkaria; all part of a ploy against Kristoff. Was that Kristoff in Canada then? Probably, Kristoff had brown eyes, Doom blue. That long-running Doom vs. Kristoff battle was four months away from resolving, though. And in Canada, a general makes a push for Vindicator to be leading Alpha Flight again, not Guardian... Read more!

Friday, March 26, 2021

It's not strictly true, but it really feels like I have not accomplished a darn thing today, so let's go to a classic and see if that turns things around: from 1974, Marvel's Greatest Comics #52, reprinting 1967's Fantastic Four #69, "By Ben Betrayed!" Written by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott.
A minor classic, and the middle of a storyline: "Dr. Santini" has chemically turned Ben against the FF, all part of his master plan, since he was really the Mad Thinker! I kind of like him, although I don't think he's necessarily remembered highly in the rankings of FF villains. (You could argue his more visually striking Awesome Android was more memorable; the Thinker may place behind Diablo.) "When I'm done with ya--the Fantastic Four'll be dead--! And then--mebbe Ben Grimm can begin to live again!" I don't think Reed, Sue, or the reader have time to dwell upon how much of that is the Thinker's influence, and how much is really Ben's deeply buried but deeply felt resentment; since Ben is charging at the Four most of the issue, and they are not doing so hot at holding him off.
The Thinker is also adept at driving Ben forward: he can't give Reed a moment, or he could construct some new weapon to defeat him, that's what he does! Also of note: when the Thinker dissolves his Santini disguise, it also removes his "hastily-grown moustache"--he grew a real mustache for his disguise? Well, he must've crunched the numbers and decided that was the way to go. Reed gets Sue, Johnny, and Crystal out of there on a rocket cycle; then manages to sidestep Ben's charge, which launches the furious Thing out the hanger door, to his death! Maybe: that looked like a forty-story fall, would that have killed the Thing? We don't find out, as Reed stretches to save him, but is also pulled out of the Baxter Building. Ben steals a convenient dump truck to give chase as Reed glides away, while the Thinker is pawing all of Reed's stuff. But the Thinker's computers predicted this would be the moment he makes the "most awesome" discovery...the Negative Zone! Which is clearly labeled "Danger!" but the Thinker seems determined to see it.
Ben demolishes a condemned building to try and stop Reed, so Johnny steps up to give Reed a breather. Despite his fury, Ben's thinking as well: he makes a clumsy attempt to douse the Torch with a fire hydrant, but that was just to get him in position to clap his hands and knock him out with a "vacuum-blast!" Distainfully, Ben tells Johnny he could finish him anytime, but rejoins the hunt for Reed. Meanwhile, Sue has got to the cops, who waste no time sending in jets, as Ben shakes his fists at them, King Kong-style! Reed thinks Ben may be in more trouble than he actually is. 

Back at the Baxter Building, the Thinker is checking out the Negative Zone portal, but there was a fly in his ointment: odds were the Thing had killed Reed by that point, but if not Reed certainly would have guessed "Santini" had been the Thinker, and would try to free the real Santini. The Thinker opts to go dispose of the evidence, as in, Santini; while Reed does in fact figure it out. And as an army of cops and firefighters swarm the area, Ben steals a coat and hat and sneaks away, even angrier that "Richards turned everyone against me!"
It's like Ben is doing a really, really angry version of the sad walking-away bit from the end of the Incredible Hulk TV show. I wonder if there's a metal cover of that on YouTube...
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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Well, Guy does have nothing to lose and nothing to prove, so...

One of the funner things about having done this here blog for about a hunnerd years, is occasionally stumbling upon something we only mentioned before. Like today's issue! From 2011, Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #8, "War of the Green Lanterns, Part Three" Written by Peter J. Tomasi, pencils by Fernando Pasarin, inks by Cam Smith. Billy Idol-riffic cover by Felipe Massafera, and I like it!
...and as usual, we are coming in mid-crossover. I can't be sure if that's because I just blog these haphazardly, or if because the Green Lantern titles were in perpetual crossover mode from when Geoff Johns brought Hal back to when Grant Morrison took over. Guy, Kilowog, and Arisia are halfway back to Oa, to warn of recent events with Sodam Yat and Zardor. (I know Sodam was the Daxamite GL; he was also a dirty joke/throwaway line from Alan Moore that of course DC would try and make something out of.) Guy wants to talk to the Guardians first, and Arisia snaps that's because of the "secret deal" he and Ganthet made with a Red Lantern. (I can't recall if it was always Ganthet, but I feel like there was always at least one Guardian that thought Guy was cool.) Guy being Guy, he goes off a bit: he's the guy, as it were, that has to make the tough choices. Could Hal do that? Hell, no. Their argument is interrupted by a sudden flash of yellow, and the rings announcing "impurity restored." Both Guy and Kilowog saw a sudden flash of the Parallax entity (that retroactively had controlled Hal in his dark turn) but Arisia is seemingly hypnotized, and tears off towards Oa. Well, they were on their way there, anyway. Along with seemingly the entire GLC, likewise compelled! The controlled Lanterns capture Kilowog and Guy, but Kilowog breaks Guy out and sends him to get help. (As the Corps' trainer, Kilowog was also unwilling to leave his charges, wanting to keep an eye on them even if it meant being captured.) Guy calls for help, but the only one who answers is his last call, Hal.
At their reserve meeting point, the "Green House" (actually just a frozen wasteland) Hal meets with Guy, and they piece together what's happened: the only GL's maybe not controlled besides them would be John and Kyle, since they had all been "tagged by the Parallax bug" when Hal returned. And Krona may have been weakening the rings, to make them more susceptible to Parallax. Wait, Krona? Hal gets mad that this is the first he's hearing of that, or the aforementioned "secret deal" with Atrocitus. Hal doesn't think the Red Lanterns' leader can be trusted, but Guy feels the same way about Hal: he wants Hal to take off the ring. This of course comes to blows, with Guy grabbing Hal and Hal popping him one. Guy takes it to him, and not only are his ring constructs a little more inventive today, Guy rails on him, letting out a lot of anger over Hal being picked first by Abin Sur, which by no means made him "best." 

Perhaps because he's getting his ass kicked, Hal realizes this is Krona's influence, and convinces Guy to use their willpower to remove their rings, which frees them from that "rivalry." Icing his face, Guy still argues, "I always looked at it purely as a difference of opinion." They were free, but how could they save the Corps, especially if they couldn't use their rings? 

This was of course continued in another title, with the next chapter in Green Lantern #65, which featured a banner for the then-current movie. I've never used DC's digital comics reader; will it read from crossover issue to the next? Or would you immediately be taken to the next issue of the current title? (EDIT: In fact, I had read the last chapter of this crossover before, and blogged it for "the end,", it was the last issue of Green Lantern before the New 52.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2021


That white guitar is from Spider-Punk, and really needs a sticker or something on it; but the all-white contrasted nicely for Satana. Where did I get that amp, though? I've had it for well over a decade, at least. 

Black licorice is poison. No discussion. Morby is probably referencing the Simpsons episode where Krusty accidentally eats a piece of his branded cereal. 

The window set is from Figures Toy Company, and I was mildly disappointed with them: I feel like they could be an inch taller and the window a bit higher. They are also constructed as to not be reversible; they only fit together one way and don't link up.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

I feel like in old Jonah Hex comics, he got himself into jams more often; whereas in more modern issues Hex has seen your crap before and is three steps ahead. Is he today? From 2008, Jonah Hex #31, "The Red Mask" Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, pencils by Paulo Siqueira, inks by Amilton Santos. Cover by Richard Corben.
A small town has been hit repeatedly by bandit the Red Mask, who has evaded capture on multiple occasions. The sherrif brings in Jonah Hex to run him down, with the reward that he gets to keep whatever Red Mask had already stolen. Local idjit Cletus Hambone drunkenly interrupts the town meeting, first by claiming to be the Red Mask, then confused and forgetting he was in a church, what with "a scar-faced killer actin' the reverend." He does get a few laughs as he's dragged to the drunk tank, while Hex declines any assistance from the locals: they couldn't catch the Red Mask before, what makes them think they'd be any goddamned help now?
That night at the campfire, Hex is attacked by Indians, who think they're sneaking up on him, and just get chewed up instead. The last one sheds a tear as Hex puts his gun to his head...Back in town later, the sheriff evicts Cletus from his jail, fed up with his drunken antics and promising to throw him out of town if he finds him drunk tonight. Cletus tells the sheriff he's worried about him, since he doesn't trust Hex; but the sheriff says that's already taken care of: he's sent his men to tail Hex, and take care of him after he takes care of the Red Mask. That seems optimistic as hell. Spoilers after the break!
Hex follows a trail to a cave with a fire inside, and a figure seated in front of it. That's a hat and coat on a rock, though, and someone gets behind Hex with a stick, telling him to drop 'em. Smacked down, Hex still isn't surprised to see Cletus, who helps himself to Hex's guns. He forces the Red Mask on Hex, planning on the sheriff's men finding him, and gunning him down...say, where are those guys, anyway? Hex knew they were following him as well, since the last Indian had told him, in exchange for his life. Hex had then roped the sleeping men's feet to their horses and set them running. Oh, and his guns were empty, so he slaps Cletus down right enough. Hex took Cletus at his word when he said he was the Red Mask, because it was a good scam: after every robbery, when the posse would be out looking for "the Red Mask," Cletus would be sleeping one off in the jail.
With the gold and the Red Mask, Hex starts the ride back into town, but Cletus tells him that would be unwise: the townsfolk would never buy his story, and would probably just shoot him instead. Hmm. Good point...Whelp, it does save the Red Mask some walking, anyway.
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Monday, March 22, 2021

I totally get why it's done, but I always find it weird when another comics company reprints an old Marvel book. I have a lot of Dark Horse's Star Wars and Conan collections, but less of IDW's Transformers classics. From 2006, Transformers: Generations #5, reprinting Transformers #17 from 1986, "Return to Cybertron, part 1: The Smelting Pool!" Written by Bob Budiansky, pencils by Don Perlin, inks by Keith Williams. There were like three covers for this thing, including a "variant retro-art" one with interior art; but mine was by Ashley Wood, who seems like a get for this.
To introduce some new toys--er, characters--this issue returns to Cybertron, homeworld of the Transformers, Autobots and Decepticons alike. Somewhat troublingly, it seemed to be a rogue planet, not in orbit around a star, but just careening through space like the moon in Space: 1999. Cybertron also looked like a shiny Christmas ball from a distance, "But a closer look reveals it to be a pock-marked mechanical wasteland, a misery-ridden monument to millions of years of war and oppression." The Decepticons control at least this little corner of the planet, and were harvesting the lower class (and smaller) Transformers for fuel and raw materials. Blaster intervenes on behalf of a little robo-peasant, although he doesn't seem to think much of the potential victim; he was waiting to rendevous with Scrounge, who he also doesn't think much of, describing him as a "malfunctioning foul-up." Even Scrounge doesn't think much of himself, but using his special remote camera/boom mike arm to spy on the Decepticons, he copies some data they were pretty excited about. Transforming into a little wheel, Scrounge calls Blaster and tells him he's really got something big this time, but is then captured by one of the Insecticons. (Named later, it's Shrapnel. The Insecticons and the "conehead" seeker jets Dirge, Ramjet, and Thrust make their first comic appearances here; even if most of the baddies in the fights are generic.)
The other Autobots of Blaster's cell--it's led by Perceptor, but already feels like Blaster's in charge--write Scrounge off as probably lying and probably dead, which seemingly drives Blaster to find him more than any concern of his well-being, just to be contrary. Scrounge is taken before somewhat beefy Decepticon governor Straxus, who tears off Scrounge's gimmicked arm, then orders him thrown into the smelting pit. Blaster disobeys orders and goes after Scrounge, is promptly captured, taken before the ranting Straxus, and is also sent to the pit: being bigger and tougher, Blaster is able to get to a ledge and make his way to the already partially-melted Scrounge, who seems to know he's done for, and gives him the information. The other Autobots came after Blaster, and Powerglide rescues him, although Blaster stops to turn the pipes of molten metal back on their Decepticon pursuers in a furious act of vengeance.
Back at their base, the Autobots watch the message, transmitted from the Decepticons on earth, which also mentions that Optimus Prime was still alive. Blaster acknowledges that Scrounge died giving them hope, but seriously: Optimus and his crew (and Megatron and his) had been gone, presumed dead, for nearly "50,000 vorns," about 4,150,000 years! Would either side still be missing their leader after that long? It's also a ridiculous amount of time to spend fighting, although I suppose there would be a big offense or siege every so often, then extended periods of retrenching and regrouping. Also, most of them were not great shots. We do see Blaster make a few with his "electro-scrambler" rifle; on the toy packaging everybody had their own style of weapon, which was instead a pew-pew laser 99% of the time. 

There's a lot to chew on here, even if this plot could easily be repurposed for Sgt. Fury or any other war comic: a failure struggles to redeem himself to the hero, and dies trying. But this may be the first appearance of what later IDW comics would call neutrals, or "Nails," Transformers not aligned with the Autobots or Decepticons. Theirs does not appear to be a happy lot, as Blaster here does not seem to be particularly invested in their plight, but after millions of years of war he might feel like it's time to pick a side already, even if they did not appear to be warriors. Resources were also dwindling, which seemed to be often be the case; but the Decepticons here seem to be using it as an excuse for what could almost be considered ethnic cleansing. And although he doesn't seem to feel it as pain, there is a lot of body horror in Scrounge's dismemberment and melting death. TF continuity being what it is, he has made appearances in other versions; and got a figure in 2016! That Scrounge is a repaint of Cosmos, who co-incidentally makes his first comics appearance here. 

Although I consider myself only a casual TF fan, I had this issue as a kid; since I had been reading the mini-series which was then continued! Come to think of it, I may have had this in a digest as well, so I've bought this issue three times? What the hell, "casual" fan.
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