Monday, February 28, 2022

I was thinking about this the other day, when I got the Batman Calzony from Little Caesars--which is probably the worst thing to put into your body this side of pet-grade heroin; absolutely recommended--I hadn't really blogged a Batman comic in a while? Like, a while a while: going by the tags, sure, he was central in Justice League International #13, but before that it was Batman: City of Light #8. I haven't been overly excited about Batman stuff of late: I'm sure I'll see the new movie eventually, but don't know that I'm standing in line opening weekend either.
So, to get a little charge back in the Bat-batteries, as it were, I went out to the garage and dug through my boxes. True to form, I was looking for something in particular and came away with about a dozen other things. Found at least one more City of Light #8, which I didn't think I had read before when I blogged it! And I grabbed two issues I had blogged before! I was looking for some of the first Batman books I ever read; this one sort of is but isn't: from 1993, the Batman Adventures #7, "Raging Lizard!" Written by Kelley Puckett, pencils by Mike Parobeck, inks by Rick Burchett.
This issue was polybagged with a Batman vs. Man-Bat trading card, but tear that sucker open! This was the first issue from the great Mike Parobeck, who was an absolutely perfect fit for the animated style. As Batman works the streets looking for a visiting Chicago mobster, Killer Croc is enjoying a modicum of success in the underground rasslin' circuit: the two are of course related, as the mobster has brought in his own wrestler, the Masked Marauder. Who, as we see in a flashback, absolutely destroyed Croc in an earlier match. Croc got beat so bad I'm surprised he remembers it, but the newspaper accounts of him getting whupped and crying like a baby probably help him keep the memory fresh. Croc's Burgess Meredith-style trainer, Mick, chicken in hand, gives him a bit of inspiration: he may be an ugly-ass freak, but in the ring he was a hero, and you don't wanna lose that, do ya?
While the visiting Chicago thugs get introduced to how Batman does things, Croc's training continues, as lesser wrestlers are ground up and spit out. Still, the Marauder seems to tower over even Croc, and opens their match by shoving the referee out. Batman arrives afterwards to fight the mobsters, with the ensuing gunfire distracting Croc at a crucial moment, and he ends up catching the Marauder's "Enola Gay" finisher again! The Marauder then commences giving Batman the business, as Mick gives Croc another pep-talk, since the first didn't seem to take: don't do it for your fans, screw those guys! Do it for revenge! Proclaiming himself to be lacking the brains to give up, Croc rallies for the win. (I feel like the Thing said something similar in the classic Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7!)
Batman tries to stare Croc down, but not today: still, not having anything on him, he lets Croc go, championship belt in hand. 

If we check out the books on the stand at the time, over at Mike's Amazing World, this came out the same month as Batman #491, the issue before the long Knightfall saga. I thought I might've picked this up as an alternative to that; maybe I just wanted the trading card.
Read more!

Friday, February 25, 2022

Gosh, that's good; almost like he'd been drawing Deadman for ever...wait a minute!

I've read more than a bit of Deadman comics, including the 1986 limited also by today's artist; but hadn't read any of this particular series. From 2002, Deadman #6, "Love & Death" Written by Steve Vance, pencils by José Luis García-López, inks by Joe Rubinstein.
The cover and the splash page are almost the same scene; Deadman floating over the city and making out with a pretty girl: the cover has Boston's traditional white mask, while the interior he's removed it to show his rarely-seen human face. (Many later artists and continuity treat Deadman as how one comic magazine described Kelley Jones's version, "dead, man.") He's working the case of Irene's murder, but is worried that he isn't working it very hard, since the assumption is when her murderer was brought to justice, her spirit would leave this world--and him alone again. Deadman's been trailing Irene's cop friend Mike, trying to work the clues of the "post-it killer" with him; but it's been tough sledding since his eight killings each had different methods.
Boston manages to unclinch from Irene to go 'interview' the other victims, but no other ghosts are to be found. Still, Mike tells a reporter that off the record, they were "real close" to breaking the case. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I feel like you've already got enough to guess! In the end, Irene goes on to the next world, but Deadman knows she'll go somewhere good. 

This was a short series, only running nine issues; but there's some more García-López art and a couple Mike Mignola covers. I liked this one, it might be worth it to keep an eye out for the rest.
Read more!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

I know he grew a lot as a character, but I still hate the idea that Flash Thompson might've got with Valkyrie.

Hitting a motivational dead zone, so time to grab the nearest comic and...huh, not bad: from 2013, Venom #29, "Drowning in a Nightmare" Written by Cullen Bunn, pencils by Thony Silas, inks by Nelson DeCastro and Terry Pallot. 

Per the recap, the Flash Thompson Venom--usually Agent Venom, if you're an action figure fan--had recently beat Carnage and Daimon Hellstrom, but may be becoming concerned about a growing inner darkness. He's also dating Valkyrie, but gets called away to help his reporter friend Katy, who had discovered the U-Foes were kidnapping people in Philadelphia. Flash tries to find her, but is seemingly killed: he had used a "gimmick play," namely playing possum. I've mentioned before that Flash likes his sports metaphors, and he notes it himself here, berating himself for doing so when real people had just died.
Meanwhile, in their warehouse hideout, the U-Foes are about to subject Katy to an experiment: they may have found a pile of tech from the fabled Philadelphia Experiment. Team leader Vector had been an industrialist, I think; but he was no Reed Richards: his experiments have been largely trial and error. Some test subjects were now his crew, but several had died. Katy's test appeared to be "some sort of memory machine, hmm?" Vector opts to leave her in it, just to see what'll happen.
Trailing back through Katy's sources, Venom is able to find the warehouse's neighborhood, which is close enough for the U-Foes to give killing him another try. Venom didn't come alone--well, actually, he did, but he brought a sword, which serves as a beacon for Valkyrie! Who seems rather put off by being introduced as "my girlfriend," which Flash hadn't planned on, it just slipped out. Still, they've bitten off more than they could chew, and Vector downs them both. As Flash struggles to get up, a voice says "No. You can't."
If I'm not mistaken, this turn wasn't unexpected, and may have set up the next step for them: while Flash used the symbiote, I don't think they were necessarily partners up until now. After maybe a bit of (tongue) lashing out, Venom might be closer to him. I could very well be wrong about this, and I'm not going back to look; but I swear Marvel relaunched so many titles that for a brief stretch, Venom had the highest numbering across all their titles! Several have since gone back to their 'legacy' numbering, but still.
Read more!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Yay, Quasar! And the domestic came in first! 

 Let me explain: the Walgreens exclusive Quasar Marvel Legends figure was supposed to be out like third-quarter-ish last year. But, distribution for figures at Walgreens has been spotty of late, and while he had been available overseas and Canada, very few had been found stateside yet. I finally caved and ordered one from Zavvi, shipped from Britain: slightly more spendy, but honestly worth it for peace of mind, and still cheaper than scalper prices on Mercari. Of course before the Zavvi one arrived, Walgreens finally put Quas up on their website--he's sold out now, already! At least for shipping; maybe you might find one in a store. The way their distribution seems to go, you'll either find 40, or none. 

So, just a bit of monkeying around with him, fellow Walgreens Legend Nova, and a couple Fortnite figures, Deo and Siona. Despite also being from Hasbro, they don't seem to have the same necks: when the heads pop off, either the neck-piece or the balljoint usually comes with them. Otherwise, I would've swapped on the spare Skrull heads from the Skrull Troopers. Also sold out! Ugh. I got two, after missing out/waiting too long on the Hellfire Club goon. 

One thing I remembered about Quasar during this: he used to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent! Not a great one, admittedly: he's kind of too nice for it. But he was probably trained in a lot of crap. They probably gave him the basics on how to kill a man with a ballpoint pen; with him studiously--and squeamishly--taking notes...

And Kymellian tranquilizers is a really dumb joke.
Read more!

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Look, I've already posted all my Peacemaker comics, so...

Technically, that may be a lie; I did buy Garth Ennis's stab at it last week, along with duplicate quarter-bin copies of Peacemaker's demise in Eclipso. But today, some quarter-bin Vigilante, because who saw that coming? From 1985, Vigilante #16, "Under the Sidewalks of New York" Written by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Alex Saviuk, inks by Rick Magyar.
Vigilante may be about to hang it up--or so he thinks. Adrian Chase planned on giving up his alter-ego after he's sworn in as a judge, and while he's still doing a bit of leg-work searching for the Electrocutioner, he feels like he's just killing time. But when his friend Marcia is assaulted by a band of subway pirates, then it's personal again, and Vigilante is back on the case.
I hadn't read a ton of this, so was surprised at the lack of gunplay in this issue: only one of the subway pirates is killed, the one that attacked Marcia, in a crash. The rest are just beat down. I know Chase would try repeatedly to give up Vigilante, but just couldn't quit, until the end. The next issue box teases something more people have probably read: a two-parter written by Alan Moore! 

Also, I haven't seen the Peacemaker show yet, and don't really know anything about the Vigilante on it. Which is almost fitting, since I do remember him showing up on Arrow, and they somehow botched it? On that show, there was a fake-out in there somewhere, with Adrian Chase taking the role of Prometheus. Sure, why not.
Read more!

Monday, February 21, 2022

Maybe he wasn't getting enough violence in his day job.

I believe the cop shows call it "accelerating," when a criminal's activities are starting to increase in frequency and intensity, or both. Usually in a violent way, like moving from assault to murder. In today's book, looks like that would apply to the cops, too. From 2099 1994, Punisher 2099 #22, "Sins of the Father" Written by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner, pencils by Simon Coleby, inks by Keith Williams.
Jake Gallows was the Punisher of the year 2099, and his day job was cop, for the Public Eye. I know I've read more than a few issues of this book, but off the top of my head, I can't recall why exactly he moonlighted as the Punisher. It didn't seem to be because of the death of his family, since his son was in this issue, robbing his bank account: Dean Gallows had been believed to be dead after a transporter accident, but instead gained powers and took the name Hotwire. He didn't seem to be close to his dad before, but kind of expected him to be there for the funeral. Hotwire jacks into cyberspace, but with a physical presence, to hack dear ol' dad's account. 

Meanwhile, Jake saves his tech guy Matt from a gang of "moonchildren," kids deported from the moon but not really adapted for life on earth, prone to alcoholism and agoraphobia. The moonies want earther skin to protect them from the acid rain (that apparently everyone else was just used to...) and try to harvest Matt, which just gives Jake permission to go to town on them. Jake is very obviously a sadist, and I don't think he goes after 'bad guys' to justify it as much as to feel like he's doing something constructive. If there was no crime and no criminals, he'd have to make up another reason to hurt people. Although, I guess Jake does just administer a half-strength beating, whereas Frank Castle would've gunned them down, so...
This issue does explain how, in a super-high-tech surveillance state, Jake isn't recognized: he gets an updated face scrambler, to protect his identity with "no sweaty mask." Being super-paranoid also pays off again, when the security measures Jake insisted the Punisher would need, drive Hotwire out of cyberspace at the bank, where he's greeted by the Punisher. With both masked, father and son aren't going to recognize each other; but I think it probably would've played out the same way. 

Jake is even less an aspirational figure than Frank (who is 100% not an aspirational figure) but even though his title was cancelled earlier, he still might be the most popular 2099 character after Spidey 2099. He's never had an action figure, though; but is a playable character in the Contest of Champions mobile game. He's a straight villain there, with HYDRA giving him the opportunity Doom 2099 did in the comics: to head up a "Ministry of Punishment" and scale up his campaign. But like other heroes Turbo, Doc Samson, and Hardware, his costume looks better on a woman. I also had the last issue of this at some point, and know the chickens come home to roost for Jake; wish I could find a cheap copy again.
Read more!

Friday, February 18, 2022

Of course, now I'm wondering what happened to my copy.

I picked up some black-and-white horror comic magazines from eBay the other day--we'll probably see them sooner or later--but they were relatively late ones, from 1991-92; long after the heyday of Creepy or Eerie. But there had been a few attempts to bring horror back to the magazine rack in the early 90's, since I had been looking for a particular story, and hadn't found it yet. Then, I asked eBay seller necronom-a-comic-con, and he had a couple suggestions from that timeframe: some of Hamilton Comics titles, which were some of the ones I had picked up; Mort Todd's Monsters Attack, and Graveyard Dance, which I believe was a prose horror mag. That was enough for me to find a creepy tale that has stuck with me for years!
From 1989, Monsters Attack #2, featuring "Abracadaver" Story and art by "Madman," per the GCD, Rurik Tyler. Tyler also did a number of strips in What The--?! Mort Todd gets billing above the title in the reprints: he had been the publisher of Cracked, and this may have been an attempt to expand their line.
My description from memory: "There's a specific story I've been trying to find, probably a black-and-white horror mag from the early 90's: a doctor is working in the morgue, when a corpse comes in, dead without a scratch on him. The corpse's organ donor card is unsigned, so the doctor says sorry, can't use them...because he has his own plan for the body. He freezes the corpse, then bisects it in slices, as a possible museum exhibit. But the corpse isn't happy about that..." 

If you've ever read a horror comic, you know it's not going to end great for the bad doctor; and I don't know if I noticed before, but there may be a clue on the first page. This was available on Amazon, but I think I'm going to have to pick something up from necronom-a-comic-con. You should too! (EDIT: Of course I schedule this to post the day after Comixology craps itself and dies...there's a horror story for you.)
Read more!

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Ooh, I was a page off there.

I mentioned last week the Demons entry from 1983's Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #3, first series; but I slipped up! I thought Erishkigel was in there...
...but she was on the next page, since she was a Deviant! I thought she had passed herself off as a demon or devil here and there, and she might have. Erishkigel also appeared in another book I've been meaning to blog forever--about twelve years! Maybe I'll finally blog it if I ever get that friggin' Quasar figure...I don't think I've read the Thor issue she first appeared in, though.

Mark Gruenwald is credited as head writer--and editor and designer! And it's Dave Simons on the Demons, Paul Smith for Destiny, and Mike Mignola on the Deviants! The cover was the massive interlocking Ed Hannigan piece, with Daredevil and Doctor Strange front and center, pushing Cyclops and Colossus to the back cover! They halfassed the Dracula shot, though.
Read more!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022


I occasionally forget--but not for long--that the High Evolutionary is not a benign figure. He did some frankly, evil stuff during the Evolutionary War: he sterilized a lot of Moloids in like the first chapter alone. He's also, in Kurt's case, kind of like the fertility specialist that helped your parents conceive, showing up decades later for some appreciation like he was the third parent or some goddamn thing. Sat is right, he is a creepy dude: just because he has a little more bearing than say, MODOK or Arnim Zola, doesn't make him a good guy. 

 Kurt doesn't even spend that much time with either Azazel or Mystique; but I guarantee he has heard the details of his conception in Penthouse Forum level detail from both of them. I think Kurt's more comfortable with sex than some X-types (or how he was written in Way of X) but Azazel and Mystique probably consider him 'square' and easily shocked. And like most senior X-Men, Kurt is completely unphased by weird earth-shattering revelations from his past: secret siblings, parent reveals, kids from alternate timelines, the occasional clone. He's seen it.
Read more!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Look, Bill Sienkiewicz couldn't get me to read these kids; can Alan Davis?

Actually, I'm going to cop to my own hypocrisy: I know I did read New Mutants a couple times in its initial run, usually during crossovers and whatnot. And I'm pretty sure I have (or had) at least some Liefeld ones, too; but hadn't flipped through today's book: from 1987, New Mutants Annual #3, "Anything You Can Do--!" Written by Chris Claremont, pencils by Alan Davis, inks by Paul Neary.
Doug Ramsey, Cypher, was still alive at this point; but he's running the boards on the Danger Room instead out there in it: he really should've put in the time. The rest of the New Mutants spar with the "Avengers," aged down to "Teen Avengers" to give them a fighting chance: Mirage worries Doug took it too easy on them, as they win handily; while something from the far reaches of space comes ever closer to Xavier's school. It's the Impossible Man, back again: Illyana remembers the last time he was there, he stole the X-Mansion in X-Men Annual #7. He's back for more fun, but the X-Men weren't there, and probably not in the mood for fun anyway, Mirage tells him. She heads the team back inside, already seemingly onto the fact that if you ignore him, Impy will go away. But Impy calls them out as "scared!" and Warlock takes the bait.
After changing out of their school uniforms and into the outfits from X-Men Annual #10...which, honestly, I didn't think ever showed up again...the kids give chase, finding the 'Hulk' and the 'Thing' duking it out in Manhattan, with wrong colors. Next, they have to switch to swimsuits, in Rio de Janiero, where on the beach two suspiciously muscular studs are having an impromptu beauty contest, to the delight of dozens of gorgeous girls. With the crowd getting a little too into it, Cannonball grabs them both and dumps them in the water, shorting Warlock's disguise, and washing the body makeup off Impy. Although momentarily stifled, the duo disappear again after the girls turn on them.
Next up, Wimbledon!...which, if it's daytime in Rio, shouldn't it be night in London? Or at least not tennis-time? With their match again interrupted by the kids, they then move to a superhero brawl at Forbidden Planet in London; where Warlock calls time: if he's being Captain Britain, and Impy Captain America, they're both heroes and can't fight. One of them has to be the bad guy, and Impy's game, taking Clubber Lang, Baron Strucker, and the Viper in rapid succession; to Warlock's Rocky, Nick Fury, and Spider-Woman. The latter makes Impy call foul, as he calls Spider-Woman a friend, and claims he couldn't fight her, even in fun. (When did they ever meet...? Ever?)
The kids dogpile them again, only to get teleported to Moscow. Magik uses one of her "stepping-discs" to drag Warlock to Limbo, and chew him out; but Impy is steamed that his friend is suddenly missing, and turns into Thanos in his anger. (This was 1987, so Thanos had been dead since Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 in 1977, and his return in Silver Surfer #34 was still like three years away; but this might be the closest to an appearance he'd had in that stretch! And Impossible Man would appear the issue before Thanos's comeback.) Magik returns Warlock to the fight, but he goes in as Captain Marvel, missing a trick to be a Warlock Warlock.
In Japan, in front of a visiting Charles and Diana, Warlock and Impy go at it as the Watcher and Galactus, then Red Ronin and a slightly-off brand Godzilla, before Douglas suggests how Warlock can beat him: Warlock can change color. Impy does not take the loss well, but later they do shake and make up. Just in time for Magneto to come back from his trip...and catch the New Mutants on the news! Busted.

Man, Alan Davis is always great. I feel like I've read his other New Mutants Annual, but can't recollect it off the top of my head. And I should set up an Impossible Man tag one of these days.  
Read more!

Monday, February 14, 2022

I had a pretty good quarter book (well, dollar book nowadays, honestly) haul a couple months back: I'm 90% sure they were all picked up with the same collection. Lot of Nexus and Starlin Dreadstar's, some war comics, this and that. And three issues of this series, which damn near killed me: from 1994, The Tale of One Bad Rat #1, by Bryan Talbot. 

Although I had seen covers or ads for it, I'm not sure I knew what it was going to be about until I started in. Helen is a young runaway in London, with suicidal thoughts and a pet rat. She's withdrawn and completely averse to anyone touching her; but still bright and clever, with a particular fondness for Beatrix Potter. One evening she's accosted by a drunken souse, a small band of homeless teens help her out, incidentally robbing the souse, who turns out to be a local politician of some sort.
Glasses-wearing Ben offers her a room in their "squat," and after a night's consideration in the rain Helen takes him up on it. But she's not sure if she fits in, and memories of her home life still haunt her...
It's a dark book, to be sure--with the subject matter and London and all, it'd almost be more suited to a 90's Vertigo style, all shadows. But an artist like that probably couldn't nail the Potter style too. Helen's little rat is realistic, yet always friendly and charming-looking. I pulled the first three issues out easily enough, but after reading them I had to go back and scour the shop's quarter bins until I found the fourth issue! Knew it had to be in there somewhere...Absolutely worth reading.
Read more!