Friday, March 31, 2023

40% of this comic is probably respectfully staring at Wonder Woman; which sounds reasonable enough.

From 2006, Justice League Unlimited #19, "The Justice Rangers Ride Again" Written by Adam Beechen, pencils by Gordon Purcell, inks by Bob Petrecca.
In the Justice League's trophy room, Vigilante accidentally breaks the Time Commander's hourglass, sending him, Wonder Woman, and Elongated Man back to the old west. There they find the usual crew--Jonah Hex, Bat Lash, and El Diablo--defending a young card sharp from a posse of cowboys with ray guns. Bat had conned his pals into pursuing the sharp, since he had cheated him out of his daddy's lucky rabbit foot; but the cowboys had been after Jud Saunders to try and erase his descendant Greg from the timeline. Wonder Woman realizes the shattered hourglass had taken them to when a version of it had been in use, and they should be able to find the Time Commander, get the hourglass, and get home.
This was more cartoony than Purcell's usual style, but he nails the animated look quite well. I feel like I've seen other stories from Beechen with Elongated Man; I wonder if he was a favorite. Read more!

Thursday, March 30, 2023

The hodge and the...something. It'll come to me.

1. Despite the fact that I'm 90% sure I have a remarkably favorable work-life balance, I have felt a bit burned out the last couple of weeks. I don't have a commute, my family is remarkably low-maintenance, and I live as drama-free as I can; but I still feel the press of time lately, like I can't get all of the nothing I want to do in the course of a day. I think part of that is I've recently bought tons of stuff, that I've barely had any time to appreciate. Or I get a pile of books, and maybe don't want to blog them at that very second, so I logjam myself. I have piles of toys or comics or movies or books I could dive into, yet sometimes after work I'm so fried I end up watching an X-Files rerun and playing solitaire and flipping through Twitter. Productivity has tanked a bit; I wish I was a basketball fan and could blame it on March Madness... 

2. I specifically am not a basketball fan; I was hoping Comet was going to keep their "March Monster Madness" Godzilla marathon going. My family are fans, though: pretty sure my little sister has Final Four tickets this year. And a couple years ago, my dad fell off a cliff while hiking: had to be airlifted out of a national park, wrecked both his wrists, yet it might've been an elaborate plan to watch as much basketball as humanly possible. I tease, because he didn't even tell me he was in the hospital until he'd been in there for like a week, because he figured I didn't need to be worrying about it. That's...I guess that's thoughtful, right?  
3. I don't like posting this after thinking about my folks, but I just bought the new Depeche Mode, even though I haven't had time to listen to it all yet. (Partly because I listen to random a lot; so it might take a bit to get through.) They recently lost Andy Fletcher, and I can't imagine how difficult it must be to go out and do the filming and recording and touring, any of it, without their friend. I don't know if the whole album is going to be "our friend is dead, and it's making us think about our own deaths, a lot" but I'm not sure how it couldn't be. Well, except that they're Depeche Mode, and they've probably had some practice at the whole process, I suppose. 

4. Among the piles of stuff to come in the last week or so: the last Black Panther wave, with the Attuma Build-a-Figure, from Best Buy via a tip from Preternia on Twitter. Half-off, so kinda felt like I had to, right? Although, talking to Dale the other day, I thought the Everett Ross figure should've come with a Henry Gyrich head: it'd be a little something for the comic fans, since most of the rest of the wave was strictly movie-based. I'm still a little taken aback that the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy volume 3 Legends are also movie-only: I really thought there'd be a Martinex comic-based figure or something. I probably mentioned before, I recently pre-ordered two ML waves largely again because I wanted the Build-a-Figure, and I need to put in for the Hyperion/Doctor Spectrum set...even though unlike most, I had the old Hyperion! Do I need a domino-masked head...? Sure, why not. Kind of prefer some version of Power Princess, but we'll figure that out. 

5. Even though I have a ton of other stuff to get through, now I want to re-read Captain America: the Great Gold Steal, because I'm thinking, how much gold can you carry in a duffle bag before it rips? For that matter, how much cash? In either case, I'm fairly sure you could load the bag to the point that it's not reasonably moveable, but that hasn't stopped Mezco from soliciting their "Bricks and Bread" accessory pack! Which I was eying, because I'm probably in for their upcoming Shadow figure, which has been teased but maybe isn't up for preorder yet.

6. Just for good measure, I thought I was hacked recently, when a charge I didn't recognize showed up. Turns out it might've been the aforementioned Depeche Mode album on iTunes; but it really looked like a fraud when it showed up! Oopsie. I, uh, kinda got some purchases credited back to my account; but I'll probably have to update my card number with preorders, Kickstarter, everything else. In my defense, they cleared at a weird time and probably could've been labeled better; but I suppose some people don't want whatever they bought showing up in their bank history maybe...

7. Another thing I should probably get around to, since I've had it forever: I have a third-party Death's Head...head, that I need to paint and then maybe find an appropriate body for. I've held off for a long time, and have a Chow Yun-Fat head as well that could probably go on that Everett Ross body, couldn't it? But that kind of painting is new for me and I'm afraid of it not turning out; or how functional the finished product might be.   
8. I haven't been to the movies since...the new Ant-Man movie? Which was pretty good. I saw Shin Ultraman a bit ago and it wasn't bad; but Shin Kamen Rider looks like where it's at. (If I recall correctly, the "Shin" is for new; they also had Shin Godzilla recently.) But the next thing I see in theaters will probably either be Evil Dead Rise or that Dungeons & Dragons movie, which looks really fun, and I'm glad Hasbro will be getting monsters on the racks later. I might be all-in there.

9. Hoping bike weather returns shortly...

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023


Moonstone is, if I recall, crazy powerful; which is probably why she was able to pass herself off as Ms. (Captain) Marvel back in Dark Reign. Flying brick powers, zap-hands, pretty sure she can fly through walls and survive in space; and she's not the type to just knock over the corner bank, she could use her powers to make bank legally or sort-of legally. For instance, I'm pretty sure she could put a satellite into orbit way faster than SpaceX or whatever, and she would probably only reasonably gouge you on it.

I was momentarily afraid that I had mis-remembered and Tigra didn't have tracking/sense powers; she totally does. 
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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The variant cover has nothing to do with the interior, but okay.

Instead, we get an alternative-version of a classic episode, that's largely gone off the rails by this point. From 2015, Star Trek #47, "The Tholian Webs, part 2" Written by Mike Johnson, art by Rachel Stott. This was part of an EC Comics variant month, with the variant by Derek Charm.
Several issues of the IDW series were re-dos of original series episodes with the new movie cast, and maybe some modernization. Plus, I'm pretty sure they skipped clunkers like "And the Children Shall Lead." This started as "The Tholian Web," but diverges quite a bit: by this point, under the distorting affects of interphase, Scotty had separated the drive section of the ship from the saucer; Sulu had taken charge of the bridge; the Tholians had both parts of the ship trapped in their energy web; and Bones had put himself into a medically-induced coma. (In the original episode, those affected by interphase were enraged and inarticulate; here Scotty and Sulu have turned on everyone but otherwise seem themselves.)
But the crew starts to turn the tide: Uhura stuns Sulu, while Scotty is knocked out by his little sidekick, Keenser. (The alien lieutenant had a spotlight issue earlier and may have been a fixture of this series!) McCoy's antidote to the effects of interphase had been completed, and Spock brings him out of his coma. Kirk manages to get to Keenser, who had worked out a solution to punch through the Tholians' web, and outside of that the separated Enterprise is still more than a match for their ships. The ship sections are reunited and they escape, and although Kirk is disappointed the Federation was going to be dragged into another war, he was proud of his crew, and ends the issue with a pleasant drink with the taciturn Keenser.
Not a bad issue; just not as fun as the variant. Read more!

Monday, March 27, 2023

It's alright, but I think I'd rather have followed the girls' adventures...

I'm mildly surprised to have the last issue of this miniseries and not, say, the first: I feel like the orders probably spun downwards a bit after the hit of a #1. From 1993, Battle Tide #4, written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, art by Geoff Senior.
Genetically engineered super-soldier/immature gun nut Killpower would eventually come to a bad (and not entirely deserved) end, but he's co-lead in this one with Marvel UK's Wolverine, Death's Head II. And Wolverine. That feels a bit like a hat on a hat, I think the expression is; but Sabretooth, Psylocke, Hercules, and Marvel UK's Dark Angel also guest-star. While KP and DHII were already trying to kill each other, everybody gets sucked into a Contest of Champions-type thing on an alien world, that gets derailed when the bad guy couple "Termagent" and "Megaira" tap into the titular Battle Tide, "the demonic embodiment of eternal war." Even weirder, Termagent and Megaira may or may not have been a couple, but they were actually two halves of the same entity, and merge into "Termagaira," demon warlord! Not the best design, but if you're bringng him (them?) out in the last issue, fine.
After the usual team-up shenanagans, Killpower uses his engineering knowhow to modify Death's Head II to be able to stop the Battle Tide, at the cost of the robot's life. While the other heroes are just ready to go home, Killpower is distraught over the loss of his pal: he was basically an 8-year-old, so he thought DHII was just the coolest thing ever. Later, on a beach in the South Pacific, Killpower's partner Motormouth returns from an epic shopping trip with Death's Head II's partner Tuck, that sounds like more fun than the rest of this series? Also, they went to Aldebaran, which is an actual star but here almost certainly is a reference to Halo Jones! But, the series ends on a happy note, as Killpower has rebuilt Death's Head II. Except all these parts that were leftover...which I wonder if that came up later? Ah, probably not.
I never really took to Killpower: I liked Motormouth's book more, before he elbowed his way into second-billing! They're probably best remembered for guesting in Incredible Hulk #409 with their original artist, Gary Frank. Read more!

Friday, March 24, 2023

Since I seem to spread my purchases around, I'm not sure where I got an almost-complete run of this series; but I wonder if it was the same store I found the first issue! From 1989, Psi-Judge Anderson #1, reprinting 1985's 2000 AD #416-421, "Four Dark Judges" Written by Alan Grant and "T.B. Grover" (John Wagner), art by Brett Ewins.
The fan-favorite psychic Judge is haunted by visions of Judge Death, until she finally takes a "dimension-jump" to his dead world to confirm he was gone. Nope! The spirits of the Dark Judges--Death, Fear, Fire, and Mortis--overpower Anderson's mind and force her to resurrect them in new bodies, then kill her and return to Mega-City One to pass sentence on those worst of lawbreakers, the living. Anderson managed to play possum and survive, but is kicking herself for a serious lapse in judgement: while she's not about to let the Dark Judges run wild, she also figures this will be her last hurrah, as she will doubtless be sent to the Judges' penal colony on Titan for her screwup.
Flippant and somewhat insubordinate for a Judge, Anderson is both a beloved character, but also one that sometimes has to be accounted for or sidelined to keep the plot going: I just re-read the Necropolis serial recently, and she's injured and comatose for a large chunk of that one. Still, events in Judge Dredd are roughly real time; so Anderson felt she was getting long in the tooth for a Judge, and Psi's couldn't take the same treatments other Judges could use to stay active. Also, most of her solo appearances were written by Alan Grant, and after his demise I'm not sure she's received as much page time. I did just get some more recent Dredd recently; I'll keep an eye out for her. Read more!

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Another one that won't fit in the scanner, but I didn't think I would ever have: I wasn't even positive it ever came out! From 1991, Badger Bedlam #1, written by Mike Baron, pencils by Steven Butler, inks by Ken Branch. Cover by Jay Geldhof. 

Badger is legitimately crazy, and on occasion would make poor choices. Multiple poor choices, in succession: trying to outrun the cops when they try to stop him for speeding, then fighting the cops after ditching his motorcycle in the river, then fighting the judge at his arraignment! He gets sent to the "Reich Center for Phobic Disorders," and it's pretty obvious nothing good happens there. Badger cycles through his various personalities while Dr. Reich schedules his lobotomy; but an old bad guy (who I hadn't seen before!) is there as well...A fair chunk of this issue is flashbacks, to Norbert's time as a POW in Vietnam. 

This was intended to be the first quarterly issue of First Comics new publishing scheme; moving away from traditional monthly floppies to squarebound "prestige" format books. They did not get a lot of them out before the company folded; and in all those years I don't think I'd ever seen a copy of this one! I just got a mountain of cheap books recently from Midtown Comics, and lucked into it. (A tip I hadda figure out myself: I had a Legion flight ring and a store-branded marker in my cart, but they would've DQ'd my order from free shipping!)
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Wednesday, March 22, 2023


The double meaning of Howard's "you can't say that" to Frank was completely accidental: it took me a moment to realize. Several years ago, there was a bit of discussion over the fact that the Punisher exists in the same universe as an alien horse dressed up like Thor (who is awesome!) but let's be honest: Frank is just as unrealistic, if you get right down to it. I'm not sure Frank and Howard have ever appeared together, but I think Frank would like him: Howard is refreshingly abrasive, enjoys a smoke, and both undermines and supports Frank's worldview. There are wonders in the universe greater than Frank could possibly imagine, yet things are a bit crap everywhere, so... 

I considered Kurt offering to put Frank up in Krakoa: oh, but he's not a mutant? Yeah, but Kurt would rather see Frank on their side. Set him up with a little place on the beach, let him get to know the locals, and kind of keep him in their back pocket for emergencies.
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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Prime Directive? That's for squares! Here, have some guns.

Even though it seems like it would've been right up my alley when it originally aired in 1975-77, I didn't watch Space: 1999 until a year or two ago, on Pluto TV. I have vague memories of maybe seeing part of one episode as a kid and having not much idea what was going on; but that didn't stop me from ordering these from Mike Sterling over at Sterling Silver Comics! From 1976, Space: 1999 #5, featuring "The Strange Ones," written by Joe Gill, art by Pat Boyette; "An Alien Charm," written by Joe Gill, art by Dick Ayers; and "Undisturbed" written by Nicola Cuti, art by Gray Morrow. Cover by Morrow.
The 311 or so astronauts trapped on Moonbase Alpha as it careened through space encounter more alien life forms this month; and as usual they're all dicks. In "The Strange Ones" they find an alien world that would be perfect for them to settle, if the atmosphere hadn't been poisoned somehow, killing the human-like race that had lived there. They find the poisoners on another planet, which has a population of cavemen-types, as well as more advanced aliens that want to use the Alphans to interbreed with their cavemen and make better slaves. Commander Koenig manages to escape, but also arms the cavemen...for "defense." Yeah, they were gonna murder the advanced ones ten minutes after Koenig leaves, but that's their problem.
"An Alien Charm" features a fetching shape-changing lass all the guys are taken with--no, not Maya, she would be added to the cast in the second season premiere September 1976, and this issue was cover-dated July 1976. Coincidence; but interesting. Dr. Russell sees through the shape-changer's charms; and kills it before it can enslave them all. Still, they lose at least one guy...then two more in "Undisturbed," where an alien mountain is found on the moon...really feel like you should've noticed that before, guys. Two astronauts are placed into suspended animation and abducted when the mountain takes off. Space: 1999 stories pretty traditionally have somebody get red-shirted ala Star Trek: horribly killed to show the stakes were high. But the Enterprise could re-stock; Moonbase Alpha couldn't! By the way, I'm probably in the minority on this one; but I kinda like the second season theme. Portishead appreciates the original, in the BBC Essential Mix! A video I've run far too many times. Read more!

Monday, March 20, 2023

Is Frank wearing three layers of skulls at any given time? Like it's greasepainted on his chest or tattooed there.

I'm not going back to find the tweets to back this up, but somebody on Twitter was on about how Disney should've pushed back harder on unauthorized use of the Punisher skull symbol. Not because it was being used by cops or militants or anything, but because they were afraid the new, Hand ninja symbol was going to stick around. C'mon. Frank'll be back to his usual look sooner rather than later. (I'm currently reading half of his fight, in Daredevil...and it's kinda sucked the air out of that title.) It's hardly the first time he's gotten a new outfit, that was strictly temporary. From 2007, Punisher War Journal #10, "Sunset" Written by Matt Fraction, art by Ariel Olivetti.
Along with the costume change, this was something the Punisher hadn't had in a number of years: crossovers. This one's got "The Initiative" trade dress; the next issue guest-starred the Winter Soldier, then World War Hulk tie-ins. With the help of former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent G.W. Bridge and his current tech support Stuart Clarke, today Frank wraps up his fight against the National Force, neo-Nazis led by the "all-new, all-racist Hate-Monger," a description that feels a little too cutesy. Captain America had recently died, and Marvel seemed to be playing with the idea that his legacy was up for grabs; here both Hate-Monger and Frank have Cap-inspired suits. No shields though; that's what really makes the look.
Stuart sets off explosives as a diversion, so G.W. can save Frank, and Frank can go back and save Stuart; too late for his girl Tati, who was killed earlier by Frank when he was hit with hate-rays. Frank kills the hell out of the Hate-Monger...although he would be back, somehow: he wasn't like a clone of Hitler this time, just a racist asshole. You don't bring them back, you just let a new one put on the hood. Frank tears his Cap suit off during the fight, then tears the defaced star off of Hate-Monger's body. (Although, there's an ad for the next issue in this one, with Frank in the Cap suit again!)
Stuart swears he will track down Tati's killer, which Frank seems to let slide without comment. G.W. lets them both go, which he might regret shortly, after Stuart murders a cop that had been part of the National Force; but G.W. does take a little enjoyment that current S.H.I.E.L.D. director Tony Stark was calling, probably to offer him his job back, and G.W. was gonna decline. (I just imagined Tony having technology to force a phone to answer, so you can't send him to voicemail...) Read more!

Friday, March 17, 2023

Half the series was in the dollar bin for half price--making them cheaper than when I bought them originally! But I still hesitated picking them up again. From 1988, Millennium #5, "In" Written by Steve Englehart, layouts by Joe Staton, finishes by Ian Gibson. 

Hoo, boy. Millennium was DC's big crossover event for the year, tying into a ton of books. It was an eight-issue, weekly series, which was new to U.S. readers. Plotwise, this extended from recent events in Englehart's Green Lantern run: the Guardians of the Universe had left this dimension with their female counterparts, the Zamarons; but a pair of them return to earth on a mission to create new immortals. For Englehart, this is more spiritual, about enlightenment, rather than mere evolution; so a solid chunk of this issue is the Guardian and the Zamaron explaining the basics of how the universe worked to their New Guardian candidates. Not in a fun way, either, like trying to see the giant hand creating the universe; but more like college kids trying to get 'deep.' Whee...
Meanwhile, earth's heroes are celebrating, since Batman (with some other heroes, in their own books) took down a Manhunter base: the robots had infiltrated earth, with agents in just about everybody's supporting casts, since they were bitter at the Guardians replacing them with the Green Lantern Corps. Which was literally a gazillion years ago, like this post! Brainwave Jr. of Infinity Inc. couldn't telepathically find more than a few Manhunter agents still on earth, so it's party time! Even though the Outsiders just lost Metamorpho, then get called away to Abyssia. Black Lightning comments they have to prove to themselves the Outsiders weren't finished, but they were headed for their last issue.
Wonder Woman gets teleported away, mid-conversation with Arisia, probably back to whatever her book was doing pre-crossover. In another piece of continuity of the time, Firestorm has a conversation with Guy Gardner: both were somewhat brain damaged at the time, so it's played for laughs: ha-ha, they're simple! Then, Aquaman and Aqualad show up to ruin the party: they had fought the Manhunters under the sea, and recovered a flying saucer; which prompts everyone to remember, oh yeah, wasn't there still a planet full of those things? (I'm not exactly sure where that took place: Aquaman didn't have a book at the time...Teen Titans Spotlight #18 of all places, so Aqualad probably got top billing for once!) Hal knew where the Manhunters' planet was, even if it was cloaked, and the heroes begin organizing an expedition there. While on said planet, the captured Harbinger is rescued by a great Green Lantern with a short term: Driq! He was dead as hell, but his ring kept him going...possibly whether he wanted to or not. (He and my boy Flodo Span were introduced pretty late in GLC but would die before the series wrapped.)
This does set up a pretty good issue of Justice League International, though; as Dr. Fate arrives to transport a bunch to the Manhunters' world. (Although, I was honestly just saddened by Blue Beetle on the last page, thinking he wasn't sad not to be going on the space mission. Pre-Crisis, he would've shoved his way up front and clamored to go!) So this wasn't the worst issue of the series: I think it really starts to trail off towards the end, and not much came out of it. (Technically, Ostrander's Manhunter maybe owes a bit to it; but not much, and I love that series much more.)
Although, I just had to look this up: one of the New Guardian candidates was an older white guy from Apartheid-era South Africa, and very obviously going to be a dick: he was a dead ringer for the diplomat bad guy from Lethal Weapon 2, but that was almost two years later.
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Thursday, March 16, 2023

I think I've realized, and then forgotten, that the High Evolutionary is gonna be in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, like more than once. Partly because I don't think they went with the magenta-tinted outfit and headgear, and partly because traditionally H.E. wasn't tied to Rocket Raccoon's origin. But, it makes sense, and I'm always willing to give them some rope and see where they go with it. Still, it's as good an excuse as any to flip through a random High Evolutionary appearance, isn't it? From 1994, Avengers #380, "Errand of Mercy" Written by Bob Harras, pencils by Mike Deodato Jr, inks and colors by Tom Palmer.
Near scenic Mount Wundagore in the Balkans, Quicksilver and Crystal visit the ailing--and possibly dying--Bova. The evolved cow-woman was the closest thing to a mother Pietro had in his life, and he's genuinely distraught at the thought of losing her. So, he's more than willing to jump at the chance to get the High Evolutionary to save her; which is a bit of a jump: there were lights on the mountain again, which doesn't necessarily mean he could save her. On their way up the mountain, though, they meet someone else: an Acolyte of Magneto, albeit one that's been cast out. He had been visiting the shrine to Magneto's first wife; but leaves when the New Men confront them. (The Acolyte adds literally nothing to the story, but they were the thing at the time.)
Meanwhile, subplots! Hercules keeps working on Taylor Madison, who likes him back but claims she can't get involved with him right now. She also gets a new roommate, who's pretty obviously a supervillain: you have to check those references! Captain America's health was failing, from events in his own book; but he hasn't let Black Widow or the Vision in on his condition yet, even though they've noticed. Crystal and Pietro get into the required scuffle with the New Men, with Pietro losing his temper when Crystal gets hurt; but he's no match for the High Evolutionary, who seems pretty impressive for the whole page he's in this comic. Bova's caretaker/companion Fydor watches the lightshow on the mountain, sinisterly; while in a final subplot, young Luna is put to bed by her Inhuman nanny, but was the only one to see the Black Knight appear in a mirror, and plead for help...Fydor is really well rendered, early on and at the end, which absolutely sells him as shifty.

Weirdly, this was also available as "Marvel Double Feature," with a George Perez written Giant-Man story. But, we've got the bare-bones version here, I guess. Also, this kinda sorta ties into current events in Roy Thomas's Thor; but that wasn't a high-water mark for the book, sorry.
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