Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Aw, it's the one with "Do You Want to Build a Snowman," not the one with "Danny Boy."

So, the song "Danny Boy" was in a playlist of songs for the Preacher TV show, but the YouTube video for it referenced Miller's Crossing, which I somehow don't think I had seen until recently: the below scene isn't really a spoiler, and the rest of the movie isn't as violent, but god that scene's cool. But when I think of that song, I'm thinking of the Question, but that reference was in the first two issues, not this one! From 1987, the Question #3, "Suffer the Children..." Written by Dennis O'Neil, pencils by Denys Cowan, inks by Rick Magyar.
In the previous issue, singing "Danny Boy," the faceless Question confronts Reverend Hatch, who had ordered his death in the series opener. Hatch seems broken, but the Question's concentration is broken by the sudden appearance of his ex, Myra, who had been forced into marrying the drunken Mayor Fermin. Hatch cracks the Question in the shoulder with a fireplace poker, then gets kicked into said fireplace, and goes out a fairly high window while on fire! It would be a dramatic escape for Batman, but Hatch merely seems to be put out and wrapped in a blanket by cops later; as Myra calls him a monster, and the real power in the scheme. Myra explains to Vic, not knowing who he really was, that Hatch had ordered a busload of kids blown up, to discredit the mayor's enemies. Myra shows serious grit, as she gets the Question past her drunken incompetant of a husband and the cops; while Vic was in shock from seeing her, and the revelation that she had a daughter, currently living in the same orphanage he grew up in.
Hatch had outsourced the bombing to freelance terrorist Benno Musto, who needed the cash to finance getting back at another client that had stiffed him: feels like that's good money after bad, but I suppose he had to maintain his rep. Not helping his rep or his temper, was his son Junior; whom he mocks as gay and weak. Which Benno claims would make his late wife "puke," but blowing up a school bus, that was fine? Benno tells his man Pedro, Junior would do this job, or shoot him. Meanwhile, Vic has a consult with his mentor, the coffee-swilling Tot; who notices the changes in Vic since his return.
While Vic runs down clues, luckily it was MJK Day, so not a lot of buses to choose from; Pedro and Junior were running late, since their van wouldn't start in the recent snow. Pedro suggests, maybe he wasn't cut out for the family business of terrorism, but along with the bomb already planted, Junior also brought...a very cartoony bundle of dynamite, in case there was a problem with the bomb; he could blow the kids up like Wile E. Coyote. Before they could set it off, Vic recognizes their van, mostly subconsciously, and hits them with his souped-up Volkswagen. Too close now to blow the bomb, Pedro attempts to fight it out with the Question, and gets knocked out. Junior tries his dynamite, but had about a foot of fuse on it, giving Vic time to get it away from the kids. Only later would he think, why didn't you just pull the fuse...? Idiot. Still, the issue ends with a little light in Hub City, as Vic visits Myra's daughter Jackie in the orphanage, as they build a snowman. Live in the moment, man. But, he would face Junior again... Read more!

Monday, April 29, 2024

File under "Comics you can hear." Too bad for you!

Some people can come out of personal tragedy as better, stronger, and kinder; but they probably don't have the added burden of looking and sounding like Gilbert Gottfried. That's too much to put on anyone...from 1991, The Adventures of Superboy #20, "The Secret (Until Now) Origin of Nicknack" Written by Scott Lobdell and Gilbert Gottfried, pencils by Jim Mooney, inks by John Statema. Cover by Kevin Maguire and Ty Templeton!
Huh, this was another series, tying into the 1988-92 TV show, which ran for a hundred episodes? Luthor, Bizarro, and Mr. Mxyzptlk all made appearances; but instead of Toyman, we got Nicholas Knack, a.k.a. Nicknack, with a similiar gimmick. Although he had been convicted for murdering his assistant, he was also pretty obviously crazy, to the point that the warden wanted to move him to a psychiatric facility. That's less out of kindness, than the fact that Nicknack is loud and annoying: despite having made dangerous toys in the past, he was still allowed to have some action figures, mostly to shut him up a bit. The warden calls in Superboy for help with the move; and they watch Nicknack beat the hell out of a Superboy action figure with a Nicknack figure, and tell his "secret origin." His dad had worked at the Mega Toys factory, until he had an unfortunate accident--well, unfortunate for him. He fell into a vat of molten plastic, but the "Fright Face Fling-Ding," a frisbee of his virtual death mask, was a massive seller for the company! His mom was killed in an accident at the funeral, and young Nicholas was adopted by the owner of the toy company. He's left with an overbearing nanny, whom he eventually murders, but it did give him the opportunity to study business; and he would flee to Europe and make a name for himself with hit toys and hostile--occasionally deadly--takeovers.
In fact, Nicknack still had holdings in Europe: the prison had bought its paddy wagon from one of his companies, and it transforms into a tank! I don't know if there was much call for that, but sure. With his tank and armor, Nicknack tries to make his break, eventually shooting a heat-seeking missile at the prison cafeteria--not just revenge for so many terrible meals, but he figures Superboy would have to stop it and he could escape. Instead, Superboy heats up Nicknack's armor, drawing the missile back, hitting them both: the prisoners have a moment to cheer for Nicknack making himself useful in death, but both survived, although Nicknack's armor was worse for the wear. He's left at the prison, but more worried about Tuna Melt Tuesday than anything.
The running joke is that everyone knows Nicknack looks like Gottfried, even Nicknack; with the line even getting crossed towards the end as he mentions his last appearance on Letterman! A fun issue; I hope Gottfried enjoyed it. Of course, years later, he would make multiple animated appearances, as the voice of Mr. Mxyzptlk!
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Friday, April 26, 2024

It'll be an Unexpected find in this box later, but that's probably true for the other books as well.

I'm more of a reader, than a collector: my collection is merely a build-up of reading material; and in that vein my organization would probably make most of you scream in frustration. I was just loading a number of books into a box that could only be described as "recently blogged," so yeah, bit of a crap-shoot. Then, I had double-check to make sure we hadn't seen this one already: from 1982, Unexpected #219, cover by Joe Kubert.
These later DC horror/sci-fi books were also crap-shoots, and the stories aren't A-list this time, but have some early work from a couple artists. Cover story "Boxed In!" finds alien visitors to earth, that find themselves not to scale, and their end is not surprising. (Story by Andy Helfer, pencils by Ric Estrada.) "They Don't Call Him Lucky Sam for Nothing!" is a shaggy dog of a sci-fi story, as a tramp spaceman signs a bum contract with an alien pirate; but it all turns out in the end for no reason. (Written by Sheldon Mayer, art by Jose Matucenio.)
"A Wild Tale" is told by a future teacher to her incredulous students, of a young girl rescued from an alien planet, who developed shape-changing powers. Could that be true? Well, let's just say nobody messes around in that class. (Story by George Kashdan, pencils by Trevor Von Eeden, inks by Ricardo Villamonte.) Lastly, in "Dust Devil," a small town in the Depression, on the verge of collapse, is offered an out by a devil. To make sure they don't get "a pig in a poke," one man asks for a trial period, and is given 12 hours to try their promised prosperity out. Kind of like the small-alien story; you pretty much know where this one's going; but it's got early Keith Giffen art that shows his Kirby influences. (Story by Gary Cohn.) 

Not a great one, but okay. I am blogging the cover though; so I don't buy it again! I feel like that cover's kind of well-recognized, probably seen by way more people than read this. 
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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Yeah, nice Fay Wray, Kara.

Not to tell you your business, scientists, but if mysterious strangers show up in the middle of the night to "help" you with the giant-ass robot you built for peaceful purposes, they probably don't have the best of intentions. From 1972, Adventure Comics #422, "Pawn of Peace!" Written by Steve Skeates, pencils by Mike Sekowsky, inks by Bob Oksner.
Aliens disguise themselves as humans, to hoodwink a scientist that built a rather large and ominious peacekeeping robot: the damn thing didn't work, so I wonder how much the aliens had to do for it: it might just be an art piece for all we know. The aliens seem like they've got a plan but are also really enjoying their dickery; meanwhile, Supergirl is just trying to get to work on time, man. She was already late because she...sigh...stopped to look at a dress; and the robot seems to do a lot of damage, but Kara still worried she won't get to punch in before lunch. Priorities, Kara!
The robot gives her a bit of hassle, and she's grabbed for a bit: the Air Force shoots a few missiles at it, figuring they couldn't hurt Supergirl anyway, even if she was stuck. The scientist tries to make up for being duped by dropping from a helicopter onto the robot to disable its computer; which was pretty daring, except he's squashed like a bug. Supergirl figures out how to disrupt its circuitry with her x-ray vision and disables it; then after a couple pictures zips into the office, where she has to give a sick excuse that even her cousin wouldn't have been able to sell; while elsewhere the aliens disguise themselves again, to help a Russian scientist with his non-functional peacekeeping robot...I don't know if they returned, but honestly I kinda doubt it.
Also this issue: a Vigilante story, "Rodeo of Death!" Written by Bill Meredith, art by Gray Morrow. A publicity tour for some black cowboys is plagued by racist attacks; Vigilante helps stop the masked creeps, but not without cost. Read more!

Wednesday, April 24, 2024


There's a couple points in Marvel continuity where alien races realize, earth had driven off Galactus, more than once; and was thus probably insanely dangerous. If they had the planet under any sort of surveilance, they would probably have seen X-Men #59, wherein Cyclops pulls the Star Trek logic trap on the Sentinels, convincing them the sun was the source of mutations, so they should fight it? Enh, to a lot of A.I. that probably makes sense. That, Ultron, and I think a lot of robot bad guys are beat by getting launched into space; so from the outside it probably looks like earth is littering the universe with those things. 

We got the Super-Adaptoid pretty cheap from a Disney sale, but I still feel like he needs a little extra something--definitely a cape, possibly with a big flared collar; or at least Yellowjacket style 'wings.' I kind of love the Super-Adaptoid, and hate Nimrod, even for a bad robot he's a bad robot. He's overtly racist, and no-sales too many attacks, or rebuilds/recovers way too fast. Cheap! That and I feel like S-A could conceivably improve itself, maybe in an evil way like in Avengers #290, but still trying; while Nimrod might pay lip service to that and not really care: it just wants to kill mutants. I really think Claremont was maybe building up to that and got sidetracked: Nimrod is a friend to all children!...until you develop mutant powers, then ggggak!
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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Crap, Nixon sold me on this comic; maybe I can't say anything.

Futurama got a lot of mileage out of him, and Conan O'Brien mentioned him as well on Hot Ones; but while he was reprehensible and objectionable in so many ways, Nixon was kinda funny? Just his mannerisms and tics; not anything he tried to do intentionally, god no. I mention this because one of my nephews has a pretty solid Trump impression, that I can't stand: even when he's being made fun of, I don't like having to think about him? But, we can have some laughs with Nixon, sort of, in today's book! From 1972, From Beyond the Unknown #17, cover by Murphy Anderson...mostly. (We've seen two other issues from this series fairly recently: I suspect they were part of somebody's collection, that ended up at the comic book shop and slowly trickled down to me!)
The cover story, "The Impossible World Named Earth!" originally appeared in 1956's Mystery in Space #30, but it didn't predict Nixon; the president was Dwight Eisenhower in that one! A Jovian keeps having visions of another world, which of course is impossible: everyone knows Jupiter is the only world in the whole universe! (Presumably, they don't call it that, but whatever.) Meanwhile, on earth, a sci-fi writer keeps having the same ideas as other writers, via telepathy. Can the writer and the Jovian help each other? Yes, since the Jovian is stout enough his mind doesn't collapse when he finds out "Nee-xon" is real. (Written by Otto Binder, pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Joe Giella.)
"Mystery of the 12 O'Clock Man" was the cover story for 1964's Strange Adventures #162: a rocket scientist on the moon has a good job and good friends, but he also seems to disappear at lunch every Friday, for reasons even he doesn't know. A friend tries tailing him, and gets nowhere; but as the scientist starts pulling on strings, his entire history seems to unravel: the orphanage and the high school he attended have no records of him. This doesn't push on into Phillip K. Dick territory, but not bad. (Written by Ed Herron, art by Sid Greene.)
"The Magic Typewriter" probably should be "the Magic Typist," as a flaky stenographer keeps going into trances and typing out massive scientific advances, like an anti-gravity belt and a death-ray. But was she more than she seemed...? Well, yeah. (From 1953's Strange Adventures #31, written by Sam Merwin, art (maybe) by Frank Giacoia.) I didn't love that one, or "Super-Cook of Space!" or "Rocketeer for Hire!" All three are dated, sexist, and/or rah-rah go American-Earth in ways I wasn't in the mood for right now. Read more!

Monday, April 22, 2024

Aw, from the silhouette on the cover, I thought Yellowjacket was rejoining the team.

Wait, that's not right...spoiler alert after the break! From 1975, Justice League of America #117, "I Have No Wings and I Must Fly!" Written by Elliot S! Maggin, pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Frank McLaughlin.
The returning hero would in fact be Hawkman, and this issue would be referenced in his continuity, geez, for years afterwards; but it also feels like an early example of the "no time to explain, so I'm going to do something that seems super wrong, and catch you up later" kind of story that's like team books' bread-and-butter. Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Batman, Superman, and the Atom take off towards Mars, where GL has spotted Hawkman's Thanagarian ship: there's also a "photon-mirage" of Hawkman, that fails to lure them to Mars, but they go anyway. The team makes a surprisingly poor showing, though; with Supes and GL downed, Green Arrow missing two shots, but Batman now seemingly able to tear steel? The Atom misses what should be a standard jump from an arrow, and Batman is defeated by a dark-haired man claiming to be Hawkman...although he was noticeably shorter. He deposits the unconscious Leaguers on Mars, noting this would let him turn the disease to his advantage.
When the Leaguers wake up, the most noticeable change was that they were all about same height and weight, about five feet tall! (The Atom's shrunken stature brought the average down: Ray was six feet tall normally, and I'd guess the other guys there were at least that tall.) Superman and GL were noticeably diminished, but Batman could fly? Hawkman had been infected by microbes from the alien Equalizer--not that one! Or that one. Or that one! He was a odd-looking sort, and had microbes "that affect people when they exert themselves--making them physically equal to everyone around them!" Hawkman was no longer big and strapping, and couldn't even wear his wings; but had stolen some of the Leaguers' powers, so he could stop the Equalizer from infecting earth. But the microbes seemed to affect the Leaguers mentally as well: Batman had lost much of his deductive abilities, while Green Arrow was far more of a team player than he ever was. He rallies the heroes into concentrating their willpower, to use GL's ring and follow the Equalizer--meaning Hawkman, they hadn't learned of that alien yet!
Despite his borrowed powers, Hawkman is no match for the Equalizer, who counters his every move with equal force, before destroying his ship. The heroes arrive, to join their old friend, and aren't really getting anywhere, until they try hate: waves of hate, aimed at the Equalizer, which is countered by if not love, then restitution; as the heroes are restored to their usual selves. But, Thanagar was still infected, including Hawkgirl, and he was left with nowhere to go except back to the JLA, which elects to reinstate him. 

The Equalizer's goal, if any, isn't explained here; this might have been his only appearance? But, we saw his equalizing plague mentioned in Showcase #103, and I'm pretty sure it was still a plot point in 1982's World's Finest #278, and possibly into 1985's the Shadow War of Hawkman.
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Friday, April 19, 2024

It's gonna be hilarious when the adaptation of this has more cultural impact than Black Adam.

Like most of DC's books in 2022, this one's got an ad for Black Adam on the cover; but it's maybe getting an adaptation soon: from 2022, Jurassic League #6, cover and script by Daniel Warren Johnson, script and art by Juan Gedeon.
I only picked up a dollar bin copy of the last issue, but yeah, this is pretty much "What If the Justice League were dinosaurs?" and this is the dramatic conclusion, as "Batsaur" has a final face-off with "Jokerzard" before the big confrontation with "Darkyloseid." "Supersaur" sacrifices himself, maybe, to take out Darkyloseid; and Batsaur and the rest of the League learn to work together with the primitive humans; which seems like a point in recent American Godzilla/Kong movies and probably dates back to Mothra or earlier, but always reminds me of the Primal Rage arcade game.
This is fluff, but harmless; unlike Black Adam: I'm pissed at the Rock, for being a candyass and complaining about his endorsement of Biden in 2020. Read more!

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Wait, Deadman is a publicly known figure? How?...ghost writer?

We saw the Madame X from this event some time back, but I had been looking forward to this one: from 2012, National Comics: Eternity #1, written by Jeff Lemire, art by Cully Hamner and Derec Aucoin.
Confession: Jeff Lemire has never clicked for me. I don't know why--he had a run on (Extraordinary) X-Men, he's had a bunch of books at Dark Horse, ooh, he had a Moon Knight run, that one I know I didn't love. This is a perfectly reasonable updating for Kid Eternity, which really reminded me of the iZombie TV show--which I loved, but the Kid doesn't have the supporting cast to back him up, (This issue did predate that show, though.) Here, the Kid is the survivor of a drive-by shooting, where his father was killed, but that has left him with an unusual power: he can reach into seeming Purgatory, to bring back the spirit of a recently deceased, for 24 hours. The Kid works in the police morgue, and tries to use his powers to solve crimes; despite the fact that he's barely doing his actual job, he keeps seeing a weird guy in the real world and Purgatory, and oh yeah, this recently murdered ghost is kind of a prick.
While the Kid puts together the clues, and keeps his job for another day, the weird guy introduces himself as Mr. Keeper, and tells him he'll have to learn the rules. He can't or won't tell him said rules, that's a rule right there...I already hate him. And, for good measure there's a cliffhanger ending, seemingly setting up the next episode, but this is like a pilot that didn't go to series. Man, Kid Eternity is a hook I want to like, but the Grant Morrison/Duncan Fegredo mini has a massive retcon that breaks the idea of the character, and is a bit too murky for its own good; while Nocenti's version was interesting but I don't think readers were ready for it in 1993. Read more!

Wednesday, April 17, 2024


We've seen a few panels here and there of actual Darkhawk comics, and I have an actual plotline for him that's been percolating in my skull for some time and I hope to get to someday. He mentions the "Fraternity of Raptors," which I don't have a huge amount of interest in, but the family drama (as seen in Darkhawk #30) has some appeal. One of Chris's little brothers seems super big-hearted, while his other one, in another issue, had a serial killer mentor/replacement father figure! He also seemed like a jerk willing to throw Chris under the bus for all the family's assorted problems. And Chris's mom was a smokeshow! She doesn't look old enough to have a college-age son. 

The other reason Darkhawk is getting written out for a bit, is that I don't think I moved his figure for several strips! I'm glad he got made at all, sure, but he wasn't a figure they went all-out on. No swappable hands or wings.

In more cheerful news, the Crystal Method's "Tweekend" still holds up!
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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Well, a little Maguire is better than none.

This series ran for like two and a half years, but Maguire's name on the cover sold me on this one: from 2013, World's Finest #12, "The Price of Fame" Written by Paul Levitz, pencils by Kevin Maguire, Geraldo Borges, and Robson Rocha; inks by Kevin Maguire, J. P. Mayer, and Wayne Faucher.
I'm not entirely up on my post-New 52 continuity, but I believe this was set in the modern Earth-2, where Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman had all apparently died while taking out Darkseid? Pardon me if I'm in error; Huntress does have a line about them landing on that earth; but currently Power Girl was an up-and-coming tech mogul in her secret identity of Karen Starr, with Huntress as her slightly-surly bodyguard. This month, Karen finally gets a meeting with rival/potential partner/maybe love interest Michael Holt, that goes abyssmally wrong when he reveals himself as Desaad! A more hands-on, and handsier, version than usual; but he mentions being in exile there: either unable to return to Apokolips, or maybe not having an Apokolips to return to. Desaad only lets Karen and Helena see his true form, while his bodyguards defend their boss, unaware he was a monster.
Unfortunately, Maguire doesn't do the whole issue; and while Borges and Rocha do a good job, there's a sudden shift to costumes mid-issue, as Huntress beats up some Yakuza types in search of intel. Power Girl isn't thrilled about having to leave a party for that, since after years of being Superman's secret weapon, she dug being famous. But, fame is fleeting, as the press seems to turn on Karen Starr, despite a very cheesecakey Time cover. And things go worse: Karen's Cambridge lab is blown up, drawing the heroines away, for Desaad to Boom Tube in tanks, wiping out her main office, and killing her assistant. Furious, they resolve to go underground, until they can find and end Desaad...which, I think took them a few issues.
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