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Preview: Random Happenstance

Random Happenstance



Comics, toys, pop culture nonsense. And maybe the kids and bitey dog around here somewhere too.



Updated: 2018-02-24T03:20:20.449-08:00

 



Ugh, success went to the Panther's head...

2018-02-23T05:00:23.350-08:00

Sometimes I wish I planned ahead around here a little more, since I had thought about blogging these issues prior to seeing Black Panther; but this might have worked out better anyway. Today we've got the first part of "Cat Trap," from 2000, Deadpool #44, "Cat Trap (or: Wakanda Merc Are You?)" Written by (Christopher) Priest, pencils by James (Jim) Calafiore, inks by Jon Holdredge. Priest was writing both Deadpool and Black Panther at the time, so a crossover between the two seems reasonable enough, but I don't think I can understate how idiosyncratic and unique both were then. He had rebuilt T'Challa and his whole world, and introduced viewpoint character Everett K. Ross for the Panther's Marvel Knights book; while in Deadpool he picked up what was left after Joe Kelly's run and went a completely different direction. Pool was living with "roommates" the Constrictor and Titania, who he describes here as willing to "...kill me for a sack of gummy bears!" He liked having people around, but didn't necessarily want to get attached to or count on them. Also, he had "Thom Cruz's" face, after a somewhat convoluted encounter with Loki. Meanwhile, T'Challa was injured and recovering from his loss to Erik Killmonger: while he was still king, Killmonger was now chieftain--and Black Panther! The Avengers had been trying to reach T'Challa, to see what was up with that.To throw more fuel on the fire, this issue has the Reverend Michael Ibn al-hajj Achebe (a Panther villain, described as "a kook of the first order," with a hand-puppet in his likeness named Daki) hire Deadpool to recover his beloved pet leopard Ukatana. This is a lie, and Pool knows it, but is self-destructive enough to take the job anyway. Or maybe he just wanted to keep Daki. The leopard was in fact Killmonger's companion Preyy, and was currently playing frisbee with Triathlon on the lawn of Avengers Mansion, while inside Tony Stark, Hank Pym, and Janet Van Dyne try to figure out what, if anything, they should do with Killmonger; who seemed to show up there like Black Panther was a post on the team. (Tony nixes that, saying the team voted in the man, not "the office of Black Panther.") Pool shows up, unmasked and posing as an animal control officer (with a slight aside to another of Priest's characters!) and slips a teleportation device on Preyy; which also takes Triathlon with it. The exit portion of Pool's plan is not as well thought out, as the Avengers have some questions for him.Outside the mansion, Titania (who has a secret we won't go into here!) and Constrictor wait for their signal, while Achebe uses an image inducer to pass himself off as T'Challa and calls Tony. (Who himself was using an inducer to appear in armor!) Achebe's just muddying the waters here, telling Tony to go ahead and induct Killmonger and not worry about Wakandan doings and largely blowing him off. Pool is mostly having fun fighting the Avengers, since, as often happened in Priest's run, "I've convinced myself none of this is actually happening!" He's also impressed with Killmonger, and his moves! Pool and his crew try to escape, in an ice cream truck with the music stuck on; and it becomes readily apparent Achebe screwed them over: he's gone, and Preyy and Triathlon have been teleported to Wakanda. T'Challa is told of both that and the Avengers trying to reach him, but says to ignore them both, since the real fight was tomorrow...This feels more like a Black Panther issue than a Deadpool one, and we'll see if the reverse is true when we check out the conclusion. It was also Priest's second-to-last issue of Deadpool, next month he and Calafiore would wrap up Titania's secret, Pool's face, and the villain behind some of his current problems. The later is somewhat incidental, Deadpool was responsible for most of his problems...[...]



1 Comments

2018-02-22T05:00:41.342-08:00

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In 2001, Apocalypse Now Redux was released, with an additional 49 minutes of footage. That's like finding almost another half of a movie in there! Similarly, we just found a whole bunch of additional chapters to this one today, but I'm not as enthusiastic about that: from 1994, Thor #470, "Ruins" Written by Ron Marz, pencils by M.C. Wyman, inks by Mike DeCarlo.

In chapter nine of "Blood and Thunder," Thor and his formerly imaginary girlfriend Valkyrie have arrived at Asgard, which is currently pretty wrecked. Still, an enraged and insane Thor is intent on wrecking it up some more; and it's up to Warlock and the Infinity Watch, along with Dr. Strange and the Silver Surfer, to stop him. It does not go especially well, as they're all beaten pretty badly, mostly because there were still four parts left to this thing? The hell...ugh, I'm going to have to go back and edit, since I thought this was a nine-part crossover, and it was actually thirteen! This isn't the last chapter, it would end with next month's Thor #471. Crap, I think I forgot it wasn't just Thor, Silver Surfer, and Warlock and the Infinity Watch, but also the Warlock Chronicles. I think I completely missed those, but it seems like it still read okay.
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So I thought I had blogged this whole crossover, but I may have only blogged eight of thirteen? With a couple of issues leading up to it. Urrrrggg...anyway, Strange and Warlock try a combined "karmic-mystic attack" on Thor, which Warlock was worried he would find a counter for: yeah, the Power Gem, in about two seconds. Gamora has a better showing, but is downed when Valkyrie throws Moondragon at her. Although Sif and Beta Ray Bill are on their way, Pip has to act quickly, and grabs the Surfer and teleports them, Thor, and Valkyrie, to Thanos! We've seen that chapter, but I think I'm still missing a chapter between this and the end! Well, considering I started covering this crossover back in 2010, I guess maybe we'll get to all of them sometime.



"Bachelorette."

2018-02-21T05:00:01.538-08:00

I wrote this a couple weeks ago, before going to see Black Panther; and I was glad to see a somewhat less ruthless T'Challa: in the comics, he could sometimes be singleminded in his defense of Wakanda. His country and people came first; even at the cost to others. I also wrote this when I got the figures for Okoye and Nakia, before seeing them in the movie, so they don't quite line up, but go with it. I know Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman were exploring the multiverse after Secret Wars, but I don't think they were barred from earth or too far away to get back or anything. Plus, we had that figure from recently, so yeah.[...]



At least Scrooge didn't charge payday-lender interest on that...

2018-02-20T07:07:28.669-08:00

I learned how to read when I was very little, and I'm told I went through a period that whenever the family went to a restaurant, I would try and order haggis, because I had seen the word in an Uncle Scrooge comic. Ironically, I was a super-picky eater back then, so I don't know what I would've done if I got it; or maybe I became so picky because I never did get it! Anyway, I don't think I've blogged any of these, but here's one from a quarter-bin: from 1997, Uncle Scrooge Adventures #50, reprinting 1954's Uncle Scrooge #5, "Secret of Atlantis" Story and art by Carl Barks, from a story idea by Chase Craig.I'm not sure there's a name for this, but the Simpsons does it pretty often as well; where the story starts with one mundane little goal--in this case, Scrooge trying to collect on a very minor debt--and spirals to the point that he and Donald are trapped in the undersea kingdom of Atlantis. Scrooge hires Donald as a bill collector, and promises him half of what he collects; which turns out to be a nickel, since the debt was a dime Donald had owed him for four years! Donald pushes back to get his change, but Scrooge tries to shortchange him with a bum nickel from a defunct country...that turns out to be worth five bucks to a collector! Donald taunts Scrooge at being taken on the deal, but Scrooge promises to make that money back, and then some, with the rarest coin in the world--the 1916 quarter Donald had paid with before! (I suppose a 1916 quarter may well be rare now, but it wasn't at the time this was originally published!)Scrooge sets into motion a plan that's almost a textbook in artificial scarcity, beginning with an ad blitz to buy up 1916 quarters, until he had all of them. Keeping one in his vault, he dumps the rest in the Atlantic, making his last 1916 quarter worth "ten skyrillion dollars!" And he's hoping that price might go up, but loses it, setting up a pie fight and skyscraper ledge walk that wouldn't have been out of place in a Buster Keaton movie. (On the "Vampire State Building"!) And we haven't even got to Atlantis yet, but I don't think it's a spoiler to say Scrooge has to learn a bitter lesson at the end here. Old Uncle Scrooge comics are like EC classics or even Groo, in the sense that while I feel like I've read a lot of them, I haven't read all of them. Which is a comforting thought, like I still have a reserve of good comics out there, waiting to be found. And a good one like this has a shelf life of about forever.[...]



Sometimes the quarter bins come through for you, sometimes you get Soviet Super-Soldiers #1.

2018-02-19T05:00:27.620-08:00

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That's a little harsh...just a little. From 1992, Soviet Super-Soldiers #1, "The Red Triangle Agenda" Written by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Angel Medina and Javier Saltares, inks by Jeff Albrecht.
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I may be harshing on this a bit because it builds off of at least two comics I liked: Captain America #352, wherein the state-backed Supreme Soviets nearly murder the Soviet Super-Soldiers Vanguard, Darkstar, and Ursa Major; and Thor #358, in which the Titanium Man's scheme of using armored American flunkies runs afoul of Beta Ray Bill. In fact, there's one more issue involved: X-Factor Annual #1, which introduced several Russian mutants, many of whom are subsequently killed off here.

The mutants (including Vanguard, Darkstar, and Ursa Major) are mostly on the run this issue, while the Supreme Soviets have to deal with...a name change. And an attempt to discredit the Crimson Dynamo, that leads to the Titanium Man's return, a new character in an old armor, and an old character in a new suit and name that are probably never brought up again. The Dynamo's teammates really don't help him out much. Still, there's a lot of potential plotlines laid out, but none of them are that great since there's not really any reason to care about any of these characters; unless maybe you really liked them from some other comic. Unlikely, but possible.
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The art starts to fall apart towards the end of this 64-pager; and as with some of these oddball one-offs, I wonder if this was intended to be a one-shot, or if it wasn't meant to be a serial in Marvel Comics Presents. Well, maybe better to get this over with all at once, instead of over twelve weeks.



I know Daredevil has had girlfriends that lived, like, um...wait, don't tell me...

2018-02-16T05:00:09.099-08:00

Don't say the Black Widow, she's dead at the start of this one: from 1982, Daredevil #189, "Siege" Story and layouts by Frank Miller, finishes and color by Klaus Janson. Which is what we're looking at today, and not maybe the reprint I've read before, from Elektra Megazine #2. Which will explain part of my upcoming confusion...Yes, the Black Widow is pretty much toast here, having succumbed to poison from the Hand; but she is saved by Stick. The Chaste are shorthanded, as it were, as the Hand attack Matt's apartment; and several die fighting before Stick and Shaft absorb the lifeforce of their attackers--which causes them both to explode! That might be the last we see of Shaft, but I'm pretty sure Stick would be back, as he seems to get "killed" whenever it's more dramatic for Matt to have to go it alone or without his guidance, or whenever Stick doesn't feel like putting up with Matt's crap. Matt also fights with a pair of sais here and on the cover, telling Natasha he had fought someone who used them recently, and taught himself!After the battle, Stone meditates, to try and figure out their next option against the Hand; and Natasha takes a shower and makes a pass at Matt, who declines, since he was engaged to Heather Glenn! Who shows up on cue, drunk as a lemur. Now, this kind of threw me, since I thought I had read this stretch of issues before, but I didn't remember Heather; and that may be because her subplot might've been cut from the Elektra-centric reprints I read! Anyway, I don't think this was the expression at the time, but Natasha gives Heather a blistering amount of side eye. Matt and Natasha hit the rooftops looking for the Hand, but split up after Matt clams up about Heather. She goes to visit Foggy, and asks about Matt: at the time, Foggy knew Matt knew Natasha, but I don't think he knew Matt was Daredevil. Or maybe he just didn't let on. Still, Foggy dishes about Elektra, then about Heather, and how Matt had "ruined her, professionally, just to convince her to marry him." A bad situation. What to do, what to do...how about forgery! Matt and Heather both receive notes, supposedly from each other, to the effect of I don't love you, don't call me, goodbye. In a two-page sequence, Heather seems pretty distraught, while Matt is looking at his...well, he's blind, so I don't know what he's doing. Actually, would this work at all? Could Natasha forge a note that would fool Matt's senses? I'm thinking he could literally smell her hand in this, so to speak. But there are bigger fish to fry, as Stone tells Matt and Natasha that the Hand would be looking for a replacement for their number one guy, Kirigi, and would have to recruit from the dead...you know who.So I had a big blind spot on the Heather Glenn thing, except I knew this wasn't her last appearance! Hmm, back in the day, Karen Page went from being a supporting character in Daredevil over to Ghost Rider; and Ms. Glenn did the same over to Iron Man! Her appearances were during the stretch when Rhodey was IM and Tony was a raging alcoholic on a downward spiral. I had thought she was killed off there, but nope! She would return to die in Daredevil #220, an apparent suicide. (I don't know if that qualifies as fridging, but it was almost definitely to make Matt feel guilty. Guiltier. There's always a strong baseline of guilt to Matt.)Also, I liked this issue's cover, even though it really looks like DD's gonna be filled full of arrows or stab wounds shortly. Reminds me of this Michael Golden Savage Sword of Conan cover; I don't know what Conan's aiming to land on there.[...]



I think I had too much flash in that photo...

2018-02-15T16:47:13.670-08:00

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...and I'm really waiting for the 90's TV Flash, so we'll probably have some more at some point! But I did get out today and pick up the Multiverse Flash two-pack from Target: it was clearance-priced down to about the cost of a single figure, so okay.

Likewise, I got the Marvel Legends Thor/Valkyrie two-pack, and while the unhelmeted Thor is pretty nice, Valkyrie carries it. And Walgreens has a sale going on, so I got Shatterstar for $12.99. I don't have any particular attachment to the character, but maybe we'll find something for him to do sooner or later.

Right now, shooting for Black Panther on Saturday. Fingers crossed.





"Salvage the Day" may not be as inspiring as "Seize the Day," but it's more accurate here.

2018-02-15T08:38:47.391-08:00

Crap. I thought I was going to be able to go see Black Panther today with the Youngest, since he had the day off for conferences or learnding or whatever. But the early shows don't start until tomorrow! I seriously considered taking a day off to go, since now I might not get to until next Saturday. The challenge now, is how to not let my whole day get ruined...Maybe we'll see a little later.



"A.I."

2018-02-14T05:00:11.622-08:00

I hadn't thought about Danger recently, but she appeared in the recent Mojo Worldwide crossover in the current X-Men books. I couldn't really tell you if she and Kurt even met in proper continuity, but it made sense here.[...]



This was Starlin's last issue, and he made it as Starlin as possible.

2018-02-13T06:48:17.152-08:00

It also opens with a quote from Woody Allen, but don't hold that against it: from 1994, Warlock and the Infinity Watch #31, "Abyss" Written by Jim Starlin, pencils by Pat Olliffe, inks by Bob Almond and Nichols. We looked at #29 some time back, and saw Warlock and Maya enthralled with each other after drinking from that cool-ass bottle of wine. Presumably Maya gets kidnapped the next issue, since she's missing here and Adam is consulting the "Orb of Eternity" to better know his enemy, Count Abyss. (I suspect Eternity gave him the Orb to keep Adam from barging in whenever.)The Orb gets surprisingly chatty recapping the history of Milos Abyss, who had been an archaeologist and scientist, but merely one of many. Still, his field of expertise was Zalgodian history, and knew more about that ancient race than any of his people. When a derelict ship is discovered, Abyss could read their star charts, and knew he could use that knowledge to get to "Zalkor, the bestower of unlimited wishes." And all he had to do to start was kill his crewmates. The "murderous academic" made his way to an ancient space station, where he found the Zalkor!By completing an ancient ritual (and sacrificing his soul) Abyss was able to bargain with the Zalkor for unlimited power, with which the now Count Abyss was able to conquer the universe! His universe, anyway. The Orb points out that the Zalkor's power fades further away from his own dimension. Abyss now wanted Warlock's Infinity Gem, since he now coveted the return of his soul...or maybe a new one. Warlock knows full well what the love potion had done to him, but also thinks Abyss has made a tactical error, since "Adam Warlock never does what is expected of him." Indeed, Adam gathers his Infinity Watch, to invade Abyss's realm: Pip claims he can't teleport somewhere he hasn't been, but Warlock says the Orb gave him "a taste of that reality." But they may be spotted upon arrival... It's a shame that Starlin had to leave mid-storyline--offhand, I'm not sure if he would receive any credit or left any plot notes for the next writer--but he was busy with his new creator-owned book, 'Breed at Malibu. That would go on to have three mini-series, but I've never read it! [...]



Reed as much as calls bull on this one, in-story, while it's happening...

2018-02-12T05:00:27.138-08:00

Some time back, we mentioned Reed Richards calling out scientific inaccuracy mid-story in Fantastic Four #248 (and come to think of it, he would do the same the very next issue, although there's an in-story explanation for that one too!) and some other time back we mentioned looking for today's book, which we've...got today, I suppose. From 1989, Avengers #307, "Metamorphosis" Written by John Byrne, pencils by Paul Ryan, inks by Tom Palmer. An attack by the Lava Men has left the Avengers' current headquarters, the artificial island Hydrobase, stranded high above the water on a pillar of rock, and it's starting to crumble! Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman are the first to arrive to help, but as Sue points out, the island weighs thousands of tons! Her force field is able to stabilize the tipping Hydrobase until Wonder Man arrives to help...which, as we've mentioned, shouldn't have worked, at all! Reed lets scientific inaccuracy slide, for the moment, although I suspect his teeth are grinding, and has Sue make a force-field spiral around the rocky pillar. Which still wouldn't be resolved this issue...Looks like a printing plate shifted on that page...Meanwhile, the main team of Avengers (and reservist Sub-Mariner, who came to help and got dragged in) is still fighting Jinku, the witch-doctor of the Lava Men, and his giant lava monster. Their god Cha'sa'dra had been one of the demons that attacked the Avengers around issue #300, an Inferno crossover, and had died in battle; which killed most of his worshipers and left the rest as immobile stone statues. The fight's not going well, since Jinku has turned up the heat far past the point where the team's human members could stand it; although, as was often the case, Quasar probably should've been fine: his bands could protect him in deep space and should have there. The Eternal Forgotten One, Gilgamesh, gets punched out so hard that was pretty much it for his Avengers tenure; then the battle is abruptly ended when the statue Lava Men reveal they had merely been transforming into a new, better form, without the corrupting influence of their "god." I don't think the new gold Lava Men were ever seen again, were they? I even feel like regular Lava Men were still seen later, too. This issue feels like Byrne was kind of trying to push through this storyline to clear the decks for whatever he actually wanted to do on the book, although most of the rest of his run here was the Acts of Vengeance crossover and then a multi-part Spider-Man guest-spot. His Avengers West Coast run is more memorable. [...]



3 Comments

2018-02-09T05:01:01.313-08:00

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I was trying to figure out why I thought I had read all of Jack Kirby's OMAC; and unless I borrowed the collection from somewhere, I think it's because part of it was recapped in the back-up features in Warlord. Or maybe I'm just senile, a problem that probably couldn't be fixed by slapping an old brain into a young body, "the most horrible menace in human history," as posited by today's book! From 1975, OMAC #5, "New Bodies for Old!" Story and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks and letters by D.Bruce Berry.
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A Peace Agent of the Global Peace Agency (who concealed his face and racial features with a cosmetic spray, leaving him looking not unlike the Question) brings OMAC evidence of a mob's newest, and possibly most dangerous racket: computerized brain transplant surgery, where old criminals can buy new, young bodies. The mob nearly rubs out the agent after his briefing, but Brother Eye had shielded them, and leaves fake bodies to throw off the trail. OMAC then has to work the case to find the "transplant terminal" before the first batch of young people is surgically harvested! But his only lead is a punk who might be convinced to let the mob harvest his girl, if the price is right...
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A surprisingly dark book! Although, I think the next issue continues this story but veers off into fighting monsters in the subways. Really should check my bookshelves, maybe I do have the trade...



Don't "Lay Down and Die!" for anyone, but especially not this guy.

2018-02-08T05:01:08.972-08:00

The worst hangover I ever had in my life was like Blastaar the Living Bomb-Burst farting in my skull, and I remember it because I was trying to think of this cover while trying to keep myself together: if Thor could stand up, I thought maybe I could to. In fact, that's all I recall now: not the party or the aftermath, just this classic: from 1978, Thor #270, "Minute of Madness--Dark Day of Doom!" Written and edited by Len Wein, breakdowns by Walt Simonson, finishes by Tony DeZuniga. Blastaar is giving Thor the business from page one of this sucker, with Thor already separated from Mjolnir after a fight with Stilt-Man: Blastaar may not have known about the sixty-second countdown until Thor would turn back into Dr. Donald Blake, but he saw what that hammer had done to Stilt-Man and wanted no part of that. Thor sprays Blastaar down with a water main, but then gets blasted into an alley, where he changes, then tells Blastaar Thor took off out the back. Blastaar doesn't give chase, instead leaving to "fulfill the master's mission," leaving Donald to have to retrieve his walking stick from a street gang.Thor questions Stilt-Man, then heads over to see Tony Stark: Stilt-Man had stolen a chest full of radioactive isotopes, which Blastaar then took, for his "master," who apparently had a lair in upstate New York, an abandoned factory made out of adamantium alloy? Curiouser and curiouser...especially since Blastaar is at said factory now, which he had tried to destroy before, but was now working for? This tied-into a Hulk/Human Torch issue of Marvel Team-Up, but the factory's computer, code-named F.A.U.S.T, had promised Blastaar a triumphant return to the Negative Zone. When Thor approaches, though, Blastaar is distracted by the prospect of revenge; leaving F.A.U.S.T. clear to move its own scheme forward. As they fight, the computer's core launches itself into space; but it does leave Blastaar a portal......that seemingly dooms Blastaar to death in the Negative Zone! Thor is left to wonder, what the mysterious, and possibly indestructible, F.A.U.S.T. has planned next; but while I've had this comic since I was a kid, it would be years before I read the next issue! Well, maybe we'll get to it sooner. I've mentioned before that Thor's sixty-second timer would become woefully overused, although sometimes it worked; and that Simonson would get rid of it early on his next run on the title, as writer and artist! More comics would probably sell better, with little heads imploring you to "Be here!" for the next issue...[...]



"Proposal."

2018-02-07T05:00:42.853-08:00

Way, WAY back; actually the second Pool & Kurt strip, the guys complain about Kate Hudson. I'm sure she's nice and everything, but every one of her movies that I've seen has hurt me, badly. Has Katherine Heigel done that many rom-coms?...Are there even rom-coms anymore? It seemed like they had been replaced by young adult-lit adaptations. Anyway.Also way, way back, in actual Marvel continuity, Black Cat used to have legit bad luck powers, given to her by the Kingpin. Or his scientists...somehow. This is one of those things where they didn't even try to give a comic book science explanation; it was that far out there. When Cat only acted defensively, she was virtually unstoppable, as bad luck would take out her attackers in far-fetched and often amusing ways. Attacking negated her power, though; and for good measure it was having an adverse affect on her then-boyfriend, Spider-Man. I like the idea of Felicia being unbeatable on D, though...[...]



I guess it's HIS headquarters now.

2018-02-06T05:00:14.865-08:00

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About a year ago, I got the Ultimate Batcave, which is still taking up a lot of space in my room. Then last week, I got the palette-swap version, the Justice League Ultimate Justice Battleground playset! For even cheaper than the Batcave--I can be really cheap sometimes.
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Still, I hadn't bought any of the Justice League movie figures, since I already had recent Mattel versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and even Aquaman. Neither Flash nor Cyborg really jumped out at me, and the Collect-n-Connect of Steppenwolf was on the bland side. I did get Mera for cheap on Amazon, though; then uncharacteristically sprung full price for this fellow, the Parademon! Both Mera and the Parademon have interesting textures, decent if somewhat monochromatic paint (lot of green!) and fair-to-middling articulation.
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Instead of completely assembling the Ultimate Justice Battleground, this time I put together some of the floors to use as backgrounds by swapping them in and out. By the way, if you put the stickers on before assembling it, that'll be a lot easier.
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There's also a cage and a good chunk of a building, that we may see somewhere else later. I know I've shot one strip with one of these as the background already, so it's pretty much paid for itself already!




Like I said, nothing but respect for MY president.

2018-02-05T05:00:36.812-08:00

I mentioned this issue on Twitter the other day, but wasn't going to blog it right away, even though I love it and had a hard time finding a copy in the quarter bin. (I totally still have my old one, but still!) But let's jump in anyway: from 1984, Warlord #84, "Hail to the Chief" Written by Cary Burkett, pencils by Dan Jurgens, inks by Dan Adkins.I was going to hold off a bit since this was towards the end of a multi-issue time-travel storyline, ranging from the present New Atlantean war in Skartaris, to a post-nuclear war America in 2303, to ancient Atlantis. But we're getting ahead of things there: in 2303, after the suicide of the president, who had been the pawn of a traitor trying to consolidate power, Congress proclaims Travis Morgan the new President of the United States! A surprisingly sheepish Travis asks "Why me?" and is told post-nuke communications make an election unfeasible, but his leadership had been proven. Travis balks at accepting, but Shakira tells him he's the only man for the job. (His tantrum and her ensuing pep-talk are the second and third pages of the issue, pushing the title's traditional double-splash pages back to four and five!) Travis is immediately swamped with duties (and a tailor pushing a new wardrobe!) and has to chase them out of the Oval Office at swordpoint...After a visit to the present to check in with Jennifer Morgan and Tinder, we cut back to several weeks into Travis's presidency, and it's not going well: the nuclear war had damaged earth's ecology behind any repair. Frustrated at having to manage it, Travis has the idea to stop the nuclear war before it occurred, and checks with his friend Dr. Reno. Reno explains maybe, in theory, the timeline could be altered, but there's no guarantee of a better tomorrow. Still, it was more doable than Travis could have guessed, since they already had time-travelling ships, in a cavern deep below a mountain in Utah...that sounds very familiar to Travis. Reno realizes the time-travel experiments there may have caused a "time-stasis field," cutting the mountain off from regular time, or else those ships would have been used during the nuclear war. Reno, Travis, and his companions Shakira and Krystovar head to the mountain; where Reno explains the situation to the scientists that had only lived two years while centuries passed on the surface. Below the mountain is the cavern, which Travis had first seen at the start of the storyline in Warlord Annual #2. They plan to use the flying-saucer style time ships, to change history...!Also this issue: another chapter of the Barren Earth, in which Jinal and her friends are taken to visit the embassy of the Old Ones, which has technology far behind what she had expected. Indeed, the Old Ones may have been responsible for the earth's most recent inhabitants, the lizard people and the "mushroom folk" the Mulge. Jinal petitions the Old Ones' speaker for them to help her unify the planet against the alien Qlov, but as the speaker shows her images of some Qlov stranded like she was, he asks why they should side with her? To Jinal, they're obviously the bad guys, since their war had gone on for years; but the speaker tasks her with capturing one of the Qlov for questioning...(Story by Gary Cohn, art by Ron Randall.) Although I would pick up most if not all the back issues eventually, this was the second issue of Warlord that I know I bought: I had #66 first, but can't remember how I got it exactly; but I read Warlord off the racks from #83 to the end.[...]



Who knew time-travel rules were so complicated?

2018-02-02T05:00:21.879-08:00

I was thinking of DC's old rule, that you couldn't go back in time to a period where you already were, as seen in Brave and the Bold #192: Superboy is brought to the present, which launches Superman back to dinosaur times. I think it was the universe's defense mechanism, to keep you from running into your past self and causing a paradox. But there was another rule where time-travelling to when you already were turned you into a phantom...huh. From 1982, DC Comics Presents #51, "Rendezvous with Death" Written by Dan Mishkin, pencils by Alex Saviuk, inks by Frank McLaughlin. There's a nice cover with the Atom on Superman's grave, swearing vengeance, although it would be hilarious if his word balloon was really tiny...The Atom had long had access to his friend Professor Hyatt's invention, the time pool: it opened a portal through time, but only one small enough for Hyatt to "fish" through with a magnet, or for the Tiny Titan to use. What I didn't realize, is that Atom had been using it without permission all this time! He catches an earful later, but there are bigger problems: Hyatt had pulled a piece of technology from the old west that shouldn't have been there. When Atom went to investigate, he became an immaterial phantom, which had never happened to him before on these trips. Worse, he thus can't help Superman fight a group of aliens, who proceed to vaporize the Man of Steel! Barely getting back to the present, Atom heads to the JLA satellite, where he finds Superman alive and well.Examining the tech Hyatt found, Superman recognizes it from another time-travel case (and one that was mentioned in passing in the Krypton Chronicles) as belonging to his great-grandfather, Var-El! He had been a scientist, and had gone to earth to conduct experiments illegal on Krypton: that sounds ominous today, but every so often the planet seemed to turn on science a bit. Var-El had been believed to have been killed in a lab accident, but maybe not. With Professor Hyatt--who's thrilled to finally get to travel through time himself--Superman and Atom go back into the past; and the Atom doesn't ghost out this time. In the past, after some scuffles with the natives and the aliens, Hyatt is saved from a bear by Var-El, who had been chilling on earth since being saved from that lab accident by the aliens. The aliens were big on execution but short on ideas: they wanted to advance their own science, but couldn't really come up with the breakthroughs to move forward. The aliens had been looking for Var-El, who now had super-powers; but also wasn't up to a life of adventure. Worse, Hyatt tells him the entire publicly known history of Superman, including Krypton's destruction; but Var-El might be more freaked out considering a future where he was dead. Still, Hyatt's able to talk him into helping his great-grandson.In the energy trap Atom had seen him before, Superman tells him "history can't be changed--but I never try to second-guess it!" He had a plan to save himself, but still gets vaporized. The Atom attempts a suicide run to avenge Supes, possibly because he was his ride back to the present and he doesn't want to live in the 18th century. Still, Superman wasn't dead: he had saved himself with the Atom's shrinking trick, then saves the Atom from destroying the aliens' satellite like a human bullet. The aliens are stopped, although Var-El is killed in the battle...seemingly. After everyone returns to the future, he meets with Hyatt, who had told him how Superman traveled through time: Var-El wanted to come to a future where he wouldn't just be "a lost footnote in history!" Which made me doubt if he would appear ag[...]



I'm more excited to see Black Panther than Solo, but don't feel bad.

2018-02-01T05:00:18.874-08:00

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And all my Black Panther comics are in my garage, but for today we've got 2016's Han Solo #1, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Mark Brooks.

This was a fun little mini-series, set before Empire, with Han not quite a rebel, but seemingly not ready to go back to the smuggling life either. Then comes a mission from Princess Leia, to run a space race called the Dragon Void, as a cover to pick up some Rebel agents. But will the challenge of the race be more than Han can resist?
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As happens sometimes, I have only a vague idea how I got the whole series here. Comic show maybe? Still, I'm glad I ended up with it, and am looking forward to Solo: A Star Wars Story...
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...now cut that out! Actually, is there even a Solo trailer yet? Seems like there should've been one, yet honestly, I'm not really watching the BP one either, 'cause I like to avoid all the spoilers I can!




"Singularity."

2018-01-31T05:00:17.334-08:00

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It occurs to me that there's no way Amy would've known if DH II had stunk or not...



Is it weird a guy so into blades is unshaven, or is that my hang-up?

2018-01-30T05:00:12.528-08:00

It's tough coming up with Batman villains: not every one is going to be the Joker or Two-Face...or even in the top twenty there. Sometimes you need a filler for crowd scenes, which is where I first saw today's baddie, but here's his first appearance from 1982, Batman #343, "A Dagger So Deadly..." Written by Gerry Conway, pencils by Gene Colan, inks by Klaus Janson.
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Batman has other problems today, like the disappearance of Man-Bat, and that Bruce Wayne and the board of directors of the Wayne Foundation have collectively been hypnotized by Poison Ivy into signing over the foundation's assets! Still, when on patrol he comes across a motorcyclist attacking a truck, with a knife, he meets Dagger, who seems to have elevated the protection racket game. To further sell him, really hype him up, Dagger then takes out the Batmobile--with a knife!
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Bats has to ditch the Batmobile in the river since he was worried it would explode and endanger bystanders, but goes back later for the knife to examine it. It's a quality weapon, from a Rennington Steel, and Batman visits the factory to check the sales records and maybe see who bought it. Instead, he meets a bitter David Rennington, who, since blade sales were down, decided to expand into crime and became Dagger! With his knives and on his home turf, he gives Bats a hard time for about five pages, which is probably the best turn-out Dagger's ever going to have. Batman even has a laugh that Dagger "just couldn't cut it!" and I have a feeling he kind of needed the win.
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I know the first time I saw Dagger was in the classic--and never reprinted in the U.S?--Batman #400, where I think he's one of the many villains that escape from prison or Arkham, but one that opts to not face Batman again right then!




Can't say I was a huge fan of either, but here we go:

2018-01-29T05:00:18.579-08:00

I thought this was closer to the end, even though that wouldn't have made sense: the second modern series of Ghost Rider, the Dan Ketch version, was cancelled in 1998 with #93. Today's book is from 1995, the same year Bone Thugs N Harmony broke big. Why do I bring that up? Well... width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VMYAEHE2GrM" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen>From 1995, Ghost Rider: Crossroads, story by Howard Mackie, script by Ivan Velez Jr, pencils by Cary Nord, inks by Bob McLeod, Al Milgrom, Al Williamson, and Mike Witherby. This was a 44-page one-shot with a die-cut cover for $3.95, featuring Dan Ketch and original G.R. Johnny Blaze against the Scarecrow and Blackheart. Blackheart kidnaps Dan, then comes for Johnny at a roadhouse diner: he tells Johnny that he had killed Mephisto and taken over hell, and was now looking into expansion. He puts the demon Zarathos back into Johnny, making him Ghost Rider again; while Dan is attacked by the Scarecrow, but seemingly ends up at the long-defunct Quentin Carnival, with the dead Barbara Ketch and Roxanne Blaze! Blackheart tells the powerless Dan that he's in his realm, and has a "deal" to take: if he can escape, he can take one thing with him when he goes. Of course, Blackheart made the same deal with Scarecrow, so it's up for grabs to whoever gets there first. The "new" Ghost Rider is turned loose in a prison, where Blackheart tries to encourage him to murder an unrepentant killer. Dan has to fight Scarecrow, afraid he would bring something terrible back from hell, but the defeated villain says he only wanted an end to the voices in his head, the fear. Still, Blackheart tells Dan he can take one of the girls; Johnny says he can't help with the decision since he's worried he may already be affected by Zarathos. Dan is forced into the only choice he can make: Blackheart kicks them both out of his hell, claiming they haven't won anything and there are still two dead girls so nyah. Still, as they leave, Dan seems to change without touching the gas cap on his bike, and makes a new bike out of hellfire like the old one used to! I don't know if he kept doing that, or if that was a one-off. Velez would be the regular title's writer from #70 to the end; this issue may have been part of the transition from Mackie to him. [...]



Those kids might think you're lame 'cause of that thing in your ear, Kyle.

2018-01-26T05:00:53.627-08:00

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Although, honestly, I'm deaf as a post, so maybe I shouldn't throw any stones. From 1998, Adventures in the DC Universe #11, "No Exit" Written by Steve Vance, pencils by John Delaney, inks by Ron Boyd.
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We've looked at this book a couple times before: it was in the same sort of animated style as Batman: the Animated Series, but predating Justice League, and it featured a version of the team closer to the mainstream comic version of the time, including Kyle Rayner. He starts this issue flying high with Wonder Woman, but after injuring a gunman while taking him down, he sinks into despair. Almost literally! Kyle gets sucked into the completely relatable oppressively gloomy realm of Lord Toxxis!
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Still, Kyle sent a power ring replica to get Wonder Woman, who finds his real ring but no sign of GL. Diana calls in a consultant: Jason Blood! Who unfortunately doesn't appear as the Demon here, but he does help Diana enter Toxxis's realm. Bad news: she doesn't have powers there either. Still, she's able to rally Kyle and Toxxis's other prisoners to fight their way out of despair, until Toxxis is forced to let Kyle and Diana go. Jason tells them there will always be some prisoners of Toxxis, since "humanity will always know despair." That's not helping my seasonal affective disorder, man...(I kid, I'm not entirely deaf or completely depressed.)



3 Comments

2018-01-25T05:00:26.083-08:00

There's a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode--I think it's Cry Wilderness, but don't hold me to that--no, it's Beast of Hollow Mountain!--where onscreen, a fleeing character trips and falls for the umpteenth time, and the guys complain that the movie's way over it's two-falls-per-character limit. I don't know if that's a hard-and-fast rule, or just a guideline, but it's handy. And for no reason, it reminded me of this comic, which uses the "Marvel misunderstanding" character brawl, to move the plot forward, about a dozen times. Let's watch, shall we? From 1980, Marvel Two-in-One #61, "The Coming of Her!" Writen by Mark Gruenwald, pencils by Jerry Bingham, inks by Gene Day.Off of Pier 17 in the East River, dockworkers pull ashore a mysterious pod. They have also seen enough movies to be terrified when something starts to emerge from it, and split; and the mysterious figure makes a beeline to a loft in Soho, home of Alicia Masters, who is on a late date with the Thing. Said mysterious figure is soon revealed to be Her, and Ben takes her sudden arrival as an attack...and is walloped out of the building.Her didn't mean him any harm, though; she only wanted Alicia's help in finding her counterpart, Him...better known as Adam Warlock! Not really understanding yet, Alicia goes along with Her; leaving Ben to think she's been kidnapped. Her explains she was the second attempt at a perfect being by the scienists of the Enclave (not named here, I don't think) and she wanted to mate with Him to create a perfect race. Alicia had been among the last on earth to see Him...several years back, before he went to Counter-Earth. Back at the Baxter Building, Ben uses one of Reed's inventions to try and track Her, but he instead gets some unexpected help: Starhawk, from the Guardians of the Galaxy! They had been preparing to return to their own time, when he sensed Her's power surge and went to investigate, but Ben's scan interfered with his. Her gets her own guest-star too, as Moondragon shows up to check her out. (Her attacks MD, but only with "a sphere of containment.") Moondragon has to break the bad news: Adam Warlock was dead, killed fighting Thanos. (And he would stay dead for a good ten years or so!) Her doesn't think death for someone like Warlock, would be the same; and wants to see the body. Alicia wants to go as well, if she can tell Ben she's all right first.Still, when Ben and Starhawk come flying in, Her reacts first, and slaps both of them around a bit. Alicia tries to yell to Ben that she's okay as she's taken aboard Moondragon's spaceship; but of course she isn't heard, and Ben can't risk throwing a hunk of concrete at the ship. As the ship leaves, Ben has to jump in the river to rescue Starhawk, but is pretty steamed when he gets out...!90% of the problems this issue could've been avoided by Her using a door, but she was new. Gruenwald would use Her again, years later, in Quasar...and then she'd be used as a villain about every appearance after that. Also, I had thought Ben and Starhawk had fought each other at least a little as well, but nope. So, one fight avoided![...]



"Rooftop."

2018-01-24T05:00:00.191-08:00

Nakia and the Build-a-Figure Okoye are both really nice figures; and the Black Panther in this series was nicer than I had expected as well. Am I going to be able to flog out this storyline long enough to get the Black Bolt and Namor figures in here somewhere? I didn't think so, but we'll see! [...]



Ah, stupid completionist work ethic!

2018-02-10T19:46:25.981-08:00

I think the word "completionist" has become more for videogamers, who might try to complete every side quest and goal of a game. It used to be for comic book readers that had to have every issue or appearance for their collections. Or blog every damn issue of a not-very-good crossover because they had already blogged most of it. Like today's book! From 1993, Thor #469, "Absolute Power" Written by Ron Marz, pencils by M.C. Wyman, inks by Mike DeCarlo. Man, it's been seven years since I blogged the end of "Blood and Thunder," the nine-part crossover between Thor, Warlock and the Infinity Watch, and Silver Surfer. (EDIT: Ugh, I had it right in that Surfer link, but it was a thirteen-part crossover, not nine!) Thor may have gone insane: he's not only full of berzerker rage, but there's also an imaginary Valkyrie only he can see. Thor had just thrown down with the Surfer and Warlock; and Pip the Troll had hightailed it back to get the Infinity Watch, who are in no particular hurry to go just on Pip's say-so. At least, until Drax remembers his last meeting with Thor, a brutal fight at the tailend of Infinity Crusade. Drax wants a rematch.The rest of the Watch doesn't leap straight into the fight, although maybe they should have: Moondragon scans Thor with the Mind Gem, and sees the Valkyrie goading him on. She tries to "exorcise" her from Thor's mind; and does, after a fashion: she now appears in the real world! width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UtwZ90qGez4" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen>The Watch isn't done making things worse, either: Drax coughs up his Power Gem, which Thor takes! Onward to the destruction of Asgard! This isn't my favorite art of the crossover, and Thor looks a bit silly with the gem on his forehead at about the helmet line, but it's not awful. Of course, I picked up the other Thor chapter, so we'll get to that later. [...]