Monday, February 29, 2016

My old apartment, I don't think I put anything on the walls the whole time I was there; but since the wife has Command Strips I've been slowly filling up my wall space. Today, we've got a couple metal signs, for Star Wars #14 and Star Trek #55!

The Gold Key Star Trek original cover proclaims "Spock versus Slott in: A World Against Itself!" Who the hell was Slott? Was that supposed to be Scott? Was this issue ever reprinted anywhere? Why does it feel like I've read that one, and it wasn't great? Why were Gold Key's covers always so much better than the interiors? All valid questions! I have no idea. We did take a glance at Star Wars #14 some time back, where Luke just friggin' clocks Han one. I noticed the sign does skimp on the background detail of the original cover, though.

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Deep into Blackhawk continuity, so good luck with that.

It's like everyone remembers the Listener for mocking purposes, but that's about it. From 2010, Batman Confidential #37, "Blackhawk Down, part two" Written by Royal McGraw, pencils by Marcos Marz, inks by Luciana Del Negro.

This was the second of a four-part story, guest-starring Zinda, Lady Blackhawk--who had been brought to the future during Zero Hour--and the original Blackhawk, who was pretty darn old by this point. Jan alludes later that he's in better shape than someone his age should be, but he's not holding up as well as Nick Fury or anything. Together, they face the menace of former Blackhawk team member Ted Gaynor, who stole tech from Blackhawk Industries for his secret army, and the mutated Nazi the Killer Shark. (Who shouldn't be confused with any of the multiple shark-guys tearing about the DCU.)

Although this story does tie into her past appearances, it's not the best one for Zinda: she's brainwashed, treated like a prize, and referred to by Gaynor as a "leather-clad victory girl." The art isn't bad, but if her skirt was any shorter it'd be a belt, and she's inexplicably drawn with her mouth open a lot. For his part, Batman is somewhat dismayed that he's gotten too used to fighting lunatics that leave riddles and clues, but a wanna-be Napoleon probably isn't too far removed.

Until Comics Alliance brought it up the other day, I had forgotten there was a New 52 Blackhawk update. Sight unseen, I can't say if it was better than this, but this wasn't bad.
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Friday, February 26, 2016

Side note: those black covers take a thumbprint like nobody's business.

We close out the week with some books that won't fit in the scanner, but that I waited about twenty-five years to read! From 1991, OMAC #1-4, by John Byrne. It's prestige format, yet black-and-white. (Except for the inside covers.)

This is very much in tribute to Jack Kirby's OMAC, taking place both following and around his series: after 20 years fighting through the wartorn, post-apocalypse world, the One-Man Army Corps has finally caught up with one of the primary causes of said apocalypse, Mr. Big. Who's now a withered old man, but OMAC still snaps his neck. And then things get weird, when time-travelling agents of the facemasked Global Peace Agency come from out of time to get him--and OMAC recognizes them as having died before!

Byrne draws an assload of rubble in this series, which reminded me of his work on Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor; but he also hits on some of Kirby's OMAC highlights like Lila, the Build-a-Friend. And it may be the only comic you'll read where the hero kills Hitler, just to derail his villain's plan!

Even though I'd seen this series here and there over the years, last weekend I found the whole series at once, for a buck an issue! Almost cheaper than a single issue new in 1991.
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Thursday, February 25, 2016

80-Page Thursdays: Countdown Special: the Atom #1!

I love it when I mention I'm looking for a book, then find it! Which inevitably leads to needing another book! From 2008, Countdown Special: the Atom #1, featuring stories written by Gerry Conway, with art by Arvell Jones and Bill Draut, and Alan Weiss and Joe Rubinstein. The Atom actually gets a bump here, because his billing was "Plus: the Atom!" on the old Super-Team Family covers.

This was another reprint collection tying into Countdown, which featured the Atom's ex-wife Jean Loring turning into the new Eclipso. Did that make any sense at all? Maybe post-Identity Crisis. Maybe. These issues were from Super-Team Family almost three decades prior (1977!) and also feature Jean Loring losing her mind in a nonsensical fashion; after being abducted by perennial JLA baddie T.O. Morrow. He also abducts Flash's wife Iris and Supergirl; but they're troopers and just shake it off.

Jean, however, is somehow charged with some kind of energy, which is going to launch her across the universe in subsequent issues. She'll be mostly catatonic, though; she has maybe five lines the first issue here. And oddly, the second issue here switches heroes, which is pretty traditional for a super-hero team-up book, but considering the Atom's fiance was missing, you'd think Flash and Supergirl would stick out the case. Instead, we get Green Lantern and Hawkman tagging in, but Jean disappears again before the Atom can save her.

I thought this issue was going to have the Secret Society of Super-Villains appearance I mentioned a while back, but they didn't turn up until the concluding chapter! Don't worry, it's on order, so we'll see how Jean gets back sometime. I actually do have the next chapter--guest-starring Aquaman and Captain Comet!--and when the Atom gets your-princess-is-in-another-castle'd again, I think he has a panel of "Arrgh!" like Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls away the football.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"Meanwhile, in space..."

I know I've seen Barbarella, but have absolutely no recollection of it. Probably because I was in my twenties when I did; if I had been younger I'm sure I'd remember it more fondly...
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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Long-time comics readers are used to the spectacle of characters being killed, only to be brought back a few years later. But what I find even less productive and more annoying than that, is a redemption arc for a major super-villain. (I added major there, since you might be able to get away with it with a smaller name, but even those get rolled back!) If Two-Face gets his face fixed, it's a safe bet that it'll be wrecked again soon enough. If Dr. Doom sees the error of his ways, you don't have to be a genius like Reed Richards to realize that's not going to stick. Even if the writer manages to sell it, it can be walked back no matter how well it's sewn up--which may be mixing a couple metaphors, so let's just hit today's issue: from 2004, Batman: Gotham Knights #49, "Veritas Liberat, chapter three of three: the Redeemer" Written by Scott Beatty, pencils by Charlie Adlard, inks by John Floyd.

Even though this says part three of three, I think this storyline had been running a little past that: Bane had been searching for both redemption and the identity of his father. A red herring had indicated Thomas Wayne might have been it; instead, Bane's dad was the blind villain King Snake. (King Snake was also created by Chuck Dixon, although I don't know if Dixon intended to connect the two.) King Snake was usually a bit more robust, and I thought he had a snake tattoo on his chest as well; but he's a bit malnourished here since he had been stuck on a mountain for some time. He had infiltrated Kobra, and currently working on taking over the remnants of that cult, or at least their giant robot. (Which wasn't even that giant, all things considered.)

Batman has a full crew in on this one, with Nightwing, Robin, and Batgirl. (The Cassandra one.) King Snake is a little pissed, especially since Robin had actually foiled him a couple of times already; but Bane had not betrayed Batman, and wanted to keep the robot's battery away from the Snake. Snake shoots Bane (no easy feat for a blind man, but he can hear just fine) but then falls into a chasm as Bane hits him with the battery and a Kobra goon tackles him in. Batman saves the mortally wounded Bane by putting him in a supposedly-depleted Lazarus Pit. Bane asks Batman to tell Leslie Thompson that Bane was gone, that he had found the truth and was better for it.

Of course, Bane's next appearance would be in Infinite Crisis #7, breaking Judomaster's back. No explanation for his return to villainy, other than "I finally know who I am. I am 'Bane'. I 'break' people."

This issue also features a Black & White story, "Fear is the Key" Written by Geoff Johns, pencils by Tommy Castillo, inks by Rodney Ramos. The Scarecrow murders some cops while lecturing about fear, and his own battle with described as the "fear of fearlessness," when it's actually the fear of everything. A few quick checks online didn't find fear of fearlessness either, so you may have to give Johns that one. Maybe not though, since Lucy describes pantophobia correctly in A Charlie Brown Christmas, so I kind of have to figure Professor Crane would know better. Anyway, Johns portrays the Scarecrow as a junkie for fear, but he's so attenuated to even his fear toxins, that only Batman can give him that sweet, sweet fix.

This would be the last issue of Gotham Knights with the Black & White feature, the next issue would begin a Hush storyline. Yay...

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Monday, February 22, 2016

This seems a fairly typical day for Bill:

Over the weekend, I had the chance to hit a Hastings sale and a comic shop the next town over; so I was able to replenish my stock of comics for blogging. Like this issue! From 2009, Secret Invasion Aftermath: Beta Ray Bill--the Green of Eden #1, written by Kieron Gillen, pencils by Dan Brereton, inks by Stefano Gaudiano, Mark Pennington, and Scott Hanna.

As the title implies, this was set just after Secret Invasion and just before the next Bill series, Godhunter. Bill saves the space station of some friendly robots, then meets a religious group in need of help. They were trying to set up a new faith, after their civilization and old religion failed, and Bill realizes they are actually Skrulls. Moreover, they had actually seen Bill in action before, fighting the Skrull invasion force; and they had thought maybe he would be a good new god to worship. Especially since Bill didn't have any people to take care of: the Korbinites had settled a new homeworld, only to be eaten by Galactus.

Meanwhile, Skrull hard-liners are still after the would-be Bill-worshipers, and attack with an irregular Super-Skrull, a cobbled-together copy of the Warriors Three-in-one. Bill defeats him, but refuses to kill him, and the Bill-worshipers take the Super in as their own, saying Bill may not be their god, but their god works through him. Somewhat confused, and heartsick, Bill heads back to earth in search of peace.

It occurs to me I'm not really sure what Bill's current status is. This isn't a bad issue, although Brereton's pencils are usually a little stronger than this one; and I can't say if that was on him, the multiple inkers, or the colors.
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Instead of just writing this week off as a loss, a reminder:

Walter Simonson's Ragnarök is so great. Need to add it to my pull list instead of just randomly picking it up; especially since I don't seem to have issue #4 but may have bought #3 three times...

Scans from Ragnarök #1-3, story and art by Walter Simonson, with color by Laura Martin and letters by John Workman.
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ah, scenic, friendly Winzeldorf...

It has to be kind of hurtful that the Marvel Wikia entry for Winzeldorf comes up before any entries for the actual Winzeldorf. Then again, the Marvel Universe's Winzeldorf probably isn't anything like the real one, but it's not ever consistently portrayed either.

Anyway, I don't usually blog about brand spanking new comics, especially comics I kind of hate, but since this was another issue of Nightcrawler being chased by the angry torch-welding villagers, here we are: Extraordinary X-Men #7, written by Jeff Lemire, art by Victor Ibanez, color by Jay David Ramos.

This month, while Old Man Logan, Iceman, Colossus and Magik deal with some nonsense in Weirdworld; young Jean Grey and Storm go into Nightcrawler's mind to try and see why he's so messed up. Which turns out to be unrelated to the first six issues of this series and whatever Mr. Sinister was up to. On Weirdworld, Sunfire has been protecting mutants, but Magik is still pissed about whatever he did with Cyclops to turn humanity against mutants. (Really against mutants. Like they were beloved before...) At this point, I don't know if whatever Cyclops did has been revealed, but maybe now it shouldn't be, because there's no way it could live up to the expectation. Cyclops is on Nightcrawler's mind as well, because Cyclops is like Poochie: whenever Cyclops is not on screen, everyone should be asking, "Where's Cyclops?"

Spoiler alert: Nightcrawler was traumatized by the discovery of a mass mutant grave in Germany. Which seems kind of insensitive, considering it's Germany. I really, really prefer fun, happy Nightcrawler to crying Nightcrawler--and his new costume and long hair don't look great, either. Someone give me a head's up if the next crossover improves things any...
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016


I actually looked that up: there was a Patsy Walker #1 in 1945. I had almost assumed like a lot of comics back then, it didn't have a first issue, and just started off some other numbering. Maybe that wasn't as common as I thought, I don't know.

Hellcat is right, Valkyrie has a grudge against Piledriver, as seen in Valkyrie #1. I don't think that was Val's first, or last, one-shot. She is right, though, the Wrecking Crew are jerks. I'd hate them even if I didn't only have one, Bulldozer.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

First attempt: six-inch scale Star Wars cockpit arcade game!

Overshot this one: I saw on eBay a guy selling six-inch scale arcade machines, and ordered a favorite that ate a lot of my quarters in the 90's. The next day, I saw the guy also had some for sale on Etsy, and some of the reviews weren't as glowing as others. So, instead of ordering another one sight unseen, I thought I'd wait for my first one...and maybe give one a go myself! By jumping in with both feet and trying to build a six-inch scale classic Star Wars cockpit arcade console!

Step one: Swipe! Arcade Controls had a schematic for a papercraft model--but in 3 3/4 inch scale. Comparing it to a full-sized machine being restored and it's measurements, I did a whole bunch of math, then threw it out the window when my wife just scaled everything up for printing. Best guesstimate, going from 3.75 inch to six inch should be 1.6 times as large...right? Actually, I know I fudged that number upwards to allow for, as OAFE has put it, 'size creep.' I think I may have gone too far. In fact, I'm pretty sure I have.

I hit a snag when the roof canopy pieces were not scaled right at all, and had to try multiple sizes before I hit "close enough." But the console is full of a ton of weird angles: I think maybe I should've tried the template as is first. Worse, I tried to use some styrofoam as filler for the interior, which then involved an unacceptable amount of bodging to fit. Then, without clear instructions, we were down to a lot of guesswork and touch-up.

The side-panels turned out sharp looking, though: the template scaled up quite nicely on that front. But one final cheat, that my wife absolutely disapproved of, was the control yoke. Rather than trying to put together the papercraft version, I subbed in a Batman piece I had saved for such an occasion! Where it came from, I have no idea, but I liked it.

Gonna have to try this again sometime. Spring for laminating all the pieces next time, maybe try a black-and-white mock-up first. Maybe after I see how the one I ordered turned out, or maybe try the stand-up version...

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Monday, February 15, 2016


I was working on a display all weekend, and it's not done yet. Back tomorrow!

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Friday, February 12, 2016

In Theaters Now, which still doesn't help me much.

Probably won't get to see Deadpool until at least Monday, but don't let that stop you!

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

80-Page Thursdays: Countdown Special: the Flash #1!

...what the hell did the Flash's villains have to do with Countdown again? Actually, never mind: Countdown was almost universally reviled, so, um, let's just pretend this is a primer for the TV show. From 2007, Countdown Special: the Flash #1, with stories written by John Broome, pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Joe Giella and Sid Greene.

This issue reprints the first appearances of classic Flash rogues the Trickster and the Pied Piper--who first appeared the same issue as motherlovin' Gorilla Grodd? And the Piper got the cover! Anyway, I think that was the Countdown connection: they got dragged into some kind of the Defiant Ones-style prison break or some such.

Also, we've got "The Gauntlet of Super-Villains!" and "Stupendous Triumph of the Six Super-Villains!" Your first guess might be that's a two-parter, but those two stories were over two years apart!

Trying to recall if the Pied Piper was killed off on TV's Flash: hmm, not yet, anyway. They do seem to burn through a lot of villains, though. Also, trying to recall if I did ever get the Atom Countdown Special, featuring an issue of Super-Team Family with the Secret Society of Super-Villains, and possibly why Jean Loring was so crazy.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016


This doesn't look good for the Black Cat, but appearances may be deceiving...

Even though Deadpool isn't in this episode--or the last one, come to think of it--I honestly thought I'd be done with "The Stars My Aggravation" before the Deadpool movie came out. Figured Pool would be getting plenty of play out of that: when I started these in 2008, Cable & Deadpool was getting set to end, and who knew if Pool was going to have a title after that? Um, yeah, he did OK for himself...

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Even with shape-changers, wrestlers, and beatings; probably still a come-down issue.

We checked out G.I. Joe #46 a couple months ago, and mentioned the exciting death that would come in #47. So of course, the next issue I find to blog is G.I. Joe #48, the ominous yet misleadingly titled "Slaughter" Written by Larry Hama, pencils by Rod Whigham, inks by Andy Mushynsky.

On Cobra Island, Dr. Mindbender, Destro, and the Baroness are examining the corpse of Storm Shadow, whom the Baroness gunned down the previous issue. Destro seems somewhat accusatory: he acknowledges the need to be careful dealing with ninjas, but points out that Shadow was exhausted and unarmed. (Although SS's sword was right there, perhaps the arms dealer Destro doesn't consider a sword a weapon. Also, the Baroness may have switched guns since the previous issue; I thought she killed him with a Mauser.) Mindbender has the corpse put on ice, saying "such good genetic material shouldn't go to waste."

Most of the rest of the issue is still the Zartan/Ripcord storyline: the Drednoks had taken Ripcord, thinking he was their leader Zartan. Ripcord has been looking for the missing Candy Appel, who escaped from the Drednoks some time ago. Although Ripcord attacks them, the Drednoks still don't suspect they have the wrong guy: in fact, they figure Zartan has just taken a lump on the head, and cover for him so they don't jeopardize their jobs with Cobra. Meanwhile, Zartan is nearly discovered multiple times, but changes his face numerous times in a chase through the Joes' base, the Pit. Zartan also explains his strength is "quite...inhuman," explaining how he's able to take several punches from Gung Ho; but is finally stopped by new arrival Sgt. Slaughter. (Hence the title: no one dies this issue!)

I don't have a huge G.I. Joe collection, but we'll keep checking issues here and there. Hopefully #47 sometime...
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