Friday, December 15, 2017

The dolly's not his. Presumably.


Sometimes, you may find a figure on eBay or Amazon that you were either previously unaware of, never saw in stores, or otherwise slept on. Thanks to those sites, you can now go back and get those figures, but what do you do for quality control problems on a nine-year-old figure? Like this one! Diamond Select's Battlestar: Galactica Razor Cylon Warrior, from 2008.

This was an exclusive from somewhere called "ToyRocket.com," which I hadn't heard of before, but doesn't appear to be there anymore. There were other styles of Cylons available as exclusives for ThinkGeek, Toys R Us, and Action Figure Express; but they were all the newer reboot style. ToyRocket's was a Guardian or Centurion, more closely resembling the Cylons of the original TV series, especially in the head. But unlike the originals, who were actors in suits, I'm pretty sure all of the reboot Cylons (except the ones in human form) were CGI.

The Cylon Warrior has some interesting pistons on its legs, arms, and torso; but a small ring in the left shoulder was was broken out of the package, so the piston is all that's holding his arm on. A bit of glue or something might reinforce that, at the cost of a little range of motion. Still, it makes me feel this figure is a bit fragile. He came with a rifle, with the barrel a little bent; and a dolly. A dolly? I'm guessing it's not the Cylon's, but rather some fallen human child's. It's an odd choice, but symbolic. It's that or come with a literal child's face to stomp on...

Around the start of October, I honestly thought for a moment that I would be pretty much done with buying figures for the year: I had finished the Marvel Legends Netflix and Ragnarok waves, and got the DC Multiverse Rookie wave; I didn't think anything else was coming out the rest of the year! Not only was I wrong about that, I also opted to get a lot of Star Trek and other sci-fi figures. With more coming; I may have to update this picture at the end of the year.
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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Two Eclipso figures, but no Metal Men? That seems unfair.


I mentioned before not buying the DC Universe Classics Metal Men, because I honestly didn't think Mattel would get anywhere near finishing the team. They did, long after it was too late to go back and pick them up! I probably had more Eclipso comics than Metal Men too, but here's one for the latter...guest starring Eclipso! From 1976, Metal Men #49, "The Dark God Cometh!" Plot and script by Martin Pasko, plot and art by Walt Simonson.

The splash page recaps it pretty succinctly: Eclipso has "summoned a mysterious giant whatsis from the waters surrounding Diablo Island!" It's up to the Metal Men to stop it, even if their creator Dr. Magnus seems a bit befuzzled today, or maybe concussed. Eclipso gets turned back into Bruce Gordon twice this ish, once to deliver some exposition about the whatsis, Umbra: this is a bit of Eclipso's origin that would be retconned later, or at least over-shadowed (as it were) with his fallen angel of vengeance bit.

This was reprinted in the 1989 trade The Art of Walt Simonson, so I knew I had read this before; but I don't mind having a copy to shove into the scanner. This was his last issue on the book, although he would do the covers for #50-52.
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Uninhabitable."


As happens once in a month of Sundays around here, we're referencing actual Marvel continuity for Nightcrawler! I haven't read this one in that aforementioned month o'Sundays, but Nightcrawler was there for Broodworld's destruction in Uncanny X-Men #166 and for Galactus eating the Skrull Throneworld in X-Men #90.

If I had to guess, I'd bet Deadpool's probably seen at least one planet destroyed in his trips in space--either during Deadpool Corps or maybe Deadpool Kills Deadpool. Or maybe the Thanos one. Pretty much inevitable with Pool around...
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What the hell, here's Nightcrawler in space too.


Bill Willingham is best known for Fables, which is I think was Vertigo's best-selling title for most of its run. And I haven't read it, but I'm still a fan of his since he wrote two really fun Nightcrawler comics: X-Men Unlimited #49, and today's book from 2015, Guardians Team-Up #6, written by Bill Willingham, art by Diogo Saito.

It's the "648th Quinquennial Blade-Fighting Championship," and while the Kree's Haracon the Ghostmaker will be defending his title, two new contenders are moving up the ranks: Nightcrawler and Gamora! Nightcrawler tells the announcers a story, that he been kidnapped by pirates as a child, worked his way up through the ranks, and said pirates may be betting big on him, or against him. (There's a fun bit with one of the announcers, a fan who absolutely doesn't give a damn about anything except swordfighting!) He also wins his matches without killing (which is seen as an "exotic taboo" for "primitive backwater worlds") or using his powers...yet. Gamora, however, is not worried about facing him in the semi-finals; probably because he's not their real target: their entry in the tournament was a ruse, to get at war criminal Haracon.

After capturing Haracon, Gamora gives Kurt a ride back to earth "since your puny, wimpy teleportation power couldn't get you to earth all by yourself, I felt obligated." There, he talks her into drinks, since why not? A super-fun done-in-one, absolutely grab it if you see it. Although like Kurt, I'm pretty sure Gamora would wipe the floor with him if the fight went the distance.
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Monday, December 11, 2017

Deadpool in space! This is not a drill!


So we've been dicking around with our Deadpool in space storyline "The Stars My Aggravation for, um, well over three and a half years now. We've been at it so long, Deadpool's actually gone back into space in the comics again! From 2017, Rocket #4, "The Blue River Score, part 4: Dirty Money" Written by Al Ewing, art by Adam Gorham.

Rocket Raccoon has found himself in a jam: framed by an ex, he's now the subject of a "perpetual warrant," which the bounty hunting Technet (from classic Excalibur comics) is putting to good use: they've actually busted him out a couple times, to cash in on "capturing" him again. But Rocket has some new help: Deadpool! What's he doing in space? Well, post-Secret Empire, he's not in a good place...

Pool suggests buying off the Technet, and for that much money, Rocket can't hit a legit business, or his bounty would go up, so they'll have to hit the mob. Specifically, mob boss Cordyceps Jones. (The name is a clue!) While the heist goes off without a hitch, afterwards Rocket grudgingly realizes Pool is hurting, but Pool doesn't reach out for help, because he doesn't feel like he deserves it. (And in his own book, I think Pool would go "screw it, I'm a villain now.") Rocket pays off the Technet; in fact, he goes a step further and hires them. The Technet are way more competent here than I'd ever seen them, and in the next couple issues Ewing actually makes you sympathize with Gatecrasher, if you can believe it. And while he's working within the current plot for him, Ewing's Deadpool is on point.

This was part of a big ol' box I got from Forbidden Planet, including another surprisingly glum Rocket Raccoon book, the trade for Grounded. Even with Kraven the Hunter and his glorious van (a joke I thought originated in Squirrel Girl) or more accurately, because of them; Rocket has a miserable time trapped on earth. Lot of jokes, sure; but still kind of a downer.
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Friday, December 08, 2017


We'll close out the week with one more book with a shiny foil cover: from 1993, Darkhawk #25, "Return to Forever Part Five: Death and Life" Written by Danny Fingeroth, pencils by Mike Manley, inks by Mike Manley and Aaron McClellan.

The cover proclaims "The Mind-Blowing Origin Finale!" Maybe a bit over-hyped, and I think it's been retconned or revamped a bit to boot. Teenager Chris Powell had discovered a mysterious amulet, which allowed him to become the mysterious Darkhawk. Sort of: if you're old enough, perhaps you recall this 1993 trading card:

Over the course of his book's first two years, Chris came to realize he was trading places with Darkhawk, which was actually some kind of android he controlled with his mind somehow. But he had no idea where the amulet or Darkhawk come from, or where he went when they switched, until now. And it's not the simplest possible explanation--well, maybe not anyway. It involves an alien criminal's conspiracy to collect a bunch of scientists to extort or bribe them into building him "expendable--yet repairable--agents." The scientists put together teleportation, weaponized androids, extra-dimensional storage, telepathic control and more into the Darkhawks, then realize they can't let the crime boss get them. The ensuing rebellion ends up with the crime boss trapped in an android that would later take the name Evilhawk, and one of the scientists mind-transferred to the extra-dimensional ship. (The latter, all the better to deliver exposition to Chris!)

To explain how a Darkhawk amulet got to earth in the first place, there's also a telepathy-broadcast subplot, involving two homeless guys that had been following Chris's progress: they had been scientists before that. It's pretty convoluted! And it's mostly wrapped up pretty quickly in a fight on the extra-dimensional ship, as Evilhawk tries to take Chris's human body, but he manages to resist enough to grab his amulet, change places back into Darkhawk, then reflect Evilhawk's disintegration ray back, seemingly killing him. Again, pretty quick after all that backstory, but this had been building up for two years! Still, I know there's a "Brotherhood of Raptors" now, so at least some of this may have been altered since. There's also multiple subplots still running as well: I think Chris is expelled from school and his house burns down. Can't have a clean win, huh?

I almost put this away and missed the Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation here: Paid circulation, actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 181,750. Not too shabby, for what I would've considered a mid-tier book!

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Thursday, December 07, 2017

This is the last chapter of the crossover, but you didn't have to read the whole thing anyway...


So I've mentioned the Phalanx a couple times on the blog, as Marvel's knockoff of the Borg; but there was more to them than that. Um...er...gimme a minute. From 1994, Excalibur #82, "Life Signs Part Three: The Light of a Tainted Dawn" Plot by Scott Lobdell, script by Todd Dezago, pencils by Ken Lashley and Steve Epting, inks by Philip Moy, W. C. Carani, John Floyd, Harry Candelario, and John Livesay. I have the shiny cover one sitting next to me, although it's just a strip of shiny that's supposed to look like circuitry, for an extra buck!

This was the final chapter of "The Phalanx Covenant" crossover, or one of them: it was split into three plotlines. You could read the whole thing, or follow Banshee and the kids who would become Generation X; Cyclops, Wolverine, and Jean Grey trying to rescue the captured X-Men; or the rest. X-Factor, X-Force, and Excalibur were trying to stop the Phalanx from building a spire that would...do something. I had thought the Phalanx were just straight aliens, but reading up on them I think these batch included humans who used Technarch tech (like the New Mutants' Warlock) in an attempt to kill mutants, that went a bit south on them. It was part of that X-Factor storyline that retconned Warren's friend Cameron Hodge into a villain, to try to backfill why the original X-Men would've thought it was a good idea to pose as mutant hunters...

Forge becomes a key part of the Phalanx's plan, since their leader, the hooded and weird Shinar, co-opts his mutant power of making stuff: the Phalanx tech has Forge virtually hypnotized to play with it. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler leads a strike team against the spire, since he reasons the "logical and rational" Phalanx wouldn't be able to cope with an illogical and surprising attack. As Douglock tries to sacrifice himself to save Cannonball and Wolfsbane, Kurt gets to Forge, and he manages to resist and not fix the Phalanx's endgame.

While it's neat to see Kurt leading the conclusion of a crossover like this...it's not great. Lashley and Epting have done tons better work than this, and the whole crossover feels like diminishing returns from Marvel chasing that Age of Apocalypse high--no, I take that back: this pre-dated AoA by a year or so! Huh. I should've known that, since Generation X was part of AoA, and it featured Blink, who died during this crossover.

So far this week I think this is the third book with a fancy 90's cover, I think I might be able to find one more...
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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

"Attack."


Arse, someone else came up with "that piece of the Time Stone" bit, in an actual recent Thanos comic! Well, bound to happen.

It's subtle, but I like that seeing Kurt's action figure reminded Pool to do the right thing, even though Kurt himself was unconscious on the floor behind him. Oh, and they said the thing!

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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Is Frankenstein the doctor, or is the monster named Frankenstein too? Actually, he's named after the guy whose brain we used for this...


I guess that would make him "Abby Normal," then; but we've got a similar situation today with Dr. Necker and her monster--monsters. From 1993, Death³ #1, "Prometheus Unhinged" Written by Dan Abnett, pencils by Dell Barras.

Set in the far-off future of 2021, former A.I.M. scientist Dr. Necker (who, in typical comic fashion, is a stacked redhead that strongly resembles 90's Jean Grey) is preparing for her new job at the Omni Mega-Corporation, which honestly sounds more evil. Necker was on the outs with A.I.M, since he had spent six years working on Project: Minion--no, not those guys! The robot that would eventually become Death's Head II--and her branch of A.I.M. was largely destroyed by Charnel. Still, she gets a somewhat more welcome visitor here: the cyborg called Death Wreck, her prototype killer robot, who was somehow found its way back to her.

Back in the far-off future of 2018, Necker had cobbled together her starter 'bot out of copier parts and whatever else she had lying around, then uses the voice-controlled automaton to kidnap a hobo and harvest his brain to put in the robot. While successful, it wasn't exactly a quality brain, and may in fact be such a hardened alcoholic that it didn't quite grasp what had happened to it. Still, for Necker it's an opportunity to restart her Minion program, with the hope of building herself a better bodyguard. To test how time-travel may have damaged Death Wreck, she sends it on a three-minute random time jump...I'm not sure how that would help, exactly, except maybe by seeing what happens in a more controlled environment. Appearing in a crappy, Terminator-like future, Death Wreck is attacked by liquid metal-like robots. Returning to 2021 after the three minutes, DW had one of the robot's arms; and Necker is immediately taken with it. Smitten, almost.

Experimenting with the "sentient" metal she names Prometheum, in about a month Necker builds a new robot, Death Metal. Who promptly tells her to cram it, steals a time-jumper, and splits, accidentally taking Death Wreck with him! To another 2021--possibly not the same one Death Wreck visited--where Death Metal is found by post-apocalyptic scavengers...led by Doctor Octopus! Although Death's Head II appears on the shiny, embossed cover; he is yet to show up here. But it's tough sledding, since so far the most likable character is the alcoholic robot, and he's way less fun than Bender or Machine Man.
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Monday, December 04, 2017

I'm hoping your local comic shop didn't have to eat a ton of these...


Ah, 1993: a long comics boom, fueled by speculators and unwisely extended lines of credit, was about to catch fire and auger in. But this book probably had better sales than most today...I say, based on not much! It wasn't on Comichron's 1993 sales chart, but it had a shiny cover, which may or may not have gotten them anywhere. From 1993, Dark Guard #1, "Tour of Duty" Written by Dan Abnett, pencils by Carlos Pacheco, inks by Oscar Jimenez.

If you had been reading Marvel UK for a while, this book would've been your Avengers, bringing all your favorites together under one cover: Death's Head II! Motormouth and Killpower! Dark Angel! And the rest! Some of whom don't even survive the issue, although not in a dramatic, heroic sacrifice, but by opening an airlock when attempting to leave in a tizzy.

Wikipedia cites this as the book that broke Carlos Pacheco in America, and for that early in his career it's polished stuff! And we've seen Dan Abnett's work on the blog a number of times, usually with more recognizable characters. Actually, I did like Motormouth (early Gary Frank art!) before Killpower kinda took her book over. Come to think of it, the big menace the Dark Guard are brought together to fight, evil organization Mys-Tech, were the bad guys in her first issue too. I have zero recollection of what they were up to. Maybe if they had been used in a non-UK book; which would've made them seem big and badder, and hyped up the UK stuff. Hell, they could still be around, for all I know. Maybe they won...
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Friday, December 01, 2017

The cover's new to me...


...since my original has probably been coverless for twenty years or more; so I'll always grab a cheap copy when I can. From 1980, Star Wars #31, "Return to Tatooine!" Written (and edited) by Archie Goodwin, breakdowns by Carmine Infantino, inks by Bob Wiacek.

This comic may be dated, off-model, or cheesy to some; but to me it's as Star Wars as you can get! Besides, by 1980, although Empire would've still been a few months away, Marvel's adaptation was getting more and more authentic. Here, we've got references to a deleted scene that would've been rarely seen, if at all, at the time; and an appearance from a vehicle made for the toy aisles, the Imperial Troop Transport.

On a mission to recruit blockade runners for the Rebel Alliance, Luke returns to his home planet Tatooine, with Artoo and Threepio. At the demolished home of his late Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, Luke discovers vaporator equipment still working; having been maintained by two of his childhood friends, Fixer and Camie. (Their scene had been deleted from the film, but was referenced in the novel and the comic adaptation.) They had thought Luke, the boy they called "Wormie," had been killed with his family, by Tusken Raiders. Luke isn't interested in reclaiming the family farm, though; and then leaves after Threepio warns him about an Imperial Troop Carrier in the area. But those Stormtroopers aren't looking for him, or even just on patrol: they're after an escaped bantha...which Luke finds in a canyon, frozen to death, under Tatooine's twin suns!

Returning to the Mos Eisley cantina, Luke does find two experienced blockade runners: Han and Chewbacca, who he last saw in issue #23! Their reunion is cut short by a guilty Fixer, who tries to warn Luke that he and Camie had reported him to the fuzz--or rather, the Stormtroopers! Luke, Han, and Chewbacca shoot their way out fairly easily, then blaze out of town on Luke's landspeeder...which a trooper notices, was hit, and is leaking coolant...

The same week I bought this issue from the dollar bin, I also bought it in the Dark Horse reprint volume Star Wars: A Long Time Ago volume 2: Dark Encounters. Which I actually already had. I'm not sure if I'll return it to the store, since I could see myself just buying it again the next time I see it...
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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Admittedly, it's not a name that rolls off the tongue.


When I found these in the dollar bin, I thought they were just another attempt to cash in on the sword-and-sorcery, barbarian comics of the seventies. Or a clever way to burn off some Conan the Barbarian fill-in issues, by changing some of the names, hair color, etc. Imagine my surprise at finding out this guy could've been Conan!

From 1973, Creatures on the Loose #23, "Where Broods the Demon!" Written by George Effinger, pencils by Val Mayerik, inks by Vince Colletta; Creatures on the Loose #24, "Red Swords, Black Wings!" Written by George Alec Effinger, pencils by Val Mayerik, inks by Vince Colletta; Creatures on the Loose #25, "The Wizard of Lemuria!" Written by George Effinger and Tony Isabella, pencils by Val Mayerik, inks by Vince Colletta; and from 1974, Creatures on the Loose #27, "In the Crypts of Yamath!" Written by Gardner Fox, pencils by Val Mayerick, inks by Vicente Alcazar.

Per the Wikipedia page for Conan comics, Roy Thomas mentions thinking Marvel wouldn't be able to get the rights for Conan, so he was trying to get Lin Carter's character Thongor instead. When they hit a delay with Carter's agent, Thomas went after Conan again, and this time got him. He mentions that he offered more than was approved for Conan, so then the book's first choice of artists, John Buscema, was priced out; and they had to go with a more budget choice: Barry Windsor-Smith! It becomes a "What If" scenario: if Thongor had been published first instead of Conan, would it have been drawn by Buscema? Would Thomas have still written it, and would it have taken off?

That's actually a bit more interesting to think about than these actual comics, really. And I've mentioned before, when looking at some Warlord issues he inked, that I usually didn't have a problem with Vince Colletta, but his issues seem less polished than #27 with Vicente Alcazar inks. (Or maybe Mayerick's art was coming together, but I think the former.) Thongor himself seems fairly Conan-like, although a bit more willing to associate with wizards; and his world had at least some airships that would be reminiscent of John Carter of Mars. His epithets aren't as well-formed as Conan's either; since he calls out to the nineteen gods, the "seven gods of Zangabal!" his sire "Thumitar," and "Gorm!" all in the space of a single issue!

I hadn't seen these comics before, but I had read the title before and after this! Some years back, we looked at Creatures on the Loose #21 with John Carter precursor Gullivar Jones. Thongor would continue until Creatures on the Loose #29, then the title would be taken over by Man-Wolf.
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