Issue 50

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Batman and The Flash each reached issue number fifty recently and I wanted to write about what I thought about each. One comic was exciting and riveting and one was not. One comic had a great build up and the other did. Let’s get to it, shall we?

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Batman #45 – 50, Prelude to the Wedding parts 1-5

Creators

Writer – Tom King (Batman), Tim Seeley (Prelude)
Artist – Mikel Janin (Batman), Prelude (Various)
Colorist –  June Chung
Letterer – Clayton Cowles

Over the weekend I got caught up on Batman. I read “The Gift”, “Prelude to the Wedding”, “The Best Man”, and of course “The Wedding”. I’m normally a big Tom King fan, but I do not think this was his best work. While the lead up was interesting, I felt let down in the end. I thought the Prelude comics were quite good, but since they had no bearing on the outcome of what happened in the wedding issue and I felt like I got scammed. It was not all bad though, there were some good things, like Booster Gold showing up, Robin fighting his grand dad and breaking his favorite arcade game, and we find out Superman has a pocket universe where he can just go fishing.

“The Gift” runs through three issues and we get a story about Booster Gold and the wedding gift he gets for Batman. The gift we come to find out is Bruce Wayne gets to see what life would have been like if his parents were not murdered. Booster Gold has traveled to the past to change history and now the present is a mess. Gotham is constantly on fire, there are Jokers everywhere and Hal Jordan may have blown his mind out with his ring. The best thing about the story is great dialogue between Skeets and Booster.

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My biggest gripe about the story is not the things that are wrong with the present in this reality or the very disturbing end of the arc, it is something small. At one point Booster is explaining what he did for the adult Bruce Wayne. In Booster’s explanation he references the Black Mercy from the classic story in Superman Annual  #11, “For the Man who Has Everything”. This is the story where Superman is trapped in his own mind, living out his greatest wish, that Krypton had not been destroyed. In the story Krypton is still dying and Superman knows it is wrong and even though he gets what he wants it still all ends up going poorly. Well Booster Gold thought the same “what if” scenario would be good for Batman, what if his parents had not been killed after the movie.

There are several things wrong with this line of thinking. First of all, Superman doesn’t really get what he wants and Booster knows that, but he still thinks Bruce Wayne might? Second of all, I don’t think DC can have it both ways. They cannot write stories with loose or no continuity with the old DCU, to make it easier for new readers and then reference parts of their history and ignore others. How can Booster Gold know about the Black Mercy but not remember when he tried repeatedly to prevent Barbara Gordon from being paralyzed by the Joker and failed because certain events in the time stream cannot be changed? I’m sorry but they don’t get to have that cake and eat it too.

I don’t want that to sound like I am against everything that DC is trying to do with Rebirth. I am totally okay with their goals of having less titles crossover all the time and having less continuity focused stories. I think these are great ways to encourage creativity and gain new readers. Moving on.

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The Prelude to the wedding stories were generally pretty good. They all involve members of the Bat Family trying to help get things ready for the wedding. I thought the stand out stories were the Robin / Ra’s al Ghul and the Batgirl / Riddler issues. The Robin story was fun because I have not read many of the Damian Wayne comics and it was cool to see Ra’s show up. There is also a great moment at the end between Damian and Selina that was worth the price of admission alone. The Batgirl story was fun, again because I don’t read Batgirl, and it was great to see her save the Riddler’s victims while she deciphered his audio cassette riddles. I could easily appreciate these comics on their own and don’t hold my disappointment with the whole wedding arc against them.

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“The Best Man” issues, number 48 and 49, were not my favorite issues in the series either. The Joker is doing everything he can to get “invited” to Batman’s wedding as we see in the DC nation zero and the Prelude issues. I found these two comics to be more violent than was necessary and the overly psychotic Joker to be getting a little old. Scott Snyder really pushed it with the Joker in his new 52 run, there is no need for King to try and top that. The one thing that these issues did for me is that they did explain why the Wedding was not going to happen in the next issue.

Finally, “The Wedding”, the big deal issue, what the previous forty nine issues have been leading up to. All I can say is wow, what a let down. Batman and Catwoman, don’t get married after all that. “I for one am shocked, shocked I say. Well, not that shocked.” King telegraphed his out in the previous issues. It was no surprise that the Wedding did not happen (even if you didn’t see the coverage before the comic’s release). Honestly it would have been a bigger surprise to the fans if the wedding had happened. The last issue is filled with some great art and pinups but not much else. The writing goes on too long and  the surprise ending is just a vague teaser for what’s to come. King has tried to assure the fans that there is more to come in the Batman / Catwoman saga. I enjoy his writing enough that I’ll keep reading and maybe in the end he’ll have put together such a great story that I’ll end up eating all these negative comments. Until then, let’s move on to The Flash.flashfifty

The Flash 49 – 50, The Flash War part 3 & 4

Creators

Writer – Joshua Williamson
Artist – Howard Porter
Colorist – Hi-Fi
Letterer – Steve Wands

I’ve been more caught up with the Flash so there were less issues for me to read. I am also not a long time Flash reader so there are quite a few references and other things I probably missed in this series. What I do know is that the Flash, Barry Allen, and the Flash, Wally West, are racing across the Earth in order to find Wally’s kids who are possibly trapped in the Speed Force. Or at least that is what Hunter Zolomon would have them believe.

Since the beginning of Rebirth and the return of Wally West, things have not been quite right. We received lots of clues that the heroes are remembering things from before the Flashpoint event. They are realizing that people are missing from their lives. Throughout this series Barry Allen has struggled with how to deal with Wally’s return, how to explain it to Iris West, and her current nephew Wally West and the current kid Flash. It has been quite a web that Williamson has been building.

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The series of challenges that Barry and Wally have faced are finally all coming to head. In the Perfect Storm story Wally decides enough is enough, that Barry cannot control everything and protect everyone. Wally has to get out from under Barry’s protective influence if he is every going to figure out what is going on. Hunter Zolomon, Zoom, gives him the final push hinting that Wally’s kids, pre Flashpoint, are still alive, stuck in the Speed Force just like he was. As Wally starts to remember his kids he realizes how bad they must have it, because he too was stuck in the speed force. Barry tries to stop Wally from going back into the Speed Force. He tries to convince Wally that no good can come from what he is trying to do. Wally’s not having it, so they race, faster than anyone can go. As they race they are causing a lot of problems around the world. The Justice League tries to stop them but even Superman can not catch them.

As Wally tries to enter the Speed Force something goes wrong and they stop. Turns out they have done what Zolomon wanted all along. They broke the Speed Force and / or the force barrier and unleashed new forces on the world. Similar in the way that Metal introduced the Dark Universe, broke the Source Wall, and introduced Metal X, the Flashes have introduced the Sage Force and the Strength Force. Hunter Zolomon, Zoom, has tricked the Flashes and plans on using this new power to make the future as he desires.

The fiftieth issue has Barry and Wally trying to fix the problems they’ve caused. A lot happens that I don’t know what it means and the last couple of pages have some huge reveals. Barry and Wally realize that Zoom tricked them and that they have to fix that. Just like in Batman fifty the heroes reach the end of one journey and a new one gets launched.

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King’s Batman and Williamson’s Flash have both been very engaging but very different reads.

King has been using seemingly unrelated stories to build to something; however, unclear that something is. There have been a lot of highs and lows in the first fifty issues with the art being the only consistently great thing about the series. King’s issue fifty ends a long running wedding story in the way he telegraphed throughout the run. There was no surprise, just a disappointing comic where almost nothing happened, that ends up being the stepping off point for the rest of the story.  

Williamson has been doing something similar, using shorter series to build one one big story. The difference with what Williamson is doing though is that each arc built on the previous one and advanced the story. In each series we get a little closer to the end game. As the story progresses, just like Wally West’s memories returning, we get closer to a Crisis / Flashpoint like event. We get more clues that things that are missing are meant to be found. Could this mean the return of the JSA characters? Maybe. Could it be an event that returns DC to pre-Flashpoint continuity? Maybe.

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All we know at this point is that with each excellent story Williamson writes, we the readers, are getting closer to something that is probably going to be really great, and really significant. In King’s case many of the stories seem to be very well written but complex riddles that make the reader more puzzled than they were at the beginning and still wondering where it is all going at the end.

The one problem that both series have is that they are taking way too long to get where they are going. This pattern can be found all over DC. Metal was two issues too long and took too long long to come out. The Button Story was awesome but came out a long time ago at this point. Doomsday Clock is consistently late. I know that the object is to keep the reader coming back for more and that is what all these series do. For all the negativity, as long as DC has creators as talented as Tom King, Joshua Williamson, Mikel Janin, and Howard Porter I’ll be right there with them loving it, being disappointed by it, but having a good time on the journey.

 

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Summer Reading – The Micronauts

The Micronauts – They Came from Inner Space

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A couple of months ago I picked up a complete run of The Micronauts Volume 1 from Marvel comics. I decided that it might be fun to challenge myself this summer and read one issue a day for the entire summer and get through the fifty-nine issue series, plus both annuals. As of this writing I am twelve days in and have kept up with an issue a day.

The series was licensed from the Mego corporation who was producing the toy line in North America. The Mego Corp licensed the toys from the Japanese company Takara. The Japanese toy line was call Microman. The toys were produced by Mego from 1976 to 1980 while the comic was not released until 1979. It ran for five years until 1984, well after the toys could be found on the shelf. Marvel comics would have a similar phenomenon with Rom, The Space Knight. The toy was produced in 1979 and had a fairly short shelf life while the comic ran from 1979 to 1986. Coincidentally Bill Mantlo wrote both series.  

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The Micronauts were not just comic advertisements for the toy. They featured exciting full adventures that focused on the characters, several of which did not have corresponding toys. The Micronauts were part of the Marvel Universe, often having crossovers with other characters like Man-Thing and the X-men. When they did cross through the space wall between the Microverse and our universe they were on Earth 616, the “main” Marvel Universe Earth. The series featured great action and science fiction along with some wonderful character development.

The first twelve issues are one story arc where the Micronauts are trying to defeat Baron Karza who has enslaved Homeworld. Their adventures through these issues take the Micronauts from the Microverse to Earth and back again. Mantlo and Golden set out to create a real epic with multiple plot threads and some serious science fiction. With only a toy line to work with they were free to create the characters and do whatever they wanted with them. With that in mind let’s take a look at what’s happened so far.

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Creators

Writer – Bill Mantlo
Artist – Michael Golden
Both are credited as the storytellers
Embellishing – Josef Rubinstein
Editor  – Al Milgrom
Editor in Chief –  Jim Shooter

The first issue begins with Prince Argon and Princess Mari, brother and sister, and several other soldiers on horseback fleeing from flying men. Over the course of the next few pages we learn that the King and Queen have been killed and that the prince and princess are trying to escape the Dog Soldiers and acroyears. Most of their party is killed but they get away, taken in by citizens loyal to the king and queen. Shortly after they are taken in the Prince Argon summons a time traveler, a being who uses something called the enigma force, to take Mari to safety. As the hideout is attacked by the dog soldiers we meet Shaitan, an acroyear, and Baron Karza for the first time.

In the second chapter of the comic a spaceship is coming in for a landing. The pilot Commander Rann and his roboid companion Biotron discuss how it has been a long time since they have been to Homeworld. Actually it has been 1000 years a handy caption tells us. Rann and Biotron think they are coming in to a heroes welcome, but the honor guard that great them turns out be a firing squad. Rann is shot but not killed. He wakes up surrounded by aliens in a prison cell. Still disoriented they explain to him that things are not going to go so well for him. Suddenly Rann is lifted out of the circle of aliens and there is a loud SVAM! The aliens are dispersed and Rann is greeted by an acroyear and Insectivorid and now Rann is really confused.

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The Insectivorid, BUg, explains to Rann that while to him it feels like he just discovered their planets on his 1000 year journey, he was only traveling at light speed but while he was away warp drives were discovered on Homeworld and they made space exploration even easier. They also explain that almost as soon as the discoveries were made war spread throughout the Microverse with Baron Karza and the dog soldiers leading the charge.

The following day Rann, Bug, the Acroyear, and the other prisoners are put into a gladiatorial arena being watched by Karza, Shaitan, and the rich elite of Homeworld. The entertainment starts with Princess Mari disguised as a roboid and a small white roboid with a red-head. As that show comes to and end the next one gets started with a Deathtank rumbling right towards the group of prisoners. The acroyear and Bug attack the tank telling Rann to fall back, that they are there to protect him because he is the “x-factor” that Karza fears. A Time Traveler appears again, this time in front of Rann, telling him they must escape. Time Traveler explains to Rann that he is the enigma force, and that they need to escape now. As they make their getaway they find Rann’s ship, Biotron, Princess Mari (the marionette) and the small white roboid Microtron.

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This first issue really does a fantastic job of world building and setting the stage for what’s to come. Since this comic was released in 1979 a lot of comparisons to Star Wars can certainly be made. There is a rebellion led by an unlikely hero. A powerful villain in black armor, with unknown power. There are kooky aliens, talking robots, spaceships that can travel faster than the speed of light, and a galaxy at war. And while those things are all true this story is different enough that it is still fun and exciting.

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The next couple of issue take the Micronauts to Earth, to the backyard of the Coffin family in Daytona Beach Florida to be exact. As Commander Rann piloted the Endeavor away from the pursuing fleet of Baron Karza’s acroyear allies they reached the edge of the Microverse, the Space Wall and were able to pass through it thanks to the help from a Time Traveler.  This is both good and bad for the Micronauts it turns out. It works out for them because they escape from their closest attackers. The problem is that other ships can now get through the Space Wall the same way they did.

The Endeavor crashes into some plants and the Micronauts have some very “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” moments with Steve Coffin’s dog and lawnmower. The group of fugitives and rebels start working together to save each other from the new perils they encounter. Shaitan’s ship also makes it through the Space Wall and there is a small aerial dog fight in the Florida backyard. Steve Coffin comes the aid of the Micronauts and hits Shaitan’s battle cruiser with his rake forcing it to warp back to the Microverse.

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Steve’s Father, Ray, comes home to find the backyard torn up with craters from the ship’s laser fire. While the Micronauts were able to teleport away Steve’s dad finds some of the wreckage from Shaitan’s downed ships. Meanwhile Shaitan warps back to Earth tracking the Endeavor to a Florida highway and renews his attack. There are more witnesses now as the fascinated drivers are caught in the crossfire from the attacking ships. The Air Force at Cape Canaveral picks up the space ships on their radar and dispatches several jets.

The Air Force pilots don’t find anything and the Police do not believe the witnesses about the small aliens fighting that they’ve witnessed. Steve’s Dad is also making plans to bring the stuff he’s found to NASA to have them examine it. Back on Homeworld Baron Karza’s forces are making short work of the rebels. We also learn more about Baron’s body banks. These are places where the poor are brought to be used as replacements for the rich and powerful elite of Homeworld when they get old or sick. We get to meet one of the new rebel leaders, Slug, who is going to be mixed in with the prisoners headed to the body banks. She is hoping to find Prince Argon and save the prisoners already in the body banks.

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The Micronaut crew while working together are also arguing quite a bit about what they should be doing to save Homeworld. Rann needs to get the Endeavor fixed up in order to make it be able to get back to the Microverse. Acroyear (yup that’s also his name) wants to find Bug whom they were separated with in the Coffin’s backyard and finally Princess Mari thinks they are lollygagging too much and wants to go save Homeworld. While all the bickering seems very antagonistic at first it is really just the crew’s way of becoming closer and realizing they all have the same goals.

Ray, Steve, the family dog, all head to Ray’s old work place at NASA, the Human Engineering Life Laboratories (H.E.L.L) to have the aliens found in the wreckage examined. Bug also manages to tag along hidden from everyone except the dog. They will meet up with scientist Phil Prometheus, ex coworker turned mad scientist when he discovered the miniature aliens previously and used their bionic technology to combine man and machine to save himself after an accident in space. Phil has created the Prometheus pit that he hopes will allow him to travel to the Microverse. During the course of Phil revealing what he’s done to himself and manhandling Steve Coffin, questioning him about the battle and the Micronauts, Ray starts to realize that he and his son are in trouble.

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Bug has made his way into the lab and the rest of the Micronauts are not too far behind. They’ve left the Endeavor at the Coffin house for Biotron to repair and used shuttles to track Bug’s energy signature to H.E.L.L.. Phil tries to send Steve into the Prometheus pit but the rest of the Micronaut team arrives in time to save him and attack the half man, half robot, guards Phil created. In the course of the battle Ray grabs Phil and they both fall into the pit. Steve, the dog and the Micronaut team, reunited with Bug, fight their way out of the lab and try to get Steve to safety.

Back on Homeworld Baron Karza tells Shaitan that he has failed and that he has no more use for him. He removes the mind wipe that allowed Shaitan to subjugate the acroyear people to support him and Karza and deny their true leader Prince Acroyear. Prince Argon also breaks out the cell he’s been held in, now transformed into a half man half horse, similar to on of Karza’s forms. He then storms the body banks where Slug happens to be a prisoner, looking to free the people.

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Steve and the Micronauts make it back to the Coffin house only to find Biotron cornered by the family cat. Steve helps the Micronauts with the final repairs to the Endeavor and in the process of powering up the ship causes a blackout in the neighborhood. Steve is still very depressed about his father but he and the Micronauts realize that the police and Air Force are still going to be looking for him since they escaped the lab. They head down to the Everglades to hide out in the family cabin. While they are there they Micronauts gets some much-needed rest. During this time Biotron tells Mari about Rann’s adventures over the past 1000 years, about how when he left Homeworld he was considered a hero for the journey of exploration he was about to make. He explains that when they reached the edge of the Microverse the Endeavor was surrounded by glowing men (Time Travellers in case you were wondering) and they flooded Rann’s mind with “Awareness”. These glowing figures had imparted Rann with the Enigma Force.

Back in the Prometheus pit Phil and Ray continue to fall until they do indeed pass through to the Microverse. Similar to the way the Micronauts were tiny when they passed through the Space Wall to Earth and remained tiny, Ray and Phil are giants. As they are tumbling through space Ray begins to glow and disappears only to meet up with, you guessed it, The Time Traveler. He sure does come around when needed. Phil on the other hand gains the attention of Baron Karza. Slug and Prince Argon, now called Force Commander by the rebels make their escape from the body banks. They eventually meet up with another rebel group that is being led by one of Baron Karza’s Shadow Priests who explains that he is loyal to Homeworld, not Karza.

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Back on Earth Steve Coffin’s sorrow and now fear of the future have attracted the creature known only as Man-Thing! The Micronauts try to protect Steve but their weapons have little impact on the muck monster. We get a neat appearance of the MicroCopter toy, while not named it is featured in several panels. This is one of the few appearances of something that corresponds to something from the toy line other than several of the main characters in the story. Steve and the Micronauts finally get it together to try to use the big fan on the wind boat to blow the monster away. Steve’s attitude change to bravery is actually what saves the day as Man-Thing hurls himself into the engine, no longer being attracted to fear. With the ship fully repaired and the Micronauts rested up they decide to go find Ray Coffin and take the war back to Baron Karza.

Baron Karza bonding with Phil has made his way back through the Prometheus pit and decides to try to conquer Earth, seemingly more powerful than the Air Force soldiers and guards he is encountering at H.E.L.L. With Baron Karza on Earth, Force Commander, the Shadow Priest, and the rebels decide now is the time to attack the Dog Soldiers. We find out what the Time Traveler has been doing with Ray Coffin. He tells Ray that the blood of heroes runs in his veins. Time Traveler tells Ray to relax, and dream, that when he awakens he will be the Hero Earth needs. Back on Earth the super-sized Baron Karza is making short work of the Micronauts and soldiers that are trying to stop him.

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Suddenly a new player enters the fight, Captain Universe. He says he is there to defend Earth and attacks Karza. As this is happening Steve and the Micronauts realize Captain Universe is actually Ray Coffin! While Captain Universe and Baron Karza are fighting the Micronauts take the opportunity to leave Steve and head back to the Microverse through the Prometheus Pit. Karza realizing that he cannot win, ends his bond with Phil Prometheus and also heads back to the Microverse. The Time Traveler takes the power he loaned Ray back and seal the Prometheus pit. Steve and Ray Coffin are reunited and Phil is taken into custody. The Micronauts adventures on Earth have concluded for now, but they still have one more thing to do back in the Microverse.

The Endeavor enters the Microverse right in the middle of the acroyear battle fleet. They are then escorted back to the acroyear home world, Spartak. They are expected to be treated as prisoners of war but instead they are greeted as heroes, especially Prince Acroyear the rightful ruler of the acroyears. Karza renters the Microverse and resumes leadership of his battle fleet, leading them to attack Spartak. As he is bombing the acroyear home world Prince Acroyear says that they only thing that can save them is if he merges with the Worldmind, the being that embodies Spartak (think Ego the living planet). This is a very dangerous ploy and the Prince will most likely be killed but it is the only way. As he goes about this the Micronauts decide they cannot just stand by and they head out to face the Baron’s forces.

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On Homeworld the rebel attack led by Force Commander faces strong opposition from the Dog soldiers and Phobos units, fighting roboids similar in form to Biotron but are black and red. The shadow priests join the battle and start to turn the tide. Back at Spartak Rann and Mari have been captured by Karza. Bug and Microtron try to help but an exploding Phobos unit seemingly kills Bug as he is blown out to space. Prince Acroyear completes his merge with the World Mind and together they destroy Baron Karza’s fleet. The acroyears on the surface defeat the dog soldiers and accept their surrender. Baron Karza does manage to get away with his two prisoners and heads back to home world.

Force Commander and the Shadow Priests have defeated most of the Dog Soldiers as the baron shows up with Rann and Mari captive. Karza says that with Rann captured, their hero, their x-factor, cannot win the battle for them. Force Commander is not having this and attacks Karza directly. Karza defeats Argon but hope is not lost. One of the Shadow Priests reveals himself to be none other than Time Traveler.

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Time Traveler and Commander Rann bond and become the Enigma Force. The Enigma Force / Rann and Baron Karza go right at it. There is a quite a bit of back and forth between the two until Karza says that he is going to unleash the power of the great pit (coincidentally they are fighting right next to said pit) and use a massive Mindshock that will most likely destroy himself, Homeworld and maybe even the Enigma Force. In the end though the Mindshock only destroys Karza himself, leaving behind empty black armor. And for the cherry on top of the victory sunday the acroyear fleet arrives, led by Prince Acroyear, having destroyed the rest of Baron Karza’s warfleet. The Time Traveler breaks the bond between he and Rann saying that for now he is no longer needed.

The last issue in the arc serves as an epilogue. The Micronauts, with the exception of the possibly deceased Bug, Force Commander Argon, and Slug are all raised up as heroes by the citizens of Homeworld. Prince Acroyear heads back to Spartak to take his place as ruler of the acroyears. On Earth Ray and Steve Coffin are enjoying their time together. Some soldiers searching through the wreckage of H.E.L.L. find Philips Prometheus’s alien samples and turn them into a group of men that might be S.H.E.I.L.D.. The traitor Shaitan challenges Acroyear to a blood feud that ends in the death of Shaitan. The story closes out with Time Traveler showing the reader that Bug has been hurtling through space, alive, and then landing on the planet Kaliklak, home world of the Insectivorids.

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That was quiet and epic story wasn’t it? Sure, there are plenty of similarities to Star Wars, but I found it to be different enough that it was exciting and enjoyable on its own merits. There are plenty of hokey things in the story, like Prince Acroyear sharing the same name as his race of people, or Baron Karza and Force Commander having half human / half horse forms, but overall the story is just a lot of fun. There is no overt push of the toy line, partially because it was reaching the end of its sales when the comic was published.

One thing I find interesting is that the initial story is exactly 12 issues long. To my knowledge this came out when mini-series and maxi-series did not come out regularly. I think it might be more likely that Mantlo and Golden had their story idea and thought they could spread it out over twelve issues, and if the comic was successful they would go on from there. The dialog is well done and the pacing is dynamite. Each issue has an exciting ending that makes the reader want to see what happens next month. And the way the last issue closes with Bug being alive I certainly want to see what happens to him and how he gets reunited with the rest of the Micronauts.

I suspect that Baron Karza will return at some point, I just hope that there are some other adventures introducing new characters and conflicts before they go back to that well. Something else that makes this series a lot of fun is that it takes place in the Marvel universe. I thought that when Man-Thing made his appearance it worked pretty well and it made me wonder if Bill Mantlo and Steve Gerber (Man-Thing’s creator) were buddies. I mean there had to be other, more popular characters that could have made a guest appearance. Finally I thought the Phil Prometheus character was done really well. He was a mad scientist with a cool origin and a great look. Michael Golden portrayed this character’s passion really well. He was maniacal and was a great foil for Ray Coffin. Later when Ray took on the Captain Universe persona and fought Karza who was bonded with Prometheus it was a great conclusion to that sub-plot.

All in all I enjoyed these issues and think I have picked out a good summer reading project. I’ll keep going with an issue a day and will have additional updates down the road. I’ll close this post with the cover to issue 13 featuring Bug and some other Insectivorids, hopefully you’ll join me again to see what happens.

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This Week at Comics Comics Comics – End of June 2018

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For the last couple of weeks I have been reading more than I have been writing so shame on me. On the other hand, I have read some really great comics. I’ve been all over the place between new comics, trade paperbacks, and dollar bin finds. Let’s get right to it.

Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #3 & 4

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Creators

Writer Jeff Lemire
Artist Max Fiumara
Colorist Dave Stewart
Letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot

In the third issue of the mini series the Doctor continues to try and make amends with his dying son. He travels to the moon, after having not been to space for so long, to re-activate a beacon he used to make contact with the aliens he had so many adventures with when he was younger. The Doctor hopes that one of them might be able to help his son. His call is answered promptly by an unfamiliar alien with a black star emblazoned on his chest. The Doctor does not know who he is but the alien is very familiar with him, calling him father.

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It turns out that the aliens the Doctor interacted with in his adventures earlier in his life looked to him as an example. They have been observing him for years and have formed an intergalactic police force called the Star Sheriff Squadron. They’ve duplicated his technology and formed an organization made up of hundreds of different alien races all wearing his black and blue star uniform. Just as Star is realizing the impact he has had we flash back to when he returned home the first time. Many earth years had past while for him he had only been gone a short time.

His wife had turned into a mess and his grown son was serving in Vietnam. Both his wife and son rejected him, angry at how long he had been gone. Back in the present the Doctor is telling the aliens that he needs their help to cure his son of the cancer that is killing him. They explain that their healing powers would be incompatible with the humans, that they are sorry but they cannot help. The Doctor then asks how they were able to duplicate his technology so they show him. They take him to the source, a star shaped portal that is the Parazone.  The Alien who has been explaining everything then says that there is nothing he can do for his son but here is the answers to all the questions he’s ever asked. We see Star considering his options and then we are back in the hospital.

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The Doctor is standing next to his son’s bed. He’s explaining why he came back. He’s explaining his regrets about missing his son’s life, how he wishes he had taken him flying with him. Charlie whispers that he’s ready now. The Doctor lifts the frail form of his dying son up and takes him from the hospital flying him all the way to the moon where Charlie then passes in his weeping father’s arms.

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Doctor Star was an extremely compelling and touching story. At its heart it is a simple story about a father so eager to discover new worlds that he neglects his family on this world until it is too late. Lemire also works it into the larger Blackhammer universe very nicely with appearances from Abe Slam and the Black Hammer himself, Joseph Weber.  While the story obviously takes major elements from Starman and the Green Lantern Corps it is gripping and it all just works. I would highly recommend this series even if you are not reading Black Hammer.

Metal Men #47

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Creators

Writer / Editor – Gerry Conway
Artist / Co-Production – Walt Simonson
Colorist – Carl Gafford
Letterer – Gaspar Saladino

This was a fun flea market find. It’s from 1976 and very early in Simonson’s career. The pencils are pretty rough in some parts but there are flashes of his signature look. The story is an enjoyable adventure where the Metal Men are trying to recover a safe filled with millions of dollars that Chemo threw into orbit from Italy and eventually landed in Antartica. Action ensues when the Metal Men are mistaken for the element shifting robot Plutonium Man who has been attacking the Army base. This was a great pick up for two bucks and was in good shape for a comic this old.

The New age of Heroes

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The Curse of Brimstone #3
Damage #4-5
The Unexpected #1

Philip Tan & Justin Jordan’s Brimstone continues to impress me. I really dig the art, it has a very creepy / horror vibe and the story has been interesting. Like many modern comics the events in the story are stretched out over more issues than are necessary but this one keeps me coming back for more.

Damage seems to be going nowhere fast. In issue number four Poison Ivy is at farm trying to stop the farmers from harvesting their crops. Coincidentally Ethan is on the run and has joined a work crew that is suppose to work at the very same farm Ivy is attacking. Over the course of the two issues Ivy basically kicks Damage’s ass, choking him out with vines after the first fight. In issue five Ivy is about to stop Damage for a second time when Gorilla Grodd and a bunch of flying apes show up out of nowhere. I really don’t know where this book is head and I am not sure if I’ll be sticking around to find out.

Regarding The Unexpected I have no idea who anyone in this book is or what is going on. If I had just pulled this off the shelf I would not be going back for seconds but since I pre order several months in advance I’ll read the issues I’ve got coming before I decide to cancel it. Even with knowing nothing about what’s going on it’s still is not as bad as immortal Men.

Blackwood #1

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Creators

Writer – Evan Dorkin
Artist  – Veronica Fish
Layouts & Letterer  – Andy Fish
Editor  – Daniel Chaon

I am a big fan of Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s Beasts of Burden so when a new supernatural book by Dorkin was solicited I jumped on it. The story is about several freshman going to the mysterious Blackwood college. There is a little bit of a Harry Potter vibe with several of the main characters arriving to town on a train. Four seemingly different students are given the attic room to live in. On their first night at the school the encounter some nightmarish visions and we’re off. I enjoyed the heck out of this first issue and look forward to the rest.

Supersons, Dynomutt and the Blue Falcon #1

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Creators

Writer – Peter J Tomasi
Penciller –  Fernando Pasarin
Inker – Oclair Albert
Colorist –  Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer –  Rob Leigh

I don’t care what it takes but DC should keep finding excuses for Peter Tomasi to writer Supersons stories.

This story begins with Radley Crowne, boy genius, locked up in his work room worrying his parents because he’s been in there for so long. Radley’s father interrupts him to introduce him to his new best friend, an adorable grey dog named Mutt. Of course Mutt and Radley grow up and become best friends. As a young man Radley is hitting the prime of his life but poor Mutt is getting pretty old. Radley decides that he’s not ready to let Mutt go just yet and he hooks him up to some elaborate machines.

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We transition to a funeral for a co-worker of Clark and Lois Kent. They are paying their respects and have brought Jonathan with them. Jonathan is having a hard time dealing with his first funeral and heads outside for some fresh air. While Jonathan is gathering himself leaning on tree he is surprised by Damian Wayne who says that he tracked him to Big City because Gotham was quiet. Damian conveniences Jonathan to sneak away with for a bit because he’s bored and he’ll show him around Big City. Before they can get away Jonathan is shocked by a mechanical paw reaching out for him.

It turns out to be Dynomutt and he’s in rough shape. He tells the boys he smelled friends and came to find Damian. Dynomutt explains that he needs to be fixed up back at Blue Falcon’s home base. He says that Blue Falcon was taken by the Red Vulture, who also did this to him. Superboy and Robin quickly head off to save Dynomutt. Along the way Damian explains that Blue Falcon is a genius crime fighter and at one time was part of Batman Inc.

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Superboy and Robin get Dynomutt hooked up to the Falcon’s machines that will start to make him better when Blue Falcon returns. He catches both boys off guard and stuns Superboy with his laser pistol. Robin dodges the shot and attacks. He’s quickly put down by the Falcon. Suddenly Falcon starts to have confusing thoughts and he does not know why he is doing what he’s doing. Just as quickly though he returns to his mind controlled self and snatches up Dynomutt to bring him to the Red Vulture. It turns out Radley created the Red Vulture but it was a failed experiment when the Vulture got away. Since then the Vulture put his mind in a human body. The problem is that said human body is deteriorating and he needs the technology used on Dynomutt to keep on living. Everything seems lost after the Vulture gets Dynomutt hooked up the machines but Superboy and Robin are back in the fight.

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As Blue Falcon and the two young heroes tussle the Vulture is getting started on Dynomutt. Something starts to go wrong for the Vulture though. It turns out that the machines he hooked Dynomutt up to were just what he needed for a recharge. The feedback from the reversal that Dynomutt pulled allows him to break free and get between the Falcon and the Supersons. In a real Jedi throne room sequence Dynomutt gets the Blue Falcon to remember who he is and what they mean to each other. The Red Vulture has recovered and draws a laser pistol aimed squarely at Dynomutt. As he pulls the trigger Superboy launches into the Vulture knocking him off balance. The Vulture gets the shot off though but Blue Falcon dives in front of his best friends saving him.

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As Dynomutt realizes what’s happened to his master he launches himself at the Red Vulture, meaning to end him. Robin stops him telling him that this kind of revenge is wrong. We cut to another funeral, this time for Radley Crowne. Jonathan is still uncomfortable while Damian is being a bit of a dork. Later that night Radley’s grave is being disturbed. Dynomutt is apparently not ready to let his master go. He digs up the coffin and bring the corpse back to the lab. He hooks them both up to Radley’s machines and lets the power go. The story closes with a worn out Radley Crowne winking and telling Dynomutt he’s a good boy.

This was a great story with a lot of emotion. We get a look into how a young boy feels at a funeral where no one is very comfortable. We get a wonderful story of a boy and his dog. Finally it is a great comic weaving together the DC and Hanna Barbera superhero universes in a very natural way. A lot of the time these kind of mash ups feel forced and out of place. Not this one. Tomasi brilliantly weaves the two together is a way that makes it feel like they have always been this way. It is pure wish fulfillment in that our pets never die and their masters never leave them.  

Best of the Rest

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Mister Miracle #9

Finally we are getting to the climax of this series. We learn what the point of this whole exercise has been. It’s not quite what I thought was going to be but I’m glad something is happening. Now I am really looking forward to see what happens.

Hawkman #1

Hawkman is back in comics and that’s a good thing. This issue was a fun adventure that involves Carter Hall finding an artifact that turns a statue in to a giant, flying Ape. How can you go wrong with that?

Plastic Man #1

This is Gail Simone’s mini series that feels like it is going to be a fun mystery. There are some great jokes and has all the makings of a good plastic man story to me. Rebirth has really shed a lot of the heavy stuff that the New 52 brought to the table and this story will continue that trend.

The One #1

I picked up this series from the dollar bins recently. After listening to this podcast I decided I wanted to read this comic for myself. The first issue did not disappoint. Having grown up in the Reagan era and the oppressive possibility of nuclear war this comic really hits home, and the PuzzFundles are just plain weird.

I’ll close this one out with a ad from the Metal Men (1976) for another fabulous career opportunity to t be a locksmith.

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Elvira House of Mystery #3

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I’ve got to admit that I’ve got a crush on Elvira. I think that Cassandra Peterson’s alter ego is funny, pretty, and very entertaining. How she dresses as the character doesn’t hurt either. Over the last couple of years I’ve come across a couple of issues of this comic (this one twice as it turns out). The first one I found was in a store in Florida that sold Pop Culture art, framed prints, statues, and other collectibles. The manager had recently purchased a small comic collection and was selling off the individual issues in a corner in the back of the store. I cannot resist a pile of comics some place that does not normally sell comics, I just feel like there has got to be something good in it.

The series was an attempt to bring back the House of Mystery title with a new host, Elvira. Elvira introduces the stories and is featured a bit more than the original host Cain. The series also features a story that Elvira is on a quest to find Cain the caretaker and the House of Mystery is helping her. I do not know the details as this is the earliest issue of the story that I have. There series ran for 11 issues and had a special. An interesting note about this issue is that it is the only one to run without the comics code approval on it. I imagine it is because of violence and semi-nudity. With that in mind let’s get to the story.

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Elvira in “Retribution” – – or “ We don’t need no stinkin’ tin badges”

Creators

Writer –  Joey Cavalieri
Artists – Stan Woch & Dick Giordano
Letters – Duncan Andrews
Colorist – Elizabeth Berube
Editor – Sal Amendola

The first story is a western, as if we couldn’t tell from the splash page. It begins with a little exposition and the House of Mystery telling Elvira that she must continue with her quest to find Cain. Elvira, cowboy hat, six guns and all is then delivered to the old west. She is being serenaded by a skeleton cowboy riding a horse and singing a ballad about Nick Dundee and Hangin’ Rock. We come across a young woman bathing in a pond and being harassed by the very same Nick Dundee who has the woman’s clothes. He says that she can have them back she just needs to come get them from him. Of course she’s naked while bathing but she’s desperate. She says that if he gives her back her clothes she won’t tell her fiance.

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Just then a man comes up behind Nick and tells him to give the lady her clothes. Nick clocks the guy and threatens to shoot him. In order to prevent her fiance from being shot our heroine agrees to come out of the water. That was all the distraction, Phil, the fiance, needed to grab Nick’s shooting arm and wrestle him into the water. The two men have a viscous fight and Phil overcomes Nick. Phil and Fay ride away and Nick plots revenge. Meanwhile our singing skeleton reminds us that he’ll see Nick at hanging rock.

The scene shifts to Phil and Fay getting married. As they exit the church they embrace and kiss. Suddenly a shot rings out, Phil’s been shot in the back. Nick has fired from a nearby hotel window and plans to make his escape before anyone figures out where the shot came from. Fay in her white wedding dress, now covered in blood, mourns her dying husband. Nick trying to make his escape is stopped by the local sheriff who gets the draw on him. A local mob surrounds the jail demanding that the sheriff release Nick to them so they can deal their mob justice. Instead the sheriff gets Nick on a train to, you guessed it, Hanging Rock, so that he can be “hanged legal an’ proper”.

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The sheriff should have turned Nick over to the mob. On the train ride to Hangin’ rock Nick overcomes the sheriff when they round a sharp turn. Nick gets the sheriff to unlock the cuffs before choking him out so that he passes out. Nick then climbs up to the locomotive where he tells the engineer to stop the train. It just so happens that the engineer is Phil’s father and he’s plenty angry with Nick Dundee. Nick shoots him and tries to stop the train himself, but cannot.

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As the trains runs out of steam it pulls into the the next station where the mob is waiting to take Nick to Hangin’ Rock. As Nick is lead to the noose he starts babbling about a vision he’s having. He sees Phil’s father watching him and he starts to lose it. As Nick hangs the ghost of Phil’s dad watches and our singing cowboy finishes his song. Elvira is returned to House of Mystery and she loses the cowboy gear while getting ready for the next story.

One Way Passage

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Creators

Writer – Robert Kanigher
Art – Jess Jodloman
Colors –  Liz Berube

Elvira witnesses a diverse group of people enter an elevator that has the sign “Ye who enter here abandon all hope”. On the elevator is the conductor and an interesting group of characters who all state that they need to be someplace else. There is a pretty blonde, a white man with glasses who has to collect his rent. There is a large black man in white military dress saying he has to get back to defend his nation. There is a another white guy with glasses that says he has to get back in order to to take more pictures of children’s portraits. There is also a white couple, an older white woman, and an Arab.

Just a quickly as everyone got on the elevator the conductor stops and lets each person off saying that they have reached their floor. As they exit they keeping talking about how they are supposed to be somewhere else but they also don’t really question what is going on. The young white couple are the last ones off. They find a fire exit but as they go through the door they discover that they are not in a building but instead it is HELL!

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They are greeted by a winged demon who explains that they are here because the explosives they were making went off prematurely and killed them along with a lot of innocent people. They are sentenced to hang upside down for eternity. Next up is the landlord trying to collect his rent. It turns out he had a heart attack, and for the crime of being a slum lord he will “live” forever naked covered in rats, in hell’s version of one of his slum tenements.

The older white woman was killed by a hit and run driver. She’s being thrown naked into a lake to drown with her victims because apparently she likes to poison people. She’s dragged under while still conscious and tied down by corpses. The child photographer apparently also strangles the kids that he’s been taking pictures of. His punishment is to be squeezed and swallowed alive by a giant snake.

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The next segment is rather controversial because the Arab is being punished for being a terrorist. He was apparently killed in his car by an Israeli rocket. The segment is very insensitive and one sided. That is followed up by the Black General, who I suspect is supposed to resemble Idi Amin, who thought he was getting more medals as he left the elevator. He is going have his naked fleshed branded by demons forever.

The last person to be dealt with is the young, pretty, white woman. The devil tells her that she committed suicide because she thought she was getting old and would be forgotten.  He goes on to say that she she will be given a second chance because beauty is in the of the beholder and that she will always be beautiful. She is then pictured in a hospital bed with a doctor telling a nurse that it was a close call but she’s coming around. The devil then addresses Elvira directly. He says that mankind tries to deal with justice but often they just make matters worse. He says true justice, retribution, and forgiveness should be left to higher powers. He warns her, while pointing at the reader, that she should never come before him.

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The last page of the comic has three men outside of the House of Mystery watching Elvira. Again I have no idea what’s going on here because I don’t know what’s happening in the story taking place across the issues.

Overall I thought this was a “wicked” fun comic. The art in each story was intense and dealt with some very adult themes. It is no wonder that this issue did not carry the seal of the CCA. The stories and the art look like they were something right out of an EC comic from the fifties. Each story also has the same style of twist at the end with a message that was very common in anthology books like this. Robert Kanigher would write several stories for this series, and while this was towards the end of career he obviously still has “it”. 

If I were a betting man I would think this comic was probably only sold in the direct market. This does not feel like something that would have been sold on the news stand, because yes, in 1986 you could still get a comic at the supermarket or stationary store. It is simply too mature a comic to be sold next to Superman and Spider-man at the A & P.

Looking at the other issues in the series on Comicvine I suspect each one has a theme to the stories inside. The other issue I have, number seven, looks like it is a sci-fi themed issue. Now that I’ve finally got around to reading this comic it has graduated from something fun to pick up if I see it, to making the list of things that I will specifically look for in my searching. I’d like to read the whole series and see what’s going on with the overall story and the search for Cain.

I close out with an ad for the Elvira Fan Club that is at the end of the issue. If my younger thirteen year old self had this comic in 1986 he might have actually sent away to join this fan club.

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Plop #14

plopcover

If you are reading this you are probably no stranger to the dollar bins at your local comic store. We’ve all spent time looking through these boxes filled with comics old and new looking for treasure. The dollar bins are great places to find some good comics that are worth reading, and depending on what you’re collecting you can fill some holes on the cheap. Often times these bins are collections that dealers have purchased and cherry picked all the high value comics from and now they are trying to move the rest.

When I’m at a shop or at a show going through the bins I can always find a couple of dollars worth of comics to make my time worth it. Now when I am searching I typically have a couple of things I am looking for specifically along with just wanting to find something fun to read. Last year I was able to put finish a complete run of Who’s Who in the DC Universe including the 84 and 85 updates. I also recently completed a set of All Star Squadron that with the exception of one or two issues I didn’t pay more than a dollar for any single issue. One thing I am ALWAYS on the lookout for are Sergio Aragones Comics.  At a recent show in Uxbridge, Massachusetts I unearthed a real gem of a Sergio Aragones comic.

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At this particular show I found an issue of Plop, the magazine of Weird Humor. I’ve only become aware of what Plop is after listening to Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill when they were discussing Mad Magazine and the the comics and magazines that it spawned. I don’t know how many issues Sergio Aragones worked on but for this issue he worked on the cover, the introduction, and several of the one page gags.  When I saw this issue in the bin I recognized Sergio’s familiar marginal work and pulled it out and added it to the pile I was planning to purchase.

The title states that Plop is “the magazine of weird humor”, but it is really more than that. It is indeed an anthology comic with short stories and gags, but there is also light horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Plop ran for twenty four issues between 1973 and 1976 with the last couple of issues being Giant-Sized comics. The first nineteen issues of the series feature a similar style cover. Sergio Aragones does marginal style drawings all around the border framing a crazy character drawn by Basil Wolverton. At the bottom of the page the bizarre character on the cover is named and has a brief odd ball bio.

The stories are introduced by DC’s familiar hosts from the House of Secrets and Mystery, none other than Cain, Abel, and Eve. The comic is book ended with the trio addressing the reader directly introducing what’s to come and then closing it out.  This particular issue features two short stories and several one page gags.

The Locked Door of Harkness House

Creators

Story –  Maxene Fabe
Art – David Manak

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Eve introduces the first story stating “This month we go topical — with tales and jokes relating to popular novel themes! There’s westerns, historicals, science fiction, medical and animal themes — plus this little Gothic Grabber”. The story begins with two spinsters sitting listening to the radio. Their program is interrupted with an important news bulletin that an inmate has escaped from the Kookville asylum for the criminally insane. One of the women asks the other what they would do if the escapee came to there house.

Later that night, someone breaks into the house by smashing the kitchen door window. The women try to call the police but the line is dead. A man, soaking wet, in a hat and coat enters the kitchen and they try to get him to leave by threatening him with a broom. Surprise though, the man is actually their long lost brother, Otto, who they thought was dead. Now we know the spinsters are sisters, Justine and Harriet. Once they realize who he is they bring him in, hang up his coat and get him some hot coffee.

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Otto explains that he has returned to claim his share of the security bonds their dear departed father left them. Harriet and Justine explain that their father didn’t leave them anything besides the old house they are in right now. As Otto goes off to bed he thinks to himself that he doesn’t believe his sisters and that their father definitely had some money. Once everyone is asleep Otto decides to take a look around but his sister’s catch him trying to get into a locked door. He demands to know what’s behind the door and if their father’s money is in there. Justine explains again that there is no money and tells Otto to go to bed.

Otto is pretty heated at this point and tells his sisters that he doesn’t like taking orders, that he had to take too many orders at the asylum. Shocked the sisters realize their brother Otto is the escaped inmate they heard about on the radio. They tell Otto that he has to leave at once but he hams it up saying he’s sick, that he can’t go back to asylum, and really plays on their sympathy. Harriet feels bad and asks Justine to let him stay, he is their brother after all. Eventually they agree to let him stay and say they will discuss their father in the morning. Grinning, Otto thinks that his plan is going great.

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In the morning Justine tells Harriet she is going out for a bit. Otto overhears this and decides to go to work on Harriet while the other sister is away. He starts going on and on about their childhood and Harriet is obviously a little worried. As she bends over to get something from the oven a key falls from around her neck. Otto grabs it violently, realizing it is the key to the locked door his sister’s won’t let him near. As he rushes upstairs to the room Justine comes home. Harriet tell her they have to hurry and stop Otto. They’re too late though.

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Otto is through the door before they can stop him when he falls into a pool of water. Otto, wet again, asks why the sisters have a room like this filled with water and why they wouldn’t let him in. As they start to tell the story of how their father sent them a gift before he died in South America, a giant alligator lungs from the depths at Otto. The sisters close and lock the door quietly telling Otto that Suzy doesn’t take well to strangers. The final panel of the story is of the closed door where we hear Otto trying to plead with Suzy before the screams and chopping starts.

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Wednesday’s child

Creators

Script – Marv Wolfman
Art – Wallace “Wally” Wood

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Abel introduces this story simply stating that is “a gem from the classics of Knighthood”. The story begins with a young man in chain mail rowing a small boat towards a castle on the coast. The sign on the hill reads “Welcome to Merrie olde England”. This first panel has a couple of funny gags in it including a submarine periscope, a buoy with a bell, a mine, and shark fin. It is almost like a picture where the reader has to find ten things wrong with the picture.

The young man is thinking to himself about how he is going to become a great knight of the round table like Sir Gawain or Lancelot. He thinks that he has completed all his assigned tasks except one, rescue a fair maiden. In his best “keep on truckin” strut he approaches an old crone who seems to read his mind about the fair maiden. She tells the young knight that there is a maiden in the Castle of Merlin, but warns him to be very careful, that death also stalks the castle. The knight to be enters the castle and is exploring it when he hears a scream. He dashes off sword in hand to save whomever is in distress.

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As he enters a dark room he cannot believe his eyes. In a portal to another dimension is the beautiful maiden he came to rescue. Horrible monsters, one with a cigar, have the young woman’s dress in their clutches. The hero goes into the portal and attacks the monsters but his sword has no effect. They simply laugh and toss him about. A second time he enters the portal attacking the monsters this time with his dagger, but it still has no impact.

As he is flicked away once again he realizes that the monsters won’t come to the other side of the portal. He decides to try and drag the beautiful princess through the portal but a voice behind him shouts that he must not touch her. A small man with a long nose and even longer beard tells him that the princess has been there for ten million years and must remain there. For she is Purity and must remain between heaven and hell. He explains that she is suffering so that others do not. The little bearded man says that the knight must leave and forget her. The young man decides to heed the dwarf’s warning and leaves the castle dejected and wondering what went wrong.

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There are a couple of more one page comics and then the closing from Cain, Abel, and Eve. All in all this was a fantastic comic. How could it not be with Sergio Aragones, Marv Wolfman, and Wally Wood? The first story was a lot of fun with a neat twist of an ending. David Manak’s art reminds me of the old Pink Panther show. The second story featured beautiful Wally Wood art and feels like it is based on one of the Arthurian legends. It does have a bit of an abrupt ending but it was still enjoyable. All this entertainment for only a buck, or a quarter if you bought this issue back in 1975, how can anyone beat that?

The comic also has some outstanding advertisements. There’s a classic DC Hero / Hostess fruit pie ad, an ad for DC comics subscriptions at three dollars a whack for 12 issues. What a bargain! There are a few DC House ads including one for the different lines of comics they were publishing at the time, the superhero books, the mystery tales and the all new fantasy adventure line that included Tor, Warlord, Claw, and Beowulf. By far the most interesting one is the one for the Wayne School that wants to help housewives finish high school.

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I cannot believe this existed. The headline reads “Are your children ashamed that you never finished school?” and pictures a young woman with her apron in the kitchen and grim look on her face. The ad goes on to say that a child can tell if his friends parents are smarter than theirs, that they might speak better or know more about a lot of things. But there is hope, you can finish high school at home. You can make your kids proud and maybe even get an interesting job, just send in the coupon to get the booklet from the Wayne school. Oh boy, I’d love to meet the person at the Wayne school who decided that putting this ad in a comic meant for adolescents was a good idea.

I think that I’ve conveyed how much I enjoyed this comic. It was a fun experience at the show finding it and it was even more fun to read it. The next time I’m digging through the dollar bins I’ll be on the hunt for the other twenty three issues.

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