Monday, April 23, 2018

Can't make a silk purse out of that sow's ear. Or hundred square yards of fabric.

See, 'cause his cape is so big...Look, I don't think they had much to work with. From 1993, Stupid #1, story and art by Hilary Barta, script by Doug Rice.

Barta and Rice had done multiple spoofs for Marvel's What The--?!, and I only just realized Rice also did the 80's Manhunter book with John Ostrander. Today, we've got Stupid--a parody book from Image, although there is a next issue blurb promising full-color 3-D, this may have been the only issue!

Possibly because the early Image characters were on the verge of parody anyway, they may have been tough to make fun of. 26 pages of "Spewn," that's a tough one. Oddly, I haven't read that much Spawn (the Batman crossovers are the only ones I recall paying cash money for) but I want to say there was another one somewhere, where one of the key jokes was the green countdown timer that showed up when he used his powers? I guess Spawn is maybe a year or so away from 300 issues, so maybe there's more material to work with now? All I can think of was ToyFare making fun of how every McFarlane toy had mismatched boots...
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Friday, April 20, 2018

A fill-in wouldn't have been unexpected here, but the plot rolls on.

When we last saw Count Abyss, we saw his origin (and Jim Starlin's last issue on the book!) as Warlock and the Infinity Watch prepared to invade his dimension and rescue the kidnapped Lady Maya. This issue, they meet some new allies, then catch a ton of beatdown, in today's book: from 1994, Warlock and the Infinity Watch #32, "Heart and Soul" Written by Richard Ashford, pencils by Patrick Olliffe, inks by Keith Williams.

Warlock and the Watch run into Darklore and Meer'lyn, whom Warlock had met in Warlock Chronicles #1, where I believe Darklore had made an attempt to swipe the Soul Gem. Which, perhaps not coincidentally, was what Abyss wanted now: although virtually omnipotent from selling his soul to the Zalkor, years without it left him empty and craving one. In the best comic book or horror movie tradition, the Watch split into pairs to attack Abyss's castle and demons, and Abyss wipes the floor with each and every one of them. Warlock is the last to go, as the Soul Gem seemingly cuts the juice on Adam, all the better to jump ship to Abyss...but the issue ends with a quote from John Paul Jones: "I have not yet begun to fight."

I didn't recognize Ashford's name, but a quick search indicated he had been an assistant editor for Marvel: he may have been pulled in in a hurry to serve as interim writer, and does a good enough job keeping the plot going. We'll get to the next issue later, which featured new writer John Arcudi, who would stay on the book until it concluded with #42, with the exception of #36.
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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pros: Indestructible, still has five claws, shiny. Cons: Can no longer get items from top shelf.

This issue had a shiny, foil-embossed cover; and luckily enough it answers a question from the last issue of this series we looked at. From 1993, Guardians of the Galaxy #39, "Skeletal Remains" Written by Michael Gallagher, pencils by Keith West, inks by Steve Montano.

The Guardians both don't have much to do this issue, but are also barely recognizable: Vance Astro was Major Victory and no longer in his spacesuit, Charlie-27 seems less huge and squat and recently had his hair burned off, Talon was still here instead of Yondu or Martinex, etc. Instead, as promised on the cover, most of this issue was the fight between Wolverine's psycho descendant Rancor and Dr. Doom, who had survived to the 31st century by taking up residence in Wolverine's adamantium skeleton! Rancor might not have a chance, except she has the traditional healing factor, and one of Wolverine's claws that she used as an indestructible shiv. She stabs Doom in the eye, then gets him with a power cable, but stupidly doesn't finish the job by shoving the claw into his brain. Doom recovers and tears Rancor up, but then has to flee when the Guardians' Yellowjacket gets too close to his good eye. (This was the former villain Rita Demara, in a new costume to boot.)

(EDIT: I swear I've seen "Spock-ears" used as an insult in another Marvel book, probably against Namor; but I'm not sure why it would be considered an insult. Spock is cool!)

Rita takes Rancor up to the Guardians' ship for medical treatment, but too late remembers about the healing factor. (Would she have known that? I don't know if that was common knowledge, especially when she left the 20th century...) Rancor steals a shuttle and escapes, rescuing her mutant crew to boot; but the Guardians still get to count it as a win, since they've just helped re-establish formal government on earth. The President rattles off several of the terrible events that had happened since the Badoon invasion and occupation; as well as her intention to restore "order, stability and literacy to what remains of these United States!" Those would be worthy goals for any president...Giving the government a little more legitimacy, Major Victory fulfills a promise from early in this series, turning Captain America's shield over to the new president. I kinda feel like Cap would rather he still use it to fight the good fight, rather than leave it to collect dust in the Oval Office; but maybe the shield would serve as a reminder to do the right thing.

Also, that last Guardians issue we checked out had someone on the moon bossing around the Inhumans, that looked like it was probably Loki. Yep! He looks pretty damn crazy here, but he had been working for centuries on breeding Inhumans to help him destroy Thor and Asgard. Which seems like a surprisingly long game for Loki, but okay.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Man, Black Cat is terrible...terrible fun to write, I mean. One or two chapters left on this plot, maybe.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Who knew the future of warfare would be so polite?

Although I haven't watched it regularly in over twenty years, I still dwell on an old Saturday Night Live bit from around the first Gulf War. During a round-table style news discussion show, an army general type ponders how America wants to deploy troops but doesn't want to lose any but invulnerable super-soldiers aren't available. This was some years before drones became more prevalent; which have brought up even more problems; most of which aren't addressed in today's book: from 1992, Farewell to Weapons, story and art by Katsuhiro Otomo, translation by Robert Spaulding, colors by Steve Oliff.

This was a translated reprint of a short story from 1981, a mere year before Otomo's Akira began. Set after a World War IV, a Western squad patrols a city abandoned by Eastern troops; and the power-armored troops run across an automated tank, which the troops call a "Gonk" after the noise it makes. The ensuing battle does not go well for the troops, but when the last soldier's armor is destroyed and he's disarmed, the Gonk has a surprise for him...

I hadn't seen this comic before, although I do have Memories somewhere: it was another Otomo reprint from Epic Comics. There's a pretty good article here that mentions the anime adaptation of Farewell to Arms, Short Peace.

Haven't watched a ton of anime in recent years, but I'll keep an eye out.
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Monday, April 16, 2018

Time for another episode of Jonah Hex, Frontier Detective!

It's not quite a locked-room mystery, but it's close. From 2011, Jonah Hex #68, "Murder in Cottonwood" Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, art by Rafa Garres.

When a murdered body is found in the town of Cottonwood, the townfolk decide if they don't want the town to get a bad reputation, maybe they oughta hang somebody for it. Even if no one saw the killing...maybe a stranger might foot the bill. Unluckily for them, the stranger in question is, of course, Jonah Hex. Who is remarkably nonchalant about being awakened by armed yokels.

Hex calmly asks if they had a sheriff that maybe should be taking care of that sort of thing; and is told they had never needed one before. Hex asks if they would pay for the killer, and when he's offered five hundred dollars, promptly shoots one of the yokels...hey, five hundred bucks is five hundred bucks. The answer may be a bit of a cheat, but makes sense. And five hundred bucks in 1841 would be worth about fourteen grand today: as sometimes happens, I wonder how the hell Hex blew through all that cash!
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Friday, April 13, 2018

I've probably seen the ad for this book dozens of times, but only stumbled across a copy recently: from 1988, Aquaman Special #1, "The Missing Peace" Written by Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin, with special thanks to Fred Little; pencils by George Freeman; inks by Mark Pacella.

This takes place shortly after the 1986 Aquaman limited, in which he had been forced to kill his brother, Ocean Master. (No idea how long that one stuck; maybe until Peter David's run.) While he seems confident, even attempting to retake the throne of Atlantis, he also has surprisingly severe mood swings. Which might have something to do with the psychic disturbance caused by a Russian scientist investigating Atlantean mystic artifacts. For some reason, I thought the scientist looked like Walt Simonson. Weird.

There's some business with part of Aquaman's soul or spirit missing, as shown by nightmare sequences of him on the moon, trying to swim home. Interesting, if a bit slight. Mera guest-stars, but is mostly just there to support her then-husband. I thought she was written out before the 1991 series: I remember buying that one, but don't recall her in it.
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