Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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


I learned how to read when I was very little, and I'm told I went through a period that whenever the family went to a restaurant, I would try and order haggis, because I had seen the word in an Uncle Scrooge comic. Ironically, I was a super-picky eater back then, so I don't know what I would've done if I got it; or maybe I became so picky because I never did get it! Anyway, I don't think I've blogged any of these, but here's one from a quarter-bin: from 1997, Uncle Scrooge Adventures #50, reprinting 1954's Uncle Scrooge #5, "Secret of Atlantis" Story and art by Carl Barks, from a story idea by Chase Craig.

I'm not sure there's a name for this, but the Simpsons does it pretty often as well; where the story starts with one mundane little goal--in this case, Scrooge trying to collect on a very minor debt--and spirals to the point that he and Donald are trapped in the undersea kingdom of Atlantis. Scrooge hires Donald as a bill collector, and promises him half of what he collects; which turns out to be a nickel, since the debt was a dime Donald had owed him for four years! Donald pushes back to get his change, but Scrooge tries to shortchange him with a bum nickel from a defunct country...that turns out to be worth five bucks to a collector! Donald taunts Scrooge at being taken on the deal, but Scrooge promises to make that money back, and then some, with the rarest coin in the world--the 1916 quarter Donald had paid with before! (I suppose a 1916 quarter may well be rare now, but it wasn't at the time this was originally published!)

Scrooge sets into motion a plan that's almost a textbook in artificial scarcity, beginning with an ad blitz to buy up 1916 quarters, until he had all of them. Keeping one in his vault, he dumps the rest in the Atlantic, making his last 1916 quarter worth "ten skyrillion dollars!" And he's hoping that price might go up, but loses it, setting up a pie fight and skyscraper ledge walk that wouldn't have been out of place in a Buster Keaton movie. (On the "Vampire State Building"!) And we haven't even got to Atlantis yet, but I don't think it's a spoiler to say Scrooge has to learn a bitter lesson at the end here.

Old Uncle Scrooge comics are like EC classics or even Groo, in the sense that while I feel like I've read a lot of them, I haven't read all of them. Which is a comforting thought, like I still have a reserve of good comics out there, waiting to be found. And a good one like this has a shelf life of about forever.
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Monday, February 19, 2018

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


That's a little harsh...just a little. From 1992, Soviet Super-Soldiers #1, "The Red Triangle Agenda" Written by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Angel Medina and Javier Saltares, inks by Jeff Albrecht.

I may be harshing on this a bit because it builds off of at least two comics I liked: Captain America #352, wherein the state-backed Supreme Soviets nearly murder the Soviet Super-Soldiers Vanguard, Darkstar, and Ursa Major; and Thor #358, in which the Titanium Man's scheme of using armored American flunkies runs afoul of Beta Ray Bill. In fact, there's one more issue involved: X-Factor Annual #1, which introduced several Russian mutants, many of whom are subsequently killed off here.

The mutants (including Vanguard, Darkstar, and Ursa Major) are mostly on the run this issue, while the Supreme Soviets have to deal with...a name change. And an attempt to discredit the Crimson Dynamo, that leads to the Titanium Man's return, a new character in an old armor, and an old character in a new suit and name that are probably never brought up again. The Dynamo's teammates really don't help him out much. Still, there's a lot of potential plotlines laid out, but none of them are that great since there's not really any reason to care about any of these characters; unless maybe you really liked them from some other comic. Unlikely, but possible.

The art starts to fall apart towards the end of this 64-pager; and as with some of these oddball one-offs, I wonder if this was intended to be a one-shot, or if it wasn't meant to be a serial in Marvel Comics Presents. Well, maybe better to get this over with all at once, instead of over twelve weeks.
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Friday, February 16, 2018

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


Don't say the Black Widow, she's dead at the start of this one: from 1982, Daredevil #189, "Siege" Story and layouts by Frank Miller, finishes and color by Klaus Janson. Which is what we're looking at today, and not maybe the reprint I've read before, from Elektra Megazine #2. Which will explain part of my upcoming confusion...

Yes, the Black Widow is pretty much toast here, having succumbed to poison from the Hand; but she is saved by Stick. The Chaste are shorthanded, as it were, as the Hand attack Matt's apartment; and several die fighting before Stick and Shaft absorb the lifeforce of their attackers--which causes them both to explode! That might be the last we see of Shaft, but I'm pretty sure Stick would be back, as he seems to get "killed" whenever it's more dramatic for Matt to have to go it alone or without his guidance, or whenever Stick doesn't feel like putting up with Matt's crap.

Matt also fights with a pair of sais here and on the cover, telling Natasha he had fought someone who used them recently, and taught himself!

After the battle, Stone meditates, to try and figure out their next option against the Hand; and Natasha takes a shower and makes a pass at Matt, who declines, since he was engaged to Heather Glenn! Who shows up on cue, drunk as a lemur. Now, this kind of threw me, since I thought I had read this stretch of issues before, but I didn't remember Heather; and that may be because her subplot might've been cut from the Elektra-centric reprints I read! Anyway, I don't think this was the expression at the time, but Natasha gives Heather a blistering amount of side eye.

Matt and Natasha hit the rooftops looking for the Hand, but split up after Matt clams up about Heather. She goes to visit Foggy, and asks about Matt: at the time, Foggy knew Matt knew Natasha, but I don't think he knew Matt was Daredevil. Or maybe he just didn't let on. Still, Foggy dishes about Elektra, then about Heather, and how Matt had "ruined her, professionally, just to convince her to marry him." A bad situation. What to do, what to do...how about forgery! Matt and Heather both receive notes, supposedly from each other, to the effect of I don't love you, don't call me, goodbye. In a two-page sequence, Heather seems pretty distraught, while Matt is looking at his...well, he's blind, so I don't know what he's doing. Actually, would this work at all? Could Natasha forge a note that would fool Matt's senses? I'm thinking he could literally smell her hand in this, so to speak. But there are bigger fish to fry, as Stone tells Matt and Natasha that the Hand would be looking for a replacement for their number one guy, Kirigi, and would have to recruit from the dead...you know who.

So I had a big blind spot on the Heather Glenn thing, except I knew this wasn't her last appearance! Hmm, back in the day, Karen Page went from being a supporting character in Daredevil over to Ghost Rider; and Ms. Glenn did the same over to Iron Man! Her appearances were during the stretch when Rhodey was IM and Tony was a raging alcoholic on a downward spiral. I had thought she was killed off there, but nope! She would return to die in Daredevil #220, an apparent suicide. (I don't know if that qualifies as fridging, but it was almost definitely to make Matt feel guilty. Guiltier. There's always a strong baseline of guilt to Matt.)

Also, I liked this issue's cover, even though it really looks like DD's gonna be filled full of arrows or stab wounds shortly. Reminds me of this Michael Golden Savage Sword of Conan cover; I don't know what Conan's aiming to land on there.
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

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


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

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

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


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

Crap. I thought I was going to be able to go see Black Panther today with the Youngest, since he had the day off for conferences or learnding or whatever. But the early shows don't start until tomorrow! I seriously considered taking a day off to go, since now I might not get to until next Saturday. The challenge now, is how to not let my whole day get ruined...Maybe we'll see a little later.
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"A.I."


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

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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


It also opens with a quote from Woody Allen, but don't hold that against it: from 1994, Warlock and the Infinity Watch #31, "Abyss" Written by Jim Starlin, pencils by Pat Olliffe, inks by Bob Almond and Nichols.

We looked at #29 some time back, and saw Warlock and Maya enthralled with each other after drinking from that cool-ass bottle of wine. Presumably Maya gets kidnapped the next issue, since she's missing here and Adam is consulting the "Orb of Eternity" to better know his enemy, Count Abyss. (I suspect Eternity gave him the Orb to keep Adam from barging in whenever.)

The Orb gets surprisingly chatty recapping the history of Milos Abyss, who had been an archaeologist and scientist, but merely one of many. Still, his field of expertise was Zalgodian history, and knew more about that ancient race than any of his people. When a derelict ship is discovered, Abyss could read their star charts, and knew he could use that knowledge to get to "Zalkor, the bestower of unlimited wishes." And all he had to do to start was kill his crewmates. The "murderous academic" made his way to an ancient space station, where he found the Zalkor!

By completing an ancient ritual (and sacrificing his soul) Abyss was able to bargain with the Zalkor for unlimited power, with which the now Count Abyss was able to conquer the universe! His universe, anyway. The Orb points out that the Zalkor's power fades further away from his own dimension. Abyss now wanted Warlock's Infinity Gem, since he now coveted the return of his soul...or maybe a new one. Warlock knows full well what the love potion had done to him, but also thinks Abyss has made a tactical error, since "Adam Warlock never does what is expected of him." Indeed, Adam gathers his Infinity Watch, to invade Abyss's realm: Pip claims he can't teleport somewhere he hasn't been, but Warlock says the Orb gave him "a taste of that reality." But they may be spotted upon arrival...

It's a shame that Starlin had to leave mid-storyline--offhand, I'm not sure if he would receive any credit or left any plot notes for the next writer--but he was busy with his new creator-owned book, 'Breed at Malibu. That would go on to have three mini-series, but I've never read it!
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Monday, February 12, 2018

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


Some time back, we mentioned Reed Richards calling out scientific inaccuracy mid-story in Fantastic Four #248 (and come to think of it, he would do the same the very next issue, although there's an in-story explanation for that one too!) and some other time back we mentioned looking for today's book, which we've...got today, I suppose. From 1989, Avengers #307, "Metamorphosis" Written by John Byrne, pencils by Paul Ryan, inks by Tom Palmer.

An attack by the Lava Men has left the Avengers' current headquarters, the artificial island Hydrobase, stranded high above the water on a pillar of rock, and it's starting to crumble! Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman are the first to arrive to help, but as Sue points out, the island weighs thousands of tons! Her force field is able to stabilize the tipping Hydrobase until Wonder Man arrives to help...which, as we've mentioned, shouldn't have worked, at all! Reed lets scientific inaccuracy slide, for the moment, although I suspect his teeth are grinding, and has Sue make a force-field spiral around the rocky pillar. Which still wouldn't be resolved this issue...

Looks like a printing plate shifted on that page...Meanwhile, the main team of Avengers (and reservist Sub-Mariner, who came to help and got dragged in) is still fighting Jinku, the witch-doctor of the Lava Men, and his giant lava monster. Their god Cha'sa'dra had been one of the demons that attacked the Avengers around issue #300, an Inferno crossover, and had died in battle; which killed most of his worshipers and left the rest as immobile stone statues. The fight's not going well, since Jinku has turned up the heat far past the point where the team's human members could stand it; although, as was often the case, Quasar probably should've been fine: his bands could protect him in deep space and should have there. The Eternal Forgotten One, Gilgamesh, gets punched out so hard that was pretty much it for his Avengers tenure; then the battle is abruptly ended when the statue Lava Men reveal they had merely been transforming into a new, better form, without the corrupting influence of their "god."

I don't think the new gold Lava Men were ever seen again, were they? I even feel like regular Lava Men were still seen later, too. This issue feels like Byrne was kind of trying to push through this storyline to clear the decks for whatever he actually wanted to do on the book, although most of the rest of his run here was the Acts of Vengeance crossover and then a multi-part Spider-Man guest-spot. His Avengers West Coast run is more memorable.
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