Tuesday, February 09, 2016

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

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

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

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

I don't have a huge G.I. Joe collection, but we'll keep checking issues here and there. Hopefully #47 sometime...
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Monday, February 08, 2016

Eventually, I realized the Defenders fight each other pretty much every issue.

I actually had to go back and check that I hadn't blogged this one before: from 1983, Defenders #119, "Ashes, Ashes...We All Fall Down!" Written by Steven Grant (with an assist by J.M. DeMatteis), pencils by Sal Buscema, inks by Jack Abel. (And a pretty good cover by Ron Wilson and Terry Austin.)

I don't think it was, but this reads a lot like a fill-in issue with an odd framing device: the story was set about fifty issues ago, around #68. But the framing device acknowledges the recent death of Nighthawk, as perennial oddball the Elf with a Gun has kidnapped Nighthawk's former nurse, Luann Bloom, and brought her before a mysterious shadowy council. There, Luann is revealed to have been a robot, which is a revelation to her as well: she didn't know, which may have been a malfunction. (I've had this issue for years, and don't necessarily recall the previous ones, but I don't know if Luann's condition had been foreshadowed in any way, or if this was out of left field.) Having surveilled Nighthawk and the other Defenders for some time, Luann holographically shows the council a story Nighthawk had told her, about an encounter with another long-time Defenders villain, Yandroth.

Who was a woman now, as opposed to the older bald guy he had been before. Using the alien super-science Yandroth was known for, she attacks the Hulk, and is about to be pulped when she gets him with a microscopic implant shot into the Hulk's brain, and takes control of him. Meanwhile, at the Defenders' HQ (really Nighthawk's ranch) Nighthawk is getting thrown off a horse--in full costume!--while Hellcat and Valkyrie have a bit of a laugh. Yandroth surprises Nighthawk and Hellcat, taking control of Nighthawk quickly. When Valkyrie tries to help, Yandroth slaps her down; since Valkyrie explains the spell that created her won't let her fight a woman. With four Defenders her slaves, Yandroth sends the Hulk to Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, where Strange gets sucker-punched and goes down, and Yandroth enslaves Clea as well.

Yandroth recaps her new origin for Strange: the consciousness of the original Yandroth approached a young scientist, working menial tasks at a lab, and offered her his knowledge in exchange for the chance to get revenge on the Defenders. Instead, she took control, taking Yandroth's name, costume, and science; just as she injects her implant into Dr. Strange. Still, Strange had been able to project his astral form, and summon back-up: Namor, the Sub-Mariner! Who is able to outfight a sluggish Hulk, but is then almost immediately possessed by Yandroth. Strange's spells can't penetrate Yandroth's mental shields, and anyone else he might call would get possessed as well, so Strange tries helping Valkyrie and the Hulk break the control. As the Defenders fight their possessed friends, Strange realizes, after trapping Nighthawk and Hellcat in the Sphere of Cyttorak, that Yandroth is stronger with half her slaves. He gambles on releasing them, that Yandroth has over-extended herself, and Strange is right. Partially because the female Yandroth was fighting the mind of the original as well, and she is left a seemingly mindless shell.

The shadowy council and the Elf don't think that episode was particularly enlightening, since Yandroth doesn't seem like he/she would be any help now, but they can't leave any resources untapped. Especially since they claim "The Defenders must be destroyed--or time itself will die!" Which may or may not have been true: in a Defenders reunion years later in Peter David's Incredible Hulk run, Strange would reveal whatever that was about, it was an elaborate hoax. Though he allowed the team to stay broken up, since he had come to enjoy the peace and quiet.

This issue has a Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation, with 10C. Total Paid Circulation: Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 139,926. Actual no. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 139,858.

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Friday, February 05, 2016

Named after a Roxette song. He must be a badass!

I've been in training classes for the last couple weeks, which has cut into blogging time a bit; but I was asleep at the wheel yesterday when we discussed Overdrive from the Superior Foes of Spider-Man. I was going to bring up another car-controlling super-villain, that appeared first! And maybe only once. But still.

From 1994, Static #16, "Goin' South (What are Little Boys Made Of? Part 1)" Written by Robert L. Washington III, pencils by Wilfred (Santiago), inks by Rober Quijano. Image ganked from the GCD!

Going off memory since I have yet to find this issue in my garage for scans, Joyride was a car thief that was all but unstoppable behind the wheel; even able to drive up walls. Static challenges him to a drag race, that he loses. Badly. Like, way worse than he had even planned. To rub the hero's nose in it, Joyride goes to help himself to Static's borrowed car, but outside the car Static has him: he realized Joyride's powers only worked when he was in a vehicle, and later tells the police not to put him in a van, to walk him into custody.

I don't know if Joyride appeared again--in a Spider-Man comic, the cops would forget, or not believe the warning, and Joyride would escape in a snap. Somehow, doofy teenager Static comes off as more trustworthy than the full-masked Spidey, I think.
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Thursday, February 04, 2016

"Sinister Four."

Considering how long it took to get three members of the Doom Patrol, it's impressive that we've got most of the Superior Foes of Spider-Man, considering their comic was cancelled over a year ago. (I do wish I had the old Shocker.) Right now we're short Overdrive, but he's a bit of a long shot: he's a relatively new villain, and somewhat nondescript. His Wikipedia entry even calls him "something of a throwaway joke character." Overdrive usually appears in a helmet and racing gear, and somewhat resembles an evil(er) version of Top Gear's the Stig. That may or may not be intentional; since Overdrive's powers are to transform any vehicle he's in to a super-powered one.

I don't remember much of Overdrive in the issues of Superior Foes that I've read, but I'm pretty sure he's the nicest one of the lot. In fact, Overdrive's career plan was to have a brief life of crime, then reform so he could join the Avengers. Hey, it worked for Hawkeye. And the Black Widow. And Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. And several others...it's not as bad a plan as I had thought, really.
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Wednesday, February 03, 2016


That damn file again! Originally it was just a Macguffin, but I finally figured out what was in it a couple of weeks ago. But the rate I'm going, it'll be a couple of months before we see...

Some people reported their Misty Knight figures had, well, their eyes painted somewhat wall-eyed, if not as OAFE put it, 'herpity derp.' I didn't think the one I got came out too bad, but you be the judge. Here we're writing Misty as ridiculously competent and perpetually annoyed, a private detective with a brutal backlog of cases she can't let slide; partially because she wants to help people, and partially because she enjoys delivering ass-whuppings. She'll be back, but not for a bit.

Oh, and the backdrop this time is from an Entertainment Earth package I got a couple of months ago.
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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Back when airport security was lax, photographers weren't all scummy, and secret identities were sacred.

From 1985, Amazing Spider-Man #262, "Trade Secret" Script, pencils and inks by Bob Layton, additional inks by Carlos Garzon. This issue is probably better known for the photo cover from Eliot R. Brown than the content, but let's check out the latter!

Spidey is swinging out to Newark International Airport, since Peter picked up a freelance assignment: to get pictures of Reagan coming off Air Force One. But he's not the only photographer out there, and one catches Spidey changing in a baggage room! The photographer in question, D.J. Jones, is more indicative of what's now considered paparazzi: a sleazy thief with no morals, willing to do anything for the shot, as indicated when he drives a baggage cart at a bus in his escape from Spidey. While Peter gets Jones' info from Ben Urich, Jones tries selling the negatives to the mob, which decides to just take them.

Forced by his sense of responsibility to save Jones, Spidey lays it on thick, with a little more theatrical "vengeance" routine. (Think young Tobey Maguire trying to do Christian Bale's growly Batman voice.) Jones coughs up the negatives, and figures he'll have to leave town before the mobsters get out on bail, but how hard could it be to find...one nondescript guy's face? Yeah, pretty hard. It never really looks like Jones got a good look at Peter anyway, but this issue gets a story out of that, where a more modern comic may have just assumed the hero wouldn't be identified.
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Monday, February 01, 2016

"Race of the Century!"

I don't think the current Hyperion was ever a teammate of Speed Demon, or even the Whizzer. But I think the Hyperion that appears first in the comics, along with Speed Demon as the Whizzer, and the Nighthawk that was in the Defenders for ever; were all part of the Squadron Sinister, which was more or less put together by the Grandmaster so he'd have a team to field against the Avengers. (Their fourth member was Dr. Spectrum, who has appeared a few times over the years, but not as much.) Later, it's revealed that the Grandmaster had taken inspiration from the other-dimensional Squadron Supreme...and not the Justice League of America, as you might have guessed. Man, Grandmaster didn't even change the names, but I suppose a cosmic gambling addict wouldn't care about trademarks.

Anyway, an Avenger like Hawkeye would probably point out that whether Squadron Supreme or Squadron Sinister, he's probably going to end up fighting them either way. I don't think Hyperion is usually the lout we portray him as here, but Speed Demon is probably a million times worse.

CLARK: This is Clark Kent, reporting live for WGBS News, on the scene...sigh...

CLARK: ...once again, with Hyperion.
HYPE: By the undying zombie gods of Argon, it's pronounced HYPERION!! Kent, you are the worst hype man, EVER.

CLARK: Um, I'm not a "hype man."
HYPE: Pfft. Obviously. Fortunately for the citizens of Metropolis, I can do your job and mine.
CLARK: ...what "job," is that, exactly? All I've ever seen you do is start riots and trash-talk this universe...

HYPE: Indeed! Because this universe has never seen a sporting event to rival tomorrow's contest!
CLARK: The Thing is going to box the Champion?
HYPE: What? No! Tomorrow, we settle the age-old question, who is faster, myself, the nigh-omnipotent HYPERION!

CLARK: Or the Flash?
HYPE: That slugard? Hardly! I'll be racing the searing speed of my teammate in the Squadron Supreme,

HYPE: You've changed your name?
SD: Yeah, apparently "Whizzer" has a different connotation in this universe.
HYPE: No, it's the same. Still, Speed Demon's nice, I like it.
KENT: Now wait a minute! "Speed Demon" there is a known super-villain! He's a menace! And he's nowhere near as fast as the Flash!

SD: Ah, that may have been true before, but I've accessed the power your speedsters use--and I was far faster than them to begin with!
KENT: You mean, you've tapped into the Speed Force?

SD: Um, not that one.
KENT: Velocity 9?
SD: Not quite.
KENT: Meth?
SD: That's the one!
KENT: Of course.

SD: Love it.
HYPE: --And I will race around the globe, to raise money for charity.
KENT: Well, I can't argue with that! What charities?

HYPE: I'm racing for my charity, HYPERION'S Punch-Buddies!
KENT: ...what?
HYPE: I raise money--by hitting! Your donations decide what I hit--and how hard!

KENT: Wait, why does your charity for hitting need money--you know what? Never mind. Speed Demon, what's your charity?
SD: The "Touched by a Demon" Foundation.

KENT: ...I already know I'm going to regret asking, but go ahead.
SD: It makes restitution to anyone I've inappropriately touched at super-speed!
HYPE: A noble cause!
KENT: Oh, for...now back to the studio!
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