Friday, March 30, 2012

Flashback Friday: Star Wars #15

It is the year 1978 and Star Wars was the flavor of the time period.  Marvel Comics has the license to this franchise and these are now very cherished and sought after comics.  Before I go on, for the people that pay attention to the creators get this list.  We have Archie Goodwin as the writer with Carmine Infantino and Terry Austin as the artists.  These are giants of the industry now.  Imagine having this book back in the day and experiencing these powerhouses before they were powerhouses.  Let me see, I was six years old when this book came out.

I picked this up in a weird way.  I bought it at a yard sale where it was mixed in with a few Richie Riches and other kids comics.  I bought it and paid I think fifty cents for it.  Upon Reading I found that an interior page had a rip up from the bottom.  Still, I can read it.  Resale value is not there though, so as an investment it is very low.

This is a great action packed story with awesome action scenes.  Han Solo is the main character, but Luke, Leia, Chewie, C3P0 and R2D2 are there as well.  A space pirate is hounded them and in the middle of this is a small story of one of the pirates and why she is so hard.  This small part is the best part of the story.  Her tragic back story and the resulting change of heart is well produced.  The ending is enough to bring tears to a reader.  There is also a Chewie is amazing portion as he steals the navigational charts of the pirates.

These are wonderful stories of the Star Wars franchise.  If you find them, then rescue them.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Flashback Friday: Super-Villain Team-Up #11

I found the "Various Titles" box and have some nice picks for Flashback Fridays.  The first of these being the Old School Marvel book Super-Villain Team-Up.  It is easy to see why I would buy this comic from the cover.  I am a sucker for Doctor Doom.  I like reading his tales.  So it drew me in right there.  The addition of the Shroud is key here as well.  Then you have Namor, Captain America, and the freaking Red Skull.  C'mon, I mean just look at that cover.

This is the middle part of a story that has the origin of the Shroud tied into it.  That is not in this issue, but in the previous where the Shroud fights Doc Doom and believes to have killed the Latverian Monarch.  This has lead the Red Skull in command of Doom's awesome technology.  He uses it to attack Cap and Doom as they fly towards the Castle.  Instead of being blown to bits, they are shrunk.  That leads to a great adventure of minuscule proportions.  It is a great read.

All that takes us to Namor showing up and the Red Skull trying to partner with him.  Soon it is all chaos as the fate of the world hangs in the balance.  Did I mention that the Skull has Doom's Hypno Ray under his control?  No, well he does and it carries the story to the next issue as the Red Skull ends up on the Moon and the ones left have to figure out how to stop him from taking over the world.  A strange mix of characters and the old style where you really read the comicbook.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Flashback Fridays: Batman Gotham Adventures #50

I decided to go with a love story this Friday.  I have been reading a great deal of Catwoman stories under the New DCU.  I have also been collecting these kid friendly comics for a step cousin when I see them in the sale boxes.  That is where this issue came from.  I always read the books I buy.  I still love stories and I just take some time to enjoy each book.  After I read this comic I knew it would be staying with me.

There are many comicbook romances.  People argue over which is the greatest.  Reed and Sue, Clark and Lois, Peter and MJ, and we could go on and on.  I even stopped reading Marvel Comics because of the way Mary Jane and the marriage to Peter was erased by that stupid "One More Day."  Right up there will be the romance between Batman and Catwoman.  The thing about Bruce is that he has loved her as two men.  It has at times been a twisted and volatile romance.  In the recent Catwoman series we see a very graphic and rough version of there love.

What is in this book is a very simple love.  The angst that Batman has in terms of dealing with her thieving ways is strong.  He shows in small ways the caring he has, yet only Commissioner Gordon is allowed to even see this small bit of compassion.  Batman's actions are of a person who is very upset and out for revenge in a way.  Catwoman saves his life in a way.  A bomb meant for her is almost ready to take Bats out and she pushes him away taking the full force of the blast.  So of course Batman will find out why she was set up.

We get to see Nightwing and Batgirl as the mystery unfolds.  Flashbacks to the early days of Batman and Catwoman are shown.  This really is a great and beautiful story of a love always divided between breaking the law for different reasons.

This is a great example of why people read comics.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Green Lantern New Guardians #6

Orange Lantern Glomus is the new sensation of the Lantern Corps.  He is the perfect partner for Kyle Rayner as these New Guardians investigate the Solar System Ship.  Everybody but Bleedz is present and soon fighting a being claiming to be a living god called Invictus.  It is notable that once again Kyle was able to use the entire emotional spectrum to initiate contact through the rings.

Fatality has grown a bit in her new role.  I like her so far and hope she can become a better character in this New DC we have going on.  All the Lanterns are likable in various ways.  I do wonder when this is transpiring as each Corps is facing different challenges and also some the loss of power.

This is the book that will make sense and a difference once we know what the Guardians are doing on Oa.  For now it is a book of mystery that seems to have cast Larfleeze as the mastermind behind the current coming together of the different Corps.  I am enjoying this book a bunch.

In parting we will leave you with Glomus and his best statement as he and Kyle joined the battle against that living god; "Eep!"  Yes, he said Eep.


Hawk and Dove #7

Most of you realize that I tend to review or comment or whatever you want to call it on books I am buying and generally like.  I have to say that this book has gone down hill fast for me.  It started off OK.  It was not at the top of my reading desires each month, but I liked the story.  Now it is just treading its wheels along a muddy road.  Why am I still reading?  Because it should end next month with issue #8.

That is the reason I kept buying.  I was over halfway in and wanted completion.  No other reason.  I will not blame Rob Liefeld either.  His art has been OK if a little dated.  The fact is that it really seems there was no direction for these characters.  Does this book even tie into the others?

So many of the New 52 have connections that are seen or hinted.  We know Blue Beetle, GreenLantern, and VooDoo have connections.  Stormwatch has connected to Superman's titles and Green Lantern.  Others also have these strings that tie them to a Universe as a whole.  So where does Hawk and Dove fit?  If it is there I missed it.  The book just seemed to want to keep the Deadman and Dove relationship going from Brightest Day and then dropped that plot.  Really not sure about where they were going.

So I will either finish with Issue #8 and have completion or finish with Issue #8 because I do not want to spend more cash if this title continues.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Aquaman #6

Mera unleashed indeed!  I have been looking forward to this issue since the preview tag came out.  Mera goes shopping for dog food.  It has a great deal of fun and humor while also having a good way of showcasing Mera.  What you need to know is that Mera is in exile with Arthur.  When the Reach story ended there was a golden retriever that was left homeless because their owner died in the massacre.  

Mera heads out to the local grocery store and is trying to figure out just what kind of dog food she needs.  The creepy manager gets too frisky and learns a lesson.  You don't tug on Superman's cape and you Definitely DO NOT put your hand on Mera's derriere.  She handles the faux pas in a very violent fashion.  I kinda liked that she cracked his wrist.  As she said, "I could have done much worse."  Still, we know what happens next.  She gets hassled by the law.  What is funny is how she resolves the fight and the way she helps out after the fact.

 This is really a great stand alone story that has some nuggets of what is to come.  We see a bit of Mera's back story and it humanizes her.  There is a definite "fish out of water" vibe to Mera.  She can be so innocent about the world around her and that is endearing.  What is a great aspect is how she can go into a 0 to 60 rage and become a Warrior to be reckoned with and feared.  This is not in a bimboish sort of way.  It is more the idea of a woman that is a warrior trying to be something else as she lives this life.

A great showcase for the other half of the Aquaman book.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Batman Beyond Unlimited #1

One must first pose the question, is this worth $3.99?  I thought hard about this question.  For me the drawing line was to be $3.  I am slowly asking myself if I have compromised?  The good thing is that the Batman part is solid.  The Justice League Beyond is luke warm.  So, for now I will say this one issue is worth the price.

That is something I think will continue on an issue by issue basis.  I feel like I am being punished because I was a fan and follower of the previous Batman Beyond series.  I am of the opinion that I would rather have the Batman Beyond book at $2.99 than add the JLU and a few more pages for $3.99.  The idea is to build a franchise for the JLU.  Maybe one day spin out a JLU series.  What troubles me is that the opposite could occur and we lose Batman Beyond because the extra cost drags the title down.

A big positive is the fact that the Batman stuff carries over the story plots from the previous series.  The story of Dana and her brother really heats up.  The way that the smaller plot of Max being recruited by this mysterious hacker that she thinks she can catch.  These are strong stories.  The second part involving the JLU is basically an expansion of the plot where Batman decides to be a part of the group.  It could have stayed a part of Batman Beyond and kept the price $2.99.

Learning the origins of the JLU members would be the only good that could come of this move.  I have seen that Warhawk is suppose to have an origin story.  I would love to know about Aquagirl.  Still, $3.99 will make this book have to meet a high standard for me to stay with it.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Mantra Mondays: Mantra #16

It is the issue I have been waiting for.  Lukaz has finally grown an attitude of caring and compassion for Eden's family.  It took his falling in love with Eden's soul which is in her body he still inhabits.  We end this issue as we finished the last.  Mantra is saying good-bye to Kevin, aka Prime, after failing to get a new male body.  So now it is back home and see where the family is and how they are doing as mom has been away for who knows how long.

The problem is that as Mantra returns home and is accidentally discovered by little Evie she learns that Eden is already there.  What?!?!  Yes, Eden Blake has been creepily coveting the Love of those around her and soon a mystery must be solved.  Lukasz is for the first time the stand up guy the reader has sought since the beginning of the series.  No whining about the female body, although he still is wanting out and Eden in charge so they can be together.  Instead he is out to discover what is happening and protecting Eden's loved ones.

It all leads to that weird construct from Issue #3 Kismet Deadly and then an appearance of Thanasi, the Knight who betrayed Archimage.  He takes over Gus, Eden's ex-husband who is about to remarry the faux Eden.  It ends up a great action story that has one person learning Mantra is Eden.  It is one of the best issues of the series.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Flashback Friday: Cloak and Dagger #10 (volume 2)

Two of Marvel's most beloved lower tier characters have to be Cloak and Dagger.  I purchased this issue many, many years ago.  It is one of the back issue buys that came because of the face that dominates the cover.  This is a Doctor Doom story.  I love the villain Doctor Doom.  In any literary genre Doom must be considered one of the best bad guys ever thought up.

If you do not know or have never run across the many short run series of the two here is what you need to now.  They are two young teens from very different backgrounds that ran away.  On the streets the find and befriend each other and are tricked with a group of runaways to head with some bad men to a place of evil.  They are used as guinea pigs for a new designer drug.  The other kids die, they somehow live and are changed.  Dagger is able to hurl purifying light knives while Cloak employs a shroud of darkness that can terrify those who he wraps up inside himself.  They wage a war on drugs and operate homeless from a church.

This story has the two accompanied by a young man named Bob Clayton on a chase across Europe after drug runners.  They end up off course and stumble into Latveria, the country ruled by Victor Von Doom.  They will meet and face him even though they have no chance of beating such a heavy hitter of the Marvel Universe.

Dr. Doom is once again working to save the world with his brand of benevolence.  This is what makes him a great character.  He believes himself the hero of the story.  When Dagger hits him with her light knives they do not work because he does not think of his actions as evil.  You see Doom is going to end the threat of nuclear war.  He has unleashed a column of light particles that will saturate the world and all nuclear energy will be neutralized.  This sounds good to Cloak and Dagger until they realize all the medical advances and power that is generated will be stopped as well.  Even though they do not stand a chance they battle Doom anyway.

The fight is awesome.  We get a true sense of the potential of Cloak.  Doom's back story is shown a bit.  It just shows what was great about stories of this time.  Bill Mantlo is the writer and he does a great job.  I am most familiar with his Iron Man.  He takes the story to a place of teaching about making hard choices and living with the consequences.

One of the great ones.  If you see it in a back issue bin, pick it up.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Mantra Monday: Mantra #15

We are at the end of the mission of freedom for Archimage.  You see last issue of Mantra, Boneyard tricked Mantra and she took the Sword of Fangs and sliced his head right off.  The man that Lukasz had pinned all his hopes of being a man again now lays dead at her feet.  The spirit of Eden Blake attempts to speak wisdom to him, but the rage and mindless anger just explodes.  Notch and company get eviscerated and maimed as they attack and Boneyard has slipped away and soon Mantra heads back to the Malibu Universe Earth.

Now you would think that Lukasz would focus on checking on Eden's kids.  He professes to love her and so he is concerned right?  Nope.  Mantra heads to see the young man that is the hero Prime.  Kevin is eager to help her and we learn Topaz ending up on Earth after disappearing during the Archimage Quest.  They are off to check on the whereabouts of the Doctor that is responsible for creating the Prime and other bodies.  So Lukasz is wanting a male body still.

The look-alike Eden is heading to the alter with Eden's ex-husband Gus.  All seems happy with the Blake family.  Something has to be off.  We know that Lukasz is Eden right?  Just some weird stuff ahead for Mantra.  It is the beginning of a bit of a new road.  Boneyard is going to be gone for a long while and we will see more of Mantra as an agent of Aladdin and the family life.  That is a welcome change.  There will be more acceptance coming for Lukasz as well.  This starts him in that direction.

I like the series better going forward.  It is more of what I would want in this title based on the issues I have collected.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Flashback Friday: Batman Legends of the Dark Knight Annual 1996 #6 (Legends of the Dead Earth)

Kathy Kane's father is dead.  He has hung himself and left the new Earth of which he served as the tool of justice and law.  Who was he?  Well, he was the Batman.  In this world similar to the middle ages he was the man that carried out the sentence of beheading once a person had been found guilty.  He brought Justice to a world that had been mired in chaos.  Or so he thought.

A parchment found by Kathy, his heir to the mantle of the Bat, tells of a secret he discovered.  The last man he executed was innocent as he had claimed.  He carried out the sentence for murder, he killed himself.  Taking his gauntlet and weapons Kathy creates her own armor and Batwoman seeks out answers to the story her father left behind.

She discovers a vast conspiracy that has tainted her entire bloodline.  This Dark Knight seeks out the ones behind it and faces them head on.  The ending is brutal.  It also is in keeping with the mythos of the character of Batman.

I love these elseworlds tales.  Seeing different versions of the characters and the histories that could have been are fun.  It also shows that a great writer can take the core of a character and keep it while creating a captivating story.  I have many of these types of comics.  Apparently this was a theme for the 1996 Annuals.  Legends of the Dead Earth show up in searches for the cover.  I have some extra comics to keep an eye out for when going through the cheap boxes at conventions.