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.)

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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Thursday, April 12, 2018

You're an Avenger, Cap. It's right there in the name.

Although, he probably had to lug Iron Man's carcass a ways, and it's doubtless heavy as hell. From 1981, What If? #25, "What If Thor fought Odin over Jane Foster?" Written by Peter Gillis, pencils by Rich Buckler, inks by Dave Simons.

The title makes it sound like Odin's after Jane, but that's not it: back in Thor #136, to marry Thor, Jane Foster was given powers and the chance to prove herself worthy of immortality, and she failed hard. In the regular continuity, Jane was given a new life, away from Dr. Donald Blake; and Sif was conveniently introduced here as a new love interest for Thor. In this issue, Thor protests that maybe throwing Jane at "the extra-dimensional monster called only the Unknown" wasn't exactly a fair test; and Odin exiles both Thor and Jane. Furious, Thor then goes to the Avengers for vengeance against Odin, who he claims is possessed or corrupted. (This feels like a lie, to get his team on his side.) With the exception of Quicksilver, who perhaps correctly feels like this wasn't their problem, the Avengers join Thor's fight. (A somewhat common problem for Quicksilver, I think: even when he's right, he can be such a dick you don't want to take his side...)

Battle lines are drawn quickly in Asgard: Odin's Vizier tries to talk him out of this, but then has to side with Thor. Odin, needing "a weapon against his son," summons Loki out of exile. Loki in turn calls in the Enchantress and Executioner; and still has Balder, who is too loyal to contest this. Meanwhile, since the Avengers would be at the forefront of Thor's forces, the Vizier cranks up their powers. Hawkeye in particular is grateful...

OK, maybe not. The Executioner delivers Odin's proclamation, and a bit of smack talk, to Hogun the Grim; which seems to be setting up a fight for later, but doesn't happen! Later we see Goliath beat the Executioner, and I'm not sure we see the Enchantress again the whole issue. Jane is flattered, but that's before the battle ensues; that turns to dismay over the carnage. Heimdall tells her this is what happens when dreams and plans conflict, as Thor's and Odin's have. Iron Man, seeing echoes of Vietnam in this fight, goes to Odin to call for a truce: Odin agrees, but Loki murders him before he can get back to Thor. Loki then has his henchman Igron use the "Glove of the Lamia" to surreptitiously steal the Odin-Power, but while he's able to beat Thor, he's then accidentally killed by the Wasp when she hits him with her amped-up sting at full power.

With his Odin-Power lost after Loki's death, Odin is down to one card: trying the Oversword and ending Asgard, which seems a bit much. The Vizier and Jane get Odin and Thor to talk it out, and while they understand each other in the end, they can't be around each other any more. Thor and the Avengers leave Asgard, never to return: Thor builds a new city for his followers, and pride would keep him and his father from ever reconciling. It's not shown here, but I always had the feeling Jane wouldn't stay with Thor either after this: the way she was written here, being a goddess might've been a bit much for her. It would take a while for her to toughen up!
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"White Hats, Red Gloves."

I really had to look, and suspect I read these on Marvel Unlimited, but Deadpool and Moon Knight met in Vengeance of the Moon Knight #7 and #8. I think they were on opposite ends of a job, but I thought they would probably always be at cross purposes. I wonder, if he knew: it would drive Pool nuts that Spector had a gorgeous girlfriend, a French assistant, a helicopter shaped like his logo...

The Moon Knight ship was swiped, from a fairly recent issue; maybe Moon Knight #7 or so. I didn't love Lemire's run, since this was seven issues in and I'm not sure he had made the slightest bit of forward plot motion. (Yeah, like I should be throwing any stones on that front...) The first nine issues might have been hallucinations, I don't know.
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