Thursday 12 December 2013

This week, I have mostly been reading...

As you no doubt know, this blog ploughs through millions of comics every day in order to bring you opinions so powerful they could rock the world. Why, grown men themselves have been known to hide in cupboards to avoid the power of my fulminations.

But the truth is that even I don't always have strong enough feelings about a comic to bother reviewing it in full. Therefore, this is a selection of what I've been looking at lately that I can't bring myself to give a full write-up to.

Avengers #2, The Space Phantom

The Avengers have their second outing and find themselves up against the Space Phantom who, for years, I always got mixed up with the Space Parasite.

Needless to say, in this tale, everyone gets everyone mixed up with the Space Phantom and by the end of it all, the Hulk's quit and the newly formed group are already a man down.
Avengers #3, Sub-Mariner

Just to make things worse for our heroes, not only are they a man short but the very next issue, they have to fight both him and the Sub-Mariner.
Avengers #4, Captain America returns from the dead

Bah! Who needs that pesky Hulk anyway? Thanks to the maturity levels that only Namor can supply, the Avengers return to full strength with the return of Captain America.
Batman #265, Batman Greatest Failure

Batman has  his greatest failure!

Or perhaps he doesn't, as he encounters murder on a film set.

This is actually one of my favourite Batman tales from the era but I don't have anything to say about it that I haven't said about other Batman tales in other posts, therefore I shall not review it but merely express my liking for it.
Captain Marvel #29, Cap goes Cosmic

Captain Marvel goes all cosmic and has his head redrawn by John Romita.

To be honest I've never been totally sure what Cosmic Awareness is but it's all good mythic stuff as Jim Starlin's Cosmic Cube saga rumbles on and we get some back-story for the solar system.
Captain Marvel #50, Super Adaptoid

Jim Starlin's long-gone but Mar-Vell's Cosmic Awareness comes in handy as he uses it to beat the Super-Adaptoid and bring Rick Jones permanently back to our world.

Tragically, this means we shall have to endure more of Rick's singing career which mostly seems to consist of him declaring himself not to be John Denver.

I can confirm that I too am not John Denver.
Ka-Zar #6, Moby Dick

Ka-Zar finds himself in a Savage Land re-enactment of Moby Dick as he helps a vengeance-seeking wally try to kill a giant river monster.

The story's concept might be pretty clichéd but it's beautifully drawn by Alfredo Alcala.
Mighty World of Marvel Annual  1979

It's the Mighty World of Marvel but it might as well be called Daredevil Annual 1979, as our red clad hero finds himself in two tales.

The first is a very long but uninvolving team-up with the Black Panther. The second is shorter and stronger as the man without fear finds himself on a train, up against the Beetle and the Gladiator.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Forty years ago this month - December 1973.

December 1973. It was the month when the two greatest Christmas songs of all time - Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody and Wizzard's I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday were released. How we watched with bated breath as they battled it out for chart supremacy.

But who was gaining supremacy in the battle between our heroes and their enemies as that year drew to a close?

Only a ride in Steve's magic sleigh ride to the past can tell us.

And it's about to do it  right now.

Amazing Spider-Man #127, the Vulture

No one else likes this story.

I love it.

We get the senses-shattering return of the Vulture, intent on snuffing out Mary Jane before she can dob him in to the cops about a murder he's committed.

Or do we?
The Avengers #118, the Defenders, Dormammu and Loki

The Evil Eye saga hits its climax, as the Avengers and Defenders confront Loki and Dormammu.
Captain America and the Falcon #168

To be honest it's a story I know nothing of but Cap looks strangely unbothered about the prospect of being both sautéed and broiled at the same time.
Conan the Barbarian #33

Conan's in his traditional spot of bother.

Judging by the absence of the obligatory cowering blonde from the cover, I assume it must have been her month off. Even cowering blondes have to take a break sometimes. All that crawling around on your hands and knees, and flinging your hand in front of your face, it can be a very tiring profession.
Daredevil and the Black Widow, Terrex

Daredevil and the Black Widow find themselves up against the menace of Terrex, who is presumably no relation to Terrax.
Fantastic Four #141

Is this the one where Reed Richards does whatever it is to his son that Fantastic Four fans have been complaining about ever since?
Incredible Hulk, Island of Monsters

It's another classic, as the Hulk finds himself up against an island full of monsters.

I got this cover from The Grand Comics Database. Some naughty soul seems to have removed Betty Ross's clothes before posting it on there.
Iron Man #65

At last Iron Man has the sense to do what I'd do if I had a suit of armour. He goes on a murderous rampage.
Thor #218

Is this the one where Thor and his mates come up across a giant planet populated by giant people with a giant hoover?

I was never sure about this era of Thor. He and his sidekicks seemed to spend all their time on quests into deep space when they should have been on Earth bashing up Mr Hyde and the Cobra.
X-Men #85

Hooray! Not only is it an Original X-Men issue I had when I was a youth but it's an X-Men issue I actually liked, as our heroes find themselves up against Factor Three.

Sadly, I seem to remember the next issue being a return to the same old half-baked pants we usually got from the Original X-Men.

Monday 2 December 2013

Fifty years ago today - December 1963.

Hooray! It's December - the only month of the year that rhymes with, "Dismember."

But will our favourite Marvel heroes of fifty years ago be taking their foes apart - or merely falling to pieces under the pressure?

Only a journey in Steve's wibbly wobbly time machine can tell us.

Fantastic Four #21, the Hate-Monger

The Hate-Monger makes his aggro-packed debut.

But what oh what can his senses-shattering secret be?

Click here to find out. But be warned, your sanity might not be able to take it.
Journey Into Mystery #99, Thor v Mr Hyde

Mr Hyde makes his first appearance and it's another of those weirdly defeatist covers that Thor specialised in.
Amazing Spider-Man #7, The Vulture returns

Someone call the nurses. The Vulture's escaped from the retirement home again.
Strange Tales #115, the Human Torch v the Sandman

By the looks of it, Marvel cunningly use the fact that Spider-Man's not in the tale to make you think Spider-Man's in the tale. That Stan Lee was a marketing genius.

As for the Sandman; if you're made of sand, is it really a good idea to take on someone whose power is flame?
Tales of Suspense #48, Iron Man v Mister Doll

Thanks to Steve Ditko, Iron Man gets a new costume and unveils possibly the least likely piece of technology in the history of comics, as he takes on the power of Mr Doll.
Tales to Astonish #50, Giant-Man v the Human Top

I had a reprint of this, in an Alan Class comic, when I was a kid. I always had a soft spot for it, even though poor old Hank Pym comes across as being completely useless in it. Frankly, the sight of him being pitied by the Wasp every step of the way - it's not a dignified thing.