Sunday 30 April 2023

Claw the Unconquered #1!

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
***

Claw the Unconquered #1, DC comics
Who doesn't love a good barbarian?

Seemingly everyone, judging by the failure of any sword and sorcery comic, other than Conan's, to take flight in the 1970s.

Not that it stopped publishers from trying. As well as the Cimmerian sword-swinger, Marvel gave us its attempts at Kull and Red Sonja books in that decade but neither of those ever really stuck.

And, of course, Atlas unleashed the power and majesty of Ironjaw and Wulf upon an ungrateful world but neither of their books managed to even make it to a 5th issue.

Not to be left out of all this failure, DC gave us its take on the genre with Beowulf and Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Neither of which seem to have set the spinner racks on fire either.

But we shouldn't forget that, in its most daring move yet, DC also gave us Claw the Unconquered who looked so much like Conan that it's a miracle they ever thought they'd get away with it.

But, of course, he wasn't Conan.

Claw had a red gauntlet. And, in the world of barbarians, that's a huge difference, I can tell you.

Gauntlets aside, how does his debut issue stack up alongside the fare we were already well used to from Marvel's flagship stabber of sorcerers?

Claw the Unconquered #1, demon hand
Naive in the ways of civilisation, Claw strolls into some town or other and is promptly assailed by a mugger who's promptly flattened.

In the local tavern, Claw's then latched onto by a money-hungry serving wench who quickly discovers his secret - that his bright red gauntlet conceals the fact that he has the hand of a demon!

Claw the Unconquered #1, ambushed
But, no sooner has our hero vacated the tavern than he's assailed again. This time, by a bunch of men out to bump him off because of his diabolical fingers.

Needless to say, such fools are no match for Claw and are rapidly vanquished.

But, now, it seems like the whole town's out to get him.

Elsewhere, the, surviving, leader of his attackers informs the local king - Occulas - of Claw's presence and, at once, the ruler knows the barbarian must be killed.

That's because we get a flashback to how Occulas became monarch, which involved him having a local peasant killed for having a demon's hand, in response to a prediction by his own wizard that only a man with a demon's hand could pose a threat to his ambitions.

But little did the villain know that - even as the peasant was being slain - nearby, was a baby who also had a demon's claw. A baby that was promptly taken into the care of a mystery interloper.

Claw the Unconquered #1, abandoned temple
Back in the present and back in the town, Claw and the serving wench who, I think, has still not been named, take refuge in an abandoned temple.

Only to have King Occulas' lackey Zedon show up and summon the abandoned temple's abandoned god 

It is here that we learn Claw doesn't remember his past and has no knowledge of his destiny. In this, he seems to strongly resemble Atlas' Ironjaw, if in no other way.

Claw the Unconquered #1, fight with a Lovecraftian tentacled god
Regardless, no mere god can stand before the might of Claw and, with the Lovecraftian deity and Zedon both out of the way, the serving wench makes what must be her fourth attempt this issue to betray our hero before he dumps her on her backside and leaves, now aware that there's a price upon his head.

You can't get around it, drawn by regular Conan inker Ernie Chua, the thing looks just like an issue of Conan.

Where it differs is in its writing. Thanks to his lack of memory, Claw's a blank slate - unknown to even himself - and, thus, displays no noticeable sign of a personality. He has no aims, no goals and no ambitions, simply strolling around with barely a thought in his head, getting into scraps purely because other people keep attacking him.

He doesn't even seem to display any curiosity as to why they keep attacking him.

Nor does he show any interest in the serving wench who accompanies him throughout the tale. He neither lusts after her, nor cares for her. Nor does he even seem to permanently resent her constant betrayals of him.

Claw the Unconquered #1, baby Claw
In fairness to Ironjaw who - with his mystery upbringing and unknowing link to the local king, has a very similar setup - might have been a deranged, sex-crazed incest-happy psychopath but he did at least have a personality and actual goals. His goals were all repellent but they were, at least, goals.

The comic's failure to even name Claw's female accomplice gives us two main characters who are, basically, just drawings on a sheet of paper and suggests an overall lack of interest in both by writer David Michelinie.

I've not read any issues of this book other than this one but, if it continued along the route of having a totally inert and purely reactive hero, you can see why it would have struggled.

The obvious question is whether it did carry on in this vein or whether it started to develop his character from now on?

In his defence; his run lasting for 12 issues, Claw hung around for longer than Wulf and Ironjaw but, as things stand in his first issue, he was threatening to give the Conan creative team little to worry about.

Thursday 27 April 2023

April 28th, 1973 - Marvel UK, 50 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
***

It was a case of, "Carry on as before," on the UK singles chart, this week, fifty years ago, with Tony Orlando and Dawn's Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree still at Number One.

However, there was a change on the corresponding album chart, with The Faces' Ooh-La-La swooping in to grab the top spot, despite Rod Stewart's diminishing interest in the band.

The Mighty World of Marvel #30

I do believe the Hulk's still in the future and battling the Executioner but, back in the present, Rick Jones may well be letting slip to Glenn Talbot that the green grappler is, in reality, none other than his love-rival Bruce Banner.

In present-day New York, Daredevil's having his first encounter with Mr Fear and his gang.

And the Fantastic Four have their maiden punch-up with the Mad Thinker who, from what I recall, decides to invade the Baxter Building and steal Reed Richards' scientific secrets - including the one that lets you build giant androids.

As if that wasn't enough for any sane human, there's still the chance to win a free Chopper bike.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #11, the Green Goblin and the Human Torch

That's a better-drawn cover than we've grown accustomed to from Dick Ayers, of late - and it lets us know we're getting the yarn in which Spider-Man attends a fan club meet-up arranged by Flash Thompson, only for it to be crashed by that flying fiend the Green Goblin.

Not only that but the Human Torch is there too!

Elsewhere, in order to fight Thor, a Chinese scientist irradiates himself. And, thus, is born the awesome Radioactive Man!

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Speak Your Brain! Part 52. Tell us about something good.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
***

The Steve Does Comics Megaphone
Image by Tumisu
from Pixabay
Hooray! We've reached that time of year when, in the UK, every other Monday seems to be a bank holiday!

But this is a Tuesday and, thanks to that, there can be no rest for the feature that refuses to put its feet up.

You guessed. It's the return of the slot in which the first person to comment gets to decide the topic of the day.

But what will it be?

That is a thing I have no control over. So, feel free to set the agenda and we shall see what maelstrom of chat unfolds...

Sunday 23 April 2023

April 1983 - Marvel UK monthlies, 40 years ago this month.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
***

This month in 1983, the pound in your pocket suddenly became a lot rounder and a lot harder.

That's because it was the month which saw the introduction of the one-pound coin. Interestingly, it was only introduced in England and Wales. It would seem Scotland and Northern Ireland were going to have to battle on with the oblong foldy pound we'd grown used to.

Speaking of fancy modern things, it was also the month in which the Space Shuttle Challenger was launched on its maiden voyage.

And also flying high was Richard Attenborough's film Gandhi which smashed Hollywood in the gob by winning a mighty eight Oscars at that year's Academy Awards.

Over on the UK singles chart, the month began with David Bowie's Let's Dance at Number One. But that was soon replaced by Spandau Ballet's True which I do believe went on to be the most-played song on US radio in the 1980s, despite me not liking it. It's almost as though American radio stations paid no attention to my own personal musical preferences.

Over on the British album chart, early April was dominated by Pink Floyd's The Final Cut. But even the Floyd couldn't long see off the challenge of Bonnie Tyler's Faster Than the Speed of Night which, itself, was then forced to make way for David Bowie's Let's Dance.

The Daredevils #4, Captain Britain

It's an eye-catching cover and, inside, we soon discover the Slaymaster's no match for the new,  improved Captain Britain.

Meanwhile, Daredevil tries to help Bruce Banner but, instead, gets beaten up by the Hulk.

But what's this? Ben Urich hears Heather call Daredevil "Matt" during the battle? What kind of nightmare trouble could this all lead to?

Elsewhere, we're treated to a three-page Alan Moore piece about sexism in comics.

And, finally, Spider-Man must battle Doc Ock in a Lee/Romita classic from 1967.

Doctor Who Magazine #75

This month's Timelordtacular takes a look at the brand new TV stories The Arc of Infinity and The King's Demons. Both, no doubt, destined to be amongst the most loved serials in the show's history.

Elsewhere, there's an interview with Michael Craze who played Ben in the 1960s, and there's a look at the creation of Jon Pertwee's legendary car Bessie.

Marvel Superheroes #396, Jarvis the butler

The cover may claim it's a job for Jarvis but, inside, we get more of the Immortus/Marcus/Ms Marvel tale. None of which is a job for Jarvis.

In their strip, the X-Men begin to train with their new line-up, and Kitty tries to adjust to life as a team member.

More excitingly, Wolverine and Nightcrawler head to Canada to help Alpha Flight track down a certain creature they call the Wendigo...

Blakes 7 #19

I know little of the contents of this issue but I do know it contains a picture strip called Target Practice (Part One), as brought to us by Ken Armstrong and Phil Gascoine.

The Savage Sword of Conan #66

Conan's still enmeshed within The Eye of Erlik.

And we get more from The Fangs of the Serpent, a tale written by Ironjaw scribe Michael Fleisher. Given what he produced for Ironjaw's book, the mind boggles as to what Mike'll come up with for this one.

On top of all that, there's also a look at warfare in Conan's world.

Star Wars Monthly #168

I don't know much about this month's Star Wars epic but I do know that, in his tale, Indiana Jones goes after the Ikons of Ikammanen and quickly gets captured by a homicidal cult.

Starburst #56, Caroline Munro

Holy flashbacks! It's like a return to the mag's early days, as Caroline Munro finds herself once again on the cover of Starburst.

But that's not all.

Inside, we get a review of the brand-new movie 1990: The Bronx Warriors that we'll, doubtless, all be queuing around the block to see.

There's also a look at the French TV show Ulysses 31.

And there's more of The Steven Spielberg Story and another look at The Dark Crystal.

Thursday 20 April 2023

April 21st, 1973 - Marvel UK, 50 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
***

Have you ever felt an uncontrollable urge to tie a yellow ribbon round an old oak tree?

If so, your name's probably Tony Orlando and, this week, in 1973, you were celebrating because it was the week in which you and your band Dawn hit the UK Number One spot with a song about tree bondage.

Why the ribbon-tying was going on has always been open to debate. Was he a convict returning home from prison? Was he a soldier returning home from conflict? Was he just some bloke who always took a really long time to get home from work, leading to a distinctly sarcastic response from his partner?

Not having listened to the song in decades, I can furnish no answers.

Over on the British album chart, there was no such joy for Tony or for Dawn. On that chart, the top spot was still being held by Led Zeppelin's Houses of The Holy.

The Mighty World of Marvel #29

Unless I miss my guess, the Hulk's found himself in the far-flung future where he must liberate the world from the menace of The Executioner.

Back in the present, a disgraced matador's turned criminal, in order to unleash vengeance upon humanity. Matt Murdock, meanwhile, is still dithering over whether to tell Karen Page that he loves her.

Also in the present, the Fantastic Four continue to confront a Puppet-Master-controlled Sub-Mariner.

But this issue contains an oddity. Not only does it feature the mag's three usual strips, it also contains a fourth.

That fourth is the Lee/Ditko thriller I Used to Be... Human! in which a  space pilot's stranded on a planet where the only available food turns the eater into one of the planet's hideous natives.

How will he ever get out of this mess?

If he has any sense, he'll get out of it by leaping onto his Chopper bike and riding off. All children of the 1970s know that ownership of a Chopper bike is the cure for all life's ills. 

And guess what? If you can't afford to buy one, it doesn't matter because, thanks to this week's Mighty World of Marvel, you can actually win one!

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #10

It's trouble-times-six for Spider-Man, as his deadliest enemies have ganged together to take him on.

And, to assist them, they've abducted Betty Brant and Aunt May to force him to fight them.

Bizarrely, though, May's too dim to realise she's been abducted and is very impressed with the good manners and charm of Dr Octopus.

Speaking of Aunt May, isn't there an issue of Amazing Spider-Man in which it's revealed she's a big fan of Tony Orlando and Dawn?

Elsewhere, Thor's gone in search of his hammer whose disappearance is down to Loki.

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Speak Your Brain! Part 51. Favourite fruit and great album covers.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
***

The Steve Does Comics Megaphone
Image by Tumisu
from Pixabay

When former government minister David Mellor hosted the BBC's 606 football phone-in, he always used to launch into it by declaring it was going to be filled with, "Red-hot soccer chat," thus instantly displaying how in touch with the average football fan he was.

However, this site is so vast that it has space for red-hot chat of all kinds.

Those kinds might be  arts, carts, cards, cars, marts, Mars, bars, darts, smarts, parts, films, flans, plans, books, bagels, cooks, nooks, crooks, ducks, drakes, pixies, rocks, socks, blocks, music, mucous, fairy tales, fairy lights, Fairy Liquid, fairy cakes, Eccles cakes, myth, moths, maths, magic, tragedy, comedy, dromedaries, murder, larders, Ladas, mystery, mayhem, molluscs, Moorcock, May Day, mangoes, bongos, drongoes, bingo, Ringo, Pingu, Ringu, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Doris Day, Marvin Gaye, Marvin the paranoid android, Brookside Close, Ramsay Street, Coronation Street, Albert Square, Scarlet Street, Dead End Street, chickenpox, the Equinox, parallelograms, rhomboids, androids, asteroids, The Good Life, the Next Life, That's Life, pomegranates, raisins, grapes, currants, blackcurrants, figs, waves, ether, Esther, ethanol, methane, granite, marble, marbles, maples, staples, fables, stables, sofas, eggs, pegs, legs, dregs, moons and supermoons, Supertramp, Supertrams, streetcars, desires, sodas, sausages, eggs, whisky, broth, Bath, baths, Garth Marenghi, Garth Brooks, Garth Crooks, Bruno Brookes, Bruno Mars, Mars Bars, wine bars, flip-flops, flim-flam, flapjacks, backpacks, see-saws, jigsaws, dominoes, draft excluders, blockheads, blackheads, dunderheads, deadheads, webheads, flowerpots, flour bags, shower bags, shower heads, mop heads, Deadheads, Bill and Ben, Ben and Jerry, Margo and Jerry, Tom and Jerry, flour pots, bread bins, bin bags, body bags, body horror, shoddy horror, dodgy watches, doggy bags, bean bags, handbags, glad rags, silk, milk, mink, coal sacks, cola, cocoa, dodos, Dido, Soho, Solo, silos, windows, day-glo, Hey ho, sago, winnebago, bagels, eagles, beagles, seagulls, glue, Gloy, Oi, Joy, Bostik, pancakes, Eccles cakes, Bakewell Tarts, landinggs, stairwells, farewells, Fabulous Wealthy Tarts, Mr Kipling, Rudyard Kipling, pizzas, pastas, pastors, baking soda, sci-fi, Wi-Fi, Hi-Fi, sewage, saunas, suet, Tomorrow People, yesterday's men, Forever People, Party People, purple people-eaters, Blobs, Globs, slobs, snobs, Sheila Steafel, steeples, Silurians, Sontarans, Sea Devils, spin doctors, saw doctors, dockers, miners, social workers, sins, suns, sans, sense, sludge, slumps, sumps, pumps, sunshine, slime, soup, sandwiches, servants, Sultanas, Santana, Satana, sultans, grapes, grappling hooks, grippling, sandcastles, Spirograph and Uni-Draw.

But, then again, they might not be.

What kind they are is entirely up to you because it's the return of the feature they're all talking about. The one in which the first person to comment below gets to decide what the day's topic of debate might be.

So, don't wait or hesitate. Simply get in there and have your say before it's too late.

Sunday 16 April 2023

2000 AD - March 1985.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
***

It would have been hard to avoid feeling the 1980s had arrived with a vengeance, if you ventured into your local cinema in March 1985.

It was, after all, a month that saw the release of such fare as Lust in the DustThe Care Bears MovieDesperately Seeking Susan and Police Academy 2. I've seen two of those but must confess to never having seen Lust in the Dust or The Care Bears Movie which, I'm sure, are films that hold a strong resemblance to each other.

In the world of politics, March saw Mikhail Gorbachev become General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and, therefore, de facto leader of the Soviet Union.

In the world of retail, Mohamed Al-Fayed outraged traditionalists by buying London-based department store Harrods.

But, of course, the most important thing that happened anywhere in the world, that month, was the launch of Australia's longest-running soap opera Neighbours which debuted on the Seven Network. As well as being truly awesome, the show would propel the likes of Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce, Margot Robbie and Natalie Imbruglia to international fame and guarantee that Anne Charleston and Ian Smith would never be short of a panto to appear in.

When it came to music, the UK singles chart met the month head-on with Hi-NRG classic You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead Or Alive at Number One. Tragically, that then had to make way for the noticeably less energetic Easy Lover by Philip Bailey and Phil Collins.

March also handed triumph to Phil of the Collins variety when it came to the British album chart, as most of it saw his LP No Jacket Required holding the top spot before it, finally, had to make way for Paul Young's The Secret of Association.

But what of the galaxy's greatest comic? What was it up to while all this history-making was occurring? 

It was up to what it was usually up to and still featuring The Ballad of Halo Jones, Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, The Hell Trekkers and Tharg's Future-Shocks.

However, there was one slice of change to greet the reader because Prog 411 saw the return of the berserker-fuelled barbarian that was Sláine!

2000 AD Prog 407

2000 AD Prog 408, Lavalanche

2000 AD Prog 409, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 410, Rogue Trooper

2000 AD Prog 411, Slaine

Thursday 13 April 2023

April 14th, 1973 - Marvel UK, 50 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
***

This week in 1973 saw no change at the peak of the UK singles chart. That slot was still in the cast-iron grip of Get Down by Gilbert O'Sullivan.

However, on the album chart which ran parallel to it, an LP called Houses of The Holy by Led Zeppelin smashed straight in at Number One.

I must confess to never having heard that album but tracks I approved of on that week's singles chart were:

Cum On Feel the NoizeSlade

Giving It All AwayRoger Daltrey

Brother LouieHot Chocolate

and

Blockbuster - the Sweet.

Should you wish to peruse the matter further, the singles chart in question can be found right here.

While the album chart resides herewithin.

The Mighty World of Marvel #28

What's this? A Mighty World of Marvel cover that's not drawn by Jim Starlin?

We'd best get used to it because Jim won't produce another cover for the book until August.

Instead, we get the first of a string of frontages by Dick Ayers who - just like Jim - doesn't bless Marvel UK with what you could call his greatest work.

Inside, with the Leader dead, the Hulk uses the Watcher's ultimate machine on himself - but its only effect is to let him know Rick's been captured by the military. The discovery sparks a sequence of events that ends with the Hulk being propelled into the far-flung future.

Meanwhile, unless I miss my guess, the man without fear's up against the man without a bull, as he must tackle the Matador. The Matador's armed with the awesome weapon that is a cape. How can DD ever hope to defeat him?

And, finally, as Cyril Fletcher used to say; the Puppet Master decides it's time to gain revenge upon the Fantastic Four. And, this time, for his pawn, he'll use the Sub-Mariner!

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #9, the Sinister Six

Not content with giving us this week's Mighty World of Marvel cover, Dazzling Dick Ayers also creates one for this book, as well.

And what a book it is, as Spider-Man's greatest enemies - apart from the Lizard - decide to join forces and tackle their nemesis, one at a time. An approach which suggests they really are people who think tactics are a brand of mint.

Meanwhile, Thor must figure out how to defeat the awesome might of Sandu, a carnival mystic boosted by the power of Loki!

Tuesday 11 April 2023

The Marvel Lucky Bag - April 1983.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
***

It being an industrial city, Sheffield's always shown massive interest in Flashdance, that tale of a young woman's battle to succeed in the glamourous world of welding, so she need never dance again.

When I say, "always," obviously, before it existed, there was no interest in it at all. People hadn't even noticed it didn't exist. What kind of blind fools were they?

But, eventually, it did exist. And April 1983 was when that momentous moment happened. 

And it wasn't alone. After all, that month also saw the release of The Hunger and Something Wicked This Way Comes, only one of which have I ever seen. I shall, therefore, draw no comparisons between them and leave that to those more enlightened than I.

Coyote #1

A brand new hero makes his debut!

At least, that's what I'm assuming. Clueless about him, as I am, I can't guarantee he hasn't put in loads of appearances before this, and that I've not simply been unaware of them.

But what I do know is this book's filled with people bearing such names as Harry Long Horse, Cross Lizard and Ocean Old Woman.

And, erm, Slug Thing.

Marvel Team-Up #128, Spider-Man and Captain America

And the winner of The Year's Worst Cover award goes to...

Seriously, did an actual human being decide that image was a great idea?

Inside, Peter and his buddies are visiting a carnival when they run into Steve Rogers.

Sadly, their fun night's ruined when Vermin shows up.

Spider-Woman #49, Tigra

It's the clash that had to happen, as spider-woman meets were-woman.

Beyond that, I can say nothing, other than Jack Russell and his lupine alter-ego also put in an appearance.

I'm confident, however, that everyone'll be friends by page 20.

The Dark Crystal #1, Marvel Comics

Is this really an adaptation of the Muppets-related movie of the same name? That Bret Blevins cover makes it look an awful lot more exciting than I remember the film ever being.

Sadly, I can't say anything about the plot, as I don't recall anything about the movie, other than it being Muppets-related and me not exactly being gripped by it.

Obnoxio the Clown #1

Don't ask me about this one. I know nothing of it, other than it being written and drawn by Alan Kupperberg.

Marvel Age #1

Watch out, FOOM because another new book hits our comics shops, as Marvel Age makes its first appearance!

And I've no doubt it's filled with all the info we could ever want to read about Marvel's latest projects.

Sunday 9 April 2023

Forty years ago today - April 1983.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
***

Easter is once more upon us. And that means it's time to discover just what great comics the Easter Bunny has left at the foot of all our Easter trees.

Conan the Barbarian #145

Remember that story, from years and years ago, in which the young Conan gets his cherry popped by Ursla the Wood Witch? She of the polar bears and fur coat?

In this one, we discover it didn't end there because, unknown to Conan, the union produced a son.

Unfortunately, that son dies in this issue, within about ten minutes of meeting Conan.

I think we should all view that as a valuable life lesson.

And so should Conan.

Captain America #280

It's time for humanity to tremble because the Scarecrow's back!

And, this time, for some reason, he's killing members of an ad agency that wants to use Captain America as its poster boy.

Cap, meanwhile, is not happy with the ad agency, for its use of his image.

But how can even America's greatest hero hope to stop a man who's armed with three crows?

Daredevil #193

When an old friend of Daredevil is murdered by robbers, the sightless hero sets out to apprehend the brains of the outfit. One that turns out to be a female illusionist who doesn't know the gun she stole from her victim will kill anyone who tries to use it.

Iron Man #169

Tony Stark's back on the bottle - and that can only be good news for any super-villain who comes along.

The super-villain who comes along is Magma.

I know. That great super-villain we all remember from such classic tales as, erm, err...

With Shellhead in no fit state to stop him - whoever he is - it falls to Rhodey to don the Iron Man armour and hope he can succeed where Stark failed.

The Spectacular Spider-Man #77, the Gladiator

Lately, I've tended to mock the recent Spider-mags for copying Daredevil. And they're doing it again.

Determined to go straight, the Gladiator's trying to avoid committing any more crimes.

And, again, real life gets in the way, as he's roped into things, by a gang of thugs. Fortunately, Spider-Man manages to talk some sense into his head before he can do any real harm.

Thor #330, the Crusader

When people in Chicago start to worship Thor - what with him being an actual real-life god - a fundamentalist Christian's so outraged that he becomes the mega-powerful Crusader and attacks Thor at a public gathering that's been thrown in his honour.

Can even the son of Odin stand against such holy fury?

Fantastic Four #253

We're still in the Negative Zone and, now, the FF set out to help the Kestorians find a new planet to populate.

However, things don't go quite according to plan...

The Incredible Hulk #282, She-Hulk

Nope. No memory at all of what happens in this one.

Clearly, from that cover, the She-Hulk's involved. And, it appears a robot is too. Beyond that, I can say nothing.

The Uncanny X-Men #168, Kitty Pryde

I remember this one though. Kitty Pryde's in a sulk about having been demoted to membership of the New Mutants.

Fortunately, a new menace arrives in the school and, when she helps defeat it, Professor X realises what a fool he's been and lets her back into the full team.

Elsewhere, in a trip to Alaska, Cyclops meets a woman called Maddie Pryor - who looks and sounds strangely familiar.

Cyke will, no doubt, be asking plenty of questions about her but the obvious question to me is did Chris Claremont name her after Maddy Prior, lead singer of folk-rock band Steeleye Span who had a 1975 UK hit single with All Around My Hat?

The Avengers #230

Hooray! Hawkeye's found not guilty of killing Egghead!

Not only that but Hank Pym's cleared of all the charges that have been hanging over him. However, that doesn't prevent him from announcing his retirement from super-heroing and, therefore, the Avengers.

The Amazing Spider-Man #239, the Hobgoblin

The Hobgoblin has his first senses-shattering fight with Spider-Man.

But the brand-new villain soon decides the web-spinner's too much to handle for one so inexperienced.

Other than that, I can't remember what happens in this one.