As we are about to embark one the next box of my unread comics, I would like to thank all of you who come to read and/or comment on these threads. When I first started this project back in July 2006  (really?) on the old board I never thought I would even make it through the first box. The threads have helped keep me semi-honest here.

I'm pretty excited about this upcoming box. It is a very eclectic mix of comics. There are a bunch of my old standbys. Like Legion comics, Daredevil, Marvel Team-up, war comics. There is a ton of other stuff like '80s black and white comics, some Kirby, a touch of Vertigo. I don't know how much will inspire me to write about, and if it does others to comment, but I am looking forward to it.

I'm really stoked to have you with me. Let's get it on!

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I was indeed. Thanks.

Enemy Ace is an amazing series, regardless of genre. True, it's a bit repetitive but most of the war books were. Von Hammer is such a compelling figure that you root for him to win even though deep down you shouldn't.

Sgt. Rock and Unknown Soldier are, to me, the best of the bunch. Sadly I could never get into The Haunted Tank.

Did anyone ever read Blitzkrieg? Man what were they thinking? "War through the eyes of the enemy.." but without giving us any reason to care about them! In fact I wanted to see them offed every time! Thankfully it only lasted five issues (or four too many).

I have to agree with Travis that the DC war books are good, but uneven. Bob Kanigher wrote a large number of them, and there wasn't a trope he couldn't recycle a hundred different ways, which is why The Haunted Tank and The War That Time Forgot were so repetitive. I liked Weird War Tales, but then I liked all of those anthology short story horror/mystery comics and miss them dearly.

But then, I did mention before that I'm a BIG Sgt. Rock fan, so I'd call that one the best. 

Thanks, guys.

Has anyone read the 1950s Our Army at War Showcase? Also, does anyone have an opinion as to how Bob Haney's war comics work compares to his superhero comics work?

Quick programming note, no entry this week. I won't be home until next week sometime, just waiting on that bail money to come through ;)

Captain America #261
Sept. 1981
Cover art by: Mike Zeck

Story: Celluoid Heroes!
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils: Mike Zeck
Inks: Quickdraw Studios

There is a new Nomad running around in the city of Los Angeles. It just so happens that there is a new Captain America movie being made, and the studio wants the real Captain America around for some publicity. This new Nomad has been filmed taking on a group of baddies called the Nihilist Order who has been terrorizing the area.

Nomad and the Orders are just a ruse to lure Cap to LA by the Ameridroid and The Teacher. They are doing this to discredit Cap, and ultimately kill him I reckon. Once in the City of Angels, Captain America has a couple of run-ins with the Nihilist Order and Nomad. Nomad tries to show up Steve, and only sort of succeeds. All the while calling him an “old-timer” and showboating for the cameras and women around. Nomad is fully aware what the Ameridroid and the Teacher are up to, and he gets beaten by the Teacher when he fails to fully embarrass Cap.

There is also a nifty bit in the beginning of the comic with Captain America and Falcon in their civilian ID's tying one on, and getting pretty drunk. They stop a mugging, but they almost have their head's handed to them because of their drunken state. It isn't often you see something like this in comics. I really enjoyed seeing our heroes cut loose like this.

I had no idea that there was a Nomad between Steve Rogers and Jack Monroe. I won't be getting to the next issue, but they telegraphed who the Teacher is so badly. Speaking of which two things bothered me about this comic. One, that Captain America received a telegram to from the movie studio regarding the movie. What an outmoded means of communication, even in the early '80s.

Two, this driver's outfit:

The horror! The horror!

Captain America #276
Dec. 1982
Cover art by: Mike Zeck & John Beatty

Story: Turning Point
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils: Mike Zeck
Inks: John Beatty

Apparently there was a rumble in a park between a Jewish organization and some Neo-Nazis. The leader of both groups escaped though. The Nazi dude comes back, and draws down on Cap. He disarms the guy with a simple shield throw and captured him. The leader of the Jewish group returns to turn himself in. This man is Sam Rosenthal, Bernie's brother, who is the girlfriend of Steve Rogers.

Later, Steve slowly walks up to Bernie's home. He turns away before knocking, and she comes out to chase him down. She knows that Steve is Captain America and she doesn't care. She wants to be with him anyways. Agent Runciter of S.H.I.E.L.D. shows up, and requests that Steve accompany her. Once at the S.H.I.E.L.D. location we see that Cap's friend Arnold Roth and Michael have been captured by some creature.  A note is presented to Cap to save Arnie's life. He leaves refusing S.H.I.E.L.D.'s help. Fury orders Runciter to follow Captain America in any case, or else she is FIRED! (Seemed a bit over the top to me)

Cap is sulking on a rooftop. When a robot shows up, and gestures the Sentinel of Liberty to follow him. They get into some sort of airship and fly away. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents managed to get a bug on the ship, but it has a magnetic shield that is screwing it up.  The ship winds up a castle, and Steve fights some shadows that appear out of the wall. He follows some laughing and ends up in a room with Armin Zola and Baron Zemo! Oh man what a fight we will have next issue! Which I don't have.

There was also a Falcon back-up with Sam Wilson “snapping” at everyone (heh heh), and he thinks he may be losing his mind. Hey, who knew he ran for congress?

This was on okay comic for the most part. I enjoyed the first part especially with Steve approaching Bernie's home and the talk they had after. Mike Zeck did an awesome job of displaying the emotions on Steve's face as he slowly trudged up. The element I didn't like is that everyone just blows a fuse so quickly here and yells at someone. Steve, Fury, Sam, kind of weird.

I really enjoyed DeMatteis/Zeck's Cap run. I'm glad to see that Bernie still makes an appearance every now and then in the current Cap series.

While reading these (there are a number not being reviewed here) I think Mike Zeck is a vastly under appreciated artist. His work is just terrific, especially his action scenes.

Mark Stanislawski said:

I really enjoyed DeMatteis/Zeck's Cap run. I'm glad to see that Bernie still makes an appearance every now and then in the current Cap series.

Captain America #282
June 1983
Cover art by: Mike Zeck & John Beatty

Story: On Your Belly You Shall Crawl, and Dust You Shall Eat!
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils: Mike Zeck
Inks: John Beatty

Captain America was captured last issue by the Constrictor and agents working for Viper. They are keeping him in a hallucinogenic state, and he comes out of it every once in a while and attempts an escape. To no avail.

Jack Monroe, the Bucky of the 1950s, is at the apartment of Bernie Rosenthal bemoaning the fact he did nothing to save Steve from being captured. They decide to do something about saving him. First, they go and see Sam Wilson, to check if he will help out. “Nope,” he says. He promised the voting public he would retire as the Falcon forever. He has a tenuous grip on their faith to begin with, so he isn't going to risk that now, even to save Steve. Bucky, blows up at him and they almost come to blows. Sam tells the pair they should go to Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.

The duo get there as Fury as yelling at Agent Runciter over a radio. He is really ticked at her for breaking communication silence. She insists she had to, since Captain America is being held by Viper and crew.  He is still furious since Winghead has often gotten out of scraps tougher than this. Bucky volunteers to go in and save Cap. Initially he resists the idea, but then gets an idea and relents.

Meanwhile, Viper tells Captain America what her plan is. She has developed a new, more aggressive version of the bubonic plague, and she is going to release it in the little town of Hartsdale, Il carried by some snakes. The disease will spread, and eventually kill all humans on the planet. Cue maniacal laughter. The Constrictor overhears this plan, and realizes he is in way over his head, and he is going to need some help to stop her insane plan.

Now, Jack is wearing some new duds being flown to Hartsdale by Dum Dum Dugan. His new costume is Steve's old Nomad costume. The reasoning is that Steve, as Nomad, gave Viper her most humiliating defeat. Nick believes that seeing Nomad running around again will be a psychological shock to Viper. Nomad parachutes out of the vehicle, and as Dugan lands it we see that he is suffering from what I figure is a heart attack. It is never implicitly said.

Jack is creeping up on the base when he is attacked by some of Viper's agents. He is actually getting whupped until Captain America appears to lend him a hand. As they defeat the agents, Runciter also shows up to usher the pair through a sliding door in the base. Once inside we learn that both Cap and Runciter are being mind controlled by Viper!

Another good issue. The Jack Monroe version of Nomad was always a favorite character of mine. I'm glad there was an initial reason for him to wear this costume. Nick's idea was really solid thinking, and as Monroe says, the name does fit him. Even if it didn't have its desired effect. Viper didn't seen to care at all. I really love the art by Zeck and Beatty.

Challengers of the Unknown #87
June/July 1978
Cover art by: Alex Savuik & Dick Giordano

Story: Twelve Million Years to Twilight
Writers: Carla & Gerry Conway
Pencils: Keith Giffen
Inks: John Celardo

The Challengers of the Unknown resumed in 1977 after a four year absence. This issue is the last issue of that run. The creators really did throw whatever they could at the title to keep it afloat. They crippled Prof. Red quits the team. Deadman is their unseen, unknown helper. They bring along Alec Holland, who begins human. He turns himself back into the Swamp Thing in order to help out the Challengers. Rip Hunter appears in this issue, but it is already too late. Really a noble effort, but nothing seemed to work well enough the keep the series afloat.

The last few issues were also interesting to me, as we got to see some early Keith Giffen work. Not nearly as stylized as it would later get, and sometimes a bit too stiff looking for me. Especially, some of the fight scenes. Some of those were a bit hard get through.

The part that actually had me kind of laughing though, was at then end when we get the announcement of the winner of “Name the lettercolumn” contest. The new name is “Address: Unknown”, which I do rather like as a name. Shorter and snappier than “Challenger Mountain Mail Room”  for sure. The winner won a page of art from the series. After all of that info, they then announce that it is the last issue. I do appreciate that DC followed through on the contest and the prize, even though the series had been canceled.

The story itself? The Challengers and co help save the present and the future. With Deadman and Swamp Thing leaving to do their own thing.

Finally they also provided us with a nice look at Challenger Mountain:

Demon #5
January 1973
Cover art by: Jack Kirby

Story: Merlin's Word...Demon's Wrath
Writer: Jack Kirby
Pencils: Jack Kirby
Inks: Mike Royer

Now when I say I'm not much of a Jack Kirby fan this is a comic that illustrates (pun may have been intended) why. This is the art he was doing that I just didn't like, and it is what I grew up seeing of his work. Truth be told I do like the look of his earlier art. This though, this is were everyone has this ugly maw for a mouth. Crazy old eyebrows going everywhere. If you have long hair you almost always look like you're in a tornado.

The actual story in this comic? Let's see. The Demon and his buddy Merlin are in some unnamed country in Europe somewhere I assume. It is never mentioned here. For the first eight pages I seriously thought this takes place in the past, but it doesn't. Anyways, the pair are fighting Ugly Meg (a give up name) and the Iron Duke. Ugly Meg is a sorceress aiding the Iron Duke in maintaining control of his country. The pair of evildoers flee to a castle with Merlin and the Demon hot on their trail on a flying horse.

Once they fly in, a statue animates and shoots them off of the horse.  Ugly Meg also uses “mortality fumes” which turns the Demon back in to Jason Blood and renders Merlin mortal. This makes Merlin susceptible to her spells. Now captured, Meg puts a mask on both Merlin and the Iron Duke. Telling the duke: with her power she will transfer Merlin's knowledge and power to him. Merlin tries to convince the Duke it's a lie. The Duke refuses to believe him, and of course Merlin is right. Meg has turned the duke into an iron automaton under her complete control.

Ugly Meg orders new the newly dubbed Mannikin to toss Jason Blood from the top of a parapet. Freed from his bonds (and it is never said, but I figure the fumes have worn off) Blood tranforms back into the Demon. He and the Mannikin begin a vicious fight. Their fight weakens the structure, and the Mannikin has the Demon trapped near the edge. Meg orders him to crush him with a boulder. When he rushes to do so the Demon leaps over the pair and all of the added weight causes it to topple over. Taking Meg and the Mannikin to their doom.

There was also a subplot with a couple of Jason Blood's friends deciding if they should remain his friend, and/or if they should try to help him. One of them is vehemently against doing so. Saying how disgusted he is with even the thought of helping a demon. In about one panel the other guy convinces him they should help. Pretty wishy-washy.

Another thing I didn't like that a lot of older comics did that has always annoyed me is when people scream out their every thought. Plus some of the dialogue was just awkward. Like: “I haven't fully mastered this ESP faculty of mine!” It just reads weird.

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