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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Taskmaster was one of those villains who could appear in any title. He was never "attached" to a single hero. What I can't recall if he was ever captured or did he always escape?

As for Nomad (Jack Monroe/Bucky of the 1950s), he never made any sense to me. After being treated, he shows up at Steve Rogers' apartment, looking like an adult Bucky Barnes, asking to hang out with Steve (which is a warped fantasy, btw). Then he goes on patrol with him in an adult Bucky uniform (which is a REALLY warped fantasy, btw). He should still possess super-strength yet Cap has to keep rescuing him. He is resentful of being in Cap's shadow rather quickly so to stake his independence he assumes Cap's alternate identity as Nomad! And never really made much of an impact unless you count his "Lone Wolf and Cub" phase which would have been more interesting except that "Lone Wolf and Cub" was far superior and the insanity of fighting crime while watching a baby!

I think he's dead now but that what we thought about the original Bucky so....

Mystery in Space #94

Sept. 1964

Cover art by: Dick Dillin & Sheldon Moldoff

Story: The Riddle of Two Solar Systems!

Writer: Dave Wood?

Pencils: Phil Kelsey & Lee Elias

Inks: Phil Kelsey & Lee Elias

On the credits, the question mark after Dave Wood is because the GCD isn't 100% sure who wrote, so it is a kind of a guess. Also the story is broken up into three parts with Phil Kelsey on the art for the first and last part, and Lee Elias doing the middle chapter. Got it? Good.

Some dude is on some planet where he finds a ray gun and an alien device. He takes it the gear to Jupiter where the artifact is activated! Some weird creatures appear and start causing massive destruction. Space Ranger and Cryll hear about it over a radio, they fly over and save the day! They wonder what happened, and take a look at the ray gun the guy found. It has Adam Strange's name on it, so they fly to Earth to read his old diary and hope they can get a clue as to what is going on.

Well what happened is that intergalactic thief, Okri-Ro, found a cache of alien equipment and started firing them off to see what they did. Once one went off then the other activated automatically. Okri-Ro uses one of the devices to shrink down Adam Strange and Alanna. Which gives us the panel of the pair “farting” at a cave weasel to chase it off:

They go back inside the cave that contains the devices and see that another one is about to activate. They shoot a stalactite and it destroys the device before it gets going. This causes them to grow back to normal size. Okri-Ro and Strange get into a fight that leads back to the thief's spaceship. Adam loses his gun in there and it takes off on its own. Not found until many years later.

Back in the future, Space Ranger and Cryll go and seek Adam Strange's ancestor on the planet Rann, uh, Adam Strange. He provides them with a tablet that no one can read. Cryll can transform himself into different things apparently, and is able to read it. The artifacts were created by a race that used an uninhabited (at the time) Rann to test a new weapon to defeat their enemies. The first 4 devices would recreate the world as their enemy's world, and the final one launched the weapon. This last one could now go off at any time, now that the reaction has restarted with the fourth one being activated back on Jupiter. The new Adam Strange dons his ancestor's suit and he and Space Ranger save the day from the WMD.

This was alright comic, but definitely not a must-read. I enjoy it for the legacy factor of Adam Strange. Cryll has always been weird to me, and he has always reminded me of the toy that when you squeeze it the eyes pop out. Maybe it is just me though. On a personal note, this is one of my more beat up comics to show up here. The cover is just barely hanging on, and in near the staples inside there are marker markings and some weird stains. Pretty bad.

Jack Schiff took over the editing of Mystery in Space (along with Strange Adventures) when Julie Schwartz took over Detective Comics and Batman, and immediately brought Space Ranger's feature over to the title. I've not read any of the "Adam Strange" stories from the Schiff era, but I'd like to, partly to see the difference, partly because I'm interested in Lee Elias's work, partly because some of the instalments were reportedly written by Jerry Siegel. The creators who'd handled the feature under Schwartz departed with him. Another crossover story appeared in Mystery in Space #98.

Yes, "He's Dead, Jim".   We saw it on-cam...as a way to eliminate him as a candidate for the identity of "The Winter Soldier."

Philip Portelli said:

Taskmaster was one of those villains who could appear in any title. He was never "attached" to a single hero. What I can't recall if he was ever captured or did he always escape?

As for Nomad (Jack Monroe/Bucky of the 1950s), he never made any sense to me. After being treated, he shows up at Steve Rogers' apartment, looking like an adult Bucky Barnes, asking to hang out with Steve (which is a warped fantasy, btw). Then he goes on patrol with him in an adult Bucky uniform (which is a REALLY warped fantasy, btw). He should still possess super-strength yet Cap has to keep rescuing him. He is resentful of being in Cap's shadow rather quickly so to stake his independence he assumes Cap's alternate identity as Nomad! And never really made much of an impact unless you count his "Lone Wolf and Cub" phase which would have been more interesting except that "Lone Wolf and Cub" was far superior and the insanity of fighting crime while watching a baby!

I think he's dead now but that what we thought about the original Bucky so....

I thought it was more warped that Steve Rogers took in now a second dude who looked exactly liked Bucky. At least Jack (in my opinion) still had brainwashing affecting him that took him to Steve and made him want to be his sidekick. Heck he already had the hero worship in him. Plus, he took over the Nomad ID at the request of Nick Fury when he went and fought Hydra. I should note that I initially just knew Nomad as Steve's sidekick in the mid-80s or whenever he resurfaced, and didn't learn his back story until way later.

Heck I liked his series, and thought it was cute that he put the baby Bucky in a little domino mask.

Philip Portelli said:

Taskmaster was one of those villains who could appear in any title. He was never "attached" to a single hero. What I can't recall if he was ever captured or did he always escape?

As for Nomad (Jack Monroe/Bucky of the 1950s), he never made any sense to me. After being treated, he shows up at Steve Rogers' apartment, looking like an adult Bucky Barnes, asking to hang out with Steve (which is a warped fantasy, btw). Then he goes on patrol with him in an adult Bucky uniform (which is a REALLY warped fantasy, btw). He should still possess super-strength yet Cap has to keep rescuing him. He is resentful of being in Cap's shadow rather quickly so to stake his independence he assumes Cap's alternate identity as Nomad! And never really made much of an impact unless you count his "Lone Wolf and Cub" phase which would have been more interesting except that "Lone Wolf and Cub" was far superior and the insanity of fighting crime while watching a baby!

I think he's dead now but that what we thought about the original Bucky so....

Omac #1

Sept.-Oct. 1974

Cover art by: Jack Kirby

Story: Brother Eye and Buddy Blank

Writer: Jack Kirby

Pencils: Jack Kirby

Inks: Mike Royer

I often give grief to Jack Kirby, but I actually liked this comic quite a bit. The art seems to be more reeled in over the grotesque art I saw in the Demon. It is another origin story, but there is still quite a bit here. The biggest weakness of this comic is the dialogue. It is pretty bad, and usually it explains too much, or is too wordy.

“The one-man army broke in here against impossible odds!”

“You could send those automatons to kill world leaders!! Y-you might start an atomic war...”

I did like the comic started in media res, which is such a great literary device for superhero comics, I just don't know why it isn't used more often. My only other real complaint is the really generic names Kirby comes up with (it was also one I had with the Demon).

Anyway, the Global Peace Agency (see what I mean) has given Professor Forest the go ahead to implement his OMAC project with test subject Buddy Blank as the guinea pig. I figured he was called Buddy Blank, because he is a blank slate, so to speak, for Brother Eye, the satellite in the sky, to work with. The members of the agency conceal their identities completely, as they could be from any nation. I guess no one in the future has an accent.

Buddy is transformed by “electrical surgery” into Omac after being discovered at a certain security level of his job that he isn't cleared for, looking for the “woman” he loves Lila. She is actually a lifelike android that totally fooled him. Pseudo People, Inc. is creating these androids with bombs implanted in them to kill whoever a buyer might want dead. Well Buddy completes his transformation and uses his new found powers to destroy Pseudo People, and now he storms off to look for the bad guy, I am not kidding, named Mr. Big.

One last thing before I go. At one point Buddy was feeling down and out and his boss made him go down to the Psychology Section of the company to work out his frustrations. One of the rooms was a Destruct Room, and I had just read an article about basically the same kind of thing that had opened up in Dallas: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/05/12/go-ahead-smash-everything-in-th...

This was really a good book, with some neat ideas to get it kicked off.

The Omega Men #1

April 1983

Cover art by: Keith Giffen and Mike DeCarlo

Story: Citadel War: Chapter One

Writer: Roger Silfer

Pencils: Keith Giffen

Inks: Mike DeCarlo

What I knew about the Omega Men before I read this comic: Lobo made his fist appearance in this series. I never read any of their appearances before they graduated to their own title. I do remember Tigorr and Broot from their Who's Who entry (Tigorr also played a role in the last R.E.B.E.L.S. series from a couple of years back). Well, I came into this not knowing what to expect.

In many ways this begins as a basic intro comic, but Silfer and company really packed a lot into it. I had to double check to see if it was just a 32 pager, as there was a lot here. The Omega Men attack a Citadel outerworld. The Citadel is one of seeming a dozen or so different groups that are always trying to take over the DC universe. The Omega Men take the planet over easily as it is only guarded by a small garrison stationed there. There are a bunch of supplies already there, and a supply ship had just landed as well leaving them well stocked.

The leader, Primus, and Tigorr have a number of arguments on what to do next. Tigorr wants to go straight to the Citadel homeworld and quickly finish what they have started. Primus wisely tells him that they are few, and the homeworld will be millions strong. They will all be killed if they use such a foolish tactic. Tigorr, also accuses Primus of being too soft on what needs to be done to win. Primus also got his station from being royalty, and has no real combat experience, etc. These problems won't be resolved quickly I suspect.

Later, Primus decides to take a delegation to try and recruit the people of Broot's world to help them. Broot lets them know his people won't help. When they ask “why not?” He tells them they won't understand why unless go and find out for themselves. Here it is, they are pacifists and they won't commit and act of violence. Also, they made a deal to give their children up to slavery in order not to be attacked by the bad guys. Not that hard to explain at all really.

Well Broot is right and his people won't help. Primus still tries to convince them, and Broot must remain behind. Well the slavers show up, and Broot attacks them. The Gordanians (the slavers) respond with one heck of a statement as they drop an atomic bomb on one the cities.

I really did like this comic quite a bit, and I happy to see that the Omega Men actually have a decent number of members (about 100). Usually, when you get a galactic rebellion story like this, it is one ship and a crew of 5-6. It is bigger than that, and it looks like they plan on swelling that number by freeing other worlds under the Citadel's thumb.

That's sort of like the "Two-Minute Hate" from 1984 by George Orwell...when you think about it!

Check out the last few words in the panel... When the guy is telling cap that it's the best FLICK ever.... kind of makes it look like he's saying something else, don't it?

Travis Herrick said:

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!

Good eye, Kirk. I couldn't get past what the driver is wearing.

Open Space #1

Mid-December 1989

Cover art by: Frank and Laura Kelly Freas

Not the full breakdown this time of story by story. This is a Sci-Fi anthology series put out by Marvel in '89-90 that lasted just 4 issues. Kurt Busiek was the one who created the title, and he served as both a writer and an editor on the series. There were a number of good ideas here that I rather liked though.

First, yes it is an anthology, but it is using a shared universe to tell it's stories. It allows different kinds of stories but also gives you some continuity to work with, and a set of rules. It is fun to see references directly or indirectly between the familys of the Brodys and Etchisons. It also allows some stories to set-up other stories. Some tales picking up threads left by others. Although truthfully, I don't know how much that was actually done as this is the only issue I have read, but the possibilities really seem to be there for some good story mining.

Another bit I liked, was outside of Kurt Busiek, the writers here are all science fiction writers trying their hand at comics. I always like it when people stretch their wings like that. For me all of the stories worked, and the I really liked the art as well. There are a some names familiar to fans like: Tom Grummett (with a lot of John Byrne in his art)and Steve Yeowell. My favorite art in the comic though was by Ray Lago, who drew the Land of Nod story. It dang near looks painted, maybe it was.

There was one thing that annoyed me though, and it isn't really anything that is the comics fault. Inside the front cover it tells us that Alex Jay designed the logo. Okay, fine. Then when I am looking around online it was specifically pointed out a numerous times that Alex Jay designed the logo. Why the need to hammer that point home? It isn't some great logo. A good read, and if you find it, it should be had cheap. I got mine out of a 50 cent bin at my LCS, waited 20 years and I got it at a $4.50 discount.

Our Army at War #300

January 1977

Cover art by: Joe Kubert

Story: 300th Hill

Writer: Robert Kanigher

Art: Joe Kubert

I do love me an anniversary issue, and this fine copy kicks off with a sweet Eisneresque cover. The action begins quickly with the men of Easy Company enjoying a bath in a pond with a waterfall. Their new lieutenant drives up to give them their orders, he is hit from the cannon of a nearby German tank. Sergeant Rock and the men take out the tank only wearing their civvies. The Lt. gives them their new orders, help Charlie company hold Cemetery Hill, he then dies having never seen combat. They mark his grave with his helmet and gun in the ground. Rock laments that this is the 300th time he has marked a grave like this.

This is were we get to the meat of the story, and I think Kanigher really shines. He has some fun it seems with showing us the repetition of his stories and with war. The number 300 is used a number of times in the story, and as they make their way to Cemetery Hill, Ice Cream Soldier asks Rock if there is anything else but hills in the war. Rock replies,”There's woods...an' ditches...an' bridges...”

The men make their way to the hill, but after being pinned down by machine gun fire decide to wait until night to make their attack. When evening comes they fix their bayonets, and storm up the hill. Their way soon lit up by a flare. The fight eventually breaks down into a melee with the Easy Company coming out on top of course. Rock takes the dog tags off of the 300th replacement of Easy.

I really liked this story a lot, and Kanigher and Kubert really did a number on this one. Kubert had some great close-up shots and both of them provide some great tension. Like when Rock knowingly led his men to a machine gun nest, in the hopes of taking them down. Some may not have liked some of the caption boxes here, but I did, especially this one: “Like ghosts floatin' in a sea of blood and fog we fought...punchin'...kickin'...tearin'! The dead of Charlie co. joined those of the enemy—watchin' the batlle with sightless eyes! They had ringside seats...but—no one cheered!”

The only disappointing part of the comic was the back-up. It was a story illustrated by Lee Elias (which was fine), but it was kind of a lame story about how a captured matador would crush the spirit of the people once they saw that he was in the ring for the enemy. I assume it takes place during the Spanish Civil War but it is never said.

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