Blue Devil #7 - "Just Another Day In L.A.!"
Cover Date: December 1984
Writer: Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin
Artist: Gil Kane
Two somewhat shady men have an apartment staked out in Los Angeles. One of them asks the other if he thinks they'll send in Bolt, and the other remarks that they shouldn't need him, as this guy's a punk, and they have the Skyriders backing them up.
Inside the apartment is one James Jesse, aka the Trickster. These guys have been following him for awhile now, and he's tired of running. As the men get out of their car to collect him, he jumps out the window on his anti-gravity boots and assaults them with water balloons before attempting to make his escape.
As he escapes the goons on the ground, several men on flying platforms come after him. They fire missiles at the Trickster but miss. He hurls a magnet into their midst, causing their platforms to slam together and then spin wildly out of control.
Thinking he's escaped, the Trickster attempts to leave only to be accosted by the supervillain known as Bolt. Bolt can teleport, and uses that ability to take the Trickster by surprise. He manages to wing the Trickster, who falls into a dumpster below. Bolt goes in pursuit and searches the dumpster, but can't find a trace of the Trickster. He thinks the Trickster tricked him and runs off in pursuit. However, there were two dumpsters, and the Trickster fell into the other one. As Bolt flies away, the Trickster thinks that he needs help, and he knows just the guy.
At a boutique elsewhere in Los Angeles, Dan is trying on suits with Wayne and Marla providing feedback. Unfortunately, this is yet another store that doesn't have a suit in Dan's size. As Dan gives Wayne grief about dragging him to this store, Marla asks the clerk for assistance, but she refuses. The clerk recognizes Wayne, however.
Wayne suggests to Dan that they go to his tailor to get him a custom suit. Marla reminds Dan that they need to come up with a suit for his date with Sharon that evening. Other clerks bring Dan another suit, and Wayne jokes that Dan should just wear his costume. Dan doesn't take it well and threatens Wayne with bodily harm, before going to try on another suit.
Wayne notices the female clerk that wouldn't help earlier and begins to make some moves on her. She asks him if he remembers her. He tells her yes, but actualy has no idea. He racks his brain, but can't figure out where he's met this woman before. Dan grabs him and takes him out of the store, and the clerk calls a friend, telling her that Wayne Tarrant was just in the store and didn't recognize her.
Elsewhere in Los Angeles, at Marla Bloom's home, Gopher answers the door to find two men and a woman at the doorstep. They ask for Marla, but he tells them that she's not available. They then ask after Dan, as he's who they really came to see. Gopher tells them that Dan isn't here, as he took Marla's Porsche for a spin to clear his head before his date tonight with Sharon. He then asks why they want to see Dan, and they give him their card, from some organization called the IHNCS.
The men and woman go in pursuit of Dan, as one of them remarks that a Porsche is a sporty car and wonders if there might be trouble. The other remarks that Dan is a superhero and couldn't possibly be in trouble.
Up the road ahead, Dan is driving Marla's Porsche, and realizes that he no longer fits inside. Coming up on a tight turn over a cliff, he pulls the steering wheel hard only to have it come off in his hands. He then tries to hit the brakes only to put his feet through the floor. He then pokes his head through the roof so he can see where he's going, which is right over a cliff. He manages to use his feet to brake the car, but wonders how to explain things to Marla.
Later on we see the Trickster, who has arrived ar Marla's home, hoping that Dan is there. Inside, Dan is apologizing to Marla for wrecking the car, but she's pretty easy going about it, stating that's what insurance is for. Dan has found a suit, but is worried that his appearance may cause a stir. Marla tells him not to worry, as ehs's already talked to the Maitre'd about his appearance. She asks him why he's so nervous, and he tells her it's because it's his first date with Sharon and his first as the Blue Devil. The doorbell rings, and it's Sharon.
The two of them head for the restaurant in Sharon's pink Cadillac convertible. Trickster is following them, but is surprised by Bolt. Jesse tosses a pie in Bolt's face, and Sharon asks Dan if he saw a flash of light. He tells her the only light he sees is in her eyes (awww).
Dan and Sharon arrive at the restaurant, and true to Marla's word, the Maitre'd takes care of them. Meanwhile, the two men and woman from earlier are watching them through the window.
Dan is relieved that no one is staring at him, and Sharon explains that since they're in Los Angeles, they've all seen weirder things than him. They chat, as Danny reflects on how strange his life has been lately, and Sharon tells him not to shut her out.
Trickster is also observing the pair from the kitchen where he's tied up the kitchen staff. A waiter brings Dan and Sharon a bottle of wine and begins pouring. As he won't stop, Dan looks at him and notices that it's the Trickster. He's about to yell his name when the Trickster shushes him and tells him that he needs help.
Dan agrees to listen to the Trickster, and he tells them that he's in trouble and on the run. Dan asks Jesse why he's asking Dan for help, and James tells him that he couldn't think of anyone else. Bolt shows up and attacks, and the three of them hide behind an overturned table.
Dan hurls the table and tells Sharon to get to cover, then tells the Trickster to help him take Bolt. Jesse has other ideas, however, As Bolt scuffles with the Blue Devil, Trickster jumps through the front window(Yes, there was a perfectly working door. Why do you ask?) past the three people who are watching and continues on his way, as the two men and the woman note that he is the Trickster.
Inside, Dan is having a hard time catching up to Bolt. However, as the villain runs out of the restaurant to chase Trickster, he trips over a tripwire conveniently placed there by the Trickster, who doubled back. Trickster then drops an air conditioning unit on Bolt. He misses, but he's got Bolt off guard, and Trickster tells Dan that he can take Bolt now. Bolt realizes that he's fighting Dan Cassidy, and attempts to fry him with an electrical bolt, but the Trickster saves him. He and Dan run with Bolt in pursuit until they hit a dead end.
Bolt attacks again and misses, and Trickster tells Dan that the more bolts he throws, the weaker he gets. Dan decides to attack Bolt, whose next Bolt disintegrates Dan's suit.
Dan is plenty pissed off, and Bolt uses this moment to teleport away and make his escape. Sharon joins Dan and the Trickster, and Dan demands to know why Bolt is after him. The Trickster agrees to tell him.
My rating: 7/10
Well, this was fun, as usual. Trickster was always a fun character in this title, and this is no different. Cohn and Mishkin have talked in the past about their love for the character and even proposed a mini-series for him, which could have been quite enjoyable.
However, as great an artist as Gil Kane is, this issue was really missing the work of Paris Cullins. Kane's art is certainly solid in the action sequences, but here I don't think he displays the ability to also delineate the humorous segments and the non-action scenes with the same verve as Cullins. The expository sequences setting up future subplots largely fall flat and simply aren't as seamless. The transitions that seemed to flow from one scene to the other under Cullins' pencils seem clunky here.
As origins go, I can think of far worse. This is one I don't have a problem with. In many ways, it's similar to the Hulk's, replacing radiation with mystical energy. It's not like he mistook a super secret formula for a bottle of soda or got injected with mongoose blood.
I seriously hate Blue Devil's origin.
Is it really an actor being stuck in the costume? It can't be right?
Even back in the 80s that was dumb. I just can't get over that.
Blue Devil #8 - "Trick Trap!"
Cover Date: January 1985
Writer: Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin
Artist: Keith Giffen
Danny and Sharon are driving around California. Danny wants her to go home because they're also traveling with the Trickster, but she tells him that he promised not to shut her out of his life, and that this is no more dangerous than when he let Norm accompany him on his adventures earlier. The Trickster opines that maybe all three of them should avoid what's coming up, but Dan tells him to sit still and shut up, as since he came to Dan for help, he's going to get help whether it kills them or not.
As they're driving along, they run across a helicopter preparing to move a mobile bank. Trickster mentions that it would be sweet to pull a bank heist in mid-air, but Dan is nonplussed. They pull into a Mexican restaurant, as Dan hopes that by feeding James Jesse, he'll shut up. While inside the restaurant, Dan's trident pokes out of the trunk of Sharon's car. A bunch of hoodlums want to steal it, but when they touch it, they get a shock of mystic energy, and they run away.
Inside the restaurant, Dan Sharon and James have witnessed the action. James compliments Dan on rigging his trident that way, but Dan says he didn't rig it, and thinks that he needs to check the circuitry. Meanwhile, James gets a note in his burger from whomever is chasing him, telling him that they know where he is and where he's going, and that they want back what he stole from them. James pretends to choke, gasps out for water and runs towards the restroom. As he leaves, he splatters Dan's shirt, annoying Dan. Sharon tries to pacify Dan by promising to buy him a new shirt.
Dan realizes that James has been inside the Mens room for a long time. He goes to check up on James, and finds a huge hole in the wall of the restroom and no James.
James has put on his Trickster duds and is running away through the air. He realizes that he needs cash to get away from the Organization. Seeing a nearby hang glider enthusiast, he asks for directions to the nearest paint store.
Back in Hollywood, Wayne Tarrant is having a hard time filming a toilet paper commercial. A woman is watching him. She speaks to the clerk from the clothing store from the previous issue. She tells her that he didn't recognize her at all. The clerk mentions that she doesn't hate him like she used to--in fact she feels sorry for him.
Elsewhere on the lot, someone is invading Dan's workshop. It's Gopher, who plans to use the workshop for some nefarious purpose while Dan's away.
Back to Dan and Sharon. Dan is telling her he has to go after the Trickster, if for no other reason than he's already involved. He realizes that the Trickster needs money, and realizes that he plans to rob the mobile bank from earlier. Spotting the bank being flown through the air, he has Sharon follow along.
The Trickster paints the helicopter's cockpit window black, forcing the helicopter to land. Dan and Sharon are in hot pursuit, and Dan uses his trident to go directly after the Trickster. He tells Sharon to create a distraction when she gets to the bank.
The Trickster boasts that Dan couldn't catch him the last time they tangled (Fury of Firestorm #24), but Dan grabs him by the cape, saying he's had a lot of practice since then. The two of them crash into a nearby river. Trickster handcuffs Dan and Dan tries to snap the cuffs only to find out they're rubber.
Trickster heads back to the bank, not realizing that Dan has gotten out of his cuffs. Dan surfaces, but the Trickster drops a fish in his mouth.
Meanwhile, Sharon arrives at the downed bank. Wanting to spare Danny from a problem with the police, she enters the bank. There are two men riding inside, wondering why they've landed. Sharon tells them she needs to make a deposit. They tell her no, but she shows her puppy dog eyes and tells them that if she can't make this deposit she'll be out on the streets with her two small children.
Trickster is still attempting to escape, but Dan sends his trident after him, and after running rings around the Trickster, James Jesse surrenders. Dab looks him over and checks up his sleeve where he finds a small amount of powder. It's sneezing powder, and James blows it in Dan's face, allowing him to escape.
Back at the bank, the helicopter pilot sees the Trickster approaching and takes off again, with Sharon still inside the bank.
At a Santa Verona/Veronica(?)College up the coast, a Professor Neemish is meeting with Chairman Ruggles. Ruggles wants to know how documents on loan from the Pentagon ended up in the effects of a dead graduate student who also happened to be Neemish's assistant. He demands an answer before the people from the Pentagon arrive. Following Neemish as he leaves the Chairman's office and goes to his own, we discover that he's the leader of the Organization chasing the Trickster. He contacts Bolt and we learn that Bolt was responsible for the death of his assistant and that he plans on killing the Trickster. He then suggests killign Ruggles as well, and Neemish agrees, telling Bolt to make it look like an accident.
Back at the bank, Danny and the Trickster are still fighting. Dan lands on the roof of the bank and tells James that he's not getting into the bank unless he goes through him. Trickster pulls out a rubber chicken with a blowtorch inside and starts cutting through the cables hooked up from the helicopter to the bank. He then drops a bomb in Dan's lap. Dan throws the bomb away, only to see it explode in a shower of flowers. Trickster cuts the cable, then hears Sharon screaming inside as the bank is tilted to one side. Realizing that Sharon is inside the bank, Trickster stops for a moment to think, as he doesn't want to kill her. Dan takes this opportunity to take the Trickster's shoes, therefore negating his ability to fly. He catches James before he hits the ground, however.
After the bank lands, Dan checks with the people inside to make sure they're okay. After hearing that that's the case, eh tells them that he has the Trickster well in hand. The Trickster tells Dan that he almost pulled it off, and Dan then points to a convoy of armored cars that are actually transporting the money from the bank and asks James if he really thought they would keep the money in the bank during transport, to which James replies that they would in Central City. The bank guards want to call the State Police to take the Trickster in, but Dan tells them that he's probably too dangerous, and that he'll take Trickster in himself. He then stows James in the trunk of Sharon's car, and he and Sharon drive away.
My rating: 8/10
This is a fun issue. The conceit of pulling off an aerial bank robbery is a nice concept, and the way the Trickster goes about it is pretty clever.
It's obvious that Cohn and Mishkin have great affection for James Jesse, as they did want to do a mini-series for him at one point. They also talked about how the Trickster is a crook and not a villain--meaning that while he does steal from people, he's not out to rule the world or hurt anyone unnecessarily.
As for the art, while Keith Giffen has become less and less my cup of tea over the years, I can't deny it's solid. However, much like last issue, finding an artist who does a good job with both the silly stuff and the serious action isn't easy, and Giffen leans more towards the former here. I'm really starting to see how good Paris Culins really is.
Blue Devil #9 - "Shoe Fly--Don't Bother Me!"
Cover Date: February 1985
Writer: Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin
Artist: Ernie Colon
Bolt is trailing Dan, James and Sharon, hoping to stop them befoer they get to Santa Veronica. Meanwhile, Neemish and some other scientists are working on something that will make the world tremble.
Bolt attacks Sharon's pink Cadillac. The Trickster fires back with some loaded soap bubbles, but Bolt is able to negate them before they explode. He fires another bolt and Dan jerks the wheel, forcing the car over a cliff. Dan grabs for his trident, but it flies off without him, attacking Bolt on it's own. Bolt flies away. Before the car crashes, Trickster manages to grab them both, however he's only got one shoe so he can't fly as well as normal.
Attempting to lighten Trickster's load, Dan jumps for a nearby cliff--however, he doesn't land easily and is left hanging from the side. His trident comes to the rescue at the same time as Trickster lands.
Bolt is conferring with Neemish and his men. Neemish asks about Blue Devil and why he's helping out the Trickster, and Bolt tells him that he knows who he is, but that he shouldn't be a problem, especially as he recovered the Trickster's other shoe. Neemish is pleased to see the shoe as his plan hinges on it. He tells Bolt to take it to the test site, and Bolt agrees, teleporting away. After he leaves, Neemish's men voice some concerns about Bolt, especially if he should ever learn the truth about what they're doing.
Dan, Sharon and James have checked into a nearby motel. As Sharon swims in the motel pool, Dan and James have a conversation. Dan is annoyed that James hasn't leveled with them at all, and asks why he's so worried about his missing shoe. Tricksters suggests that he never should have burdened Dan and Sharon with his problems.
Sharon wants to show Dan a dive she's been working on. As she goes to make the dive, there's an earthquake. Trickster says they must be testing the device, and something has happened to the water in the pool As Sharon clings to the diving board, Dan goes to rescue her.
After the rescue, Dan demands that Trickster come clean about what's going on. James explaisn that he was working for a new secret organization that had the brilliant plan of seceding California from the rest of the USA by separating it from the mainland. They want to use the technology in Trickster's shoes to levitate the entire state. Trickster gave them some advice, but not the secret to his levitation principle, and that's what they want from him. Meanwhile, they're testing using the other shoe and it's causing earthquakes.
Over at Verner Studios, Gopher is bringing a note to Wayne Tarrant. Gopher tells him the note was given to him by someone who works at the studio as she was there with her friend while Tarrant was shooting the commercial. The note is threatening in nature. Gopher asks if Wayne has jilted anyone, and he can't think of anyone recently. He decides not to worry about it and asks Gopher about the book he's reading. Gopher tells Wayne it's a journal that some college professors left for Dan about how people act when they become superheroes. He then tells Wayne that if his Aunt Marla is looking for him, he's cleaning Dan's workshop.
Back at the test site in Santa Veronica, Neemish and his men have built a giant-sized version of Trickster's shoe. Bolt doesn't think it can fly, but the scientists have been pleased with their tests. Bolt still isn't sure about what it is they're doing, and they explain that they feel that California is being held back socioeconomically by being attached to the mainland USA. By separating, they're hoping to stimulate things to make California the greatest cultural and economic power in the world.
Meanwhile, in a rented car, Dan has created a tracer that can track the energies of Trickster's shoe. As Dan and James argue over who should hold the tracer, Sharon is having a hard time steering the car. They manage to find the place (called "The Place") and enter. Dan smashes down the oak door in the front while Trickster follows behind. Bolt asks if he should do something, but Neemish and his men have their own defenses. Neemish pulls a lever and an anti-gravity field is created.
As Dan and Trickster float in the air, James explains that the field is based on the technology in his shoes, and if one of them can escape the affected are, they should be able to get out of it. Dan throws Trickster at Bolt, stunning him. Trickster recovers his other shoe from Bolt and begins to free Dan.
Bolt rushes James, but he sidesteps and Bolt crashes into the machinery. Dan then zaps him with his trident. Bolt realizes he can't handle them by himself and tells Neemish to call out his troops, but Neemish explains that he's their only hire. Bolt realizes that the three scientists aren't the bosses of the organization, but the whole of the organization and he wants an explanation. Dan tries to stop Bolt from killing them, but Trickster wants to hear their explanation as well, and he trips Dan up.
Bolt asks the scientists about all the men that worked for them like the skyriders and such, and they explain that they hired those men through the monitor.
Dan intervenes, attempting to save the scientists from harm. This ticks off Bolt, who has been holding back in an attempt to not damage the equipment. He attacks, and Dan barely dodges.
While Dan and Bolt fight, one of the scientists pushes a button. The building collapses and the giant shoe is revealed. The scientists board the shoe and activate it. It takes off, pulling the nearby ground with it.
As Trickster, Dan and Bolt float in the anti-gravity field, Trickster explains that the shoe cannot work in the way they expect. Shortly, the ground in the field starts to settle back to earth. Trickster explains that while the shoe has a lot of initial lift, it can't handle the ground below as it's just not powerful enough. Bolt teleports away. Dan asks when they will stop rising and Trickster tells them they won't, as the shoe they stole controls ascent, but you need the other to control descent.
Sharon floats by and calls out to Dan for help. Trickster won't do anything and Dan wishes he had his trident. His wish comes true as the trident comes when he calls. He grabs Trickster and goes to her aid. They manage to get aboard the convertible.
Sharon asks Dan what he's going to do about the scientists. Neemish yells down at them defiantly that they don't need his help. He tells them to find their own way down by reversing the controls. They try, and realize that the descent lever doesn't work. They yell for help.
Dan guides the convertible up to the shoe using his trident, and the scientists board, leaving the shoe to drift into space. However, now they have to fly down, which isn't so easy using the trident. He manages to land them in the ocean, then Trickster surrounds them with a giant rubber duck to keep them afloat. Dan asks Trickster why he robs banks when he could get rich selling his inventions, and Trickster reminds him that selling his technology is what got them in this mess to begin with.
My rating: 7/10
Another new artist this month, and once more Paris Cullins is missed. Ernie Colon isn't a bad match for the action/comedy genre, but he's not quite as solid in the action scenes as one would like.
The story itself is okay, albeit perhaps a little anti-climactic. It is an amusing idea that the scary organization that's been chasing Trickster the last few issues turns out to be three scientists, but it's also a little bit of a letdown.
I have to say, Trickster does add a nice bit of chaos to the mixture, and makes a decent sidekick for Dan, almost like Plastic Man and Woozy Winks in the early days.
Blue Devil #10 - "Hell Hath No Furies...!"
Cover Date: March 1985
Writer: Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin
Artist: Michael Chen
We flash back to Mount Olympus, where the goddess Athena is disturbed by a noise she hears from Earth. As it turns out, the noise is coming from Wayne Tarrant, who at one time was a teen idol calling himself Theseus, who was once beloved of Athena. We see three girls in the audience who are completely smitten with Wayne. They go to see him backstage after the concert, and adult things happen--at least that's what we're lead to believe. Afterwards he promises to call the girls, but Athena realizes he never will. which annoys her to no end. She swears that if he continues this charade, she'll do something about it.
Fast forward to present day, and Wayne is still doing his Theseus act, albeit to much less success. These days he's booked into third-rate venues for tired conventionneers. He plays to a largely empty club with the exception of Danny and friends, and three women. It's the same group of women from before, but they seem to feel sorry for Wayne, as they find it hard to stay angry at anyone who's fallen so far.
As he continues to perform, Wayne catches the attention of Athena again. She sees the same women still watching him, and decides to take revenge on their behalf. She sends a magical urn to the stage next to Wayne.
Wayne trips over the urn, breaking it. A dust comes out of the urn, and infects the three women, turning them into Furies. They attack Wayne, and Danny is forced to defend him. As the Furies turn their attention to Danny, he tells Sharon and Marla to get Wayne out of there.
Sharon and Marla load Wayne into a car and drive away. Wayne is attempting to figure out what he did to piss off the women, but he had no idea.
The Furies get away from Danny and pursue Wayne. However, finding him gone, they disappear.
The next morning Danny is leaving Marla's house, thinking that he needs to find a place of his own (which makes me wonder just where he was living before the accident). He's approached by the scientists from the Institute For Hyper-Normal Conflict Studies. They ask if Gopher told him about them, but Danny doesn't know. They ask Danny if they can study him, but he tells them he's got better things to do. He drives away, and they catch a cab to follow him. He manages to ditch them at the studio gate by telling the security guard that they're autograph hounds. The guard stops them but they resist, until Jock Verner drives up. Hearing that they're harassing Cassidy, he's only too happy to let them have the run of the place.
Verner leads the scientists to Cassidy's workshop. He tells Cassidy to give them every courtesy. While they're arguing, the phone rings. It's Wayne--the Furies have found him. Danny rushes off to help him.
When Danny arrives at Wayne's house, he finds Wayne trapped in a tornado that's destroyed his house. Wayne tells him that they broke his gold record as well, which he doesn't understand. Danny grabs Wayne and manages to pull him out of the whirlwind, with the Furies in pursuit.
Danny asks Wayne who these women are and why they're after him, but Wayne still doesn't understand. Meanwhile, they're also being pursued by the scientists, who got Wayne's address from Verner. A news van also sees the chase and goes in pursuit.
At an army base somewhere, Etta Candy is watching the news and sees the report about the Furies. She asks her friend Diana what's going on and explains the situation to her. Diana excuses herself, transforms to Wonder Woman and boards her invisible jet, flying out to Hollywood at top speed.
Danny fights the Furies, but with little success He's attempting to calm them down so they can talk, but they are not interested. One of them grabs his trident, but it attacks her, surprising both the Furies and Danny. They're forced into a brief standoff when Wonder Woman enters the scene.
She asks Danny why the Furies are there, and Danny telsl her it was something to do with Wayne, but he doesn't know what. After they talk, Wonder Woman leaves to retrieve the urn while Danny continues fighting the Furies.
Back at the nightclub, a janitor is cleaning up from the night before. He picks up the pieces of the urn and wonders if the incinerator will handle them. Wonder Woman arrives just in time to stop him from burning the urn. She takes the garbage and flies away.
Meanwhile, Danny isn't faring so well against the Furies. However, Wonder Woman arrives in the nick of time. She tells him to take his trident and activate the reverse thrust. He does so with the trident aimed at the Furies, and it transforms them back into their normal selves again (apparently,t he trident has the mystical energy to suck in the spirits of the Furies). Wonder Woman then uses the pieces of the urn to trap the spirits of the Furies within.
At this point, Athena appears and asks Diana why she's thwarting her vengeance. She quickly explains why she was angry and why she utilized the women as vessels for the Furies, but the women admit that what happened at the time was pretty much what they wanted to happen, and that now they just felt sorry for Wayne. Hearing this, Athena agrees to stop trying to get vengeance on Wayne. so long as he never plays Theseus again. He agrees, and Athena leaves.
Afterwards, Dan cringes when the news crew refers to him as Hollywood's own super-hero. Meanwhile, Wayne is attempting to mend fences with the women, suggesting they pick things up where they left them. They let him know exactly what they think of that idea.
The scientists ask Wonder Woman how she put the urn back together, and she explains that she didn't use the heat from her invisible plane or mystical means, but rather a tube of super glue. Danny has also used it to glue Wayne to the ground.
My rating: 7/10
Something I find very curious about this issue is that despite Wonder Woman's appearanc within the comic, she's not mentioned on the cover. If this were, say, the Ghost Patrol or some similarly (mostly) forgotten character I could see them leaving it off the cover, but given that Wonder Woman is considered one of DC's big guns I'm a tad surprised there's no mention.
Anyway, this was a solid issue with a reasonably fun, lightweight story. I think Michael Chen does a pretty good job with the art here, and the story is professionally executed. Perhaps it could have been a little funnier, but it still was enjoyable enough.
Blue Devil #11 - "70mm Dreams!"
Cover Date: April 1985
Writer: Todd Klein
Artist: Tod Smith
Norm is filming Dan for a promotional video while Marla is on the phone with Jock Verner, who is complaining about the budget. Dan has an accident and crashes into the film crew. Verner wants to know what's happening, and when Marla tells him that nothing more than "a little mishap" is going on, he decides to send over one of his auditors, H.P. Wally, to go over the accounts.
Dan gets up from his accident, but he's a little woozy. However, he tells Norm that he's ready to go. Before they can start shooting again, however, Dan is called to Marla's office. Marla explains what's going on and tells Dan that they can't afford any more budget overruns. Dan sneezes and Marla wonders if he has a cold.
As Dan leaves Marla's office, he runs into Gopher, who tells him how great he is. However, he's countered by Wayne Tarrant, who blames Dan for Verner being on their case. Throughout all of this, Dan keeps sneezing. He heads to his trailer to get some rest.
Inside his trailer, he gets an unexpected surprise--Sharon is there making chili for him. He's happy to see her. As they discuss their day, he tells her that he's sick, but that her chili is preferable to chicken soup. He asks her for a date that night, but she turns him down, saying that Marla is on her case for the scandal sheet rumors going on about the two of them, as she thinks it's bad publicity for the movie.
Later on, they've reset the scene for the promo again. Dan goes through the whole thing, but loses his way and crashes again. This time, as he comes to, he finds Wally in his face blaming him for blowing the budget and wasting money.
Dan decides he's had enough browbeating and walks away. However, before he can exit, Wally reveals himself to be the super-powered Auditor. He attacks Dan, who runs away.
Dan finds a brief respite but is interrupted by Wayne, who tells Dan he's going to help him get to the studio's infirmary. However, he actually leads Dan into a cage and slams the door shut. He then calls the Auditor to tell him that he's captured Dan. During the call, Wayne is transformed into the Sycophant, a human sized rat.
The Auditor shows up and praises the Sycophant, but Dan busts out of the cage and attacks the Auditor., causing the cage to come crashing down on him. While the Auditor and the Sycophant are trapped beneath the rubble, Dan tries to escape again. However, he's stopped by Gopher, who tells him he can't run away. Gopher then transforms into Hyperbole, sort of a flying tank with a megaphone for a mouth that loudly spreads the word about how great Dan is.
Dan creates a smoke screen to escape from Hyperbole and runs away. Outside the studio a limousine pulls up to take him to safety. Sharon is inside. She's dressed to the nines, and tells Dan that the limo is something special she worked out with Verner, and it isn't costing a dime so he doesn't have to explain it to the Auditor. She then kisses him and tells him she's taking him to a press conference to announce their romance. Dan tries to stop her, but she's transformed into Scandal(Shootin' at the walls of heartache Bang, bang). Dan bursts through the roof of the limo trying go get away but the limo sprouts wings and pursues.
As he attempts to get away, Hyperbole is spreading the news about the affair, and Scandal grows to giant size and attempts to grab Dan. Sycophant is also aboard the limo and tells Dan that if Scandal is too much woman for Dan he'll be happy to take over. Dan suddenly falls off the trunk of the limo towards his death...
...And wakes up, laying in his trailer at Verner Studios while all of his friends look on with concern. The doctor tells Dan he had a nasty bump on the head, and he tells Wayne, Gopher and Sharon that they were in his dream, as well as the Auditor. Wayne tells him that the Auditor has been waiting for him, and suddenly there he is, grown giant-sized. Dan grabs his trident and attacks, but he's not strong enough to do anything. The Auditor backhands him into the ocean.
Dan is picked up by some men in a dinghy, saying that he's already showing signs of Satan. One of them is carrying a harpoon. Another suggests he's just a man wearing a costume and introduces himself as Ishmael. The Auditor shows up, this time as a massive whale. Dan hurls his trident at the whale, but it's no good and the whale swallows the dinghy.
Inside the whale, he's surrounded by life-sized playing cards who tell him he's going to lose his head. He drives them off, but the Red Queen shows up and guess what? It's the Auditor.
Dan runs away down a path that's a strip of film and the Auditor chases him, snipping the path from time to time. The strip that Dan is standing on is cut off and Dan thinks it's the end. However, it's an angel come to save him, and the angel drives the Auditor away.
Dan wakes up again as the angel becomes Marla. She tells him that he crashed and that he's been out cold for several minutes. He tells her that he guessed that he ruined the take again, but Wally runs up and tells him it's much more important that he got through everything safely. They help him to a waiting ambulance (no EMT's?), and Wally tells him that the Blue Devil is only a movie character, whereas he is an irreplaceable person and his health takes precedence. Marla apologizes for pushing him too hard.
My rating: 6/10
This is fairly obviously an inventory story (something I'd never realized before), and it's neither bad nor good. It more or less fits with the tone of the other stories, and I do like the art, which reminds me of Frank Robbins. The story itself isn't much of anything to write home about however--it's professionally done, but not terribly exciting.
Blue Devil #12 - "He's No Super-Hero!"
Cover Date: May 1985
Writer: Gary Cohn & Dan Mishkin
Artist: Alan Kupperberg
Sithers and Rojek are noticing that Blue Devil is on the cover of People Weekly. They're doing this while they're breaking into Metallo's old hideout to loot it. While they're doing this, Shockwave shows up and asks them if the boss is with them.
Meanwhile, back in Hollywood, Sharon is telling Danny he has to get ready for tonight's premiere of the Blue Devil movie, but he wants to examine his trident instead. As he says, it's been acting oddly ever since he got it back from Nebiros. He's unable to take it apart using the screws holding it together, so he resorts to a blowtorch, which runs out of fuel. Gopher volunteers to change the tank for him, which is inside a closet that Gopher doesn't want Danny opening.
Sharon notices a model from a movie that Danny worked on and tells him that her brother loved that movie. Danny tells her to take it for him if he liked it so much and asks if he's coming to the premiere. Before she can answer, the trident makes an odd noise, and Danny tells the others that it's fighting him. The action stops, but the torch stops working again.
Elsewhere on the studio lot, Marla is having a conversation with Jock Verner. She congratulates him on the publicity from the People Weekly magazine article, but he's unhappy about it, as it wasn't supposed to be about Danny's private life. Verner wanted the story to be about a hulking monster that his studio was keeping at bay, not a nice guy like Danny--he has no idea how to sell that. Marla suggests that he shouldn't be trying to cash in on other people's problems, and he retorts that everyone has problems and there's nothing wrong with making a buck off of them. One of his directors comes over to ask him to quiet down a bit while they're filing, and Verner fires him. Marla assures the director that he's not fired and that she'll get his job back.
Back at Metallo's hideout, Smithers and Rojek are queitly arguing about Shockwave. One of them wants to use him for his super strength--it will make looting the hideout much easier, but the other suggests that Shockwave is a stone killer who could rip them apart with his bare hands if he gets a mind to. The other argues that he'll do whatever they tell him to--after all, he's been loyally waiting all of these months for Metallo to come back. Shockwave ends the conversation by ripping apart the People Weekly magazine--he says he hates Blue Devil and wants revenge, and the two of them are going to help him do just that. They have no choice but to agree. They board a flying craft that rises out of the hideout, destroying it and everything inside.
Back in Hollywood, Danny is driving himself and Sharon to the premiere. She's telling him that he should have let her drive, as he's having issues driving with his new body. He almost misses his freeway exit but manages to make it, although he cuts off another car in the process. Wayne Tarrant is in the other car, also headed to the premiere. He complains about Danny cutting him off to his date, but she finds Danny attractive and overlooks the issue.
The principals begin arriving at the premier. First is Jock Verner. A red carpet host attempts to interview him, but he's distracted by the arrival of Marla and Gopher. Verner is annoyed that the stars of the movie have yet to arrive, and Marla attempts to pacify him. She also tells him to smile for the cameras.
Danny and Sharon arrive, and Verner is surprised to see Danny wearing a tuxedo. After Danny makes a snarky remark, Verner's chauffeur Van offers to put Danny in his place, and Danny tells him to bring it. Marla pacifies the group, telling them that if they want to fight they can do it when the media isn't around. She ushers them all inside the theater. As they walk away, Van thinks that he could take Danny.
As they watch the movie, Danny is uncomfortable watching the scene where Nebiros seals him into the suit again. Another guest at the premiere asks Danny to take off his horns as he's blocking his view, and Danny overreacts, grabbing the guy by the coat and threatening him. Sharon tries to calm him down, and Norm tells him that he's shaking like a leaf. Then Norm realizes that everyone is shaking.
At this point, Shockwave, Smithers and Rojek burst through the movie screen. He challenges Blue Devil, and Danny accepts. Van wants to enter the fray as well, but Verner holds him back, telling him that he wants Cassidy to handle this one, as you can't buy publicity like this. He also tells van that he'll get his chance.
Shockwave and Danny begin to brawl. Shockwave knocks him into the popcorn machine, and Smithers and Rojek shoot him with the ray guns they're carrying. This angers Shockwave, as he's the one who wants to defeat Blue Devil. Meanwhile, the theater is being evacuated.
Danny didn't bring his trident, which means he can't just fly away from Shockwave. He manages to climb to the roof of the theater however. Shockwave pursues him, and Danny tries to defeat him using the same method he had before, by destroying his power booster. However, the controls were changed to Danny's attempt fails. Danny then hurls the two of them off the roof. As they're falling, Danny realizes they're going to hit Sharon's pink '59 Cadillac, which cost her a fortune. He changes the angle of their fall so they hit Verner's limo instead.
Meanwhile, we see the trident beginning to levitate, then head to the scene on it's own volition.
Shifting scenes to New Orleans, Jason Blood is attending Mardi Gras. He's been searching for a mystic disturbance, but realizes it isn't in New Orleans. He transforms to Etrigan the demon to follow it.
Back in Hollywood, Danny and Shockwave are still fighting. Shockwave is getting the upper hand and is ready to drop a huge chunk of rubble on Danny's head when his trident arrives. The trident changes Danny's clothes to his Blue Devil costume and invigorates him.
Smithers and Rojek crawl out of the rubble of the theater, both wishing for the return of the good old days before super-villains. Gopher spots them, and they're ready to shoot him with their stun guns and Gopher fights back with one of Danny's bubble machines. They corner him and are about to shoot him when Verner's chauffeur Van jumps off of a nearby rooftop and kayoes the pair. Gopher is impressed and asks Van how he learned to jump like that. Van tells him he'll make a deal with him--Gopher keeps quiet about what he just saw, and Van doesn't tell anyone that Gopher is running around with one of Cassidy's gadgets.
Shockwave attempts to tear down a brick wall on some of the spectators including Wayne and Wayne's date. Norm pulls her to safety while Danny turns the falling bricks into dust with the power of his trident. He then fires bubbles at Shockwave, temporarily obscuring his vision.
As they fight Danny's voice begins to change--he sounds more and more demonic. Shockwave tells him to stop that spook stuff, and that nothing will stop him from tearing both Blue Devil and the city apart. A man watching on television hears these words and suggests that he'll stop Shockwave from doing that.
Shockwave attacks Blue Devil, charging him head on, while Blue Devil just stands there. Shockwave connects, and finds himself bouncing off of Blue Devil, thrown across the street by the impact and taking Shockwve out of the fight.
As Danny's friends are exultant over his victory, they go to congratulate him. However, he pushes them away. He tells the crowd that there is no "Dan" just him, and he has been building his strength for months. He's ready now and plans to destroy this world of mortal men.
To be continued...
My rating: 8/10
This starts out pretty light-hearted, but by the end the reader realizes that the stakes have been significantly upgraded. There's been a good job of building up to this moment over recent issues, and it creates a lot of anticipation for the continuation of the story.
So, I was really curious about this, and I was able to contact Dan Mishkin, who graciously replied:
First, it's almost never the case that I've had input on a cover; that's something that's commissioned by the editor. So Alan Gold might have the answer.But my suspicion is that he and Paris thought the dramatic aerial shot of Wayne in danger and BD coming to the rescue would do the main thing a cover is supposed to -- sell the book. And one of the ways that goal is accomplished is with a cover image that makes the reader want to know what the heck is going on, and how it came to pass. Which can only be learned by (buying and) reading the comic.Also, and I hate to have to say this, I don't know if Wonder Woman would have been much of a draw for Blue Devil readers. That could very well have been Alan's thinking (and recall that I was the writer and he was the editor of WW at the time).I'll close with an example of a cover for a story of mine, worked out by an editor and artist, that absolutely floored me with its unexpected brilliance -- something I never would have come up with because it was not even the main storyline of the issue. (Credit Marv Wolfman and Frank Miller.)
Something I find very curious about this issue is that despite Wonder Woman's appearance within the comic, she's not mentioned on the cover. If this were, say, the Ghost Patrol or some similarly (mostly) forgotten character I could see them leaving it off the cover, but given that Wonder Woman is considered one of DC's big guns I'm a tad surprised there's no mention.
Hey, Randy, thanks for letting me know about this board. But having said that, let me knock down one assumption:
At no time did Gary and I want Cassidy to join the JLA. As was undoubtedly evident from the outset, we very much wanted him to be well integrated into the DC Universe; we got there by our own method, though (with various guest stars and cameos, and making use of STAR Labs). But to take a character who is decidedly not a joiner and make membership in the Justice League his (or our) goal wouldn't have been in the spirit of the book.
Randy Jackson said:
As you'll see shortly, Zatanna definitely saw something in Dan that she liked.
I think back then it was the goal of most creators to have their characters included in the JLA, because that's where the big guns were (unless we're talking about the Detroit era).
John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:
Zatanna seemed smitten with Dan, practically inviting him to join the JLA, so perhaps that's why she was so careless later on in the story. I wonder if Mishkin and Cohn wanted BD to eventually join the JLA.
Wonder Woman was not a great seller when I took over the book -- I'm pretty sure the frequency was cut to 9 issues a year somewhere in there, and it was probably only Jenette Kahn's dedication to the character that kept it going.
While a bunch of people have told me they liked my run a lot, I don't think they represent the comics readership of the day. OTOH, now that DC has digitized those issues, they keep selling a few at a time (according to the quarterly royalty statements I get).