Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1, which was really good ("There will be no eating of teammates."), and G.I. Joe: Cobra #1-3. People who know me know that I don't just pick up and read a G.I. Joe comic. I've never been into them, and I was never even into the toys, really. But the guys on iFanboy really recommended this book, saying it doesn't feel like a Joe book at all. And it really doesn't. It's a lot more like a Queen and Country story. One of the guys (in the Hawaiian shirt) goes undercover, and it's an extremely good spy story so far. Cobra nor G.I. Joe (I believe) have never been mentioned in this book, but some of the characters have. VERY highly recommended!

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Crazy since just recently they believe they've found evidence that she lived for awhile. Not sure about the veracity of it, but there is a special either soon or there was recently on History Channel, I think.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

DICK TRACY: Last night I read a continuity I had completely forgotten about. It’s basically the story of Amelia Earhart’s remains being discovered in the Arctic (although she’s “Lita Flite” here) with the possibility of her frozen remains being revived. The Moon crap is largely missing from this story, except for the week or so surrounding Christmas of that year (1964).

There's a short NPR article about the claims here. Apparently the documentary offers two types of evidence. (1) Testimony from Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands that she landed there. (2) A photograph from Jaluit Island which it argues shows her, but the figure's back is to the camera and its face cannot be properly seen (so it's like a bigfoot photo).

The criticism I've seen focused on the photograph. The testimony from Mili Atoll is independent of it. The claim that she landed there is longstanding. The net tells me the Marshall Islands even issued commemorative stamps in 1987.

The History Channel special is on his coming Sunday July 9. I'm going to DVR it.

DICK TRACY: I finished volume 22 over the weekend. Last week I said I liked the Moon-era stuff because that’s what I had grown up with. I should have been more specific. What I like is the Space Coupe and the magnetic air cars. The science fiction aspects are crap. Even Pat Patton quipped at one point that there was too much “Moon” and not enough police work.

For some reason, Chester Gould decided that the national dish of the Moon would be giant escargot. I think it’s all they eat. Junior and Moon Maid’s infant daughter scoops handfuls out of giant shells. For Thanksgiving, the Earth- and Moon-people had a “contest” between escargot and turkey. For the first live television broadcast from the Moon to the Earth, a trio of Moon women danced and plucked escargot banjoes. Then for their next routine they wore even larger shells over their upper torsos. This is the kind of thing about which one might be tempted to say, “You can’t make this stuff up,” but of course, Gould did.

The main villains this volume are Matty Square and Bribery. Matty Square meets a typically grisly Gouldian death (he boiled to alive), yet somehow he exists as a computer program or something in current continuity. Mr. Bribery is also in current continuity. In the ‘60s, the rest of his gang includes his sister, Ugly Christine, an Ecuadorian Indian named Nah-Tay, and Matty Square’s cigar smoking cat. Bribery will return next volume.

The Amelia Earhart documentary's claims about the photograph seem to have been disproven.

CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN (HOWARD CHAYKIN):

Someone once opined (in reference to Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One) that was “easy” to come into a series and shake things up for four or six issues, but that it was much more difficult to tell captivating stories over a long run of issues. I don’t necessarily agree with the first part of that statement, but Howard Chaykin does seem to do an awful lot of “origin” stories (most of them original concepts), but rarely do they turn into ongoing series. (Just an observation.)

Howard Chaykin is like Jack Kirby in the way he continually invents new characters and concepts. Arguably, his most successful shot at creating on ongoing series was American Flagg!, which yielded 26 issues written and drawn primarily by him, 50 issues overall, plus 12 issues of a follow-up series done under his direct supervision. So many of Chaykin’s series are open-ended, yet seldom go beyond their initial set up.

Chaykin’s Challengers of the Unknown is one such series. After the six-issue series which established the status quo of the new team, that was it. I bought (and bought into) the first issue of the 2004 series, then decided to tradewait. When the collection came out, though, I either missed it or wasn’t in the mood to buy it at the time. If you’ve read my recent posts, though, you know I’m going through a Chaykin phase now, and I recently rectified that situation.

I’m not reading his series in any particular order, but the online “review” of his Challs (“Left-wing f*gg*t”) he recently referenced prompted me to read it in its entirety at last. It has only tenuous ties to the original team, but after reading the set-up I was ready for more! Unfortunately, that’s not to be. This series is about a group of individuals who, unbeknownst to them, have been genetically enhanced to serve a ruling elite. They five survive what appears to be a terrorist attack, then break the control of their masters.

It’s a bit extreme, but thought provoking stuff nevertheless.

I read my way through some digital comics earlier, mostly from the late 80's.

Adam Strange #1 (1990): This just reminded me that a lot of the comics coming out at that time were pretty depressing. Adam Strange has been promised that the next time he gets zapped back to Rann, he will be there for good, because of the use of a new, experimental Zeta Beam. But he soon learns that most of the people on Rann--while they think he's a hero--don't want him there, and that their science should be used to help their kind, not some alien who wants to just be with his family. It's written by Richard Bruning and drawn by Andy Kubert. Interestingly enough, just a couple weeks ago I had read Batman Vs. Predator, where I also got to see some early Andy Kubert art for my first time. He's had his chops for a long time!

Hawkworld #1-2: The first two parts of this miniseries from 1989 were also downers. That said, they were beautifully written and drawn. Honestly, I'm still not quite sure what came from Earth and what came from Thanagar, with Katar Hol and Carter Hall both making appearances in this book, but not in the same time period. Shayera was a ruthless hunter as well as a princess. There are the rich elite, and they treat the monstrosities under them like dirt, and often with brutality. We do have one issue left, so I will read that one and get back.

Power Girl #1-2 (1988): In this miniseries of four parts, Power Girl spends the first couple being attacked by strange, elemental baddies. Written by Paul Kupperberg and drawn by Rick Hoberg, this was extremely formulaic. To me, that's not necessarily a bad thing, because that's what made so many 80's comics enjoyable. But really, the bad guys are pretty lame, with names like Force, Hydra, and Hurricane. Their designs are nothing to write home about either. Karen is also dealing with the fallout of her business troubles and her friends' drama. In current continuity, is she still an entrepreneur?

Starman #3-4 (1988): I have never read the earlier issues of this book. I believe I came on in the mid-teens somewhere of the issues, but I had a pretty decent idea of what to expect. It's about a hiker wandering around in the mountains who is suddenly hit with a blast of power that was meant for five or six people to give them powers. Therefor, he gets all of the powers. He can create heat, change his appearance, super-strong, he can fly, and he doesn't even have to breathe. Writer Roger Stern makes kind of a big deal about Starman's "exotic look" he gives himself as Starman, but really, he's just kind of an orange-y color, which is barely noticeable with the coloring of the time, and his eyes or white. But his hair is the exact same. This is also a great, fun book of its time. Very much of its time.

Hawk & Dove Annual #1 (1990): I'm sorry, but this one read far better as an unintentional comedy than it did as serious book. Hawk and Dove (this was the boy and girl version instead of the brothers version) have to reassemble Titans West in order to stop a bunch of bad guys for some reason. The characters are over the top. The Titans West (and I have no idea if this team is brand new or how much it was actually based on the old Titans West) consisted of:

  • Flamebird--whose entire identity was that she was a dumb blonde who had a big crush on every boy super-hero.
  • Chris King: He made a few transformations using the H-Dial, and did nothing by way of characterization.
  • Lilith: The mysterious female Titan...oooh!
  • The Herald: He reluctantly got back into the Titans game because...
  • Bumblebee, his wife, was up for an adventure and wanted in on the act.
  • Golden Eagle: A dumb surfer dude who did more harm than good.

The villains were laughable stereotypes. Throw in the Haunted Tank, who saves the day, and you have just a bad comic, but one that was fun to read (with stupid voices in my head).

Oh, and I also read Justice League Europe #26-28, which was the Starro story arc. Starro invaded London, eventually taking over almost all of the JLE. At least Rocket Red, Captain Atom, and Metamorpho had inorganic faces and couldn't be taken over by the starfish face-suckers. I found it interesting (yet realistic) that the day was saved by a member of Justice League America, Ice, who froze the starfish face of the head honcho on Martian Manhunter, stopping the whole invasion.

Bart Sears can draw. As always, his Power Girl is hideous, but everyone else is drawn to look pretty cool.

So it turns out that I never did read 'Namwolf #2, because when I read #3, I thought it was #2. This does, I have to say, fill in the gap quite nicely. Written by a guy whose flag I have been waving around for the summer, Fabian Rangel, Jr., it is the story of a kid fighting in Vietnam who finds out he comes from a long line werewolves. His own daddy killed Nazis in WWII! Love the cartooning by Logan Faerber.

Mage: The Hero Denied #0: I haven't read any of the other Mage books from Matt Wagner. I always thought I should give it a try, because I was such a big fan of Grendel. This quick little read was mostly talking, and it seemed to set up something. In the end, he is confronted by a monster. It says this is his last adventure, so I think I will try to search down his other books in the library to see if I want to read this or not.

Diablo House #1: From IDW, this was the first book I read today that started with a map of California. This book is a call back to books like Eerie and Creepy, except each issue seemingly revolves around one story, self-contained. The Diablo House itself is at Jim Lee's old Wildstorm HQ in La Jolla--seriously. The writer used to work for him, evidently. Plus, the crypt keeper is a surfer. I thought the story was actually pretty good, and I loved the art from Santiperez. Oh, it was written by a guy named Ted Adams. This story is about a couple who manage a fish taco stand and bring it to prominence and turn it into a billion dollar franchise. They screw the original owner over in the process, and of course, we delight in watching them get what they deserve. I really enjoyed this.

Saga Volume Seven

Fiona Staples, artist; Brian K. Vaughan, writer

Image Comics, 2017

This installment takes place almost entirely on the comet Phang, where the group is forced to stop for fuel. Subtitled "The War For Phang," the publisher's summary calls it self-contained. It isn't, really, since a new reader would be lost without some past history with the characters--or would lack empathy with them, at the least. There is a whole group of Phang residents that the group adopts, and new information about the Freelancers. The Will loses his union membership; Lying Cat declines his offer to reunite; new Freelancers The March catch up with the family (demonstrating that they are on the run for a reason), and exit the stage. In the end the family escapes, and young Hazel (still the narrator) learns lessons about family, friends, and loss. It's ultimately an extended intermission in the main action, but it does touch on several things that should have long-term impact.

Also read the second installment of the newest Panel Syndicate e-comic by David López, BLACKHAND IRONHEAD #2. This is a family story with a superhero slant, with a definite family resemblance to Kurt Busiek's Astro City. The first issue did a good job at world building, and the second thickens the plot. It looks like the story is going to be about management malfeasance for awhile, which is an interesting twist. I'm sufficiently intrigued to keep reading, even though superheroes are not generally my thing. And it's still a "name your price" model, so why not check it out? 

I just finished reading Volume 7 of Saga also. It continues to impress me.

To Wandering Sensei,

Re: Titans West

These were Post-Crisis versions of the Teen Titans West that appeared in Teen Titans #50-52 (O-D'77).

Flamebird was the first BAT-GIRL, Betty Kane who was the niece of Kathy (Batwoman) Kane.

The Herald was MAL DUNCAN who also went by both THE GUARDIAN and HORNBLOWER (don't ask!) and he and Bumblebee were not part of the TTW but the Teen Titans East!

Golden Eagle was an orphan that Hawkman gave Thanagarian technology to because....reasons!

With Hawk, the first Dove, Lilith, Bat-Girl and Golden Eagle, there was also BEAST BOY but of course in 1990, he was part of the New Teen Titans as CHANGELING though today he's back to being Beast Boy!.

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