Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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"[BWS] has said in interviews that he was trying his best to signal Starr Saxon as the first gay supervillain."

I did not know that. There's another Starr Saxon story coming up; I'll have to keep any eye out. Oh, but it's by Colan, so maybe the subtext is not there.

"Saxon eventually became Machinesmith..."

Somehow I missed that little factette, too.

MMW CAPTAIN MARVEL v5:

This volume comprises issue #47-57, Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2, and records a series in transition. Scott Edelman and Al Milgrom wrote and drew (respectively) most of these stories, but other writers include Gerry Conway, Bill Mantlo, Doug Moench, Jim Shooter and Roger McKenzie; other artists include Pat Broderick, George Tuska and Dave Cockrum; and that’s not even mentioning the not insignificant contribution of Jim Starlin in the two annuals.

#47 is a good jumping on point. The story is well structured. It begins with action as Captain Marvel visits the Baxter Building and tussles with the Torch, then a flashback reveals what led up to this confrontation. What happened is, essentially, Captain Marvel flew too close to a black hole and rick Jones (somehow) became trapped in the Negative Zone again. A rescue attempt fails. Then Mar-Vell bangs his one negaband (Rick is wearing the other one) against his other wrist and the status quo is (somehow) restored, except that now they can remain switched for up to ten hours (rather than three) and their mental link is lessened.

Then Rick Jones association with Captain Marvel is recapped and two new characters, the Kree doctors Tara and Mac-Ronn are introduced. (I cannot read the latter’s name without hearing the voice of Eleanor Beardsley in my mind’s ear. But I digress.) They are travelling with the deactivated Sentry #459, with its memory wiped, and Ronan the Accuser, in stasis, in their custody, when they are shot down over the Texas/Mexico border. Ronan had been suffering from “The Sickness,” described as a “virus of the spirit” and a “loss of logic” from having spent too much time on (or near) Earth. The Sentry’s absorbs the mind of a Mexican bandit. If you think the “Mexican bandit” is a stereotype you would be correct, but wait until you meet the Texans introduced next issue.)

Mar-Vell encounters and the Sentry/bandit, and Rick Jones hooks back up with his manager Mordecai Boggs. (We are told twice that Captain Marvel has fought the Sentry once before, but actually it was twice.)

In issue #48, Rick Jones and Captain Marvel are both, inexplicably, wearing a pair of negabands this issue. Mar-Vell defeats the Sentry/bandit, but it/he sends a wave of mental energy to a friend who is transformed into “El Gata, the Cheetah.” Drs. Tara and Mac-Ronn are picked up by “Ma and Pa Kent” (Ethan and Elizabeth Wilford, actually). (SHIELD shot down a spaceship in south Texas and just left it there apparently.) Rick renews his acquaintance with “Trina,” a minor character who worked in a Greenwich Village coffee shop in issue #18 and who now runs the “Halfway Inn” in Texas. He spends the night at her place, one the couch (CCA), and meets her roommate Sharlene. Sharlene takes an interest in Rick (since he and Trina are “just friends”), but nothing comes of it. Captain Marvel has a rematch with the Sentry/bandit, but is defeated this time. He escapes, but transforms as the ten-hour limit is reached. Rick Jones is found by Tara, Mac-Ronn and the Wilfords.

In #49, Sonny and Cher’s relationship is compared, unfavorably, to that of Ike and Tina Turner. Tara is killed by a Ronan driven insane by the “Virus of the Spirit.” His mind is blank.

#50 features the Avengers and the Adaptoid. Rick is touring with “Dandy” Dandridge again. Without explanation, Trina becomes Gertie. (Either that, or “Gertie” is brought into the cast with no introduction whatsoever.) The Kree Dr. Minerva appears to replace Dr. Tara in the cast for reasons we will learn next issue. Both Tara and Mac-Ronn had disguised themselves as “pink skins,” but Minerva keeps her blue skin, with no explanation to the Wilfords at all.

Jarvis uses his Avengers ID to get backstage at Rick’s sold out show. The Adaptoid attacks and gains Captain Marvel’s powers, but is overwhelmed by cosmic awareness. Mar-Vell takes this opportunity to slam the Adaptaoid’s wrists together, thus freeing Rick from the Negative Zone. (I don’t write these things, I just read ‘em.)

#51 features Mercurio the 4-D man. In a cameo appearance, J. Jonah Jameson mentions Carol Danvers. Ricj Jones reunites with the Teen Brigade. Dr. Minerva is a pacifist and does not like Mar-Vell, but the Kree race is at a genetic dead-end, and she is determined that their offspring will break the genetic deadlock.

#52 and #53 both sport Gil Kane covers. The villain is Phae-Dor, Lord of Living Engery, late of the then-recently-cancelled Inhumans title. Pop culture reference: Bruce Lee triple feature. A stray newspaper headline reads: "Tearful Crowds Bid Milgrom Farewell" as this is his last issue. The Inhumans cross over, and the newly grammatically correct “War of the Three Galaxies” comes to a close before it even got underway. For those of you scoring at home, the three galaxies are: 1) Milky Way (ours), 2) Andromeda (Skrulls), and 3) Large Magellanic Cloud (Kree)… so, essentially the same three from the Kree/Skrull War.

#54 features a rematch with Nitro, the man who killed Mar-Vell (although neither one of them know it yet). Nitro’s hunchback is now gone. Wonder-Man makes an early (post-resurrection) appearance. A George Tuska-drawn last page splash is presented in pencil-only form, hinting at a Captain Mar-Vell/Wonder-Man clash next issue, but the page was pulled before production, replaced with a Dave Cockrum tribute to the cover of Marvel Super-Heroes #12.

#55 features Deathgrip, an old enemy of Dr. Lawson’s (believe it or not) from issue #10. (For those of you who may not know or remember, Walter Lawson was the man Mar-Vell accidentally killed and whose identity he assumed when he first came to Earth.) While rick Jones is on tour, Mar-Vell gets a job at a Colorado observatory. Pat Broderick is the artist this issue.

#56 is written by Doug Moench (script only), over a plot by Jim Shooter.

Starlin’s Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2, featuring the finale of the Thanos Saga, occur between #56 & #57. Captain Marvel bears witness to the “Strange Death of Adam Warlock” and delivers his eulogy.

#57 is the epilogue to the Thanos Saga, written by Roger McKenzie, in which Captain Marvel tussles with Thor.

I just read Bane: Conquest #1-12. Was that an attempt at a Bane ongoing, or what?

I assumed before I read it that it would somehow be connected to what Tom King is doing in Batman, especialy with "City of Bane" or whatever coming up. But no, it's entirely disconnected. And it's not like a maxiseries, because there are multiple stories, there's the establishment of (a cliched) supporting cast and multiple guest stars (Batman, Catwoman, Kobra, etc.).

Also, what is Bane doing living in a boat off Gotham, messing with Batman, when he's supposed to be running a worldwide crime empire ? And why do we only see, like three or four operatives (the aforementioned supporting cast) when Bane is supposed to be running a worldwide crime empire? Why does Bane's oft-mentioned crime worldwide empire never shown or demonstrated, but often mentioned?

I don't like Bane, and I'm tired of him, but even if I loved him, I would be disappointed in this stuff. It's like mediocre mid-1980s comics.

Oh, no! I bought this trade last year for cheap, hoping it would be an unexpected treat. Now it's sunken to the bottom of my pile. Thanks for the warning!

Captain Comics said:

I just read Bane: Conquest #1-12. Was that an attempt at a Bane ongoing, or what?

I assumed before I read it that it would somehow be connected to what Tom King is doing in Batman, especialy with "City of Bane" or whatever coming up. But no, it's entirely disconnected. And it's not like a maxiseries, because there are multiple stories, there's the establishment of (a cliched) supporting cast and multiple guest stars (Batman, Catwoman, Kobra, etc.).

Also, what is Bane doing living in a boat off Gotham, messing with Batman, when he's supposed to be running a worldwide crime empire ? And why do we only see, like three or four operatives (the aforementioned supporting cast) when Bane is supposed to be running a worldwide crime empire? Why does Bane's oft-mentioned crime worldwide empire never shown or demonstrated, but often mentioned?

I don't like Bane, and I'm tired of him, but even if I loved him, I would be disappointed in this stuff. It's like mediocre mid-1980s comics.

Don't listen to me, Jeff! Read it with a fresh eye, and then tell me all the good stuff that I missed because I don't like Bane!

I also read The Green Lantern #8, which was OK, and Batman Last Knight on Earth, which was pretty good. I really like how Capullo draws both Batman and Bruce Wayne, and have missed it. And the story is just some nutty apocalypse thing that clearly isn't in continuity, so I can enjoy it as an Elseworlds.

HEROES IN CRISIS #9: (See discussion)

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #10: (See discussion)

IMMORTAL HULK #18: Betty Ross-Talbot-Banner has previously transformed into the Harpy and the red Hulk. See this issue for her latest transformation. See this issue, too, for the latest iteration of the Abomination (truly abominable). And whatever did happen to Margo Chandler? (I lost track of her.

TRUE BELIEVERS SILVER SURFER: Every once in a while I have to buy one of these, even if it’s an issue I already have, just to get it on higher quality paper. This one reprints #51. You can’t go wrong for a buck.

DICK TRACY FOREVER #2: More proof (if any more be needed), not only that no one other than Chester Gould can do Dick Tracy, but also that Dick Tracy doesn’t work as an original comic book.

X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN: X-TINCTION #1: This issue summarizes X-Men comics released between 1986 and 1989, right around the time my interst in the X-Men was waning. True to form, this adaptation barely held my interest.

STAR TREK: YEAR FIVE #2: Part two of a pretty good story about the Tholians, but one definitely written from an early 21st century perspective. If this mini-series is supposed to cover the whole fifth year, they’d better get on the stick.

BATMAN: THE LAST KIGHT ON EARTH: This is my introduction to Synder/Capulio Batman. It’s pretty far-fetched. The plot (in which Bruce Wayne is an inmate at Arkham Asylum) reminds me of a two-part story from BM:LotDK in the ‘90s. This seems a rehash of that, but padded. It costs six bucks.

LEVIATHAN RISING: I stopped reading Superman and Action some time ago (after Bendis’s first story in each), and I don’t feel much has really happened since then. This one-shot special sets up the new Jimmy Olsen series (by Matt Fraction) and the new Lois Lane series (by Greg Rucka). Based on what I saw here, I’ll definitely be giving the Jimmy Olsen series a try. It’s the same quirky fun as the Silver Age version, but told with today’s sensibilities. Leviathan Rising costs ten bucks.

I don't buy any prestige format books anymore. I figure if they turn out to be good, I will read them when they are inevitably collected. I'll snatch prestige books from the back-issue dollar bin, but not off the rack anymore.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

BATMAN: THE LAST KIGHT ON EARTH: This is my introduction to Synder/Capulio Batman. It’s pretty far-fetched. The plot (in which Bruce Wayne is an inmate at Arkham Asylum) reminds me of a two-part story from BM:LotDK in the ‘90s. This seems a rehash of that, but padded. It costs six bucks.

You are wise beyond your years.

LEE/KIRBY FANTASTIC FOUR: Last night I read FF Annual #4 (the return of the Golden Age Human Torch) as a lead-in to re-reading some post-2004 Invaders continuity. Before that I read the recent HUGE Kirby is… Fantastic hardcover. For me, that’s like widescreen Technicolor after a lifetime of watching black and white TV.

SORTING INVADERS AND DEFENDERS: I haven’t posted about how I organize my comics since Alan M. stopped posting here regularly, but I recently decided I wanted the 2019 Invaders and Defenders series in the same box because of the Ron Garney covers. The problem is, earlier volumes of those same series are in two different boxes. The solution seems simply, doesn’t it? Just combine the two series in a single box. But, aye, there’s the rub. They had been filed in two mid-size boxes with other continuity related to each series, and there was too much to fit in a single long box. I winnowed some wheat from the chaff, but now I didn’t have enough. After buying the 2004 Invaders series and the 2012 Defenders series (both of which I passed on initially) and adding the 2015 Squadron Supreme series (which I had stored in another box entirely!), I think I’ve finally hit that “sweet spot” of Invaders/Defenders continuity which fits snuggly into a single box.

Jeff, if you saw the lackadaisical way that my comics aren't organized, you'd probably adopt me just so that you could disown me.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

You are wise beyond your years.

LEE/KIRBY FANTASTIC FOUR: Last night I read FF Annual #4 (the return of the Golden Age Human Torch) as a lead-in to re-reading some post-2004 Invaders continuity. Before that I read the recent HUGE Kirby is… Fantastic hardcover. For me, that’s like widescreen Technicolor after a lifetime of watching black and white TV.

SORTING INVADERS AND DEFENDERS: I haven’t posted about how I organize my comics since Alan M. stopped posting here regularly, but I recently decided I wanted the 2019 Invaders and Defenders series in the same box because of the Ron Garney covers. The problem is, earlier volumes of those same series are in two different boxes. The solution seems simply, doesn’t it? Just combine the two series in a single box. But, aye, there’s the rub. They had been filed in two mid-size boxes with other continuity related to each series, and there was too much to fit in a single long box. I winnowed some wheat from the chaff, but now I didn’t have enough. After buying the 2004 Invaders series and the 2012 Defenders series (both of which I passed on initially) and adding the 2015 Squadron Supreme series (which I had stored in another box entirely!), I think I’ve finally hit that “sweet spot” of Invaders/Defenders continuity which fits snuggly into a single box.

“Jeff, if you saw the lackadaisical way that my comics aren't organized, you'd probably adopt me just so that you could disown me.”

Actually, I’m not nearly as up-to-date sorting new comics as I used to be, not for the last 10 years or so, but I am meticulous about certain themed boxes. (Last night I sorted “Cosmic.”) Generally, I throw my new comics (bagged and boarded) into a short box. When that fills up, I sort them into “Marvel,” “DC” and “Other” short boxes. When those fill up, I transfer them to longboxes. When the longboxes are full, I move them to “The Vault.”

These are the comics I read last night…

HULK LAST CALL #1: Definitely my “Pick of the Week.” An untold Hulk tale implanted near the end of Peter David’s lengthy run, by Peter David and Dale Keown. It takes place during the time Betty was “dead” and deals with Bruce Banner hiring a hit man (guess who) to kill him then calling the suicide prevention hotline where Betty once worked to see if someone there could talk him out of it. Banner relates the tales of the second time Betty became the Harpy, and must intercede when Mr. Hyde attacks the call center.

Mike, if you’re reading this post, don’t miss this issue.

GREEN LANTERN #8: Every iteration of the DCU (pre-Crisis, post-Crisis, post-Zero Hour, New 52, etc.) should have its own GL/GA team-up. This is the one for whatever iteration we’re in now.

SHAZAM #6: The “Magiclands” story continues. In the real world, Billy’s father returns. What effect will this development have on Billy’s foster family?

PAPER GIRLS #29: The results of the 2016 poll of what the future (2019) would look like are published. One issue to go!

STRAY BULLETS #41: Sick and twisted (as usual).

SUB-MARINER #14: Gearing up to read some “recent” Invaders series.

Bought (& read) to-day:
STAR WARS #107 - " True Believers " reprint.
SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY #2 - This is good! The first issue I've seen. I will tradewait, though.

“ONCE AN INVADER”: This four-part story (Avengers #82/497-84/499 and New Invaders #0) leads into the New Invaders series (2004). I was excited to read this when it first came out, but ultimately disappointed. I did not, at the time, follow the story into the new series. If the Avengers avenge and the Defenders defend, this particular group on Invades invades. In this story, they help topple a dictatorial regime in a fictional Middle Eastern country, but they then have to deal with the consequences of that action. (Why does that sound familiar?)

This story is also somewhat notorious for an ill-advised love affair between Hawkeye and the Wasp. I must admit, I did not even remember the naked, female, android human torch (Tara) until I re-read it yesterday. I did not even recognize Scott Kolins’ cover of #84 as an homage to John Buscema’s Sub-Mariner until someone (on this board back in 2004, I think) pointed it out to me. Scott Kolins does elaborate backgrounds, which is usually a plus, especially on interior art, but this cover is over-rendered.

I didn’t dislike this story as much as I did initially, but that may be because I got through it in a single sitting rather than having it drag on over the course of four months. For more discussion, see pages 49-50 of Richard Mantle’s “Complete Invaders” discussion. I will continue with the New Invaders series next week.

DAREDEVIL MASTERWORKS v6: This volume reprints ten issues (#54-63), all by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan. Thomas’s writing style is all but indistinguishable from Stan Lee’s at this point, and the art has a solid visual consistency, all but one being inked by Colan’s mentor Syd Shores (the odd one out by George Klein). In issue #54, Matt Murdock fakes his own death, then spend the rest of that issue and the next battling Starr Saxon, who has assumed the identity of Mr. Fear (second of that name).

In #56, Karen takes some time off to mourn Matt Murdock’s supposed death, returning to her childhood home in a story obviously based on TV’s Dark Shadows. Although Page House resembles the Bates’ house from Psycho more than it does Collinwood, Barnabas Collins is even mentioned, making the source material a dead giveaway. Daredevil spends two issues fighting Death’ Head (a ghoul with a surprise identity who rides a skeletal horse), then reveals his identity to Karen at the end of #57.

Issues #58-60 deal with an aspiring new crime-lord (also with a surprise identity) who calls himself Crimewave. In issue #58, after Foggy and Matt concoct a story to cover Matt’s “death,” Crimewave sends Stuntmaster against Daredevil at a charity event. In #59 Daredevil fights the Torpedo, and in #60 Crimewave is defeated. Foggy’s girlfriend, Debbie, feels forced to break up with him due to public pressure surrounding her being an ex-con. Matt promises Karen that he will give up being Daredevil, then almost immediately reneges.

In #61 Matt breaks a date with Karen (on her birthday, no less) in order to fight the “Trio of Doom”: Mr, Hyde, the Cobra and the Jester. In #62, he fights Nighthawk (who started out as a glory-hound on the wrong side of the law before becoming a member in god standing of the Defenders), and in #63 he has a rematch with the Gladiator while Karen leaves town… apparently for good this time.

The highlight of this volume is definitely the art, but Colan's best inker is yet to come.

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