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Yes, that really is a Kirby Demon cover on Action 638.

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Speedy continues his search for a missing man in this Verheiden. Williams and McLaughlin story.

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Roy goes to question the man’s brother, and action movie star.  When Speedy tells the man his brother has AIDS, the man accuses Speedy of lying to create a scandal.

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Grant, Pacella and Wray continue the Demon story, as Jason Blood calls on Etrigan to fight the monster that emerges from Sillbury Hill.

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Glenda Mark and Randu Singh also head to England, concerned about Jason.  None of the three realize that they are doing exactly what Morgan le Fay intended, but we learn this, as does Merlin, as he is being tortured.

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Rozakis, DeStefano and Schaffenberger give the new guy a hero name in this Hero Hotline chapter, as he heads out on his first mission, to get a cat out of a tree.

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Nancy and Sluggo appear to cameo as Hot Shot (as he comes to be known) shoots fire at the poor cat. It works.  But geez.

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Darkseid heads back to Apokolips, to have fun torturing and tormenting the Consortium.  Superman is left to address his followers, insisting that they should not treat him as a god.

It doesn’t really work.  We see this religious cult again following the Death of Superman.

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Phantom Lady continues her hunt for Guerreheart, the man causing problems for her father, in this chapter, by Strazewski, Austen and Martin.

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Phantom Lady’s holographic images prove quite useful as she stands up against armed men.  She even manages to capture one.

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Wild Dog is in a bad mood in this story, by Collins, Beatty and Nyberg, after the shooting of the child.  While his friends console him, and debate the situation, Wild Dog decides the time is right for drastic action.

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Wild Dog bursts into a crack house, and sets it on fire.

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Speedy gets the cover and the lead story in Action 637.

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Verheiden, Williams and McLaughlin have Speedy searching the unwelcoming parts of Los Angeles for his missing man.

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He encounters a fair bit of hostility at the man’s former address, and learns that the guy he is searching for has AIDS.

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Etrigan shows his stuff in this chapter, by Grant, Pacella and Wray.  He is scary enough to get rid of the rival demon in the boy’s body.  But that was all just a warm-up for the real story.

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Glenda Mark sees the image of Morgan le Fay in the Philosopher’s Stone, and Jason follows Glenda’s vision to England.

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Silbury Hill, the ancient artificial mound, erupts, revealing a mythic looking rider.

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Bob Rozakis, Stephen DeStefano and Kurt Schaffenberger introduce a light-hearted new series, Hero Hotline, in this issue.

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It’s a breezy and bouncy tale, as young Billy Lefferts, who has the power to emit fire, starts a new job at Hero Hotline. The name of the company is pretty self-explanatory. Call for a hero when you need one.

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Stern, Swan and Anderson have Superman helpless against Darkseid.  Having empowered both the Superman worhsippers, and the Consortium, out to destroy them, Darkseid is not pleased that the Consortium fared so poorly against Superman.  So he sends them off to be tortured on Apokolips.

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Strazewski, Austen and Martin have Phantom Lady hit the clubs in her second chapter.  Her costume pretty much assures her entry anywhere.

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But the club owner she questions proves to be of little help in finding out what is troubling her father.  We do get to see some of her gear in this story, wrist lasers, and holographic images of herself.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg helm this chapter of the Wild Dog story, as the young boy Jack offered a job to gets lured by the bigger money in the drug trade.

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As a result, the boy is in a crack house when it gets raided by the police, and is shot during the siege.

 

 

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The Phantom Stranger is the one series that appears in Action 636 that does not make it onto the cover. Gotta feel bad for him.

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Speedy finally moves into how own series, by Mark Verheiden and Louis Williams. The story begins with a brief recap of his early life, time with Green Arrow, and heroin addiction.

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Roy needs a job to support him and Lian, and gets hired by a private investigator.  He begins his hunt for a missing person.

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Alan Grant, Mark Pacella and Bill Wray begin a Demon story, which follows events from his mini-series, with the death of Harry Matthews.

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Jason Blood no longer wants anything to do with the Demon.  He wanders around blaming Etrigan for everything in his life.

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A woman’s child gets possessed, and she calls Jason to help.  Though he doesn’t want to, he goes.  He tries to exorcise the child himself, but fails.

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So he does the only thing he can, and invokes Etrigan.

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Andy Kibert joins Paul Kupperberg for a Phantom Stranger story that deals with the black musicans ruthlessly exploited by the white music industry. The protagonist is an elderly man, playing on the street for coins, whose recordings had made a company rich.  When he encounters his old “partner” on the street, and the man ignores him, the musician seeks out vengeance.

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It’s scary and sad, and beautifully rendered.  In the end, the man doesn’t want millions, he just wants respect.

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Stern, Swan and Anderson reveal that both sides of the Superman-as-god forces have been backed, and the powers and technology given, by Darkseid.

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Dee Tyler, the new Phantom Lady makes her debut in this story by Lex Strazewski, Chuck Austen and Gary Martin.  Dee has just graduated from an elite finishing school for women in Paris, which seems to be run by Sandra Knight, the origins Phantom Lady. Certainly, Dee has learned a lot more than math.

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She returns home to Washington DC to discover that her father, the Attorney General, is under a lot of pressure, and criminal forces are involved.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg return along with Wild Dog, for his third storyline of the run.  This one is a very anti-drug story, centring on a young street kid.

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Wild Dog finds the boy work which is honest, but dull and low-paying.  A teenage gangster offers him big bucks to deliver drugs.

 

 

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Action 635 features a big crossover story, as well as the final chapter of the Green Lantern series, and another two pages of Superman.  Neil Gaiman had written a story for this issue, but a disagreement with John Byrne lead to it being set aside, and this one, by Mark Verheiden, with art by Eduardo Barreto and John Nyberg.

The story by Gaiman was printed, many years later, as a Green Lantern/Superman Special.  But it is very much an Action Comics Weekly story, with a number of cameos.  I’m sooo close to the end of my media library, and also of Action Comics Weekly.  And I debated writing about the Gaiman story here, or at its publication date.

So I am letting the media library decide.  If I reach the end of Action Comics Weekly and have space, I will make my final entry on this blog about Gaiman’s version.

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The story they printed is servicable, but nothing special.  Weng Chan is flying Blackhawk Express, the delivery company the Blackhawks became.  On the flight is Clay, Hal’s old friend from his days at Ferris Aircraft, along with an experimental engine.  A south Asian dictator has shot down the plane, and taken them prisoner.

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Hal is having dinner with Dinah Lance, and discussing their lives and problems, when he hears from Clay’s wife.

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Here’s the dictator.  Nasty looking man.

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Hal decides to set out as Green Lantern to rescue him, and Dinah comes along as Black Canary.

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Using the engine, the dictator takes control of a giant purple energy monster.  News of this reaches Superman, who comes flying to investigate.  He and Green Lantern battle the monster and keep it busy.

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Black Canary rescues Weng, and they get to the computer controls.

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It’s Weng who figures out the solution.  Unplug the machine.

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Owsley, Bright and Tanghal end Green Lantern’s run as they have produced it all along, with great art and dangling plot threads.

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Malvolio has a long fight with Green Lantern, but the end reveals that nothing we have seen is real, so perhaps nothing Malvolio said is true.  Who is this mysterious man?

No one knows.  We never see him again.  The Green Lantern series that launches shortly leaves all this in the astral dust.

 

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Very good Green Lantern cover on Action 634.

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Malvolio continues his domination of Green Lantern in this chapter.

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The two fight through this chapter, and though Green Lantern has the upper hand as it ends, his victory is not certain.  Only this and the Superman story continue into the next issue.

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Kupperberg and Carillo, bring the Phantom Stranger four-parter to a close with this issue.  Tannarak and Tala watch with glee as the Phantom Stranger battles with the cat creature, which drains his power.

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Dr. Thirteen gets to be the hero, killing the cat creature and freeing the Stranger.  Tala vanishes, as the Stranger defeats Tannarak.  Cassandra Craft returns from wherever.

While the Phantom Stranger does return later in Action Comics Weekly, Tala, Tannarak and Dr. Thirteen next are seen in the Books of Magic miniseries. Cassandra Craft has to wait many years, appearing next in Grant Morrison’s Zatanna miniseries, part of Seven Soldiers.

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos bring to an end the story of a mother’s vengeance for a daughter dead from HIV, going after those who may have been responsible for her husband’s infection.

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It’s a lot of really intense fighting, and the art is superb on it.

Far better than the first Black Canary storyline, this one still did not manage to be the series that the reader’s wanted.  While Dinah would continue as a supporting character in Green Arrow, she would get a miniseries of her own in a couple of years.

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Wilkerson and Mandrake put Nightwing and Speedy through a lot of legal hassles as their team-up ends.  At least Nightwing gets an equal share of it.  Justice prevails, somewhat.  The implicated British lord goes free, but is brought down by other troubles.

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The best page of this entire storyline is the last, as Roy and Dick hang out with Lian and Starfire.  Nightwing continues in New Teen Titans, while Speedy returns in his own storyline, under his own name, in a couple of issues.

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Pasko and Burchett bring the Blackhawk story to a quick and violent end.  The one undrugged Backhawk gets control of the plane, and Janos gets control of himself as they land, and seek the fake Darabont, who escaped with the LSD and the formula.

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They get her, and the formula, and the Nazi base, which they leave in ruins.

The one big hit from Action Comics Weekly, Blackhawk moves into is own book right away.

 

 

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Blackhawk gets a nice retro cover on Action 633.

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Lord Malvolio comes hunting for Green Lantern in this story by Owsley, Bright and Tanghal.  Malvolio’s power level is staggeringly higher than Lantern’s, and Hal flees.

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He finds a golden spaceship, people by creatures who know Priest, and are visibly of the same races from that storyline.  Malvolio destroys the ship and everyone on it, except Green Lantern.

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Black Canary is on the trail of the actress, as are the cops, as Wright, DuBurke and Marcos take the story to its darkest chapter.

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Black Canary finds the torture chamber that the Deb had been held, and killed, in.

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Nightwing and Speedy return to the US in this chapter of Wilkerson and Mandrake’s tale.  Thye get picked up right away by the CBI guy who had fired Speedy right at the start.

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They trust him, which is dumb, as he simply is setting them up.

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The Phantom Stranger struggles against the cat-creature in the third chapter of Kupperberg and Carillo’s story.  Cassandra Craft and Dr. Thirteen hover at the edges of the story,although Cassandra gets threatened by Tannarak.

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But by that point, the Stranger has caught an error Cassandra made, and realized that this is not really his former flame, but Tala.

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The Nazi impostor dons a parachute and jumps ship as the Blackhawks deal with LSD in this chapter of Pasko and Buchett’s story.

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It’s the best installment of the story, as the acid trips make for entertaining art.

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And the danger of it all taking place aboard an aircraft makes it perfect.

 

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Nightwing joins Speedy not only on the cover, but even in their story in Action 632.

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Owsley, Bright and Tanghal start this Green Lantern story as he pursues the alien, but he gets pulled off course, and this plot thread is left behind as we meet a new villain.

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Lord Malvolio has a Green Lantern ring, in a period when very few did.  He seems unaware of the Guardians of the Universe, and, indeed, his costume shares similarities with that of Alan Scott, whose Green Lantern was also independent of the Guardians.

He demands that Hal serve him.  Hal, of course says no.  Malvolio gets mad.

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Tannarak threatens the Phantom Stranger, and then leads him on a merry chase in this chapter, by Kupperberg and Carillo.

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Cassandra Craft and Dr. Thirteen are right behind them, as Tannarak heads to the big cats section of the zoo, drawing the beasts to him.

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Oh no!  It’s super-cat!

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos reveal that the killer actress has the heroin hooker as her prisoner in this Black Canary chapter, and that her motive has to do with her dead daughter.

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She is clearly losing it, and attacks Black Canary from the stage in the middle of a performance.

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Lots of double agents, bombing, and general misery in Northern Ireland in this Nightwing and Speedy story, by Wilkerson, Giarrano and Mandrake.

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Nightwing finally shows up, which is nice.  But he still manages to stay enough in the background that this is solidly a Speedy story.

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The Blackhawks are about to take a flight into madness in this chapter, by Pasko and Burchett.

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The Nazis kill Constance Darabont, replacing her with their own operative.

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When Janos comes to meet her that night, he finds a far more friendly woman than the one the team had dealt with the previous day.  As they fly off in the morning, she makes the team coffee.  Only Fredrikson is suspicious, and with good reason.  She has spiked it with LSD.

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