Posts tagged ‘Carmine Infantino’

Action 642 – Action Comics Weekly ends

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Action Comics Weekly comes to an end with issue 642, a full-length crossover story.  Superman, Green Lantern, Nightwing and Deadman are all involved, as well as Guy Gardner.

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Elliot S Maggin scripts this tale, which opens with a flashback to the death of Abin Sur, and his selection of Hal Jordan as successor.  In this version, we learn that Clark Kent was brought as a possible Lantern, but declined.

The art changes from chapter to chapter.  The various creative teams are: Gil Kane, Steve Ditko and Art Thibert, Jim Aparo and John Nyberg, Curt Swan and Ty Templeton, Jim Mooney with Ian Akin and Keith Garvey, and Carmine Infantino and Kevin Nowlan.

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Green Lantern is investigating an unusual military installation.  The man in charge wants no spying eyes, and shoots Hal right in the chest.  Hal lays dying, and his ring summons potential successors.  It might summon a doctor as well, but apparently has given up on Hal.

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Most of those chosen are not characters we know, have ever seen before, or will ever see again.  Clark Kent is brought again, as is Nightwing.

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Guy Gardner is selected as well, completely nonsensically.  He has removed his ring temporarily, and the story treats this as if it means he is no longer a Green Lantern the second he takes off the ring, despite the mental connection between the ring and its wearer.

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Deadman comes to see what all the fuss is about. This is all taking place in a millisecond.  Deadman is able to converse somewhat with Hal, which makes sense.  Superman can also communicate with Deadman, because he can sense this all happening at great speed.  That really doesn’t explain why he can see Deadman at this event, but not in normal situations.

You can tell from the way I am picking at it that I did not enjoy this story.  There was no likelihood that Hal was going to die, so the story was just pointless.  That might have been ok if it were a lot of fun on the road, but it’s not.  And so these weird errors, just sloppy writing by someone who can, and has done, better, annoy me.

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After a lot of “what if this guy became Green Lantern?” Hal revives, and everyone is returned to what they were doing before.

About the only touch I like is the theatre marquee being changed in the final panel, reading Action – closed for renovations.

Action Comics returns in a few months, with an second annual to launch its return to a regular format.

And there is still just enough room on this blog that I can do an entry on the Neil Gaiman Action Comics Weekly story that never was.

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Action 419 – Superman on dangerous ground, and the Human Target debuts

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I don’t usually care for covers that blend photos and drawings, they rarely work.  But Action 419 (Dec. 72) is one of the rare exceptions, and one of my favourite blends of the two.

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Bates, Swan and Anderson tell this story, which deals with a hobo who finds glowing shoes, which endow him with superhuman energy.

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While Superman finds that when he touches the ground he causes explosive bubbles to appear.  The two are related, both effects of a satellite compromised by “cosmic dust”.

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Superman spends the issue in the air, which is more problematic as Clark than as Superman.

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Christopher Chance, the Human Target, makes his debut in this story by Len Wein, Carmine Infantino and Dick Giordano.

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Chance is called the Human Target because,for a price, he will take on the identity of someone who is in danger of being murdered, to smoke out and capture the killer.  He has a helper, Luigi, although the man just cameos briefly in this story.  This tale also spends very little time on Chance’s transformation into the chemical tycoon whose place he takes.

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This first story has a train setting, which is always fun for tight adventure, and Giodrano makes Infantino’s art work well.

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The Human Target would be the sole back-up series for a couple of months, and then join a rotation with a couple of other features.

 

 

 

Detective 572 – Batman and Robin, Slam Bradley, the Elongated Man and Sherlock Holmes

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It’s yet another anniversary issue in Detective 572 (March 1987), marking fifty years since the debut of Batman.  Barr scripts, with Neary and Davis on the art for Batman’s chapter, but the story includes more artists for the different chapters.

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Slam Bradley, last seen in Detective 500, gets to open this tale, which involves a lost book being hunted by Professor Moriarty.  His client barely has time to hire him before being murdered.

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As Slam pursues the killer, he encounters Batman and Robin – the first time these characters have met, despite all the years they shared this book.  Terry Beatty also contributes to the art on Slam’s part of the tale.

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The Elongated Man chapter is easily the weakest part of the story, simply because of Carmine Infantino’s art.  I cannot think of a single thing he drew after 1980 that does not look like a poor imitation of his style.

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The chapter does introduce the villain, and we also discover that the Elongated Man is a descendant of Moriarty, though that will never be mentioned again.

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The backstory of the book is handled superbly.  Ernesto Cruz is the perfect artist on the Sherlock Holmes chapter, which looks, and feels, like something from a DC horror/mystery comic from the 70s.  In a good way.

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After the backstory is filled in, we jump back to the present day, as Batman, Robin, Slam Bradley and Elongated Man face off against Moriarty.

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An extremely old Sherlock Holmes even shows up to congratulate them.  It’s a decent tale, and had it been published before Crisis on Infinite Earths, Batman: Year One, and Batman – The Dark Knight Returns, would probably have been fondly remembered.  But as it stands, it feels a bit like a holdover, and not on par with some of the other anniversary issues released the same year.

The Elongated Man returns the following year in the pages of Adventures of Superman, while Slam has to wait for more than a decade for his return.

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There is a really nice Dick Sprang spread, featuring Batman and Robin, as well as both variations of Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, the Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, Scarecrow and Cavalier.

Sadly, at the time this did not impress me at all, it was simply another thing that made the book feel out of date before the ink was dry.

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