Posts tagged ‘Curt Swan’

Action 623 – Green Lantern joins the battle, Captain Marvel begins, Deadman learns why 17 is important, who the bad guys are in Superman, the Secret Six run and fight, and the Phantom Stranger and the demon baby

act_623

Superman gets the cover of Action 623, and an update on his strip in this entry.

act_623_001

Green Lantern finds an alien at the end of the trail in this chapter, by Owsley, Bright and Marzan.

act_623_002

The creature is able to take control of Lantern’s energy beam, and drag him along by it.

act_623_003

Hal finds himself amidst an alien race that is being slaughtered by an enemy, and decides to fight to protect them.

act_623_004

Captain Marvel begins a four-part Showcase tale in this issue, by Roy and Dann Thomas, Rick Stasi and Rick Magyar.  This incarnation of Billy Batson follows the Shazam: A New Beginning miniseries, also by Thomas.

act_623_006

Captain Marvel winds up causing the death of a shooter, as he protects the victim from being killed.  It’s really all the shooter’s fault, but Billy is consumed with guilt.

act_623_005

He visits the victim’s sister, who hates Captain Marvel, but also lets Billy know about her brother’s connection to the Aryan Nation.

act_623_007

Baron, Jones and DeZuniga lay out the plot in this Deadman chapter.  We see the possessed Brigdan twins preparing for the ritual that will allow them to keep their new bodies, and regain the power they had before dying.

act_623_008

Madame Waxahachie fills Deadman in on the twisted history of the southern girls, who died at 17, and now are to be reborn, 17 years later. The doubling being even more powerful when dealing with twins.  She brings Deadman to the ruined plantation where the girls had lived.

act_623_009

Stern, Swan and Anderson have been exploring the bad guys in the last few chapters of the Superman strip.  They are convinced that Superman is the anti-christ, and that the group who worship him are bringing about the end of the world.  So they are really just as loopy as the Superman worshippers, but violently opposed to them.

act_623_010

Last issue ended promising revelations about August Durant.  This issue sees many members of the Six on the run.

act_623_011

One of the group has been being pursued for a number of chapters, and has been travelling with a model, who he first held captive, but now has fallen in love with him.  As a pleasant twist, this member of the team is gay, and not interested.

act_623_012

Another Phantom Stranger story in this issue, by Kupperberg, with art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.

act_623_013

The story deals with a baby possessed by a demon, wreaking havoc in a church.  The priest must overcome his fear, and regain strength in his faith, in order to stand up to, and exorcise, the demon.  The Phantom Stranger himself does not do an awful lot, being largely a narrative character in this tale, but that’s ok, and the art is wonderful.

 

 

Advertisements

Action 617 – Green Lantern has relationship problems, Fredrikson shows up, Wild Pup isn’t wanted, Superman loses his man, the Phantom Stranger and channelling, and Cheshire loses custody

act_617

Superman streamlines across the cover of Action 617.

act_617_001

David, Howell and Starr continue the Hawkes storyline in this issue, but open as a rift grows in the relationship between Hal and Arisia.

act_617_002

She may look like an adult, but Arisia is really a child, who used her ring to rapidly age her body.  So it’s not surprising when her behaviour tends towards childishness.

act_617_003

The Freakshow lays a trap for Green Lantern, with a pyrokinetic woman pretending to be endangered by the flames.

act_617_004

Castle is now wearing a costume, instead of jogging gear.  Not a bad assortment of enemies.

act_617_005

Pasko and Burchett get the team together in this chapter of Blackhawk.

act_617_006

Although the mission itself, to rescue the downed aviatrix, is not that appealing, the down payment is.

act_617_007

We do know that the woman is being held captive by a plantation owner, and is being tortured for information.

act_617_008

Frederkison shows up, and Janos thinks he is responsible for Lady Blackhawk’s loss of an eye, as they had once been a couple.  He’s wrong, but the two men fight anyway.

act_617_009

Wild Dog meets his acolyte in this chapter, by Collins, Beatty and Nyberg.

act_617_010

The boy does prove useful, but Wild Dog is not in any way pleased by his help, and wants nothing to do with the boy.

act_617_011

People keep trying to kill the Superman worshipper, and Superman has been dealing with those men.  He is none too pleased to discover his worshipper is not where he is supposed to be.

Yes, seriously, that is all that has happened since my last entry on this Stern, Swan and Anderson strip.

act_617_012

Kupperberg is joined by Joe Orlando and Fred Carillo on this Phantom Stranger story, which deals with channelling, the 80s fad in which psychics would get possessed by a spirit from a past life.

act_617_013

The medium actually manages to evoke an Atlantean warlord, who runs wild in the streets.

act_617_014

The Stranger manages to convince the warrior that he is in the wrong time, calm him down and send him back.

act_617_015

The story has a nicely cynical ending, the psychic has learned nothing from the events, and simply intends to exploit it for her own benefit.

act_617_016

Wolfman, Patton and Poston continue with the Nightwing an Speedy tale.  Nightwing gets the best of Cheshire in their pub fight, and the assassin takes off

act_617_017

Cheshire returns home to find Roy captive.  She is about to kill him when Nightwing bursts in for another round.

act_617_018

Cheshire flees, rather than get caught, but in doing so she leaves Lian behind, and Roy winds up with his daughter for the first time.

 

 

Action 611 – Arisia shows her stuff, Deadman sees the real thing, the Secret Six ride the pig, attack on the Superman cult, Catwoman begins, and Black Canary hits the bar

act_611

Superman gets the cover of Action 611, which means his series gets an update in this entry.

act_611_001

David and Smith give Arisia a chance to show what she can do without a ring in this story.

act_611_002

As the room service waiter tries to kill her, Arisia fights him off, and shoves his knife into a socket. Hal was in the shower.

act_611_003

And the day is not over for Arisia.  Waiting to file a report at the police station, she meets woman who wants to sign her as a model.

act_611_004

Green Lantern talks with the police, and creates a hundred monkeys to search the trash, looking for any note possibly sent by the one causing the outbursts of violence.  The note gets found, but Hal falls victim to the villain, Mind Games.

act_611_005

Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga continue with the Deadman story.  the DB Cooper devil finds himself not being believed by the head of the CIA.

act_611_006

So he shows what he can do.  The devil goes back (to the jar?), taking Yakim with him.

act_611_007

But the story is not yet over!  Talaoc returns, with the space ship.

act_611_009

The Secret Six find themselves in danger of being exposed in this Pasko/Spiegle story.

act_611_010

Some quick changes of costume, and a bit of luck, get them out of the meat processing plant.  The contaminated meat is part of a special “extra-lean”pork creation.

act_611_016

Stern, Swan and Beatty continue with the Superman strip.  The man who Superman rescued is part of a cult of Superman worshippers.  They have a degree of super-powers, which they believe come from Superman himself.  Clark has no idea why they think this, but the man uses his abilities to show Clark and Perry his cult, under attack by some scary high tech people.

act_611_011

Catwoman begins a four-part story, of one of a couple to run under the Showcase label in Action Comics Weekly.  By Mindy Newell, Barry Kitson and Bruce Patterson, this story is set a while after Batman: Year One, and brings back Holly Robinson, Selina’s best friend from that storyline.

act_611_012

Selina is running a small club now, while also operating as Catwoman.  She steals a jewelled cat, and gives it to Holly as a present.  A wedding present, once she finds out Holly is settling down in New Jersey.

act_611_013

But everyone from the police to organized crime knows that she must have been the thief, and they all come for her.

act_611_014

Wright, DuBurke and Marcos continue the Black Canary story, which now also involves smuggling Mexicans across the border.  Because it hadn’t been complicated enough in it’s first two chapters.

act_611_015

Canary hits the bars to extract information.  But while she is terrorizing men who likely deserve it, Rita’s father gets murdered in the hospital.

 

Action 606 – Hal has no friends, Rafael listens to Mockingbird, Deadman in hell, Superman worshipped, newspapers are evil, and Blackhawk in a cockfight

act_606

Superman gets the cover of Action 606, so that means I will update what is going on in his 2-page series this issue.

act_606_001
Owsley is joined by Tod Smith on the art as he searches for someone to share his troubles with.

act_606_002

Hal goes to visit John Stewart, in prison for the murder of Carol Ferris. Hal can do nothing to clear him, and John is still pissed about Katma Tui’s death.

act_606_003

Hal forces his way past Alfred and goes to see Bruce Wayne, but Batman, having recently lost Jason Todd, is not in a sociable mood.

act_606_004

Hal doesn’t even manage to see Clark Kent in person, as he is swamped with work.

act_606_005

Finally he turns to Green Arrow, who one would have expected Hal would have turned to first. But even Oliver Queen gives Hal the brush off.

act_606_006

Pasko and Spiegle show the Secret Six what happens when they try to learn anything about Mockingbird, or even more about their mission than they are meant to know, as Mockingbird turns off their devices again.

act_606_007

Meanwhile, Rafael has opened his father’s safe, and found a wristwatch.  It broadcasts Mockingbird’s messages, and Rafael learns that a new team was formed, and old team told they were going to train their successors.

act_606_008

Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga have a lot of fun in this chapter, as Deadman arrives in hell in a jar, pulled there by a creature who claims to be the devil.

act_606_009

I think that the man Deadman spots, who is stated as being still alive, is meant to be Nixon, but it’s not a great rendering.  On the other hand, the hell supermarket is really fun.

act_606_010

Deadman runs into D.B. Cooper, the infamous and never captured hijacker from the 70s.  He leads Deadman to a mountain, the only way out of hell.

act_606_015

So what’s been going on in all the Stern, Swan and Beatty Superman chapters that I have skipped?  Not a lot, frankly.  Superman has come to the aid of a man in danger, and rescues him.  The man worships Superman, thinking he is a god.  Lots more to come with these, but I’ll probably just update the story every time Superman makes the cover.

act_606_011

Collins, Beatty and Nyberg put one of Wild Dog’s best friends in danger, as he writes an article for his paper against Lyman and his moral crusaders.

act_606_012

The fact that the newspaper wrote against him is proof of their evil, immoral way, and Lyman sends his goon squad out to blow up the paper, but Wild Dog shows up.

act_606_013

Grell, Burchett and Marcos stage a fight for the alpha male status in Blackhawk, between Massie, the Red Dragon’s former lover, and Blackhawk.  Janos wins, and gets taken to the Dragon’s bedchamber as a reward.

act_606_014

We also discover that Cynthia Hastings is not who she claims to be, and that she and Massie have a past.

 

Action 601 – Green Lantern, Wild Dog, Secret Six, Deadman and Blackhawk begin, and Superman gets two pages

act_601

Action becomes Action Comics Weekly with issue 601, running six different features in each issue.  It was not as successful as had been hoped.  The experiment lasted for less than a year, and the comic returned to it’s former format.

act_601_001

Green Lantern was really the mainstay of this weekly book.  After the cancellation of the Green Lantern Corps series, Hal moved here, now one of the few people to still bear a Green Lantern ring.

act_601_002

Hal had never managed his alternate identity well, and finds himself sharing John Stewart’s apartment.  This is made more awkward because John’s wife, Katma Tui, and Hal’s current girlfriend, Arisia, are also sharing the tiny suite.

act_601_003

As Hal is out one day fighting some criminals, Star Sapphire comes to the Stewart apartment, seeking vengeance.  She finds Katma Tui.  Close enough.  Carol Ferris murders Katma Tui.

act_601_004

Max Collins, Terry Beatty and John Nyberg continue to relate the adventures of their creation, Wild Dog.  He had debuted the previous year in his own miniseries.

act_601_005

This series never really worked for me.  Wild Dog was a gun-toting vigilante, dressed as though he were a serial killer.  The art never really seemed to compliment the series.

act_601_007

The Secret Six get a surprising revival, by Marty Pasko and Dan Speigle.  A short-lived spy series from the late 60’s, the Secret Six had only appeared in the History of the DC Universe since the cancellation of their book.  This strip picks up their lives many years later, aging them all.

act_601_008

The six, very different, people had all been blackmailed into becoming the Secret Six by Mockingbird, who was really one of them.  Now, so many years later, Mockingbird has summoned them all again.

act_601_009

Mockingbird also gathers a new group of people.  As well, we see some shady doings by the Technodyne Corporation.

act_601_016

The Superman series, by Stern, Swan and Beatty, will likely get the least coverage of the various Action Comics Weekly series in my blog.  It is confined to the centre spread in each issue, and done as is it were three newspaper daily strips, though in colour.  In the first chapter, Superman comes to help a man who calls for aid.

act_601_012

Mike Baron, Dan Jurgens and Tony DeZuniga begin a really wild and enjoyable Deadman storyline in this issue, in a very low-key way.  Set shortly after the events in his recent miniseries, Deadman is feeling sort of lost and aimless.

act_601_013

He winds up poking around an archaeological dig in Central America, which the CIA have taken away from the academics.  Deadman is shocked when the head of the CIA operation is able to see him.

act_601_014

By far the best strip to run in this weekly book is the Blackhawk one, by Grell, Burchett and Marcos, continuing in the style of the recent Blackhawk miniseries by Howard Chaykin.

act_601_015

The first installment is spent mostly setting up the post-World War II environment that the adventures will take place in.  A woman comes to hire Blackhawk, who is already proving how tough he is by fighting four men from his bathtub.

Action 600 – Superman and Wonder Woman kiss, Lois Lane is sad, Lex Luthor hurts his hand, Jimmy Olsen helps out, and Superman vs Man-Bat

act_600

John Byrne scripts all of the stories in Action 600 (May 1988), an oversize anniversary issue, which is also the last issue before the book undergoes a dramatic change of format.

act_600_001

George Perez joins for the first story, which continues the Superman/Wonder Woman embrace that concluded the last issue of Adventures of Superman.  After the kiss, Superman realizes he may have jumped the gun a bit, and the two cool down a bit, and get to know each other.

act_600_002

Diana gets an emergency message from Hermes, and the couple head to Olympus, which has been invaded by Darkseid.  He makes the most of the situation, as Superman and Wonder Woman arrived in different places, and dispatches Kalibak and Amazing Grace to toy with them.

act_600_003

The scheme is pretty simple.  Superman is shown that the Wonder Woman he is fighting is really Grace, and Diana gets a similar reveal with Kalibak.  Then the two heroes confront each other, both believing the other is really an enemy.

Simple, but also not too hard for the heroes themselves to figure out.

Darkseid abandons the unconquerable Olympus, and the heroes decide to just be friends…for now.

act_600_004

Roger Stern, Kurt Schaffenberger and Jerry Ordway join Byrne for the Lois Lane story, her first solo story since the reboot of Superman.  She infiltrates and busts up a crime ring, but her story is relegated to the back pages of the Planet.  The Superman/Wonder Woman romance gets the front page.

act_600_005

Lois mopes about a bit, and thinks about her relationship with Superman.  Clark shows up, wanting to lend a shoulder to cry on, and the tension between them seems to be ending.  Until an emergency calls him away, and Lois fumes even more.

act_600_006

Dick Giordano and John Beatty do the art on the Lex Luthor story, which sees him attempt to blackmail Maggie Sawyer about her sexuality.

act_600_007

Maggie neither bows to his pressure, nor steals the evidence when she has the opportunity. As she explains to Dan Turpin, she is willing to stand up and fight for who she is, and what she has achieved.

act_600_008

It’s not a very good day for Lex, who also is told by Gretchen Kelly that his kryptonite ring has poisoned his hand, which will have to be amputated.

act_600_009

Swan and Anderson re-unite for the art on the Jimmy Olsen story.  Sadly, it’s the least involving story in the issue.  Superman gets knocked for a loop when the radiation from Krypton’s explosion reaches the Earth, collapsing.

act_600_010

Jimmy carries the hero down into a mine shaft, getting him as far away from the radiation as possible.

act_600_011

The issue ends with another team-up story, with Mike Mignola handling the art as Man-Bat makes his post-Crisis debut.

act_600_012

Man-Bat is surprised to find Superman down in a cave, and even more surprised when the ailing and hallucinating hero attacks him.  Man-Bat basically spends the story defending himself.

act_600_013

Hawkman shows up on the final page, informed by Jimmy Olsen of Superman’s situation.  This leads into the story in Superman the following month.

As for Action Comics, it goes on hiatus for a while, returning as Action Comics Weekly.  Happy anniversary, Superman!  As a present, we are reducing you to two pages in the comic that started your career!

 

Action 583 – “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” concludes

act_583

Action 583 (Sept. 86) brings to a close the era of the Pre-Crisis Superman, with the concluding half of an Imaginary Story by Alan Moore, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger.

act_583_one

The entire story is one of dark foreboding, and is related by Lois Lane, now married and with a son, to a reporter, writing a story about the last days of Superman.  Many of Superman’s friends and enemies appeared in the first half of the story, and most of the villains have died.  Superman has brought Lois, Lana, Jimmy, Perry White and his wife to the Fortress of Solitude.  Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen have come from the future, knowing that this was the end of Superman, to join in the fun.  They find the Kryptonite Man, as well as a disturbing union of Luthor and Brainiac.

act_583_001

Many of Superman’s friends are shown throughout the issue, trying to get through the force-field surrounding the Fortress.  Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Captain Marvel and the Martian Manhunter are shown, along with Vartox, and pre-Crisis Superwoman.

act_583_002

The story is filled with heart-wrenching sequences.  Jimmy takes his Elastic Lad serum, and Lana bathes in the pool that gives her super-powers, so they can join the fight against the assembling villains.  Her super-hearing allows Lana to hear Superman explain to Perry White that it is Lois that he truly loves, but he cared too much for Lana to ever let her know.

act_583_003

Lana and Jimmy both fall to the Legion of Super-Villains, while Krypto sacrifices himself to take out the Kryptonite Man.

act_583_004

This is all turning far too bloody and dangerous for the villains from the future, and they flee in their time bubble.  Luthor and Brainiac are the last, but perish in the snow.

act_583_005

Who was the villain that brought this all about?  Mr. Mxyzptlk, the most powerful adversary Superman has, who chose to be a pest, but has now chosen to be a destroyer.

act_583_006

Superman winds up using the Phantom Zone projector to rip the 5th dimensional being in half, but he has knowingly, and willingly killed.

act_583_007

Though Lois gives him all manner of justifications, Superman has violated his own code.  He enters a chamber of gold kryptonite, which permanently removes his powers, and is never seen again.

act_583_008

The reporter leaves.  I was teary eyed and emotionally drained by this point when I read this the first time, but so thrilled at the end, as the baby turns a lump of coal into a diamond.  And then I really looked at the face of Lois’ husband.

I believe Alan Moore has now dismissed this story as garbage, as he is wont to do.

I don’t care what he thinks.  This is the crowning gem of the first 50 years of the character.

 

Tag Cloud