Posts tagged ‘Deadman’

alternate Action 642 – Green Lantern/Superman – Legend of the Green Flame

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I made an error earlier, I said this was intended for Action 635.  In fact, it was for 642.  I had assumed it was the earlier of the two crossover issues, simply based on the line-up that appears in the story – none of the post-635 series are included.  But the ending makes it clear that it was for the latter issue.

Neil Gaiman’s script was rejected by John Byrne.  At the time, it was a hard and fast rule that no one knew Superman’s identity, and Gaiman insisted on the characters meeting as Clark and Hal.  Neither would budge, and the script got set aside.  The story was finally published in 2001.

This special also has a large art team, divided chapter by chapter.  Eddie Campbell, Mark Buckingham, John Totleben, Jim Aparo, Kevin Nowlan, Jaosn Little, Michael Allred, Eric Shanower, Terry Austin and Arthur Adams.

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The story begins with a prologue in Berlin, shortly after the end of World War II.  Blackhawks Janos Prohaska and Weng Chan go rooting through rubble, searching for a lost weapon.  They come across the remains of the Justice Society of America, although they do not realize who these people are.  We see Sandman, and the remains of Hawkman’s wings, but it’s Alan Scott’s lantern that grabs Weng’s interest, and he takes it with him.

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Jumping to the present day, Hal is feeling lost and alone, and turns to Clark for a shoulder to cry on.  Lois Lane wrangles the two into attending a gallery opening that night.

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Catwoman makes a cameo, running into Hal.  But the catkin emerald she was interested in is not there, so Selina leaves.  Exploring the gallery, Hal comes across the lantern, on display.  He is fascinated.  It’s a Green Lantern lantern, but not one he recognizes.  He uses his ring to scan it.

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Bad idea.

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Deadman comes across the confused heroes, and tells them they are dead.  They aren’t.  Not quite.  But they have been pulled into the magical, somewhat sentient flame that powers Alan Scott’s lantern, and are between being alive and dead.

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The Flame’s burst of energy draws the attention of the Phantom Stranger.

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He convinces Hal that he does have the willpower to tame the wild magic of the flame, and get it back into its battery, dormant.

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The final page makes it clear that this was intended for issue 642.  The story printed there uses a similar marquee in its background.

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.

Action 626 – the dangers of duplication, Captain Marvel ends, Rafael gets free, Deadman ends, and Black Canary on the hunt

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Green Lantern returns to Earth in Action 626, and one can actually perceive this cover as related to his story.  Loosely.

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Owsley and Bright are joined by Romeo Tanghal as Hal heads back to Earth, and comes across an apparently hollow ship heading there as well.

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But inside the ship was an energy being, which duplicates what is sees.  So it emerges from the ship in Green Lantern’s form.

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The narration helps immensely.  The creature sees an explosive action film, and destroys everyone around him.  But there is no malice in this at all.  Simply mindless duplication.

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Captain Marvel’s series comes to a close in this chapter, by Roy and Dann Thomas, Stasi and Magyar.

Captain Nazi proves not terribly inclined to follow the orders of the ones who created him, and is eager to join the poisoning of the reservoir.

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There, he comes across Billy.  Recognizing him, he thinks Billy has been bound and gagged by his own enemies, and frees him.  Bad move.  Billy says the magic word, transforms into Captain Marvel, and then drops a hill on top of Captain Nazi. Poor guy doesn’t even make it to the end of the story.

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An ending that announces an upcoming Shazam comic.  Which never came.  Captain Marvel would continue to appear sporadically, but would not get a series until the Power of Shazam reboot, which changed his origin, and removed this Billy Batson, and Captain Nazi, from continuity.

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The action moves to Washington DC as Pasko, Springer and McLaughlin begin winding up the Secret Six.  The team has learned about the agency attacking them, and realize this is the same group Durant has been fighting, and that they brought down the plane with the original team.

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Mockingbird is glad they no longer think he killed them.  Rafael manages to break out of his room.  he confronts Mockingbird, who is simply disappointed that he took so long to escape, being the son of a magician.

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Deadman’s series also comes to a close in this issue, by Baron, Jones and DeZuniga.

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It’s a body-hopping, knock-down drag out fight with Deadman, Madame Waxahachie and the evil voodoo twins.  With all possible bodies lost to them, they are reduced to living in rats.

Deadman returns, very shortly, in the Spectre crossover at the start of Invasion!

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The body gets discovered as Wright, DuBurke and Marcos open this Black Canary installment.

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We see the actress rejoicing in the news that the hooker is suspected, clarifying the guilty party.

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And Dinah is certainly stylish as she goes out to look for the false lead.

Action 625 – Hal unites enemies, Billy gets caught twice, the Secret Six tie it together, Deadman pulls her out, and who spikes the drink?

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While I like this image of Deadman, none of the supporting characters shown are in this story, or anywhere in his run in Action Comics Weekly.  And despite saying that he “wraps it all up,” issue 625 is not the resolution to his storyline.

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Owsley, Bright and Marzan have Hal end the war in outer space, as his Green Lantern ring is a far more powerful weapon than either side has.

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Of course, the result is that the two sides ally together against him.  This subplot is not resolved in these pages, but does get a follow-up in a Green Lantern Special in 1989.

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Billy Batson falls right into Captain Nazi’s arms at the opening of this story, by the Thomases, Stasi and Magyar.  Billy is presumed to just be a rambunctious boy, but otherwise good little white racist.

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But later, as they all go on an outing, Billy gets recognized by one of the other campers, and instead of taking part in arson, he becomes the kindling.

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Some degree of explanation is given in this Secret Six chapter, by Pasko, Springer and McLaughlin.  August Durant had all the background and motivation to form the original Secret Six, as he worked to stop the people who had created the virus he was infected with.  Technodyne had been working with it, as well as the meat processing – it was what contaminated the pork.

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The Six have pretty much put this together, as has Washington.  But why did Durant kill the rest of the team?

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Baron, Jones and DeZuniga’s zombie-laden voodoo queen story is an awful lot of fun, and probably deserves better coverage than I am giving it.

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Deadman manages to scare of the twins out of the girl she is inhabiting, and can hold onto her, preventing her from entering anyone else.  He uses this to get the other sister to leave the other sister.  But the ghostly girls then enter the bodies of Madame Waxahachie and her handyman.

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos give Dinah some workout time as Black Canary, because the bulk of this chapter follows the killer and her victim.

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The hooker accompanies a man, Sarno, up to his room, then leaves shortly after.  We see that he is dead.  But was it really the hooker, or the actress dressed up as her?

 

Action 624 – what’s really needed, Nazi camp, backstory, an angry ghost, and Black Canary returns

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Black Canary gets the cover of Action 624, as her series returns to the book.

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Green Lantern is in a region where he his ring does not function as normal, and is being trained by the alien who brought him out there, in this story by Owsley, Bright and Marzan.

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The being, called Priest, tells Hal that his rang and lantern are not needed for him to survive.  He almost dies putting this to the test.  But indeed, the lantern he used to charge his ring was not real, just an illusion created by Priest.  But aside from this storyline, this idea is not kept.

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The Thomases, Stasi and Magyar have Billy Batson go undercover to a christian kids camp, which is a training and breeding ground for white supremacism.

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Billy pretends to be completely into it, even when talked to by another boy who isn’t as racist as the camp demands.  But Billy is not sure if the boy is sincere, or this is a test.

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There is even worse stuff happening, as an experiment takes place to make a super-soldier, and creates a version of Captain Nazi.

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The Secret Six chapter in this issue, by Pasko, Springer and McLaughlin, is all backstory on the gay member of the team.  Since the group never appear again, and I am past 90% of the storage space on this blog, it gets one pic only. His boyfriend got killed, to be concise.

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Madame Waxahachie brings Deadman to the Wildwood Plantation in this chapter, by Baron, Jones and DeZuniga.

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The twins have animated the ghost of their dead father, for their own pleasure.  But when Madame Waxahachie makes him realize he is a ghost, he is none too pleased with his girls.

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos return, along with Black Canary, in a less confusing tale of vengeance.  Dinah is all pumped, having just landed a major floral contract.

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There is a hooker and heroin addict, and an actress involved in the story, with a past link between them.

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And when the story is right, DuBurke’s art works very well.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

 

 

Action 621 – Hal gets a new job, Wild Pup gets it in the shoulder, the Secret Six get on the case, Deadman gets stuck, and Weng Chan gets crazy

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A nice Blackhawk cover on Action 621.

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Hal Jordan begins a new job as a test pilots with the Gremlins in this story by Owsley, MD Bright and Jose Marzan.  The Gremlins were introduced a few weeks earlier in Green Lantern’s story in Secret Origins.

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As the Green Lantern ring automatically protects one from injury, Hal does not feel he can accurately do his job with it on, and leaves it behind.

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He almost regrets it, but the scene demonstrates his flying skills.

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When he returns to get his ring, his battery explodes.

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Wild Dog goes after the Night Slasher in this chapter, by Collins, Rockwell and Nyberg.  And though he does not realize it, Wild Pup is right behind him.

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This time, Wild Pup does not help out, he just gets stabbed.

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Pasko, Springer and McLaughlin continue with the Secret Six, as they begin their next mission, one involving academia.

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Mockingbird no longer seems to be keeping such close tabs on the new group, as they begin to actively research their dead predecessors.

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Deadman has a harder time of things than he expected, in this chapter by Baron, Jones and DeZuniga.

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Deadman gets stuck in the body of LeGros, while the twins are possessed by the spirits of twin voodoo queens, long dead.  Madame Waxahachie knows what is going on, but is hard pressed to help.

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Weng Chan gets the impressive stuff in this Pasko/Burchett chapter of Blackhawk.  He is being tortured, steamed to death slowly, along with the bulk of the team.

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Janos is busy messing around with the aviatrix, as Weng risks a severely sliced face to free himself, and the rest of the group.

 

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