Posts tagged ‘Dick Giordano’

Action 641 – The Demon and Phantom Lady end, a Human Target story, Superman makes peace, the Phantom Stranger and Wild Dog end

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Superman gets the cover of the final issue of Action Comics Weekly to feature multiple stories, issue 641.

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Morgan le Fay finds herself attacked by both Jason Blood and Etrigan in this final story by Grant, Pacella and Wray.  Jason has her severed hand, which he throws right in her face.  Etrigan’s demon fire is more useful, but less humiliating.

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But Glenda and Randu are now trapped in Hell, with Jason determined to find them, just as Merlin’s torturer planned.

The story continues in the Demon’s own book, which begins in a few months.

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Phantom Lady confronts her father in the final chapter of her series, by Strazewski, Austen and Martin.  The photo shows Dee Tyler’s father as a young man, participating in lynching a black boy.

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The father explains the circumstances of the photograph, and being dragged into the lynching against his will.

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Dee understands her father’s explanation, so all is well between them.  But a blinded Guerreheart vows revenge.

Phantom Lady does not get another solo series, but is next seen not too long down the road in the pages of Starman.

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Mark Waid, Curt Swan and Dick Giordano share a fun little Human Target story, in which Christopher Chance takes the place of an Adam West-type actor, on a tv series clearly based on the old Batman show.

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This story may well have been sitting in the DC files for a while.  A Human Target story from many years earlier ended announcing a story with this title in the following issue, which never got printed.

The Human Target next appears in a one-shot special, corresponding to his short-lived tv series.

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Superman’s tale of anger against Quraci immigrants comes to an end in this chapter, by Stern, Swan and Anderson.  Unfortunately, Superman uses the lame reasoning that everyone in North America is an immigrant, an argument usually used by white supremacists against native rights.

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Kupperberg and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez give the Phantom Stranger a final story, as a young boy manifests the power to make his wishes reality.  Never a good thing, when an impulsive child can make their slightest whim come true.

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The Phantom Stranger triumphs over the boy, making him realize how deadly his actions are to those he loves.  But the Stranger also implies that he will force a control over the boy’s power, to prevent this happening again.

Phantom Stranger continues to appear regularly in both the Spectre and Swamp Thing.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg bring the Wild Dog story to a close, as he follows the drug chain to the top of the corporate ladder.

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Although the story makes nothing of this, one cannot help but notice that the dealers in direct contact are black, while the ones running it from above are white, exploiting those below them.  Not that this makes much difference to Wild Dog, who mows down everyone in the meeting room.

Wild Dog does not return for about a decade, showing up next in the Lobo series.

 

Action 605 – Green Lantern enslaved, Deadman under glass, Wild Dog is faking it, Rafael asks questions, and Blackhawk dines with Red Dragon

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Deadman does not look happy about being the cover feature for Action 605.

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Owsley and Kane are joined by Donald Simpson and Dick Giordano, both doing inks, as the Star Sapphire storyline comes to a sudden end.

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We catch up with Hal Jordan, in chains on an alien world.

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The Star Sapphire’s spree of evil gets gut short when she is taken by the same alien slaver who captured Hal.

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Green Lantern’s ring returns to him, and between them, Hal and Carol are able to break free and return to Earth.  But then Star Sapphire disappears, and Hal has no idea what happened.  The reader has no idea what happened.  I’m not even sure the writer had any idea what happened, as this never gets directly resolved, and Star Sapphire does not return for years, not until Green Lantern’s next book, in the 90s.

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Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga ship Deadman off to Washington DC in this chapter, sealed in the capsule, and visible to all.

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Thanks to an easy-to-scare guard, and an unstable platform, Deadman breaks free of his prison.

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But instead of getting out of there, he chooses to explore a bit, and finds an intriguing ancient jar, also under glass.  A voice in the jar invites him in, and though Deadman refuses, it turns out he doesn’t have a choice.

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Nope, Wild Dog isn’t dead.  He’s just playing possum to lure the morality murderers closer, before getting up and shooting them.

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With these two dead, Layman needs more men for his squad.  His background check on Jack Wheeler reveals that he is an ex-marine, so Jack is invited to join the group he has been fighting.

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Marty Pasko and Dan Spiegle give the spotlight briefly to Rafael, the son of Carlo, one of the original members of the Secret Six.  Mockingbird had been providing a rare serum to keep Rafael alive, back in the day, and so Rafael was one of the very few people who even knew of the Secret Six.  Now, with his father dead, he wants to find out what Mockingbird knew, and how much he was involved.

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The new team continue with their attack on the head of Technodyne. It goes very well.

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At a press conference, they air the tape they made of the terrified boy confessing, and expose the needless deaths the company caused.

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Grell, Burchett and Marcos make things look pretty dangerous for Blackhawk as this chapter begins.  The Red Dragon has him and Cynthia Hastings at her mercy.

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And Andre is still far too busy to be part of the story.

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The Red Dragon has heard of Blackhawk, and is intrigued that a famous war hero would so quickly have become a smuggler.  He offers to lend his skills to her organization, and the Dragon seem suitably impressed.

 

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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 Annual 1- Superman and Batman vs Skeeter

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Action Comics has its first annual in 1987, as Byrne is joined by Arthur Adams and Dick Giordano as he re-unites Superman and Batman.

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The story deals with a young woman who lives in a shack in the bayou in the deep south, along withe the mummified corpses of her parents, which seems to not be completely uncommon in the south.

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Batman comes to the town, on the trail of a murderer who drains the victims of their blood.   Of course, he is mistaken as a killer when he is found near a body.

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Batman contacts Clark Kent, getting him to reach Superman.  The code word is Magpie, a reference to the Man of Steel miniseries, the story in which Batman and Superman meet.

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Batman is lead from the town by Skeeter, who has a degree of psychic powers, as well as being a scary vampire when she wants to be.  She tries to bite Sueprman.

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But Batman impales her and saves the day.

It’s not a bad story, but there is little in the way of characterization, or contrast between the heroes.  Sadly, forgettable.

Action 590 – Superman revives Chemo

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Byrne and Giordano bring back the Metal Men’s most deadly enemy, as the team gets their first post-Crisis appearance in Action 590 (July 1987).

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While touring a chemical factory, on a story with Lois Lane, Clark falls into a pit of waste fluids.  Although not toxic, he notices a tingling sensation.  The waste is the remains of Chemo, destroyed by Negative Woman during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, his mass had collected itself, but was unable to re-form.  Until it got a taste of super-cells.

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The Metal Men are re-introduced as Dr. Will Magnus acts all strange about a secret room in his lab.  Platinum is too busy flirting to care.  Gold, Iron, Lead, Mercury and Tin are all playing around with their usual banter, to Doc’s chagrin.

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That all stops when Super-Chemo comes busting in.

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Chemo has a number of Superman’s powers, thanks to the cell tissues that help make up his new form.  The Metal Men also take new, combined forms, which was not so often seen in the past.

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But even merged into a giant entity, they are no match for Super-Chemo.  Superman sees the battle, and advises them to cut off the bring from sunlight, which charges his cells.

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Without light, the super-cells lose their charge, and Superman uses his heat vision to boil Chemo away into steam.  He does return eventually.

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Tin gets destroyed in the fight, but the Metal men expect Doc Magnus to rebuild him, as he always does.  Magnus refuses this time, to their shock.

This plotline continues when the Metal Men return in the book next year.

Action 589 – the Green Lantern Corps rescue Superman

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Byrne and Giordano catch up with Superman in space in Action 589 (June 1987).

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He is found, unconscious and just sort of floating there, by Arisia, who brings him back to the base the Green Lanterns are using at the moment.

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Superman wakes up, still immersed in the plot of the previous issue, and it takes him a while to clue in that he is in a completely different story now.  The Green Lantern Corps who appear in this story are the line-up from the current, ongoing series. Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Katma Tui, Arisia, Kilowog, Salaak and Ch’p are the only Green Lanterns left, with the central power battery in ruins, at this point in their history.

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They are trying to find a new home for a species of intelligent worms, the last survivors of their planet.

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They find a potential mass of unused dirt in space, the same dirt left by Superman a few issues earlier.  It is still sort of “infected,” and causes some problems.

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Superman adds his will power to that of the Lanterns, and together they transform the mass into a new home for the worms.  Yay!

Action 588 – Superman helps Hawkman and Hawkwoman against the Thanagarian fleet

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Byrne and Giordano bring Superman into the climax of the Shadow War storyline that had been the mainstay of Hawkman through specials, a miniseries, and his own book’s first year, in Action 588 (May 1987).

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The story takes place between issues 10 and 11 of Hawkman, and sees Superman and the Hawks on their spaceship, surrounded by the Thanagarian fleet.  Two of their adversaries are captive, Ved and Byth.

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It is very much a middle chapter, but Byrne infuses it with plenty of action to keep it going.

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Byth gets free, and uses his shape-changing powers to impersonate Hawkman, but Hawkwoman knows Katar would never attack her this way.  She defeats and re-imprisons Byth.

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Superman and Hawkman scatter the Thanagarian fleet through hyperspace, but Superman gets lost as well.

While the Hawks continue in their own book, Superman’s plot thread is picked up in the next issue of Action.

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