Posts tagged ‘Gil Kane’

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 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 604 – the murder of Carol Ferris, comic books are evil, becoming a movie monster, getting in the bottle and Andre’s busy

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Wild Dog gets the cover of Action 604.  No comment.

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Owsley and Kane put John Stewart on the hot seat in this story.  Because he was known as Green Lantern, he is implicated in the damage done by Hal Jordan during his fight with Star Sapphire.  As John is trying to explain, Hal’s ring suddenly lands on his finger, and puts him into costume.

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Carol Ferris has shown up to testify, and John accuses her of killing his wife.  It then appears that John suffocates Carol in the middle of the courtroom, before dozens of witnesses.  But John knows he is not causing that.

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Indeed, Carol is not dead, she just made it look that way, so now the police are after John.  What a bitch.

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John sends the ring back to find Hal, but maybe shouldn’t have done that, as he then gets arrested.  On the other hand, Hal in in chains on an alien planet, so he needs it as well.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg have the morality squad go after a comic book store in this one, blowing it up, and ensuring the hatred of all of the readers.

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Wild Dog catches up with them as they attack a truck driver for carrying porn mags, among the many other things in his shipment.  Wild Dog gets shot.

He does not die, I’m sorry to say.  There is more of his series coming.

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The Secret Six go after a teenage tech wizard, the president of Technodyne, in this chapter, by Pasko and Spiegle.  A few issues earlier, a small town was wiped out by the acid rain from a technodyne factory.

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The boy they are going after lives in a pleasure palace, and is a huge fan of horror films.  The “attack” on the boy is also a diversion, as the company’s records are raided.

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The boy is confronted by the killer from his favourite slasher series, and the Six get the information they need.  The new Six.  The bodies of the old Six have just been discovered…

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Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga begin this Deadman chapter with a bang, as the spaceship bursts out of the pyramid.

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It just keeps flying up into space.  Deadman catches up and takes control of the terrified and confused CIA operative inside, but cannot figure out the controls.  He puts the man into a trance, and returns to Earth.

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That doesn’t work so well for him, as the CIA chief has her super-weapon.

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Now that she has Deadman bottled, I should probably start calling her by her name, Major Kasaba.

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Blackhawk puts his plan into operation thanks to Grell, Burchett, and Marcos.  Janos Prohaska and Cynthia Hastings fly into the Red Dragon’s territory, and pretend the plane has sprung a leak.

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Andre Blanc-Dumont gets brought into the series.  Or at least, an effort is made to do so.  He’ll be back when he is ready.

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And we end as Blackhawk meets the Red Dragon.

 

Action 603 – Green Lantern vs Star Sapphire, the Secret Six learn the rules, Deadman chats with a ghost, Wild Dog joins the group, and Blackhawk accepts the mission

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A sombre Blackhawk cover on Action 603.

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It’s pretty much non-stop action as Owsley and Kane have Hal Jordan catch up to his former lover, and murderer of Katma Tui, Star Sapphire.

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When it looks like Hal might win, Carol acts scared and possessed by the evil queen of the Zamarons, but that is just an act, and the story ends with Star Sapphire triumphant.

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As the old Secret Six burn in the wreckage of their plane, the new ones gather to find out what happened to their high tech gear, in this Pasko and Spiegle tale.

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The deal is that they will perform missions for Mockingbird, and not try to find out who he (or she) is.  As long as they do this, their devices will continue to function.  They begin their first mission.

But wait, how is Mockingbird giving them orders if Mockingbird was one of the original team, and the original team are dead?

How indeed?

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Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga have a bit of a time out in this chapter.  Deadman and Talaoc start fighting, with Talaoc claiming to be a god (the god Talaoc, I betcha).

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Deadman insists that Talaoc is a ghost, and with some prompting, he recalls a life before the arrival of, what is clearer to us than to him, an alien spaceship.

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Which explains where the weapons come from, and that unusual sound emanating from under the pyramid.

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Collins and Beatty continue with Wild Dog, as he learns of the bombed bookstore.

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Though he talks about morals and purity, Lyle Layman has no problem cozying up to a widow, one of his followers.

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Wild Dog is not sure if the bomber is Layman, or just one of his devotees, so he joins the group as himself, Jack Wheeler.

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Grell, Burchett and Marcos lay out the plot in this chapter of the Blackhawk story. There is a stolen cache of gold, lost during the last days of World War II in the far east, and now most likely in the possession of a notorious smuggler and thief, the Red Dragon.

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Blackhawk and Cynthia head to the hangar to get his ship. They will pose as rumrunners, aiming to get captured by the Red Dragon, and go from there.

Action 602 – the funeral of Katma Tui, Deadman sees a ghost, Wild Dog and the crusader, the Secret Six get murdered, and Blackhawk checks for tags

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Excellent Green Lantern cover on Action 602, though not really related to his story.

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Owsley and Kane deal with the consequences of Katma Tui’s murder, which John Stewart blames Hal for, indirectly.

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Arisia and Kilowog join the two men at Katma’s funeral, which gets crashed by a gloating Star Sapphire.  She and Hal fight it out.

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Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga continue the Deadman story.  The CIA chief is surprised to be able to see Deadman, as surprised as he is to be seen.  But she is the one who goes on the attack, with an odd weapon that is able to hurt him.

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Hiding inside another person does not help, she can see that as well – perhaps even the way the reader can, with a glowing outline.  But the CIA chief also has a spirit inside of her.

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And this spirit looks far more suited to the ancient pyramid than anyone else.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg introduce the villain for this first Wild Dog storyline.

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Lyle Layman is leading a conservative crusade, spouting all the usual moralistic garbage as a justification for oppression. And, in this story, for fire-bombing a porn store.  He has a devoted following, willing to turn his words into deeds, no matter how violent.

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Pasko and Spiegle introduce us further to the new Secret Six.  Each one has suffered some debilitating ailment or injury, which prevents them from continuing with their careers.  Mockingbird offers them all high tech gear that will overcome these problems.

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At the same time, the original group gather for drinks as they await word from Mockingbird, who has a plane trip lined up for them.

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The new team head home with their devices, which abruptly stop working.  But they are still better off than the original team, who discover their plane has been rigged to crash.

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Grell, Burchett and Marcos show almost all there is to Blackhawk as he fights off four men.

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After defeating them, he gets down to business with the woman who came to hire him, Cynthia Hastings.

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 554 – creating Superman

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Wolfman and Kane provide an epilogue of sorts to the Forgotten Heroes story in Action 554 (April 1984).

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The story is set on an alien world that kind of resembles Earth, although it is under the domination of some scary other aliens.  Two young boys, named Joe and Jerry, very loosely based on Siegel and Shuster, conceive of a noble and powerful hero that could save them from the alien overlords.

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They design Superman, and then devote their energies to believing in their created hero.

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This belief is enough to pull Superman from the void he vanished into in the previous issue.  He defeats the aliens, and then heads back to Earth.  The story is dedicated to Siegel and Shuster.

A lot of people really liked this story.  It was ok.

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