Posts tagged ‘Green Arrow’

Action 636 – Speedy and the Demon begin, the Phantom Stranger crushed by jazz, the villain in Superman revealed, Phantom Lady debuts, and Wild Dog returns

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The Phantom Stranger is the one series that appears in Action 636 that does not make it onto the cover. Gotta feel bad for him.

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Speedy finally moves into how own series, by Mark Verheiden and Louis Williams. The story begins with a brief recap of his early life, time with Green Arrow, and heroin addiction.

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Roy needs a job to support him and Lian, and gets hired by a private investigator.  He begins his hunt for a missing person.

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Alan Grant, Mark Pacella and Bill Wray begin a Demon story, which follows events from his mini-series, with the death of Harry Matthews.

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Jason Blood no longer wants anything to do with the Demon.  He wanders around blaming Etrigan for everything in his life.

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A woman’s child gets possessed, and she calls Jason to help.  Though he doesn’t want to, he goes.  He tries to exorcise the child himself, but fails.

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So he does the only thing he can, and invokes Etrigan.

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Andy Kibert joins Paul Kupperberg for a Phantom Stranger story that deals with the black musicans ruthlessly exploited by the white music industry. The protagonist is an elderly man, playing on the street for coins, whose recordings had made a company rich.  When he encounters his old “partner” on the street, and the man ignores him, the musician seeks out vengeance.

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It’s scary and sad, and beautifully rendered.  In the end, the man doesn’t want millions, he just wants respect.

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Stern, Swan and Anderson reveal that both sides of the Superman-as-god forces have been backed, and the powers and technology given, by Darkseid.

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Dee Tyler, the new Phantom Lady makes her debut in this story by Lex Strazewski, Chuck Austen and Gary Martin.  Dee has just graduated from an elite finishing school for women in Paris, which seems to be run by Sandra Knight, the origins Phantom Lady. Certainly, Dee has learned a lot more than math.

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She returns home to Washington DC to discover that her father, the Attorney General, is under a lot of pressure, and criminal forces are involved.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg return along with Wild Dog, for his third storyline of the run.  This one is a very anti-drug story, centring on a young street kid.

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Wild Dog finds the boy work which is honest, but dull and low-paying.  A teenage gangster offers him big bucks to deliver drugs.

 

 

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

 

Action 546 – Superman, the Justice League and the New Teen Titans vs Brainiac

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Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane pull out the stops for Action 546 (Aug. 83), the conclusion of the new Brainiac saga.

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Superman gathers the Justice League and , unusually, the New Teen Titans.  They were the hottest selling property DC had at the time, and Wolfman wrote their comic.  But it’s still not like Superman called on the Teen Titans from time to time.

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Anyway, both teams see a lot of action in this story.  The Atom Firestorm, Flash, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Red Tornado, Wonder Woman and Zatanna work with Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Changeling, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Terra against the invading alien armies under Brainiac’s domination.

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Lois Lane gets one scene in the story, back on the farm of her rarely appearing parents, Sam and Ella Lane.  Superman talked her out of staying on assignment in the Middle East, and she is furious to see that Lana Lang is doing the interview she worked so long at.

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While the others deal with the armies, Superman confronts Brainiac himself.  He manages to draw out solar flares, which disrupt Brainiac’s headship, and render him vulnerable.  He retreats, to fight another day.  And once Brainiac leaves, his armies, no longer mind controlled, back down.

Yup, Brainiac is definitely more of a threat than he was before.

 

Action 535 – Superman meets the Omega Men, and Air Wave ends

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Superman is at half power, having been split into two people in the previous issue, in the Wolfman, Staton and Marcos story in Action 535 (Sept. 82).

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Superman finds himself cast back to Earth abruptly, and runs into the Omega Men, a group of aliens on the run, last seen in their introductory story arc in the pages of Green Lantern the previous year.  Primus, Kalista, Broot, Nimbus and Harpis explain their story to Superman.

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They prove to be some help as a villain called the Mole attacks various buildings in Metropolis from underground, including the Daily Planet.  Superman is not used to his power loss, and overestimates his invulnerability. The Omega Men bring him to a hospital, and Kalista brings Lois Lane, who he has been calling for.

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But the Mole and his men think that even a powered down Superman is a prize to be had, and break into the hospital to steal him.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Air Wave concludes his final solo story, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte, as he spies on his high school science teacher, who seems to bean alien.

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Air Wave doesn’t fare too well against the man himself, he manages to escape capture.  But Hal does prevent the man’s bomb from going off, taking it high into space, which neutralizes the explosion.

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In the end, Air Wave is called to the Justice League satellite, where he is lauded by Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Atom, Green Arrow, Black Canary and Hawkman for his quick thinking.  They even tell the boy that one day he might become a member of the Justice League himself.

Sadly, this is really the high point of Air Wave’s career.  He returns in a couple of months in an issue of DC Comics Presents, and will pop up occasionally over the next couple of decades, but never again carry his own series.

 

Action 480 – Amazo attacks

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Bates, Swan and Chairamonte begin a four-part story that pits Superman against Amazo, the one-man Justice League in Action 480 (Feb. 78).

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The story gets bang into the action, with little build-up.  Superman is relaxing on the Justice League satellite, when Amazo suddenly bursts out of his cell and through the floor, getting into a fight with Superman that blasts them out of the satellite and into space.

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The Justice League alert goes off, and the whole team show up.  This is not such a good thing, as Aquaman, Atom, Batman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Red Tornado all wind up trapped in the satellite by Amazo, giving him free reign against Superman.

A mysterious “Professor Ives” is also brought in to the story.

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With Amazo on the loose, and his own powers waning, Superman needs a way to get Clark out of the way, and leave him free.  Morgan Edge is holding a draw to see who goes on a particular assignment out of town, and Clark hypnotizes everyone to think he was chosen.  As well as Lois, Jimmy and Steve Lombard, Lana Lang is part of the draw, having recently been hired to WGBS in the pages of Superman.

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Professor Ives turns out to be Professor Ivo, who Amazo hates for having created him.  Superman desperately fights to save Ivo as his powers fade before Amazo.

Throughout this storyline there is nothing of Ivo’s usual two qualities, his quest for immortality, and disfigurements caused by the quest.

Action 458 – Blackrock debuts, and Green Arrow and Black Canary end

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A rival network, and all that entails, are introduced by Maggin, Swan and Blaisdel in Action 458 (April 1976).

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UBC has been causing a lot of problems for Morgan Edge.  We discover that they have lured a number of anchors away from WGBS, including Lola Barnett.  But the one thing WGBS has that UBC doesn’t is a super-hero.  The head of the network, Tanner, orders the company scientist, Peter Silverstone, to create one.  We see Silverstone fashion the gear and the costume, and decide on who the person inside must be.

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But neither the reader nor Superman has any idea who is beneath the mask as this new hero appears, during a robbery by a vacuum truck.  Superman mistakes the man for a criminal, and they wind up in a brief fight.  This new hero can travel through the airwaves, and channel them through a miniature tv aerial he carries.

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The story uses parallel structure well, as in the second robbery by the vacuum truck.  Superman follows the radio control waves to the truck’s operator, while the new hero deals with the truck directly. Both believe they are responsible for the victory.

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The new hero than manifests in Lola Barnett’s office at UBC, and she christens him Blackrock.  About time. Was getting tedious avoiding using his name.

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The issue concludes with some more pleasing parallel structure, as Edge and Tanner both freak out, wanting to know more about Blackrock.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Black Canary really loses it in the final back-up story that she shares with Green Arrow, by Maggin and Grell.

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Luthor attempts to hypnotize Canary into killing Green Arrow, but it backfires, and she gets hypnotized into killing Luthor, and really tries.  He barely escapes with his life.

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When Green Arrow finally arrives, he is far more concerned with calming Dinah down, and bringing her back to herself.  Luthor gets away, and a note informs us that he can be found next in the Joker’s book, where they work together.  For part of it.

As for Green Arrow and Black Canary, they head back into Green Lantern’s series, as that gets revived.

And the Nutty Kid actually does sort of resemble Jerry Lewis in the final panel.

 

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