Posts tagged ‘Green Arrow’

Action 452 – Superman slugs it out, and Davy saves the day

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Shooter, Swan and Blaisdel create the Superman story in Action 452 (Oct. 75).

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It’s a straightforward, but kind of blah story.  Superman faces off against a man who draws his strength off of those he fights.  So the longer he fights Superman, the stronger he becomes.

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It’s not a bad idea, but not executed as well as it might be.  The man himself is a victim, to a degree, of a mad doctor’s experiments.

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Wonder Woman has a sort of cameo.  I mean, it is her, but neither of the two panels she appears in show her clearly.  It was while battling her that the man discovered his energy-leeching power.

Superman imprisons the man in Kandor until he can be healed. Which I highly doubt is legal.

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Maggin and Grell concludes their Davy three-parter with a high action finale.  Everyone gets something to do as Green Arrow, Black Canary and Davy face off against the global conspiracy nukers.

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They succeed at blowing up the base, but Davy vanishes in the confusion.  Clearly meant to make us wonder if this is the Biblical David, it’s kind of a shame that no one ever brought this character back.

 

 

Action 451 – Superman gets beaten, and Green Arrow gets captured

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Action 451 (Sept. 75) was the first issue of this book that I bought.  I must have liked something about the cover, but the story did not much grab me.

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Looking at it now, the tale by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez is really quite charming.  A rural hick comes to Metropolis, following the girl he loves, who has been lured into the evils of high fashion modelling.  The hick buys the bridge from a con man, but then stuns everyone when he lifts and shrinks it.

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Superman learns that the boy is actually an alien, with super-powers, though he has no idea of what he can do.  The girlfriend falls for Superman, the first super-powered person she has seen.  To win her back, the boy starts manifesting his powers, and attacks Superman.

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Superman allows himself to be overcome, and makes the boy out to be the big hero, which wins back the fickle girl’s love.  Awww.

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Maggin and Grell’s story made much of an impression on me, although being the middle part of a three part story, I wasn’t sure what was going on.

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Davy explains to Green Arrow and Black Canary that the people he is killing are part of a global conspiracy, behind wars and assassinations.  He claims to have been around for hundreds of years, fighting them.

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But he doesn’t prove terribly useful when the bad guys show up.  All three heroes are captured, and kept bound next to some nukes.

Action 450 – Superman in Las Vegas, and Green Arrow meets Davy

act_450 Clark Kent and Lois Lane take a vacation to Las Vegas together in the Bates, Swan and Blaisdel story from Action 450 (Aug. 75). act_450_001 Johnny Nevada is also there, performing at one of the hotels. He gets mugged in the afternoon, and suffers an unusual head injury – one that brings to life the sand in the desert, forming it into a monstrous version of the talk show host. act_450_002 People run in terror from the sand monster, although Superman notices the creature is not actively destructive or harmful, and in fact seems rather clumsy. act_450_003 Superman eventually figures out that the creature has the same motivation as Johnny Nevada – to make people laugh.  It’s not clumsy, it’s doing slapstick routines.  Superman leads the crowd in laughing at the sand man, which pleases it, and it dissipates. act_450_004 Green Arrow and Black Canary begin a multi-part story by Maggin and Grell in this issue.  The tale deals with a number of mysterious murders, and the opening of a chocolate factory. act_450_005 The factory’s owner has a son, Davy, who I just noticed bears more than a passing resemblance to the Michaelangelo statue. act_450_006 Davy does prove to be quite a piece of work, as Arrow and Canary discover that he is the slingshot wielding killer.

Action 446 – how does Clark Kent summon Superman?, and Canary vs Cherry

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Bates, Swan and Oskner craft a fun tale in Action 446 (April 1975).

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A hostile foreign power is convinced that Clark Kent has a method of contacting Superman.  To find it, they leave him, along with Lois Lane, in a falling helicopter.  Clark saves them, but the incident piques Lois’ curiosity as well.  Just how does Clark summon Superman?

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Lois borrows some heavy duty binoculars from Lola Barret to spy on Clark, unaware that the foreign power has bugged her office, to learn what she learns.

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Superman is on to the whole thing, of course, and rigs the binoculars to back up his secret identity.

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And in an entertaining twist, Lois believes that she actually figures it out, that is has to do with Clark’s hair curl, completely misunderstanding that this is part of his “disguise.”

The ending also sets up a plot line about their being a foreign agent working for Galaxy Communications, but I do not believe this gets followed up on.  If it does, I’ve completely forgotten, and it will be a pleasant surprise.

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Black Canary finally gets into the action in this final part of the Maggin and Grell Green Arrow story.  She uses her canary cry to take down Cherry and her gang, and then gets down and dirty into the fighting.

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Green Arrow helps, and brings the police, but it’s Canary who fights Cherry, sending both into the water.  That doesn’t stop Canary from fighting though.

Action 445 – the return of Gregory Reed, and the hunt for Black Canary

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Gregory Reed, the actor who plays Superman, returns in Action 445 (March 1975).

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Bates, Swan and Schaffenberger open the story be re-introduing Reed, who has undergone physical and psychological therapy.  He now has a face that genuinely mirrors that of Superman, but he is fine with that, and with his new life.

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The Superman Revenge Squad are the villains in this story, and more openly incompetent than normal.  The Revenge Squad had become much more rare in their appearances, and in fact this story marks the only time they appear between 1969 and 1979.

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Their plot involves building a charge up in Superman’s body, which would eventually kill him, over ten consecutive super-feats.  But five were really done by Gregory Reed.

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Maggin and Grell continue Green Arrow’s hunt for Black Canary.  Arrow corners Cherry Noller, and tells her about the criminals she is working for, hoping that she will want to free another woman in danger.

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And Cherry does contact Green Arrow, letting him know where Dinah is being held.

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But the goons are waiting for Green Arrow.  Because Cherry is the fourth horsemen they were hunting out.  Of course, he does find Canary.  That’s a plus.

Action 444 – Superman kills Green Lantern, and someone else kills Black Canary

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Bates, Swan and Blaisdel pull off a much better team-up story for Superman, largely because the cover does not reveal everything.

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There is a mystery villain behind this story, recruiting two very alien beings to attack Superman.

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It’s a curious attack, that could expose his identity, but occurs in private.  Though shot, he is not wounded.  But he does start to emit sparks whenever he speaks.

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Not sure what is going on, he asks Green Lantern to scan him with his ring.  As the Lantern does so, the energy that caused the sparks emerges and kills Green Lantern.

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And that had been Sinestro’s plan all along.  Although his gloating over Green Lantern was none too wise. His cheme had been suspected, and the scan of Superman had been faked.

Aside from not showing him on the cover, Sinestro’s appearance is also unexpected, as he was just in the last issue.  Sinestro returns the following year in the debut issue of Secret Society of Super-Villains.

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Excellent art by Mike Grell on Maggin’s Green Arrow story in this issue.

He gets news that Black Canary has been killed, but the rest of this story is a flashback, leading up to this point, so the opening and closing are really the same.

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Oliver and Dinah had been investigating a crime cartel with a mysterious boss.  Black Canary decided to go undercover to infiltrate it.  But the message announcing her death makes it clear that something has gone wrong.

The story continues in the next issue.

Action 443 – Superman saves the Justice League

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Maggin, Swan and Blaisdel give Superman a big line up of allies and enemies in Action 443 (Jan. 75).

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The story opens in a very disorienting way, with Superman as a nebbishy newscaster, picked on by Steve Lombard and rejected by Lois Lane.

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While Clark Kent is the one leaping into heroic action against Queen Bee and her drones.

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Queen Bee is leading a host of villains against the Justice League of America.  Most of them are regularly appearing big names – Chronos, Sinestro, Ocean Mchroaster, Grodd and Brainiac.  Matt Hagen makes his first appearance in over a decade as Clayface.  Merlyn and the Harpy are both newcomers. Harpy, the villain assigned to Black Canary, had appeared in Green Lantern, while Merlyn, who would go on to become a regular Green Arrow enemy, had only debuted recently in Justice League of America.

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The assembled villains had already triumphed over the rest of the Justice League, and in flashback we see them taking down Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Aquaman, Atom and Red Tornado.  At this point, Wonder Woman and Hawkman were not members of the JLA.

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Superman has used a Kandorian machine to reverse people’s perceptions of Superman and Clark Kent, simply to puzzle the villains.  They bring him aboard their ship, which is what he wants.  As he struggles with Grodd and Clayface, his heat vision pierces the capsule the Flash is being held in, and the Flash exploits this, and frees himself, and the rest of the League.

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A lot of characters.  The story is fun, but I cannot honestly say it makes the most of its cast.

 

Action 441 – Superman vs Weather Wizard, and Green Arrow and Black Canary and a little white dog

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Action 441 (Nov. 74) had a cover that annoyed many readers, who took to the letter column about it.

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WGBS weatherman Oscar Asherman, introduced a while earlier in the pages of Superman, gets a major role in this Bates, Swan and Oskner story.  He predicts a blue tornado the following day, in the centre of the business district.  Morgan Edge is furious with Asherman, but that changes when the blue tornado manifests.

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Asherman’s bizarre predictions continue to come true, and Superman puts a lot of effort into diminishing their effects.

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Clark talks to Asherman, and some hints he gives leads Superman to the Flash, and together they go to see Mark Mardon, the Weather Wizard, in prison. It’s all told really well, and would have been an interesting twist, had not the cover revealed not only the Flash, but also the Weather Wizard.  With that information, the reader is so far ahead of the story it just drags.

Anyway, Mardon attacks Superman, but he and the Flash had traded costumes, and the “black lightning” has no effect.

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Maggin and Grell conclude the story of the lost dog in this issue.

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Green Arrow and Black Canary go on the trail of the hoods with the high tech weaponry.  The dog comes along, despite their efforts to make him stay.  It’s a good thing, too, because when the big bad guy uses an aging ray on Oliver and Dinah, a ray so powerful that it even ages the wig Canary wears, the dog uses super strength to burst in and break the machine.

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It’s the villain who solves the mystery, when he comments on the “super dog.”  Arrow and Canary realize that the dog has suffered some memory loss.  The dog has taken off, but Oliver calls Clark to let him know what has happened to Krypto.

 

 

Action 440 – Superman haunted by his parents, and Green Arrow finds a lost dog

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Great cover for Action 440 (Oct. 74), but the story, by Maggin, Swan and Oskner, is not really up to par, and if it weren’t for the back-up story, I probably would have skipped over this issue.

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Coram is the villain in this issue, the leader of a think-tank of criminals.  More disturbingly, he lures the two kids above, presumably into a life of crime, but who knows?  We never see them again.

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The story jumps around a little.  Some interplay with Steve Lombard, as Clark gets humiliated, and subtly takes revenge.  Bruce Wayne has a cameo, as we discover that he is a part owner of Morgan Edge’s Galaxy Communications, which owns both WGBS and the Daily Planet.

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Coram creates the illusion seen on the cover, of Superman’s parents expressing disappointment with him.  But Superman sees through it right away, and only pretends to follow their wishes to create a new Krypton.  He takes Coram and his head scientist to “populate” this new planet, effectively scaring them into a confession.

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More entertaining is this first chapter of the Green Arrow story, by Maggin and Mike Grell.  Green Arrow is on the trail of some ordinary thugs, and attracts the attention of a lost, white dog.

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Oliver brings the dog home with him, to Dinah’s delight.  But also some of the unusual tech he found with the hoods, which seems way above their playing level.

The story continues in the next issue.

Action 437 – Superman and Green Arrow face the return of Effron the Sorceror

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Action 437 (July 1974) is a 100 page giant, consisting mostly of reprints.  The cover image is interesting, you can tell what they were going for, but it doesn’t quite work.

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Superman and Green Arrow team-up, to a degree, in the lead story, by Maggin, Swan and Schaffenberger, which re-unites the duo against Effron the Sorceror, who they faced together a couple of years earlier in World’s Finest Comics.

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Oliver Queen receives a message from Valhalla, a lost land of vikings, recently introduced in the pages of Superman, asking for help.  He heads to see Clark Kent, to pass the message on.  Being Oliver Queen, he takes the time out to flirt with Lois Lane first.

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Superman and Green Arrow head to the site of Valhalla, but only find Effron, who brags how he has stolen the city, and will destroy it and its inhabitants, unless Superman agrees to become his slave.

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Superman agrees, though he will not kill, and “imprisons” Green Arrow in the Fortress of Solitude, after leaving him a secret message.  At Effron’s command, Superman seeks out and defeats both the Flash and Green Lantern.

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Green Arrow shows up with Valhalla, to Effron’s amazement.  It’s not really Valhalla, just Kandor, rebuilt to look like it, but Effron takes the bait and reveals the city’s true location.  Superman then takes down Effron, and retrieves the viking city.

 

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