Posts tagged ‘James Owsley’

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 622 – Superman threatens Green Lantern, Wild Dog ends, a Starman promo, the Secret Six on campus, and Blackhawk ends

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Green Lantern may be cleaning up on Earth on the cover of Action 622, but is in outer space in the story.

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Owsley, Bright and Marzan have Green Lantern travel through space on the trail of the beam that destroyed his lantern in this chapter.

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There is some beautiful outer space art, and an entertaining series of memories of a meeting Hal had with Superman.  Each time Hal remembers it, it becomes increasingly insulting, but that simply spurs his will.

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Beatty returns, to join Collins and Nyberg as they wind up the second Wild Dog storyline.  The serial killer woman is shocked to find that she has stabbed a child.  And Wild Dog is more concerned with getting the boy to the hospital than stopping her.

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She winds up willing to turn herself in, as it turns out, and comes to the hospital to watch over the boy.  Which is probably a more re-assuring site than a man in a hockey mask.

Wild Dog returns later down the road.

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No Deadman story this week.  Instead, as a filler, there is a Starman story by Roger Stern, Tom Lyle and Robert Campanella.

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This is the Will Payton Starman, currently in his own book.  The Starman no one liked, as he was later to be known.  There is little to this story, just an introduction to the character, really.

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The Secret Six storyline swirls towards August Durant, from the original team, in this chapter by Pasko, Springer and McLaughlin.

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The university plot, and the Washington DC plot, both connect when it comes to Durant.  And aside from him and Carlo, none of the other members of the original team are really dealt with at all in this sequel.

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Pasko and Burchett have a quick ending to this Blackhawk story.  The team gathers and flees from the plantation, flying directly over a volcano.

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The bad guy flies right into a eruption.  The connection between the CIA and the Blackhawks is being forged during the flight, but all Janos notices is the dead aviatrix.

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.

 

Action 607 – Hal can’t win, Deadman and the Senseis, Wild Dog has a friend, Rafael meets the new team, and the Red Dragon’s real treasure

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A dramatic Secret Six cover on Action 607.

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Owsley and Smith continue to give Hal Jordan a hard time.  Even sleeping in is a chore, now that Arisia has discovered daytime television.

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Trying to be useful, Hal heads to the Middle East, and tries to stop fighting between the two sides, but his efforts are not appreciated.  He comes back home, distressed, and Arisia makes a joking suggestion that he go on Oprah to explain himself.  Hal thinks it’s a great idea.

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Deadman and D.B. Cooper climb the mountain in hell in this chapter, by Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga.

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This chapter gets a bit confusing.  Deadman encounters the Sensei, and though Cooper insists they should not talk, they do.  The Sensei informs him that Cooper is really the Sensei.  Deadman defeats both Senseis, tossing them off the mountain, and then finds another D.B. Cooper.  Which kind of lets one just ignore the confusing chapter and move on.

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Wild Dog fights off the morality hit squad, as they try to blow up the newspaper print shop.  He succeeds, but the police are on the way.

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The reporter, Lou, comes to take Wild Dog away from the site before the police arrive, and Jack discovers that his friend knows his secret identity.

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Rafael invades the base of the new Secret Six.  He has to fight his way in, and winds up captured.  But seriously, what did he expect?  Pasko and Spiegle continue as the creative team.

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Rafael informs them of who he is, and that his father, Carlo the magician, was one of the original Secret Six.  This is the first the new team learn of the old one, and of their deaths.  As the story end, Mockingbird contacts the new team, warning them against trusting Rafael.

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The Blackhawk story, by Grell, Burchett and Marcos, has its penultimate chapter in this issue.

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As Janos goes after the treasure, Cynthis goes after something else entirely, a statue.  Massie confronts her, and calls her “sister.”  Before that can be explained, Blackhawk shows up, and fights with Massie again.

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Too much fighting, too much time.  Red Dragon knows something is up.

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 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.

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