Posts tagged ‘Kelly Jones’

Action 626 – the dangers of duplication, Captain Marvel ends, Rafael gets free, Deadman ends, and Black Canary on the hunt

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Green Lantern returns to Earth in Action 626, and one can actually perceive this cover as related to his story.  Loosely.

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Owsley and Bright are joined by Romeo Tanghal as Hal heads back to Earth, and comes across an apparently hollow ship heading there as well.

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But inside the ship was an energy being, which duplicates what is sees.  So it emerges from the ship in Green Lantern’s form.

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The narration helps immensely.  The creature sees an explosive action film, and destroys everyone around him.  But there is no malice in this at all.  Simply mindless duplication.

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Captain Marvel’s series comes to a close in this chapter, by Roy and Dann Thomas, Stasi and Magyar.

Captain Nazi proves not terribly inclined to follow the orders of the ones who created him, and is eager to join the poisoning of the reservoir.

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There, he comes across Billy.  Recognizing him, he thinks Billy has been bound and gagged by his own enemies, and frees him.  Bad move.  Billy says the magic word, transforms into Captain Marvel, and then drops a hill on top of Captain Nazi. Poor guy doesn’t even make it to the end of the story.

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An ending that announces an upcoming Shazam comic.  Which never came.  Captain Marvel would continue to appear sporadically, but would not get a series until the Power of Shazam reboot, which changed his origin, and removed this Billy Batson, and Captain Nazi, from continuity.

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The action moves to Washington DC as Pasko, Springer and McLaughlin begin winding up the Secret Six.  The team has learned about the agency attacking them, and realize this is the same group Durant has been fighting, and that they brought down the plane with the original team.

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Mockingbird is glad they no longer think he killed them.  Rafael manages to break out of his room.  he confronts Mockingbird, who is simply disappointed that he took so long to escape, being the son of a magician.

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Deadman’s series also comes to a close in this issue, by Baron, Jones and DeZuniga.

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It’s a body-hopping, knock-down drag out fight with Deadman, Madame Waxahachie and the evil voodoo twins.  With all possible bodies lost to them, they are reduced to living in rats.

Deadman returns, very shortly, in the Spectre crossover at the start of Invasion!

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The body gets discovered as Wright, DuBurke and Marcos open this Black Canary installment.

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We see the actress rejoicing in the news that the hooker is suspected, clarifying the guilty party.

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And Dinah is certainly stylish as she goes out to look for the false lead.

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 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 620 – Arisia walks out, Wild Pup learns the secret, the Secret Six serve dinner, Deadman enters a voodoo priest, and Blackhawk saves the girl

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The Secret Six get the cover of Action 620.

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David, Howell and Starr end their run on Green Lantern with this issue. Hal manages to defeat many of the Freakshow, but Castle makes it away, running to his boss.

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That turns out to be Lillian Hawkes, not Veronica.  She kills Castle, to complete her cover-up, and Hal is left believing Veronica is the real villain.  Sadly, these sisters never are seen again.  I’m pretty sure that in the long run, Lillian disposes of Veronica and takes over the company herself, and no one is any more suspicious of her than Hal.

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Arisia walks out on Hal at the end of the tale, pursuing her modelling career.  She appears next not too long down the road, in an issue of New Guardians.

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Collins, Rockwell and Nyberg put Wild Pup in the middle of the action in this Wild Dog story.

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Once again the boy does prove himself helpful, but Wild Dog is not at all pleased that the kid is putting himself in such danger.  Wild Pup hides in the back of Wild Dog’s truck as he leaves, and learns his hero’s identity.

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The Secret Six continue their mission about the contaminated meats in this Pasko, Springer and McLaughlin tale.  The team replace the food that is meant to be served at a banquet for the person running the meat processing, replacing it with his own products.

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Meanwhile, in Washington, the powers that be are increasingly concerned that Mockingbird survived the plane crash.  The attacks on Technodyne apparently continue the same agenda that Mockingbird had years earlier.

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Madame Waxahachie explains things to Deadman in this chapter, by Pasko, Jones and DeZuniga.  The rival voodoo priest, Anton LeGros, intends to sacrifice twin girls in order to gain more power.  Waxahachie is out to prevent this.

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Deadman agrees to help, but has little success.  Even when he winds up in LeGros’ body, the twins turn on him and reveal his presence to the voodoo worshippers.

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Pasko and Burchett reveal the truth behind Blackhawk’s mission in this story.

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The Japanese had been working on a microwave generator, as powerful as an atomic bomb, but everything went missing at the end of the war.  The aviatrix has key information, which everyone wants.

 

Action 619 – Arisia loses her patience, Wild Pup enters the fray, Deadman trapped in a zombie, the Secret Six return, and Blackhawk has a spy on the team

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A nice Deadman cover on Action 619, though not reflective of the look of the series at this point.

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Green Lantern, and the reader, finally get to see Veronica Hawkes face forward in this story, by David, Howell and Starr.  Hal does determine that the Freakshow is made up of former employees, but Veronica is an unhelpful as she could possibly be.

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As Green Lantern continues to fight the group of villains, Arisia runs out of patience, waiting for him to get back.  Maybe she shouldn’t have refused to talk to him when he was there.

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Richard Rockwell does the pencils on this Wild Dog chapter, while Collins and Nyberg continue to script and ink.  The story has to do with a mad shooter in a fast food restaurant.

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Wild Dog gets there, but so does Wild Pup, jumping right at the killer.

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Baron, Jones and DeZuniga give Deadman a hard time in this chapter, as the voodoo priest traps the ghost in the body of a zombie, and sends him out to kill a rival voodoo master, Madame Waxahachie.

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She is a great character, and a strong adversary for the other priest.  She is not scared of zombies, and breaks the fingers of the body Deadman is controlling.

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Marty Pasko returns with the Secret Six, but the art is now by Frank Springer and Frank McLaughlin.  I had really wanted to enjoy this series, but the first run was confusingly told, with some undeniable weaknesses.   I don’t think the strip was suited to this weekly eight-page format.  But the change in art was not any improvement at all, it removed the feel of the series, and made the characters far less interesting to look at.

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The story resumes the plot of the contaminated pork products.

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Blackhawk and his crew are captured by the same man who is holding the aviatrix, in this chapter by Pasko and Burchett.

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It’s not too much of a surprise that the man who hired the team has been lying, but Janos is shocked to discover that Chuck is part of the OSS.

 

 

Action 618 – Green Lantern vs the Freakshow, Blackhawk hits the air, Wild Dog goes to the press, Deadman returns, and Nightwing ends

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Nightwing and Speedy in a classic Batman and Robin pose on the cover of Action 618.

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Green Lantern battles the Freakshow in this chapter, by David, Howell and Starr.  It takes him a bit, but Hal gets the best of them, and then tracks them to Hawkes industries.

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As the story ends, Hal meets both Lillian and Veronica Hawkes.

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Janos and Frederikson go from fighting over Lady Blackhawk to laughing at her in a very real, if very male, opening to this Blackhawk chapter, by Pasko and Burchett.

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The team take little time to fly to the right place, landing at the plantation where they aviatrix is being held.

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Wild Dog turns to the press for help about Wild Pup in this chapter, by Collins, Beatty and Nyberg.

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He pretty much begs the tv reporter to not heroize Wild Pup, or even him, trying to explain how dangerous this is for the kid.  The reporter is far less concerned about the boy’s safety than she might be.

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Wild Dog takes a spare minute to capture a serial killer.

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Deadman returns, but the series takes on a very different feel as Kelly Jones joins Mike Baron and Tony DeZuniga.

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This storyline deals with rival voodoo priests.  Deadman encounters a nasty one in this story, who is able to see him.

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Nightwing and Speedy have their team-up come to a close with this story, by Wolfman, Patton and Poston.  Dick brings Lian to meet Roy, recuperating in the hospital.  Roy admits that there never was a CBI mission, he was going after Cheshire to get Lian all along. He wanted Dick’s help, but couldn’t admit the read reasons.

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Nightwing’s actions in this final chapter almost merit calling it a solo series, as he also takes down Cheshire single-handed.

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And it’s nice to see Dick and Starfire together at the end.

Nightwing’s series would return.  This first run was heavily criticized for being more of a Speedy story than a Nightwing one, but the next would be even worse for that.

 

 

Detective Annual 11 – Azrael causes problems, the Riddler goes for an old standard, and Oracle teams with Looker

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There are three stories in Detective Annual 11 (2009), the first, which is also the longest, being a continuation of a story from this year’s Batman Annual.

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The story, by Fabian Nicieza and Tom Mandrake, deals with another secret society, this one out to raise a demonic spirit through the seven deadly sins, and the sacrifice of children descended from earlier cult members.

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Batman and the Question work on it together from their side.  Azrael has his own agenda, and Robin has gone in disguise as one of the children, and already been kidnapped.  Renee does not take long to realize that it is Nightwing now wearing the Batman costume.

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Azrael learns that the sacrifice depends on the children being of the blood of the earlier ones, which of course means that, should Robin get sacrificed, the spell will not work.

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Damian does break free, and his identity as Robin is exposed.  The evil cultists try to lure him back.  I’m not sure that sending an aggressively naked older woman is the best way to lure a 10 year old boy, even if it’s Damian.

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But it’s Azrael to the rescue anyway, and he joins with Robin as they take down the cultists, in a manner as overtly violent as only Damian and an Azrael can be.

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Batman and the Question are rushing to the scene.  The cultists are in a penthouse, and the story gets a moment of levity as Batman sends Renee up to the roof quickly.

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Frankly, this story failed to grab me, even with Mandrake’s art.   I do like Harvey Bullock’s crude way of explaining how he knew Renee was the Question, and there are some other good moments.

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The story ends with both the villains and the heroes angry with Azrael.  I have never liked any version of that character, which probably explains why I don’t care for a long story featuring him.

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There is a very cute 2-page “L’il Gotham” story, by Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen.  Not much in the way of plot, the Riddler does a variant of the St. Ives riddle song, though calling it Poison Ives.  A staggering amount of cameos in this, for only being two pages.  Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Commissioner Gordon, Batman, Batwoman, Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, as well as the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Two-Face, Clayface, Mad Hatter, Joker, Scarecrow, Black Mask, Croc, Hush, Ra’s Al Ghul, and even the original Ventriloquist, Arnold Wesker, with Scarface.

Of the three stories in this issue, it’s sad that I enjoyed this 2 page piece more than the others.

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The final story in the issue, by Amanda McMurray and Kelly Jones, features a team-up between Oracle and Looker.

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There is a bad guy who thinks he is a vampire, but isn’t, and who is obsessed with Barbara Gordon, though we never find out why.  Looker is unaware that Barbara is Oracle, and is kept in the dark. Looker has become a vampire herself during her time with the Outsiders, so she is the perfect one to take down a faker.

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The ending of the story leaves more questions than answers, and was clearly intended to be followed up.  As far as I know, it never was.

 

 

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