Posts tagged ‘Mark Waid’

Action 641 – The Demon and Phantom Lady end, a Human Target story, Superman makes peace, the Phantom Stranger and Wild Dog end

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Superman gets the cover of the final issue of Action Comics Weekly to feature multiple stories, issue 641.

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Morgan le Fay finds herself attacked by both Jason Blood and Etrigan in this final story by Grant, Pacella and Wray.  Jason has her severed hand, which he throws right in her face.  Etrigan’s demon fire is more useful, but less humiliating.

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But Glenda and Randu are now trapped in Hell, with Jason determined to find them, just as Merlin’s torturer planned.

The story continues in the Demon’s own book, which begins in a few months.

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Phantom Lady confronts her father in the final chapter of her series, by Strazewski, Austen and Martin.  The photo shows Dee Tyler’s father as a young man, participating in lynching a black boy.

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The father explains the circumstances of the photograph, and being dragged into the lynching against his will.

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Dee understands her father’s explanation, so all is well between them.  But a blinded Guerreheart vows revenge.

Phantom Lady does not get another solo series, but is next seen not too long down the road in the pages of Starman.

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Mark Waid, Curt Swan and Dick Giordano share a fun little Human Target story, in which Christopher Chance takes the place of an Adam West-type actor, on a tv series clearly based on the old Batman show.

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This story may well have been sitting in the DC files for a while.  A Human Target story from many years earlier ended announcing a story with this title in the following issue, which never got printed.

The Human Target next appears in a one-shot special, corresponding to his short-lived tv series.

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Superman’s tale of anger against Quraci immigrants comes to an end in this chapter, by Stern, Swan and Anderson.  Unfortunately, Superman uses the lame reasoning that everyone in North America is an immigrant, an argument usually used by white supremacists against native rights.

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Kupperberg and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez give the Phantom Stranger a final story, as a young boy manifests the power to make his wishes reality.  Never a good thing, when an impulsive child can make their slightest whim come true.

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The Phantom Stranger triumphs over the boy, making him realize how deadly his actions are to those he loves.  But the Stranger also implies that he will force a control over the boy’s power, to prevent this happening again.

Phantom Stranger continues to appear regularly in both the Spectre and Swamp Thing.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg bring the Wild Dog story to a close, as he follows the drug chain to the top of the corporate ladder.

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Although the story makes nothing of this, one cannot help but notice that the dealers in direct contact are black, while the ones running it from above are white, exploiting those below them.  Not that this makes much difference to Wild Dog, who mows down everyone in the meeting room.

Wild Dog does not return for about a decade, showing up next in the Lobo series.

 

Detective Annual 2 – Batman vs the Klan

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Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn script the second Detective Comics Annual, while Val Semekis and Michael Bair provide the art.  The story deals with young Bruce Wayne training under famed detective Harvey Harris, ground that was covered decades ago (and in the previous blog) in the story in which Bruce dresses up in the Robin costume.

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This story is much darker than the earlier one, and dispenses with the Robin costume. Instead, Bruce and Harvey deal with Klan murders in a small town in the deep south.

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Their investigation is not welcome, as one might expect.

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There are buried secrets, and even the Klan element is a bit of a distraction, not that the racism in the town is any less prevalent or deadly because of that.

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And though Bruce and Harvey do take down a gun toting Klan killer, Bruce realizes that there are unexplained factors to the story, and that more is going on.

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The solution, presented in secret by Bruce to the mastermind of the situation, is sick and sad, with the Klan murders simply a cover to hide that the killer had black ancestry.  There is a time lapse at the end of the story, and we see that Batman came back to the town every year, to confront the man with his deeds.

All in all, much better than I was expecting it to be.

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The issue concludes with some “Who’s Who” entries on Batman villains.  Kevin Maguire’s take on the Joker is certainly interesting, if not scary.

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I remember being saddened when I saw this drawing of Catwoman.  Her appearance is based on that from Batman: Year One, and was the first indication that her old classic costume was now a thing of the past.

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Two-Face, the Riddler, the Penguin, the Scarecrow, as well as Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia, round out the entries, all villains one might expect to see highlighted.  But a two page spread by Norm Breyfogle is also devoted to the four Clayfaces: Basil Karlo, Matt Hagen, Preston Payne and Sondra Fuller, in conjunction with the Mudpack storyline.

 

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