Posts tagged ‘Max Allan Collins’

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.

 

Action 640 – Speedy ends, Glenda and Randu go to hell, a singer shows her gratitude, Phantom Lady gets the picture, and Wild Dog makes threats

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Wild Dog gets the cover for Action 630.

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Verheiden, Springer and McLaughlin bring the Speedy story to a close in this issue.

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The actor has kept a tail on Speedy, but when he finally sees her dying brother, he realizes that no one is trying to embarrass him.  That he has just been a jerk.  The two brothers reconcile.

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Speedy’s series comes to an end, teasing another case to come.  Roy returns in the next Green Arrow annual, but we don’t see him working for this agency again.

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Morgan le Fay gets the better of Etrigan in this chapter of Grant, Pacella and Wray’s Demon series.

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Things are not looking good for Glenda and Randu either.  They have followed a false trail, lead by the Philosopher’s Stone, and wind up entering Hell.  Etrigan winds up imprisoned by Morgan le Fay, but she does not pay attention to Jason Blood.  At this point, the Demon and Jason exist separately, and Jason sneaks up behind Morgan.

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A dog sealed in unbreakable plastic and a man holding up the subway with a water pistol full of gasoline are the main problems that Hero Hotline have to deal with in this chapter, by Rozakis, DeStefano and Wray.

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But the best moment is when the country singer, rescued in the previous issue, shows her appreciation, avoiding the muscly guy and going for the geek who actually saved her.

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Phantom Lady breaks into Guerreheart’s estate in this chapter, by Strazewski, Austen and Martin.

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She fights off dogs and guards, and hits the bad guy right in the face with her wrist laser.  She gets the picture that is being used to blackmail her father.  We do not see it, but Dee does, and is shocked.

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Wild Dog continues his spree of vengeance in this chapter, by Collins, Beatty and Nyberg.

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He heads after the big dealers, after getting their names from the gangster boy.  Two headbangers have come to buy drugs, but get held as hostages by the dealers when Wild Dog breaks in.  Wild Dog kills all but one of the drug lords, and the headbangers run for their lives.

Action 639 – Speedy at the hospice, Glenda and Randu at Wookey Hole, Hero Hotline helps out, Superman starts a new story, Phantom Lady blends in, and Wild Dog gets mad

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Phantom Lady looks pretty proud of herself on the cover of Action 639.

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Speedy shows that actors are not as impressive fighters in person in this chapter by Verheiden, Williams and McLaughlin.

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Speedy tracks the actors brother to an AIDS hospice, which is being picketed by right-wingers.

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The Demon is not the main character in this installment of Grant, Pacella and Wray’s story.  Glenda and Randu are in focus, as they follow the Philosopher’s Stone to Wookey Hole.

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There, as Merlin suffers, Morgan le Fay is restored to life, without her hand. But Etrigan is not completely absent, watching over her return.

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A few different storylines are being followed through the Hero Hotline series, by Rozakis, DeStefano and Wray.  A country music star has been kidnapped, and there is still that cat plotline.

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But the story in focus this issue is a hostage taking at a liquor store.

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Superman begins another, very brief, storyline before Action Comics Weekly ends.  As before, Stern, Swan and Anderson are the creative team.  The hero deals with racism against Quraci immigrants in the US.

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Dee Tyler gets a good idea of what is bothering her father, the Attorney General, in this Phantom Lady installment, by Strazewski, Austen and Martin.

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Her father is hosting a costume ball that night, and Phantom Lady proves to be a popular choice, making things easy for Dee, who follows some men to her father’s office, and learns that he is bring blackmailed.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg continue with Wild Dog’s anti-crack campaign, hunting down the gangster boy who enticed the young kid into delivering drugs.

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Wild Dog catches up to him right after the guy has had sex, which leaves him in a very vulnerable position.  A few shots to the crotch is all it takes for him to give up the name of the man above him.

 

Action 638 – Speedy confronts intolerance, the Demon takes the bait, a new hero gets a name, Superman addresses his flock, Phantom Lady in combat, and Wild Dog loses his cool

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Yes, that really is a Kirby Demon cover on Action 638.

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Speedy continues his search for a missing man in this Verheiden. Williams and McLaughlin story.

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Roy goes to question the man’s brother, and action movie star.  When Speedy tells the man his brother has AIDS, the man accuses Speedy of lying to create a scandal.

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Grant, Pacella and Wray continue the Demon story, as Jason Blood calls on Etrigan to fight the monster that emerges from Sillbury Hill.

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Glenda Mark and Randu Singh also head to England, concerned about Jason.  None of the three realize that they are doing exactly what Morgan le Fay intended, but we learn this, as does Merlin, as he is being tortured.

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Rozakis, DeStefano and Schaffenberger give the new guy a hero name in this Hero Hotline chapter, as he heads out on his first mission, to get a cat out of a tree.

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Nancy and Sluggo appear to cameo as Hot Shot (as he comes to be known) shoots fire at the poor cat. It works.  But geez.

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Darkseid heads back to Apokolips, to have fun torturing and tormenting the Consortium.  Superman is left to address his followers, insisting that they should not treat him as a god.

It doesn’t really work.  We see this religious cult again following the Death of Superman.

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Phantom Lady continues her hunt for Guerreheart, the man causing problems for her father, in this chapter, by Strazewski, Austen and Martin.

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Phantom Lady’s holographic images prove quite useful as she stands up against armed men.  She even manages to capture one.

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Wild Dog is in a bad mood in this story, by Collins, Beatty and Nyberg, after the shooting of the child.  While his friends console him, and debate the situation, Wild Dog decides the time is right for drastic action.

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Wild Dog bursts into a crack house, and sets it on fire.

Action 637 – Speedy on the case, the Demon heads to England, Hero Hotline debuts, Darkseid’s reward, Phantom Lady goes clubbing, and Wild Dog gets bloody

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Speedy gets the cover and the lead story in Action 637.

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Verheiden, Williams and McLaughlin have Speedy searching the unwelcoming parts of Los Angeles for his missing man.

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He encounters a fair bit of hostility at the man’s former address, and learns that the guy he is searching for has AIDS.

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Etrigan shows his stuff in this chapter, by Grant, Pacella and Wray.  He is scary enough to get rid of the rival demon in the boy’s body.  But that was all just a warm-up for the real story.

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Glenda Mark sees the image of Morgan le Fay in the Philosopher’s Stone, and Jason follows Glenda’s vision to England.

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Silbury Hill, the ancient artificial mound, erupts, revealing a mythic looking rider.

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Bob Rozakis, Stephen DeStefano and Kurt Schaffenberger introduce a light-hearted new series, Hero Hotline, in this issue.

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It’s a breezy and bouncy tale, as young Billy Lefferts, who has the power to emit fire, starts a new job at Hero Hotline. The name of the company is pretty self-explanatory. Call for a hero when you need one.

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Stern, Swan and Anderson have Superman helpless against Darkseid.  Having empowered both the Superman worhsippers, and the Consortium, out to destroy them, Darkseid is not pleased that the Consortium fared so poorly against Superman.  So he sends them off to be tortured on Apokolips.

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Strazewski, Austen and Martin have Phantom Lady hit the clubs in her second chapter.  Her costume pretty much assures her entry anywhere.

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But the club owner she questions proves to be of little help in finding out what is troubling her father.  We do get to see some of her gear in this story, wrist lasers, and holographic images of herself.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg helm this chapter of the Wild Dog story, as the young boy Jack offered a job to gets lured by the bigger money in the drug trade.

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As a result, the boy is in a crack house when it gets raided by the police, and is shot during the siege.

 

 

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.

 

 

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 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.

 

 

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