Posts tagged ‘NIghtwing’

Action 642 – Action Comics Weekly ends

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Action Comics Weekly comes to an end with issue 642, a full-length crossover story.  Superman, Green Lantern, Nightwing and Deadman are all involved, as well as Guy Gardner.

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Elliot S Maggin scripts this tale, which opens with a flashback to the death of Abin Sur, and his selection of Hal Jordan as successor.  In this version, we learn that Clark Kent was brought as a possible Lantern, but declined.

The art changes from chapter to chapter.  The various creative teams are: Gil Kane, Steve Ditko and Art Thibert, Jim Aparo and John Nyberg, Curt Swan and Ty Templeton, Jim Mooney with Ian Akin and Keith Garvey, and Carmine Infantino and Kevin Nowlan.

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Green Lantern is investigating an unusual military installation.  The man in charge wants no spying eyes, and shoots Hal right in the chest.  Hal lays dying, and his ring summons potential successors.  It might summon a doctor as well, but apparently has given up on Hal.

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Most of those chosen are not characters we know, have ever seen before, or will ever see again.  Clark Kent is brought again, as is Nightwing.

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Guy Gardner is selected as well, completely nonsensically.  He has removed his ring temporarily, and the story treats this as if it means he is no longer a Green Lantern the second he takes off the ring, despite the mental connection between the ring and its wearer.

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Deadman comes to see what all the fuss is about. This is all taking place in a millisecond.  Deadman is able to converse somewhat with Hal, which makes sense.  Superman can also communicate with Deadman, because he can sense this all happening at great speed.  That really doesn’t explain why he can see Deadman at this event, but not in normal situations.

You can tell from the way I am picking at it that I did not enjoy this story.  There was no likelihood that Hal was going to die, so the story was just pointless.  That might have been ok if it were a lot of fun on the road, but it’s not.  And so these weird errors, just sloppy writing by someone who can, and has done, better, annoy me.

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After a lot of “what if this guy became Green Lantern?” Hal revives, and everyone is returned to what they were doing before.

About the only touch I like is the theatre marquee being changed in the final panel, reading Action – closed for renovations.

Action Comics returns in a few months, with an second annual to launch its return to a regular format.

And there is still just enough room on this blog that I can do an entry on the Neil Gaiman Action Comics Weekly story that never was.

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Action 634 – Green Lantern vs Malvolio, the real Cassandra Craft, Black Canary, Nightwing & Speedy, and Blackhawk end

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Very good Green Lantern cover on Action 634.

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Malvolio continues his domination of Green Lantern in this chapter.

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The two fight through this chapter, and though Green Lantern has the upper hand as it ends, his victory is not certain.  Only this and the Superman story continue into the next issue.

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Kupperberg and Carillo, bring the Phantom Stranger four-parter to a close with this issue.  Tannarak and Tala watch with glee as the Phantom Stranger battles with the cat creature, which drains his power.

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Dr. Thirteen gets to be the hero, killing the cat creature and freeing the Stranger.  Tala vanishes, as the Stranger defeats Tannarak.  Cassandra Craft returns from wherever.

While the Phantom Stranger does return later in Action Comics Weekly, Tala, Tannarak and Dr. Thirteen next are seen in the Books of Magic miniseries. Cassandra Craft has to wait many years, appearing next in Grant Morrison’s Zatanna miniseries, part of Seven Soldiers.

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos bring to an end the story of a mother’s vengeance for a daughter dead from HIV, going after those who may have been responsible for her husband’s infection.

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It’s a lot of really intense fighting, and the art is superb on it.

Far better than the first Black Canary storyline, this one still did not manage to be the series that the reader’s wanted.  While Dinah would continue as a supporting character in Green Arrow, she would get a miniseries of her own in a couple of years.

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Wilkerson and Mandrake put Nightwing and Speedy through a lot of legal hassles as their team-up ends.  At least Nightwing gets an equal share of it.  Justice prevails, somewhat.  The implicated British lord goes free, but is brought down by other troubles.

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The best page of this entire storyline is the last, as Roy and Dick hang out with Lian and Starfire.  Nightwing continues in New Teen Titans, while Speedy returns in his own storyline, under his own name, in a couple of issues.

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Pasko and Burchett bring the Blackhawk story to a quick and violent end.  The one undrugged Backhawk gets control of the plane, and Janos gets control of himself as they land, and seek the fake Darabont, who escaped with the LSD and the formula.

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They get her, and the formula, and the Nazi base, which they leave in ruins.

The one big hit from Action Comics Weekly, Blackhawk moves into is own book right away.

 

 

Action 633 – Green Lantern runs from Malvolio, Black Canary finds the torture chamber, Nightwing and Speedy come back to the US, Cassandra’s secret revealed, and the Blackhawks trip out

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Blackhawk gets a nice retro cover on Action 633.

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Lord Malvolio comes hunting for Green Lantern in this story by Owsley, Bright and Tanghal.  Malvolio’s power level is staggeringly higher than Lantern’s, and Hal flees.

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He finds a golden spaceship, people by creatures who know Priest, and are visibly of the same races from that storyline.  Malvolio destroys the ship and everyone on it, except Green Lantern.

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Black Canary is on the trail of the actress, as are the cops, as Wright, DuBurke and Marcos take the story to its darkest chapter.

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Black Canary finds the torture chamber that the Deb had been held, and killed, in.

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Nightwing and Speedy return to the US in this chapter of Wilkerson and Mandrake’s tale.  Thye get picked up right away by the CBI guy who had fired Speedy right at the start.

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They trust him, which is dumb, as he simply is setting them up.

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The Phantom Stranger struggles against the cat-creature in the third chapter of Kupperberg and Carillo’s story.  Cassandra Craft and Dr. Thirteen hover at the edges of the story,although Cassandra gets threatened by Tannarak.

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But by that point, the Stranger has caught an error Cassandra made, and realized that this is not really his former flame, but Tala.

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The Nazi impostor dons a parachute and jumps ship as the Blackhawks deal with LSD in this chapter of Pasko and Buchett’s story.

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It’s the best installment of the story, as the acid trips make for entertaining art.

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And the danger of it all taking place aboard an aircraft makes it perfect.

 

Action 632 – Green Lantern meets Lord Malvolio, the Phantom Stranger chases Tannarak, Black Canary in live theatre, Nightwing finally shows up, and a suspicious change of mood

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Nightwing joins Speedy not only on the cover, but even in their story in Action 632.

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Owsley, Bright and Tanghal start this Green Lantern story as he pursues the alien, but he gets pulled off course, and this plot thread is left behind as we meet a new villain.

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Lord Malvolio has a Green Lantern ring, in a period when very few did.  He seems unaware of the Guardians of the Universe, and, indeed, his costume shares similarities with that of Alan Scott, whose Green Lantern was also independent of the Guardians.

He demands that Hal serve him.  Hal, of course says no.  Malvolio gets mad.

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Tannarak threatens the Phantom Stranger, and then leads him on a merry chase in this chapter, by Kupperberg and Carillo.

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Cassandra Craft and Dr. Thirteen are right behind them, as Tannarak heads to the big cats section of the zoo, drawing the beasts to him.

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Oh no!  It’s super-cat!

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos reveal that the killer actress has the heroin hooker as her prisoner in this Black Canary chapter, and that her motive has to do with her dead daughter.

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She is clearly losing it, and attacks Black Canary from the stage in the middle of a performance.

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Lots of double agents, bombing, and general misery in Northern Ireland in this Nightwing and Speedy story, by Wilkerson, Giarrano and Mandrake.

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Nightwing finally shows up, which is nice.  But he still manages to stay enough in the background that this is solidly a Speedy story.

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The Blackhawks are about to take a flight into madness in this chapter, by Pasko and Burchett.

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The Nazis kill Constance Darabont, replacing her with their own operative.

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When Janos comes to meet her that night, he finds a far more friendly woman than the one the team had dealt with the previous day.  As they fly off in the morning, she makes the team coffee.  Only Fredrikson is suspicious, and with good reason.  She has spiked it with LSD.

Action 628 – Green Lantern and Captain Atom disagree, a second murder pinned on the Deb, Speedy takes the train, Mockingbird revealed, and Blackhawk returns

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Blackhawk has the cheap seat on the cover of Action 628.

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Green Lantern and Captain Atom continue their team-up in this story, by Owsley, Bright and Tanghal.

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Captain Atom has already referred the alien problem to the military, and Green Lantern is not pleased about that.  He has a better understanding of the creature, who had no malevolent intent.

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They both rush off to deal with the damage he is causing.  Hal is using his ring to stabilize a collapsing apartment, holding it until it can be evacuated.

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Captain Atom takes advantage of this, and flies off to confront and kill the alien himself.

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos ended the last chapter with Black Canary getting arrested.  She fares better at the station, where she is recognized, and her work appreciated.  She is not only released, but her pictures and prints are destroyed.

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For the rest of this chapter we follow the second murder, of a drug dealer.  The actress comes to see him first, as a new customer, and poisons his drink.  The Deb is right behind, so once again she is believed to be the killer.

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Wolfman, Wilkerson and Mandrake continue to label this as Nightwing and Speedy, even though the story now follows Roy and Lian, on the train, with Nightwing nowhere in sight.  Issue after issue I became less interested in the story, and increasingly annoyed at this situation.

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There is a shady guy who runs into Roy on the train, and follows him through many chapters.

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Pasko, Springer and McLaughlin continue to wind up the Secret Six saga, as they find the bodies of five of the six people from the plane crash.  But then, we sort of already knew that was the case.

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More puzzling, after all the evidence that Durant created the group, is the revelation that Mockingbird is the magician, Carlo di Renzi.

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Pasko, Burchett and Nyberg begin the third Blackhawk tale seconds after the first, with Janos still mooning over the corpse of the aviatrix from the previous story, as the team form their links with the fledgling CIA.

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And we get a glimpse of the bad guys, German scientists doing what appear to be nasty experiments on humans.

 

Action 627- Green Lantern and Captain Atom, Mockingbird unmasks, Black Canary gets arrested, and Nightwing and Speedy begin

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Nightwing gets the cover, as he (and Speedy) return to Action with two chapters in issue 627.

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Owsley, Bright and Tanghal’s story becomes a team-up with Captain Atom, with the previous issue serving as a prologue.  Captain Atom comes across the alien, who has taken the form of an action movie hero.

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It doesn’t go smoothly, and Captain Atom figures an attack means he is hostile.  Their battle draws Green Lantern, who suspects that this creature is related to the spaceship nearby.

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Hal’s attempt to reach a peaceable conclusion are interpreted by Captain Atom as a diversion, and he blows up the alien’s ship.  Lantern is furious.  With his ship destroyed, the alien has nowhere to go.

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Pasko, Springer and McLauhglin unmask Mockingbird, in a way, in this Secret Six chapter.  Mockingbird unmasks on front of Rafael, to prove that he could never harm the boy.  Of the six possible people who could be Mockingbird, this scene only makes sense if it is Carlo, his magician father.

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But the rest of the story has the new Secret Six find proof that August Durant created the team.

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Yeah, once again, Wright, DuBurke and Marcos have a problem with undynamic opening pages on the Black Canary series.

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But the chapter is a good one.  Canary goes to hang with the street girls, and learns what there is to learn about the suspected killer, nicknamed the Deb, and her heroin addiction.  Canary helps the girls fight off some wanna be pimps, but gets picked up by the cops.

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Michele Wolfman and Cherie Wilkerson have two chapters to start off the Nightwing and Speedy story in this issue, with art by Tom Mandrake.  Both heroes are billed this time, but it’s still more a Speedy story.

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Dick is travelling with Roy as he heads to Ireland,his ancestral homeland, with Lian.  Roy uncovered some information about drug smuggling to Ireland, and was promptly fired by the CBI.  Nightwing and Speedy also run into drug smuggling on the ferry they take, and wind up in the Irish Sea.

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They make it to land, and the story lets us know that “the troubles” will be a big part of this as well.

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.

 

 

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