Posts tagged ‘Roger Stern’

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.

 

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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 630 – Green Lantern vs Captain Atom, Black Canary saves the Deb, the Secret Six ends, Superman meets his followers, Speedy gets paranoid, and Blackhawk meets the president

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Superman can lift an elephant, but looks none too pleased about that on the cover of Action 630.

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Owsley, Bright and Tanghal have Green Lantern and Captain Atom go head to head for much of this chapter.

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It’s a big, but enjoyable, battle.  Captain Atom comes out the winner, but it’d a moot point, as the alien promptly takes him down.

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos have Black Canary come to the rescue of the Deb at the start of this story.  With people thinking she is a murderer, she is finding it hard to secure a heroin dealer.  Canary saves her from some angry dealers, but the Deb gets away from Canary as well.

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Some lovely art, and a far better story than the previous one, but still not quite up to par.

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Pasko, Springer and McLaughlin bring the Secret Six saga to a conclusion in this issue, as the agency mounts their final attack on the group.

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Carlo winds up getting killed in the battle, so the original team are all dead, as they were believed to be.

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The new team disband at the end, although Mockingbird makes a final appearance, tagging a possible continuation.  There never would be one.

Instead, the name Secret Six would come to be applied to other groups, the first of which being a team of heroes in the Tangent Universe.

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Clark Kent is brought to the secret temple of the Superman worshippers, as the Superman worshippers haters approach. Superman determines that the powers they believe come from him really are coming from somewhere far away.

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Speedy continues his team-up story single-handedly, thanks to Wilkerson and Mandrake.

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Although he contacts the police about the fire-bombing, it turns out the police are in on it.  The story does evoke some good paranoia, as he has no idea who to trust.

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Blackhawk is summoned to see President Truman in this chapter, by Pasko, Burchett and Nyberg.  Recruited into the CIA, they are given the mission to escort a shipment of LSD from the European manufacturer.  At this point, it was considered a potential truth drug.

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But the Nazis know what the CIA are up to, and the Nazi lady plans to disguise herself as an executive from the drug manufacturer.

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.

 

 

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