Posts tagged ‘Roger Stern’

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 617 – Green Lantern has relationship problems, Fredrikson shows up, Wild Pup isn’t wanted, Superman loses his man, the Phantom Stranger and channelling, and Cheshire loses custody

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Superman streamlines across the cover of Action 617.

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David, Howell and Starr continue the Hawkes storyline in this issue, but open as a rift grows in the relationship between Hal and Arisia.

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She may look like an adult, but Arisia is really a child, who used her ring to rapidly age her body.  So it’s not surprising when her behaviour tends towards childishness.

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The Freakshow lays a trap for Green Lantern, with a pyrokinetic woman pretending to be endangered by the flames.

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Castle is now wearing a costume, instead of jogging gear.  Not a bad assortment of enemies.

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Pasko and Burchett get the team together in this chapter of Blackhawk.

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Although the mission itself, to rescue the downed aviatrix, is not that appealing, the down payment is.

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We do know that the woman is being held captive by a plantation owner, and is being tortured for information.

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Frederkison shows up, and Janos thinks he is responsible for Lady Blackhawk’s loss of an eye, as they had once been a couple.  He’s wrong, but the two men fight anyway.

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Wild Dog meets his acolyte in this chapter, by Collins, Beatty and Nyberg.

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The boy does prove useful, but Wild Dog is not in any way pleased by his help, and wants nothing to do with the boy.

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People keep trying to kill the Superman worshipper, and Superman has been dealing with those men.  He is none too pleased to discover his worshipper is not where he is supposed to be.

Yes, seriously, that is all that has happened since my last entry on this Stern, Swan and Anderson strip.

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Kupperberg is joined by Joe Orlando and Fred Carillo on this Phantom Stranger story, which deals with channelling, the 80s fad in which psychics would get possessed by a spirit from a past life.

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The medium actually manages to evoke an Atlantean warlord, who runs wild in the streets.

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The Stranger manages to convince the warrior that he is in the wrong time, calm him down and send him back.

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The story has a nicely cynical ending, the psychic has learned nothing from the events, and simply intends to exploit it for her own benefit.

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Wolfman, Patton and Poston continue with the Nightwing an Speedy tale.  Nightwing gets the best of Cheshire in their pub fight, and the assassin takes off

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Cheshire returns home to find Roy captive.  She is about to kill him when Nightwing bursts in for another round.

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Cheshire flees, rather than get caught, but in doing so she leaves Lian behind, and Roy winds up with his daughter for the first time.

 

 

Action 611 – Arisia shows her stuff, Deadman sees the real thing, the Secret Six ride the pig, attack on the Superman cult, Catwoman begins, and Black Canary hits the bar

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Superman gets the cover of Action 611, which means his series gets an update in this entry.

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David and Smith give Arisia a chance to show what she can do without a ring in this story.

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As the room service waiter tries to kill her, Arisia fights him off, and shoves his knife into a socket. Hal was in the shower.

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And the day is not over for Arisia.  Waiting to file a report at the police station, she meets woman who wants to sign her as a model.

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Green Lantern talks with the police, and creates a hundred monkeys to search the trash, looking for any note possibly sent by the one causing the outbursts of violence.  The note gets found, but Hal falls victim to the villain, Mind Games.

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Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga continue with the Deadman story.  the DB Cooper devil finds himself not being believed by the head of the CIA.

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So he shows what he can do.  The devil goes back (to the jar?), taking Yakim with him.

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But the story is not yet over!  Talaoc returns, with the space ship.

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The Secret Six find themselves in danger of being exposed in this Pasko/Spiegle story.

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Some quick changes of costume, and a bit of luck, get them out of the meat processing plant.  The contaminated meat is part of a special “extra-lean”pork creation.

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Stern, Swan and Beatty continue with the Superman strip.  The man who Superman rescued is part of a cult of Superman worshippers.  They have a degree of super-powers, which they believe come from Superman himself.  Clark has no idea why they think this, but the man uses his abilities to show Clark and Perry his cult, under attack by some scary high tech people.

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Catwoman begins a four-part story, of one of a couple to run under the Showcase label in Action Comics Weekly.  By Mindy Newell, Barry Kitson and Bruce Patterson, this story is set a while after Batman: Year One, and brings back Holly Robinson, Selina’s best friend from that storyline.

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Selina is running a small club now, while also operating as Catwoman.  She steals a jewelled cat, and gives it to Holly as a present.  A wedding present, once she finds out Holly is settling down in New Jersey.

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But everyone from the police to organized crime knows that she must have been the thief, and they all come for her.

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos continue the Black Canary story, which now also involves smuggling Mexicans across the border.  Because it hadn’t been complicated enough in it’s first two chapters.

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Canary hits the bars to extract information.  But while she is terrorizing men who likely deserve it, Rita’s father gets murdered in the hospital.

 

Action 606 – Hal has no friends, Rafael listens to Mockingbird, Deadman in hell, Superman worshipped, newspapers are evil, and Blackhawk in a cockfight

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Superman gets the cover of Action 606, so that means I will update what is going on in his 2-page series this issue.

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Owsley is joined by Tod Smith on the art as he searches for someone to share his troubles with.

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Hal goes to visit John Stewart, in prison for the murder of Carol Ferris. Hal can do nothing to clear him, and John is still pissed about Katma Tui’s death.

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Hal forces his way past Alfred and goes to see Bruce Wayne, but Batman, having recently lost Jason Todd, is not in a sociable mood.

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Hal doesn’t even manage to see Clark Kent in person, as he is swamped with work.

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Finally he turns to Green Arrow, who one would have expected Hal would have turned to first. But even Oliver Queen gives Hal the brush off.

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Pasko and Spiegle show the Secret Six what happens when they try to learn anything about Mockingbird, or even more about their mission than they are meant to know, as Mockingbird turns off their devices again.

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Meanwhile, Rafael has opened his father’s safe, and found a wristwatch.  It broadcasts Mockingbird’s messages, and Rafael learns that a new team was formed, and old team told they were going to train their successors.

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Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga have a lot of fun in this chapter, as Deadman arrives in hell in a jar, pulled there by a creature who claims to be the devil.

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I think that the man Deadman spots, who is stated as being still alive, is meant to be Nixon, but it’s not a great rendering.  On the other hand, the hell supermarket is really fun.

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Deadman runs into D.B. Cooper, the infamous and never captured hijacker from the 70s.  He leads Deadman to a mountain, the only way out of hell.

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So what’s been going on in all the Stern, Swan and Beatty Superman chapters that I have skipped?  Not a lot, frankly.  Superman has come to the aid of a man in danger, and rescues him.  The man worships Superman, thinking he is a god.  Lots more to come with these, but I’ll probably just update the story every time Superman makes the cover.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg put one of Wild Dog’s best friends in danger, as he writes an article for his paper against Lyman and his moral crusaders.

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The fact that the newspaper wrote against him is proof of their evil, immoral way, and Lyman sends his goon squad out to blow up the paper, but Wild Dog shows up.

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Grell, Burchett and Marcos stage a fight for the alpha male status in Blackhawk, between Massie, the Red Dragon’s former lover, and Blackhawk.  Janos wins, and gets taken to the Dragon’s bedchamber as a reward.

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We also discover that Cynthia Hastings is not who she claims to be, and that she and Massie have a past.

 

Action 601 – Green Lantern, Wild Dog, Secret Six, Deadman and Blackhawk begin, and Superman gets two pages

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Action becomes Action Comics Weekly with issue 601, running six different features in each issue.  It was not as successful as had been hoped.  The experiment lasted for less than a year, and the comic returned to it’s former format.

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Green Lantern was really the mainstay of this weekly book.  After the cancellation of the Green Lantern Corps series, Hal moved here, now one of the few people to still bear a Green Lantern ring.

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Hal had never managed his alternate identity well, and finds himself sharing John Stewart’s apartment.  This is made more awkward because John’s wife, Katma Tui, and Hal’s current girlfriend, Arisia, are also sharing the tiny suite.

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As Hal is out one day fighting some criminals, Star Sapphire comes to the Stewart apartment, seeking vengeance.  She finds Katma Tui.  Close enough.  Carol Ferris murders Katma Tui.

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Max Collins, Terry Beatty and John Nyberg continue to relate the adventures of their creation, Wild Dog.  He had debuted the previous year in his own miniseries.

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This series never really worked for me.  Wild Dog was a gun-toting vigilante, dressed as though he were a serial killer.  The art never really seemed to compliment the series.

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The Secret Six get a surprising revival, by Marty Pasko and Dan Speigle.  A short-lived spy series from the late 60’s, the Secret Six had only appeared in the History of the DC Universe since the cancellation of their book.  This strip picks up their lives many years later, aging them all.

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The six, very different, people had all been blackmailed into becoming the Secret Six by Mockingbird, who was really one of them.  Now, so many years later, Mockingbird has summoned them all again.

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Mockingbird also gathers a new group of people.  As well, we see some shady doings by the Technodyne Corporation.

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The Superman series, by Stern, Swan and Beatty, will likely get the least coverage of the various Action Comics Weekly series in my blog.  It is confined to the centre spread in each issue, and done as is it were three newspaper daily strips, though in colour.  In the first chapter, Superman comes to help a man who calls for aid.

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Mike Baron, Dan Jurgens and Tony DeZuniga begin a really wild and enjoyable Deadman storyline in this issue, in a very low-key way.  Set shortly after the events in his recent miniseries, Deadman is feeling sort of lost and aimless.

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He winds up poking around an archaeological dig in Central America, which the CIA have taken away from the academics.  Deadman is shocked when the head of the CIA operation is able to see him.

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By far the best strip to run in this weekly book is the Blackhawk one, by Grell, Burchett and Marcos, continuing in the style of the recent Blackhawk miniseries by Howard Chaykin.

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The first installment is spent mostly setting up the post-World War II environment that the adventures will take place in.  A woman comes to hire Blackhawk, who is already proving how tough he is by fighting four men from his bathtub.

Action 600 – Superman and Wonder Woman kiss, Lois Lane is sad, Lex Luthor hurts his hand, Jimmy Olsen helps out, and Superman vs Man-Bat

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John Byrne scripts all of the stories in Action 600 (May 1988), an oversize anniversary issue, which is also the last issue before the book undergoes a dramatic change of format.

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George Perez joins for the first story, which continues the Superman/Wonder Woman embrace that concluded the last issue of Adventures of Superman.  After the kiss, Superman realizes he may have jumped the gun a bit, and the two cool down a bit, and get to know each other.

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Diana gets an emergency message from Hermes, and the couple head to Olympus, which has been invaded by Darkseid.  He makes the most of the situation, as Superman and Wonder Woman arrived in different places, and dispatches Kalibak and Amazing Grace to toy with them.

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The scheme is pretty simple.  Superman is shown that the Wonder Woman he is fighting is really Grace, and Diana gets a similar reveal with Kalibak.  Then the two heroes confront each other, both believing the other is really an enemy.

Simple, but also not too hard for the heroes themselves to figure out.

Darkseid abandons the unconquerable Olympus, and the heroes decide to just be friends…for now.

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Roger Stern, Kurt Schaffenberger and Jerry Ordway join Byrne for the Lois Lane story, her first solo story since the reboot of Superman.  She infiltrates and busts up a crime ring, but her story is relegated to the back pages of the Planet.  The Superman/Wonder Woman romance gets the front page.

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Lois mopes about a bit, and thinks about her relationship with Superman.  Clark shows up, wanting to lend a shoulder to cry on, and the tension between them seems to be ending.  Until an emergency calls him away, and Lois fumes even more.

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Dick Giordano and John Beatty do the art on the Lex Luthor story, which sees him attempt to blackmail Maggie Sawyer about her sexuality.

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Maggie neither bows to his pressure, nor steals the evidence when she has the opportunity. As she explains to Dan Turpin, she is willing to stand up and fight for who she is, and what she has achieved.

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It’s not a very good day for Lex, who also is told by Gretchen Kelly that his kryptonite ring has poisoned his hand, which will have to be amputated.

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Swan and Anderson re-unite for the art on the Jimmy Olsen story.  Sadly, it’s the least involving story in the issue.  Superman gets knocked for a loop when the radiation from Krypton’s explosion reaches the Earth, collapsing.

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Jimmy carries the hero down into a mine shaft, getting him as far away from the radiation as possible.

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The issue ends with another team-up story, with Mike Mignola handling the art as Man-Bat makes his post-Crisis debut.

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Man-Bat is surprised to find Superman down in a cave, and even more surprised when the ailing and hallucinating hero attacks him.  Man-Bat basically spends the story defending himself.

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Hawkman shows up on the final page, informed by Jimmy Olsen of Superman’s situation.  This leads into the story in Superman the following month.

As for Action Comics, it goes on hiatus for a while, returning as Action Comics Weekly.  Happy anniversary, Superman!  As a present, we are reducing you to two pages in the comic that started your career!

 

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