Posts tagged ‘Secret Six’

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.

 

 

Action 612 – Green Lantern vs Mind Games, the Secret Six and Deadman end, Catwoman on the run, and Black Canary takes a shower

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The Secret Six get the cover of Action 612, as their series pauses for a break.

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David and Smith send Green Lantern round the bend in this story, as Mind Games takes control of him, and has him try to kill a policeman.

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The woman from the modelling agency shows Arisia a spread of Kory Anders, a successful model, whom no one seems to realize is Starfire.  It does make sense that, in the DC universe, the alien look is hot.

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Mind Games uses a machine to send his beams of madness throughout the city. Hal and Arisia both have to fight for their lives.  Lanterns destroys the machine and confronts Mind Games, who is a midget.  Hal is quite arrogant and casual in this encounter.  Not wise.  Mind Games powers are innate, simply boosted and aimed by the machine.

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Pasko and Spiegle sort of wind up the Secret Six storyline in this issue.  It stops, at any rate, coming back down the road.  Yet another person breaks into the groups base, the old waiter who worked for Carlo and raised Rafael.  He tells the new group more about the old group, and their deaths.

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Washington takes an interest in the deaths of the original Secret Six, primarily August Dumont, who was a government agent.

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Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga bring the Deadman serial to an ending that actually resolves everything, astoundingly.

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Talaoc returns, with the spirits of the other ancient aliens.  The devil is also back, and in Major Kasaba’s body.

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But this supposed devil is really just another of the ancient aliens.  Deadman uses the sci-fi gun to get it out of Kasaba’s body, and into another glass tube.  Talaoc loads him onto the spaceship, to take him back to ehir home planet.

Deadman returns in a little while.

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The Showcase run of Catwoman, by Newell, Kitson and Patterson continues.

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Selina is aided by a cop who has known her since her prostitute days, but she will not allow him to take her in “for her own protection.”

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Selina heads to New Jersey, and finds that Holly opened the gift, against Selina’s instructions. Her husband also saw the present, and went out.

The place explodes.

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos seem to take delight in making this Black Canary story confusing.

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Canary gets some help and some information from Doug Vallines.

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But the story closes on a completely different Doug Vallines.  Hah!  Gotcha!  Thought you had some idea what was going on, didn’t you, silly reader!

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Between the Dougs there is an effective passage with Dinah taking a shower, as a mysterious man enters the room.  It’s Oliver, and the suspense scene turns into a make-out one.  But it works well.

 

 

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 610 – Green Lantern goes ringless, the Phantom Stranger begins, Deadman confronts the devil, the Secret Six cut meat, and Black Canary gets into costume

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Great Deadman cover for Action 610, although it really doesn’t match his story inside.

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Green Lantern faces off against a sword wielding maniac without his ring in this story by David and Smith, and manages to hold him off with just his fighting skills.

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To Hal’s surprise, he sees the that man is more frightened than he is.  The police arrive, and the man collapses, unaware of having done anything with the sword.

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Hal spends much of the rest of the story discussing his lack of fear with Arisia, who doesn’t think it’s a problem.  The room service waiter gets possessed (by the same person who controlled the sword wielder, though that is not explained yet), just as Arisia opens the door to him.

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The Phantom Stranger begins a series that runs sporadically through the Action Comics Weekly run. This opening chapter is by Paul Kupperberg and Kyle Baker, and takes place shortly after the events in the Phantom Stranger’s miniseries. Bruce Gordon is still palling around with him, after the Stranger defeated Eclipso, Bruce’s evil half.

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In this story, the villain is a shy computer geek, into the occult, who gets taken over by his computer.

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He wreaks electronic havoc until the Stranger gets involved.  He wipes the computer’s memory, and the man’s, which eradicates the “demon.”

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The Deadman series hits the Cold War as Deadman, in the body of Raisa Gorbachev, goes after the devil, who is inside Nancy Reagan.

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The catfight is a lot of fun, as are most chapters of this Deadman serial.

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Both Deadman and the devil leave the world leaders’ wives.  Deadman winds up in the body of Major Kasaba, who now knows they cannot control Deadman, but still wants his help.  The devil is now in the body of the CIA director, but his “boss” shows up, in the body of good ole DB Cooper again, and captures the spirit, who is really a demon named Yakim.

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Pasko and Spiegle devote this installment of the Secret Six to their new mission, infiltrating Farmer Ralph’s meat processing plant.

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They are taking samples of the meat there, for examination in their lab, but get caught.

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Black Canary continues, by Wright, DuBurke and Marcos. There is some information about a pilot and a lawsuit, but the plot remains opaque through much of this story.

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Rita and Dinah are shown talking from every conceivable angle.  This might be excusable if the information made the story clear, but we get some background on Rita’s father, and his connection with loan sharks, but nothing that clearly ties together.

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Still, Black Canary does get into a nifty new costume by the end of the chapter.

 

Action 609 – Black Canary begins, Deadman takes over Reagan, Rafael gets caught, Wild Dog ends, and Oprah puts Hal on the hot seat

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Black Canary gets the cover of Action 609, as her series launches.

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Dinah Lance had been a regular supporting character in Green Arrow for the last couple of years, but had not been seen in costume since she left the Justice League.  She does burn her old costume during this story, by Sharon Wright, Randy DuBurke and Pablo Marcos, but does not put on her old one.

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Sadly, neither the story nor the art on this serial are really good.  This first chapter is ok, as it largely just introduces Dinah and Oliver, and brings back Rita, a recovering addict who appeared in an issue of Green Arrow.

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Another fun Deadman chapter, by Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga, as he attends an embassy ball in the body of the director of the CIA.

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The Devil has followed Deadman out of the jar, and they wind up in the bodies of Reagan and Gorbachev, as Deadman tries to find out what the devil is up to.

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Things get even crazier as they jump to Nancy Reagan and Raisa Gorbachev, who begin a cat fight in front of the crowd and media.

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We get to see some of the personal life of one of the new Secret Six members in this Pasko and Spiegle chapter.  There is some drama with the guy and his ex-wife, as the rest of the team try to figure out what happened to Rafael.

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Mockingbird has the answers, as he sends more of his people to capture Rafael.

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Wild Dog’s first storyline comes to an end in this chapter, by Collins, Beatty and Nyberg.

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Despite all of Layman’s actions, his people will not turn on him, and the only possible witness to his crimes in Wild Dog, who has no legal standing. So even though the villain gets defeated by the hero, he remains free and in power.

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Well, at least until the woman he has seduced finds out that her son was one of the victims of his terrorists.

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A madman wielding a sword is introduced at the top of the Green Lantern installment this month, by David, Smith and Bulanadi.

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Hal is getting just toasted on the Oprah show.  Called crazy for not having fear, his courage is also then challenged, because of the ring that protects him from injury.  Arisia probably regrets coaxing him to go on the show.

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And the show clearly has quite the effect on Hal, as he tosses his ring away at the end, to face the crazed killer with his bare hands.

 

Action 608 – Green Lantern on Oprah, Wild Dog in trouble, the Secret Six have trust issues, Deadman gets out of the jar, and Blackhawk ends

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Green Lantern looks very serious on the cover of Action 608.

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Peter David takes over the scripting on Green Lantern, with Tod Smith and Danny Bulanadi on art.

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Hal is quite late for the taping, to Oprah’s dismay.  He gets stopped along the way, fighting crime.  He does make it, though, and begins to answer Oprah’s questions.  When he tells the audience that he was chosen to be a Green Lantern because he is without fear, they break out in laughter, to his and Arisia’s dismay.

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Layman goes up another notch of evil in this Wild Dog chapter, by Collins, Beatty and Nyberg. Layman has implanted bombs in the suits of his men, to kill them before they can talk against him.

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Layman also gets the follower he has seduced to provide him an alibi.

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Meanwhile, Jack has been discovered to be friends with the reporter, and the investigating police officer.  Too dangerous to keep in the group, Jack is on the death list now.

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Mockingbird tries to turn the Secret Six against Rafael, but the young man bolts before the team can decide who to believe, in this Pasko/Spiegle story.

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As the Six debate, and decide that Rafael is more trustworthy than Mockingbird, we also see the set-up for their next mission, with contaminated pork products.

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Deadman makes it to the top of the mountain, and out of the hell jar in this chapter of the Baron/Jurgens/DeZuniga epic.

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Deadman does some body jumping to get out of the facility, and winds up in the body of the director of the CIA.  He has a big embassy function to attend that evening, which Deadman decides to attend.

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Grell, Burchett and Marcos bring the first Blackhawk storyline to a close in this issue.

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Massie gets killed by the Red Dragon, and Cynthia, really a nun, reveals that she came not for the treasure, but for a stolen religious artifact.

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That doesn’t matter much to Red Dragon, who scrambles her air fleet to take down Janos.  But the other Blackhawks arrive to save the day.  Well, Andre and Chuck do.

Blackhawk returns for another story arc further down the road.

 

Action 607 – Hal can’t win, Deadman and the Senseis, Wild Dog has a friend, Rafael meets the new team, and the Red Dragon’s real treasure

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A dramatic Secret Six cover on Action 607.

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Owsley and Smith continue to give Hal Jordan a hard time.  Even sleeping in is a chore, now that Arisia has discovered daytime television.

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Trying to be useful, Hal heads to the Middle East, and tries to stop fighting between the two sides, but his efforts are not appreciated.  He comes back home, distressed, and Arisia makes a joking suggestion that he go on Oprah to explain himself.  Hal thinks it’s a great idea.

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Deadman and D.B. Cooper climb the mountain in hell in this chapter, by Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga.

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This chapter gets a bit confusing.  Deadman encounters the Sensei, and though Cooper insists they should not talk, they do.  The Sensei informs him that Cooper is really the Sensei.  Deadman defeats both Senseis, tossing them off the mountain, and then finds another D.B. Cooper.  Which kind of lets one just ignore the confusing chapter and move on.

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Wild Dog fights off the morality hit squad, as they try to blow up the newspaper print shop.  He succeeds, but the police are on the way.

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The reporter, Lou, comes to take Wild Dog away from the site before the police arrive, and Jack discovers that his friend knows his secret identity.

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Rafael invades the base of the new Secret Six.  He has to fight his way in, and winds up captured.  But seriously, what did he expect?  Pasko and Spiegle continue as the creative team.

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Rafael informs them of who he is, and that his father, Carlo the magician, was one of the original Secret Six.  This is the first the new team learn of the old one, and of their deaths.  As the story end, Mockingbird contacts the new team, warning them against trusting Rafael.

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The Blackhawk story, by Grell, Burchett and Marcos, has its penultimate chapter in this issue.

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As Janos goes after the treasure, Cynthis goes after something else entirely, a statue.  Massie confronts her, and calls her “sister.”  Before that can be explained, Blackhawk shows up, and fights with Massie again.

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Too much fighting, too much time.  Red Dragon knows something is up.

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 605 – Green Lantern enslaved, Deadman under glass, Wild Dog is faking it, Rafael asks questions, and Blackhawk dines with Red Dragon

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Deadman does not look happy about being the cover feature for Action 605.

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Owsley and Kane are joined by Donald Simpson and Dick Giordano, both doing inks, as the Star Sapphire storyline comes to a sudden end.

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We catch up with Hal Jordan, in chains on an alien world.

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The Star Sapphire’s spree of evil gets gut short when she is taken by the same alien slaver who captured Hal.

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Green Lantern’s ring returns to him, and between them, Hal and Carol are able to break free and return to Earth.  But then Star Sapphire disappears, and Hal has no idea what happened.  The reader has no idea what happened.  I’m not even sure the writer had any idea what happened, as this never gets directly resolved, and Star Sapphire does not return for years, not until Green Lantern’s next book, in the 90s.

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Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga ship Deadman off to Washington DC in this chapter, sealed in the capsule, and visible to all.

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Thanks to an easy-to-scare guard, and an unstable platform, Deadman breaks free of his prison.

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But instead of getting out of there, he chooses to explore a bit, and finds an intriguing ancient jar, also under glass.  A voice in the jar invites him in, and though Deadman refuses, it turns out he doesn’t have a choice.

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Nope, Wild Dog isn’t dead.  He’s just playing possum to lure the morality murderers closer, before getting up and shooting them.

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With these two dead, Layman needs more men for his squad.  His background check on Jack Wheeler reveals that he is an ex-marine, so Jack is invited to join the group he has been fighting.

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Marty Pasko and Dan Spiegle give the spotlight briefly to Rafael, the son of Carlo, one of the original members of the Secret Six.  Mockingbird had been providing a rare serum to keep Rafael alive, back in the day, and so Rafael was one of the very few people who even knew of the Secret Six.  Now, with his father dead, he wants to find out what Mockingbird knew, and how much he was involved.

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The new team continue with their attack on the head of Technodyne. It goes very well.

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At a press conference, they air the tape they made of the terrified boy confessing, and expose the needless deaths the company caused.

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Grell, Burchett and Marcos make things look pretty dangerous for Blackhawk as this chapter begins.  The Red Dragon has him and Cynthia Hastings at her mercy.

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And Andre is still far too busy to be part of the story.

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The Red Dragon has heard of Blackhawk, and is intrigued that a famous war hero would so quickly have become a smuggler.  He offers to lend his skills to her organization, and the Dragon seem suitably impressed.

 

 

Action 604 – the murder of Carol Ferris, comic books are evil, becoming a movie monster, getting in the bottle and Andre’s busy

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Wild Dog gets the cover of Action 604.  No comment.

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Owsley and Kane put John Stewart on the hot seat in this story.  Because he was known as Green Lantern, he is implicated in the damage done by Hal Jordan during his fight with Star Sapphire.  As John is trying to explain, Hal’s ring suddenly lands on his finger, and puts him into costume.

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Carol Ferris has shown up to testify, and John accuses her of killing his wife.  It then appears that John suffocates Carol in the middle of the courtroom, before dozens of witnesses.  But John knows he is not causing that.

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Indeed, Carol is not dead, she just made it look that way, so now the police are after John.  What a bitch.

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John sends the ring back to find Hal, but maybe shouldn’t have done that, as he then gets arrested.  On the other hand, Hal in in chains on an alien planet, so he needs it as well.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg have the morality squad go after a comic book store in this one, blowing it up, and ensuring the hatred of all of the readers.

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Wild Dog catches up with them as they attack a truck driver for carrying porn mags, among the many other things in his shipment.  Wild Dog gets shot.

He does not die, I’m sorry to say.  There is more of his series coming.

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The Secret Six go after a teenage tech wizard, the president of Technodyne, in this chapter, by Pasko and Spiegle.  A few issues earlier, a small town was wiped out by the acid rain from a technodyne factory.

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The boy they are going after lives in a pleasure palace, and is a huge fan of horror films.  The “attack” on the boy is also a diversion, as the company’s records are raided.

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The boy is confronted by the killer from his favourite slasher series, and the Six get the information they need.  The new Six.  The bodies of the old Six have just been discovered…

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Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga begin this Deadman chapter with a bang, as the spaceship bursts out of the pyramid.

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It just keeps flying up into space.  Deadman catches up and takes control of the terrified and confused CIA operative inside, but cannot figure out the controls.  He puts the man into a trance, and returns to Earth.

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That doesn’t work so well for him, as the CIA chief has her super-weapon.

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Now that she has Deadman bottled, I should probably start calling her by her name, Major Kasaba.

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Blackhawk puts his plan into operation thanks to Grell, Burchett, and Marcos.  Janos Prohaska and Cynthia Hastings fly into the Red Dragon’s territory, and pretend the plane has sprung a leak.

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Andre Blanc-Dumont gets brought into the series.  Or at least, an effort is made to do so.  He’ll be back when he is ready.

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And we end as Blackhawk meets the Red Dragon.

 

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