Posts tagged ‘Tod Smith’

Action 614 – Green Lantern was lobotomized?, the Phantom Stranger vs Au Puch, Speedy’s fling with Cheshire, Catwoman ends, and Black Canary gets the number wrong

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Green Lantern is in outer space on the cover of Action 614, but inside his ring in the story itself.

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David and Smith recap Hal Jordan’s origin in this story, as sees the death of Abin Sur, and his dying command to the ring, to find a person without fear.

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This version has the ring head directly to Hal, the person with the least fear.  But as nobody with without fear, the ring removed it from him.  Hal is shocked, thinking he had been lobotomized, although the ring points out this is not accurate.

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Hal orders his ring to restore his sense of fear, and Hal is amazed at how difficult it is to fly now.  He goes to the aid of a jumper, who thinks Green Lantern’s actions are intended to show him a lesson about overcoming ones fears.  A nice touch.

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Kupperberg and Grindberg join with Brett Breeding on the second half of the Phantom Stranger story.

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While the tale is pretty basic.  The Stranger seems vulnerable to Au Puch, but reaches the writer buried deep inside, connects with him and dispels the monster.  It’s the art that makes this really rock.

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Nightwing and Speedy continue their struggle with Cheshire in this Wolfman, Patton and Poston tale.  Speedy sees Cheshire before she shoots her target, and takes out her gun, but let’s her escape.

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Roy explains to Dick his relationship with Cheshire.  How they met while he was doing an undercover drug op.  He left her when the op was done, unaware that he had fathered a child, until she confronted him a year or so earlier in New Teen Titans.

And though Roy and Nightwing plan how to stop her, he also meets with Cheshire behind Dick’s back.

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Catwoman’s Showcase series comes to its end in this story, by Newell, Kitson and Patterson.

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Catwoman kills two hotel security guards who come to investigate the ruckus in the room.  This was really shocking to a lot of people.  The guards were not in any way villainous, simply doing their jobs, and not even a threat to her.

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Their deaths were simply part of her vengeance plot against Arthur.  She left the cat brooch with him, to tie things in a neat little bundle for the police.

I suppose it’s because of the death of Holly that this story arc has never been reprinted.  It was easily the best Catwoman story to date.

Catwoman would move from this to a solo miniseries in 1989.

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Black Canary’s series continues to plod along, thanks to Wright, DuBurke and Marcos. Even they do not seem to be following the story closely, as Part 6 is numbered Part 4.

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A lot of talking, a lot of complex plot, but Dinah does have one good fight scene, although not in costume.

 

 

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Action 613 – Green Lantern’s lack of fear, Nightwing and Speedy begin, the Phantom Stranger’s Mind Games, Holly Robinson dies, and Black Canary talks

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Nightwing gets the cover of Action 613, and supposedly a solo series, which is really a team-up story, beginning in this issue.

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David and Smith spend this chapter putting Green Lantern through the emotional manipulations of Mind Games.  Hal’s enemies Sinestro, Star Sapphire, Black Hand, Hector Hammond and the Shark appear as hallucinatory images, as do friends Arisia, Kilowog, Tomar Re, Salaak, and other members of the Green Lantern Corps.

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Mind Games controls Hal’s emotional roller coaster, but the manifestations are drawn from his own subconscious.  So when Mind Games makes Green Lantern feel fear, the spell is broken.

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So much for Mind Games.

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The story ends as Hal wonders how he came to be without fear, and his ring sucks him inside to give an answer.

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Nightwing gets one whole solo page of his series, by Marv Wolfman, Chuck Patton and Tom Poston.

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By the second page, Speedy has joined the story, helping against some cigarette smugglers.  Roy enlists Dick in a secret CBI mission, to get Cheshire, the mother of his child.

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Cheshire is working on another assassination, as she tends to do, and sees the two heroes in the crowd.

Although this is supposedly Nightwing’s first solo series ever, Speedy dominates this, as well as the next Nightwing storyline.

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The Phantom Stranger returns in this 2-part story by Kupperberg, Tom Grindberg and Dennis Janke.  Bruce Gordon has just taken the Phantom Stranger to his first Woody Allen movie as this story opens.  You’d swear the men were on a date.

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People are dying while reading the latest book by a popular horror author.  The Phantom Stranger investigates, questioning the author, whose book, Mind Games, happens to share the same name as the villain in the Green Lantern story in this issue.

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The writer used an actual ancient invocation he came across while writing his book, and is dumb enough to speak it, calling forth Au Puch, who captures the Stranger.

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Newell, Kitson and Patterson share the third part of the Showcase Catwoman story.

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Holly Robinson dies as a result of the explosion.  It’s a powerful and touching scene, but in the long run, a terrible idea.  Holly was a superb supporting character for Catwoman, connecting her back to her beginnings on the streets.  Eventually, the decision was made to simply ignore this story, and Holly was brought back to life.

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Catwoman seeks out Holly’s cheating spouse, who stole the cat brooch before setting the bombs.

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Selina gets the brooch back, but Arthur pushes her out the window.

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos continue the muddled Black Canary story.

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Lots of people talk. They talk about all kinds of stuff.  Drugs, illegal aliens, crashed planes and all sorts of odds and ends that loosely tie together, but the story is hardly making the effort to follow it rewarding.

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.

 

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