Posts tagged ‘Tom Grindberg’

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.

 

 

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.

Detective Annual 4 – Batman’s future with Talia

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Detective Annual 4 is one of the Armageddon 2001 crossover annuals.  Waverider has come back in time 10 years to prevent one of Earth’s heroes from becoming the world dominating tyrant Monarch.  He travels from annual to annual using his power to see the future of various heroes on his search.  He had already met Batman in his own annual, but figures he is worth a second look, in this story by Louise Simonson, with art by Tom Grindberg.

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Waverider is invisible when he wants to be, and so Batman is completely unaware of the future Waverider sees.

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The future he sees begins with a climactic battle between Batman and Ra’s Al Ghul.

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Both Batman and Ra’s are seriously wounded in the battle, and while Talia takes her father to a Lazarus Pit, Batman flees on his own.

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Alfred and Tim Drake get him back to the cave, though they want to take him to a hospital.  He is suffering from injuries not completely unlike those he would sustain in Knightfall.

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Ra’s last attack left Wayne Manor in ruins, and Batman had spent so much time pursuing Al Ghul that Gotham has fallen apart as well.  When Robin comes to answer the Bat-Signal, even Commissioner Gordon believes that Batman is dead.

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But Batman returns to patrol Gotham, and tries to fend off an attack by the League of Assassins, but fails.  Talia discovers that it is not Bruce beneath the cowl, but Tim Drake, and has him killed.

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Bruce is distraught to hear of Tim’s death, and blames Tim and Alfred for operating behind his back, which earns a stern rebuke from Alfred, on how the “world’s greatest detective” isn’t paying attention to what is going on right in front of him.

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That shapes him up, and he devises an exo-skeleton to allow him to function, and goes to seek out Ra’s Al Ghul.  He finds on a statue, Ra’s had died following their last encounter.  It’s been Talia in charge of the Assassins since then.

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She has her men defeat Batman, so that she can immerse him in the Lazarus Pit, and make him the new leader of the League.   This is really the first story to paint Talia as demented and dangerous as her father.

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It turns out Batman had rigged his exo-skeleton with a bomb, which he detonates, killing them all.

Quite the downer.  But far closer to what would take place in upcoming Batman stories than the future shown in the Batman annual.

 

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