Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Wednesday Comics: DC, March 1980 (part 1)

I'm continuing my read through of DC Comics output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis. This week, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands around December 6,1979.

All-Out War #4: I'm still not impressed with the Viking Commando, but otherwise this is better than last issue, with a decent Black Eagle story, and a good Force 3 tale by Kanigher and Grandenetti. The non-series tales are better, to with the Korean War story "Road to Sunchon" by Archie Goodwin and evocative art by Ernesto Patricio tackling the common war comic theme of racism. Goodwin reaches for a little too much in the last panel, but it's otherwise solid.

Batman #321: This one starts off promising with a cover by José Luis García-López, and delivers a solid tale of the Joker's birthday by Wein and Walt Simonson. The best issue of Batman yet in the 1980s cover dates.

DC Comics Presents #19: O'Neil and Staton offers up a goofy yarn of a hawk-headed mutant psychically causing a violent reaction at a dinner party. Good thing Superman and Batgirl are there! O'Neil's script keeps referring to Batgirl as the "dominoed daredoll." I wonder if it bothered him that nickname never caught on?

Flash #283: Cary Bates is making each issue better than the last, I think, and Don Heck is supporting that. Not a lot has happened these 3 issues, admittedly, but they aren't decompressed, more like movie serial cliffhanger installments. Anyway, Reverse Flash tries to kill the Flash just as Flash is returning from the future with knowledge of Iris' killer. The Flash doesn't die of course, and lays into Reverse Flash who, in fact, is the murder. Of course, he gets away in the end, so everything is continued/

Ghosts #86: More ghostly tales with the conceit of being true. The most "high concept" (heh) tale has to be the one by Kashdan and Henson about a murderous stunt pilot who gets his comeuppeance when his dead partner's body drops into his airplane's cockpit decades later.

Jonah Hex #34: Our first Christmas story of the month! Fleischer and Dan Spiegle serve up and unusually humorous tale for the normally fairly grim world of Jonah Hex, where Hex is on the trail of some murderous robbers, and finds his father acting as sheriff in a haven for outlaws. He forces his no-account, abusive father to play Santa Claus for the kids at the orphanage.

Justice League of America #176: The whole JLA takes on Doctor Destiny in a classic "split in pairs and collect something" plot. Not terrible, but nothing special.

Men of War #26: Harris and Ayers give us a crossover. Gravedigger leads the combat-happy joes of Easy (minus Sgt. Rock) on a mission. Harris does a pretty good Kanigher imitation, but it's lightweight, late era, DC war stuff. This is the last issue of Men of War and the last appearance of Gravedigger until Who's Who.

Secrets of Haunted House #22: Destiny narrates two tales. The most unusual of the two is by Kashdan and Ruben "Rubeny" Yandoc and is like Fantastic Voyage if the blood clot was a witch doctor.

Superboy Spectacular #1: This is mostly reprints, but it does include a map of Krypton, and a cutaway view of Superboy's house. The only new story is a "solve-it-yourself mystery" by Bridwell and Swan, which I won't spoil.

Superman #345: Time on Earth gets reversed due to the action of aliens. Conway and Swan serve up  a fairly Silver Age "puzzle" yarn.

Superman Family #200: This is a high-concept entry anthology, tales of the future at the "turn of the 21st Century" when Lois and Clark have a 16 year-old kid, and Linda "Superwoman" Danvers is governor of Florida. All the stories take place on the Kent's anniversary. Conway writes all of these stories but a number of artists appear.

Weird War Tales #85: J.M. DeMatteis and Tenny Henson deliver tale of alternate realities, where the enemy is various alternate United States. An interesting departure from the usual stuff from this comic.

Wonder Woman #265: An "untold tale" of Diana Prince's time with NASA, featuring a shuttle crash, aliens and dinosaurs by Conway and Delbo. The Wonder Girl backup has nice art by Ric Estrada.


Dick McGee said...

Have to see about finding some of these to read. The "alt-US is the enemy" story in Weird War Tales sounds like my jam, and I'm morbidly curious how a witch doctor gets miniaturized and shoved into someone's bloodstream only to be hunted down by a laser-armed microsub.

Is that poor Alfred tied to a the rearmost firecracker/candle on Joker's birthday cake? Poor guy's got enough troubles without Giggles the Murder Clown pestering him. Hardest-working butler in fiction outside of maybe Wodehouse's Jeeves.

Feel like Jonah's working his way through a variant of the " may be a redneck" routine on the cover there. "If you have ever threatened to make another dead Santa, you may be an anti-hero."

Trey said...

Well, it's only loosely like Fantastic Voyage, so there isn't any minisub or laser, but their is a fist fight inside the persons eye. Magic is how it happens.

Dick McGee said...

That actually sounds even better than Fantastic Voyage. "I'll sock you right in the eye!" has a whole different meaning there.

Must say I approve of Linda Danvers being governor of Florida in 2000. One less Bush in any kind of office strikes me as a fine idea, and the state sure wouldn't need to worry about hurricanes with her around. Come to think of it, W would've lost to Gore as well - no hanging chad BS without Jeb in office, and I doubt she'd put up with voter suppression either. So two less Bushes, albeit at the cost of having Gore. Tradeoffs, tradeoffs. Or maybe she'd have founded a Hero Party or something and the Dems are out too? Wouldn't that be nice, a farewell to the two-party system.

Probably lead to reactionaries electing Lex a bit later, though. :)

Trey said...

They should let you write a new series! :D

Dick McGee said...

You could probably do something really interesting with a story about supers running for (and probably winning) public office, I doubt you could sell it to DC after the debacle of the Decisions miniseries in 2008. Marvel's danced around the idea a few times, maybe most effectively with that old Captain America story where he declines to run for president.

Come to think of it, the (formerly print, now web) comic PS238 has a character who is explicitly a former president of the United States who was quietly forced out of office after it was discovered he was a telepath and had used his powers to defeat his political opponents. It's an interesting touch, although they haven't done a whole lot with it over the years. The book is more focused on the kids in the school, not the adults or the general political situation.

A good read, one I'd heartily recommend reading if you haven't already. Free online these days, and you can join me in wishing it updated more often. :)