Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Wednesday Comics: DC, April 1980 (part 2)

My mission: read DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands around January 24, 1980.

Action Comics #506: It turns out the Kryptonian hairy hominid android was a ploy by it's creator to save all of Krypton's children from the coming cataclysm. Now it's threatening to steal all of Earth's children. Superman uses time travel and has Superboy inadvertently destroy it with a James Kirkian paradox. It is locked in on Superman's brainwaves to eliminate him--but it can't harm a child, so it explodes. Pretty clever, Cary Bates!

Adventure Comics #470: More forgettable Starman and Plastic Man adventures. The Plastic Man story by Martin Pasko has villains with construction-related pun names. That's really the only thing I remember about it.

Brave & the Bold #161: Conway and Aparo have Batman and Adam Strange switching places to solve a mystery. In the end, it doesn't amount to much, but it's a clever concept.

Detective Comics #489: You might think ass-kicking Commissioner Gordon was an invention of Frank Miller, but no Kupperberg and Novick have him going into a prison overrun by the inmates to secure the release of hostages and singlehandedly turning the tables on the ringleaders. Alfred gets to beat up some thugs, too, in a solo tale by Rozakis and Delbo. The Atom tries to fix the JLA satellite computer and gets in a fight with subatomic aliens. Batman gets two stories: one has him weirdly dismissive of the supernatural despite all the times he as encountered it--including possibly this very story! In the second, he's on the trail of the Sensei for the death of Kathy Kane. Bronze Tiger makes a (brief) appearance.

Green Lantern #127: This is an action-packed issue, with an all-out assault by the Green Lantern Corps to retake Oa from the Weaponers of Qward. A number of (nameless, never seen before) Lanterns die in the assault, and Jordan only prevails with the unexpected aid of Sinestro. A good issue, but I don't really feel like Staton quite delivers in the way another artist might have.

House of Mystery #279: The most ridiculous (but entertaining) of these three stories is by Barr and Noly Zamora and features con men named Ecks and Wye (get it?) in the Old West, apparently committing murders in a werewolf fashion, then charging the town for anti-werewolf supplies. When Ecks decides to double cross his partner, the twist is revealed--Wye really is a werewolf!

Legion of Super-Heroes #262: This is a sort of Star Trekian tale about an old spacecraft out to entertain it's long-dead captain. Better than the last couple of issues; particularly, the art by James Sherman.

New Adventures of Superboy #4: Superboy foils Astralad's every attempt to reveal his secret identity as nerdy Joe Silver to his classmates and thereby become popular. Then, the boy of steel convinces Joe it was all a dream so he gives up on making his life better by changing the past. I'm not sure Superboy was completely in the right on this one.

Sgt. Rock #339: Much of this issue is a flashback to Rock's participation in an unnamed attack that I assume is meant to be the Dieppe Raid (or its DCU stand-in). Rock definitely gets around a lot in this war.

Super Friends #31: This issue has Black Orchid! And Kryptonite! I honestly don't remember much else, other than the Ramona Fradon art, which I always find charming.

Time Warp #4: Two of these stories are time travel yarns, but not your usual ones. The one by Allikas and Ditko sees scientists deciding to prevent nuclear conflict by offing Einstein (there's an old Frederick Pohl story with the same basic idea, I think), but they can't do it. Instead, they take him back to the 18th Century--where he changes the future by giving Native Americans the atomic bomb! There's also an overly complicated tale by Kashdan and Patricio where a mutated astronaut landing in the future starts infecting the defenseless population with the common cold, so naturally the future-folk go back in time to ensure the astronaut never gets a cold, only to doom their future with a disease the cold would have prevented! 

Unexpected #197: Jockeying over an inheritance leads greedy relatives to ruin in a treasure hunt, a guy euthanizing stray cats for cash runs up against a witch's cat, and a horror writer gets the inside scoop first-hand from a vampire.

Unknown Soldier #238: The Unknown Soldier plays pied piper to get a group of Hitler-loving kids away from a German commander using them for human-shields in a Haney/Ayers tale. In the backup, an Olympic skier puts his skills to use leading his company in North Africa--in ways as ridiculous as you might imagine. It illustrates a common theme in these war books: the American G.I. heroes often prevail due to Yankee ingenuity. Out-of-the-box thinking is more often the key to victory than badassery.

Warlord #32: The first appearance of Shakira. More on it here.

Weird Western Tales #66: In a somewhat offbeat tale by Conway and Ayers, Scalphunter winds up in Pittsburgh, where he is nursed back to health by a single mother. To help the family, he goes to work in the factory besides her and her children, but revolts against the ill-treatment and poor conditions. The woman and her kid refuse to go with him, because it's the only life they've known.


Dick McGee said...

Your earlier post on the Warlord issue is perpetuating a Star Trek myth long since debunked. Victoria Vetri did not play Isis on the Assignment Earth episode, it was an actress named April Tatro. Even the wiki page you provided for Vetri now acknowledges she had nothing to do with the role. Wouldn't surprise me if both of them were inspiration for Grell, though.

This was thin one for me back in the day, the only issues I recall owning were Time Warp and Warlord (both of which I think I had full runs of, although I might have missed an issue or two of Warlord's much longer run).

Trey said...

Yes, you're right. That is something we now know to be incorrect. I didn't know it at that time though.