Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Wednesday Comics: DC, June 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 March 27, 1980.

Action Comics #508: The mystery of Jonathan Kent is revealed. Turns out he's briefly time traveling thanks to the friendly (and powerful, apparently) aliens from Superboy. The unfortunate side effect of his travel was a cloud of weird smoke than empowered the hippy. This isn't bad, but it's overly  complicated and not particularly exciting.

Adventure Comics #472: More of the same Starman and Plastic Man stuff. The Plastic Man story continues with the Dick Tracy-esque villains. This issue's primary antagonist is Lowbrow who is really dumb, buy manages to run a criminal enterprise, somehow.

Brave & the Bold #163: Kupperberg and Giordano present this topical team-up with Black Lightning where a general is building a stolen reserve of oil. Black lightning is without powers here as established in this months Detective.

Detective Comics #491: These anthologies can be a slog, but there's an okay Jason Bard story by Barr and Spiegle with the intriguing opening of the detective putting flowers of the grave of the man who killed his father. The Pasko/Broderick Black Lightning story has him losing his powers, which seems like a misstep. The Burkett/Delbo Batgirl story has her in an assassin's crosshairs as Barbara Gordon goes to work for the Social Services Department. 

Green Lantern #129: The usual team of O'Neil and Staton are back. The Qwardian general, Fabrikant, disguised as a kid turns Carol Ferris back into Star Sapphire to attack Green Lantern. Also, Hal Jordan has conflict with a reckless cowboy of a test pilot, Rance Rideout.  

House of Mystery #281: A boxer with a fatal heart condition fights on after his death thanks to voodoo in a tale by Arnold Drake and Joel Magpayo. In the second story by Wessler and Redondo a doctor at an asylum uses impressionable youth to carry out murders.

Legion of Super-Heroes #264: Turns out horn-headed Dagon has a grudge against Brande. The Legionnaires solve the mystery of his identity and his location. A fine ending to a so-so story.

New Adventures of Superboy #6: The cover to this issue lies! A cop comes from Metropolis to convince Superboy to re-locate to the big city, but in the end he decides to stay in Smallville for now.

Sgt. Rock #341: Kanigher and Rubeny introduce a quirky new recruit to Easy--who dies, of course, but not before coming out with a hang-gliding plan that saves the unit. The Kelley/Estrada backup is a grim tale of the Pacific Theater of World War II.

Super Friends #33: Bridwell and Fradon have the Super Friends tangling with the Menagerie Man, World's Greatest Animal Trainer, who has a very silly costume.

Time Warp #5: This is the last issue of this title, and it doesn't really go out with a bang. At best they are sort of modern EC comics sort of sci-fi yarns. None are really standouts, but some are definitely dumber than others.

Unexpected #199: This one is the best of these horror anthologies for a couple of months. "Dracula's Daughter" by Kashdan with art that reminds me a bit of Joe Maneely by Lee Elias has double EC-style twists regarding who the real vampire is. "Project Eternity" by de Matteis and Henson sees an experiment in simulating death complicated by a psychic fight over the scientist between his current girlfriend and his dead wife. His wife makes it make to the land of the living in the girlfriend's body, and the girlfriend...well, I won't spoil it.

Unknown Soldier #240: Haney and Ayers have the Unknown Soldier reluctantly teaming up with a French resistance leader who is obsessed with recovering the Hammer of Charles Martel which has fallen into German hands. As is almost required in a story with this concept, the climax involves a Nazi commander getting walloped with a war hammer.

Warlord #34: Morgan gets a new sword while Mariah and Machiste have an adventure in Wizardworld. Read more about it here

Weird Western Tales #68: A little better than last issue, as Scalphunter helps a group of snow bound travelers might of a group of Confederates intent on stealing a train. The gold from last issue winds up lost in a fire.

World's Finest Comics #263: The lead story here by O'Neil, Buckler and Giordano is the resolution to Bob Haney's "Super-Sons" stories of the 70s. Turns out they were only a computer simulation. Whether you thought the Super-Sons were cool or not, that seems sort of lame. The Green Arrow story by Haney and von Eeden sees Oliver Queen drawing a lot of heat (and praise) for one paragraph editorials, taking on a shady redevelopment project. Captain Marvel, Jr. takes on a villain whose schtick is he's really old. I don't mean like Vandal Savage, I mean a guy that spent 99 years in prison. There are also Aquaman and Adam Strange stories, but there's not much to them.


Dick McGee said...

Say what you will about Time Warp, it had some pretty spiffy covers. I'd buy just about anything with Kaluta art wrapped around it.

I remember being furious with the World's Finest issue turning the Super-Sons into a computer sim. I'd say it's the worst example of that in all of fiction, but the finale to the Enterprise TV show dethroned it decisively. The whole thing is just the "it was all a dream" cliche, and any competent writer knows better than to do that. Can't recall any of the other stories from that issue, which is odd - I usually like almost anything involving Adam Strange.

That Warlord issue is another standout cover from Grell, even if the tone of the story inside is uneven. Remember thinking the sword was rather Stormbringer-ish at the time, but yeah, a Muramasa blade was more likely what inspired it.

I had to go look it up but you aren't kidding, the Menagierie Man costume in Super-Friends is quite the thing. He looks like a circus strongman who stole the top half of the Phantom's costume off the laundry line, then started the 90s fashion trend for belts made of pouches about 15 years early. I really like the Snidely Whiplash mustache too, it really ties the whole look together.

The internet says he used dwarf-star shrinking technology ala the Atom.
Please tell me he's got a zoo's worth of of miniaturized mind-controlled animals in those pouches. That would really put him up there in teh ranks of supers like the Red Bee.

Trey said...

The finale of Enterprise didn't say the whole show was only a simulation/dream. At worst, it says the show was a dramatization of history rather than news reportage of history, but I don't think there's any reason to read even that as applying to any more than the finale. References in later ST history have verified the historicity of Archer and Porthos at least.