Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Wednesday Comics: DC, September 1980 (wk 2, pt 2)

My goal: read DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands around June 26, 1980.

Legion of Super-Heroes #267: Conway and Janes continue the evil genie storyline. We find out that the genies left Earth to conquer the space long ago but were defeated by the Guardians and placed in bottles. Bouncing Boy realizes he couldn't make the genie return to the bottle before with his wish because the bottle had been destroyed, and genie's are super-literal. Armed with a new bottle, Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel (splitting gives her more wishes) trap the jinn between two wishes he rather not fulfill and trap him in the bottle. The backup story is written by Kupperberg and has rare Legion art by Steve Ditko.

Mystery in Space #111: This revival of a series last published in 1966 is presumably a replacement for Timewarp. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these stories were slated to appear there and just got moved over. The contents are a mixed bag. Brown and Spiegle lead off with an EC-ish tale about murderous aliens who initially appear friendly. The ending gag has the last survivor of the diplomatic envoy trying to warn earth but because he sends the message "collect" it gets rejected. Also good (and EC reminiscent) is a wordless story by Brown and Aparo about a disguised diplomat hiding out among the conquering alien forces. Less good are the stories that remind me of subpar Warren stuff: a story about a time traveling robot and primitive humans, and a gag story about a time traveler getting an overdue tax bill. Then there's a goofy yarn by Barr and Ditko about a ridiculed scholar who steals a time machine to prove "the truth behind fairy tales" only to wind up accidentally manufacturing that truth with his futuristic technology.

New Adventures of Superboy #9: Last issue's mysteries come down to Phantom Zone criminals who are trying to ruin Superboy's life by driving him away from everyone he loves. Ma and Pa Kent manage to break free from the amnesia and hatch a desperate plan to let Superboy know they remember him. It's a weird comic by modern standards because there is never a confrontation between hero and villains.

Sgt. Rock #344: In the main story, Rock and a group of nameless joes are captured and stripped by a group of Germans looking to use their uniforms to infiltrate Easy Company. Only Rock survives and has to make it through the snowy wilderness in his underwear to warn his men. Kanigher and Redondo get creative with these plots, I'll give them that. The four short, uncredited, backup stories in this issue are all bad. 

Super Friends #36: Either Bridwell or Fradon must have been a fan of the Coneheads sketch on Saturday Night Live, because Warhead, the villain of this issue, looks just like one of them. Plastic Man and Woozy also guest star. Most of the issue is Plastic Man causing trouble for the Super Friends. The Wonder Twins backup I actually liked better than the main story. It has art by Tanghal and Colletta and features an astrally projecting. evolved saurian alien inadvertently causing panic by animating dinosaur fossils in a museum.

Unexpected #202: The cover is great, and the first story here has got to be the most disturbing tale I've read in one of these DC horror titles so far. Uslan and Henson present a murderous Easter Bunny out turn the tables on kids by dipping them in chocolate and biting their heads off! The other stories are a giant step down. Palmer and Landgraf/Orlando have a guy selling his an angel. The angel just thinks its funny to have the guy amuse he's obligated himself to the other side all his life and only reveals the true when the guy is on his death bed. Murders in a national park turn out to be committed by, well, all the animals working together in a silly Day of the Animals riff by Seeger and Geroche. 

Unknown Soldier #243: Haney and Ayers pit the "Immortal G.I." against the Vole, a Nazi spymaster who looks a lot like Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The story involves a secret bomb test in Scotland, a fake Loch Ness monster, a capture to deliver false information to the Germans, and a whole lot of changes of location that don't necessarily add up to much. The "Dateline: Frontline" backup written by Burkett with Tothian art by Ric Estrada is okay. The other backup has a Navy frogman battling a giant octopus. The art looks like it could be from a much older comic, but it's by Randall and Janes, so it just looks that way.

Untold Legend of Batman #3: I can't decide if Wein and Aparo's ending here is daring or hokey. But really, why choose? It's both! The mysterious foe out to get Batman is none other than....Bruce Wayne! It seems a blow to the head causes Batman to develop temporary multiple personalities. Or something. Anyway, no visits to a neurologist or long-term therapy necessary as a fight with Robin dressed up in Thomas Wayne's Bat Man costume party outfit cures him. Despite the hard to swallow ending, it's still a good series for a definitive, Bronze Age origin of Batman and his family. There's a map of the Batcave and schematics of bat equipment in the back.

Warlord #37: Read more about it here. It also has an OMAC backup where Starlin continues (and does a bit of retconning) of Kirby's series.


JB said...

What is “EC?”

Anne said...

Bruce Wayne declaring war on Batman, "A Scanner Darkly" style, seems difficult to take seriously, but could be funny if played for laughs.

It's not something I think about that often, so it always kind of surprises me when I'm reminded that, oh yeah, the DC universe has actual genies as a kind of entity that exists. (Also fifth-dimensional imps, and also they're definitely two different kinds of beings.) It makes me think there ought to be something like the Bottle City of Kandor, but for genies.

"Unexpected" definitely wins the "best cover" prize this week!

Trey said...

@JB - EC Comics. Famous pre-code purveyors of horror and crime comics and the progenitor of Mad Magazine.