Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Wednesday Comics: DC, February 1980 (wk 1 pt 1)

I'm reading DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands on the week of  November 13, 1980. I've been traveling the last couple of days, so I got through fewer comics for this first installment.

Batman #332: Wolfman and Norvick pick up from where last issue left off. Robin leaves the Batcave convinced that Batman is making a mistake by trusting Talia. He goes to find a sympathetic ear: Catwoman. Meanwhile, Batman is focused on finding out who is sabotaging his company. He figures out that Bruce Wayne's secretary is working for the opposition. Before she can tell Batman everything, a hulkin, a slightly coneheaded mutate attacks and nearly kills Batman. Bruce Wayne confronts Falstaff who practically gloats over his involvement. Talia attempts to drug Batman with a kiss and goes to meet with Falstaff herself. Batman feigns being drugged to follow her. More mutates show up, but this time Batman is ready for them. Falstaff seems about to spill the beans about who he's working for, but then Talia swings in and kicks into a shimmering bubble (there's a rover from the The Prisoner thing going on in the background of this issue). Still, villain defeated, Batman and Talia lock lips just as Catwoman shows up to get jealous. 

The backup is Wolfman and Newton continuing the story with Catwoman doing her own investigation of all this. The issue ends with Talia laughing at Catwoman from the shadows.

DC Comics Presents #30: Conway and Swan bring us a Black Canary team-up. Canary parachutes into the arctic to drop in on Superman at the Fortress of Solitude. She wants him to use Kryptonian science to prove the dreams she has been having that suggest her dead husband Larry Lance is actually alive are true. Turns out it's really all Dr. Destiny's doing (he's a go-to villain for Conway, it seems), and the heroes enter a pocket dream realm to stop him. An interesting thing on display here is the convoluted backstory of Black Canary of the JLA being the Earth-Two character (active in WWII) who migrated to Earth-One after the death of her husband, then took up with Green Arrow on the rebound. The contemporaneous New Adventures of Superboy would suggest that Clark was a teen in the early 60s. If he's the same age as the other Earth-One heroes, then Black Canary must be like 20 years older than them. Also, Kryptonian science is apparently like magic. It can pretty much do anything. Black Canary might as well be visiting a wizard's remote tomorrow.

The "What Ever Happened To..." backup is about the Earth-Two Atom, as the conclusion of the Atom story last month. I still do know how swapping their powers briefly restores the cosmic imbalance of them not having the same power set, but that's why Mallo is a cosmic entity and I am not, I guess.

Flash #295: Solovar, leader of Gorilla City, is worried the concept of leisure time the gorillas have learned from humans is making them dumb and lazy. Also, there's an attempt by a sort of Symbionese Liberation Army-esque group to hold the gorilla delegation to the UN hostage that the Flash has to thwart. Solovar hatches a plan to make the whole world forget Gorilla City, and the Flash agrees to power the device. Meanwhile, Grodd escapes from gorilla jail by trickery. He co-opts the device to make everyone forget him! Fairly standard Bates/Heck stuff, but not bad. I like how they are running through the Rogue's Gallery.

The Firestorm backup has Professor Stein calling a 2 week moratorium on turning into Firestorm so he can actually go on an ocean expedition where they need a nuclear engineer. Robbie agrees, though he's frustrated going cold turkey from superheroics. Meanwhile, things go badly on the ship and Stein summons Firestorm.

Ghosts #97: The cover story by Kupperberg and Adams/Blasdell has Dr. Thirteen encountering the Spectre, and it blows his ghost-breaking mind! After exposing a seance's fakery, Thirteen is present when a rich soiree is crashed by the People's Freedom Army (that's two of these this week!). Intent on taking hostages, they wind up shooting some people. Eventually, the Spectre shows up and delivers a gruesome reckoning to the murderous revolutionaries, causing their bodies to run like water! Thirteen is appalled by the grimness of the punishment and confronts the Spectre, but the ghost of vengeance merely fades away. Thirteen swears to bring him to justice.

The other stories are lackluster. Mi Mai Kin and Mike Nasser have a famous "ghost-chaser" invited to a Civil War museum he has snubbed before by a Confederate ghost intent on improving museum visitorship. Mi Mai Kin returns, this time with Don Heck, for a story of a murder via bridge demolition. Ironically, the murderer is involved in the construction of the new bridge--and more involved than he could ever want when the ghost of the man he killed buries him alive in the concrete of one of the support pillars. Kasdan and Estrada bring us "Deep Six Phantom," a tale about a U-boat captain who kills one of his officers who threatens to reveal his smuggling, but then the ghost leads the boat to destruction at the hands of Allied warships.

Jonah Hex #45: Jonah Hex is getting married, and of course, it doesn't go smoothly. Town busybodies disapprove of Hex's reputation, his looks, and his Chinese bride. They try to get the realtor to stop the sale of property to Hex. Mei Ling's family doesn't approve of her marrying a white guy. Old enemies of Hex's see it as the perfect time to ambush him. The marriage goes off though, but Hex has to break his promise to Mei Ling and pick up his guns to shoot it out with his enemies who are threatening to burn down the town. Despite saving the townsfolk, he's now refused the property he was going to buy, and he and his new bride must move on.

Brian Savage, Scalphunter, returns as a backup feature by Conway and Ayers/Tanghal. Scalphunter meets an old buffalo hunter who know his father and talks to him about finding a place where he belongs. Then, he saves a Sioux youth from plunging over a cliff to his death with a rampaging buffalo heard. The young man invites Scalphunter back to his village. Maybe Savage will fit in better among the Sioux than the white men? We'll see.

1 comment:

Dick McGee said...

Excellent plan Bruce, go see one supervillain girlfriend to talk about the other. That will certainly evoke her sympathy and not cause any problems whatsoever for anyone.

He really is just dreadful at being human, isn't he? Yet another reason he's jealous of Clark, who is a literal alien that still has a (marginally) better grasp of how relationships work than a guy whose secret identity is millionaire playboy.