Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Wednesday Comics: DC, August 1981 (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 May 21, 1981. This weeks entries will be a bit abbreviated as our internet's out and I'm doing this via my cellphone, but here goes:

Legion of Super-Heroes #278: Grimbor is threatening to crush Earth's atmosphere with his cosmic chains and the Legion has only one hour to stop him. In this issue, they aren't doing so great a job as he appears to outthink them at every turn. Reflecto shows up to save Shrinking Violet from drowning, and the team has to fight him, well--just because. And he beats them too. The story ends with several of the Legionnaires other taken out or captured by Grimbor.

New Adventures of Superboy #20: Bates and Schaffenberger have Superboy kidnapped by aliens who wish to add them to their collection and use a sort of mind control to keep him from leaving, but Superboy ultimately does and ends their coercive ways after saving them from an invasion. In the backup, a lost (and younger) Superboy winds up on a planet under a red sun and befriends some slug-like natives.

Sgt. Rock #355: Easy Company meets a group of 3 black WWI vets who stayed in France after the war, but are eager to to defend their adopted home with Sgt. Rock and his crew. They take to the bazooka well, but one of him winds up giving his life in this new war.

Kelley and Veitch present a story of a French professor in a runaway balloon who manages to strike a blow against the Germans and escape alive. Kim DeMulder gives us a sci-fi story of scientists testing a weapon on presumed subhuman creatures only to fine the creatures have similar designs on them. The "Men of Easy" feature is about a chess fan that likens war to chess, until Rock shows him the infantry aren't pawns.

Super Friends #46: This is a whole Green Fury-centric issue. We get her origin and the Justice League helps her battle a wicked shaman (grandson of the one who foretold her powers at birth) in the Amazon. Who knew Fire got so much "screen time" before the post-Legends Justice League?

Superman Family #209: Supergirl is welcomed in New York, while as Linda she is praised for her acting in the soap opera--and she gets a date with a guy who seems to prefer her to Supergirl. He may prefer baseball to her, though, but at least that gives her time to intervene in the mysterious violence breaking out at the game. Somehow, sports announcer Fred Fox is behind it, but the story's continued.

In the Mr. and Mrs. Superman feature, George Taylor (their old boss at the Daily Star) claims to have discovered Superman's secret ID, but he's killed by mobsters before he can reveal it, giving Clark a chance to doctor the evidence and catch Taylor's killers. In "The Private Life of Clark Kent" Clark thwarts a city bus hijacker secretly so a brave bus driver gets credit. In the  Conway/Oksner/Colletta Lois Lane story, Lois has to get rough with some mobsters who are threatening a family in witness relocation. Finally, Jimmy Olsen and his date find a diamond ring in a theater which involves them with drug dealers operating out of a novelty toy company.

Unexpected #213: Barr and von Eedon/Smith conclude the Johnny Peril story. Johnny manages to give the police the slip and seeks out his psychic friend from the previous story to help him get to the bottom of the mystery. He's able to full the would-be thieves from last issue with a smoke bomb and his friend posing as the mysterious woman into leading him to her. The woman is indeed the woman in the painting, cursed with immortality. She wants to die, but needs a dagger in the possession of the man that hired Peril to do so. The police arrive and try to convince Peril that the woman is crazy while his psychic friend urges him to give her the dagger. Ultimately, Johnny does so, and the woman stabs herself and ages to dust before their eyes.

Kashdan and Florese have a guy visiting a warlock to get a new appearance and identity so he can fake his death to escape liability for faulty school construction he did, but when his wife is accused of murdering him, he tries to get his identity back to save her. In the end, he and the warlock come to ruin as you would expect. In the last story by Kashdan and Mandrake, an anthropologist uncovers a fanged human skull--that bites him! The next day the the skull looks entirely human, but then the murders start. The professor has been turned into a werewolf by a prehistoric werewolf skull bite!

Unknown Soldier #254: Haney and Ayers/Tlaloc have the Soldier taking a junk down the Yang-Tze smuggling guns to help the Chinese against the Japanese invaders. They haven't reckoned on river pirates led by a beautiful captain, Lady Jade. Once the Soldier is captured, he appears to be falling for her charms, but he's still got a mission to complete.

Micheline and Simonson greatly revise Captain Fear and put the Carib pirate captain in the middle of some intrigue that connects the War of Austrian Succession with Japan.  In Dateline: Frontline by Burkett and Estrada, Wayne Clifford risks a lot to sneak into Bataan right before the Japanese overwhelm the U.S. forces.

Warlord #48:  Good issue. Read more about it here. The backup switches to Claw the Unconquered by Harris and Yeates. Claw's demon hand offends him, so he cut it off, only to have it crawl back and reattach itself. He complains to the Lords of Light, so they give him a magic sword and shield, and say "go forth and conquer, you big whiner." So, he rides out and into a battle where he befriends a warrior woman who's mail shirt suggests she fears not for the safety of her underboob, and meets the leader of the demonic horde--who has one human hand! 

A second backup from Thomas and Colon/DeZuniga introduces Arak, Son of Thunder. Arak is a Native America who has somehow come to Dark Ages Europe. In this story, he encounters a woman who is the "goddess" of an ancient temple. When viking raiders try to sacrifice her to some monster which hides in a drove of amber, Arak rescues her. A rather Conan-ish story to introduce Arak to the world.

1 comment:

Dick McGee said...

"The professor has been turned into a werewolf by a prehistoric werewolf skull bite!"

That really sounds like an idea to mine for roleplaying. Maybe Chill, or a really weird World of Darkness spin. Also makes me wonder, do the skeletal remains of a were-critter change under the light of the full moon? What about when they've been animated? Is there some necromancer out there that's collecting lycanthrope corpses to reanimate into shape-changing skeletons and zombies?

"The backup switches to Claw the Unconquered by Harris and Yeates."

I preferred Claw in his own (short-lived) book but was still glad to see him back in print here. Solid character concept with a pretty unique schtick going on that made him stand out from the pack of Conan clones.