Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Wednesday Comics: DC, December 1981 (wk 2 pt 1)

My goal: read DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands around September 24, 1981.

Action Comics #526: Wolfman and Staton continue their Neutron story. Superman races against time to discover where Neutron has planted an atomic bomb which, if and when it goes off, will destroy Metropolis. He's hampered by the fact Neutron has planted decoys, and HIVE is involved. Ultimately, he discovers the bomb is the new Daily Planet globe. This is a real Marvel style story, I think, different that the "alien conundrum of the month" stories we often get with Superman.

In the Air Wave backup, Hal temporarily develops the power to read minds after receiving an electric shock.

Brave & the Bold #181: Brennert and Aparo team Batman up with Hawk and Dove, who haven't made an appearance since Showcase #100 in 1978. When Hawk accidentally causes the death of a drug kingpin's son, Batman and the Dove team up to try and get to him before the gangster can do so. Hawk and Dove have become "stuck" in personal/political ruts since the 60s, leading to both losing their way. In this story, Hawk and Dove reconcile as brothers, and regain the powers they (briefly) lost. I like that the story specifically places the two in their 60s context and appears to take place in the early 80s.

The Nemesis storyline comes to an end as he makes a final assault on Samuel Solomon, and manages to at least free himself of the device controlling his heart.

All-Star Squadron #4: Thomas debuts his explanation for who the existence of superheroes didn't alter the course of the war. After seeing the devastation at Pearl Harbor, the combined All-Star Squadron is ready to hunt down the Japanese fleet for some payback, despite FDR's desire that they protect the homefront. When they fly off toward Wake Island, the most powerful heroes fall under the sway of the Dragon King who with the help of the Germans and some mystic artifacts, has set-up of protective shield around Axis-controlled territory. The heroes barely make it out of the sphere of influence and are forced to return home.

Green Lantern #147: Wolfman and Staton threw Jordan in prison last issue, so now we get the fight with the inmates out for revenge. It's rendered a bit sillier because Jordan is jailed in his Green Lantern outfit--and put in a cell with Black Hand who is in his costume! Of course, we're also told Goldface has police on his payroll and bribed a judge, so maybe things were arranged. Anyway, it's a fairly tense issue with a powerless Jordan forced to take on one group of inmates after another, while elsewhere Tom races against time to find the power battery and recharge Jordan's ring. Of course, he does in the nick of time, and Green Lantern makes short work of his assailants.

However, they can't tie any of this to Goldface rather amazingly, so GL is forced to leave him alone or get in trouble with the law again. Also, the congressman out for revenge against Ferris Aircraft makes his move and accuses Ferris of treason. The next issue blurb promises a wrap-up of all this and a new creative team with a more cosmic approach. I think that's a good move.

In the Adam Strange backup by Sutton and Infantino, Adam and Alanna take the lost boy, Rad, to the place that he says is his home: a ruined city in the jungle. In turns out Rad was put in a thousand year stasis after a monster attacked the city. When the monster wakens, Strange and crew defeat it. They discover Rad's family have transported themselves 2000 years into the future, and Rad goes to join them.

House of Mystery #299: "I...Vampire" gets a new writer in Bruce Jones. This story smacks of "a new direction" sort of writing, as Bennett decides he's putting his companions too much in danger and heads off on his own (hitchhiking) for a show down with the cult of the Blood Red Moon. When the guy that gave him a ride is killed, Bennett sees it as an opportunity to fake his own (un)death.

Mishkin/Cohn and Matucenio have a great white hunter in India who meets his end when "thinking like a tiger" winds up putting him just where the maneater wants him. McKenzie and Spiegle present a nonhorror but interesting story of a future Earth where humanity is rich and moving off-world owing to the sale of the Sun to aliens. An elder couple (named Kuttner and Bradbury) and a robot wind up getting left behind, but wind up believing it's for the best. Kelley and Bissette sort of lampoon the excitement around a grunion run, as giant aliens use it as an opportunity to snag large groups of humans to snack on.

Superman Family #213: Pasko and Mortimer choose the title that was going to come up at some point with Blackrock as the heavy: "Bad Day with Blackrock." He and Supergirl fight to a standstill, but the Maid of Might ultimately triumphs due to trickery, enticing the villain to chase her into a tunnel where he can't get a radio signal and his power depletes. Also, the Lena Thorul subplot moves toward its conclusion as everyone finds out she is Lex Luthor's sister. 

In the Mr. and Mrs. Superman story, Lana Lang turns into an evil Insect Queen thanks to a scarab she got from her archeologist father and gives Superman trouble. To be continued. Rozakis and Calnan present a weird Private Life of Clark Kent, where Clark lies to another reporter about the circumstances of Superman interviewing him, so he has to stage Superman taking a photo of him to convince her the interview happened. They're the same guy, why would Clark spin a tale for the reporter that she could obviously know was made up because of Superman's verifiable whereabouts at the time? It's a weird slip. Levitz and Oksner have Lois helping out Inspector Henderson after his Sherlock Award is stolen during the award dinner. In the Pasko/Delbo Jimmy Olsen story, his old flame Lucy Lane shows up (and she has white hair, which I don't think she had before and it makes her look old) and tells him that her new airline pilot boyfriend, had a disastrous landing which killed the passengers in his plane, and thinks the crash was engineered by crooks. Jimmy investigates and finds up put in a slowly filling pool with weights holding him down by the crooks.

Warlord #52: I talked about the main story in this issue in detail here. In the Dragonsword backup by Levitz and Yeates Thiron is upset at having a talking dragonsword and attacks his masters because they won't explain. The Archmage Anna shows up to halt the fight and explains that Thiron wielding the dragonsword is the only chance the world has got against Emperor Quisel and his demonic axe. 


  1. "An elder couple (named Kuttner and Bradbury) and a robot wind up getting left behind, but wind up believing it's for the best."

    Well, that's a cute nod, I guess we know which scifi authors McKenzie & Spiegle used to read. Was the robot designated AS1-M0V by any chance? :)

  2. That's the last issue of The Warlord drawn by Mike Grell until the 2009 revival. A pretty good issue as I recall. The Warlord was the only comic I was reading around this time.

    That Dragonsword backup is pretty good as well. I really enjoyed it and would have liked a sequel.