Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Wednesday Comics: DC, January 1982 (week 1)

I'm reading DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! Today, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands on the week of  October 8, 1981. For the first time since I've been doing this series, DC has four weeks of releases with this cover date.

Arak Son of Thunder #5: Thomas and Colon/DeZuniga Carolus Magnus is holding a tourney and Angelica and family shows up. Arak wants to fight them, but he can't because of the tournament truce. The champion of White Cathay defeats Rinaldo with help from Angelica's sorcery, and they force him to accompany them back to their country. Arak and Maligigi follow to get proof of sorcery, but they are beset by monsters and defeated. Angelica wins this round!

DC Comics Presents #41: Clark, Perry, and Lois are headed off to Los Angeles, but so are the Joker and the Prankster. The two villains are temporarily working together to steal from a comedian-turned crime boss the two super-villains have a grudge against. When Prankster double-crosses the Joker and kidnaps Perry White, it's Superman and the Joker who must become uneasy allies. Pasko manages to take a number of digs on L.A. and Hollywood. I like how the script uses a the then-common not psychopathic but still potentially deadly Joker, and ups the menace of the Prankster, so the two are roughly as "serious." Jose Luis-Garcia Lopez art helps everything, though, and this is no exception.

There's a "A Bold New Direction for... Wonder Woman" insert by Thomas and Colan/Tanghal where Wonder Woman receives her new "double-W" halter from a feminist organization, and then returns to Paradise Island. There she has to best Hercules in a contest of strength and Hermes in a contest of speed to win freedom for the Amazons. Oh yeah, and Steve Trevor is dying--again. I've complained about Conway's wishy-washiness about how powerful Wonder Woman is. Thomas clearly comes down on the "very superhuman" side.

Ghosts #108: Squire Shade presents an unnecessary frame regarding a wrestler who has had three lifetimes to be tested. In the first story by Gill and Gonzales/Martin a treasure-seeking tender of his family gravesight is forced by his wealthy brother's ghost to pursue the bikers that took a metal, gargoyle-head ornament from his tomb. The man receives it and returns it, never noticing the jewels he had been seeking leaking from it. Snyder and Craig have a young man on vacation confronting a haunted house and defeating it's illusions with his refusal to believe. O'Flynn and Texiera/Celado reveal the hubris of a scientist who takes credit for his assistants discovery of a means to demonstrate the the soul leaving the body in a sensory deprivation take. When the scientist's eagerness to gain fame leads to his assistants death, the assistant's spirit seeks vengeance. 

The last story is another weird science fiction piece from Drake and Vicatan. Two criminals and their collaborating guard escape a future prison, discover a means to make their spirits leave their bodies after an alien encounter. They visit a utopian alien civilization who offer them the formulas for all sorts of societal improvements, but when they return to their own bodies the one them memorized the formula is left without a body. 

Justice League #198: Conway and Heck/Breeding break out a Old West crossover. In 1978 amnesiac Leaguers Green Lantern, Zatanna, Flash, and Elongated Man encounter and enlist the aid of Jonah Hex, Cinnamon, Scalphunter, and Bat Lash, respectively, all while under the watch of a shadowy, glowing-eyed figure.

Back in the present, Superman heads to the Grand Canyon where his colleagues disappeared but winds up being defeated by a Kryptonite-containing robot serving the Lord of Time. The villain explains that he is responsible for sending the League members back into the past. He knows that a cluster of antimatter energy is going to fall in the Arizona deserts in 1878, and he plans to use the League to collect the powerful energy source for him!

Weird War Tales #107: In a story by Newman/Carrillo a German commander must contend with the Furies of Greek myth who bring his plans to ruin and then get him arrested by his own people. Next Snyder and Trinidad present a non-weird non-actual war story about National Guard re-enactors in Oregon who change the result of the battle of Rappahanock Station. Newman is back with Rubeny for the story of a mercenary crew hired to terrorize and drive out indigenous peoples in Africa, find themselves in trouble when the people they are attacking hire a mercenary local sorcerer.

Barr and von Eeden/Smith present a presumably a fall of Skylab inspired story. The Wanderer satellite is going to fall to Earth and peoples fear leads to a political push that shuts down the space agency, effectively ending America's exploration program. However, a young boy sees the satellite falling like a shooting star and is inspired to one day go to outer space.

Wonder Woman #287: With the DC Comics Presents preview promising a "new direction" for Wonder Woman starting next issue, Wolfman and Heck are left to finish the lame duck "old direction" here--which means a Titans guest appearance. Wonder Girl and Starfire respond to a mysterious summons to a New York harbor dock and are attacked by costumed assailants, who manage to capture Wonder Girl. Starfire captures one of the gang, and contacts Robin, who in turn calls Diana Prince to get Wonder Woman's aid. Wonder Girl is being held prisoner by Dr. Cyber, who lures Wonder Woman to her hideout, intent on having Dr. Moon transplant her brain into Wonder Woman's body. Rather than risk Donna's life, Wonder Woman appears to agree to Cyber's terms. But the Teen Titans bust in to free their friends. Wonder Woman defeats Cyber, and Wonder Girl breaks herself out of the glass prison she had been held in. I feel like this one was better than most of the Conway issues that preceded it.

1 comment:

Dick McGee said...

Cripes Clark, let him fall. Just make sure the giggling idiot isn't going to land on anyone. Bruce will be pissed for a while but he'll get over it.

Yeah, Kingdom come will need another inciting incident to get you to retire and let things go to hell, but I'm sure some other villain can pick up the slack. Maybe one with actual powers who hasn't canonically gotten punched out by Jimmy Olsen already. You know, a plausible threat, unlike the Joker.