Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Wednesday Comics: DC, February 1982 (week 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 November 12, 1981.

Batman #344: Conway, Colan and Janson bring the Poison Ivy and Arthur Reeves, mayoral candidate, subplots to a conclusion, plus reintroduce Vicki Vale (who hadn't appeared in a canonical appearance since 1963 but had shown up in a 1977 appearance that was retconned by this issue). Ivy gets control of Wayne Enterprises, but Batman starts waging psychological warfare by essentially stalking her with a plan to get her to break and make a confession, but instead she turns her assistant into a plant monster and has him attack. Robin shows up to help Batman and Ivy is apprehended. The assistant spills the plot to the cops. Meanwhile, Reeves reveals his evidence Batman is really a mobster, but a reporter quickly shows the evidence to be fake. Notably, this issue seems to directly follow last month's Detective Comics. While events in the other title have been mentioned before, this seems to be setting up a tighter continuity.

Flash #305: Mishkin and Cohn manage to give the Mirror Master a bit of tragedy. He's fallen in love with an Atlantean scientist who has been trapped in a mirror for thousands of years. Using his knowledge of the Flash, he launches an elaborate plan that will end up with the Flash liberating her by taking her place. It works well until the very end, where Flash destroys the mirror, thwarting the plan and trapping the woman presumably forever.

We get a new Dr. Fate backup from Pasko and Giffen and Mahlstedt. At the Boston Museum of Natural History, cultists have released the Lord of Chaos, Totec. When Fate and Totec fight they are pretty evenly matched, but then Inza shows up just in time to be taken hostage. Totec captures Fate too then starts the final summoning that will cause the fifth massive extinction event on Earth.

G.I. Combat #238: In Kanigher's and Glanzman's first Haunted Tank story, the crew is supposed to be part of a group opening up another front to take the pressure off the Soviets, but they wind up having to go in solo. They meet kids being trained to fight Nazis and ride a log down a flume to stop the kids' parents from getting executed. Why don't any World War II films show us the real war like these Haunted Tank comics. In their second outing, they are riding a raft down river (tank and all) picking up allied soldiers scattered in the drop near Eindoven. They wind up being carried out to sea and having a tank on a raft versus U-boat battle.

The other stories include one of the usual O.S.S peices. Then there's a short about a guy who intends to run in the next Olympics but makes his last run on a Pacific Island dropping a grenade in a Japanese pillbox. Finally (and really, it's been enough), there's a story of an American POW secretly kept captive by a Japanese officer following the war who feeds squirrels then makes his escape when the squirrels attack the Japanese officer looking for food.

Jonah Hex #57: Fleisher takes another dive into Hex's past. Hiding into a town, Hex saves an older woman from some thugs in a saloon, and it is revealed that she is his mother. She let's Jonah spend the night at her nearly bare, rat-infested apartment, and he recalls when she left him when he was a boy, running off with a traveling salesman and leaving Jonah with his abusive, alcoholic father. Near dawn, he gets up and goes to find the gambler his mother owes money to and guns down the man and his henchmen. Hex rides out of town echoing to his mother her last broken promise to him as a boy: "be back again real soon."

The El Diablo backup is a good one. El Diablo relentless pursues a group robbers and murderers into the desert, refusing to let them leave or even turn back. They turn on each other, then on him and in the end, they are all dead. El Diablo explains to the last one that the desert has become their Hell where they will stay for all eternity.

New Teen Titans #16: Wolfman and Perez give Kory a boyfriend, Frank Crandall, but he's really an agent working for a rogue HIVE leader who's looking to discover the Titans' secrets. The rest of the team discovers the truth, but before they can tell Starfire, Frank is killed by his boss. Starfire goes on a rampage but is stopped by her teammates from murdering the HIVE guy. He's later killed by his peers for taking insanctioned action.

Also, this issue we get a preview of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew by Thomas/Conway and Shaw/Andru. Superman is stopping a meteor and winds up being transported to the furry animal comics universe of Earth-C. The meteor winds up giving a number of the inhabitants super-powers, including Captain Carrot. Superman and Captain Carrot team-up to stop a plot to use a de-evolution ray on the United Nature Building in Gnu York. Yes, we are in for a lot of those sorts of puns.

Secrets of Haunted House #46: Enjoy this title while you can because this is the penultimate issue.  Harris and Sutton start us off with what might be a superhero origin. I man is summoned by his father who reveals he's a wizard and passes his power to his sun via a sweet magical bandolier and talisman. He manages to defeat some bad guys and save his girlfriend. Next up, Sciacca and Bernard have a guy getting rich after he buys a newspaper from the future from a strange curio shop. He should have read beyond the final section, though, because the paper also contained his obituary! Kanigher and Vicatan have a woman on a trip to Egypt manipulated by an ancient cult who believes her to be the reincarnation of a queen. Her spirit gets a bit of revenge though, as she causes the cult leader who killed her to be killed to serve her in all eternity.

Then there's "Star-Trakker" by Timmons and Ditko where an android sent to collect samples of alien life crashes on Earth in a swamp instead and starts capturing and killing humans fulfill its function. A government operative named Stone is sent out to disable the creature and eliminate any witnesses. In the end, he's revealed to be yet another android.

Superman #368: Vlaatu (really Superman in deep disguise) leaves the Revengers to head out on his mission, reverting to his true form and Superman thought process as he nears Earth. But the Revengers suspecting Vlaatu's identity have planted a hypnotic suggestion making him believe he is actually a Super-droid sent destroy Superman. He plans a violent gesture to draw is quarry out and settles on killing Lois Lane! Lois, playing a hunch, throws herself off a cliff and sees her in peril breaks the Revengers' hold on Supes' mind. He flies back to the Revenger planetary base and puts mist around it, so if they leave, they will get amnesia and forget their hatred of Superman. Convenient!

We also get another Superman 2020 story. It's New Year's Eve and the flying, domed city of New Metropolis is going to drop like the Time Square ball. When it lands, everyone appears dead! It turns out terrorists unleashed a deadly plague, but Superman managed to introduce a counteragent that put everyone into suspended animation temporarily. He's got to race against time to stop the terrorists and find a cure.

1 comment:

Dick McGee said...

"They wind up being carried out to sea and having a tank on a raft versus U-boat battle."

That fact that I can remember at least two other Haunted Tank stories where they fight a submarine is part of the reason I love the series. Pure unadulterated nonsense even when it's trying to be serious.