Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Wednesday Comics: DC, February 1982 (week 4)

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 26, 1981. 

Action Comics #528: Wolfman and Swan bring back Brainiac (previously reformed by Superman's actions). He's arrived to get Superman's help to stop a Death Star-looking doomsday device he built in his villainous days, which is now headed for Earth. No disrespect to Swan, but as a kid reading comics in the 80s, the Buckler cover was more enticing than the Swan interiors.

Adventure Comics #490: With this issue, we say good-bye to Adventure Comics in this format and to Dial-H for Hero as its own series. While I can't say I'm super enamored of the concept, it wasn't really done any favors by the very episodic nature of its stories (even in an era of more "done in one.") While there was a sort of ongoing background plot with a shadowy Big Bad, that was never really given the attention it needed.

Anyway, this final issue has got some interesting designs but also some of the worst looking art in places. A villain called the Abyss transports our heroes to some weird worlds like something out of 70s Marvel but cycling through different super-identities is a winning strategy. At least in the story--not for comic sales.

All-Star Squadron #6: Thomas and Buckler continued travails of the All-Stars within days of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. They rescue Hawkgirl from sacrifice by the Feathered Serpent, but he still manages to gain supernatural power over people with "pure" Native American ancestry and decides to revive an empire. He even starts pushing around his Nazi Allies. Eventually, our heroes defeat him, and he's revealed to be a German in redface. His power is dissipated, and everyone goes back to normal. The JSAers who intended to give up their costumed identities and enlist are confident they are living the homefront in good hands with these new heroes.

Detective Comics #511: Bruce is convinced there's something more to Reeves' colossal political blunder that cost him the election, and he's right. Reeves finds out himself that the architect of his downfall was Rupert Thorne. Meanwhile, Dick decides to go back to college. Then, Batman tangles with another one-off Conway villain: the illusion producing Mirage.

New Adventures of Superboy #26: Inventor Phineas Potter wants to help Clark out, so he doses him without his knowledge with a spray that makes him irresistible to women, which complicates his activities as Superboy. There's also a gang convinced the inventor gave Clark some pills to make him bullet proof. It all works out in the end, of course. In the backup by Rozakis and Delbo, Superboy goes 4 years into the past (1962, specifically) to do research for a school paper on a space flight and sees his younger self thwarting saboteurs in an incident he no longer remembers. But why not?

Unexpected #219: This issue feels like left over Time Warp material or maybe a test run at a new sci-fi anthology. Helfer and Estrada have the cover story maybe inspired by the Outer Limits episode "The Invaders." Tiny aliens are pursued by very early animals including cockroaches and have the misfortune of trying to hide in a roach motel which gets tossed into a pile of garbage and burned. Mayer and Matucino follow it up with a convulted sci-fi yarn about a space traveler who hitches on to a ship that is unfortunately run by long-lived beings. He ages, imprisoned there, and the alien captain plans to use the human as a patsy for his crimes, but ultimately, he somehow gets the girl and immortality. 

Kashdan and von Eeden present the story of a feral human child raised by aliens who gets revenge on the man who killed her parents. Cohn and Giffen provide the only non-sci-fi story in the group about the devil trying to sell prosperity to a town for a price--it's the same deal he gives Nazi Germany.

Unknown Soldier #260: A crew mutinies and takes a Q-boat into a fjord to surrender to the Germans. The Soldier goes in disguised as a ruthless German commander to shock the crew into not turning traitor. Turns out those boys were just tired and want out of the war, so once the real Nazis are dispatched, Unknown Soldier is willing to say they were killed in action and let them go. Such is the war as portrayed by Haney and Ayers/Talaoc.

In the backup, we get Enemy Ace by Kanigher and Severin. A general decides von Hammer is too important to the German war effort to let him lead his squadron anymore, so they send in a ringer, but Hans ain't having it. He stills a plane to go and join his men.

World's Finest Comics #276: Barr pens the first two stories this issue. Dr. Double X breaks out of Gotham and tangles with both Superman and Batman, putting Batman in a death trap where Superman might inadvertently cause his death. Then, Oliver Queen is caught in a prison riot thanks to a loss of power. He has to improvise a bow and arrow to keep the assassin Slingshot from killing an ex-gang boss. 

In the Zatana story by Kupperberg and Speigle, a trick gone wrong leads to her manager being nabbed by demons. Zatanna must cross through the portal into the demonic realm and encounters and evil version of herself. Rozakis' and Infantino's Hawkman pines for his missing wife, feels guilty about flirtation with Mavis, then here's from birds that something is weird with the weather. Weather Wizard is the cause. The Captain Marvel (really Marvel Family) story by Bridwell and Newton has the Marvels trying to find off invaders from another dimension and needing help from some aging vets--who somehow get help from dead comrades in arms. 

1 comment:

Dick McGee said...

"Unexpected #219: This issue feels like left over Time Warp material or maybe a test run at a new sci-fi anthology."

It even manages to look very much like Time Warp somehow. There's just a certain feel to that cover that I associate with the other book. Subjective, I suppose.

"Then, Batman tangles with another one-off Conway villain: the illusion producing Mirage."

He's obscure, but Mirage fought Batman at least twice, as well as the Manhunter. Apparently he made a fourth and last(?) appearance in 52 back in 2006, where he was killed and eaten by Bruno Mannheim. SMH over the whole 52 thing again.

"A villain called the Abyss..."

There's an Abyss supervillain in my current Sentinel Comics RPG campaign, but he's more of a walking gravitational singularity than a portal to other dimensions. The DC design looks like the Shadow Thief and Marvel's Infinity had a child together.