Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Wednesday Comics: DC, April 1982 (week 4)

My goal: read DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, we bring 1981 to a close with the comics hitting the newsstand on January 28, 1982.


Action Comics #530: Wolfman and Swan are dragging this storyline out, but Superman and the Brainiac he reprogrammed for evil finally get to confronting the Planet-Eater. And predictably, evil Brainiac (now more evil than ever, we are told) betrays Superman and plans to use the device to clear out the clutter of the current universe so he can start anew. Superman manages to defeat Brainiac, though, stopping the Planet-Eater and trapping Brainiac inside.

Speaking of draggin things out, Aquaman is still hanging on that alien planet, but he manages to get a creature to blast him, and he's vibrated back to Earth's ocean. In a pointless crossover, the Atom and Jean just happen to be sailing by so they can rescue him.


All-Star Squadron #8: It's now December 30, 1941, and Liberty Belle, the Shining Knight, plus the new hero, Steel, defeat an assassin sent by Baron Blitzkrieg. The main story is by Thomas and Gonzales/Ordway, but the recap of Steel's origin is handled by Conway and Heck. This makes since because that team created Steel in 1978's Steel series, but it only lasted 5 issues thanks to the Implosion. This issue also has some file entries in the back.


Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #2: Thomas and Alcala/Shaw pick up where issue #1 left off. Thomas, showing his Marvel roots, has the team almost immediately beset by internal conflict. Pig Iron, not use to his new body, inadvertently wreaks havoc as he's just trying to leave town. Shortly after, he's approached by A.C.R.O.S.T.I.C. (A Corporation Recently Organized to Instigate Crimes) who want to pay him to join their side. Pig Iron declines, so they set their operative, the Armadillo on him. The team shows up, and ultimately Pig Iron decides to join the Zoo Crew after all. 


Detective Comics #513: Conway and Newton continue the Two-Face story from this month's Batman. Batman has been missing for a week, and Two-Face's gang has been on a crime spree. Robin thwarts one of the crimes and forces the goons to tell him Batman's whereabouts. Meanwhile, Batman devises his on escape by molding a plastic tray into a mask of Two-Face's scarred visage and using it to freak the criminal out. By the time Robin and the police arrive, Batman has captured the criminals. In the aftermath, Bruce tells Alfred and Dick of his decision to move out of the penthouse and back to Wayne Manor.

In the Burkett/Delbo Batgirl backup, Barbara tangles with a biker gang known as the Demon Riders but receives help from a mysterious stranger.


New Adventures of Superboy #28: The Kryptonian criminals from last issue finally seem to have convinced Superboy that they are his parents, much to the distress of the Kents. Superboy's own memories seem to confirm it. Superboy releases Sar-Ul and Ralsa from where he imprisoned them and goes with them to another world. It turns out to be be under a red sun, so they are powerless. Superboy reveals he's onto their memory-falsifying telepath tricks. He leaves them on that world where they can't cause trouble.

Dial H for Hero arrives in this issue as a backup. The villain (presumably created by a fan, so we can't blame Rozakis and Bridwell for the name), the Senses-Taker, goes on a crime spree and only the kids can stop him.


Unexpected #221: This is a sci-fi focused issue. In the opener by Snyder and Catan, a group of astronauts return to a devastated Earth with a desire to repopulate it. The grow their children in an accelerated way in some sort of artificial wombs, though there's dissention among the group about this. In the end, the evolutionarily advanced children emerge and reject their flawed parents to set out on their own. The next story by Ditko is an old fashioned if creative Atlas style story about an electromagnetic alien that can inhabit and animate any material. 

The next story by Kelley and Ayers is the only non-sci-fi piece, and also the worst. I guy runs to a woman's aid and inadvertently kills her assailant only to discover she was the assailant and the other guy her victim. The final story by Conway and Zeck has an explorer on Pluto getting frozen to the spot with no way to call for her thanks to frozen oxygen from a ruptured tank, but she saved by alien creatures she previously didn't recognize as being alive.



Unknown Soldier #262: This issue has two new backup features: Balloon Buster and Tomahawk. Both of these characters I feel like are under-appreciated. Kanigher and Spiegle reintroduce Balloon Buster, telling his origin, and recounting part of an encounter with Enemy Ace. I feel like this basically recaps stuff from previous appearances, but I'm not sure. There's no Balloon Buster Archives to consult! The Tomahawk story by Haney and Delbo starts out on an odd note: Tomahawk at odds with Washington and his foreign military supporters over the execution of a deserter who needed to return home and tend his farm. Tomahawk is whipped for insubordination to a von Steuben. Tomahawk is then sent on a scouting mission as punishment and is captured by the British force's allies, the Delaware. He escapes and makes it back to the fort, only to find he is under arrest for the attempted assassination of Washington!

The Unknown Soldier story by Haney and Ayers/Tlaloc involves a French painter sent to pretend to paint Hitler's portrait while secretly encoding the German preparations to counter D-Day. When he gets so angry at Hitler's callousness that he paints him in an inflattering light, he's marked for death, but Soldier as a master of disguise manages to get the painter out alive and the painting out intact.


World's Finest Comics #278: Rozakis and Buckler/Marcos team-up Hawkman with Batman and Superman to finish off the Hawkman arc. The three go to Thanagar and execute a plan to take down Hyathis' rule (if it was this easy, why wait until now?). Hawkgirl briefly appears again, but before Hawkman can attempt to reconcile, she's gone again. Barr and von Eeden continue their Green Arrow story, with Ollie's quick thinking and quicker reflexes saving him from a fall to his death. He discovers who framed Green Arrow for murder, and it is ironically, the informant whose identity Ollie went to jail to protect.

The Kupperberg/Spiegle Zatanna story shows the shortcomings of the anthology format as executed as Zatanna takes on dog-nappers and goes to a dog show. The Bridwell/Newton Marvel family story has the group taking on a new villain, Darkling, who appears this issue. Mary has to defeat her, because the male Marvels can't hit a woman.

1 comment:

Dick McGee said...

"A.C.R.O.S.T.I.C. (A Corporation Recently Organized to Instigate Crimes)"

Say what you will about Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew, that is positively inspired acronym there.

"...defeat an assassin sent by Baron Blitzkrieg."

When I think "Nazi assassin" the last thing that comes to mind is a giant praying mantis. That's more MST3K territory.

"The villain (presumably created by a fan, so we can't blame Rozakis and Bridwell for the name), the Senses-Taker, goes on a crime spree and only the kids can stop him."

Please tell me they at least took the opportunity to do a "senseless crimes" joke.

"The final story by Conway and Zeck has an explorer on Pluto getting frozen to the spot with no way to call for her thanks to frozen oxygen from a ruptured tank, but she saved by alien creatures she previously didn't recognize as being alive."

Reminds me of the section in First Lensman where they're trying to recruit some Palainian colonists on Pluto to join the nascent Galactic Patrol. Like all cold-worlders their physical form is pretty much incomprehensible to humans owing to existing partially in another dimension. The descriptions of a Palainian "city" still stand out in my mind. Wonder if the idea sprung from there?

"The Kupperberg/Spiegle Zatanna story shows the shortcomings of the anthology format as executed as Zatanna takes on dog-nappers and goes to a dog show."

That must have been something to see. "God eht esaeler!" really rolls off the tongue.