Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Wednesday Comics: DC, May 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 February 4, 1982. 

Arak Son of Thunder #9: Thomas and Colon/Rodriquez are following the Conan playbook and have Arak and Valda head out to sea, trying to get to Constantinople. The sailing is of course not smooth as they must fight back against piractical types. In the Viking Prince backup by Kanigher and Duursema, the Prince loses an arm saving a woman from druidic sacrifice, but she knows a place he may be able to get it magically reattached!

DC Comics Presents #45: A freak accident while stealing tech secrets for the Soviets turns a Kristopher Kross (not that one) into Kriss-Kross (not the other ones) into a lame, one-off villain for Superman and Firestorm. But Conway does get to plug his upcoming Firestorm series.

Ghosts #112: This title gives up the ghost with this issue, but they saved some not bad stories for it. Also of interest is the editorial that thanks the writers and artists and plugs some new/upcoming DC titles. It particularly spends time on the titles in what it calls the "mystery genre" which include Saga of the Swamp Thing (premiering later this month) and the upcoming The Dark Force--which will see print as Night Force.  

In the stories, Harris and Texeira have a kid named Joey who is allowed to join the bigger kids pirate club rise to lead it after being possessed by the spirit in an old pirate's skull. Kanigher and Bender send John Wilkes Booth to hell where he has to live out the assassination he committed over and over--in Lincoln's place. Finally, in a proto-Death Note, a cop gets ahold of a page from Death's book and uses it to extort money from people looking to prevent their death or the death of a loved one. When Death comes to get it back, he extorts immortality from Death, too! The Grim Reaper tricks him though, and he gets eternal life--buried alive!

Justice League #202: I don't know what Conway and Heck were thinking on this one. It's like a Space: 1999 plot or something. Batman's injured while doing repairs on the outside of the JLA satellite. Before his teammates can get to him, he's picked up by an alien medical ship, whose automated systems heal him--but in the image of its presumably long-dead creator, Ursak. The process leaves Batman deranged. His teammates have to defeat him, before they can get the ship to heal him again, then Hawkman reprograms it and sends it on its way.

Weird War Tales #111: I had this issue as a kid. Kanigher and Spiegle do the sensible thing and team-up G.I. Robot and the Creature Commandos on an island with dinosaurs and survivors from Lemuria. Well, technically they are Atlanteans from an Atlantide colony in the Pacific--and they are survivors, but instead their robot descendants. Due to the Doctor's snaky tresses the Atlanteans decide to attack, but the Creature Commandos dispatch them. The Atlantean leader appeals to a fellow robot for help, but as with all G.I. Robot stories, the robot's humanity shows through, and J.A.K.E sacrifices himself to save the Commandos.

Wonder Woman #291: This is probably Thomas' Marvel roots showing. A gigantic and ultra-powerful alien, The Adjudicator, arrives to judge the Earth, as he has countless planets before. He discovers all the parallel Earths and plans to judge a number of them, too. Wonder Woman calls in the assistance of the JLA. Black Canary heads to Earth-2 to warn the JSA, Green Lantern heads to Oa to see what the Guardians know about the alien, and Superman goes to the Fortress of Solitude to search its archives. Wonder Woman and Zatanna are left to challenge Adjudicators physical manifestations: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The two battle the Horseman Famine in India and manage to defeat it.


Dick McGee said...

"This is probably Thomas' Marvel roots showing, as a gigantic and ultra-powerful alien, The Adjudicator, arrives to judge the Earth, as he has countless planets before."

Just once I'd like one of these guys turn out to actually be the cosmic equivalent of a travel guide writer and the "judgement" just be how many stars he's giving Earth as a potential vacation destination.

"3/5 - Natives are colorful but prone to punching visitors, atmosphere has more free oxygen than I care for. Don't miss out on the local cuisine if you're a carbon-based lifeform." That kind of thing.

"Kanigher and Spiegle do the sensible thing and team-up G.I. Robot and the Creature Commandos on an island with dinosaurs and survivors from Lemuria."

Know that's how you write a Weird War book. Unusual to hear "Kanigher" and "sensible" in the same sentence. :)

"Batman's injured while doing repairs on the outside of the JLA satellite."

Clearly not the team member that should be doing that job. Is Bruce going through one of those "I can breathe in space because I'm Batman" phases again?

bombasticus said...

Great insight on the Adjudicator. A lot of these odd misfire "DC Cosmic" figures popping up around this era as they try to replicate the mythology Starlin and company developed at the other place . . . other than Mongul and soon the (Anti)Monitor not a lot of it sticks.

Thinking back, I wonder if one of the problems with the Adjudicator in particular is that Thomas doesn't actually seem interested in making him the kind of cosmic judge that all the DC women will eventually team up to defeat. Maybe make him a kind of super chauvinist, although in that scenario you already have plenty of manipulative sleezebags sitting right there in the rogues gallery.

Trey said...

@Dick - They all probably flew off on social engagements and left Batman alone at the satellite.

@bombasticus - Yeah, it's all sort of half-baked which may show Thomas' disinterest. He introduces the Adjudicator and tells us how powerful he is, but then has most of the conflict be with the decidely un-cosmic Four Horsemen. Of course, some of this may be co-writer Levitz who has been known to write a "cosmic level" villain from time to time.