Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Wednesday Comics: DC, September 1982 (week 2)

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 June 10, 1982. 

Batman #351: Conway/Levitz and Colan/DeZuniga have vampire Batman stop Dick from turning Vicki, too. He manages to subdue his ward and bring him back to the Batcave. It seems, according to Father Green, that they can only be cured by a serum made from the Monk's blood. Batman and Father Green go to the vampire's lair, but they only find Dala, who tells them about the Monk's hiding place in an abandoned church. Batman and Father Green go to the place and after a brief confrontation, Batman defeats the Monk and Dala, allowing Father Green to start the transfusion process. Meanwhile, Bard and Gordon get closer to discovering Rupert Thorne, Thorne hires Deadshot to take out Bruce Wayne (who he now believes is Batman), and Christopher Chance seems poised to discover Batman's secret.

In the Jones/Gonzales Catwoman backup, she teams up with an FBI agent who has been investigating the case of Candy Carole, a woman wanted by several loan sharks in Cleveland--the woman Selina has been mistaken for. Impersonating Candy once again, Catwoman lures the criminals out of hiding and they capture the whole criminal gang. That only leaves Roscoe, Candy's former lover, who forced her into a life of crime. When Catwoman finds Roscoe with all his criminal loot, he tries to escape, but dies in the attempt.

Flash #313: Barr takes a deep cut and brings back William Dawson, the guy whose body Grodd stole in wayback in Flash #115 (1960) as the psi-powered Psykon. Psykon is out for revenge on Grodd but Flash won't let him kill him--while largely sympathizing with Psykon's beef. When Grodd tries to betray his ally, the Flash makes a plan with Psykon that keeps hm his body back and leaves Grodd's mind in the body of a homeless alcoholic. Which hardly seems fair to the homeless alcoholic, but I guess that's Central City justice for you.

In the backup, Dr. Fate is able to defeat the combined forces of a Lord of Order and a Lord of Chaos by adding Inza to the mix of Nabu and Kent--shades of one of the conceits of the Dr. Fate 1987 limited series by DeMatteis and Giffen. It's surprising to see how far back that idea goes.

G.I. Combat #245: In the first Haunted Tank story, a German tank crew so horribly burned they look like undead returns to menace Jeb and friends a second time (after a brief stint in a circus sideshow). Jeb tries to save the commanders life, but he chooses to die after his defeat. In "The Easy Way" Kanigher and Talaoc have the path of apparent least resistance mean death for a group of GIs. In the O.S.S. story, Kana is put on trial for refusing to go through with his mission to assassinate the Emperor of Japan. Rather than go to prison, he prepares to commit seppuku, but he's saved with MacArthur orders the Emperor is not to be killed. In the second Haunted Tank yarn, Craig meets up with an old friend from WWI who is now a Colonel and moves Craig to a desk job due to his age. In the end, though, Craig is meant to be a tanker, and proves it. Also, Craig seems rather easily to have taken over the role of doubting Jeb's sanity from Slim. Kanigher wants to keep the same story formula, I guess.

Jonah Hex #64: We pick up with Hex in San Francisco, losing at cards, then rescuing a damsel in distress from some thugs. The woman is Sharon Hilliard – daughter of wealthy copper baron, Maxwell Hilliard. She claims her now deceased sailor boyfriend found a pearl of great value, and she knows where to get it but she needs protection. Jonah has to fend off her advances while dealing with the disapproval of her father (who doesn't believe any of this pearl nonsense) and unscrupulous treasure-seekers who do. Jonah and Sharon are kidnapped and threatened with death if they don't reveal the secret. Jonah manages to win their freedom, but after all that trouble, Sharon admits the story was a lie.

Saga of the Swamp Thing #5: Pasko and Yeates left Swamp thing in the hands of Sunderland goons and now he arrives at a private clinic for treating Sunderland employees. Dr. Barclay, who appears to have psychic healing powers, seems like a nice guy and heals Swampy, but something still isn't right. He finds out just what when he discovers that a lower level of the clinic is full of unconscious human clones. The clone are empaths and the wounds from the employees (and Swamp Thing) are being psychically transferred to them. Barclay and Elizabeth Tremayne are as horrified as him, and work to free the clones, but not before Dr. Kay (revived by the transfer of his burns to a clone) arrives to try to stop them. The revenge seeking clones overwhelm the staff, but not before Kay escapes in a helicopter, and our heroes flee.

New Teen Titans #23: Wolfman and Perez shift back to Vega System stuff. As the DA chews out the Titans for complicating his attempts to bring down Brother Blood and his cult, Starfire is hit by a Gordanian mental probe and goes wild. Then, She's captured by the Gordanian slavers under the command of her renegade sister, Princess Kornand'r. The other Teen Titans, with the help of Aqualad, salvage two Gordanian ships and infiltrate the Gordanian mother ship, but they're overcome by its defenses and hurled into space, where Raven's soul-self protects them until they can be rescued by Superman with the tractor beam from the Justice League satellite. Superman is unable to aid the Titans' rescue mission, since his powers were halved (as seen in Action Comics this month). The Gordanians escape with Starfire.

Superman #375: Bates and Swan/Adkins bring the Vartox/Lana wedding thing to an end. Syreena's treachery causes Lana to be turned to stone while Vartox jealously attacks Superman. When Vartox snaps out of his rage, the heroes managed to capture Syreena. She pleads her love for Vartox and eventually agrees to cure Lana. She does, but only by turning herself to stone. Another side effect is that the field that would have allowed Lana to live on Vartox's world is gone. The lover's part, with Vartox carrying the petrified body of his ex home with him.

The Fabulous World of Krypton backup here by Rozakis and Kane is better than average. A Kryptonian reporter spies on the Fel-Kar, head of the Kryptonian Science Council, and the agent Fel-Kar sent to spy on Jor-El. They learn of the scientist's plans to illegally launch a rocket bearing his son to Earth. But, when the Councilman fails to report the findings, the reporter realizes Fel-Kar plans to steal the rocket and escape in it himself. He fights with the Councilman and they are both killed in the collapse of the building, but not before Jor-El's ship rocket's the safety and the reporter records his account for posterity. Later, a group of aliens listen puzzled to the account, but cannot understand the Kryptonian language and decide to sell the device as junk.


bombasticus said...

Never really considered it as the "fabulous" world of Krypton but suddenly a hell of a lot about the disco era clicks.

Trey said...

It does have volcanoes that spew gold and everybody in head bands.

Dick McGee said...

Forests made of glass and flaming waterfalls, too. Which seems more psychedelic Sixties than Eighties disco to me.

Looking at the covers this time around shows a wide variance in styles I hadn't really noticed before. Batman is pretty minimalist about having text on the cover, Swampy and Jonah avoid it completely and GI Combat is swimming in words, practically a table of contents. Titans and Superman are all somewhere in the middle ground, and Flash has that two-panel cover that feels very retro to me even for the Eighties. Really a lot of different ideas on how to sell a book there and no apparent editorial mandate saying how to go about it. Seems more chaotic than I recall Marvel's books looking in the era - although at this point I was deep into indie books and reading very little from the Big Two.

Trey said...

Batman, Teen Titans, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are in the range of Marvel covers this same month. Superman is a little wordy, though this may just be an unwordy month for Marvel. G.I. Combat as an anthology book is sort of "magazine style" in its business and Flash does indeed seem retro.

Dick McGee said...

I wonder if any of the DC books were still being pushed more for newsstand/spinner rack sales than comic shops at this point? Thinking back on it, I don't recall ever seeing GI Combat, Weird War, Ghosts and the like in a local comic shop, only on spinners in Woolworth, drug stores and supermarkets. I know some creators were convinced comic shops were a bad venue for anything that was a superhero comic in those days.