Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Wednesday Comics: DC, December 1982 (week 4)

I'm reading DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, we look at the comics hitting the newsstand on August 26, 1982.

Weird War Tales #118: Kane provides a cover that seems to be an homage to Giant-Sized X-Men #1. I've praised Kanigher certain sort of inventiveness before and this issue is another example. He and Carrillo have the G.I. Robot and the Creature Commandos brought to London to be decorated by the King. With this framing device of our heroes adventures getting related to his Royal Highness, we get the usual sorts of adventures of these guys. G.I. Robot, who already bested the samurai robot, now has to face the "geisha robot"--and the female is deadlier than the male, because J.A.K.E. apparently doesn't want to hurt a lady. Instead, in their second encounter, he leads her on a chase that winds up with her destroying herself stepping on a landmine.

In the Creature Commando yarn, a group of Nazis escape from a military prison and take a group of kids that had previously been having a picnic with the Commandos captive. The monsters go all out to rescue their young friends.

World's Finest Comics #286: Burkett and Buckler/LaRosa contain the zodiac story. After Zatanna's injury last issue, Superman and Batman take her to the JLA Satellite, but ultimately Wonder Woman decides to take Zatanna to Paradise Island where they can use the Purple Healing Ray. Batman and Superman return to their respective cities.

In the meantime, Dr. Zodiac ponders his current situation and recalls how he was sprung out of prison by Madame Zodiac, who he's now romancing. It's clear that she has been the promoter of his actions to fulfill the dictates of the evil dark cloud she serves. 

The dark cloud is on the move again. Its powers seem to unleash people's darkest impulses and turns people against each other using hate as the fuel.Clark's neighbor's dog is stolen by a Satanic cult to be sacrificed. Superman stops them, but he is once again attacked by the dark cloud and is temporarily incapacitated. In Gotham City, Lucius Fox returns home to find the Ku Klux Klan waiting for him outside his house. Batman, Robin, and ultimately Superman respond.

Later, the dark cloud has gained all the power required from Dr. Zodiac and Madame Zodiac, and a new wave of monsters start plaguing the cities of America. The Justice League members encounter werewolves and vampires. In Gotham, Batman, Robin and Superman contend with a horde of zombies, but after dealing with the monsters, Batman is possessed by the dark cloud.

Action Comics #538: Barr and Norvick have Superman at a low point after his defeat by Jackhammer. Bruised and half-conscious, Superman limps to Jimmy Olsen's apartment and asks his friend to use his disguise skills to help him hide his bruises. 

For the next few days, Superman keeps a low profile, using his other powers to thwart robberies from a distance as his wounds heal. At the same time, Jackhammer exploits his newfound fame to rise in the Metropolis underworld and go on a crime spree.

After a week goes by without a Superman sighting, the Daily Planet staff starts wondering what has happened to their hero. At night, Clark Kent privately admits to himself he is afraid. Thinking of his parents, Clark mans up and heads out.

Superman confronts Jackhammer again, but the armored villain still has the upper hand. The crowd of on-lookers moves in to help Superman, distracting Jackhammer long enough for Supes to defeat the foe. Superman receives the multitude's congratulations, but he insists he's the one who is grateful for the help of the people of Metropolis.

In the Aquaman backup by Rozakis and Saviuk, Aquaman and Mera first have to deal with the fallout of her out of control powers. Then, it's revealed that Mera's psyche is somehow imprisoned and someone else shares her body--a someone who commands the body to strangle Aquaman!

Arion Lord of Atlantis #2: Kupperberg and Duursema bring Arion back to Atlantis, which is under attack from Thamuz, a state-city ruled by D'Tilluh's son M'Zalle. Arion helps defend the city and defeats a band of assassins. Arion learns his rival, Garn Danuuth, is commanding the Thamuzian forces and seeks a secret hidden beneath the city. 

Meanwhile in the wastelands, Lady Chian and Wyynde try to find their way back to Atlantis under the mistaken belief that Arion is dead. They encounter a girl named Mara fleeing from Thamuz. She carries with her a crystal ram's head which soldiers have been sent to retrieve. Chian and Wyynde defeat the soldiers, then bring Mara back to Atlantis.

All-Star Squadron #16: Part One of this recounts All-Star Squadron #14 which has now been altered due the crossover that just completed last month now having never happened. When the All-Star Squadron returns to the meeting rooms of the JSA.  they discover a disheveled Wonder Woman await for them. She had her own encounter with Nuclear. Steve Trevor was captured in the battle, and she has come to the Squadron seeking aid.

The Squadron takes Wonder Woman’s invisible plane to Norfolk to investigate. They track Trevor and Nuclear to the lab of a dilletante named Percy Playboy. The villain’s magnetic powers are effective against the All-Star’s, but Trevor escapes and shoots Nuclear, apparently killing him.

Thomas concocted this story to plug an old continuity gap. Percy Playboy, the villain Nuclear, had his first and only other appearance in 1950 in Wonder Woman #43. Strangely, that story is called "Nuclear's Return" and calls him Wonder Woman's archnemesis, even though he never appeared before. So, Thomas gives his that previous meeting, at least in continuity.

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #10: I bought this issue off the stands as a kid. Andy "Wolfie" Wolf, the antagonist of Peter "Pigiron" Porkchops from when they both were just funny animal characters in the 40s is brought into this superhero update by doing a riff on the Wolfman. A curse transforms him into the Wuz-Wolf--'cause he "was a wolf, but he ain't no more."

Anyway, there's also a backup where Fastback has to deal with Chesire Cheetah who reminds me a lot of Chester Cheetah, except he's not cheesy. In the literal way, I mean. 

Detective Comics #521: Conway and Novick seem to be heading toward returning Catwoman to villainy by first making her the crazy ex-girlfriend.  Selina awakens from a nightmare where she murders Victoria Vale. She calls Wayne Manor, hoping to talk with Bruce, but when Alfred tells her that Bruce is asleep (really, he's out as Batman), Selina assumes that Bruce is really spending the night with Vicki, which only makes matters her jealousy worse. 

A few hours later, Vicki Vale gets a visit from Catwoman, who warns her to stay away from Bruce and she threatens to kill her if she doesn't. The next morning, Vicki tells Bruce all about it. Bruce tells her that Selina was responsible for their breakup and that now she has to deal with him moving on. As Vicki and Bruce kiss, Catwoman watches from a distance and makes a vow to fight to the death for Bruce's affection.

With Selina's heel turn, Green Arrow moves into the backup slot courtesy of Cavalleri and von Eeden. And we're in for some early 80s computer stuff! A story on computer crime Oliver Queen is working on vanishes from his terminal at the Daily Star. In its place he gets the image of Hi-Tek, who tells Oliver that he deleted his story rather than have his secrets exposed. Learning the address of the IT firm that stores the Star's data, Oliver becomes Green Arrow and goes there to confront H-Tek, but instead has to deal with an exploding robot that knocks him out. GA wakes up to find security sticking guns in his face, demanding he explain what he's doing there.

Jonah Hex #67: Fleisher and DeZuniga continue Hex's trail of vengeance against the rogue cavalrymen responsible for the death of Jonah's fiancée, Cassie Wainright years ago. This time, it's Croy's turn. He's a gambler and cheat. He tracks Hex to the town of Careysburg and takes a shot at him through a hotel window but instead kills a barmaid visiting Hex for the evenings.

The next morning, Croy fires another rifle shot that creases the back of Hex's skull. A few locals bring him to Doc Brewster's office, and Hex begins to suffer from fever dreams. He recalls the events, which led to the death of Cassie.

The following day, Croy learns that Hex is still alive and decides to take another try. He barges into Brewster's office, but Hex seems fully recovered. Croy tries to get the drop on him by way of a concealed revolver in his sleeve, but Jonah shoots him twice in the chest before Croy can get a shot off.

New Adventures of Superboy #36: Kupperberg and Schaffenberger delve into the dangers of standardized testing in schools! A researcher (I guess) named William Wright administers a test in Smallville High School and is able to take mental control of a number of students there. He discovers that he commands mental power enough to defeat Superboy.

In the Dial-H for Hero backup by Bridwell and Bender, Chris is captured by the Master and his dial is taken by the villain who proceeds to dial himself a powered identity.


Dick McGee said...

"A curse transforms him into the Wuz-Wolf--'cause he "was a wolf, but he ain't no more.'"

Okay, I admit it, that got a chuckle from me.

"Action Comics #538:"

I feel robbed by the promising cover. Watching Supes actually back off and leave Jackhammer to be savagely beaten by Jimmy as he suddenly manifests one (or more) of his kajillion super-identities would have been hilarious. Seriously, how much damage can a guy named Jackhammer do to Elastic Lad?

"This is like punching a Stretch Armstrong figure!"

Dale Houston said...

I bought Arion and Captain Carrot out of this lot. I only got a couple issues of Arion, but I stuck with Captian Carrot until the bitter end.

I think this is the issue where Fastback says "Cheetahs Never Win" which has been my motto for the last 40 years.

Trey said...

That sounds about right!