Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Wednesday Comics: DC, January 1983 (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 October 7, 1982. 

Arak Son of Thunder #17: Arak and Valda are almost able to fight their way out of the palace of the Emperor, but Aetius, counselor to the emperor, uses sleeping sand to knock them out aided by the untimely arrival of Haakon, an emissary from White Cathay, trying to curry favor with the Emperor. They wind up in the dungeon, but Irene, mother to the Emperor, visits the dungeons and offers Arak a deal for his freedom. It seems she doesn't trust Haakon and believes he is there to steal the secret of Greek fire. her suspicions prove correct, as Haakon tries just that at a demonstration that day, but she didn't reckon on Aetius being in cahoots. Arak is knocked out and kidnapped and the villains are about to set fire to a boat with Valda, Irene, and the Emperor on board.

In the backup, the Thomases and Gonzales/Alcala give Valda and Maligigi a city (mis)adventure As the cross paths with the thief Brunello who they believe is going to steal the remains of St. Denys which are kept in a jeweled reliquary. Then it turns out the theft has already occurred. Greeramada, the supposed friend of Malgigi, unleashes demons. She demands that the sorcerer provide her with the spell which will cause the beheaded saint to rise again.

Blackhawk #254: In the main story, Evanier and Spiegle have the Blackhawks helping to defend the French town of West Dieppe from Nazi invasion. When Blackhawk gets a report that Professor Merson was sighted in Berne, he flies there alone. It's a trap, though, and Domino is waiting. When the rest of the team gets word of his capture, they fly to Berne and find Blackhawk tied to the front of a tank. The 'Hawks have a dilemma: destroy the tank with Blackhawk on it or die. Instead, Olaf uses the bazooka on the German infantry instead and the surprising move allows them to get Blackhawk and get away.

The backup with art by Cockrum has Chuck on a solo mission to deliver a communique. He spots the plane of Nordling, Hitler's private courier. He follows the Nazi into an abandoned building, but Nordling becomes aware of him, and Chuck is shot and wounded. Chuck manages to make it outside. When he sneaks back in later, he finds the Nazi protecting a group of stray cats. Chuck calls Stan and Chop Chop to patch him up and take Nordling into custody.

DC Comics Presents #53: Mishkin and Swan/DeZuniga provide a seasonal story with "The Haunting Dooms of Halloween!" having Superman visit the House of Mystery. This sort of offbeat team-up has a certain charm for me, and it's the sort of thing Marvel didn't really do in their team-up books. Anyway, the villain here is Mr. Mxyzptlk who lures Supes into the House of Mystery to save Lois Lane and some transformed trick-or-treaters.

Fury of Firestorm #8: Conway and Moore/Rodriquez bring back Typhoon for some reason. Things haven't gone well for David Drake since the accident that made him Typhoon. He's been in a psychiatric hospital and gets out only to have his wife leave him. He snaps and goes looking for revenge. Meanwhile in New York City, after testing his powers under Stein's supervision, he goes to the movies with his friends and winds up beating up that jerk Cliff Carmichael. 

Typhoon arrives in New York and kills the former captain of the ship who inadvertently caused his transformation, then he goes after Stein, heaving the sea captain's corpse through his office window. Firestorm's first priority is to save innocent lives. Through trial and error, he attempts to direct people out of the path of Typhoon's fury. The villain gets the upper hand, however and delivers a blow that sends the unconscious Firestorm plummeting into the bay.

Justice League #210:  Conway and Buckler/Tanghal have Ray "the Atom" Palmer and his colleague Physicist David Dorman discover an "X-Element," a catalyst for all basic chemical reactions, which is about to decay, and thus disrupt all natural processes on Earth. As the Atom, Ray summons the Justice League, which splits up into sub-teams as they do to stave off world-wide apocalypse. Just as all seems lost, aliens calling themselves the Treasurers appear, offering to reverse the decay of the X-Element in exchange for specimens of Earth flora and fauna, including (unknown to the JLA) one human: a seemingly ordinary postal clerk named George Arthur Stuart.

Wonder Woman #298: Ed Hannigan/Dick Giordano cover on this issue. Believing Wonder Woman to be dead, Aegeus has forced Trevor to help him find Paradise Island in the Bermuda Triangle where he begins an assault. Wonder Woman, however, is still very much alive. She recovers and defeats the terrorists and Bellerophon, and heads for Paradise Island. Steve Trevor, dumped off Pegasus but caught by Queen Hippolyte, is taken to Science Island without touching ground and employs a hang-glider to try and attack Aegeus. Before his foolish heroics can lead to his death, Wonder Woman appears, takes Steve back to Science Island, and defeats Aegeus, who uses a last thunderbolt to teleport himself away to--well, not quite disappear until the Who's Who, but he doesn't have many rematches left.

In the Huntress backup by Cavalieri and Staton, Huntress looks like she may meet her end in the coils of Boa's pet constrictor but Blackwing comes to her aid. Huntress gets to hear his origin before she heads out to confront Boa and his gang, and this time, triumph over them. 

Adventure Comics #495: As usual, the only new story here is The Challengers of the Unknown by Rozakis and art this time by Toth/Gaicoia. Continuing the extended "Challengers Begin" origin story from last issue, the not-yet-Challs hang in Rocky's apartment, reading and paying bills. Professor Haley is still chewing on their as yet unsolved jet sabotage. They all have reasons to believe they might have been the target though the possibilities seem far-fetched: Native Alaskans angry about desecration of a burial ground, the allies of a deceased South American dictator, Haley's cousin Freddie hoping to gain an inheritance. That last seems the best lead, but before they can leave, Red has something else to issue.


Dick McGee said...

"Fury of Firestorm #8: Conway and Moore/Rodriquez bring back Typhoon for some reason."

He's always been a Firestorm villain first and foremost. The kid had to build a rogue's gallery somehow, and Typhoon's power set (elemental weather transformations and manipulations) makes him a reasonable matchup against Ronnie and the Prof. Might not be the most compelling character ever, but at least he's not some idiot with a gimmick weapon or a fetish for theme crimes - which is more than you can say for half the galleries of Flash or Batman.

"DC Comics Presents #53: Mishkin and Swan/DeZuniga provide a seasonal story with "The Haunting Dooms of Halloween!" having Superman visit the House of Mystery. This sort of offbeat team-up has a certain charm for me, and it's the sort of thing Marvel didn't really do in their team-up books."

Granted, but Marvel didn't really have anything quite like House of Mystery at this point. And Peter did manage crossovers with the Saturday Night Live cast and Howard the Duck over in Team-Up, as well as the seminal Aunt May, Herald of Galactus issue during Assistant Editors' Month. So there was some off-the-wall stuff. Mostly the real screwball stories wound up in What If?, which we owe credit to for the now-canonical Peter Porker, Spider-Ham.

Trey said...

True on both counts.

bombasticus said...

How weird to put the Phantom Stranger on that JLA cover. It makes it look like a seance . . . I wouldn't have even noticed him if this wasn't the kind of plot setup that makes me expect Zatanna will resolve it by sacrificing a big chunk of her magical power, which was growing exponentially anyway, good for everybody I guess.

Trey said...

They've played that card one time, but maybe Conway thinks she's still too powerful

bombasticus said...

Depends on what she's wearing I guess. If I recall correctly we are out of the ponytail catsuit era and firmly in the realm of the lobster tiara, which means elemental forces only.

She really does have a Scarlet Witch trajectory, doesn't she?

jdh417 said...

Don't forget that Avengers/David Letterman crossover.