Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Wednesday Comics: DC, February 1983 (week 3)

My mission: read DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands around November 18, 1983.

Warlord #66: I reviewed the story in this issue here. No "The Barren Earth" backup this time around.

Brave & the Bold #195: Barr and Aparo team Batman up with Andrew "I...Vampire!" Bennett, which brings that strip definitively into the DC Universe (and that in turn necessitates the events of House of Mystery this week). Anyway, Batman is on the trail of killers who attacked the daughter of a crime-lord named Hodges, leaving bite marks in her neck, and Bennett is in Gotham after the Blood Red Moon. The two team-up and discover the responsible part is another crime lord who is the new lover of Mary. Bennett takes a bullet meant for Batman, which turns out to be a silver. Batman saves Bennett's life with a blood transfusion. Realizing that his daughter is the only thing important to him, Hodges decides to retire from his life of crime. The two heroes part ways, both feeling like they've made a new ally and friend.

Camelot 3000 #3: Another solid installment in the futuristic Arthurian epic from Barr, Bolland, and Patterson, though we're still in the "getting the band together" phase. Merlin tells Arthur that there is an enemy arraying forces against them. We learn that Morgan Le Fay is organizing the aliens that are attacking Earth. Merlin sends Arthur and his allies to find his remaining knights: Percival (a newly made Neo-Man), Galahad (a futuristic samurai), Tristan (a woman at her wedding) and Kay (a criminal). At United Earth Defense headquarters, the alien ships have been traced to their point of origin: the tenth planet!

Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #3: Kupperberg and Infantino/Oksner pit Supergirl against the Gang, a group of four super-powered costumed mercenaries, who are stealing a satellite from the Aerospace Technologies Show. Ms. Mesmer, one of the Gang members, hypnotizes Supergirl into immobility long enough for them to make a getaway. She also plants a post-hypnotic suggestion in Supergirl's mind that will trigger something she fears when she sees her reflection, if she and the Gang meet again. Supergirl's house-neighbor John Ostrander is unwittingly to be the messenger to deliver payment for the robbery to the Gang, who has given the satellite to Lester Adams, but Ostrander has bails on the messenger gig to audition for a play. When the Gang confront Ostrander, Supergirl is on hand to battle them. Then she sees her reflection in a window, but it's the face of Linda Danvers. Thinking she may have revealed her secret identity, she flies away.

There's a Lois Lane backup by O'Flynn and Oksner that continues the story from last issue. Two crooks paralyze Missy's mother from the waist down with a gunshot, but she is reunited with her husband and the crooks responsible for the kidnapping are captured. Then, Lois and Perry White discover that, somehow, Jimmy Olsen is responsible for the prophetic news stories.

Green Lantern #161: Barr and Pollard/La Rosa are aiding and abetting Wolfman's efforts to make the Omega Men happen. They come in like the cavalry to rescue Jordan and Dorine from execution by the Headmen. They head out to free the people of Garon. The Guardians step in to make sure the Citadel doesn't help the Headmen. The battle on Garon is still tough and our heroes are unable to prevail outright, but they do manage to evacuate the remaining anti-Headmen dissidents in the face of a Psion invasion.

In the Tales of the Green Lantern Corps backup by Snyder and Gibbons, Harvid, a retired Green Lantern is tending his garden as a storm approaches, when he gets a surprise visit from his brother. A brother he sent to 100 years of solitary confinement during his time of service. The two old men begin to fight while around them the storm gathers strength. When the storm causes the dam to break, neither man has the strength to fix it alone, forcing them to work together. In the end, the exhausted brothers make peace and head to Harvid's house for some wine.

House of Mystery #313: Mishkin and Gonzales/Sutton pick up where last issue left off with "I...Vampire!" Bennett and the reporter are captured by scientist Allen Barr who reveals that his famous cancer cure is made by injecting homeless people with a spider-derived serum and turning them into arachnohumanoids. Also, the cancer cure never worked and was just a means to killing off vampires by making the blood supply poisonous. Why? Well, Barr is revealed is a vampire himself and he's tries to eliminate the competition. But that's not the last twist! After rescuing Bennett the reporter reveals herself to be a vampire as well. She tosses Bennett a copy of the antidote, then returns to her masters in the Blood Red Moon. Bennett flies away from the burning laboratory, wondering why an agent of the Blood Red Moon would help him. Surely this wasn't what was intended when this cancer cure storyline was introduced, but comics have to turn ever back to the status quo.

After that there's a short by Skeates and Rodriquez about a guy on a fad diet whose idle fancies have been changing his wife. First making her more attractive, and dutiful and finally accidentally changing her into a fried chicken. In the last story by Kashdan and Infantino a greedy Uncle Ben kills his young, scientifically inclined nephew so he can inherit his fortune, but the bacterium cultivated by the boy (which looks sort of like a Viking Proty) avenges him. 

Legion of Super-Heroes #296: This was another issue I had as a kid, though I didn't remember the story at all. While the Legionnaires are involved in some missions or personal time, a terrorist (a fireballer) strikes at the home of Cosmic Boy's parents. Also, Light Lass leaves the team.

Night Force #7: With the "demon" (whatever that means) unleashed by or from Vanessa's psyche rampages through the complex, Caine and Gold try frantically to escape. Both are made to face how they exploited Vanessa in different ways and are punished for it. Caine loses an arm and a leg and is forced to recognize it was his actions that led to his wife's death.  Gold admits (to himself) that he misled Vanessa about his feelings--but to save their lives he has to do it again. Vanessa's rage subsides.

Meanwhile, Baron Winters rescues the cops stuck in the past, and they are so confused and scared they leave without arresting him.

Sgt. Rock #373: This is a goof one from Kanigher and Kubert. Rock and Easy are in North Africa. Rock has to cross the desert solo to get to some town for some reason and the merciless sun beating down on his helmet makes him start hallucinating (I guess) that his helmet is on fire. Except the native peoples he's there to help see it too and take him for some sort of mythological character or demigod and give him a sword and a shield. He runs at the Germans with these and defeats them. Maybe this isn't the worst Sgt. Rock story since I've been doing this, but it's the worst I can remember in a while.


Dick McGee said...

Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #3: "The Gang?" Seriously? Was DC having a contest for Least Inspired Villain Team Name or something? Honestly think calling yourselves the Baddies would be more interesting.

House of Mystery #313: Not a big fan of I, Vampire generally, but man, that cover is a beauty. Kaluta, I assume?

"...scientist Allen Barr who reveals that his famous cancer cure is made by injecting homeless people with a spider-derived serum and turning them into arachnohumanoids."

Sure, why not? Peter Parker says the science checks out. Now I want a Spideyverse full of Spider-Hobos crawling all over NYC. "I'm your friendly neighborhood spider-panhandler, ma'am. Spare a horrific mutant a dime for a cup of coffee?"

Trey said...

Ha! regarding the Gang the think that is most memorable about them to me is their poor visual. The fairly plain, primary-colored costumes might could have a sort of 60s charm, I guess, but the Infantino/Oksner art on this issue is not great (and I blame Infantino more than Oksner). Though this groups Who's Who entry isn't great either, so maybe they just inspire lackluster illustration.

jdh417 said...

I had that Green Lantern comic as a kid. Part of the premise of the issue was that he was fighting with his ring out of power. Hal says something like, "Being a Green Lantern is more than just wearing a power ring."

In that LSH issue, Cosmic Boy's little brother gets severely graphically injured by the terrorist attack. Gross. He gets better and it motivates him to become a Legionnaire later.

Dale Houston said...

I bought five of these: Warlord, Legion, Camelot 3000, Night Force and Green Lantern. Green Lantern wasn't a regular purchase but I was interested in The Omega Men, who it turns out weren't really that interesting. I like that all of these covers are dialogue free - both Marvel and DC had pretty egregious dialogue laden covers but DCs were the worst of the two.

I liked Jurgens/DeCarlo on Warlord well enough. I was pretty unhappy when Dan Adkins started inking Jurgens as a lot of the detail dropped out.

Still better than Vince Colletta.