Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Wednesday Comics: DC, March 1983 (week 1)

My goal: read DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! Today, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands on the week of December 9, 1982. 

Superman Special #1: We get 52 pages written and drawn by Gil Kane which is kind of special, I guess, but the story doesn't really seem to merit that treatment. A scientist who admires Superman and seeks accelerate human evolution in order to create a vanguard of superior beings to protect the planet. Naturally, he experiments on himself to make himself the Ultimate Man. As happens in these sorts of situations, his goals shift as his perspective changes, and he comes into conflict with Superman. In the end he evolves himself to his on defeat, as also tends to happen. This really reminds me of the sort of thing one might have read in a 70s Marvel title.

Wonder Woman #301: Mishkin takes over writing duties with Colan still on art. Sofia Constantinas, the former terrorist from the Aegeus arc, is undergoing Amazon training. She has to do a half-mile swim to an island, but on her way, she is grabbed and dragged underwater by a skeleton wielding a sword--and wearing a tiara like Wonder Woman's. Wonder Woman jumps in to help her and does battle with the skeleton. The skeleton follows Wonder Woman to shore, and Queen Hippolyte cries out its name: Artemis. The skeleton, which is able to communicate, demands that the queen call her by the name she was known by 3000 years ago, and Hippolyte does: "It--it was Wonder Woman!"

Arak Son of Thunder #19: The Thomases and Gonzales/Alcala pick up with Arak and friends along the Black Sea on the way to White Cathay. A powerful storm sinks their ship. Arak, and Valda, Satyricus, and Johannes are the only survivors. They wash up on the sandy shores of the coast. Johannes points to a gleaming spot on a mountainside that represents their destination. As they get closer, he warns them not to look directly at the light, lest they be blinded.

When they are distracted by the appearance of a roc, Valda accidentally looks at the gleaming city and is blinded. Johannes tells them the only cure for her is a gem that can conveniently be found in the roc's nest.

Satyricus and Arak climb the cliffs to get the jewel. The satyr gets there first and grabs the gem, but the roc grabs him. Arak jumps on the bird and do battle. He prevails and returns with Satyricus and the gem. Johannes uses the gem to restore Valda's eyesight.

In the Valda backup, Valda and Malagigi attend a yule feast held by the king. His sons give him gifts. His illegitimate son, Pip the hunchback, presents a finer gift than the others, a tree that grows many varieties of fruit even in winter. The king views it as sorcery and an abomination and destroys it.
In anger, Pip throws wine into the fire, and accidentally extinguishes the yule logs. It's a bad omen. Seeking to capitalize, Baron Ovis, the last surviving Merovingian, uses a tiny bell to summon some sort of berserkers from the cold. Valda fights her way through them and helps Malagigi reignite the fire. Once restarted, the fire banishes the berserkers. Carolus Magnus disowns Pip for his careless actions.

Blackhawk #256: Evanier points out in the letter column that this is the first chronicling of the Blackhawks adventures on Earth-One. All the previous ones where on Earth-Two or Earth-X. While Blackhawk is still recovering (and still apparently victim of the nightmare transmitting medallion), Stanislaus leads a raid on a Nazi research bunker in Czechoslovakia where they have projects going to create Hitler duplicates and to make monstrous super-soldiers. One of these reject super-soldiers has been sent to kill Blackhawk in the hospital, and two more are sent after the raiding part, capturing four of the team. Six Blackhawks wind up in the same cell. Only Stanislaus is still free.

The next day, he gets captured after killing a Reject with a grenade, so von Tepp and Merson seek to turn him into a replacement. The other Blackhawks escape, killing another Reject with a bazooka in the process. Von Tepp and Merson leave with their subjects and the bunker is destroyed.

DC Comics Presents #55: Rozakis and Saviuk manage to have Superman encounter both Air Waves, the original when he was Superboy and the "Hal Jordan," teen Air Wave in the modern day. Superboy and the first Air Wave had a brief encounter in the past, where Air Wave is brusque with the young hero, but it's revealed he was doing so for a good reason. In the present, while tracking down some of that gold kryptonite, Superman tries to help the young Air Wave, whose powers have mysteriously disappeared, and they team-up to take down the Parasite.

Fury of Firestorm #10: Broderick is back and so is the Hyena. Firestorm goes to the airport to meet Summer Day who has been often having therapy for being the Hyena. (Wonder what modality works best for that?) Anyway, the family and Ronnie meet Summer's therapist, Jivan Shi. Later that night, Doreen Day discovers that Summer is missing. She goes to Ronnie's house and asks for his help. Ronnie secretly transforms into Firestorm and flies towards Eastside Hospital. He suspects that Summer may have returned there, as this was the one other locale that she was most familiar with. At the hospital, Firestorm encounters the Hyena and they fight. The Hyena gets burned by some chemicals in the hospital.

Ronnie goes to tell the day family about Summer. She returns home but has no memory of her whereabouts of the past few hours. Mr. and Mrs. Moments after Summer goes inside, the Hyena appears outside and scratches Ronnie across the back of the neck. 

Justice League #212: Conway and Buckler/Tanghal bring the X-Element story to a conclusion, as the League (with the help of Phantom Stranger) battle the invading War-Kohn on multiple fronts and free Arthur Stuart. The JLA learns that Stuart's unique genetic code holds the cure for the transformed humans and animals. With everyone cured, David Dorfman is reunited with his fiancée, and all is well. Well, except for the ominous stinger where the Leaguers recall that there will come a day when the X-Element begins to decay again. Good thing Crisis wiped out this continuity!

Adventure Comics #497: The only new story here again is the expanded origin of the Challengers of the Unknown by Rozakis and Toth/Giacola, which concludes this issue. The Challs to-be are still investigating the sabotage of their plane. Red Ryan is in Vegas with an old friend, Johnny Green, when a car tries to run them down! Johnny reveals he was the target of the plane sabotage, not our heroes. Johnny won a lot of money from the mob but hadn't collected. He was planning to fly to Vegas with Red, so the mob put a device on the plane to keep him from collecting. The heroes confront the mobsters in a casino and win the day. Our heroes finally get their TV appearance as "Challengers of the Unknown!" And that's it. There was apparently going to be more Challenger stories here, but they decided to go full reprint instead.


PT Dilloway said...

Doesn't sound like much memorable stuff happened that week.

Dick McGee said...

Some quite striking covers in this lot. Don't think I've seen Kane (a favorite of mine, in part because of his Star Hawks newspaper strip) do a Superman cover before, the Wonder Woman issue is a real eye-catcher, Firestorm's got some nice lighting and color choices - heck, even Arak's got a nice look to it and (for all that I liked the book) it was often rather bland cover art-wise.

Dale Houston said...

That Superman Special was originally released as an 'album' in Europe - probably in a format similar to the Marvel and DC Graphic Novel lines that were about to spin up.

I bought Supes and Firestorm off the newsstand and Justice League as a back issue.