Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Wednesday Comics: DC. July 1983 (week 2)

I'm reading DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! Today, I've got the comics at newsstands the week of April 14, 1983. 

DC Comics Presents Annual #2: Elliott S. Maggin brings Kristin Wells, a history student from the 29th Century, who appeared in his novel Superman: Miracle Monday, into official DC continuity in this story with art by Pollard/De Carlo. In the 29th Century, Wells, now a history professor, is discussing the enigmatic Superwoman with her class and they debate how many of the heroine's powers could be replicated with "modern" technology. Foreshadowing! Anyway, Wells decides to go back in time to investigate because, I guess, in the 29th Century any history professor is allowed to do that.

Superwoman has appeared yet and Superman doesn't know who she is, but Wells (in a cover identity as a new Daily Planet employee) knows the heroine will show up soon and she has theories. When King Kosmos attacks from space and Superman can't handle him alone, Wells is forced to become Superwoman to help save the Earth, in a twist that might have surprised DC's putative tweener audience, but likely no one else. That isn't to say the story is without a certain charm. 

Saga of the Swamp Thing #15: Mishkin and Hampton continue the story from last issue. This may have marked the first time I bought 2 consecutive issues of a series off the spinner rack. Pretty sure I got it at the Suwannee Swifty store in Blakely. After being crystallized last issue, Swamp Thing's regenerative powers restore him to normal, and the Phantom Stranger just reappears, mysteriously back to his old form, playing a synthesizer. The silicon-crystal Nathan Broder plans to take over all the computer networks in the world and as his friends and colleagues discover his plans, he kills them. Swampie helps his wife escape, but they don't know how to stop him until Sally remembers he may be vulnerable to vibration at his resonance frequency and rushes back to her keyboard the Stranger was noodling on earlier. Broder shatters, and Swamp Thing returns to the Swamp.

Batman #361:  Moench and Newton bring us more Man-Bat. He's kidnapped Jason Todd and wants him to be a replacement son for the daughter he thinks (wrongly) that Batman killed. Neither the police or Batman appear able to contain him. Ultimately, Batman tracks him to the Gotham Natural History Museum and uses trickery (with some life-size photos of Langstrom's family, courtesy of Vicki Vale) to get the Man-Bat, but it's help from Jason that allows him to administer the antidote to his condition at last. Also, a new assistant is foisted on Gordon by Mayor Hill: Harvey Bullock.

Flash #323: Barry's and Fiona's rather rushed wedding day is here, by Bates and Infantino sort of tip their hand there, because their focus is on Barry (now tipped off to Zoom's return by the Guardians) frantically plays cat and mouse with the villain. I think I can guess how this one will turn out, but maybe Bates has a surprise up his sleeve.

The Creeper backup by Cuti and Patton/ reaches its conclusion none too soon with the Creeper having a showdown with Cris Kraken, the monstrously mutated drug supplier. There's a coda with art by Giffen that promising the Creeper's return, but I don't know if what was teased here ever actually happened.

G.I. Combat #255: The first Haunted Tank piece is a focus on Rick, who's feeling isolated until he has a whirlwind romance with a young Italian woman. After a German sneak attack badly scars her face, Rick decides to marry her, but the woman, fearing he's doing it out of pity, jilts him on their wedding day. The second story, the captain in charge of the tank group is in the spotlight. He resents having to right vague condolences to the families of the men he loses in battle, but after being forced to go into the field himself, he finds the vague condolences better that the gritty reality of war.

There's Kana story which has him doing the sort of thing he does while being the victim of prejudice. In the final story by Drake and Patricio, an infantryman reassigned to supply resents not being involved in the war, oblivious to the harrowing situations he gets into having to deliver supplies under fire.

New Teen Titans #33: When the new villain Trident is found down, the Titans (minus their resident detective, Robin) must find his murderer. Meanwhile, Adrian Chase and Robin break into the home of a crime lord. This issue is well put together, but the key to discovering the clears' identity isn't so much as hinted at early in the story but blared from a loudspeaker. It's probably more surprising to kids, I guess.

Omega Men #4: Slifer, Giffen, and DeCarlo serve up a pretty visceral issue, making use of their direct only status. There's some body horror as the Greeshagurt absorbs Kallista's body and mind, turning into her and transforming her into protoplasm. Meanwhile, tensions between Primus and Tigorr over leadership (stoked by Demonia) come to a head, and they engage in a struggle that turns savage, again thanks to Demonia's manipulation.

In the end, Kallista is saved by her people and Euphorix's force shield stays intake. Tigorr realizes he's being played before he kills Primus, and confronts Demonia, then kills her in combat. While Primus' wounds are tended to, he leads an assault against the Citadelians.

Superman #385: Bates and Swan/Hunt continue the revitalization of Luthor as a villain, started in Action #544. Luthor is out for revenge for the destruction of Lexor and builds himself an island base and starts recruiting. Superman, meanwhile, is unaware that Luthor survived. He's pre-occupied with guilty over his role in the death of a whole world's inhabitants. He starts hallucinating and sees images of Luthor everywhere. He causes damage at a local suspension bridge and the Superman Museum because he thinks he sees Luthor. Is this madness or some cunning revenge plan of Luthor's? This is a good follow-up to the Action anniversary issue.

1 comment:

Dick McGee said...

Pretty solid week this time around, although my fondness for both Man-Bat and this version of Superwoman may make me a little biased.

The cover of GI Combat is a good indicator of how weak the CCA was by this point, that cover never would have passed the censors back when it was new and relevant. Pretty striking though.

In hindsight I wish that last story about the supply trooper had been about a member of the Redball Express instead of some random infantry grunt. Would have been much more appropriate. I've read diary entries from their drivers grousing about how they don't see any real action while describing sniper attacks and ambushes in the same paragraph. Some of the bravest men in Europe whether they knew it or not.

That issue of Omega Men was brutal for its day. You aren't kidding about pushing the freedoms granted by direct sales format and getting completely out from under the CCA.