Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wednesday Comics: DC, September 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 June 16, 1983.

Warlord #73: This was the first issue of Warlord I ever bought, at the age of 10. I reviewed the main story here. In the Barren Earth backup by Cohn/Randall, Jinal and her allies make an assault on the Mulge ritual site to get their friends back. The mushrooms have already gone through the chest of one of the men, so they kill him out of mercy, but Skinner they are able to save after painfully removing the fungi.

Omega Men #6: Courtesy of Silfer and Giffen/DeCarlo, Tigorr and his forces continue their assault on the Citadel, and it all goes pretty well despite the concerns of Primus, which has the effect of making his conservative leadership look bad. Silfer tries to ameliorate this by hinting multiple times that something bad will come of all this. The reveal of the first Citadelian as kind of a serpent in the Eden of the Vega system, a source of aggression that will continue after the defeat of his forces, is deployed in the service of this idea, but all in all it looks like a victory for Tigorr and the forces of freedom, despite some dialogue to the contrary.

Arak Son of Thunder #25: This issue feels like it culminates in a bit of a new direction for the series, though whether that goes at a natural turning point in the storyline or as an attempt to attract new interest is hard to say. Not long after leaving White Cathay, Arak and crew are attacked by Tartars led by Xadox, son of Xadox who is understandably upset Arak killed his dad in Hell. A spell from Malagigi drives off the tartar horde, and Xadox is captured. The group takes refuge in a cave for the night and Arak and Valda get some private time in a hot spring.

Xadox escapes and releases a dragonish salamander from a cocoon, which immediately attacks. Malagigi is able to turn the creature back on Xadox, and Arak kills it with a stalactite.

The next morning the company splits up, with Arak and Satyricus setting out the journey back to North America and find the surviving members of his tribe, and Malagigi and Valda heading back to Frankland.

Batman and the Outsiders #2: Barr and Aparo pick up where last issue left off with Batman, Black Lightning, and Metamorpho prisoners. Baron Bedlam gets to tell his side of things, and it reveals him to come from a family of Nazi collaborators and to be an abuser of women, just in case there was any doubt he's bad.  

When left alone, the heroes combine their powers and break free. They meet up with Katana, Halo and Geo-Force and together they thwart Baron Bedlam's army, and Metamorpho rescues Dr. Jace. Geo-Force goes one on one with Bedlam and tosses him to the peasants of Markovia for suitable punishment. Batman approves.

With the battle over, Batman suggests the group to return to Gotham City with him to find new purpose and work together as a team, and the Outsiders are born. All and all, a serviceable origin story.

Camelot 3000 #8: Barr and Bolland/Austin finally have Arthur betrayed as they have been teasing. Merlin is the removed, thanks to a magic item, but who did the it? Arthur devotes his attentions toward finding the traitor. Of course, the story leads you to believe it was Tristan as he even agreed to help Morgan in exchange for being returned to his male body, but through psychological trickery Arthur discovers the traitor is Kay. Kay misguidedly was trying to lift Arthur from his funk and rouse his to action but misunderstood the gravity of his actions. Arthur sentences Kay to death, but before he can carry out the sentence, aliens attack. Naturally, Kay dies in battle, but Tom Prentice is also wounded. Arthur elevates him to knighthood.

Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #11: Kupperberg and Infantino/Oksner pick up where last issue left off with Supergirl presumed dead by the Prof. Drake, the scientist working for the nefarious Council. Of course she isn't, and she breaks out of the cloning chamber just in time. Despite her weakened state, she manages to battle her way out of the laboratory and head for the Fortress of Solitude. Drake, at the Chairman's command, sends the six mini-Supergirl clones after her. In her current state, the clones defeat her, and begin dragging her toward a disintegration pit!

Green Lantern #168: Cavalieri and Tuska/McLaughlin continue the saga of the improved power rings. Jordan heads to D'xe to confront Kaylark who has taken over her homeworld and declared herself Empress Surrenda. The Free Lancers who started this whole mess show up to make Kaylark fulfill her bargain by giving them the improved power ring to copy, but she reneges as is the privilege of Empresses. She throws them in a dungeon. They get out later to fight Jordan but get defeated. These guys are weird; they're distinct enough and important enough to the story it feels like Cavalieri is trying to make them a thing.

Anyway. Jordan makes Kaylark see her past and feel the fear of being unloved and unrecognized, which similarly to the others, was powering the ring. With her defeated, he retrieves the ring and destroys her fortress. He heads back to the Guardians with the recovered rings and Dorine fretting over the fact Hal thinks of everyone but her.

In the Tales of the Green Lantern Corps backup by Harris and Moore/Trappani we begin the story of Lysandra. She is bequeathed the ring by a dying lantern but her people on the planet Zinthia have a religious taboo against even looking at the stars, much less traveling in them. The Guardians are surprisingly cool, though, and let her be the lantern of her single world, but then she discovers her world's star is going to go nova. If her people won't leave, she'll have to move the planet!

House of Mystery #320: The Kaluta cover on this issue has nothing to do with this issue's contents. In the first story by Kashdan/Catan, a murderous, would-be thief finds himself condemned to work as a slave on a Chinese junk where even death provides no escape. Barr and Harris present a tale of a Nazi agent in London working as a DJ, who gets her comeuppance when the ghost of the woman she murdered calls down a German airstrike on her.

The last story by Jones and Morrow is interesting in that it is unpredictable. An underground, post-nuclear war society is still plagued by racism. However, the sole black member of an expedition to the surface gets to shed his second-class citizen status when rain reveals the white members of the group are actually unaccountably ease to corrode robots and he is the only actual human among them.

Sgt. Rock #380: In main story by Kanigher and Redondo, Easy gets 3 new troops. Two are seasoned fighters, the third is the untried, nervous sort. Easy tries to make the kid feel at home, but ultimately when his two friends are injured, he steps up to save the day. The issue is filled out with a short about a WWII aviator that goes from the frying pan to the fire has he encounters a dinosaur after a crash, a sci-fi piece about robot gladiators in an alien arena, and features on WWII era pin-up girls and atomic war.

Legion of Super-Heroes #303: The Emerald Empress has taken command of Weber's World and sets the artificial planet on a collision course with the United Planets' fleet. The Legionnaires she captured manage to break free, though, and Brainiac 5 comes up with a plan for Supergirl to knock the planet off course. In defeating Emerald Empress, Shrinking Violet demonstrates she has knowledge of a Durlan special move. Could be important later. Brainiac 5 tells Supergirl why his thinking has been so muddy lately: she's too distracting for him. Also: Jecky and Karate Kid get ready for their wedding. 

Night Force #14: This is the final issue, and it feels a bit rushed. Katina plans to take on the Beast in the present, while the Baron and Gowron go for a little father-son bonding to confront his minions in the past. I don't feel like we're given a clear indication of who the nefarious players are here and how they got the power they have. I suspect it's because Wolfman was perhaps forced to shorten it. Anyway, despite it beating them before and them talking about its power, they manage to beat it with a point stick in the 1930s. The good guys are victorious, and the house is free of malign spirits. A new status quo is established with Katina and Gowron moving into Baron's house, as well as an accidentally time displaced young woman from the '30s. So long Night Force. It feels like your potential was unrealized. 


Dale Houston said...

I bought Warlord, Omega Men, Batman and the Outsiders, Camelot 3000, Legion of Suerp-Heroes and Night Force out of this bunch. C3000 and LoSH were the standouts, the former mostly for the art and the latter because Levitz and Giffen are knocking it out of the park pretty consistently at this time.

I've stated here before that I'm not a fan of the post-Grell Warlord. I'm glad you enjoyed it but I was really frustrated with the run. Dan Adkins inks do Dan Jurgens no favors here.

Night Force coulda been something, especially since the Alan Moore Swamp Thing and the other proto-Vertigo series are almost here.

Dick McGee said...

Green Lantern #168: As far as I can determine, Captain Chance, Harrow and Risque never appear again after this issue. If Cavalieri was trying to make them a thing it didn't take. Maybe he just felt like putting a little more work into his D-listers than usual?

As for Lysandra, a GL really ought to be able to relocate a planet without too much effort. It's not like Superman where he can't realistically push a planet around no matter how strong he is, those rings can bubble something the size of a world and protect it against acceleration stresses, radiation, provide light and heat for the journey, etc. They're powerful enough to contain a supernova explosion. Gently moving a planet around might be time consuming (so make sure you recharge early to prevent gaps) unless you can drag it into FTL flight somehow, but the sheer power involved is nothing compared to even "just" a regular nova. Heck, if she knew more about stellar engineering she could probably just fix the local star instead. Another thing the Guardians could easily help with but apparently chose not to, the little blue knuckleheads.

House of Mystery #320: "The Kaluta cover on this issue has nothing to do with this issue's contents."

Probably still managed to make a bunch of kids nervous about going in the basement, though. Goal accomplished. :)

Legion of Super-Heroes #303: "Brainiac 5 tells Supergirl why his thinking has been so muddy lately: she's too distracting for him."

I'd say "oh Sixties sexism" but this is the Eighties. What's next, telling her to wear a longer skirt and show less cleavage? Talk about aging badly...

Night Force #14: "Anyway, despite it beating them before and them talking about its power, they manage to beat it with a pointy stick in the 1930s."

Well sure, they didn't have a pointy stick the last time they fought it. Very dangerous thing, a good pointy stick. :)

"So long Night Force. It feels like your potential was unrealized."

Agreed, but they'll be back before too long. Not that their potential will much better realized there either. Kind of a hard-luck book, really.

Sgt. Rock #380: Out of curiosity, do they answer the cover teaser about how Fate decides who lives or dies? I'm envisioning something like the games Bill & Ted beat Death in but that's probably not it...

I bet Vertigo's Death refuses to play some games after one too many soon-to-be-dead pervs. "You're eighty years old and weigh 400 pounds, how did you expect to win a game of Twister against her?" "Oh, I didn't. Totally worth it though."

Trey said...

Alas, the Sgt. Rock cover question goes unanswered, at least in any specific way.

Regarding HoM, that was one of the things I remember as a kid: the covers were often a bit frightening but a bit intriguing at the same time. This one accomplishes that, I think.

PT Dilloway said...

Empress Surrenda? That's not a very intimidating name. I wonder if the writers of Star Trek TNG knew about the Gowron in Night Force when they made the Klingon Gowron?

Dick McGee said...

@PT Dilloway Yeah, Surrenda is about on par with Igive Uppo as far as intimidation value goes.

It's "Gowon" not "Gowron" in Night Force, though. Gowon Winters is the son of Baron and Katina Winters from back when they were married. Trek's Gowron is probably just a random sound some writer liked, although a little digging tells me it's also a very rare real-world surname of uncertain origin - so maybe someone on the show staff knew a John Gowron or something and it came from there.