Monday, 16 January 2017
Red Sonja #1 (Dynamite)
Amy Chu (w) Carlos Gomez (a)
Following the best selling #0 issue which reintroduced Red Sonja last month, everyone's favourite red-haired barbarian returns in her own full blown solo series and she's here in our time causing mayhem in down town New York. What's not to like.
The cops think she's raving mad and can't understand a word she says and my, what a big sword you're waving about luv. One for the looney bin?
Except on arrival at the local asylum some NSA agents pick her up. Sonja is above the cops "pay grade" who knew. So what or who is manipulating events? Yeah you can probably guess but how come there's this one cop who can communicate with her?
What is the connection?
Oh and you guessed it Sonja escapes into modern day New York.
The great game is afoot!
Sunday, 15 January 2017
Giant-Size Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel)
Roy Thomas (w) Gil Kane (a)
During the seventies Marvel Comics published a number of "Giant-Size" titles many of which were just reprints, other contained new material plus reprints. This one-off edition of Captain Marvel reprints issues 17, 20 & 21 and contains the key story where Rick Jones leaves the Avengers after trying out as Captain America's sidekick and finds the Nega-Bands which allows him to trade places with Captain Marvel who is trapped in the Negative Zone.
Good old fashioned Marvel adventure ensues as Rick and Cap try to find a permanent method of removing this cursed existence.
The cover which proclaims that our cosmic hero is to face off with both the Hulk and Captain America is misleading. There is no confrontation with Steve Rogers, in fact his opponent in the first story is none other than his old Kree enemy, Yon-Rogg.
Oh and a robotic Carol Danvers makes an appearance, briefly.
Marvel does however confront the Hulk who is off to sort out some protesting students threatening an academic. Long before the "safe spaces" movement this story. Politically correct types need to avoid upsetting the green skinned one lest he get angry.
Frankly a good read especially since the originals are a bit pricey. Grab a copy if ya see one!
Saturday, 14 January 2017
For me the best Spider-Man stories were the ones penned by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko from the early days of Marvel. In a tale reprinted from the US edition of The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2 Spidey meets another Lee/Ditko creation Doctor Strange.
The story The Wondrous Worlds of Doctor Strange sees our favourite master of the mystic arts clash with Xandu a villainous sorcerer who seeks the second half of the Wand of Watoomb to "possess the greatest power of them all as he muses out loud to himself after enslaving two bar-room brawlers.
Catching Doc Strange by surprise, the two mindless thugs overpower our hero and make off with his half of the wand. Just by chance a certain web-slinger happens to be passing and realises a crime is afoot. No match for the mystically enhanced villains it takes the combined efforts of Spidey and the good Doctor to overcome Xandu.
Published in black & white with added red colouring, this early Marvel UK edition introduces British readers to an early tale from 1965.
The second feature in Spider-Man Comics Weekly was Thor in an equally early adventure from Journey into Mystery in which everyone's favourite Asgardian clashes with The Cobra & Mr Hyde.
Wednesday, 11 January 2017
Silver Surfer vs Dracula #1 (Marvel)
Marv Wolfman (w) Gene Colon (a)
When I saw this in my local comic shop I just had to pick it up. The Silver Surfer vs Dracula. The power cosmic vs the supernatural. Good vs evil. Whilst I was aware this comic was a reprint, I didn't know from where until I got it home. It is in fact a complete reprint of Tomb of Dracula #50, Marvels longest running supernatural comic from the seventies.
Written by Marv Wolfman and with art by the late, great Gene Colan this adventure is a treat. Deep in the outskirts of Boston one Anton Lupeski has decided that there is no longer any need for Dracula's continued existence and plot unfolds in which he and his coven "enlist" the Silver Surfer in their mad scheme to end the Lord of Vampires himself.
Needless to say despite Norin Radd's best efforts he does not succeed. Only low sales will end the adventures of Dracula.
As a bonus there are three short stories included in this edition including one from Howard the Duck who is incarcerated by Commissioner Gordonski...yeah you got the reference right after he faces the terror of Hellcow. Don't ask. Read.
Sunday, 8 January 2017
From the early days of Marvel UK hails this issue of Mighty World of Marvel featuring the Incredible Hulk fighting for his survival in the "Hidden Land" on the Antarctic continent. Co-starring Ka-Zar and his sabre tooth tiger Nabu, the pair are trying to save Earth or rather mankind from the effects of an ancient machine that is changing the axis of the world.
What Ka-Zar needs is Bruce Banner, not the Hulk but old greenskin thinks he isn't "puny Banner" and its' all just a trick. Then Hulk gets captured by the followers of Umbu the Unliving which turns out to be a robot connected to very machine that needs stopping.
The battle royale commences.
This story continued from the previous issue which I neglected to pick up but is a reprint from the US Marvel series of The Incredible Hulk #110.
The back-up feature is the Fantastic Four as they meet Diablo for the very first time.
Those were the days.
Saturday, 7 January 2017
Defenders of the Earth #1 (Marvel UK)
Michael Higgins (w) Alex Saviuk (a)
One of Marvel's more surprising ventures into the world of licensing was Defenders of the Earth starring the King Features characters Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician and Lothur. Based on a cartoon of the same name the first "special" issue was published (in colour) in 1988, no other date given.
This was reprint from a short lived four issue series published by Marvel in the US under their "Star" imprint which was aimed at younger readers. It was apparently preceded by an Annual and there was just one other issue.
The team exist to prevent Ming the Merciless from taking over the Earth with his army of ice robots.
This issue focuses on The Phantom and his daughter as they return to Bandar where his brother, Kurt Walker is attempting to take power over the local natives and despite being turned down manages by chance to discover a cave where he gains the powers of N'Dama an evil entity with mystical powers.
The inevitable battle takes place and Kurt is defeated when he sees himself transforming into the demon whose powers he usurped.
Defenders of the Earth was cartoon that lasted 65 episodes during 1986 and 1987. Here's a taster from the first episode.
Thursday, 5 January 2017
House of Mystery # 148 (DC)
Dave Wood (w) & Howard Sherman (a)
The "Silver Age" of comics saw J'onzz J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter take over the former adventure comic, House of Mystery. This is one of his earlier adventures and published around the time I started reading US comics, though had not seen this one before.
The tale The Beings in Color Rings was plain wacky and did not feature DC's own ring bearers the Green Lanterns before you ask. This story also features the Martian Manhunter's sidekick Zook a friendly little critter from another dimension whose presence gives this book the feel of a Saturday morning cartoon.
As a result of the actions of "Idol Head of Diabolu" (which obviously took place in an earlier tale) a strange object appears over Bedford City and starts stealing colour. Being green, J'onzz allows himself to be taken to what turns out to be a world inhabited by colourless alien disk beings who need colour to enable them to conquer Earth. The Manhunter himself is saved only by the intervention of Zook who (being red) also travels to this alien planet.
Defeating the aliens the pair return home to await the next full moon when the Idol's head will strike again.
Cracking stuff from a simpler age.