Monday, February 27, 2017

Strange Tales #101

Hey, you know what I just realized? I don't have any Marvel books on this blog yet! Well, I think it's time to rectify that little problem... But where to start... Ah, since I'm having such a good time with the Teen Titans, why not go with Marvel's teen sensation from the 60's, the Human Torch? Yup, good idea... The Torch co-starred in Strange Tales, which I just happen to have in Marvel Essential form. Let's see what the Marvel side of the fence has to offer...

Strange Tales #101(October of... 1962, I think?)

Summary: Sweet, Jack Kirby did the art! Okay, we start off with the Torch giving us a rundown of his life... He's Johnny Storm(that's such a great name...), he lives in Glenville, Long Island with his sister Sue, who everybody in town knows is the Invisible Girl/Woman. However, nobody knows he is the Human Torch... That's weird. I thought the Fantastic Four were always known publicly... I guess in the beginning only Reed and Sue were public, while Johnny, and maybe Ben had secret identities? How odd... We also get a long retelling of the Torch and the rest of the FF getting their powers.
This is where we learn Reed was trying to kill Johnny with cancer.

From there, the scene shifts to some costumed kook staring menacingly at the site of a soon to open amusement park. The weirdo, who goes by the Destroyer(probably due to his habit of... fixing things? No, no, that's not it... Hmm, I'll have to think on it...) sends a message to the Glenville newspaper warning that he wanted construction of the amusement park to cease, or all sorts of bad business was going to go down. The newspaper editor balls the paper up and literally throws it at the wall...
This dude clearly hates his job.

Damn, even if he thinks it's a fake, shouldn't he contact the cops? He must get a lot of crank letters... Sure enough, the next day, a man testing the roller coaster is thrown off of the top. Luckily for him, Johnny is watching the test run, causes a smokey distraction and flies over to rescue the falling man.
I mainly posted this because the reaction shots of the dumb people made me laugh...

The next day, the newspaper editor gets another threatening letter and decides to take it to the owner of the amusement park... The newspaper editor really hates the cops I'm guessing... Also, that dude got a lot of page time! The amusement park owner shrugs the letter off as a coincidence. The next day, the parachute tower is being tested and begins to fall over. Luckily enough, Johnny is randomly on the scene! Again... Really, again? Oh, and once again, he wastes precious time making a distraction, AND getting changed(why the hell does he need to get changed? He's on fire!) before flying to the rescue.
"Oh, a bunch of people are falling to their deaths?  Cools, lemme get changed."

Johnny welds the tower back together(...), which ends the first chapter of this story.

Thoughts: This was a fun read, although the super long FF origin story was kind of in the way. Now, with that said, I can get down to business here... I can overlook Johnny being in the right place at the right time once in this comic, but twice?? Come on! The roller coaster test and the parachute drop test were both sabotaged, with Johnny happening to be on the spot(heh heh...) for both? That's an awfully big coincidence to ignore..... Also, that newspaper editor was a real jerk! He definitely stole the show for me in this comic so far. I just love that he refuses to take these threatening letters to the cops. I mean, okay, maybe I'll give him a bye for the first one, but the second one? If he filled in the cops, maybe they'd have somebody watching the amusement park site so Johnny didn't have to “conveniently” hang around the under construction amusement park all day...

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Batman Strikes! #49

I'm sure any of you with a large comic collection has had moments where they look at certain books they have and wonder why... Like, why is this comic here, why would I buy this? I have A LOT of those books with me... Like the comic I'll be looking at today! It's one of those cartoon to comic deals, you know, a comic based off of a cartoon based off of a comic... Whew, that's a mouthful... This one is from the Batman Strikes! series from... um, I don't even know! I never watched that series, which makes it all the weirder that I have this comic! Well, enough dilly-dallying, onward!

The Batman Strikes! #49(Nov. 2008)

Summary: Ah, it's a Grayson story... That explains this comic's presence on my collection... Okay, so after a night of Bat-action(hey, I didn't mean it like THAT!), poor, young Dick Grayson is caught snoozing during one of his classes.
What the hell is up with Dick's Wolverine-esque hair?  And what's the deal with the crazy looking kid behind him?

Not only that, but he notices Killer Moth and some goons from the window getting ready to rob the... Gotham Savings and Loan, which is right across the street from Dick's school!? What the hell?! Where I went to school, there were normal things like candy stores and bodegas across the street, not frigging banks! Anyway, Dick tries to get a message to Batman, but has his communicator taken away by his teacher, who mistakes it for a video game, mainly due to her being an idiot.
Clearly that's a 3DS.

Needing an excuse to get out of the classroom, Dick begins to chuck balled up papers at a girl until the teacher sends him to the principal's office.
Sure, pick on the only black kid in the class.  That's totally not racist!

At that point Dick rushes to his locker and switches to his Robin duds, just in time to stop Moth and his goons from leaving with the cash. And that's pretty much it. I mean, there's a little bit more, but it's really not important to the story.

Thoughts: What can I say, I liked this comic. I'm a sucker for Robin stories, and I'm a fan of Dick Grayson, so this is a win for me. Sure, there were some random things that were... well, random, like the Batman vs Poison Ivy story(which I didn't mention in the summary, but did mention in the thoughts.........), the fact that Killer Moth was a literal giant moth, but was acting like the human version,
Aww, how romantic!

Robin's teacher mistaking a Bat-communicator for a video game, but it was also a breezy, stupid, fun read. I mean, come on, it had Killer Moth hiding in an ice cream truck, and Robin keeping the Bat-communicator near his junk instead of his pocket...
He DOES have pockets...  Why would he put it THERE?  Maybe the Bat-communicator vibrates?

What's not to like here? Also, I get we were doing a Dick Grayson tale, but the Savings and Loan being across the street from Dick's school, literally right outside his window? Convenient story is too convenient... That's all I'm sayin'...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Brave and the Bold #54(part the last)

And we've finally, FINALLY made it to the end of the very first Teen Titans story ever made! And the very first story to feature the amazing Mr. Twister! Okay, that second one isn't nearly as important as the first one. But somewhere, somewhere on this planet there is one lone person, one lone voice that is cheering the first appearance of Mr. Twister. Probably, right? I mean, people have terrible taste, it stands to reason somebody out there likes our boy Twisty McTwist. Yeah, Twisty McTwist. I said it. Now, let's get down to brass tacks as they say... Brass tacks? The hell?!

The Brave and the Bold #54(June 1964)

Summary: Okay, with the kids safe thanks to Aqualad and the herd of whales(...), Mr. Twister decides to just destroy the town of Hatton Corners and has it rain sand. Because tornadoes can do that? Okay then... The sand begins to pile up, but Kid Flash dashes around the town and drags the sand after him, leaving the town sparkly and clean. Nice going, Kid Flash! Mr. Twister decides to up the ante by sending a deluge of rain upon the town. Within moments, the town is hopelessly flooded... Or it would be if not for Aqualad and a whale with a huge horn on it's face... Wait, that's a real thing?! Let's check wikipedia, it's never steered me wrong yet... Well I'll be damned, a narwhal is a real thing! Okay, so the narwhal dives to the bottom of the flooded town and drills a hole in the ground, which allows all of the water to rush underground, um, unflooding the town... Yeah, that's not a real word, but it's as good as I can come up with at the moment.
Aqualad riding a narwhal.  Totally not erotic at all...

So with his first two attacks foiled, Mr. Twister brings out the big guns and has it rain fire on the town... Really?! This is starting to sound like one of those horrible movies on the Sci-Fi channel now! Not only that, but Mr. Twister blasts Aqualad and Kid Flash with lightning bolts to make sure they wouldn't be able to thwart him again. Mr. Twister ignores Robin because he doesn't have any powers, and as such is deemed no threat. However, the cold, bitter hand of irony strikes when Robin snatches Mr. Twister's enchanted staff away from him with a “bat-rope”(you know, as opposed to one of those lousy regular ropes), which was the source of Mr. Twister's powers. Robin tosses the staff into one of the fires Mr. Twister started(double irony!!), destroying the staff and ending the threat of Mr. Twister.
Um, so Robin was okay with killing Mr. Twister?  

And that's that, Johnny Law takes the defeated Mr. Twister away, the teenagers return to the town, and the parents are happy to have them. Huzzah!

Thoughts: What can I say? It was stupid, mindless, 60's fun! I'm a sucker for these sort of comics. Most of it didn't make sense, like Mr. Twister getting his powers when he enchanted a magic staff with a magic Indian potion... Or Mr. Twister making it rain sand, and then FIRE... Plus, Mr. Twister's motivations were kind of all over the place... First he wanted passenger pigeon feathers. Then he stole the town's teens and had them build him a tower to nowhere. Then he just decided to destroy the town? Like why? What did he want? I kind of think he really just wanted the feathers for that dumb cape he was wearing, which is kind of sad. If he would have just gotten his feathers, none of the rest of that grim tale would have unfolded. But then we wouldn't have any Teen Titans comics, so I guess it's a good thing passenger pigeons went extinct. That's another thing, I learned a lot from this comic! Dead passenger pigeons, narwhals, whales moving islands, Indian potions, caves, this comic taught AND entertained me! So nice job, DC from the 60's. I tip my imaginary hat to you!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Brave and the Bold #54(part the second)

Alright, back to the Teen Titans, in their very first mission... I guess? I mean, with the way DC does and undoes their continuity, I don't even know if this adventure even happened... How dumb is that? I mean, I don't know what counts and doesn't count as continuity anymore... And that's why I stopped reading current books ladies and gents! Well, this is the very first Titans adventure in chronology... I guess I can go with that, right? Anyway, the last post went WAAAAAAAY longer than I would have liked, especially considering the comic itself was only a few pages long. This time I'm going to try to rein myself in and get the summary portion under control... Or so I claim...

The Brave and the Bold #54(June 1964)

Summary: Alright, let's do this thing. Picking up from part one, the town's mayor tells Robin that way back in colonial times(so much for a quick summary...)Mr. Twister's ancestor gave the town of Hatton Corners away in exchange for a single passenger pigeon feather a year, and if they neglected his price, he could take one of their youths. The townspeople happily accepted that condition, because why wouldn't they? It's asinine! A feather for a town? Sure thing, sucker! Unfortunately, passenger pigeons went extinct(or so this very educational comic tells me) and Mr. Twister popped up one day demanding his back rent of (now extinct) pigeon feathers or children. The mayor laughed Mr. Twister off, but then Mr. Twister returned and made good on his threats. So who's laughing now!!! Whew, with that back story out of the way, let's move on. Quickly! Robin deduced that Mr. Twister(and I'm going to keep calling him Mr. Twister, even though it would be SO much easier to just call him Twister) had flown off with the teens to the nearby Goat Island, which gives us a reason to have Aqualad around, as he ferrets Kid Flash and Robin to the island on a manta.
Aqualad is kind of a dick...  And I don't mean Grayson...

Upon arriving, the Titans find the kids building a giant stone twister....... Because reasons, I guess... Pleased with what his slaves were doing, Mr. Twister hops on a boat and leaves, followed by a stowaway Robin. Kid Flash finishes the bizarre stone structure for the kids, while Robin learns that Mr. Twister's powers came from an old Indian(or Native American, if you prefer) potion he found in a cave... Yeah. Anyway, Robin goes to jump Mr. Twister, but loses due to Mr. Twister's dread powers.
Yes!!  Pocket sand!!!

Mr. Twister flies Robin back to the town's adults with a note warning them that he'd do something even more dastardly if he didn't get his feathers(but he has the kids now...). Meanwhile, back on the island, Aqualad discovers that the island was barely attached to the ocean floor, and gets a herd of whales to move the entire island away, leaving Mr. Twister confused upon his return... And that ends part the second.

Thoughts: What?! A herd of whales took the entire island away? And it just stayed in one big piece? Like, it didn't break up or anything, it just fit perfectly right on those whales' backs and off they went? And what does that mean for Kid Flash's stone monument to the glory of twisters?! Why did he even go through with building it if Aqualad was just going to hide the island? Ugh... What a waste of time for poor Kid Flash...
I don't even know why that's a thing anybody would want built...

All that building to impress Mr. Twister, all for naught... Oh, and of course all the adults now missed the teens and all of the teens missed their parents due to absence making the heart grow fonder, or passenger pigeons or something... I don't know... What I do know is that we're only one part away from knowing how this story ends! Excitement!! Exclamation points!!! Passenger pigeons!!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Brave and the Bold #59

So a little bit of Teen Titans before, a little bit of Batman Team-ups now! It appears that the Brave and the Bold comic series from the 60's would have The Batman teaming up with a random other hero... Sort of like that cartoon from a few years back called 'The Brave and the Bold'... I wonder if there's any connection? Anyway, being that this was the 60's, I'm going to guess these team-ups had weird, happy Batman, as opposed to broody, bitchy Batman...

The Brave and the Bold #59(April 1965)

Summary: With Alfred on vacation, and Robin away on a school trip, a bored Bruce Wayne throws darts at a newspaper(which is weird), bringing an odd story to his attention.
Poor Bruce Wayne...  Billions of dollars and not a friend in the world...

Apparently, a wanted fugitive was planning on giving a speech, which is something the bored Mr. Wayne figured he should check out. Upon arriving at the theater where the speech is being held, Bruce bumps into his old chum, Commissioner Gordon, who swears to arrest the fugitive the second he sees him. Brucie heads inside and along with several other Gothamites, realizes that the fugitive wasn't physically there, but had sent in a video of himself to be played on the big screen. The fugitive(why I'm not just using his name beats the hell out of me...) shows all sorts of new evidence from his crime and implores the good(and dumb) people of Gotham to demand he get a new trial. The Gothamites seem to be convinced and leave the theater. Pipe-smoking Bruce Wayne bumps into Gordon(again?) on his way out and tells the Commish that it seems that the fugitive had won over he public. From there, Brucie heads home and discovers a weirdo in a costume there. The weirdo, who goes by the name of the Time Commander, shows off his ability to rewind time for an object or person. He reveals that he is the fugitive from earlier, as well as telling Bruce that due to his time powers, he knew Batman and Bruce Wayne were one and the same. Finally, the Commander asks for Batman's help in proving his innocence, which Bats, with his identity revealed, has no chose but to agree to. From there it's off to Coast City, where Hal Jordan receives a coded telegram from Batman, telling him to head to Gotham City. The telegram also reveals that Batman is Bruce Wayne and that Batman knew that Green Lantern was Hal Jordan. Green Lantern flies off and arrives at Wayne Manor, where he finds Batman laying on a table motionless, with the exception of his mouth, which was moving. GL makes a stethoscope(of course he does...) and listens to Batman's whispering, learning that Batman poisoned himself while making crime fighting chemicals(?!) and was unable to move. GL happily blasts Batman with his ring, which somehow results in Batman getting powered up.
Um, no...  

After being thanked, GL leaves, but is forced to head back when he realizes that his watch(which he apparently wears on the outside of his costume...) had fallen off at Wayne Manor. GL gets back inside and finds his watch, but doesn't find Batman. He does overhear on the radio that Batman had just robbed a government lab. And that's the end of chapter 1!

Thoughts: I don't get why the Time Commander followed Bruce Wayne home at all... He claimed that he did so after hearing Bruce and Gordon talk, but it wasn't like Bruce was screaming that the fugitive was innocent, he simply stated that the fugitive had won over the public. The scene between the Commander and Bruce made it seem like Bruce couldn't be more on the Commander's side. Also, the coded telegram to Hal... So Carol gives Hal the telegram, Hal looks at it and gathers that Bruce Wayne is Batman, Hal is Green Lantern, and that he was needed in Gotham... Even though it's coded in such a way that Carol can't understand it... But Hal does, just by looking at it... He doesn't use a decoder, or like, I don't know, sit down and puzzle it out, he just looks at it and boom, decoded. I'm not even going to touch upon Hal somehow losing his watch or Batman poisoning himself making “crime fighting chemicals”, and the fact that Hal was 100% fine with that. I'll instead just move on and say that this was a pretty meh first part... Good move on my part for picking it to review...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Brave and the Bold #54

First book here at the new blog, and we go way back to the old era of the Teen Titans... Ah yes, the Teen Titans... Dick Grayson in a speedo, Aqualad just sort of there, Wonder Girl getting kidnapped every issue, good times had by all! I have the black and white DC Showcase edition of the early Teen Titans adventures, so that's what I'll be using. First up is the very first team up of the teenage heroes of DC. Sidekicks Unite!!

The Brave and the Bold #54(June 1964)

Summery: So the town of Hatton Corners is having some problems between the teenagers in town and the adults. The adults want a curfew on all of their offspring, while the teens want... A new clubhouse... Even though they're holding their meeting IN a clubhouse! And on top of that, they decide to go on strike(from what?!) if their demands aren't met... In what I can only imagine was a slow news day worldwide, Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad(?!) inform their mentors of the terrible troubles in Hatton Corners. Like the squares they are, the older heroes side with the adults, but all three squares are okay with their sidekicks heading to Da Corners to speak on behalf of the kids. Upon arriving and meeting each other, the three boys discover that the teenage clubhouse had been destroyed!!! Well, now I guess I have to take it back, Da Corners' kids really did need a new clubhouse after all... Robin and company head to the town hall, where the mayor shows them a note, presumably from the teenagers, claiming they had left town and gone on strike, and that they wanted a new clubhouse. After reading the letter though, Robin calls shenanigans, since the letter writer uses the word “music”, which is a word no hip cat would use in the 60's, daddio!
Mr. Twister is a jive-ass turkey!

The boys split up to search for the missing teens, but are soon confronted by a tornado, which hurls Robin through the air. Kid Flash flies to catch him(Um, I didn't think he could do that...), and the two land safely. Some really pathetic looking villain named Mr. Twister(Yep, I assume he loves him a game of Twister), confronts the town people and tells them he had kidnapped all of their teenagers.
This is literally one of the worst looking villains I have ever seen...  Literally!

He claims to want revenge on the town, but doesn't say for what reason, nor does he list any demands, he simply flies away in a tornado, warning that he would return... And that's the end of chapter one... Huh, I forgot these older books had chapters! Cool, I can stop right here for now!

Thoughts: Honestly, the main thought I had going through my head during this entire issue was that episode of the Simpsons where the kids and adults paired off and sang at each other... As for this comic? I don't know what to say... Teenagers in a clubhouse were demanding a clubhouse. Aqualad was getting news about the surface world from an eel with a bottle tied to it... And it didn't even bring important news! Like shit about the Cold War or something, no, it brought that story(that was in all the papers nationwide) about that dumbass town! Kid Flash was randomly flying...
Who needs Superman when Kid Flash is on the scene?

And to top it all off the big bad was a dude named Mr. Twister! Not even just Twister, that guy had the audacity to demand he was called Mr. Twister! He didn't even have a badass costume, he was just wearing some shit left over from the Revolutionary War! On the plus side, Robin told Batman he sounded like an old square, which is always a plus in my book.
I'm a little surprised Batman didn't beat the living hell out of Dick for that comment...

On top of that, Aqualad showed his utmost importance to this issue by scouring the waters around Da Corners for the missing kids, you know, in case every single teenager in town drowned at the same time. So that was helpful of him. Speaking of helpful, that chapter break was great! Now I can end this post and get started on Chapter 2, which is ominously titled: 'Town Without Teenagers!' Dun dun dun!!!

A Brand New Start!

Here we go again!! It's been a while, but after going through some of the posts on the old blog(conveniently located here) with JT recently(mainly to laugh our asses off at how terrible most of them are!), I was kind of/sort of bitten by the blogging bug once more. Now, that's good, fine and dandy, but the problem is, I don't read ANY new comic books any more... I stopped around the time Marvel was doing whatever the hell the death of the Watcher event was. That event(Ugh, ANOTHER Marvel event.........) coupled with DC's(at the time) stubborn insistence that they were sticking with the New 52, which I hated from the start, just drained me of all of my comic reading enjoyment. Marvel wouldn't stop doing events(I mean, it was like 6 months between each one!), they were pushing characters I never liked(Hello Inhumans!), DC was bastardizing characters I truly enjoyed reading about, while pumping out lousy stories, it was all just too much. Yeah, Image was doing good to great stuff, but it honestly just wasn't enough... And with that, I bid my local comic shop adieu, and stopped collecting new books... But, the cool thing about owning a metric shit ton of back issues is that after a few years, you tend to forget certain story elements, or hell, entire stories from certain books... I mean, I have no frigging clue what happened in Legion of Super-Heroes #35, Avengers #265, or Young Justice #14 off the top of my head. I know Alpha debuts in Amazing Spider-Man #692, but I don't remember hardly any of the panels inside that book. Basically, I can cherry-pick a full series from one of my comic boxes, sit back and read something I honestly enjoy. And that's great.

That also brings us to the present, with JT and I going through some of the stuff we did on the other blog. In between laughs and shots at each other, we both admitted that we missed the blog for different reasons. And that got me thinking, I wouldn't mind doing a little writing here and there. But then the question becomes, writing about what? I mean, I can't write about new books, I don't care about them... But what about old ones? Is there an audience for that? Probably not, but that's cool, because I know JT will read whatever asinine junk I post, so I'll happily play to a one man audience, especially when that one man is my best friend. So with all of that crap out of the way, let's get back to the reviewing!