Saturday, April 21, 2018

Young Heroes in Love #2 (1997)


Young Heroes in Love #2 (July, 1997)
"Look Before You Leap into the Telekinetic Proto-Bomb!"
Writer - Dan Raspler
Penciller - Dev Madan
Inker - Keith Champagne
Letterer - Bill Oakley
Colorist - Scott Baumann
Associate Editor - Ruben Diaz
Editor - Frank Pittarese
Cover Price: $1.75

Wow, it's been over a year... closer to a year and a half, since we discussed the first issue of Young Heroes in Love!  Time is such a cruel S.O.B.!  This issue might be a bit of a toughie without the proper context, so... I don't always do this, but I'd recommend checking out that discussion if you're unfamiliar with this team/property.

--


It's been awhile since we read it, but at the end of last issue... Bonfire and Thunderhead agreed to go out on patrol together, and that is where we open.  They are atop a tall building, and Thunderhead comments that he could jump all the way to the ground without hurting himself.  Bonfire isn't so sure, and wants him to prove it.  At hems and haws a bit... however, as he is rather smitten with the red-head, he goes ahead and takes the plunge.


Back at Young Heroes HQ, Hard Drive and Monstergirl are discussing and debating how to debut the team.  Hard Drive thinks they're ready to show themselves off to the public straight away, while MG thinks it would be best to wait.  Off to the side, tiny Junior overhears the conversation... and is quite bothered over what their motivations for putting the team together in the first place might be.  He also overhears them discuss finding a "minor threat" via the news wire to take advantage of.


We shift over to Off-Ramp's garage, where he's puttering with Roadshow.  He is soon joined by Thunderhead, who spills all the beans about his night out with Bonfire.


Speaking of Bonfire, we rejoin her as she enters a darkened locker room.  Inside, Frostbite is waiting... and testing his ability to "read" people by their heat signatures.  He makes it clear that he's noticed there is a spark between the two of them, but Bonfire plays dumb.  Remember, Hard Drive used his "power of suggestion" to pair her with Thunderhead last issue.


Back at the garage, Monstergirl requests Off-Ramp check into the newswires for trouble... only, she doesn't tell him to look for a "minor threat"... she's looking for "serious trouble".  She also... mayyybe makes a pass at Thunderhead?


Back in the locker room, Junior pops his tiny head in.  He begins telling Bonfire and Frostbite what he'd overheard during Hard Drive and Monstergirl's conversation... however, before he can go into any detail, Hard Drive himself shows up.  He asks Junior for a moment of his time... and uses his "power of suggestion" to keep the little bugger quiet.


We rejoin Off-Ramp who is "navigating" for trouble, which, as we learned last issue, pretty much means he's lounging around smoking a cigarette.  He finally comes across something worthy of the Young Heroes' attention, and heads off to inform Hard Drive.  As luck would have it, the JLA are currently off-planet... so this falls on the shoulders of our new team!  Or, ya know... the JSA, the Teen Titans, the Outsiders, Hero Hotline... were the Darkstars still a thing in 1997?  Okay, I'm splitting hairs... this looks like a job for, the Young Heroes!


They load up into Roadshow and FAAASH! upstate to an Army Base where... a giant (cool-looking) Mummy is running amok!


Hard Drive begins issuing commands... and the team proves that they've got what it takes to get the job done.  There's some really cool use of Off-Ramp's portals here... reminiscent of the video game, well, Portal (which wouldn't come out for a decade!).


The battle ends with Hard Drive stood before the Mummy... as it is sucked into, what Thunderhead refers to as, "some Mummy dimension".  Well, can't argue with that.


After getting some "face time" on the local news, the Young Heroes head back to HQ.  We close out with Monstergirl visiting Hard Drive in his room... apologizing for doubting his vision... and then they make out.  In our final panel, however, she give the camera a bit of a "dirty look".  Hmm...


--

Another super-fun issue of Young Heroes.

Before exploring the various love-rhombuses... let's get my one kinda "ehh" bit out of the way.  We see Junior overhear the conversation between Hard Drive and Monstergirl... and I just don't see what the big deal about that was.  It's treated like Junior just heard them admit to secretly being supervillains or something, when it was really just a debate about the team's readiness.

I feel like if you have a team with, for all intents and purposes, two leaders... you're going to have discussions like this with regularity.  I feel like their compromise was a good one as well... find a "minor threat", give the team some "field experience", soak up the press and public goodwill.  Sounds good to me!

I reread that scene a few times to see if Hard Drive used his "power of suggestion" on Monstergirl in order to get his way... but he didn't... and that wouldn't have made any sense anyway, since she wound up telling Off-Ramp something completely different.

Speaking of the "power of suggestion", let's take a look at who's zoomin' who on the Young Heroes.

We have Bonfire... who clearly shares a connection and attraction with Frostbite.  Hard Drive enforces that she be paired with Thunderhead.

Thunderhead is clearly smitten with Bonfire... however, Monstergirl might have some interest in him.  All the while, MG is knockin' boots with Hard Drive.

Off-Ramp is still passionately in love with his car.  And, that's okay.  Junior's all by his lonesome... buuuuut, that might change pretty soon.

Onto the action!  I feel like the fight scene with the Mummy was pretty good!  It's definitely just a back-drop for all of the romantic and backstabby intrigue, but it was quite well done.  The team comes together, saves the day... and thanks to the art, looks great in the process!

Overall... this is a great book.  The characterization is wonderful... it's hard not to fall in love with this cast... even the rat-bastards among them.  The art is also great.  I mentioned last issue that this feels like a blend of Batman: The Animated Series and Darwyn Cooke... and I still feel that way.  This series is most definitely worth tracking down.

--

Interesting Ads:


812

Friday, April 20, 2018

Gen¹³ (vol.2) #-1 (1997)


Gen¹³ (vol.2) #-1 (January, 1997)
Story - Jim Lee & Brandon Choi
Script - H.K. Proger
Penciller - Ryan Benjamin
Inkers - Frank Percy, Dev Madan, J.D., & Richard Johnson
Letterer - Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist - Joe Chiodo
Color Assists - Wendy Fouts, Paige Apfelbaum, & Monica Bennett
Editor - Sarah Becker
Editor in Chief - Mike Heisler
Cover Price: $1.95

While on the subject of oddly-numbered issues of Gen¹³... today we're going to look at a "minus one" issue.  Ya see, this was originally part of the Wizard Magazine mail-away Gen¹³ #½ in 1995... which they then reprinted as sort of a bridge between the Gen¹³ mini-series (1994) and ongoing series (1995)... even though all of the editorial captions inside still reference the mini-series.  If that stinks of a quick 'n easy cash grab to you... I'd say you were on to something.

Anyhoo... I almost certainly did more research on this issue for it's "placement" than for anything between the covers.  As far as what all of my usual haunts say... this issue is recognized as part of the ongoing volume (vol.2 - 1995)... so, that's what we're going to call it.

--


We open with the Gen¹³ kids driving a van through Oregon in search of Milwaukee... which might sound ridiculous, until you realize that there is a Milwaukee, Oregon.  The first time I looked at this I was ready to start yanking at that thread.  Anyhoo, Fairchild is at the wheel, and is insistent that she hasn't gotten them lost.  Burnout's riding shotgun, and he's not so sure.  They pull over at a gas station to find out exactly where they are.  Turns out they're more than a little bit off-track.


While the boys are inside, Caitlin heads off to a mailbox to send in a check for the van they stole.  Roxy is confused... and surprised at Fairchild's fat-walletedness.  Turns out she just drew the funds from big-bad Ivana's bank account.  Then... an explosion!


Here we meet a woman in some armor that makes her look like a reject from the Mutant Liberation Front... garish purple, hoses everywhere... just a real sight to behold.  Still... better than generic dudes in suits!  Burnout "flames on" and Grunge... er, throws a soda can at her.  Sadly, Grunge's assault yields the better result.


The battle continues, and the girls get involved.  Fairchild hits her from behind... the woman strikes back, which causes... uh... Fairchild to... well, give birth to a bolt of lightning?  I mean, here, just look at it... 


Then Roxy jumps in, causing enough of a distraction for Grunge and Burnout to recover.  Grunge grabs the woman... and throws her into a nearby fuel truck.  That's probably not the best idea... even in the best of times.


As if that wasn't bad enough, Roxy then lights up a cigarette... and tosses it into the eruption of fuel!  This is the sort of hyper-violence that I'd have written when I was like 11.


Get this, though... the explosion... which, in reality should have destroyed the entire neighborhood... doesn't even make this mysterious armored woman flinch.  And so, Fairchild once again sneaks up behind her... and starts yanking at those hoses that all the villains had attached to their armor back in the 90's.  I thought they were just for show... but I guess not!


We wrap up with the Gen¹³ kids tying the baddie up and splitting town before the police arrive.  All the while, the mysterious armored woman warns them that someone called Langston is trying to destroy the time stream.  Our "blurb" suggests we check out the Gen¹³ miniseries... which, by the time this issue came out was already three years old.


--

Woof.

This was kiiiiiiiinda brutal.

Let's get the confusing production out of the way first.  This is Gen¹³ #minus-one... which came out the same month as Gen¹³ (vol.2) #16.  It looks like it's supposed to be the bridge between the Gen¹³ mini-series (1994) and the Gen¹³ ongoing series (1995)... however, they couldn't even be bothered to update the editorial captions inside the book to reflect that.  I couldn't imagine trying to make sense of this had I picked it up off the racks in 1996/1997.  Like, where does this go?  When do I read it?  Why is it even a thing that exists... when we already got the story in Gen¹³ #½ (as if that's not confusing enough as it is!)?

Ay yai yai.

Onto the story... well, first the art.  The characters come across as off-model for most of this story.  Fella who pencilled it is competent, however, the storytelling here was pretty weak.  Let's just look at Roxy... her look completely changes from panel to panel.  She has a different face and hairstyle (length and color) on different panels on the same page!  I don't think that was one of her Gen-Active Powers!  I'd excuse it if this was some long epic story... but, it's 13 freaking pages.  13... get it?

In reading this issue immediately after the Claremont one from yesterday, it's pretty clear that what WildStorm needed was someone to help calibrate.  Here we have fuel-tankers exploding... leaving little damage, and since it isn't mentioned, we're going to guess no loss of life.  In the Claremont issue we have kids being chased by a shadowy organization of dudes in suits.  There's just gotta be a "happy medium" somewhere in there, right?  Ehh, what do I know?

Overall... I didn't enjoy this.  The uneven art was pretty distracting, and the story... what there was of it, was pretty nonsensical.  I suppose if you happen across this in the cheap-o bins, it might be worth a flip through... but I wouldn't suggest breaking your back or bank for it, unless you're a Gen¹³ completionist.

--

(Not the) Letters Page:


--

Interesting Ads:


811

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Gen¹³ (vol.3) #0 (2002)


Gen¹³ (vol.3) #0 (September, 2002)
"Try to Remember"
Writer - Chris Claremont
Penciller - Ale Garza
Inker - Sandra Hope
Colors - UDON
Letters - Richard Starkings & Comicraft's Jimmy
Assistant Editor - Kristy Quinn
Editor - Bob Harras
Cover Price: $0.13

So... yesterday we concluded our #Action100 Endeavor.  I was so looking forward to having that done... but, now I'm left asking "what's next?".  It feels like with every milestone we lose a little bit.

I mean, this humble blog has had the same tag-line for over two-years at this point, "Random DC Comics Discussion and Review"... but sometimes your humbler host needs a little direction.  Things like the Action Comics project... or even the obsessive search for Lady Cop kept me focused, motivated, and driven to keep plugging along.

I guess we're going to have to find a new "project" to keep us all coming back... and I might have just the thing.  I think we'll wait until May 1 to unveil that though.

In the interim, however, let's just discuss any old thing that falls into our lap... just like today's Gen¹³ #0!  Some of you won't remember that weird time in the early-2000's where the companies would try and out-do one another by shipping "gimmes".  There was that issue of Fantastic Four that shipped with a 9-cent cover price... the Superman and Batman 10 and 12 cent adventures, respectively... hell, for a little while, Marvel had one book a month with a $0.25 cover to entice new readers to "jump on"!  There's a trend I wouldn't mind seeing make a comeback!  The only thing we're scaling back these days are the issue numbers!

This issue of the relaunched Gen¹³ is another one of those "gimmes"... and we're about to learn whether or not it's worth those thirteen cents.

--


We open at San Diego Comicon, where Captain Michael Kirby York of the NYFD has taken his growing family to the "promise land".  It's funny to read Claremont's description of the place... as sort of a comics' nirvana or something.  He writes that comics publishers "dominate the halls"... welp, couldn't write that line today... it's either movie studios or freaking Funko Pops all-day long.  Do they even let publishers attend Comicon anymore?  Worth mentioning that the Captain's family doesn't seem all that impressed.


Michael catches a glimpse of Megan Ford, publisher of Victory Comics... and gets star-struck.  The rest of the family doesn't get it.  Suddenly a young lady streaks onto the scene... well, not that kind of "streak", she just runs really fast.  She's being chased by some "Guys in Suits"ᵀᴹ, and bumps right into Michael's son Ethan.


They dust themselves off... and the girl vanishes into the crowd.  The twins Ethan and Dylan notice that in the commotion she dropped her wallet.  Michael heads over to Ms. Ford to fan-gush... and the boys head off to track down the mystery girl.



The find her outside... in plain daylight, being wrestled down by those three "Guys in Suits"ᵀᴹ.  I mean, that's definitely going to attract some attention, right?  Ethan and Dylan, without knowing any of the context of the situation, tackle the suits... leading to the mystery girl taking Ethan's hand... and whisking them both away.


One minute later, they arrive in Big Sur.  Ethan gushes about whatsherface being "a Supergirl".  She reveals that her real name is Maria Alcazar, and that her code-name is Quickstep.  She continues... revealing that she's sort of part of a group, and that the "Guys in Suits"ᵀᴹ that were following her work for an organization who would like to control superpowered teen-agers... I guess?


And so, our couple goes to grab a burger and get to know one another better.  Seems it's an instant love connection.  Maria reveals that after she drops Ethan back with his family she's going to meet up with a friend in La Jolla.


Later on, Ethan is dropped back at the hotel where his family is staying... and he's surprised to find that they are not alone... there's a... you know, man wearing a suit there as well.  The man insists that by "saving" Maria, Ethan put her in "deadly danger".


Meanwhile in La Jolla, Maria meets up with her friend... Caitlin Fairchild.  Once inside, they both hear the voice of "Herod" who claims to have "judged" her... and, what the heck... he's judged Fairchild too.  Quickstep overloads, causing a "flare"... which more or less atomizes the safehouse.


As the dust settles, yet another... guy in a suit is at the scene of the safehouse situation where he sees Fairchild taken out on a stretcher.  He reports in to a woman (maybe Megan Ford?  It's not entirely clear), who reveals that they will keep tabs on Ethan York.


--

Ehhh...

I thought this was okay.  Despite this having been in my collection for the better part of two decades, this is the first time I gave it a look.  I'm pretty sure I just grabbed it for the 13-cent price tag, and never gave it a second thought.  This really wasn't bad though.

If you were to look at the cover, which is surprisingly by Jim Lee... doesn't really look like his work... if you were to look at the cover, you'd assume this was going to be as tonally different than the previous volume of Gen¹³... which went from cheesecake to full-blown manga during it's run.  You'd perhaps expect a more realistic "street level" take... thankfully, that's not the case.  The art is just as bombastic as before... with more than a little bit of manga "influence".

My only real quibble about the art is that I'm not sure if we were supposed to recognize the big-bad at the end as the owner of Victory Comics.  I mean, with the amount of time we spent identifying her at the start it's almost gotta be her, right?  The art, however, doesn't make that immediately clear... and for a reveal like that, it kinda has to be.

The opening here made me wistful for a time where Comicon actually meant something to me.  The days where you'd get the fall-out in an Autumn issue of Wizard Magazine... or the "up to the minute coverage" on USENET.  Where comics were the straw that stirred the drink... and movies were just "added flavor".  Now it's just loading into a room to watch a scene of whoever played Harley Quinn licking her teeth, or Thanos making a fist while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet.  And don't forget the Funkos!  Comics be damned.

I think my main complaint about this issue... and the one thing that could've changed my opinion to completely positive if it were left out... is, the damned Guys in Suits.  I think that's why I was never able to go "all in" on WildStorm.  Feels like all of their bad guys could star in a USA Network original series.  It's just nameless dudes in suits and shades.  What is there to invest in?  Also, this is comics... where you can do literally anything with a story... and our bad guys are just Guys in Suits?  So tired.  I get that the turn-of-the-century was a time where we were trying to make things "real"... probably so the books could more easily be translated to the big screen... but it's just so lame.

I think Claremont did really well with the dialogue here... but some of the captions were a little "much".  I'll give him this, his depiction of Michael's bored family at Comicon was pretty spot on.  So often I tell the wife about stuff going on in comics... and I basically get the blank stare in return.  God forbid I utter the phrase "Crisis on Infinite Earths".  Unless she's having trouble sleeping or needs to be knocked out for surgery, she hasn't the slightest bit of interest.

Overall... for 13-cents, I'd say you could do far worse.  There's a certain amount of WildStorm dullness to it, with all the goofs in suits... but, I think it made me interested enough to (eventually) check out the next (first) issue.

--

Interesting Ads:



810

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Action Comics #1 (1938)


Action Comics #1 (June, 1938)
"The Coming of Superman"
"The A-G Gang"
"The Mystery of the Freight Train Robberies"
"South Sea Strategy"
"Sticky-Mitt Stimson"
"It's the Year 1271..."
"The Light Heavyweight Championship"
"The International Jewel Thief"
"Murder in England"
Writers - Jerry Siegel, Homer Fleming, Fred Guardineer, Captain Frank Thomas, Russell Cole, Gardner Fox, Ken Fitch
Artists - Joe Shuster, Homer Fleming, Fred Guardineer, Russell Cole, Sven Elven, Will Ely, Bernard Baily

Hey, we made it!

Happy Action Comics #1000 day... and the final day of our #Action100 Endeavor.  With today's post, we will have officially discussed one-tenth of Action Comics' 80 year run!

I thought long and hard about what book to cover to commemorate the event... and first thought about just breaking protocol and discussing the book that's coming out today... but, let's face it... you're likely going to see, read, and hear skatey-eight hundred different reviews and impressions of Action Comics #1000 today, tomorrow and in the near future.

Figured I'd give y'all a break, and still sorta "break protocol" by going alllllll the way back to the start and discussing a reprint of Action Comics #1!

This is the first straight reprint that we'll be discussing... which actually gave me pause.  Wasn't sure what (year) to put in the title (these are the things I worry about...).  Figured I should make it easier on everyone by just putting 1938.

This is a, according to the indicia, "Loot Crate Edition"... which I've been seeing pop up more and more in the 50-cent bins of my area.  Lends further credence to my theory that very few of those who indulge in comics-flavored "loot nerd geek fanboy box cube crates" actually give half-a-damn about comic books.  I'm sure they didn't trade in their "superexclusive" Funko Pop for some used-bookstore in-store credit.  I suppose that's a kvetch for a whole 'nother time... today's for celebrating!

And so... as I affix, for the final time, our "Action 100" icon... let's jump back in time 80 years to the day!

--



We open with the (very) quick and dirty Superman origin... complete with a "scientific explanation" of his powers.  We then jump right on into the action.  Superman rescues a damsel, but hasn't the time to untie her... because he needs to speak with the Governor.  The Guv's butler refuses to let him in... so, he smashes down the door.



He makes his way upstairs, and finds that the Governor's bedroom door is made of solid steel... a common build-option back in the late-1930's.  Superman tears the door open and chats up the Guv about an innocent woman about to be put to death.  The Butler then pulls a gun... and fires!  The bullets bounce right off of our man's chest.



Everything ends up hunky-dory... the innocent woman goes free.  The following morning, mild-mannered reporter, Clark Kent takes a look at the latest edition of The Daily Star.  He's happy to see that his alter-ego didn't get a mention in the Curry case.  We briefly pop in on the Governor... who isn't so sure about the city's new vigilante.



At The Daily Star, Kent is called into the office of... maybe Perry White?  Anyhoo, he's given the Superman assignment.  As he leaves, he's informed of a wife-beating in progress.  And so, Superman takes care of the domestic abuser.



Later, we meet Lois Lane.  Clark asks her out for a date... and she's down with it.  That night as they dance, a mook named Butch tries to "cut in".  Clark plays up his mild-mannered meekness, and steps aside.  Lois, however, ain't feelin' it... and she stomps off.



Butch decides to give chase to Lois' cab... and runs it off the road!  Wow, dude's persistent, I'll give him that.  Unfortunately for him, Superman's already on the case.



He chases the car down before doing something... ya know, iconic.



The next day, Clark apologizes to Lois... but she doesn't want to hear it.  He's called into the office and is given an assignment in San Monte, South America.  He instead decides to go to Washington, D.C.



In D.C., we see a Senator Barrows approached by a man who might as well be wearing a sign that reads "Villain" around his neck.  The Senator tells the baddie to back off... because they cannot be seen together in public.  Superman listens in, and gets the scoop.



We wrap up with Superman grabbing the villain-looking fellow, and attempting to scare him straight.  Then... the story just ends!



We next meet Chuck Dawson... son of the late Charles Dawson, who owned the Circle-D Ranch.  



The Chuckster has decided to follow up and track down the 4-G Ranch Gang (or maybe it's the A-G Gang?) responsible for his father's death.  We jump right on in, with Chuck arriving in town... and immediately getting into a fight with a bully.  Chuck wallops him and sends him packin'.



The Town Sheriff informs Chuck that they "ain't wantin' any trouble" and suggests he "mosey along".  No can do, lawman... Chuck's on a mission.  Meanwhile the owner of the 4-G, John Burwell learns of our man's arrival... and so, he puts "Trigger" Holt and Butch (probably not the same Butch as in the last story... but I've been wrong before!) on the murderous job of putting poor Chuck down.



The pair track Chuck to a local waterin' hole... but have to wait for him to finish eating.  Their boss insisted that this "look like an accident".  And so, after Chuck drops the feed-bag, he is "bumped into" by... I think Trigger.



Trigger draws his gun, but he is no match for Chuck.  He's disarmed and jiu-jitsu tossed before he even knows what hit him.  From around the corner, Butch peeks his little head out and fires a shot right into Chuck's skull.



Fortunately (for Chuck) the bullet just grazed his scalp.  He wakes up later on in a jail cell.  He then, get this, tells the guard that he needs to tell him a secret... and when he draws near, Chuck chokes him out and steals his pistol!  I don't even think Barney Fife would've fallen for that!



We leave ol' Chuck as he's about to leave the jail... but hears footsteps in the adjoining office.  My heart can hardly stand it!



Our next story is... probably the most boring one this issue (and that's saying something!)  This is the Zatara story, and his first appearance.  Here, Zatara is tipped off by his officer friend, Brady that numerous attempts have been made for a great train robbery... and so, he assembles his crew of weirdos to investigate.



Atop the moving train, the foursome find themselves taking on gunfire... one of the detectives gets hit, to which, Zatara magiks up the cutest little first-aid kit.  Just then, his pal Brady is tossed from the car below... and Zee is taken unawares by the villainous "Tigress".  She shoves him off the train, however, he uses his magical talent to make it so he gingerly floats to the soft underbrush below.  "Soft underbrush"?  Is that a thing?  I suppose it's softer than concrete... more thorns though.



The State Police arrive to investigate... and they inform our magic man that all evidence point to buddy Brady being crooked.  So, Zatara now has to not only solve the case, but absolve his pal.  He looks at the car that Brady was tossed from and notices that it has been marked with a chalk (X).  He has... a plan.



He orders all of the valuables on the train be evenly distributed among the cars... then goes and backwards-talks some thugs into finding the Tigress.



Tigress, however, is just nearby... like literally right behind him.  She pistol-whips him, breaking his psychic control over the mooks... then binds his wrists and ankles until she can take him where he wants to dispose of him.



And so at the next stop, they bring Zatara to a shack... douse the place in kerosene... and set it ablaze.  I mean, I appreciate the theatrics, but wouldn't a single-bullet have done the trick?  It should come as a shock to absolutely nobody (except Tigress) that Zatara manages to escape.



Our man then summons his faithful companion, Tong... who chokes out a Train Inspector that seems far too happy that Zatara very likely just burnt to death.  He is kayoed, and Tong spirits him away to give the police the facts about what's really going on here.



From here, we get another train-top shoot out... and the crooks begin unloading boxes of valuables, tossing them to the ground below where some other crooks can snatch 'em up.  Then Tigress arrives... and Zatara, get this, changes her gun into a banana!  The comic actually says he changes it to a "bullet", but c'mon... that's a banana and we all know it.



By this point, the Train Inspector spilled the beans to the police... and the bad guys (minus Tigress) are arrested.  Oh yeah, in case any of us cared... Brady's name was cleared as well.  Woof.



Next... a text-story!  Nobody reads these, but we'll include it for completionists' sake.



Then, Sticky-Mitt Stimson decides he's going to steal some apples.  While the fruit vendor is preoccupied watching a beeg airplane overhead, he makes his move.  Unfortunately for him, he worked too slow.



The Vendor calls out to the police... and a chase is on.  Ol' Sticky makes his way to... a field full of pipes?  It's like a Double Dare event in here.  This bamboozles the officer long enough for him to get away.



Sticky sneaks into a construction site... and changes into some "laborer's clothes", which apparently comes complete with standard-issue "Laborer's Mustache".  Looks like he's given the cop the slip.



He then runs right into a group of policemen... but... um, they don't recognize him and let him go?  I mean, what's the point of this?  Even as a "gag", this is pretty lousy.



Oh boy, we're not done yet... next stop, Marco Polo (circa 1271).  Polo and Company receive word from the Pope that he would like an audience.  They are sent East to meet with the Khan of Tartary, in order to impart their wisdom and culture onto his people.  What could possibly go wrong?



On the way, they are hailed by an aggressive fleet of ships... and many of Polo's men are killed in the skirmish.  After a discussion with his peers, they decide to press on.



They come ashore, and travel through the desert for three months before arriving at the Port of Dora.  They then take a final boat ride to Bunder-Abbas (which is on the Southern Coast of Iran).  There, they meet with a man called Niko, who they will caravan with further inland.  Niko's men are wary, however... since they're about to enter the Karghar Pass, which is full of wild men.



Polo offers everyone handfuls of silver... which appears to do the trick.  We conclude this tale with Polo's men about to be taken unawares by the bandits... who look to topple large stones onto the caravan.



Next story... yup, there's still more... stars "Pep" Morgan, top contender for Sailor Sorenson's Light Heavyweight Boxing Championship.  We jump right into the ring, where Pep just took a grazing shot to the eye... which renders him temporarily blind!  He responds by wildly swinging at his opponent... and manages to land a knockout blow!  Turns out he was blinded by a special liniment on Sailor's gloves by his manager Doc Lowry.



Time passes, and we learn that Doc has a new charge in the form of the wild bushman known as "Boomerang".  Pep and his manager "Pop" (or maybe it's his father/manager) decide to watch the bushman's bout against O'Rourke... because the winner will receive a match with the champ.  The bushman makes light work of O'Rourke.



Which takes us to the "main event", Boomerang challenges Pep Morgan for the Light Heavyweight Title.  Early on, Pep takes a pop to the head... leaving him groggy and dizzy.  Despite this, he manages to land a kayo blow the following round... and it is revealed that Doc Lowry stuck... get this... hypodermic needles into the bushman's glove.  He's arrested, and everything's fine.



Annnnnd, there's more.  Scoop Scanlon, Five Star Reporter!  Scoop and his photographer, the sleepy-eyed (all the best shutterbugs are!) Rusty James are following up on a tip about a jewel thief (named Arnold) arriving in town.  They watch him deboard a train... and decide to follow him.  They learn that Arnold's guards are armed with Tommy Guns... and so, he decides the smartest thing to do would be to leap onto them.



The baddies start rat-a-tatting at him, which gets the attention of some nearby officers... and before we know it, a chase is on.  Worth noting that sleepy-eyed Rusty has stowed away on the spare tire of Arnold's car.



From here we get some hot-traffic action... like seriously, it's just a driving scene where they try to avoid hitting a moving truck.  Then, Arnold pulls over... and is arrested.  It's later revealed that the whole time Rusty James was holding on, he was jabbing holes in Arnold's gas tank... wonk wonk wonkkkk.



In our final... yes, final... story, we meet Tex Thomson.  Wow, we get two, count'em... two western-ish stories today!  We open with Tex being approached by a boy named Bob.  For whatever reason, Bob wants to walk with him.  Okay.  As they walk, they stumble across a dead body!



Tex sends the boy to fetch the police... at which time, a woman passes by.  She and Tex chat for a bit before she notices the corpse.  She, of course, suggests that Tex is a murderer.  A murderer of joy, perhaps... but he sure didn't kill that man.



The Sheriff arrives on the scene, and the gal is freaking out about Tex killing a man.  The Sheriff goes to grab Tex to take him in for questioning... which our man responds to with a punch to the face.  That's prove yer innocence, I tell ya what!  He then runs off like the lily-livered varmint he is.



Well, not really... he just runs off to hide so he can see what happens next.  What he sees is, the lady smiling... as though she's gotten away with something.  He follows her to a secluded shack... and waits.



Inside, we can see that Bob has been captured by the baddies.  Later that night, Tex rescues him... it's really just that easy.



Just as quick as he's rescued, however, he's captured again.  Tex runs interference and even busts out that wild-west martial art jiu-jitsu to regain the advantage.



Off to the side, the lady and the big bad spend far too much time concocting a plan to kill Tex "in self-defense" (does it even matter at this point?  You're living in a shack deep in the mountains... just kill the man already).



Elsewhere, Bobby runs into a girl named Betty... and asks her to get the Sheriff.  This poor girl seems to be afflicted with poor-perspective-itis... a very common malady in the old west.



Bobby returns to the fight... for whatever reason.  Betty gets the Sheriff, who has recovered from Tex's kayo punch... then the police arrive to arrest the bad guys.  That's like four stories this issue that ended that way!  We (finally/thankfully) wrap up with Tex being told that he's "swell".  I disagree, but we'll allow it.



--

Well... that was rather a slog, wun't it?

We've already talked about the Golden Age Superman origin here... in fact, Secret Origins #1 was our first anniversary piece last January.  This was, unsurprisingly, more or less the same exact story as the second half of that issue... even down to the "A Life Hangs in the Balance" clock in the corner of some panels.

Honestly, if I were to recommend one over the other... as far as for story, I'd tell ya to go with Secret Origins every time.  There, you'd get a blend of Kryptonian history along with the actual first adventure... also, no backups!

Because, lemme tell ya... these backups... woof.

Now, I'm sure back in the mid 1930's nobody was expecting some dude in his 30's to be "reviewing" these 80 years later... so, it's hard to really "analyze" them.  But, ay yai yai, this was a slog... a true endurance test.  By the time I'd gotten to Marco freaking Polo, I was about spent.  I'll say this much, you really got a bang for your dime back in 1938!

I considered for a second just covering the Superman feature and leaving the rest of the stories out completely... buuuuuuut, that's just not how we operate here.  We're building a resource, or something...

These stories... well, I don't wanna be too negative, so I'll just say they "weren't for me".  It actually took me several tries over the past couple of weeks to finally get through the whole thing.  Suddenly covering an issue of Action Comics Weekly seems possible (and preferable)!

The backups... while they overstayed their welcome, still feel like they didn't have adequate time to "breathe".  They all seemed to have these sudden endings.  They'd just build and build and then... ya know, wrap up real convenient and quick.  I think four of them ended with the police just arresting a guy/group of guys... who turned themselves over peaceably!  How weird.

Overall... I'd say if you come across this (reprint, naturally) in the wild... and it's not too crazily overpriced (I've actually seen this Loot Crate version at the shop for $40)... I'd say grab it for the novelty.  They did a really good job with it.  Of course, if you happen across an actual first printing of Action Comics #1... and have a few hundred-thou to spare... well, maybe just buy a house or something.  This issue is available digitally... for a buck.

And with that... we successfully conclude our #Action100 endeavor.  I had fun with it... though, at times it proved to be quite the chore.  I want to thank you all for coming along with me for the ride.

--

Et-Cetera:



--

Interesting Ads:



809
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...