Saturday, June 30, 2018

Hourman #3 (1999)

Hourman #3 (June, 1999)
Writer - Tom Peyer
Penciller - Rags Morales
Inker - David Meikis
Colorist - John Kalisz
Separations - Heroic Age
Letterer - Kurt Hathaway
Editor - Tony Bedard
Cover Price: $2.50

"Harry, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Every day, once a day, give yourself a present.  Don't plan it, don't wait for it, just let it happen.  It could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or... the next issue of Hourman."


We open with Hourman attempting to recover "the Timepoint" from JLA baddie Epoch.  Now the Timepoint is a toughie to explain without me flailing my hands all over the place... but, I'll try.  Like it's name suggests, it's like a "point in time"... I think.  I believe it's both Epoch's base of operations... as well as a prison of sorts he keeps.  Anyhoo, it looks like Tyler's going to get away with it... until Epoch goes back to the past to trigger something that will stop Hourman from succeeding here.  It's time-stuff, we'll just go with it.

In reality, Tyler is bellied up to the coffee bar with Snapper and Bethany.  He's unsure how to offer, because... get this... he's afraid he'll do it wrong!  Wow, talk about a hero after my own disturbed tendencies.  I definitely feel that.

He finally orders a double espresso.  The trio head over to a table... Tyler again apologizes for baby-izing Bethany a couple issues back.  She's totally cool with it, however... as she's turning it into a New-Agey venture, "Freeing your Toddler Brain"!  Dammit, where has this book been my entire life!  I love this.

Tyler takes his first sip of espresso... and, boy howdy... everything goes nuts.  Really like the way this was depicted.  Even in distorto-vision, Snapper still can't help but to *snap*.  Love it.

Snapper offers to finish off Hourman's espresso... which Tyler appreciates.  He expresses a desire to repay Snap and Bethany's generosity... and Bethany gives him an idea.  She suggests he show them "his world".  And so, he does!

All aboard the Timeship... Hourman flips his "egg-timer" and triggers the start of another Power-Hour.  He asks Bethany to randomly pick a destination, which takes them "outside" of time... where they come across a rather curious time(stream)-traveller.

It's Rick Jones Snapper Carr!  Well, a Snapper Carr... haven't you ever heard of Hypertime?!  This is a Snapper Carr who looks to have his life totally together... which gives us a line that is as funny as it is sad.  Our Snap says looking at Hypertime-Snap makes him feel like Bizarro looking at Superman.  Very funny... also, very sad!

After dropping Hypertime-Snapper into a war between the Amazons and Gorilla City, the trio (or just Hourman, really) are attacked by Epoch!  He winds up dropping them in... Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.  It's got that effect where our characters are the only things in color... which is really cool.  They are approached by a couple... who are clearly still in shock from the assassination of President Kennedy.

Then... aliens!  They watch as those aliens from the cliffhanger last issue walk the streets.  Then... that same couple expresses the same shock they did a few seconds ago.  Uh-oh, looks like we're in a time loop!  Worse yet, half of Tyler's Power-Hour has already elapsed.

Hourman takes off to try and find a way out, leaving Snap and Beth where it's "safe".  Of course, they soon find themselves staring into the wrong end of a laser pistol.  They meet a sorta off-brand Adam Strange looking fella, who introduces himself as a "Catastronaut" which, I gotta say... is a pretty cool name.  He's also been trapped here.

There's a brief struggle... the "shocked couple" get blasted before Bethany wallops the 'naut with some of her "phys-ed training".  She's mentioned a few majors/degrees already... I wonder if this might become a "thing".

Then, time loops... again, and again.

We join Hourman as he... does time stuff that I can't really wrap my head around.  Well, actually... he attempts to do time stuff I can't really wrap my head around.  Unfortunately, he finds that the Timepoint has been sealed off... and, his "egg-timer" goes a bit wonky before finally dropping the last few grains of sand.

He comes crashing down back in 1963 Dallas to let the gang know that his Power-Hour is up.  Snapper's all "that's cool, we'll just wait an hour til it comes back"... not understanding that, since they're in a time loop...

Sixty-minutes will never pass!  Meaning, this is now... their home?!


So... just where in the hell has this book been my entire life?  Absolutely adore this!  Awesome blend of comedy and action... and it even has that, often hard to define... "heart" to boot!

The time stuff... is a little confusing, at least to me.  In fairness, time stuff is always a little confusing to me, so that's not a knock on the issue.  Still, don't wanna come off like I'm praising this one blindly.

There's a lot going on here.  I suppose we can start with the Timepoint.  I feel like placing the Time-Loop at a point in time where people are at their weakest... or at least their most fragile/dumbstruck emotionally, is clever... and it's pulled off (and rendered) incredibly well.  The black-and-white "effect" was definitely appreciated.  I was trying to remember the name of that movie that did something similar without Googling... it's "Pleasant...something"... I know that much.

Something that really made me pause was Tyler being afraid to mess up ordering at the coffee bar.  It sounds silly... but, there's something scarily relatable there.  I know, personally, I've chosen to do nothing... rather than try something, and fail.  I've probably done that more times than I care to admit (though, I suppose I just did).  Really well done.

Loved Bethany taking her time as a tot, and using it to create some sorta New Age seminar.  It definitely feels like something people would do.  I'm not all that tapped-in on the crystals or anything, but I could totally see similar seminars going on right this second!  I mean, there have been re-birthing seminars and stuff... so, why not this?

And, though I might be reading into things... I'm really digging the idea of Bethany as a career-college student.  Seems she's mentioned a few different majors... and a lotta years of study.  I think that's a fun concept to explore... especially as so many of us Gen-Xers never really become sure what we wanna be when/if we "grow up".  It might be getting played for laughs... but it's quite relatable.

Snapper... man, I get the feeling like I'm not supposed to like him (because of his Silver-Age dunce-iness), but I can't help it!  Thought it was equally humorous and heartbreaking when he saw the "totally together" Snapper Carr hitchhiker.  He sees his own potential staring him in the face... meanwhile, he's still slacking in Happy Harbor!

It goes without saying that I highly recommend tracking this run down.  It might be a bit premature... but, this could end up being near the top of my list of favorite runs before it's all said and done.

Now... whatta we gotta do... to whom... to get this collected and/or made available digitally?!  This is definitely a glaring omission in DC's digital library!


Letters Page:



Interesting Animated Ads:


Friday, June 29, 2018

Hourman #2 (1999)

Hourman #2 (May, 1999)
"Romancing the Tombstone"
Writer - Tom Peyer
Penciller - Rags Morales
Inker - David Meikis
Colorist - John Kalisz
Separator - Heroic Age
Letterer - Kurt Hathaway
Editor - Tony Bedard
Cover Price: $2.50

I was thinking the other day how I "just" covered the first issue of this series.  Then, upon actually checking the site, realized that it's been over 100 days since we looked at it.  I guess if there's one book it's okay to be wonky about time about... it's Hourman!  We can just blame it on T-Vision or something.

Anyhoo... we left off with "Tyler" chucking his omnipotence... and Rick's Snapper's gal pal Bethany being reduced to a baby.  Annnnnd, go!


We open at night with a little tot walking down a strangely busy Happy Harbor street... maybe it's early morning... either way, I don't picture Happy Harbor to be all this "bustling".  If you read the previous issue, you'll know that this little gal is actually a de-aged friend (we'll call her "friend" for now) of Snapper Carr named Bethany.  An officer calls the find into the Chief... who, upon hearing this baby was found near Snapper's residence, insists the officer go rattle Carr's cage.  Seems we've got some bad blood here.

Meanwhile, at Snapper's place... he and Hourman are sleeping it off.  We get a "catch us up" flashback which shows us how Hourman "chucked" his omnipotence last issue.  Snapper gets up to throw on a pot of coffee, and mentions how it's a shame that Bethany didn't show the previous night... as he thought she and "Tyler" would hit it off.  Hourman leaves to "soul-search" just as the police arrive to question Carr about the random toddler found playing in traffic.

Gary the Cop informs Carr of what's gone down... and tells him he's wanted for questioning down at the station.  It's clear this isn't the first time Snapper's had to deal with a cranky Police Chief, so he's not all that shaken.  He does insist they stop for breakfast before heading in though.

We shift scenes to the JLA Watchtower, where Hourman informs J'onn that he'd "chucked" his omnipotence... which (likely due to the vernacular), J'onn immediately connects to Snapper Carr.  That's not the main reason for the visit, however... Hourman is looking to meet with longtime JLA-baddie, Professor Ivo.

J'onn directs him to Belle Reve... where Tyler can chat up the baddie.  He wants to know why the first of his kind (Androids... as in, Amazo) was made soulless and evil.  Ivo says he'll answer... only if he can ask a question first.  Ya see, Ivo drank a serum which made him immortal... but, he's kinda over that and would really just rather die.  He asks Hourman when he will finally die.

As Hourman "turns on" his powers, which by the way, is really cool... he just flips the hourglass on his chest... Ivo tells him that all Androids aren't evil, citing the recent Ivo/Morrow creation Tomorrow Woman.  Satisfied with the answer, Hourman presents Ivo a vision of his tombstone.  We readers don't get to see his "check out" date... only his reaction.  This was very well done!

Back in Happy Harbor, the Chief finds Snapper (who I still keep wanting to call "Rick", as in Rick Jones), Officer Gary, and the baby.  She doesn't seem interested in the baby, however... she just wants to know what Carr did with her daughter... Bethany!  She wrangles him in for questioning... totally disregarding the tiny tot.

We rejoin Hourman as he arrives at the League's Tomorrow Woman memorial.  He uses his Time-Vision-Powers (I think?) to bring her back to life for the remainder of his Power-Hour.

At the Police Station, Snap's being questioned... and it's made pretty clear that he and the Police Chief have some sort of "history".  He says they "both" know why she's putting him through this... and you will too, if you read till the end!  She then... get this, books him... for murder!  They sure don't mess around in Happy Harbor!

Back at the cemetery, Hourman and Tomorrow Woman chat.  He asks how she overcame her programming... to which she replies, "by doing".  She proves this by flying to Happy Harbor and, together with Hourman, putting a stop to a store robbery.

As this goes down, Snapper is being booked... and is taking the charges rather seriously.

Hourman and Tomorrow Woman show up at the station just after Snapper's snappin' digits get all inky and inquire as to what's going down.  He shares that he's there for "killing Bethany", and really starts playing along.  It's actually pretty funny... but, I wouldn't recommend acting this way in real life.

Anyhoo, Chief Audrey starts rattling on... at which time Tomorrow Woman is all "uh, that's your daughter" while pointing at the baby.

After a bit of incredulousness, we get a tear-soaked mother and child reunion.  Hourman knows that this is all his fault... and Tomorrow Woman comforts him, just telling him to be more careful with his powers... and not to use people as props.

Hourman uses the last nine-seconds of his Power-Hour to return Bethany to her post-pubescent glory... and when the timer hits zero, Tomorrow Woman vanishes.

It's now that the truth comes out... Bethany is Snapper Carr's... ex-wife.  Which means, Chief Audrey is Snapper's ex-mother-in-law.  Now it all (kinda) makes sense!

After a brief scene of Hourman mourning the loss of Tomorrow Woman, we get a... strange look at Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.  We all know what happened on our Earth on this day... but, what in the world are we looking at here???


Man-o-man, whatta fun book!

Now, I know that Snapper Carr is one of those "funny, ha-ha" characters, but I'm really digging him in this "Rick Jonesy" context.  The reveal that he'd been not only married, but divorced was pretty neat... and the ongoing struggle with his kooky (and power-mad) ex-mother-in-law lends to a lot of fun future adventures.  Also, gotta tell ya... I love that he still talks with this odd "jive"... like instead of "go for breakfast" he says "grab a stack at the Yak" *snap snap*.  Love it!

The Hourman sections were... well, a little less fun, but right now he's all about self-exploration... gotta expect that to be a little drier than Snapper's antics.  I do appreciate the use of Tomorrow Woman... as she really is the polar opposite of most Androids the League has had to deal with... and her ability to overcome her orders speaks to the amount of freewill an Android (in the DC Universe) might enjoy.

The art here is also a lot of fun.  It really suits the series, and I'm digging it.  Looking at the cover, I wouldn't have minded Scott McDaniel doing some interiors on this book either!  He seems well-suited as well.

The cliffhanger... is pretty cliffhangery.  I know the Kennedy assassination has been mined in fiction to the point of near-parody, but for some reason... it just keeps bringing us back.  There's just something about 11/22/1963 that captures our imagination... and refuses to let us go.  I'm definitely interested in seeing how this plays out.

It's series like this that I never expected to cover when I started this blog.  I... well, I never really "planned" anything... but I assumed that I'd just be revisiting stories I'd already read.  "Discovering" books like this really gives me another reason to be thankful I started this ridiculous endeavor.  We're coming up close to our 900th Daily Discussion... maybe I'll compile a "Top Ten" list to show off my favorite "discoveries" since we started this strange little journey.

Overall, if I didn't make it clear... I definitely feel like this is a book worth checking out.  I think a lotta folks can have a lotta fun with this one.  Not (yet) available digitally... this one's gonna be a hunt, but I promise it's a hunt that'll be worth your while.


(Not yet the) Letters Page:


Interesting Ads:


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Deathstroke the Terminator #1 (1991)

Deathstroke the Terminator #1 (August, 1991)
"Full Cycle, Chapter One: Assault!"
Writer - Marv Wolfman
Penciller - Steve Erwin
Inker - Will Blyberg
Letterer - John Costanza
Colorist - Tom McCraw
Editor - Jonathan Peterson
Cover Price: $1.75

Gonna be talking Deathstroke today... which is pretty cool, because I'd never read this issue before!  This was always one'a them "wall books" growing up... however, didn't quite share the same "quarter bin" fate as other "wall books" of its era.

Sure, we can find stacks of Youngblood, Reign of the Supermen, and Knightfall books that were once pinned to the walls of our comic shops in the cheap-o bins... but, Deathstroke the Terminator?  Not so much.  Least not in my neck of the woods.

Which is exactly why I immediately jumped when I happened across this one in the dollar bin not too long ago!  So, without further ado, let's get right into it!


We open outside Stuttgart, Germany where a teeny-tiny helicopter fast approaches a moving train.  Well, actually several helicopters make the approach, but the larger choppers are actually trying to stop the teeny-tiny one.  There is a "Lady A" on board the train, who we quickly learn is Adeline Kane, Slade Wilson's ex-wife and the mother to Jericho and Ravager.  The teeny-tiny chopper man boards the train... shoots Addie in the gut, then tosses her from the moving train!

A job well done, he hops off the train just before it derails... and, naturally, explodes!  Now, lemme tell ya... that's how you open a comic book!  That's how you open a volume!

We shift scenes to join the man of the hour, Slade Wilson... just as he's hunting down a Bull Elephant.  He turns the pursuit into a sort of dance, before popping the beast right 'tween the eyes.  At first I was like "hmm...", then we learn that the beast "deserved" it.  I guess your mileage may vary on that... turns out the elephant destroyed a local village.  I dunno, elephant's gonna elephant, right?

Back at the Deathstroke Chalet, Slade takes a shower... and Wintergreen fields a phone call.  It's the news of the attack on Adeline... she's alive, but in critical condition.

Outside, Slade and Wintergreen are attacked by that same fella in the teeny-tiny helicopter.  The baddie makes it clear that he's the one who shot Addie... he then goes on to 'splode the Chalet... and the Strokemobile.

Slade and Wintergreen walk the thirty-plus miles to the nearest airfield and catch a flight to Stuttgart.  Their "inside man" Lockhart brings them to Addie's side... and it's made pretty obvious that there are still some feelings lingering inside ol' Mr. Wilson.

We hop into flashback mode as Slade recalls how he met and fell in love with Adeline.  Of course, we've been there, and done that... but this is mucho helpful for new readers who nabbed this for it's number-one-iness.  Addie wakes up and informs Slade that this teeny-tiny helicopter man knew both of their names... and then passes out again.

Slade realizes that Addie was hired to protect the train's cargo... and so, he and Wintergreen head a few hours north to visit her employer and find out just what was on board.  As he watches Deathstroke climb the side of a castle, Wintergreen flashes back to how Slade Wilson became the man that he is... super-serums, super-sons and what-not.

Inside Castle Waller... we meet, well... a fella named Waller (no relation, I'm sure).  Dude doesn't seem to be in the mood to chat... but Deathstroke manages to persuade him to at least "step aside" while he does some digging.

He discovers some checks sent from a Willem Neustadt with an address in Baden, Germany... and so, that's our men's next stop.  They stake out the address from a cafe across the street.

Finally, a car returns home... it's Mrs. Neustadt, and her armed chauffeur.  Deathstroke does some Deathstroking... and learns that the Neustadt's son had been kidnapped.  Mrs. N. even mistakes Deathstroke for the kidnapper!  Turns out the family made a deal to exchange Plutonium for their son's safe return... and it just so happens, that was the cargo Adeline Kane was protecting!

Oh, and there are armed men watching this chat go down from a closet... they'll probably play a part later on.

We wrap up the issue in Adaam, Qurac... where the Plutonium is being delivered by the teeny-tiny helicopter man... who is finally revealed as being... The Ravager?!


Well, well, well... this was one helluva fine comic book.

From the bombastic opening to the last-page reveal... I had a great time finally getting to read this one.  I mean, this has a sorta-familiar tone to other Wolfman works... while at the same time feels completely fresh, new, and different.

Let's talk about that opening.  Amazing job from all involved... it really felt like the opening to an action movie, or the opening cinematic to a video game.  Instantly drew me in, and perfectly set the tone for things moving forward.

Slade the "Game Hunter"?  Well, I'll just leave that alone.  It does fit into his established character-history... however, I can see it rubbing people the wrong way.  It's funny how we (myself included) can not be phased by people killing other people in media... but, when it's an animal... it kinda sticks with us.  I mean, this issue would have been just fine (better?) without this scene... and unfortunately, it's one of the first things I think about upon reflection.  We'll just leave it alone (he says, a hundred words later).

The brief Addie/Slade reunion was pretty cool... and it's confirmed that Adeline is aware of the events of Titans Hunt.  I didn't wanna spoil it in the synopsis... but, Jericho figures quite heavily into it... and hasn't really recovered, even to this very day in 2018!

I love the idea of Slade and Wintergreen globetrotting like a suped-up Holmes and Watson.  Though, maybe I'm just projecting since I feel like Watson and Wintergreen might be the same person.  I think I've already shown y'all that I'm no "Holmesian"... if that's even the word for it, so I could be completely off base here.  Still like their "buddy-globetrotter" shtick.

The reveal at the end... was a good one!  I know I've joked in the past about how Deathstroke has been the "last page reveal" more than any other character in DC history... so, it's fitting in a way that we get a Ravager reveal on the last page of Deathstroke's initial outing.  I'm not sure how this all pans out... but I'm definitely interested enough to track down the rest of the arc!

The flashbacks here were handled well, and didn't really interrupt or intrude upon the ongoing story.  Gotta remember that this was a "New #1" in 1991... there were going to be a ton of folks grabbing this "sight unseen"... which is to say, not have the faintest idea who or what a "Deathstroke the Terminator" is.  Then again, many of those folks probably wouldn't think to open the thing to find out.  Either way, I didn't need the flashbacks... but I'm glad they were there for those who might.

Overall... had a really good time with this, and I think most DC (and comic) fans would too.  This issue (and series) is available digitally... and this arc has been collected in the Deathstroke the Terminator, Volume One: Assassins trade paperback.


(Not the) Letters Page:


Interesting Ads:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...