Tuesday, September 29, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 025 - X-Men #3 (2020)

X-Lapsed, Episode Twenty-Five 

X-Men (vol.5) #3 (February, 2020)
"Hordeculture"
Writer - Jonathan Hickman
Pencils - Leinil Francis Yu
Inks - Gerry Alanguilan & Leinil Yu
Colors - Sunny Gho & Rain Beredo
Letters - VC's Clayton Cowles
Design - Tom Muller
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: December 4, 2019

Thank you for being a friend...

For this landmark 25th Episode of X-Lapsed, we are visited by an octogenerian group of "radical botanists" who have designs on controlling... or crushing Krakoa.  It's up to Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Sebastian Shaw to try and stop them.

Also: "Comedy" in comics, the Golden Age of Fandom, Learnin' the Legion, and much more!

--

@acecomics / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Monday, September 28, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 024 - Fallen Angels #2 (2020)

X-Lapsed, Episode Twenty-Four
Fallen Angel #2 (January, 2020)
"Shoto"
Writer - Bryan Hill
Art - Szymon Kudranski
Colors - Frank D'Armata
Letters - VC's Joe Sabino
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Robinson, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: November 27, 2019


You ever hear the one about the butterfly?  Well, ya will today... a few times!
Join me as I look at the difficult second issue of Fallen Angels... of which, there isn't a whole heckuva lot to say.
Also: Some great listener mail!
--
@acecomics / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com
chrisandreggie.com
chrisandreggie.podbean.com
chrisisoninfiniteearths.com
xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/
facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Sunday, September 27, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 23 - X-Force #2 (2020)

X-Lapsed, Episode Twenty-Three

X-Force (vol.6) #2 (January, 2020)
"The Sword of Damocles"
Writer - Benjamin Percy
Art - Joshua Cassara
Colors - Dean White
Letters - VC's Joe Caramagna
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Robinson, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: November 27, 2019


In the wake of the assassinations of REDACTED, X-Force goes on the offensive to track down who might have been behind it.  What they find is something... well, pretty gross!  Join me as we take a trip to a most peculiar South Korean Printing Press.

Also: Conflicts between logic and faith in a universe as extraordinary as the one we're reading about, more threats of discussing the Alan Moore Captain Britain, more feedback on the Uncanny Lives of Moira X... and much more!

--

@acecomics / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Saturday, September 26, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 022 - New Mutants #2 (2020)

 

X-Lapsed, Episode Twenty-Two

New Mutants (vol.4) #2 (January, 2020)
"Space Jail"
Writer - Jonathan Hickman
Art - Rod Reis
Letters - VC's Travis Lanham
Design - Tom Muller
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: November 27, 2019


Order in the court!  (Ham and Cheese)

It's here that the New Mutants have their day in court... will Roberto's wicked space lawyer get them off, or will our young heroes wind up incarcerated by the Shi'ar Empire for life?  Worse yet, will they get stuck hanging out with Cannonball's annoying better half?  Those answers, and a whole lot more... in this very episode!

Also: Losing touch with friends, dealing with the realization that you're no longer a comics' intended audience, and some great listener mail!

--

@acecomics / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Friday, September 25, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 021 - Marauders #2 (2020)

X-Lapsed, Episode Twenty-One

Marauders #2 (January, 2020)
"The Red Coronation"
Writer - Gerry Duggan
Art - Matteo Lolli
Colors - Federico Blee
Letters - VC's Cory Petit
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Robinson, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: November 20, 2019


Trouble on the High Seas, and Terror in the Boardroom... Marauders #2 by Duggan, Lolli and Co. finally fills the Red Throne... with, exactly who you think.
Also: Tattoos, Dancing, Auctions, and Batroc the friggin' Leaper!
--
@acecomics / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com
chrisandreggie.com
chrisandreggie.podbean.com
chrisisoninfiniteearths.com
xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/
facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Thursday, September 24, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 020 - Excalibur #2 (2020)


X-Lapsed, Episode Twenty

Excalibur (vol.4) #2 (January, 2020)
"Verse II: A Tower of Flowers"
Writer - Tini Howard
Art - Marcus To
Colors - Erick Arciniega
Letters - VC's Cory Petit
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: November 20, 2019


Whattaya get when you cross an X-Men comic with a sub-par D&D campaign? Uh, don't answer that.

Today we're discussing the second issue of Excalibur by Tini Howard and Marcus To... and, well... by no fault of the creators, this really isn't the sort of story that falls in your humble host's wheelhouse. Maybe I can be proven wrong... then again, maybe not.

--

@acecomics / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 019 - X-Men #2 (2020)

X-Lapsed, Episode Nineteen

X-Men (vol.5) #2 (January, 2020)
"Summoner"
Writer - Jonathan Hickman
Pencils - Leinil Francis Yu
Inks - Gerry Alanguilan
Colors - Sunny Gho
Letters - VC's Clayton Cowles
Design - Tom Muller
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: November 13, 2019


Who's ready for more Summers family weirdness?

On this episode of X-Lapsed, we join Cyclops, Prestige, and Cable as they investigate a new island that just appeared on the horizon... we also get to see a kink... err, softer side of Krakoa.  X-Men (vol.5) #2 comes to us from Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu, and was certainly not what I expected!

Some insightful (?) comics chat with a side of wonderful listener mail is waiting for you!

--

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Morituri Mondays, Episode #30 - Strikeforce: Morituri #30 (6/89)

Morituri Mondays, Episode 30

Strikeforce: Morituri #30 (June, 1989)
"Getting It"
Writer - James D. Hudnall
Pencils - Mark Bagley
Inks - Carlos Garzon
Letters - Phil Felix
Colors - Max Scheele
Edits - Carl Potts
Chief - DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.50 USD / $2 CAN / 50p UK
On-Sale: February 7, 1989


Hello Friends,

Today's episode of Morituri Mondays is a special one that we couldn't wait to share!  Not only are we discussing the penultimate (monthly) issue of Strikeforce: Morituri, but we were granted a Q&A session with original Strikeforce: Morituri artist and co-creator, Brent Anderson!  The first half of those questions will be covered in this very episode!

But first, the Chris's go "Full Treadmill", providing a bio for Mr. Anderson from his earliest days in the fandom to when he took up the pencil for this very series.  Fans of Chris and Reggie's Cosmic Treadmill will hopefully fondly remember coverage of creator bios.

As for this issue we'll be discussing... it's another banger!  And, what's more, it opened up the opportunity for another Treadmillism to sneak its way back into the limelight... "The Hook" returns for a long-form discussion on some of the mysteries surrounding the death (?) of Elvis Presley!

It's a great time as always... made better by Brent!  We hope you enjoy, and will return for Part Two of the Q&A next episode!

--

Check out Brent's Website: http://www.brentandersonart.com/

Radium the Robot!: http://www.brentandersonart.com/radium.asp

--

Your June, 1989 Strikeforce: Morituri Roster - Scanner, Revenge, Lifter, Burn, (The Ghost, The Wind, The Tiger)

Alumni - Snapdragon (#4), Vyking (#6), Marathon (#12), Adept (#13), Wildcard (#13), Radian (#15), Scaredycat (#19), Blackthorn (#20), Toxyn (#21), Backhand (#22), Hardcase (#23), Silencer (#23), Scatterbrain (#24), Shear (#25), Brava (#28)

Monday, September 21, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 018 - Fallen Angels #1 (2020)

X-Lapsed, Episode Eighteen

Fallen Angels (vol.2) #1 (January, 2020)
"Bushido"
Writer - Bryan Hill
Art - Szymon Kudranski
Colors - Frank D'Armata
Letters - VC's Joe Sabino
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Robinson, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $4.99
On-Sale: November 13, 2019


Y'ever hear the one about the butterfly?  No?  Well, you're going to... a lot.

Today we wrap up the first wave of Dawn of X #1's with, perhaps the oddball of the group - Fallen Angels #1 by Bryan Hill and Szymon Kudranski.  Who said we only needed on Psylocke?  Probably the same person who said we only need one Psyocke-led book!  Will this one be near as interesting as Excalibur?  Let's find out together...

Also: I remember rate the Dawn of X Wave One #1's in the order I most enjoyed them, and some great listener feedback with some varying opinions on the HoX/PoX/DoX landscape!

--

@acecomics / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Sunday, September 20, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 017 - X-Force #1 (2020)

X-Lapsed, Episode Seventeen

X-Force (vol.6) #1 (January, 2020)
"Hunting Ground"
Writer - Benjamin Percy
Art - Joshua Cassara
Colors - Dean White
Letters - VC's Joe Caramagna
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Amaro, Robinson, Shan, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $4.99
On-Sale: November 6, 2019



During today's episode, in which we discuss X-Force #1, we learn a valuable lesson about trust.

And also, someone gets shot in the head.

Also: Listener mail which (accurately?) calls your humble host out as a cynic!

--

@acecomics / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Saturday, September 19, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 016 - New Mutants #1 (2019)

X-Lapsed, Episode 016


New Mutants (vol. 4) #1 (January, 2020)
"The Sextant"
Writers - Ed Brisson & Jonathan Hickman
Art - Rod Reis
Letters - VC's Travis Lanham
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Jonathan Hickman
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $4.99
On-Sale: November 6, 2019



The Kids are Alright... and they're in SPAAAAAAAAACE!

Today the Dawn of X enters into Shi'ar Space with New Mutants #1! Watch (or listen) as they tick off their ride, and generally make a mess out of everything. It's a fun issue - a good time will be had by all!

Also: Some more great HoX/PoX reaxxions! Have a (non-spoilery) HoX/PoX/DoX hot-take to share? Please, don't hesitate to reach out!

--

@acecomics / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Friday, September 18, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 015 - Excalibur #1 (2019)

 

X-Lapsed, Episode 015

Excalibur (vol.4) #1 (December, 2019)
"Verse I: The Accolade of Betsy Braddock"
Writer - Tini Howard
Art - Marcus To
Colors - Erick Arciniega
Letters - VC's Cory Petit
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Jonathan Hickman
Edits - Bissa, White Cebulski
Cover Price: $4.99
On-Sale: $4.99


We continue "forging" our new Dawn with a look at the first issue of Excalibur. We got more Braddocks than you can shake a shiny sword at... and a fun little team of mutants along for the ride. Next stop: Otherworld!

Prepare for LARPers, witchbreeds, sleepy flora, and my many attempts at imitating Mallory's boyfriend Nick from Family Ties! (please listen anyway)

Also: Some great listener mail, which is helping me learn to see both the forest AND the trees!

--

@acecomics / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Thursday, September 17, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 14 - Marauders #1 (2019)

X-Lapsed, Episode 14


Marauders #1 (December, 2019)
"I'm on a Boat"
Writer - Gerry Duggan
Art - Matteo Lolli
Colors - Federico Blee
Letters - VC's Cory Petit
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Jonathan Hickman
Edits - Robinson, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $4.99
On-Sale: October 23, 2019



We're on a Boat!

Ahoy, Muties!  Today we're talking about sailing the high seas with Kitty... err, Kate... err, who am I kidding, I'm always going to call her "Kitty" Pryde and the Marauders!  The Hellfire Corporation is running some miracle medicine... and they're taking us along for the ride... err, sail.  Had a blast talking about this one... I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Also: A wonderful piece of listener mail that discusses the finer points of HoX/PoX and some of the DoX roll-out!

--

@acecomics / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com
chrisandreggie.podbean.com
chrisisoninfiniteearths.com
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facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 13 - X-Men #1 (2019)

X-Lapsed, Episode 13

X-Men (vol.5) #1 (December, 2019)
"Pax Krakoa"
Writer - Jonathan Hickman
Pencils - Leinil Francis Yu
Inks - Gerry Alanguilan
Colors - Sunny Gho
Letters - VC's Clayton Cowles
Design - Tom Muller
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $4.99
On-Sale: October 16, 2019



Ladies and Gentlemen, we have finally arrived!

Welcome to Dawn of X... well, about a year later than everybody else. Today we're kicking off the new post-HoX/DoX X-Men landscape with a look at X-Men #1... or izzit, X-Men LGY#645? Ehh, who worries about silly things like numbering? Certainly nobody out there would ever devote like five minutes to complaining about something so silly. Err, please listen anyway.

We check up on Orchis, meet a posthuman in "current year", and have an uncanny dinner with the Summers Family. Prepare to be weirded out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 12 - Powers of X #6 (2019)

X-Lapsed, Episode 12

Powers of X #6 (December, 2019)
"House of X"
Writer - Jonathan Hickman
Art - R.B. Silva & Pepe Larraz
Colors - Marte Gracia & David Curiel
Letters - VC's Clayton Cowles
Design - Tom Muller
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $5.99
On-Sale Date: October 9, 2019



We have finally made it, gang! I can actually now say that I've read the entirety of HoX/PoX. I always intended to read it... but, I never saw myself actually talking about it on the air for something like ten hours (or would that be "x" hours?).

Today we wrap things up... but perhaps not with as tidy a bow as I'd hoped, as we read Powers of X #6. We've got A LOT to talk about here... and I'm so happy to finally be part of that conversation. Feedback is definitely appreciated! Thanks to those of you listening in real-time for your support... and for not spoiling me on anything!

What happened? What still "is"? What never "was"? Where do we go from here? I... well, um... I don't know if any of those questions get answered here, to be honest... and, if you listen, you'll probably have even more questions when we're done!

Join me next time, as we jump into the Dawn of X proper with X-Men #1... or, izzit X-Men LGY#645? Ehh, we'll save that senses-shattering discussion for then.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Morituri Mondays, Episode 29 - Strikeforce: Morituri #29 (5/89) w/John Celestri!!!

Morituri Mondays, Episode 29

Strikeforce: Morituri #29 (May, 1989)
"Dead Reckoning"
Writer - James D. Hudnall
Pencils - Mark Bagley
Inks - Carlos Garzon
Letters - Phil Felix
Colors - Max Scheele
Edits - Carl Potts
Chief - Tom DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.50 USD / $2 CAN / 50p UK
On Sale Date: January 3, 1989


For today's episode of Morituri Mondays, the comic we're discussing, while a goodie, is secondary to our special guest... the Animator behind the first appearance of Boba Fett (during the Star Wars Holiday Special), as well as Rock & Rule, He-Man, She-Ra, and Dragon's Lair - John Celestri!

Mr. Celestri hangs out for a couple of hours and gives the Chris's a wonderful and entertaining education as it pertains to the art and history of animation. We even get in on the fun ourselves as we deliver Season Two of Strikeforce: Morituri for the returning Pitchforce: Morituri segment!

Your regularly scheduled Morituri coverage is also intact... the story is heating up in a big way as we, ever so quickly, rush toward the end of the series proper! Only two episodes to go before we hop in the Electric Undertow... and Beyond!

--

Check out John Celestri (@CelestriJohn) and all of his projects at:

His Indiegogo!

His YouTube Channel!

His Web-Site!

--

Your May, 1989 Strikeforce: Morituri Roster - Scanner, Revenge, Lifter, Burn, (The Ghost, The Wind, The Tiger)

Alumni - Snapdragon (#4), Vyking (#6), Marathon (#12), Adept (#13), Wildcard (#13), Radian (#15), Scaredycat (#19), Blackthorn (#20), Toxyn (#21), Backhand (#22), Hardcase (#23), Silencer (#23), Scatterbrain (#24), Shear (#25), Brava (#28)

Sunday, September 13, 2020

X-Lapsed, Episode 11 - House of X #6 (2019)

X-Lapsed, Episode 11

House of X #6 (December, 2019)
"I Am Not Ashamed"
Writer - Jonathan Hickman
Art - Pepe Larraz
Colors - Marte Gracia & David Curiel
Letters - VC's Clayton Cowles
Design - Tom Muller
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $4.99
On-Sale Date: October 2, 2019




It's the penultimate issue of HoX/PoX... and, boy these "other shoes" just keep droppin', don't they?

Join me for House of X #6, as I discuss Xavier stepping over the Rubicon... and also establishing the first Krakoan government, complete with a trio of laws! It's an issue that will leave your humble host with chills, a few times over! It's conflicting, scary, and so WRONG that it can't help but to feel RIGHT... plus, there's a party at the end that almost brought me to tears!

All that, plus listener mail, and an apology to Jonathan Hickman for ever discounting his work.

--
Damien's "Should I Love This Comic?" Podcast:
https://byvtwk.podbean.com/

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Marvel Comics Presents #4 (1988)


Marvel Comics Presents #4 (Early October, 1988)
Wolverine: "Save the Tiger, Part 4 of 10: The Ordeal"
Man-Thing: "Elements of Terror, Part 4 of 12: Rage and Design"
Master of Kung Fu: "Crossing Lines, Part 4 of 8: Water"
Thor: "Silent Thunder"
Writers - Chris Claremont, Steve Gerber, Doug Moench, & Al Milgrom
Pencils - John Buscema, Tom Sutton, Tom Grindberg, & Al Milgrom
Inks - Klaus Janson, Tom Sutton, Dave Cockrum, & Al Milgrom
Letters - Tom Orzechowski, Bill Oakley, Michael Heisler, & Jim Novak
Colors - Glynis Oliver, Petra Scotese, & Greg Wright
Assistant Edits - Michael Rockwitz
Edits - Terry Kavanagh
Chief - Tom DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.25

Welcome to the fourth compilation post for Marvel Comics Christents... where I bring to you, well... unfortunately, four rather uninspired li'l chapters of our ongoing features.  Not a whole heckuva lot going on here... so, let's just get down to it!

Not going to bother with a poll this week... it just wasn't getting enough engagement to justify my spending the time putting it together.  Feel free to share your favorite story from this week in the comments below, though!

Let's peep across the street at DC and see what was going on in their anthology when this issue hit the shelves!


If you have the time or interest in checking out the Action Comics Weekly bits, lemme know if you think Marvel or DC had a stronger outing this time out!  That Catwoman feature does start out pretty strong over in ACW!

--



We open with Wolverine waking up... chained and bound.  He is soon joined by Sapphire Styx, that woman who wouldn't stop introducing herself back at the Princess Bar... and who, kinda sucked out his soul with a kiss last chapter.  She's here... well... to pretty much do the same thing again.  It would appear that she's some sort of energy-vampire or something.  She plants one on him, which envelops him in darkness... and leaves him as gentle as a pup.



Enter: Mr. Roche, Razorfist, and some dude whose just really happy to be there.  Roche introduces himself as the "Crimelord" of Madripoor... which is kind of adorable, and he plans to do whatever it takes to pry some information out of our hero.  He wants information on "The Tiger"... and they're going to get it, one way... or another.  He motions to the fella who's just really happy to be there... and it looks like it's about to be torture time!



Back at the Princess Bar, Jess and O'Donnell chat a bit about the curious hairy stranger that popped by earlier.  Jessan doesn't remember him, but notes that he said he knew her in the "old days".  O'Donnell reminds her that she's a different person now.  She acknowledges this fact, and comments that she doesn't even miss the woman she used to be.



From here, we get a page and a half of Wolverine being tortured.  The tormentors finally decide to throw it in for the day, and leave our hero to his lonesome.  It's here that Chris Claremont dutifully reminds us that our main man is packin'... both razor-sharp Adamantium claws... and a Mutant healing factor.  For those keeping score, I think we're now four-for-four on those reminders!  He cuts himself free of his shackles, and after a time, stumbles his way out of wherever the hell he's being held.  Unfortunately for him, he stumbles right into the path of... Razorfist!



Ol' Fist... well, he kicks the weakened Wolvie's ass... stabbing him in the throat... and tossing him into the drink, which rushes right into a waterfall.  Hmm... Roche ain't gonna find out what he wants to know this way, will he?  Whatever the case, Razorfist salutes the assumed dead Wolverine, and laments that they could've been great enemies.  Well, maybe don't flatter yourself too much there, Fist...



--

While I enjoyed this, for what it was... I gotta say that this was probably the weakest chapter of the Wolverine story up to this point.  Doesn't make it bad... just makes it "not as good" as they had been.

It's mostly an expositional episode... but, it's done quite well.  It never feels like we're being lectured... or just having information "dumped" on us.  Right now, as a sister-project here at the site, I'm going through the recent House of X/Powers of X event... and, I wish there were more of this in that... than what we're getting there.  Claremont was able to "show don't tell", or perhaps more accurately "show and tell", whereas today... we're just dolloped scoop after scoop of info-dump.

Even though all we're getting here was information... about Roche, about Jessan... it doesn't ever feel like we're reading a page in a textbook... and for that, I can't not like this for what it is.  That said, there also isn't all that much for me to expound on here... it really is a case of "it is what it is".  A foundational chapter, from which we'll hopefully build on in future installments.

Good... not great.


--
--



We open with a bit of a reminder of what we've read up to this point... and it's all horribly purple.  When we finally get with the "now", we see that our investigative reporter, Mr. Ditillio has been picked up upon arrival in Florida... by those two goofballs from the first chapter of this feature.  They push him into a car, and take him far away to "deal with him".  When we rejoin them, they're way out in the swamp... where this whole story began.  Looks like that house they were hangin' out in has been burned down.  They baddies assume that the "Demon" had something to do with it.  Just as they're about to "off" Mr. Ditillio, our mild-mannered reporter socks 'em in the face and runs away.  Our "heroes" ain't too frazzled, however, as they're sure if the gators don't get the guy... the Swamp Devil will.



We shift scenes to Maryland, and the home of our "Freedom, Rah Rah" strawman, Mr. Jody Choate.  He's meeting with a fella named Bressack... and he's got a plan.  It's a plan that might get him in trouble... ya know, if he wasn't working in the name of FREEDOM.  That's about all we get.



From here, we visit the Freedom Science Studies Institute.  Hrmm, I wonder if that's the "freedom" Choate keeps talking about.  Anyhoo, they're still experimenting on our sweaty Senatuh friend from Chapter Two... and, they've evidently transformed him into a super soldier.  That is, until he pops.



We now rejoin Dumb and Dumber, as they're trying to track down the Devil Woman who they believe burned down their shack.  They head into a... I dunno, dilapidated mansion or something... and are told that she's there... but, she's not looking to be bothered.



Our men ain't about to take no for an answer... which prompts Voodoo Mama Juju to show her face and tell them herself that she wants to be left alone.  When our heroes try to press the issue... we come to learn that she actually isn't alone... there's a (Giant-Size?) Man-Thing in the house.



--

Welp, if you ever told me I'd be pining for another story featuring the Feral Man, I'd have laughed in your face.  And yet, here we are!

This is... kind of a bore.  A pretty weak outing, perhaps compounded by the knowledge that we know what Gerber is capable of with this character.  Well, I don't personally... but, I have heard good things.  Lots of good things, in fact!

I always worry when I start seeing writers rely on strawmen... though, I am hopeful that the "freedom" that big-bad Jody Choate is talking about is that Freedom Science joint... and not just the good ol' American jingoism that writers seem especially keen on deconstructing time and again.

The art, I will say, is still top-notch!  Tom Sutton is doing all of the heavy-lifting here... and is really pulling out all the stops when it comes to the gore.  Not my cuppa tea to look at, but I can't deny that it looks pretty much exactly like it ought to.  Disturbing, dark, gross... just perfect.  If only he were drawing a better story...


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We open with Shang-Chi, Reston, and Black Jack Tarr conferring to plan how they may go about rescuing the kidnapped (or, as they put it in this story "kidnaped") and newly one-handed, Leiku Wu.  They're assuming she was napped/naped by a one-handed fella called Argus.  It's a pretty contentious chat... with neither Chi nor Tarr really seeing eye-to-eye as to how they go about it.  Ya see, Chi wants to leave Tarr and Reston behind... which, causes Jack to flip out... it's really quite an annoying little scene that kills a few too many panels in my opinion.



Shang-Chi assures the fellas that, while he doesn't want them to accompany him, that doesn't mean he's going alone.  He's got frenemies (oof, I can't believe I actually used that word.  Stop me if I do so again) in low places... and so, we are introduced to Shen Kuei... the Cat.  I've never seen this dude before, but it seems as though he and Chi have had a tussle or two in their time... even had a few women come between them, one of them Leiko Wu herself!  Upon learning that she is in trouble, the Cat agrees to help out.



Speaking of Ms. Wu, we join her as she's been tied to a chair by... none other than Argus.  During her... uh, interrogation (?), she manages to break free... but is quickly kayoed with a (literal) right-hook to the mush.



We shift scenes to a boat (called The Junk), where Tarr is giving Chi and the Cat the quick and dirty on their mission.  He tries making it far more complex than it needs to be, but what it all boils down to is... Chi and Kuei are both Asian... and they're going to replace some Yakuza weapon-buyers in order to get in close to Argus.  Once they're inside, they'll assume the roles of "Red Wolves", whoever they are.



Chi and Kuei think the first part of the plan is solid... but, that second-half... they're not so sure.  They all board a little rowboat to head back to the docks from The Junk.  Just as they arrive on dry land, however, The Junk is blown sky-high.  Game on.



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I have this little... hmm... problem with "Part 4's".  If you've listened to any of my audio exploits, I'm sure you've heard me mention it a time or two.  In today's decompressed comics landscape, "Part 4 of 6" pretty much means you're in for a garbage issue... full of poorly-told recaps, with the teensiest bit of momentum toward the climax.

Now, this chapter wasn't recappy in the slightest... but, it felt like quite the time-killer.  Which is kind of a shame, as I've been kinda digging on this story up to this point.  Hopefully this was just a lull... and next time out, we'll be back to business as usual.  I don't wanna be too hard on it, going by the "three chapters = one issue" model we've been using... I suppose this was decent enough "first third" of an issue.

Perhaps if I had any familiarity or attachment to Shang-Chi and his crew, I'd be a bit more excited seeing folks like The Cat.


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We open with Thor fighting off some robot exoskeleton things... which, is pretty much all I picture when Thor has a "Midgardian" adventure.  Then... the sensational character find of 1988 shows his pervy face... why, it's the Fear Bug!!!  After giving us a page recapping his prior attempts to "feed", he sets his sights on Thor.  After a scan, he learns that this is no ordinary man... and it doesn't look like he has any fear.



So, what is a pervy fear bug to do?  Hey, I know... let's make Thor think he's participating in Ragnarok.  That doesn't happen like every fourth issue featuring the guy!  Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating... but, it sure feels that way, dunnit?  When our man refuses to go down, the Fear-Eater does... something... inside him to cause him to be kayoed.  What was it... and why didn't he just do it to the Surfer, The Captain, and The Thing?  Well, your guess is as good as mine.



Thor lays there a bit, dealing with his current situation... before, you guessed it, ultimately overcoming his fear... driving the Fear-Eater away to seek out another host.  When Thor comes to, he realizes he's still on Earth.



We wrap up with the Fear-Eater spotting his next victim... and, it's Daredevil!  Get this, though... whatta they call Daredevil?  Oh yeah, The Man Without Fear.  Wonk, wonk, wonkkkkk... R.I.P. in Pieces, Fear-Bug... we hardly knew ye!



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Welp, I'll hand it to Milgrom, the Daredevil twist at the end was pretty clever... and it did elicit a chuckle.  Daredevil, if I'm not mistaken, will be our "anchor" story next issue... so, this is a neat way to build a bit more cohesion in the anthology.

The rest of the story?  Weak-city.  I don't necessarily feel like the Fear-Eater is "played out", in fact, I think I'd have enjoyed seeing a few more stories with him goofing around the Marvel Universe.  Heck, for all I know, he'll show up in next issue's DD feature!  Thor... I'm sorry, gang... I'm never going to be able to summon up enough interest to fully invest in a Thor story.  That ain't the fault of Milgrom... or the story, just my own personal tastes.

Overall... this is probably the weakest "Fear-Eater" feature.  I wonder if we'll ever see the li'l bugger again.


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