Thursday, 30 April 2015

Marvel Flashback: The wedding of Quicksilver and Crystal

Avengers #127 (Marvel Comics)

Steve Englehart (w) Sal Buscema (a)

From September 1974 hails the wedding of the mutant Quicksilver to Crystal of the Inhumans in their hidden lair of Attilan. As you'd expect not all goes to plan despite the presence of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four.

Just like in your average TV soap opera even a wedding can't go to plan, except this involves  a super villain about to be introduced to the world in the second Avengers movie, the bastard son of Henry Pym (Ant Man/Giant Man/Yellowjacket) Ultron-7!

Disgruntled minions, the Alpha Primitives who live in the underbelly of Attilan have been wound up to rebel by Maximus, the mad Brother of Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans.

And of course he's just a tool of Ultron and gets shafted as you'd expect by the mad artificial life form.

The action begins...

And concludes in Fantastic Four #150.

What does Ultron-7 want?

Oh to rule the world.

What else does your average super-villain want...... 


Two back issues worth tracking down!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Empire: Uprising

STK669235 Image

Empire: Uprising (IDW)

Mark Waid (w) Barry Kitson (a)

It's been a decade since the last instalment of this story was printed. It ended with Golgoth murdering his daughter who had betrayed him....

We return to the nightmare world that the super-villain has conquered as only one year has passed since the death of Princess Delthi, and the world is taught she was murdered by rebels. Like any dictatorship truth is in short supply and the worlds citizens have to observe a three minute silence in her memory.

The penalty for not doing so is "simply" death.

As we learn from the unnamed teacher in the opening pages:

"This is a golden age children. No one who has ever lived is more respected than Golgoth for bringing a rigid peace and order to a chaotic world these past three years"

The price has been oppression and genocide.

At the moment of the observance the remaining resistance attacks.....


The first volume was an excellent series and had a cult following but not enough to keep it going at DC Comics. The sequel published by IDW was originally published as an on-line project but the print comic contains extra art.

I highly recommend not only this series but you should pick up the Trade Paperback of the original 10 issue run first.

You won't regret it!

Tell 'em Howie sent ya!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

DC Spotlight: Ghosts #97

Ghosts #97 (DC Comics)

Writers & Artists (v)

Ghosts was a fairly long running title published by DC comics from the seventies to it's final issue in 1982. Not one of DC's better "horror" books (in my opinion) but one that was worth occasionally worth dipping into.

This issue from February 1981 is notable only for it's short story featuring Dr 13: The Ghostbreaker vs The Spectre, one of my all time favourite DC "superheroes" who I fondly remember from his short lived solo series back in the sixties.


The story is serviceable as is the rather mundane art. This title was used for lesser known artists and writer to give them a try out but with the Spectre still in his Jim Corrigan incarnation, the feature is worth a brief read.

The other three stories are the usual ghostly affair and soon forgotten. There have been better issues.

The Spectre reappears in the following issue.

Frankly The Spectre deserved better!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Marvel Flashback: Ka-Zar & Doctor Doom in Astonishing Tales!

Astonishing Tales #5 (Marvel Comics)

Kar-Zar: Gerry Conway (w) Barry Smith (a), Doctor Doom: Larry Leiber (w) George Tuska (a)

Astonishing Tales was an attempt by Marvel Comics to revive their "double feature" comics that had been at the centre of their success back in the sixties.

Launched in late 1970, this title featured two characters, Ka-Zar, Marvel's version of Tarzan but with dinosaurs in the hidden land which is a jungle in Antarctica. Don't ask. The second feature was the nefarious villain Doctor Doom.

This issue featured the end of Ka-Zar's "Petrified Man" story line complete with  a treacherous High Priestess, a monstrous guardian and of course the tragic "villain" of the piece the immortal nameless one.

Fairly standard fair for a story set in the Savage Land and popular enough for Ka-Zar to go on and become the only feature in the book from #9 to #20.


Meanwhile Doctor Doom has been trying to have a bit of fun in the French Rivera but got bored so off he sets to his home nation of Latveria.

Not all is well.

The Red Skull has taken over in Dooms absence, hoping to use the small European nation as a base from which to build the Fourth Reich.

Doesn't last long though as Doom easily overcomes the Skulls useless Nazi minions in just a few pages.

Doom goes on to star in Super-Villain Team up. 


Thursday, 23 April 2015

This Summer: Star Trek/Green Lantern Crossover!


Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War (IDW/DC)

Mike Johnson (w) Angel Hernadez (a)

Two fan favourite frnachise combine this July thanks to IDW's continuing Star Trek crossover programme and what a choice, Green Lantern!

Two highly compatible science fiction franchises in one adventure.

The solicitation reads:

Set in Star Trek’s 23rd Century, the balance of the universe will be tested when the Green Lantern Corps’ Power Rings come into the possession of certain Star Trek characters while a dark and powerful evil looms around every corner. Only the combined power of the Green Lantern Corp and the Federation stand any chance of stopping those who worship evil’s might.

Can't wait!!!

Available for order from Previews for July release.


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Marvel Flashback: The Incredible Hulk #184

The Incredible Hulk #184 (Marvel Comics)

Len Wein (w) Herb Trimpe (a)

This issue of The Incredible Hulk was drawn by the late Herb Trimpe who was considered to be the Hulk artist by most fans. Herb certainly does evoke the image I will always remember from reading the Hulk when I were a lad.

This issue published in 1975, the year after I left school sees the Hulk fight his own shadow literally!

Utilising some defeated aliens from an old horror comic they had recently republished in Where Monsters Dwell #31, (originally from Strange Tales #79) the Hulk finds his shadow develops a life of it's own controlled by the warlord Kaa.


"Hulk never gives up alien..never! Now give back Hulks shadow..or Hulk will crush you"

Never a good idea to piss off old greenskin!

And Kaa calls him a monster!

Needless to say Kaa gets his just deserts, though all does not end well for Bruce Banner as he regains his human form.

He's shot..

To be continued!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Archie Horror: Sabrina #2

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #2 (Archie Comics)

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (w) Robert Hack (a)

The second and somewhat delayed issue of Sabrina finally hit the stands this week and boy was it worth the wait! Chapter two introduces readers to the The Secret History of Madam Satan and to say this is somewhat of a departure from the "family friendly all ages" material that fans are used to seeing is an understatement.

A horrifying monstrosity stalks the woods towards the sleepy camp of some children where Madam Satan undergoes a transformation in which she steals a teenagers face leaving her victim with her own visage.

Screams ensue.

And off our intrepid evil witch goes to find the woman that left her jilted and torn apart by lions (I kid you not) but you'll need to read the issue to find out why.

After prevaricating about her form of revenge she discovers the existence of Sabrina.

Be afraid, be very afraid.....

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Back Issue (Magazine) #79

Back Issue #79 (Tomorrows Publishing)

One of the few remaining magazines about comics (due to the dawn of the Internet) is Back Issue magazine which features comics from the "Bronze Age and beyond", covering the seventies and eighties.

The latest issue covers the Charlton Action Heroes and in particular their resurrection by DC comics.

The opening article gives a short, but comprehensive history of the Charlton line from the time the publishers met in prison to the characters sale to DC for a mere $5,000,


As is now known Alan Moore wanted to use these characters for his now classic Watchmen series, but DC had other plans for them which included new adventures following the equally classic Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline that helped bring comics to the fore in the eighties.

The two main heroes covered in this issue of the journal are Blue Beetle and Captain Atom.


Both these comics are well worth collecting and I certainly enjoyed them. You should be able to pick up copies at quite reasonable prices from your local store.

Two other heroes appeared in mini series which are also covered in this issue but were less well received, not too keen on them myself if I'm honest. These were Peacemaker and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt.


Is it me or does Peacemaker remind you of a Cyberman?

Of course you can't publish a magazine about the Charlton heroes without an article about the Watchmen and that actually rounds off the issue.

Back Issue magazine is published 8 times a year so watch out for themed issues in the Magazines section of Previews.


Friday, 17 April 2015

The Fox #1

The Fox #1 (Dark Circle/Archie Comics)

Dean Haspiel & Mark Waid (w) Dean Haspiel (a)

The second of the new titles launched by Archie Comics under the Dark Circle imprint arrived in stores this week and a good read it turned out to be!

The Fox is not a character I have much knowledge of having only seen one black & white reprint in an old issue of Alan Class's Creepy Worlds anthology and the recent mini-series that predated the launch of Dark Circle which was a little bit weird to be honest.

This issue however shows a promising start to a quite stylised Fox and features Paul Patten showing his son around the soon to be drowned by a reservoir home town that he grew up in.

All is not well as someone from his past is trying to stop the destruction. Fortunately for The Fox his son is well aware of his costumed identity so joining the fight does not pose a "Clark Kent" moment.

Not that his mask fools his sorceress opponent, the first girl he ever kissed when he was 12. Ahh, young love never dies.

Oh did I mention poisonous fungus!

Pick up a copy and place a regular order at your local comic book store now. It's going to be a fun ride!

Here's a sneak peek....

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Marvel Flashback: The coming of Union Jack.....

Invaders #8 (Marvel Comics)

Roy Thomas (w) Frank Robbins (a)

From the Ashes of War...The First British Superhero is reborn!

So shouts the announcement on the cover of Invaders #8, the comic that revives the Timely Comics characters and is set during the Second World War.

Captain America & Bucky, The Sub-Mariner and the Original Human Torch & Toro, "the greatest superheroes of World War Two".

Sitting around a grand dinner table the heroes feast with Lord Falsworth and his daughter oblivious to the fact that his nephew is in fact Baron Blood complete with false teeth to hide his all to real fangs. Here we learn the tale of Lord Falsworth's exploits in the Great War as a costumed spy.. Union Jack. and his last mission to capture or destroy whoever is killing high ranking British subjects in an attempt to undermine the war effort.

The culprit is of course none other than Baron Blood..

Cue the forties and the dastardly villain is back again. and the Invaders are setting about capturing this villainous agent of the Axis.

However the Invaders are taken down and only the return of Union Jack saves the day...for now.

The Invaders was typical seventies fare and lasted some 41 issues plus a couple of Annuals & Specials.

Worth a read I'd say..and continued next issue!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Marvel Flashback: Two in One #77

Marvel Two-In-One #77 (Marvel Comics)

Tom DeFalco (w) Ron Wilson (a)

The Thing, Man Thing and.. Sgt Fury & His Howling Commandos all in one issue? How is that possible?

Of course this is comics and not all is as it seems.

Nick Fury calls in on the Baxter building to get Ben Grimm (aka The Thing) to "volunteer" to test fly an experimental plane that goes at Mach 3. A challenge former WWII pilot Benjamin Grimm cannot refuse.

So with tears in Alicia's eyes off he goes.

This being comics the bloody thing of all places the Florida Everglades home of the silent monstrosity...The Man Thing.

Struggling to survive (and being stalked by the muck monster attracted to Grimm's heroic survival instincts) Ben begins a journey whereby he reminisces his WWII adventures with you guessed it Sgt Fury and his Howlers.

An interesting story from 1981 that concentrates on character rather than just action.


Monday, 13 April 2015

Marvel Flashback: Captain Marvel #2

Captain Marvel #2 (Marvel Comics)

Roy Thomas (w) Gene Colan (a)

From the void of space of comes..... The Super Skrull!

So opens the second issue of Captain Marvel, a warrior of the Kree who finds himself on Earth studying mankind to ascertain if "their existence is a potential threat to the Kree supremacy" as he muses out loud as comic characters tend to do.

Finding his equipment satchel missing he heads of in search of the night clerk who appears to be the thief.

Meanwhile old foes the Skrulls note the presence of the Kree on Earth. The Emperor sends for the Super Skrull, now exiled to the furthest reaches of space following his defeats at the hands of the Fantastic Four and Thor.

Not so "super", even though he has all the same powers as the FF!

But with a promise of reward (short of the crown itself) and the threat of death for failure of he goes.

Our adventure begins.

A recent creation of Marvels at the time it's an early pre-cosmic adventure of the good captain.

Oh, and continued next issue.....

Must get one of these days!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A DC oddity: Prez (1973)

Prez (4 issues 1973/74) (DC Comics)

Joe Simon (w) Jerry Grandenetti (a)

The announcement that Prez was to be "rebooted" and relaunched as part of the post Convergence story-line prompted me to go out and obtain copies of the original series which I had never read or actually even remember seeing at the time of their original release.

My local comic shop had all four issues at very reasonable prices so I decided to pick 'em all up to see what this title was all about.

As 18 year olds get the vote, why not a teenage President? The stuff comics for kids were made of you'd think except it didn't last very long and I have to be honest I appreciate the story more as an adult than I think I would as a schoolboy which I was at the time of their release.

A generational war begins as Congress passes a law giving teen the right to vote and corporate criminal "Boss Smiley" decides to run a teen for President that he can control.

Enter Prez Rickard, whose claim to fame is to get all the clocks in his home time to tell the correct time. Doesn't sound like any  teenager I know or recall from my youth. Never on time me!

He doesn't count on the good old American honesty and grit of Young Prez who becomes President and sees Boss Smiley off...for now.

Oh and with a little help from teenage Indian boy Eagle Free and his menagerie of animals. Not sure why he has a gorilla but DC has always had "a thing about gorillas" so just go with the flow.


In the second issue memories of the "Cold War" are relived as America and Russia compete over chess. The US entrant is a money grabbing creep called Robby Fish Head and his pernicious opponent is the gorgeous but deadly Queen Errant. Needless to say chess related mayhem ensues.

The third issues sees Prez take on the gun lobby by having to fight a descendant which ends in hand to hand combat.

The final issue sees Prez upset the Transylvanians and a crippled Dracula ends up attacking him in the White House. This issue also contains the sole letter page and is full of praise...except that's it. Prez never caught on.

The new Prez 12 issue limited series starts on June 17th. This time it's a girl!

The solicit reads:

Meet Beth Ross, the first teenaged President of the United States. In a nation where corporations can run for office, the poor are used as human billboards, and tacos are delivered by drone, our only hope is this nineteen-year-old Twitter sensation. But the real question isn't whether she's ready for politics - it's whether politics is ready for her!

STK672307 Image

Give it a go! It's on my "pull list"!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Marvel Flashback: Machine Man #10

Machine Man #10 (Marvel Comics)

Marv Wolfman (w) Steve Ditko (a)

"If we delay even another moment Machine Man will be dead"

The issue opens with Machine Man being rushed into a laboratory following a bust up with the Hulk which actually took place in the Hulks own mag (#235 to 237). Will he survive?

Silly question really as this was a re-launch of title that had been discontinued eight months earlier after the original run with Jack Kirby came to en end. This time the reigns were with two other Marvel "big guns", Marv Wolfman and the great Steve Ditko.


These days it would be launched with a new #1, but back then it was fairly common practise for companies to revive series with the old numbering.

This issue relates or rather reboots the origin of Aaron Stack, the "Machine Man" as robot X-51 from a military programme. Not quite the origin we all knew but then Marvel had lost the 2001 franchise so in order to integrate the character into the Marvel universe a new origin was necessary.

Of course like so many Marvel heroes he had to find his way in the world. As he muses his existence:

"But if I'm not a robot..and I'm not a human being.. what am I?"

His "father" Abel Stack a scientist appears in a hologram message (think Star Wars) and tells him that;

"Aaron, you are not merely a walking, talking computer. You are a thinking living creature of God. If you were a mere thing you would not have found a human being to help you.."

There's more but you get the gist.

Regretfully this only lasted until #19, but I've always been a fan of both the original Kirby and this Ditko run. Worth getting an issue or two if you come across them.

Aarron does appear in the MU from time to time but his last solo series didn't last too long.