Monday, July 30, 2018


Story & Pencils: John Byrne | Inks: John Byrne & Keith Williams
Coloring: Tom Ziuko | Lettering: John Costanza | Editing: Michael Carlin

Story & Pencils: Dan Jurgens | Inks: Roy Richardson
Letters: Steve Haynie | Colors: Gene D’Angelo | Editor: Barbara Randall

The Plot: (ACTION 594) On “Superman Day” in Metropolis, local hero Booster Gold goes on an anti-Superman crusade, demolishing a statue in the Man of Steel’s honor, speaking out against him at a press conference, and even kidnapping the mayor’s daughter to draw Superman out. When Superman finds Booster, they have a brief skirmish which sees the latter triumph over an unusually weak Superman. Then a second Booster Gold arrives, declaring the first to be an imposter.

(BOOSTER 23) Booster fights the imposter, eventually realizing it’s an android, and destroys it to find a small chunk of Kryptonite inside. Superman realizes Lex Luthor must be behind the charade, and a moment later Luthor dispatches an operative called Attack Dog One against Superman and Booster. Attack Dog One retrieves the Kryptonite with a small flying pod which leaves the scene of the fight. But with the Kryptonite gone, Superman finds himself back to full power. He easily defeats Attack Dog One and makes uneasy peace with Booster.

Sunday, July 29, 2018


I'm getting this one in just under the wire for the month, but there's a reason: I picked something up at Comic-Con that I wanted to include for our July Unboxing. First, however, a quick Digital Unboxing: You'll recall that just last month, I grabbed digital versions of a bunch of Dark Horse's USAGI YOJIMBO SAGA books, with plans to get the remaining, earlier Usagi stuff from Fantagraphics whenever they had a sale. Well, that time came sooner than expected, with a linewide Comixology/Amazon sale of the publisher's wares just this month. As such, I picked up USAGI YOJIMBO BOOK 1: THE RONIN, USAGI YOJIMBO BOOK 2: SAMURAI, USAGI YOJIMBO BOOK 3: THE WANDERER'S ROAD, USAGI YOJIMBO BOOK 4: THE DRAGON BELLOW CONSPIRACY, USAGI YOJIMBO BOOK 5: LONE GOAT AND KID, USAGI YOJIMBO BOOK 6: CIRCLES, and USAGI YOJIMBO BOOK 7: GEN' STORY, making me (as far as I know) the proud owner of all collected Usagi stories to date.

I also took advantage of a Viz sale to grab DRAGON BALL SUPER vol. 1, vol. 2, and vol. 3, adapting the ongoing TV series into a manga format (which is totally the opposite of the original DRAGON BALL/DRAGON BALL Z, which was a manga adapted to television.

And now the biggy: from IDW (in cooperation with Marvel), the John Byrne's X-Men Artifact Edition. There have been a few of IDW's "Artist Edition" books which have intrigued me; specifically the John Romita Spider-Man books and the Walter Simonson Thor book, but I've always balked a bit at the price and considered them non-essential items. This, however, is the first in the series which really piqued my interest, and which I considered a must-have.

So since I had wanted the book anyway, when I saw IDW offering an SDCC exclusive version with an alternate cover, signed and hand-numbered by Byrne himself, I jumped to pre-order, and picked it up the first day of the show. I've only skimmed it so far, but it's really nice -- and it's huge! This is the first Artist Edition book I've seen in person, and even though I know how big comic book art pages are, it's still larger than I expected. I can't wait to really sit down and peruse this thing.

But for now, that's it. Will there be an Unboxing in August? Last year that started a three-month stretch of nothing. This time, I guess we'll find out together.

Friday, July 27, 2018


June 26th, 1961 - December 9th, 1961
Written by Henry Gammidge | Illustrated by John McLusky

So. There was a movie made in 1985 -- Roger Moore's final outing as James Bond -- called A VIEW TO A KILL. The title is one word shy of a short story written by Ian Fleming and released in 1960 -- and that's literally the only similarity between the two. A VIEW TO A KILL is a horrible movie about Christopher Walken trying to blow up Silicon Valley while a near-fossilized James Bond (57-year-old [!] Roger Moore) tries to stop him. "From a View to a Kill" is a tale which pushes Bond, as was the case in MOONRAKER, into the role of detective, and he's sent to France to investigate the murder of a dispatch rider ferrying important documents from the headquarters of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) to the country's British Secret Service outpost.

Bond spends makes time with a secret service agent named Mary Ann Russell while investigating the grounds around the base and the path traveled by the rider, eventually learning that he was killed by a Russian agent masquerading as a fellow dispatcher. Bond thwarts the Russians as expected, and the tale comes to an end.

There's a lot of jousting in this story between MI6 and SHAPE, which is kind of fun to see -- basically the entire reason M sends Bond on this mission is to show up SHAPE by having his agent solve the mystery after they've given up. I confess that I've never quite understood the title of this story -- the movie version actually makes a bit more sense to me despite its corny shoehorning into the script -- but now that I've actually read it, I think the idea is that Bond is sitting on a Paris street, enjoying a meal and admiring the view, when he's summoned into action and winds up eventually killing some guys.

That's the best I can come up with, anyway.

Monday, July 23, 2018

WONDER WOMAN #10 & #11

Plot & Pencils: George Pérez | Script: Len Wein | Inks: Bruce D. Patterson
Letterer: John Costanza | Colorist: Carl Gafford | Editor: Karen Berger

The Plot: (Issue 10) Following Princess Diana’s defeat of Ares, Zeus has decided to reward the Amazons by making love to them, beginning with Diana. He summons her but she rebuffs him, and Hera pulls Zeus back to Olympus. Soon, Diana is summoned to appear before the gods, where she’s told by Zeus that she must complete a series of tasks beneath Paradise Island. Upon finishing the tasks, she will find Zeus’s “greatest treasure” and return it to him, earning the Amazons’ freedom—but if she fails, Zeus declares the Amazons will be lost.

Soon, Diana enters the vault beneath Paradise Island, which the Amazons have guarded for centuries. Immediately, she battles a demon called Cottus and kills it. But no sooner is Cottus defeated, than Diana finds herself confronted by a hydra.

(Issue 11) As Zeus and the gods watch, Diana battles and defeats the hydra, losing all her weapons, save her lasso, in the process. While Diana lays passed out from the ordeal, on Paradise Island a vulture appears to Hippolyte, sending her racing toward the vault. Meanwhile, Diana wakes up and continues her mission, coming face-to-face with a creature called Echidna, which uses her fear against her.

The Amazon warrior Philippus fights Hippolyte to keep her from interfering in Diana’s mission, but Hippolyte defeats her and proceeds into the vault. Below, Diana beats Echidna as well, and plummets into an illusory ocean which quickly drains. As she finds herself looking at a vintage American fighter jet, Diana is greeted by the a woman dressed in her armor who claims to be her namesake.

Friday, July 20, 2018


As promised not too long ago, it's time for a second skip-week in the ongoing James Bond newspaper strip project. Due to a number of factors, I've fallen behind on that reading -- and one reason for the problem is that I'm here in sunny San Diego this week for Comic-Con. The convention just started yesterday, but since I like to have something to go up on Fridays even if it's not my normally scheduled post, here's your (drum roll) Comic-Con Update (one day in)!

And... it’s not much. I went to one panel yesterday; the STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS Tenth Anniversary retrospective. It was fun; series producer/co-creator Dave Filoni told some stories along with the other guests. They all lamented the series’ premature cancellation and showed some concept art to tease what would have come if the show hadn’t been yanked.

Then, to close things out, Filoni said that he had something to show the fans who had supported the show over the years. The lights went down and a trailer rolled. New footage appeared, along with the tagline “A war left unfinished... until now.” They has tricked us! This was no post-mort for a series cancelled before its time! It was an announcement that the show would be coming back next year!

The crowd went nuts. It was a really cool moment, and though it was, like I said, the only panel I went to yesterday, it was more than sufficient to allow me to call the day a win.

Next week: more James Bond, though I’m still way behind on my reading. This project may yet have further hiccups, but I guess we’ll find out together...

Monday, July 16, 2018


Written by: John Byrne | Penciled by: Art Adams | Inked by: Dick Giordano
Lettered by: Albert de Guzman | Colored by: Petra Scotese
Edited by: Michael Carlin

The Plot: Batman arrives in the small town of Fayerville, Louisiana, following the trail of a serial killer from Gotham City. But he quickly finds himself in over his head as he realizes he’s up against a vampire. The Caped Crusader calls the Daily Planet and asks Clark Kent to summon Superman for him. Soon after, the Man of Steel arrives in Fayerville and begins investigating the vampire as well, while Batman deduces the creature’s true identity as that of an apparently teenaged girl named Skeeter. When Skeeter attacks and nearly kills Superman, Batman finishes her off with a stake through the heart.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Batman uses the codeword “Magpie”, a reference to his and Superman’s first encounter in THE MAN OF STEEL, to authenticate himself to Clark.

When he fights Skeeter, Superman realizes her powers are magical in nature and therefore she is able to harm him. (He also mentions his “electro-chemical aura” not protecting his costume when she scratches his chest, reminding readers that Byrne is still one hundred percent behind that idea.)

Friday, July 13, 2018


October 3rd, 1960 - June 2th, 1961
Written by Henry Gammidge | Illustrated by John McLusky

GOLDFINGER, probably the most beloved and best-known James Bond film, is an interesting exercise in adaptation from the source material. Assuming, as usual, that the newspaper strip is a fairly faithful recreation of the novel, then the bigscreen version of GOLDFINGER follows the story almost precisely up to around the halfway point, at which it veers in a different (but superficially similar) direction.

But before we get there, first the commonalities: both the original and the movie begin with Bond in Miami following a mission, where he gets involved in determining how millionaire Auric Goldfinger has been cheating at cards. This seems to be something Bond likes to do in his spare time, as MOONRAKER began under similar circumstances. And there's another nice continuity touch here, as Bond is recognized in Miami by another player from the card table in CASINO ROYALE, which is how he's pulled into the Goldfinger situation. It's something the movie version could never have pulled off, since the prior adventure never happened in that continuity.

Bond returns to the U.K. after showing up Goldfinger, and, in a moment of total coincidence, is assigned by M to shadow the magnate and determine how he's been smuggling gold across Europe. MI6 believes Goldfinger to be the treasurer of SMERSH (a connection absent from the film, wherein the villain is affiliated with no organization other than his own), and busting his operation should cripple the Soviet agency. Bond plays a round of golf against Goldfinger in England, then shadows him to his factory in Switzerland, where he's captured, along with a young woman named Tilly Masterson who is after Goldfinger for revenge over her sister -- a girl Bond had dallied with in Miami and who Goldfinger had murdered for her indiscretion.

Monday, July 9, 2018


Writer: Marv Wolfman | Artist: Jerry Ordway | Inker: José F. Marzan
Letterer: Albert de Guzman | Colorist: Anthony Tollin | Editor: Mike Carlin

The Plot: Superman intervenes in a mugging, but fails to stop a LexCorp security guard’s keys and ID card being stolen. Later, a mysterious individual receives the stolen goods and prepares a costume for himself. Meanwhile, Perry and Alice White pick up their son, Jerry, from jail on bail. At LexCorp, Luthor discovers his Project Synapse lab was trashed, and has the guard whose keys were stolen beaten for his incompetence.

Later, Metropolis’ new vigilante, Gangbuster, accosts some criminals in their hideout and learns that Max Carter, second-in-command to mobster Jay Falk, has been arming the city’s youth. Superman, having somehow deduced that Jose Delgado broke into LexCorp, visits his apartment but finds him gone. He follows clues to a warehouse where the latest group of the city’s troubled teens are being armed, to find Gangbuster already there fighting the punks. Superman joins the fray, as does Jerry White, and the angry youths are routed.

The next day, Jay Falk is arrested for his role in the gang war, and Superman sends Luthor an instant message informing him that he knows the corrupt billionaire was pulling Falk’s strings.

Friday, July 6, 2018


Hey, folks! Let's take a break from our coverage of the adventures of Britain's premiere secret agent to celebrate that time the United States broke away from Britain to become its own country. Or, to put it another way, I'm a bit behind on my Bond reading, so I'm taking a skip week and I'm using this past Wednesday, Independence Day, as my flimsy excuse to do so.

Bond will continue next week, but until then, here's a picture I drew of Captain America a year or so back, and if you're feeling especially patriotic, you can check out some of my past musings on Marvel's very own Sentinel of Liberty:

Comic Reviews:

CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE (mini-series by Loeb & Sale)

Thoughts on a couple movies:

Back next week with more Bond, though I should warn you that I do foresee probably one more skip week before that project is done.

Monday, July 2, 2018


Dramatized and Choreographed by: Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway
Inked by: Bob Smith | Lettered by: Albert de Guzman | Colored by: Anthony Tollin
Edited by: Mike Carlin

The Plot: A series of vignettes follows Jimmy Olson, Lois Lane, Perry White, Jose Delgado, and Lex Luthor though their interactions with Jerry White. First, Jimmy is inside a convenience store when it’s robbed by a gang including Jerry. Superman catches most of the group, but Jerry gets away. Later, Lois visits Jose to find him arguing with Jerry. Jerry leaves to go warn “the boss”, a portly older man, that Lois was spying, but Superman interrupts their meeting before the boss can have Jerry beaten.

Later still, Lois presents a story to Perry White which includes reference to Jerry as a member of the gangs that have recently plagued Metropolis. Perry goes to visit his son in prison, but Jerry gives him the could shoulder. After being escorted to a darkened room, Jerry is harassed by a gang of inmates, but Superman appears and saves him—however, at some point after the Man of Steel departs, Jerry is beaten anyway.

As Lex Luthor receives a humanitarian award, Jose Delgado accosts him. Luthor’s private security catches up with Jose and prepares to kill him, but Superman intervenes. Later, Luthor meets with one of his scientists about Project Synapse, a plan to create a “super soldier” to challenge Superman, but declares the project a failure when only one of the test subjects survives.