Monday, October 29, 2018


Scripter/Co-Plotter : John Byrne | Penciller/Co-Plotter: Jerry Ordway
Inker: Dennis Janke | Colorist: Tony Tollin | Letterer: Albert de Guzman
Editor & Nervous Breakdowns: Mike Carlin

The Plot: Superman chats with Professor Hamilton, then departs for his date with Wonder Woman. On the way, he stops in Gotham City to retrieve the mystery scrapbook from Batman, then heads for Smallville, stopping a couple disasters along the way, to leave the book with his parents. Soon, Superman meets Wonder Woman in a field and plants a kiss on her.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Superman’s date with Wonder Woman was set up in WONDER WOMAN #16.

In the opening pages, we learn that Professor Hamilton has become Superman’s science-buddy, having built the robot that malfunctioned last issue, and perfected his force field as well. So I ranted a bit about the robot apparently appearing out of nowhere last issue, never suspecting Byrne planned to explain its origin in the very next installment. My apologies to Byrne on that matter! It’s a hard thing, trying to be critical of ongoing serialized stories. Especially when you’re as cantankerous as I am.

Jerry White chats with Jose Delgado at the hospital, and agrees to try once more to make amends with his father. The sub-plot regarding Perry taking leave from the Daily Planet to spend more time with his family, as established in one of Marv Wolfman’s final issues, seems to have been quietly swept under the rug.

Friday, October 26, 2018


Story: Chris Weber | Art & Lettering: Gérald Forton
Colors by: Connie Schurr | Editor: Karen Wilson

What's that? You say you want a He-Man adventure that introduces a formidable new villain, that features a compelling plot, and that even throws in some soap opera style material, along with a better look at the Eternian governmental structure than anything ever seen on TV or in prior comics? Then friend, "Ninjor Stalks by Night" is the story for you!

Seriously, though -- I know we're only three story arcs in as of this tale, but it's easily the highlight of the newspaper strips thus far. We begin with a new villain, Ninjor, plotting to kill He-Man while, at the Royal Palace, Adam performs his usual "uninterested goof-off" routine to make sure no one realizes he and He-Man are the same person. Adam lamenting the fact that his secret forces him to keep up this front was something that popped up now and then in the Filmation series, as was his father's occasional disappointment in him -- but for the most part, it was usually case of "Oh, that Adam!" as everyone laughed things off in the end. (Which isn't to say the cartoon didn't delve into the relationship further than that once in a while; it certainly did. But mostly it was superficial.)

Ninjor's plan involves kidnapping Man-At-Arms and Extendar, to use them as bait for He-Man. Adam is about to change into He-Man and search for the missing duo when Randor finds him and assigns him "homework" for a council meeting the next day. But Adam blows off the assignment to search for his allies, instead. Interestingly, when Randor spots Adam holding his Power Sword above his head, the king tells his son to be careful handling the sword, because it's an heirloom. Now, while later MASTERS continuities would indeed establish that Adam and Randor are descendants of King Greyskull, the first warrior to wield the blade, in Filmation's storyline, it was established that the Sorceress held the weapon until the day it was time to give it to Adam. So, while the line was probably written as a throwaway, it turns out to disregard Filmation continuity and support an as-yet-uncreated continuity instead.

Monday, October 22, 2018


Story & Layouts: George Pérez | Script: Len Wein | Finishes: Bob Smith
Letterer: John Costanza | Colorist: Carl Gafford | Editor: Karen Berger

The Plot: Wonder Woman saves the ferris wheel that Silver Swan damaged, while Silver Swan flies into the sky and, at the order of Henry Armbruster, who is secretly feeding her orders from a hidden command center, lets loose a tremendous sonic scream which floors everyone in the area. The Swan then demands that all present at the Wonder Woman fair turn over their valuables as penance for worshiping a false icon of feminism.

After everything is turned in, Wonder Woman flies the valuable up to Silver Swan—but Maxine spots Solomon Buchman taking aim at the Swan with a crossbow and shouts a warning to her friend. Diana deflects the bolt, and when Silver Swan retaliates against Buchman, the princess strikes, pushing Silver Swan away from Boston. The Swan drops the two bags Diana had handed her, which—unbeknownst to all—actually contain computer chips that Armbruster was after.

Wonder Woman fights and defeats Silver Swan, but they’re separated. Diana returns to Boston, while Armbruster sends a chopper for Silver Swan. Later, Diana discusses her feelings toward Superman with Vanessa, who urges her to seek out the Man of the Steel. Myndi Mayer gets in touch with Clark Kent, who helps arrange a date between the would-be super-couple.

Sunday, October 21, 2018


I'm quite pleased with this month's sole physical book. It's something I passed on when it was first released years ago, and I've kicked myself a bit ever since. But Marvel has gone back to press just in time for Halloween, and I now own the TOMB OF DRACULA OMNIBUS vol. 1. Presumably the remaining two books in this series will return to print soon as well, and this time around I intend to pick them all up!

Meanwhile, the Digital Unboxing returns this month for a certain Amazon princess we've been looking at a lot recently. Thanks to a couple of recent Amazon/Comixology sales, I now own WONDER WOMAN BY GEORGE PEREZ vol. 3 and WONDER WOMAN BY JOHN BYRNE vol. 2 in digital format.

Also new to the digital collection via a recent Comixology coupon are some adventures of a character I'd never heard of, but who sounded pretty cool when I read about her. Thus modern-retro pulp heroine Athena Voltaire has arrived, in the ATHENA VOLTAIRE COMPENDIUM vol. 1, ATHENA VOLTAIRE AND THE SORCERER POPE, and ATHENA VOLTAIRE AND THE VOLCANO GODDESS. It looks like there might be some additional material starring this character out there, but I don't think it's available digitally. However I'm not sure how the COMPENDIUM volume relates to previously released stories, so I might be wrong. Unfortunately, best as I can tell, it's hard to find a definitive listing of all Athena's stories and how they've been reprinted. Still, if nothing else, this looks to be the majority of her adventures.

Last year we had no Unboxings in August, September, October, or November! This year we've had one every month to date, and I already know there'll be one next month, too. If we manage one in December as well, this will mark the first year since 2014 that I've done an Unboxing twelve times. Part of this is, of course, due to the fact that I've added "Digital Unboxings" and "Junior Unboxings" to the proceedings, because I'm still not getting as many physical volumes as I used to -- but regardless of the reason why, filling in every month for 2018 is (hopefully) going to be a nice feeling!

Friday, October 19, 2018


Story: Jim Schull (story 1) & Chris Weber (story 2)
Art & Lettering: Gérald Forton | Colors by: Connie Schurr
Editor: Karen Wilson

So... from what I've gathered, when the HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE TV series ceased production, Mattel wanted to keep the characters appearing for children on a daily basis somehow. Obviously the cartoon would remain in repeats alongside new episodes of SHE-RA, but while the latter series would introduce some MASTERS characters into the Filmation canon, others would be skipped. So, in order to keep on showcasing the newest toys, Mattel commissioned a HE-MAN newspaper strip. The strip apparently had pretty limited circulation (I sure never knew it existed until Dark Horse published their collected edition a few years ago), but it ran for over four years, outlasting the original MASTERS toyline and even running alongside the sequel line, HE-MAN, which started in 1989!

Filmation was apparently pretty heavily involved in the strip as well; according to writer Chris Weber, they packaged the entire thing for syndication, using their own in-house talent to do so. As a result, a few Filmation-exclusive characters show up in these storylines; for example, Shadow Weaver, Hordak's right-hand sorceress, appears in the very first arc. Thus, ostensibly, the strip is a direct continuation of the cartoon series -- though as we'll see momentarily, at least for the first arc this isn't exactly the case.

As a result of having a Filmation artist on the strip, nearly every character is beautifully on-model with the TV show. Gérald Forton takes some liberties, but for the most part, He-Man, Man-At-Arms, Teela, Randor, and so forth look very much like their animated counterparts. The villains, meanwhile, are pretty much all spot-on to the Filmation model sheets, perhaps even moreso than the heroes (especially the Evil Horde characters), though somehow Forton's Skeletor never looks quite right.

Monday, October 15, 2018


Written & Drawn by: John Byrne | Colored by: Petra Scotese
Lettered by: John Costanza | Edited by: Michael Carlin

The Plot: Maggie Sawyer investigates a murder and realizes Silver Banshee is still alive. Later, Clark Kent arrives at the Daily Planet, where he’s told by Perry White that Jimmy’s mom wants Jimmy to quit the paper. Perry asks Clark to go talk with Mrs. Olsen. Soon after, Clark arrives in the Bakerline borough of Metropolis and bumps into Jimmy, then the pair finds Silver Banshee raiding a bookstore. Clark reminds Jimmy that Banshee nearly killed Superman during their last encounter, so Jimmy and Clark sneak into the store to stop her themselves.

Elsewhere, a gigantic man with an Irish brogue arrives at Metropolis airport. Meanwhile, the police arrive at the bookstore and Silver Banshee kills one of them. Clark and Jimmy duck out and Clark leaves to find help. Soon after, Batman arrives to confront Silver Banshee, but she soon shreds his costume to reveal he’s Superman in disguise.

The large Irish man arrives and introduces himself as Silver Banshee’s brother, Bevan. They yell at one another for a few minutes, then Banshee explodes. Bevan escapes in the confusion. Later, Superman files Jimmy home, where he meets Mrs. Olsen, then returns to the Planet.

Friday, October 12, 2018



Writers: Steven Grant & Phil White
Artists: Bruce W. Timm, Chris Carlson, & Larry Houston
Inks: Steve Mitchell, Bruce W. Timm, & Chris Carlson
Letters: Stan Sakai | Colors: Charles Simpson
Editor: Lee Nordling

Still free to forge a path away from Filmation's MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE TV show (and with SHE-RA cancelled as well, clearing the ongoing Filmation continuity completely from the table), 1987 sees the minicomic universe continue to expand Eternia's mythology, even as the toyline winds down. Only six comics were published in '87, and nearly all of them reveal some unknown clue or tidbit about the universe's past.

First up, "The Search For Keldor" sees King Randor (now dressed in battle armor thanks to his newly-released action figure) and the Sorceress (also representing a long overdue toy) team up to search for Randor's brother, Keldor, who vanished before Prince Adam was born. But Skeletor learns of the king's quest and realizes he must stop it at any cost. With his henchmen, Ninjor and Scare Glow, Skeletor battles Randor, his bodyguard Clamp Champ (a favorite of mine from the toyline's later years and the first black character rendered in plastic among He-Man's allies), the Sorceress, and He-Man.

Though never actually revealed in this comic, the intention was of course that Skeletor would be revealed as Randor's brother -- and therefore, as He-Man's uncle! I believe later MASTERS continuities ran with this idea, which I think is a great sort of tragic angle to take (and way more original than making Skeletor a contemporary of Prince Adam, like a childhood friend or a brother or something), but the truth never came out during the property's initial run.

Monday, October 8, 2018

WONDER WOMAN #14 & #15

Plotter/Layouts: George Pérez | Script: Len Wein | Inker: Bruce D. Patterson
Letterer: John Costanza | Colorist: Carl Gafford | Editor: Karen Berger

The Plot: With the Millennium crisis at an end, Wonder Woman returns beneath Paradise Island to check on her mother, and finds Heracles bearing the entire island on his shoulders as Hippolyte lays beside him. Diana flies Hippolyte to the surface, then returns to Heracles. Zeus appears and declares the demigod’s punishment at an end, and the goddess Gaia takes over supporting the island.

In the days that follow, peace returns to Paradise Island. Hippolyte recovers from her injuries, and the Amazons destroy their weaponry, declaring they will practice peace from now on. Soon Heracles is accepted back onto Olympus by Zeus, while Hippolyte tells Diana to return to Man’s World as an ambassador and preach the ways of the Amazons.

Diana says her farewells and returns to Boston, where she reunites with Julia and Vanessa Kapatelis, and takes up residence in their home once more.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Heracles apologizes to the Amazons for his treatment of them, and they accept. Later, he shares a kiss with Hippolyte before returning to Olympus.

While going through the belongings of Steve’s late father, Steve and Etta declare their love for one another.

Friday, October 5, 2018



Writers: Tim Kilpin. Gayle Gilbard, Larry Houston, Steven Grant,
Eric Frydler, Tina Harris, Jim Mitchell, & Phil White
Artists: Jim Mitchell, Larry Houston, Bruce Timm, Chris Carlson, Mike Van Cleave, Greg Brooks, Mike Vosburg, Peter Ledger, & Red Grant
Inks: Steve Mitchell, Bruce Timm, Todd Kurosawa, Tom Luth, Red Grant
Letters: Stan Sakai | Colors: Charles Simpson & Tom Luth
Editor: Lee Nordling | Art Director: Ron Cook

A year with more cooks in the kitchen than ever before -- just check out the number of writers and artists involved in the production of these stories -- somehow brings with it the tightest continuity since the very first four minicomics. Behold...

The saga kicks off with the Sorceress bestowing on He-Man the gift of "The Flying Fists of Power!", a magical battle technique to aid him against the forces of evil. In reality, Flying Fists He-Man was a brand new action figure with a different outfit than the normal He-Man, but the comics simply depict our hero as his normal self when he uses the power. Following from this comic, He-Man calls on the power of the Flying Fists a handful of times throughout the year's remaining stories. Also, at one point he uses the Thunder Punch, which readers may recall was bestowed upon him by Castle Greyskull in the 1985 series (and, unlike Flying Fists He-Man, the Thunder Punch figure was depicted in his alternate costume during his first appearance -- but now looks just like the standard garden variety He-Man).

Monday, October 1, 2018


Writer/Co-Plotters/Penciler: John Byrne & Jerry Ordway | Inker: John Beatty
Letterer: Albert de Guzman | Colorist: Tony Tollin | Editor: Mike Carlin

The Plot: Jimmy’s car breaks down as he is driving Cat and her son, Adam, to New York. They see something which prompts Jimmy to use his signal watch. Later, Superman falls from the sky and lands underground. Perry White receives a call and heads to the hospital, where he meets Inspector Henderson and Lois. The trio meets with Superman, who reveals that he’s been turned into a robot.

Meanwhile, Clark arrives at the Daily Planet and learns “Superman” is at the hospital. He heads over there as well, and soon departs with Lois and the Man of Steel to find Jimmy and the others. The group reaches a paramilitary complex, where their friends are being interrogated by the head of a private militia. “Superman” is destroyed as he fights against the troops, who ultimately surrender when their commander is killed in an explosion.

Later, Superman reveals to Lois and the local sheriff that the robot was his, created to respond to Jimmy’s signal whenever he might be out of range. But thanks to its malfunction, the Man of Steel realizes that there can be only one of him.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Jimmy is driving Cat and Adam to New York while Cat’s car is in the shop.