Retro Review: Adventure Comics #459

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Adventure Comics #459

Pulled from the longbox, I talk about Adventure Comics (v1) #459 (cover date September/October 1978). This dollar comic format featured six “all-new super-star features,” including the Flash, Deadman, Green Lantern, the New Gods, Elongated Man, and Wonder Woman. Let’s find out if it’s really a “fabulous first issue–launching the most exciting new comic of the decade!”

Adventure Comics #459 back cover
Back Cover

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Podcast Episode 107: Top 5 Magic Characters

Direct Download (2:01:34)

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble.

Just in time for Halloween, Travis joins me to discuss our favorite magical comic book characters. Who will make the cut? Dr. Fate or Dr. Strange? Etrigan or Hellboy? Listen to find out! But first we briefly talk about the passing of Steve Dillon and then chat about the fantastic artist who’s coming to the 2017 Emerald City Comicon: José Luis García-López!

Who are your favorite magical characters? Let us know!

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, chat with me @longboxreview on Twitter, or visit longboxreview.com. Please subscribe, rate, and review the show via iTunes.

Thanks for listening!

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RandoMonday: Brightest Day #0

Here’s a cover image chosen at random from my collection.

Brightest Day #0 by Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi (w), Fernando Pasarin (p), Fernando Pasarin, John Dell, Cam Smith, Prentis Rollins, Dexter Vines, & Art Thibert (i), Peter Steigerwald with Beth Sotelo (c), Nick J. Napolitano (l), David Finch, Scott Williams, & Peter Steigerwald (cover)

Coming out of the hugely successful Blackest Night, this 25-issue series (24 + this zero issue) was, to me, full of possibility. Many people returned from the dead during Blackest Night, and this series followed those characters. Getting some spotlight this issue was Deadman as the narrative linchpin, Aquaman, Captain Boomerang, Hawkman and Hawkwoman, Maxwell Lord, J’onn J’onzz, Jade, Firestorm, Osiris, and Hawk and Dove. What did the white lantern entity want, how was Deadman supposed to help, and why did these people return from the dead? Unfortunately, I don’t think there was an adequate resolution to the promising setup. Nor was there enough time to see the long-term ramifications of the events coming out of Brightest Day because the New 52 happened shortly after Brightest Day ended. A pity.

Despite so many names in the credits box, the art in this issue is quite good and consistent.

RandoMonday: Deadman: Exorcism #1

Here’s a cover image chosen at random from my collection.

Deadman: Exorcism #1 by Mike Baron (w), Kelley Jones (a), Les Dorscheid (c), & Ken Bruzenak (l)

This two-issue mini-series was released in 1992, and redefined Deadman as the skeletal looking ghost that was a bit crazy, for me at least. While preparing for this entry, I found out that Baron and Jones had previously done another two-issue Deadman mini called Love After Death. It was that series that defined the visual aspects of Deadman that we see in Exorcism. But I didn’t even really need to know about that former series given the two-page synopsis at the beginning of this issue.

This story apparently picks up where Love After Death leaves off, meaning that Deadman is a bit crazy and haunting an old church in Vermont. A psychologist and a witch doctor confront Deadman to stop him from possessing a client, and unwittingly unleash the trapped souls of some nasty people. The last page reveals the arrival of the Phantom Stranger to entice you to pick up issue #2.

As I stated, this was the first time that I’d seen Deadman portrayed in this way. The Deadman I was familiar with up to this point was a brooding egotist that looks like a normal man, except for the pale, ghost-like skin (Boston Brand’s performance “mask”). Jones’ redesign stuck with the character for a while, and he deftly evokes a moody sense of dread via his art in this issue. This book also struck me in that in really earned the “Suggested for Mature Readers” stamp on the cover (if it were published a few years later, it would have been under the Vertigo imprint for sure), considering the language and nudity, yet another large departure for this character, but it was the late 80s and going all mature with second- and third-string characters was all the rage back then. Perusing the book now, it seems like a bit more economy of plot could have had this story completed in one volume, but overall it was an interesting take on a lesser known DC property.

Pull List Review: 11/16/11 Comics

Batman #3: This issue literally ends with a bang! Snyder has created some cool stuff in this title, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. That whole 13th floor thing was CREEPY! I am still loving the bat-tech in this title. You don’t really get that in the other Bat titles that I’ve read (in fact, it’s almost as if we have at least four or five versions of Batman, which is not a good thing). I read a tweet from the artist that the physical likeness between Bruce and Lincoln is intentional, which is a complaint I believe I made on one of the LBR podcasts. I found it funny that he felt it necessary to make that announcement.

Birds of Prey #3: Stakes are raised big time in this issue, but before that, Canary takes the group to get the newest BoP recruit: Poison Ivy. Starling and Katana attack Ivy, to which Dinah exclaims, “Guys! C’mon! What the hell?” I got a chuckle out of that. Still good, still buying it.

Blue Beetle #3: I get that they wanted to tell the origin story for this character, but I want Jaime to actually do something besides argue with the scarab. Three more issues and I’m done.

Catwoman #3: You know what? Complain about the sexuality or the treatment of women already portrayed in this comic, but it’s still a pretty darned good read. Selina’s reaction to her fence’s murder (because of her, natch) is good angsty stuff, all drawn to great effect by March. I never thought I’d be reading a Catwoman comic every month, yet, here I am.

DCU Presents #3: So do not care about this Deadman story. This should have been two, maybe three issues tops and move on to the next story, but no, we have two more issues. I will be getting the next storyline featuring the Challengers of the Unknown, but after that, I think I’ll only get whatever characters interest me instead of getting the book monthly.

Justice League #3: Love love love this portrayal of Diana. She’s a fighter and loves it. It’s what I think an Amazon’s mindset would be. Interesting that Steve Trevor is her Pentagon liaison. Many great lines in this issue:

  • Flash to Batman: “I thought you were a vampire or something.”
  • Hal to Barry when Diana arrives on the scene: “Dibs.”
  • Superman to Diana” You’re strong.” Diana (smiling slightly): “I know.”
  • Aquaman to everyone: “So who’s in charge here? I vote me.”

And that two-page spread of Wonder Woman was lovely to look at. :D This is my favorite book of the DCnU.

LSH #3: Unless something really, really interesting happens in the next three issues, I’m done. (And that makes me sad.)

Nightwing #3: I usually don’t like it when writers throw in new people from the main character’s past, but I am liking this new redheaded, childhood friend of Dick’s. I imagine that the other redhead that Dick loves who shows up next issue will cause some problems for our favorite former sidekick. I’m also really digging the Barrows/Pansica pencils in this book.

Red Hood & the Outlaws #3: My last issue, but I still cannot get over the fact that Scott Lobdell is actually making me care about Jason Todd. WTF?! That cherished memory that Jason traded to accomplish his mission was just awesome. Out of character for Batman, perhaps, but for emotional impact, the scene was very cool.

Supergirl #3: Much like Blue Beetle and the LSH, something needs to change for me to continue with this title. I’m bored, and I shouldn’t be.

Wonder Woman #3: What is wrong with you, Internet? Why does this slight change to Diana’s origin make you bleed from your ears? I like this new twist–it makes perfect sense, and sets up a new adversary for Diana. However, to be Diana and have to listen to your mother tell you how you were conceived is kind of gross. The ending to the issue was perfect.