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Postby Old Man » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:04 pm

208 reviews.

208 weekly reviews of comics over the last 4 years. Quite an accomplishment. The Review Group members all review the same book each week, a book selected by one of the members. Then they argue and discuss the work in question, all the while having a lot of fun. I haven't been a member of the group for very long, yet I have been made to feel as if I was a member from the beginning.

For this special week of the Review Group, the participants could review any book they chose, even older books. I had the idea to review every book I purchased that week, the first Wednesday in February. I soon realized that I would be spending the entire rest of that week shackled to my computer, reading comic books and writing about them. Too much of anything can get old very fast. I gave up on that idea, but soon, another idea arose.

The new idea was to get several comics representing my own collection and write about them. That would be relatively easy to do, as I would be re-reading them. Which ones to choose? I could pick one from each company in my collection; one from each decade; one from each genre; the possibilities were endless.

There was a minor problem with the idea in that half of my collection is stored in the boxes that Diamond uses to ship the comics to the local comics shop (LCS). Why? Because they are free. Storage boxes are expensive, more so if you get the short boxes. Being in these smaller Diamond boxes limits organizational capabilities. It would take me half a week to find books that represented what I wanted to do. Again, too time consuming.

Finally, another idea formed itself. The wonderfulness of this final idea, at least from a work viewpoint, was that it simplified my life. All it depended on was the cooperation of my LCS. I was pretty sure they would help me with this, so this last week, I hatched the plan to them, and got the okay. I got the comics I needed, and will now have a week to get the reviews ready.

What was the final idea? It all keyed on the number 208. I got every back issue comic from my LCS that was issue number 208. This could have backfired in that it could have been upwards of 30 different comics, but it turned out to be a nice, even ten comics, all from DC and Marvel. There were at least another 15 long comic runs that didn't have an issue 208 in the back issue bins. Some of those, such as the older DC titles, are just not found that often. Many others had issues in the 208 range, but not 208. I even checked the Archie titles for a 208 and found two or three that were close. In this day and age of constant cancellations and reboots, many comics never get to 208 issues.

So, ten comic books to be reviewed, all issue number 208. I'm going to review them chronologically, starting with issue number 208.
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Postby Mr_Batman » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:05 pm

I'm going all out this week. Every book I buy, which is the idea. On Saturday of course

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Postby Old Man » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:05 pm

Strange Adventures #208; January, 1968; DC; 12 cents.

Cover by Neal Adams.

First story: How Many Times Can A Guy Die? Written by Jack Miller, drawn and inked by Neal Adams. 18 pages.

The fourth issue in Deadman's tale. Deadman's origin is retold on the second page. Boston Brand was a trapeze artist who was shot to death while performing, becoming Deadman. Deadman's purpose in life is to find the man who killed him. This issue focuses Deadman's attempt to pin the killing on a fellow aerial acrobat names Eagle. A very good story. 9.

Gorillas In Space. No credits given. From the Grand Comics Database site: Written by Bill Finger drawn by Carmine Infantino, inked by Bernard Sachs Reprinted from Strange Adventures #46; 1953 or 1954. 6 pages.

A blurb on the first page says, “A Demand Classic”. This is a typical space age story. In real life, nobody has been to space. The splash page tells us there is already a satellite in space controlled by gorillas. On page 2, a “space-station” lands on Earth near the story's protagonist, Dr. Owens. Out walk gorillas. Page 3 has the gorillas telling Owens that they are actually scientists who traveled to space, and that cosmic rays had altered they appearance. On page 4, the gorillas return to the space station, while Owens is a stowaway. He discovers the gorillas are really aliens in gorilla costumes, and that they are building a cobalt bomb to destroy Earth. Page 5 shoes him knocking out one of the aliens, and taking his place as a gorilla. On the final page, Owens smashes the bomb, then pilots the space station back to Earth. Owens explains he sneaked aboard the space station because he suspected that the gorillas were fake. He thought so because they never blinked as real gorillas do.

This is a fun enough story, but the clue is a cheat because there is no way for the reader to see the non-blinking by the fake gorillas. 6.

Also included in this issue are:

1/2 page Cap's Hobby Hints by Henry Boltinoff.
1 page text piece Haunted Ships.
1 page Direct Currents. Coming next week are Batman #199, The Flash #176, Doom Patrol #117, Our Army At War # 189, and Bob Hope #109!

Overall grade based on the strength of the Deadman story: 8.
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Postby Old Man » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:06 pm

Superman #208; July, 1968; DC; 12 cents.

Cover by Neal Adams.

First story: The Case of the Collared Crime-Fighter. No credits given. From the Grand Comics Database site: written by Frank Robbins, drawn by Curt Swan, inked by Jack Abel. 13 pages.

The actual theme of the story is the ongoing scheming by Lois Lane to prove Clark Kent and Superman are “the same hunk of man”. Some crime bosses trick Superman into wearing an electronic collar. He can't remove it for fear of setting off bombs in crowded places. They track him around the city via a radio transmitter in the collar, and warn crime gangs that Superman is on the way. Lois is Editor of the Daily Planet for the day. She knows Superman has to keep wearing the collar. She hands out assignments to Clark via hand-held radio, and tracks his progress across the city using television cameras that have been set up around the city for use by the Daily Planet. She's hoping Clark will have to show himself wearing the collar, thus revealing his secret identity. He tricks her by wearing clothing that hides his neck and chest, such as a diving apparatus and an umpire's chest protector. How Superman eventually outwits the crime boss isn't important, as the whole purpose of the story is Lois versus Superman.

The story is professionally drawn, but it lacks a bit in the writing. When the crime boss tells Superman about the bombs connected to the collar, Superman says, “Stop buzzing me on...” ?? I've never heard this phrase before, and I'm Old, Man. It's obviously meant to mean 'don't pull my leg' or 'you're kidding'. In another scene, Lois sends Clark on another assignment, and he responds, “On my way, Doll Boss.” That isn't really very hip, as they used to say back in the 60s. Such comments today would get Clark an official reprimand from the Daily Planet's Human Resources Department. A weak 6.

Second story: The Town That Hated Superman. No credits given. From the Grand Comics Database site: written by Otto Binder, drawn by Wayne Boring, inked by Stan Kaye. 11 pages, with the last page a short page using only 2/3 of the page.

Bruce Cyrus hates Superman. Cyrus becomes rich enough to own a town, and he passes laws that prohibit Superman from entering the town. Superman stops a missile from destroying the town, then is fired upon by the guards guarding the town. That's when Superman discovers that he is banned from the town. Disguised as Kent Clark, Superman gets a job at a newspaper in the town. Superman is eventually found out, and he confronts Cyrus. Cyrus explains that he was also in an orphanage as a child, and that he wasn't adopted because Superman had tripped him into a puddle, and the couple who were interested in him didn't want a dirty child. Superman, using his ability to travel through time, takes Cyrus back to the scene of the incident. There, as ghostly spirits like those in A Christmas Carol, they watch the scene unfold again. Superman points out the Cyrus owes his life to Superman, as the tripping by Superman prevented Cyrus's death from a falling object. Cyrus forgives Superman, and changes the laws of his town. 6.

The second story has the look of a 50s comic book, but I have no way of knowing if it is. Grand Comics Database shows Wayne Boring stopped working for DC in late 1967, and this story could very well have been done in 1967 and published a few months later.

Also included in this issue are:

1/2 pages Billy strip by Henry Boltinoff, which is actually an advertisement disguised as a comic.
1 page letters page Metropolis Mailbag. One letter is from a group of students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; one of those students is a Michael Fleisher; is this possibly the same Michael Fleisher who started in comics about 4 years later?
1 page Direct Currents. Coming next week are House of Mystery #175, Lois Lane #74, The Spectre #5, and Doom Patrol #120!

This is pretty typical of comics stories of the time at DC. They are usually all told in one issue, frequently having more than one story per issue. (Can you imagine any of today's writers telling a complete story in 11or 13 pages?) The art is often better than the writing. And the writing is too often quaint. Is it any wonder Marvel moved ahead of DC at the time? While it is true that both companies employed a lot of artists who had been in the business for decades, it is the writing that held DC back. Stan Lee somehow broke away from his past and started writing stories that the readers of the time really wanted. Marvel was your really cool uncle, DC was your crabby old neighbor.

At the time, this would have been a perfectly enjoyable distraction. Looking back (squinting, at my age), it's weaknesses are too obvious. 6, and almost going lower.
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Postby Old Man » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:07 pm

World's Finest #208; December, 1971; DC; 25 cents.

Cover by Neal Adams.

First story: Peril of the Planet-Smasher. Written by Len Wein, art by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella. 24 pages.

Superman and Doctor Fate team up, with Zatanna appearing in two panels.

Doctor Fate has just finished a minor crime adventure. He returns to his secret identity job as Doctor Kent Nelson. He finds his next patient is a space alien. The alien 'speaks' to him telepathically, telling him Earth is doomed. Meanwhile, Superman is ruminating on his previous adventure, where he was almost killed by magic. He seeks out Zatanna, who tells him she can do nothing to help. So Superman “passes from one plane of existence into the next – from his Earth into the parallel planet of Earth-Two...” “...home of the legendary JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA...” No explanation is offered on how he does this. When he contacts Doctor Nelson, he learns of the alien, and the threat to Earth-Two. And the tale begins.

Fate scans the mind of the alien, getting two sites that he and Superman must investigate. They separate, finding trouble at both sites, and bigger trouble on the way back. The continents are moving together, causing extreme chaos which the aliens will use to make themselves the most powerful beings in the universe. Fate infuses Superman with Fate's magical powers to defeat the aliens, and then to tow the continents back into place.

A fun story with obvious flaws. Not explained was whether or not both Earths would be destroyed or just Earth-Two. Enough fun it almost got a 7, but 6.

Second story: The Inside Story of Robotman. No credits given. From the Grand Comics Database site: written by Otto Binder, drawn by Jimmy Thompson, and inked by Jimmy Thompson. 6 pages. Reprinted from Detective Comics #138, August, 1948. Note: I'm not an art expert, but a few of the panels in this story look to be by John Severin and/or Dick Ayers. At the time, many writers and artists used pseudonyms, and many stories were drawn in studios where many different people would work on one story.

Robotman, a living brain encased in a steel body, gets blown up real good by criminals. The police put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and the criminals get defeated and sent to jail. The end. Pretty mundane stuff. 5.

Third story: The 'Spectacular' Crimes. No credits given. From the Grand Comics Database site: written by John Broome, drawn by Carmine Infantino, inked by Frank Giacoia. 7 pages. Reprinted from Flash Comics #96, June, 1948.

The Ghost Patrol “can fly, vanish before your eyes, and perform other startling feats. They can do this because they control their ectoplasm.” The Ghost Patrol is three flyers who died during World War II. They have returned to fight evil. A giant helium filled balloon animates, breaks into a diamond vault, and steals a safe full of diamonds. Later, a mechanical rhinoceros and a mechanical eagle attack, stealing the cash from a business. The three wraiths control the mechanical beings and defeat the criminals. Boy, was this lame. It has a potentially good idea, but didn't handle it well. 4.

Also included are two letters pages!

Overall grade: 6.
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Postby Old Man » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:11 pm

Unknown Soldier #208; October, 1977; DC; 35 cents.

Cover by: Uncredited. From the Grand Comics Database site: Al Milgrom

Coward, Take My Hand. Script by Bob Haney, art by Dick Ayers and Gerry Talaoc. 17 pages. Note: the title on the cover is different: Death Duel in the Desert.

This was just stupid. The Unknown Soldier arrives in Africa. He meets up with a Colonel whose unit is about to be slaughtered by the Germans. The Colonel lacks faith in his men, so Unknown Soldier knocks him out. Unknown Soldier than assumes the Colonel's identity, and leads the unit in retreat to a nearby oasis, which has dried up. Unknown Soldier uses a tank to blast a huge rock at the oasis, and it spouts water. The Colonel returns to consciousness, and Unknown Soldier disappears. The Colonel does nothing about being hit over the head.

The Germans are gloating about their upcoming victory. An Arab, really the Unknown Soldier, has been eavesdropping on the conversation. The Field Marshal yells at his men about talking in front of the Arab. A German soldier grabs the Arab, and says, “--See, the scum speaks no German!” How does he know that? The Unknown Soldier coincidently finds an anti-tank gun located in just the right place to be able to destroy some of the German tanks. Along with a soldier who has deserted the unit, the Unknown Soldier attacks the German tanks. The Americans at the oasis rally, defeating the Germans. Many men have died. Mysteriously, there is wood available to make coffins for the dead men. Three are unidentified, yet the Unknown Soldier says the coffin in the center contains the body of the deserter. If he was unidentified, how could the Unknown Soldier know which one he was?

There is more that doesn't make sense in this comic. It's a pretty crappy story told in three chapters over 17 pages. In the mid 70s, 17 pages was the standard length of comic books.

Fun ad: Wonder Woman in “Cooky La Moo On Broadway”, a Hostess Twinkies Snack Cake ad.
Letters page: Dead Letter Office
Direct Currents page: Scheduled for August 1st are Karate Kid #11, Batman #293, Jonah Hex #6, Justuce League #148, Shazam #32. On sale now are Action # 476, Batman Family #14, Green Lantern #97, Mr. Miracle #20, Star Hunters #1, Super-Team Family #13, Unexpected Special, Unknown Soldier #208, Warlord #9, Witching Hour #74, and Wonder Woman #236

This is pretty weak comics. 5.
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Postby Old Man » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:13 pm

Fantastic Four #208; July, 1979; Marvel; 40 cents.

Cover by: initials P/S. From the Grand Comics Database site: pencils by Dave Cockrum (layout) and Keith Pollard, inked by Joe Sinnott.

The Power of the Sphinx. Written by Marv Wolfman, art by Sal Buscema and D. Hands. Note: D. stands for diverse. Many different inkers were used to get the book out. It shows. 17 pages.

This is part or a continuing story. In the recap, it is told that Reed, Ben, and Sue are in a Skrull spaceship. The New Champions are in another spaceship, and they fire at the Skrull ship, leaving Reed, Ben, and Sue adrift in space with only Sue's force field protecting them from death. Nova , one of the New Champions, effects a rescue. Other people on the ship, some of whom are members of the New Champions, are Comet, Powerhouse, Sphinx, Diamondhead, Doctor Sun, and Comet's son Crime-Buster. There are also two other characters in the story, Suzerain and Prime Thoran. That's a lot of characters.

Sphinx mysteriously starts to vanish from the ship. Doctor Sun goes with him. Later in the story, Johnny rejoins the FF. Sphinx has become gigantic, and all the combined powers of the Champions and the FF are not enough to defeat him. At the story's end, Sphinx has flown off to destroy his home world, and Reed decides that the only was to beat Sphinx is to bring in Galactus. To be continued.

This is a very good story brought down a bit by the art. Sal Buscema has never been one of my favorites, and the inking by committee takes away from the effectiveness of the art.

A fun bit of dialog: Sphinx and Ben are arguing about how the Fantastic Four had beaten Sphinx in the past. Sphinx says that they only beat him because of Black Bolt.

Sphinx: And only because his awesome power had taken me unaware.

Ben: I don't care if he took yer underwear!

Hah! I LOLed!

Fun ad: Spider-Man in “Hotshot on the Block”, a Hostess Twinkies Cake ad.

Bullpen Bulletins: Announces Marvel Fun and Games #1, a comic-sized magazine of puzzles, mazes, games, and more. Upcoming comics: Conan the Barbarian #100, Star Wars #25, Defenders #73, Amazing Spider-Man #194, Daredevil #159 (art by Miller and Janson).

Personnel notes: Al Milgrom gets married; Paty is “recovering nicely” from bites by her hybrid Burmese python. (Paty was also known as Paty Green and married Dave Cockrum.)

Overall grade: in spite of my ennui toward the art, a solid 7.
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Postby Old Man » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:13 pm

Amazing Spider-Man #208; September, 1980; Marvel; 50 cents.

Cover by John Romita, Jr. and Al Milgrom.

Fusion. Written by Denny O'Neil, layouts by John Romita, Jr., finished art by Allen Milgrom and Brett Breeding. 17 pages.

There is a note at the top of the first page:

Special thanks to Jim Shooter and Mark Gruenwald for plotting--
And to the fans at Maplecon II in Ottawa for creating--
Fusion!

I think this means that Denny O'Neil basically just wrote the dialog. Is this another one of those comics made under the pressure of the dreaded doom of deadline?

The first two pages have nothing to do with the story except to make Peter Parker late for a meeting at the Daily Bugle. The next two pages introduce us to Hube and Pinky Fusser, brothers. Hube has become a mad scientist, while Pinky has become an honest, hard working janitor. Hube tests his latest equipment without checking for safety. A strange glow envelops him, and brother Pinky tries to come to the rescue, only to be bathed in the same glow. They fuse. What else could they do with a surname of Fusser?

Cut to the Daily Bugle, where Parker is all stressed out, and decides to visit Aunt May to make himself feel better. Aunt May asks Peter to join her in a visit to the hospital where Anna Watson is recovering from a gall bladder problem. Spider Sense tingles, so Peter goes out into the corridor, where he finds Fusion menacing a nurse. Spider-Man confronts Fusion, who jumps out the window and flees to a subway. No reason is given for Fusion to be at the hospital.

Through force of will, Pinky forces a separation. Hube falls on the subway tracks, so Pinky is forced to fuse again to save his life. The subway train hits Fusion, and they absorb the energy, becoming more powerful. Meanwhile, Spider-Man returns to the hospital as Peter Parker. He takes Aunt May back to the nursing home, they resumes his search for Fusion. He finds them/it at the George Washington Bridge, fights them, and helps Pinky again force a split. He then knocks out both of them because he can't decide which is the evil one.

This isn't much of a story. The art borders on amateurish, which may be more a comment on the rush job it appears to be.

Interesting dialog: Aunt May says about Anna Watson's gall bladder, “At our age, such things tend to wear out.” Peter replies, “ Hey...can the age routine, okay?” Yeah, exactly how long is this old bat going to play the age card. I mean, shoot, this was thirty years ago, and she's still pulling it.

Fun ad: Captain Marvel Defends the Earth”, a Hostess Twinkie Cakes ad. How long did these things run?

Another ad was for back issue comics. Conan #1 $75; Howard the Duck #1 $20; Iron Man #1 $25; Star Wars #1 $6; Giant-Size X-Man #1 $50. Marvel Preview #2 (Punisher) $2.

Overall grade: This is not very good. It's barely competent. 5.
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Postby Old Man » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:14 pm

Justice League of America #208; November, 1982; DC; 60 cents.

Cover by George Perez.

The Bomb-Blast Heard 'Round the World, written by Gerry Conway, art by D. Heck and S. Trapani. 23 pages.

“Continuing a 5-part super team epic with...Justice League of America, Justice Society of America, and the All-Star Squadron.” Which part this is isn't identified.

The League has traveled to the Society's headquarters where they find, and fight, the Squadron. After they stop fighting, it is explained that the League is from 1982, they are in 1942, and that the league is from Earth-1, and the Society and the Squadron are from Earth-2. Each year, the League and the Society have a super-group team-up. This year, when the League tried to go to Earth-2, they ended up on Earth-3, where they were overcome by the Crime Syndicate, who eventually went to Earth-1. The League then finally gets to Earth-2, where they find that Per Degaton, the bad guy in this story, has caused a change in history in 1942 that dramatically altered the future of Earth-2.

Got all that? And that's all told in the first six pages of the story. (Is it any wonder older fans whine about decompression? There's enough story on those six pages to last a whole mini-series today.) Later in the story, we find the Society on Earth-Prime in 1982.

All this may seem pretty confusing today, but to readers who read DC comics before this comic came out, it was all part of the DC Universe, and was familiar to those readers. But you can see why DC eventually decided to have the original crisis to make life easier for newer readers. I'll not recap any more of this story because it is mostly set up for the next issue. It's pretty good stuff for those of us who were there at the time. I don't know if today's audience would like it. 8, but if you were a DC geek at the time, possibly 10.

Also of note is that there has been a conversation recently about typos in comics. In this issue, I saw “recieved”, and in a word balloon for Zatanna, in which she is invoking a spell -- meaning the words are spelled in reverse -- , I found erab (bare) instead of reab (bear). Typos are more common today because of the use of computer letting, but these were done by hand and should have been corrected.

Also in this comic is a 14-page preview of Masters of the Universe.

Fate Is the Killer. Written by Paul Kupperberg, art by the famed Superman artist Curt Swan, and inked by Dave Hunt.

Masters of the Universe was a massively successful toy line based on an animated series. He-Man battles Skeltor in the land of Eternia. Eternia is in another dimension. During this story, Superman makes an appearance. At the end of the story, Superman says, “...but will someone please explain what I'm doing here...?” Good question, but it's obvious that Superman is there solely to help boost sales of the upcoming mini-series.

I never watched the television show. I never had the toys. I was already a working man when MotU happened, so I can't say how accurately the comic portrays the characters. This was a fun read. 7, but possibly way higher if you were a kid at the time.

A page and a half letters page.
Half-page DC Coming Comics. On Sale August 12 are Batman #353, The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1, The Flash #315, G.I. Combat #247, Jonah Hex #66, Superman #377, The Saga of the Swamp Thing #7, The New Teen Titans #25. On sale for August 19 are The New Teen Titans Annual #, The Night Force #4, The Legion of Super-Heroes #293.

Overall grade is 8, but could go up to 10 if you absolutley loved this stuff at the time.
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Postby Old Man » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:15 pm

Iron Man #208; July, 1986; Marvel; 75 cents.

Cover by Mark Bright and Akin and Garvey.

Firefang, written by Denny O'Neil, pencilled by Mark Bright, inked by Ian Akin and Brian Garvey. 22 pages.

Pretty much a done-in-one story, but still connected to previous issues. Iron Man has recently been tricked into helping A.I.M. Here, he is attempting some damage control by investigating at the island nation of Boca Caliente, He finds nuclear missiles on the island. He contacts a man in the State Department. The man tells Iron Man that the missiles don't exist, saying the missiles were supposed to have been removed, so they aren't there. Iron Man gets a tip from Bethany McCabe that the missiles are about to be launched. He goes back to the State Department, gets no help, flies back to Boca Caliente, and destroys the missiles after they are launched.

This is a fairly average story, but it is hurt by the printing process. Flexographic printing had been introduced to comics, and the method was not a good match. Colors were often garish, and sometimes there were splotches of color...especially on the reds. The newer method also made the blacks inconsistent, causing lettering to look odd, and to make line work very muddy. The art in this book is relatively simple in its execution, but the printing makes almost all fine lines disappear.

Bullpen Bulletins announces the New Universe will commence soon. History tells us that it will be a miserable failure.
Checklist, which lists many, many books. Of note are Cloak and Dagger #7, Power Pack #24, Eternals #10, X-Factor #6, Star Wars #106 (the penultimate issue); from Epic Groo the Wanderer #17; from Star Masters of the Universe #2, Care Bears #5, and Ewoks #8 (I hate them *&^%$#@ Ewoks!)

Overall grade is 6. It's there, but there is no need to buy it unless you love the character.
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Postby Old Man » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:15 pm

Uncanny X-Men #208; August, 1986: Marvel; 75 cents.

Cover by John Romita, Jr. and Dan Green.

Retribution. Written by Chris Claremont, art by John Romita, Jr. and Dan Green. 33 pages.

Okay. Confession time. I'm not a big fan of group comics. I always took greater pleasure from individual characters. Captain America, Daredevil, Spider-Man at Marvel, Superman, Batman, Flash at DC. I often read the team comics, but I never felt much affinity to them. Me personality is pretty much that I can survive quite well alone. Not to say that I don't function well as part of a group, because I can. So I never really was all that deep into X-Men comics. It became even less appealing to me when there started to be hundreds of mutants. Along with all the story lines that were never completed by Claremont caused me to stop reading this book about three years before this issue came out.

Hey, I told you I was Old, Man.

I don't recognize all the characters here. That causes confusion. I know Kitty Pride, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Storm, Nightcrawler. I know the Hellfire Club, but not many of its members. I barely know Rachel Summers. I see in the story that Phoenix is a part of this. Rachel is Phoenix? Didn;t know that.

The story's a bit weak, the art was probably okay when it was drawn, but again Flexographic printing. Romita, Jr. was just starting to find his style at the time. The story, I feel, was deeply wounded by the name of the antagonist that shows up on the final page. Nimrod. That's a word we used to use for a lame personality, a geek, a nerd, a putz.

Checklist, one month after the Checklist from Iron Man #208, includes New Mutants #42, Alpha Flight #37, G.I. Joe #50; from Star Thundercats #5, Droids #3.

Overall grade is 6. Pretty much for completists, but if you are an X-Men fan, you need to read every issue ever published in order to be able to understand what is happening in any given issue over the decades.
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Postby Old Man » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:16 pm

Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #208; September, 2006; Marvel; 299 cents.

Cover by Ariel Olivetti

Darker Than Death. Written by Bruce Jones, art by Ariel Olivetti. 22 pages.

I like the story. I like the art. It partially fails because of the art. And perhaps part of the art fail is writing fail? 5 panels on page one: severed finger; ransom note; Batman; passed out woman; Batman lifting passed out woman. 7 panels on page two, of which here are five: woman awakes; Bruce Wayne; Bruce and woman in panel with Bruce offering her a drink with his left hand; Bruce shown with right hand behind his back holding severed finger; woman asks what is behind his back. After the time it would take to get the woman to this room and change from Batman in civilian duds, why would Bruce be holding the finger? Doesn't make sense.

Scene I liked. Batman is trying to get information from Penguin. Penguin, foolish as he is, is refusing. Batman almost breaks a Tiffany lamp, which Penguin says is priceless. Batman finally trades an antique cigarette holder for the information. He tells Penguin that when blown through gently, the holder will make the purest note ever heard, saying that some call the note priceless. Penguin can't resist, and blows through the cigarette holder. The sound is pure and sweet, but it shatters the Tiffany lamp. Priceless, indeed!

Batman tracks down a suspect nicknames Greasy Lee. He is at the wharf. He is a huge man, like Marvel's Blob. They fight. Panels four through six on a page: Greasy spits or vomits on Batman; it sticks to Batman and he can't breathe; Batman reaches into his utility belt. Panel one next page is a Whooomm sound effect behind Batman that is tinged green. Was it an explosion? Was it Greasy hitting Batman from behind. Not too clear on the page, as the previous panel that showed Batman reaching for his utility belt is hard to see.

Greasy pummels Batman. Batman says, “I wouldn't do that if I were you.” as Greasy, in a killing blow, slams his fist down at Batman, but Batman ducks, causing Greasy to slam his fist through the dock and into the water. The water burns the flesh on Greasy's arm. That doesn't make sense. In the next panels, Greasy either falls or is pushed by Batman into the ocean waters. Greasy's body starts to sizzle. Is Greasy dying? Is he allergic to the salt water? How did Batman know the salt water would affect Greasy like it did? Are we to assume that Greasy wasn't really human, but a slug? We are led to believe throughout the story that greasy is a human being because Batman traced his name through a fingerprint.

To be continued, of course.

There are no interesting extras in this book like fun ads, checklists, Hostess Twinkie Cakes ads. Today's comics are the poorer for it.

Overall grade is 7. The faults are outweighed by the pretty art by Olivetti.
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I was perfectly content before I was born.
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Postby thefourthman » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:17 pm

I love Old Man, he's good people.

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Postby Victorian Squid » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:17 pm

thefourthman wrote:I thought someone else reviewed The Question in here, I can't find it, link me dammit, link me!


I flipped through it and it looked like crap!

4

/johnlewishawk'd

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Postby Victorian Squid » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:18 pm

Old Man wrote:Uncanny X-Men #208; August, 1986: Marvel; 75 cents.

Cover by John Romita, Jr. and Dan Green.

Retribution. Written by Chris Claremont, art by John Romita, Jr. and Dan Green. 33 pages.


That was when I was getting to the point of finally dropping the book after loving it dearly since the Cockrum days and earlier.

PS I re-bought that very same issue for 25 cents recently, and I'm still not impressed either.

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