WHAT IF #34 August 1982 It's a special day here at Reviews of Old Comics. So far, I've only had one comic that reached a perfect 10 of 10, but today that changes! SYNOPSIS: This issue of Marvel's What If? is a special science fiction anthology issue with five stories. Born of the Sun (by Jack Williamson, art by Don Heck) One by one, the planetswere disintegrating while a religious fanatic was destroying man's only chance for survival! A Day in the Life of Dr. Moon (by Harry Dawes, art by Frank Bolle) A fatal disease threatens to wipe out Lunar City unless the carrier can be found and destroyed!
Sensational She-Hulk #5 September 1989 Sitting on my computer desktop are two pages from an early issue of Sensational She-Hulk #5. I I briefly touched on them in my review for the issue where she joined the Fantastic Four. SYNOPSIS: She-Hulk is relaxing at home on a Saturday morning after a jog around Central Park. She turns on cartoons to find them changing into realistic displays on traditional cartoon violence and interactions. One click actually transports her into a prehistoric jungle where she rescues a young boy from a Tyrannosaur. The little boy relates that his situation is similar to hers and they deduce that they are in a realistic depiction of the prehistoric cartoon "The Stonesteins." She-Hulk still has her remote control so she presses the button to change the channel and the pair find themselves in a sci-fi setting. Observed by a duck-like assistant to the villainous Doctor Bong who is using a device called an "Educational Recalibration Field." Doctor Bong is determined to locate the source of the disruption and begins scanning for She-Hulk.
New Mutants #18 August 1984 New Mutants #18 was the beginning of a new artist on the Mutant books, Bill Sienkiewicz, who had made a mark on Moon Knight and a few other books. This was a real turn, as Marvel's style was far from artsy, and the comics industry was still recovering from the heavy influence of Neal Adams. Sienkiewicz had developed a style that was based on Illustration and it showed in page layouts that, looking back, set the stage for the modern age manner of irregular panel shapes, overlapping images, and borderless panels. I remember as a twelve-thirteen year-old young artist being blown away by this new style to my comics, and was instantly drawn to it. For Christmas of 1984, I actually copied a panel from this comic and used mixed media to make a Christmas present. SYNOPSIS: We open on New Mutant team leader Dani Moonstar having a terrible nightmare of the Demon Bear that killed her parents. We then see the X-Mansion under attack by the military as a young, red-haired girl uses her powers to shield herself as she makes her way to Professor X trying to reason with the troops telepathically only to be killed. It's revealed that these are the memories of a young woman from the future, the girl from the before, just older, and looking much more ragged. The New Mutants, except Dani and Illyana Rasputin training in the Danger Room, and proving successful, even with some difficulty. Illyana answers the front door to find the red-haired young woman who runs off in tears since she remembers seeing Illyana die.
Fantastic Four #265 April 1984 Sitting on my computer desktop are two pages from an early issue of Sensational She-Hulk. I won't saw which issue they're from, since I plan on making that a review very soon. In the set-up for that review, I figured I should go to the moment that I realized her potential, when she joined the Fantastic Four. SYNOPSIS: The Trapster parachutes onto the roof of the Baxter Building, in an attempt to prove himself by taking out the Fantastic Four on his own. From his point of view we see the Baxter Building layout as he descends through the levels of the Fantastic Four's headquarters, oblivious to the fact that the building's computer defenses are tracking him keeping him from sensitive areas and jamming his paste gun. As he enters the residential level, he realizes that the Fantastic Four aren't home and he's being beaten by an empty building. Spooked by Franklin's caretaker robot, he trips on one of Franklin's toys, barely making his way to the elevator to the lobby, where he's defeated by their android receptionist Roberta, who calls the police to come pick him up.
Deadpool #1 August 1993 Deadpool has taken over the web site, so I feel compelled to review at least one Deadpool comic. I have to admit, I've never really liked the character. He doesn't seem to have a direction and the humor I've seen is a little too random, and scattershot. Naturally, since I don't collect Deadpool, I had to search one out. I really wanted to review one of his earlier appearances in X-Force, but couldn't find one. Instead, I'm going for the very first comic titled Deadpool, a four-issue mini-series referred to by the story-line's name, The Circle Chase. I've never really read it, so it's new to me, and I suspect, a far cry from today's Deadpool comics. SYNOPSIS: Deadpool is in Sarajevo being stalked by a group of mercenaries, but gets the drop on them and knocks them out, insulting them the entire time. He strides off, regretting that Tolliver has died, since the mercenary business just isn't the same without him. He meets his contact, named Weasel, whom he catches up on his situation, that anyone who ever worked for Tolliver, Deadpool included has a target on their back. He grills weasel for information on Vanessa (aka Copycat) just as Weapon X enters the room to take Deadpool down.
NAMOR THE SUB MARINER #8 February 1990 Right after High School, I was big into John Byrne. It was a good time to be into John Byrne, too. He had produced Omac for the DC, West Coast Avengers, Sensational She-Hulk, Next Men and of course, Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Of course he didn't do them in that order, but those are the comics that he worked on in the late 1980s and early 1990s that just seemed to be Byrne flexing his artistic muscles. I got rid of a lot of my mainstream comics a long time ago, but just cruising bargain boxes has gotten me replacement copies of a few that I really remember fondly. This particular comics was stashed away in an office paper box, since it's not really among my prized possessions, comic-wise. I have to admit that nostalgia is the main reason that I own this, so a lot of this review will hinge on that perspective. SYNOPSIS: In 1961, German agents, including a scientist stash away a project before the Russians seal them into the city of East Berlin. While escaping the scientist is shot, and the two agents violently get him past the US checkpoint in an effort to get him help.
SPIDER-WOMAN #5 August 1979 Looking back at the few reviews I've done so far, I really haven't had one that was a bad comic. I set out to have one this time and I looked for something that would be that fodder. Enter, a 1970s Spider-Woman comic. SYNOPSIS: Spider-Woman wakes up bound and gagged in a dusty, decrepit, abonded house. Freeing herself, she recalls that she was captured by a masked vigilante calling himself the Hangman, who has a warped sense of chauvanism that leeds him the hold women captive in order to "protect" them. Almost immediately she's assailed by hallucinations and flying furniture, briefly knocking her into unconsciousness. She wakes up trapped in a giant spider web to be attacked by more hallucinations. Meanwhile, Spider-Woman's ally the magician Magnus is getting familiar with his landlady, who seems like a lonely old widow.
POWER PACK #1 August 1984 Once I decided to review old comics, I grabbed a handful of unsorted comics and looked for one to review. There were a few comics that were more recent, and I felt like revisiting my childhood. Ah-ha! Power Pack fits the bill nicely. SUMMARY There's a battle in space, just outside the Earth's atmosphere, and it's several ships attacking a lone, white starship. It's observed by Katie, the youngest of the four Power children, whose father is desuigning a new energy source for the government. Their parents let them spend the night in their sleeping bags on the back deck of their beach house. Katie sees the attacked spaceship in the surf on the beach. She wakes up her siblings and they investigate. The oldest child, Alex waits by the ship with Katie while younger brother Jack goes with his older sister Julie to wake their father. As they near the house, one of the ships that attacked the downed ship lands by their house. Alex and Katie are greeted by the ship's pilot, an alien nick-named Whitey, who then rescues Julie and Jack, but is too late to keep the attacking aliens, lizard-like beings named Snarks from abducting their parents. Whitey is injured in the rescue and as the Snarks leave with the Power kids' parents, he teleports himself and the children to his ship, Friday.
STAR WARS #38 August 1980 I remember waiting for the comic book adaption of The Empire Strikes Back to show up in the next issue of Star Wars, and when I saw it on the spinner rack, I was so excited that I started to read it when I got home. Imagine my surprise when it wasn't the start of the film adaptation. However, if my expectations aren't going to be met, there's no better way than by giving the nine-year-old version of me a fill-in issue drawn by Mike Golden. I hadn't yet really paid attention to the artists drawing comics, but was really disappointed in the quality of the artwork on Star Wars (done by Carmine Infantino, whom I now really appreciate), but with this issue, I realized that there was a difference and that Mike Golden was one of the artists I liked best. When he started doing covers for G.I. Joe and Saga of Crystar, I was really excited, and over the years, seeing his artwork on a book makes me give it a second look. SYNOPSIS: Luke and Leia are being attacked by an Imperial Star Destroyer while transporting medical supplies for the Rebel Alliance. The smugglers that sold them the supplies must've double-crossed them. Just as the Imperial attack is about to overwhelm them, Luke makes the jump to hyperspace, but they find themselves outside the galaxy, lost in the black void of space in a crippled ship.
CLOAK AND DAGGER #1 October 1983 As I remember, in 1983, there was a lot of buzz around Cloak and Dagger. They had appeared a handful of times in Peter Parker, Spider-Man and seemed to be on the fast track to a series of their own. Now it might just have been my friends, but looking back, they had only appeared a few times before, and were already getting a mini-series. Like I said, this could just be what it seemed like at the time, but it certainly seemed like they had a buzz. SYNOPSIS: A priest walks through the New York Port Authority and is hassled by pimps, drug dealers and prostitutes that get chased away by the police. He goes to his church on 42nd Street to pray for guidance but is greeted by the sudden appearance of Cloak and Dagger They are looking for a place to rest, explaining that they were once runaways that gained their powers after being abducted and given experimental drugs. They now wage a war on those that would prey on the innocent, but are growing weary and need a place to rest.
AVENGERS ANNUAL #10 August 1981 I've had a habit of reviewing overlooked comics, but when I came across this one, I just had to include it. It's also one of the most expensive back issues that I've ever reviewed. The fact that it's a key issue also makes for a unique experience. This comic is the first appearance of Rogue, the X-Men character that has become a fan favorite over the thirty years she's been with the team, being one of the first members to join the second X-Men team that stuck around, almost becoming synonymous with the franchise, to the point of being in the first three films and the upcoming film that's supposed to tie together the franchise. SYNOPSIS: Spider-Woman catches an unconscious woman falling from the Golden Gate Bridge. At the hospital it's discovered that she's Carol Danvers, but her mind is completely gone. She also completely vanished six months earlier. Needing someone who can get inside her mind to find out what happened, Spider-Woman calls Professor X of the X-Men, who comes to San Fransisco as quick as he can. The police have also uncovered a connection Carol Danvers has with the Avengers and the super-hero known as Ms. Marvel. Professor X telepathically lets Spider-Woman know that Carol's mind was wiped clean by an assailant named Rogue.
UNCANNY X-MEN #152 December 1981 This is one of the first X-Men comics that I can remember buying, although not the first. That honor goes to the issue before this one which sports a classic "Kitty leaving Xavier's school crying" cover. I remember buying this and taking with me to read while my mom did the laundry at the laundromat. I got other comics as well, including an issue of Adventure Comics, but to save the life of me, I don't recall anything else. SYNOPSIS: Storm is chasing a red sports car driven by the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost, throwing lightning at it, unable to stop it from going off the curvy mountain road. Inside the car, Kitty wakes up and phases out the car door, as Emma tries to grab her, she loses control and goes off the edge of a cliff, crashing and erupting into flames. Storm panics and flies away haphazardly on a gust of wind. Kitty is fine from the crash, and remembers being taken by Storm to Emma Frost's Massachusetts Academy by Storm until she was kidnapped by a panicked Emma Frost. She sees that Emma was thrown clear of the crash and against her baser instincts, decides to rescue her.