We're back with an new review of an old comic, Excalibur #1. This time we go back to the late 80s when Marvel started spinning off its popular Uncanny X-Men title. Wolverine's regular series came along about this same time. After the X-Men had apparently died in their own title, a few of the team members left behind joined with Captain Britain to form Excalibur, complete with a new series written by Chris Claremont and drawn by a fan favorite artist who just happened to have a history with Captain Britain, Alan Davis.
FANTASTIC FOUR #258 September 1983 With his prominence in Secret Wars, and the endless speculation about how he could be done better in film, Doctor Doom has been on my mind a lot lately. However, for all of my recent disappointment with John Byrne, he was the first writer, for me, that made Doctor Doom a real character instead of a stereotypical comic book villain. It first started in Fantastic Four 247 where he enlisted the Fantastic Four to aid him in overthrowing the ruler of Latveria that they had helped put in place, a ruler that had gone mad and paranoid with power. We saw then that Doctor Doom had room in his heart for the people of his homeland, and only ruled them because he truly wanted what was best for them.
FANTASTIC FOUR #1 November 1996 With the newest Fantastic Four movie being given horrible reviews on its opening weekend, it seemed like the time to review another reboot of the Fantastic Four. In 1996, the crash of the comic book industry started, with sales for that year dropping by about a third. Marvel, making an effort to capitalize on the popularity of comics bought it's own distributor and took four of its flagship books, all of which had done horribly in sales compared to the speculator-fueled frenzy in its X-Men titles and handed over creative control to Image founders Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld. Within three months of this reboot of those titles, called Heroes Reborn, Marvel would file for bankruptcy. Jim Lee was given control over two titles, Iron Man and Fantastic Four. While Iron Man was handled primarily by Scott Lobdell and Whilce Portacio, Jim Lee personally rebooted Fantastic Four. How was it? To be honest, I've never read it, despite it being in my digital collection for about ten years. Let's take a look at Heroes Reborn Fantastic Four and see if it handled rebooting the Fantastic Four any better than the films have.
THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1 August 1984 My reviews of the Legion of Super-Heroes comics that helped hook me not only on the Legion, but on comics as a whole continues. Today, we have the first issue of their series that featured printing on better paper that was initially sold only to comics shops. Yes, back in 1984, this was a big deal. At Marvel, when a comic went direct sales only, it was usually the kiss of death, but DC bet that comic shops and the direct sales market was the future for the industry. We'll argue the ramifications of that another time, but in 1984, this was a big deal. Unfortunately for me at the time, I was only thirteen at the time and did not know of a comic shop that wasn't two hours away. It would be almost a year before I would read this issue, but I'm reviewing it roughly as it came out, so the narrative is preserved.
AVENGERS #214 December 1981 Ant-Man came out this weekend, and knowing at what period in Hank Pym's history this issue came out, I thought I'd give it a review, so we don't get confused about the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Hank Pym being entirely a good guy. As a matter of fact, it's because of the events that affect this issue that I was very glad to learn that Ant-Man would feature Scott Lang. SYNOPSIS: Captain America is working out some frustrations in the Avengers' training room. Tigra, realizing that Cap would prefer to be left alone, encounters Jarvis in the hall and discuss the recent expulsion of Yellowjacket after he disgraced himself twice over. Tigra is glad to see him gone, but Jarvis misses the good man inside of the disgraced man Hank Pym had become.
Elementals #8 June 1986 I set out to find an independent comic to review, and the first one I came across was one of Bill Willingham's early Elementals issues. I chose not to review it, as it came from the middle of a story. I searched for one that stood alone, and essentially what I could find was this one where it's a stand alone issue, although some subplots get set in motion. SYNOPSIS: At the Mercer Island estate serving as the Elementals' base of operations, Fathom is woken up by a phone call from Eddie, who had developed a crush on Fathom when she was captive on "the island." (NOTE: This is Nacht Island, where the Elementals were held captive by Saker before they defeated him.) He wants to meet her where they first met, as he apparently has a deep crush on her. Half asleep, Fathom agrees to meet him and then bolts up having just realized what she just agreed to.
New Teen Titans #38 January 1984 There's a pattern here at Reviews Of Old Comics that I try to do DC one week, Marvel the next, an Independent comic the third, and then I repeat. Unfortunately, that pattern does not always hold when I go through my comics and find something that I remember as a comic that definitely needs to be remembered for what it was, an award-worthy comic book story. SYNOPSIS: Dick Grayson, aka Robin, starts recounting an investigation case that he has taken up regarding a friend and teammate in the Teen Titans, Donna Troy, aka Wonder Girl. Her fiancé, Terry Long, has hired him to uncover Donna Troy's past before she was found by Wonder Woman.
RED SONJA #1 January 1977 There's a pattern here at Reviews Of Old Comics that I try to do DC one week, Marvel the next, an Independent comic the third, and then I repeat. SYNOPSIS: After killing her injured horse, Red Sonja comes across a group of men led and directed by Andar of Bezfarda, attacking another horse. Sonja soon realizes that this horse Andar is so zealously set on capturing is a unicorn, that legends say can grant eternal life. The unicorn's horn is severed by a low hanging branch, which Andar catches. Sonja rescues the horse, cutting down many of Andar's men and riding off on the back of the unicorn.
TALES OF THE LEGION #314 August 1984 I was having trouble deciding which way to go with the reviews of old Legion comics, so thanks to a few people on the Legion of Substitute Podcasters Facebook page, I decided to go with the next issue of the newsstand series, which with this issue became Tales of the Legion. There will be links in this review to previous reviews since there's a lot of references to past Legion stories I've covered. SYNOPSIS: Ontiir is on trial for betraying the United Planets by helping the Emerald Empress and the Dark Circle take over Weber's World. He claims he was ordered to infiltrate the Dark Circle by the Science Police and his treason was part of that cover. Three Legionnaires that were there are present for the trial: Brainiac 5, Sun Boy and Supergirl. When Science Police Chief Zendak refutes the claim of Ontiir's orders, he signals for a Dark Circle escape ship, which helps him escape by keeping the Legionnaires busy keeping observers safe.
TALES TO OFFEND #1 July 1997 With the Reviews of Old Comics, I try to alternate between DC, Marvel and other publishers, It gets a little hard sometimes to find good Independently published comics from before the 2000s. However, since the announcement of Frank Miller returning for a third Dark Knight mini-series, this comic has been sitting on my desk waiting for the opportunity to review it. It's Frank Miller doing politically incorrect material with a tongue-in-cheek treatment of it. SYNOPSIS: Somewhere in the galaxy, there is a dinosaur planet where a female tour guide uses it as a lesson that the dinosaurs lived peacefully and it was mankind that bespoiled nature's beauty. Right as she's making her point, a T-Rex snatches her flying tour car out of the air, devouring the guests on her tour. Even as it bears down on her, she maintains her view of nature's way being right and just.
MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS #2 June 1984 With the second coming of Secret Wars currently reshaping the Marvel Universe, it seemed like a good time to revisit the one that started it all. For some background, you should know that the mini-series stands on its own, as it was intended as a tie-in to the toy line and Jim Shooter, the Editor-In-Chief of Marvel decided that he would write the mini-series. In one month, at the end of their comics, all of the heroes walked into in huge construct in Central Park and in the next issue came out, some with new costumes and some as part of a new team, and readers had to read the mini-series to see how all of the changes happened. Unfortunately, by the time the last issue of the mini-series was published, most of the changes were moot. The most lasting change was Spider-Man's black costume which became the basis for the character Venom.