WATCHMEN #1 September 1986 Watchmen is considered to be one of, if not the best comics of all time. However, it gets seen in today's light as a complete story. A new or casual reader of comics could forget very easily that Watchmen was published in twelve, monthly installments. Since I started reviewing old comics, I've wanted to review some of the stories that are traditionally viewed as the best of the genre. So far, the best comics I've reviewed never show up in lists of the best comics ever. Watchmen has remained in print, much to the spite of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, who will regain the rights if DC ever decides to stop publishing it. At this point, I don't know that if they did ever gain the rights, they'd be inclined to do anything with it. Nevertheless, Watchmen remains in the zeitgeist, so I'm going to look at the first issue from a fresh perspective, much like my friends in the ninth grade did when it first came out. I remember my friends Kevin, Todd and Andre pouring over Watchmen, realizing that it was something special. Unfortunately, after that summer, I moved away and didn't pick up Watchmen again until years later, when I bought it in TPB form, a copy I still have today, a first printing that is well read, stained and dog-eared.
TWILIGHT #1 (December) 1990 Twilight #1 was a prestige format book, the first in a series of three books by author Howard Chaykin, famous for the 80s independent comic American Flagg, and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, who'd done a lot of work for DC over the course of the 1980s, even having the mass-marketed Superman image for the late 1980s. My friend Joel first exposed me to this book and for the better part of eight years, I sought to complete my own collection of all three books. Being square-bound, they usually sit on my bookshelf, which probably isn't good for their longevity, but who cares, they're just comics. SYNOPSIS: It's the future, and elderly Homer Glint, while chasing after his seeing-eye cat, comes across momentos of his past. The story begins during a hostage crisis in the jungle, where bio-engineered animal men are holed up with the journalistic adventurer team known as the Star-Rovers while military hero John Starker prepares a commando team to storm in and rescue the hostages. Tempers flare in the hut, when Rick Purvis goes nuts after learning that teammate Karel Sorenson has had a sexual relationship with one of the ape men, and he proceeds to behead their leader, which makes him a hero across known space, even as far as the fleet of ships commanded by the Nazi-esque Tommy Tomorrow, on a search for immortality, long promised. Purvis's perceived heroism gets the Star Rovers an assignment off world that looks promising in the legend of a "new messiah."
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.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #305 November 1983 NOTE: This is a update of one of my reviews of old comics from a blogger account I set up some time ago. I’m reposting it here to make for a continuation of Legion comics reviewed in order. This issue wasn’t my first issue of Legion that I bought,
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #304 October 1983 This issue was my first regular issue of the Legion that I bought, so it's stuck with me. It seems really odd since there's very little actual focus on the Legion. SYNOPSIS: Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel resume their teaching at the Legion Academy, and notify the students that with the resignations of Karate Kid and Queen Projectra following their wedding, the time is ripe for the Legion to recruit new members. The stusents are eager, although some of them don't qualify under the "no duplicate powers" clause the Legion has, specifically Shadow Kid and although he doesn't mention it, Magnetic Lad. Wildfire comes in and informs Bouncing Boy that Dream Girl wants new Legion recruits Invisible Kid and the White Witch to receive Academy training. Wildfire storms off after some private discussion about the role of the Academy in training not only future Legionnaires, but heroes as well. Element Lad, Shvaughn Erin, Brainiac 5, and Chameleon Boy meet in secret to plot how to expose a Durlan imposter masquerading as Shrinking Violet, and hopefully rescue the real Violet.
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.
ELEMENTALS #22 February,1988 I’ve been a fan of his Bill Willingham’s work since I graduated from High School. See, on graduation night, I had gotten my diploma and was on my way to the county graduation party to have one last blast with friends, and so I stopped by the Mall to pick up a tee-shirt with the
ALL-STAR SQUADRON #29 January 1984 I remember the first three years of All-Star Squadron as being very good, especially when Jerry Ordway was doing the art on it. Jerry Ordway is probably best known for his run on Adventures of Superman and Power of Shazam! but I was first introduced to him in the pages of All-Star Squadron and Infinity, Inc. where his art style was very organic and naturalistic. Over the years, my collection has been liquidated of these comics, but from time to time, I've tripped across an issue or two, and this is one of them. SYNOPSIS: The Shining Knight is fighting off Nazi Bombers over England. When he lands, Prime Minister Winston Churchill gives him a telegram from America where Liberty Belle is convening a meeting of the entire All-Star Squadron. This takes his thoughts to another group he belongs to, the Seven Soldiers of Victory, and he begins telling a story of one of their most recent exploits.
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.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES ANNUAL #10 September 1983 I'm a huge fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and before I brought this column over to Needless Essentials, I had started, on my own blog, a series covering a run of issues on the Legion's issues from this time period, where I came into the ranks of Legion fans. I was hesitating on continuing it here, but for the brief time that I've been writing here, the most viewed review of an old comic has been consistently the issue of Legion of Super-Heroes that I reviewed about a month ago. Therefore, until I see a drop in interest for my Legion reviews, the majority of the DC Comics that I'll review will be from the Legion, and in order. When I was younger, and first buying comics at the convenience store, Annuals were extremely hard to find. This was a real problem with the Teen Titans' story "The Judas Contract." I remember stumbling across this one at a different store than my regular haunt, still on the spinner rack after a couple more issues of the Legion had come out. I was thrilled and tried for days to figure out where it fit in until I read the notes at the end of this issue. I was twelve and didn't have the patience to read a lot of captions, especially after the story was over.