Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - The Adventures of Superman #544

Next up for the month is actually an organization this time: Intergang. The Metropolis-based gang was first introduced in Superman’s Pal: Jimmy Olsen #133 (1970). Yes, Jimmy Olsen had his own book and it lasted that long. This was during Jack Kirby’s run with the series and it heavily tied into his Fourth World work. The group was led by Bruno Manheim and they used advanced technology to do their thing. They’d usually get their tech from Apokalips itself. They were a major threat during the post-Crisis run but they did disappear for a time.

Instead of being stuck in the late 80’s/early 90’s, it’s time to go ahead a few years. Today’s issue is The Adventures of Superman #544. It’s right after the wedding and right before Superman gets electric. More on “Superman 2: Electric Boogaloo” later. The issue is written by Karl Kesel. The pencils were handled by Stuart Immonen and the inks were done by Jose Marzan Jr. So, let’s see what happens when you combine a plot from a TV show with the comics.

The Adventures of Superman #544
Writer: Karl Kesel
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Jose Marzan Jr.
Colors: Glenn Whitemore
Letters: Albert De Guzman
Seperations: Digital Chameleon
Editors: Joey Cava Mike McAvennie

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Trade Tales! - Superman: Earth One Volume 3

Next up for the month is one of the big ones: General Zod. To make a long story short, he’s powerful, likes black, and loves long walks on the beach that he himself created with all the destruction he caused. 

In all seriousness, Zod has been a go-to villain ever since his introduction in Adventure Comics #283. Whatever version of his story you follow, he’s always been a rogue general who rebelled on Krypton. For his punishment, he and his followers were sent to the Phantom Zone. There have been other Kryptonians locked in the Zone, but Zod is the mainstay for the franchise. The guy’s especially been an important role in the movies since he's one that can go toe-to-toe with Superman.

Today’s story is the 3rd volume to the Superman: Earth One series. I’ve covered the previous two volumes, so it’s time to finish it out. While the J. Michael Strazcynski-written series hasn’t been great, it has been an interesting re-telling of the Superman mythos. JMS is back at it with the story. Sandra Hope also returned to do the inking. This time, Shane Davis isn’t on the ride for the pencils. The penciling was being handled by Ardian Syaf, an artist who recently got himself into some trouble. That’s all I’ll say on that. So, what trouble has this version of Superman gotten himself into this time?

Superman: Earth One Volume 3
Writer: J. Michael Strazcynski
Pencils: Ardian Syaf
Inks: Sandra Hope
Colors: Barbara Ciardo
Letters: Rob Leigh

Friday, September 15, 2017

TV Talk - Superman: The Animated Series - "Fun and Games"

Next up for the month is Winslow Schott, aka Toyman. The character first appeared in comics in Action Comics #64 and has been a mainstay ever since. He’s also been revamped a number of times in the comics and even in other media. He even hasn’t been Schott. He’s usually been a disgruntled toy maker who wants revenge for losing his job or other things. Heck, Sherman Hemsley played a version of him on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Sueprman, so this character has been places. There’s even a heroic version of Toyman out there.

One thing that’s been interesting is that people have tried to darken the character over the years. One of the biggest changes was to make him into a straight-up nutjob when he killed Cat Grant’s son, Adam. I’ve heard that folk weren’t a fan of that change in the mid-90’s. I haven’t gotten to those issues yet in my re-read, so I can’t say what I think about it. I did think about looking at those issues, but I’m going somewhere else with the character. The character was revamped on Superman: The Animated Series, so that’s where I’m going with this one. Today’s post looks at “Fun and Games,” the fourth episode of the series.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Action Comics #647-649

Next up for the month is actually a double feature! I have two villains for this post and they are pretty well-known: Brainiac and Metallo. Since Metallo is less complex, I’ll talk about him first. Metallo was first introduced in Action Comics #252 as John Corben, a criminal. After a fatal accident, Professor Vale was able to save Corben's brain and put it into a robotic body with a heart of Kryptonite. After John died, his brother ended up taking the role until the reboot in 1986. Then, John Byrne brought the original idea back and gave it a more Terminator edge in Superman #1. At this point, Metallo was deactivated and under Lex Luthor’s possession.

Then, there’s Brainiac. Where do I even start? Ever since his first appearance in Action Comics #242, he's been revamped and retconned in just about everything. Let’s just go with the Coluan background here. There’s no need to mention the fact that he’s been a Kryptonian A.I. too. In this iteration, He was a scientist from Colu who was executed via teleportation. His consciousness ended up on Earth and found Milton Fine, a circus performer who had psychic powers. He took control of Fine and fought Superman a number of times until he ended up becoming catatonic. He also ended up being under the care of Lex Luthor.

Today’s story is “The Brainiac Trilogy” from Action Comics #647-649. At this point, Action Comics was back to being a main Superman book. Beforehand, it was weekly and being shared by multiple heroes. We haven’t gotten to the point where the Superman books were tying right into each other yet. Roger Stern was the writer. The artwork was done by George Perez, Kerry Gammill, and Brett Breeding. So, sit back and see how Brainiac got his groove back!

Action Comics #647-649
Writer: Roger Stern
Artwork: George Perez, Kerry Gammill, and Brett Breeding
Colors: Bill Oakley
Letters: Glenn Whitmore
Editors: Jon Peterson (associate) and Mike Carlin

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Tales From the $4.99 (eh) Bin! - Action Comics Annual #1

Next up for the month is a villain who is in the D-list: the Kryptonite Man Even though the Kryptonite Man is a mostly unused villain, he still has something that can knock Superman down to his knees. To give you a hint, it’s all in his name. The name has been passed around to different folk, but the effect is still the same: they are embowed with green kryptonite radiation.  The Kryptonite Man first appeared in Superboy #83 (1960) and has sparsely appeared since then. I think there were 3 versions in the Post-Crisis era and one of them was a weird clone of Superman. Since I’ll be spending some time in that era this month, I think it’s time for something more recent.

The Kryptonite Man made a return during Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics. This time, he was Clay Ramsey, the infamous wifebeater that Superman threw around in his early days. Ramsey was a part of Vyndtyvx’s (Lord Vinnie) for Morrison’s run. Today’s issue is the annual from that run that featured the villain. Sholly Fisch, the backup writer on Action Comics, wrote the whole issue. Cully Hamner handled the artwork. There is a backup “written” by Max Landis with artwork by Ryan Sook at the back about the Atomic Skull. I’m not talking about the backup here but I can say is that it was alright if a bit brief.

Action Comics Annual #1
Writer: Sholly  Fisch
Artist: Cully Hamner
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Steve Wands
Editors: Wil Moss and Matt Idelson

Monday, September 4, 2017

Tales From the $3.99 Bin! - Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds

Next up for the month is a more recent villain who was once a hero: Superboy-Prime. I’ve called this character by the name of “PRIME” here mostly because he ain’t worthy of the Superboy title and it gets tiring typing “Superboy-Prime” a lot. Plus, he’s actually pretty easy to make fun of. “I’ll Kill you to Death” was one phrase that was uttered from the poor, poor boy. The character first appeared in DC Comic Presents # 87 in 1985. He was from Earth-Prime which was supposed to be the “real” world of the DCU. He was a fanboy named Clark Kent who one day gained powers.

Afterwards, he went right into the action with Crisis on Infinite Earths where he, Alexander Luthor (Earth-3 version), and Superman (Earth-2 version) defeated the Anti-Monitor. He then went into limbo for 20 years only to be brought back as one of the villains for Infinite Crisis. After that, he appeared in the Sinestro Corps War as Superman-Prime since the name “Superboy” was being fought for in court. Finally, he appeared in Countdown to Final Crisis and the less said about that, the better. To make a long story short, it apparently sucked.

Today’s story is Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds. It sort of ties into Final Crisis. If you wondered where Superman was while the forces of Apokalips reigned on Earth, here you go. This story was also the continuation of re-introducing the original Legion of Superheroes into current continuity. It even served as a way to acknowledge the other rebooted Legion teams. Now that is one, long story that I won’t get into here. I also remember this mini being especially late when it was released. Geoff Johns, the pusher of that storyline, is the writer. Legendary artist George Perez is on the pencils and Scott Kolbish handles the inks.

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: George Perez
Inks: Scott Kolbish
Colors: Hi-Fi Design
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Editors: Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman