Archive for February, 2012

Daredevil #228

February 29, 2012

Frank Miller // Dave Mazzucchelli
March 1986
*****

Prefiguring Watchmen, Miller & Mazz delve into the warped psyche of urban vigilantism. Murdock, already unhinged & now stripped of his livelihood, becomes a bipolar paranoid. First he’s unable to muster energy to leave his dive hotel, then he’s nearly killed facing a gleefully sadistic Kingpin.

last issue: Daredevil #227
next issue: Daredevil #229

also indexed for Mar. ’86
Balder the Brave #3 of 4
The Fantastic Four #288
The Mighty Thor #365
The Punisher #3 of 5
Secret Wars II #9 of 9

Daredevil #227

February 28, 2012

Frank Miller // Dave Mazzucchelli
February 1986
*****

“Someone is out to get Matt Murdock”—the Kingpin, natch, having bought the hero’s secret ID. The seller is Karen Page, long MIA from the mag & now a Tijuana junkie. A classic arc, w/ tough-guy narration & almost no superheroics. Miller urges already expert Mazz into hard-lined, career-defining work.

last issue: Daredevil #226
next issue: Daredevil #228

also indexed for Feb. ’86
The Fantastic Four #287
The Mighty Thor #364
The Punisher #2 of 5
Secret Wars II #8 of 9

Daredevil #226

February 27, 2012

Denny O’Neil & Frank Miller // Dave Mazzucchelli
January 1986
*****

Two masters of the Urban Avenger subgenre collaborate on a grim little psychodrama. A mortal thought kindles Murdock’s violent impulses; the mentally unstable Gladiator gets roped into criminal activity. The men are mirror images, & the ish’s irony is that only the villain steps back from the brink.

last issue: Daredevil #225
next issue: Daredevil #227

also indexed for Jan. ’86
Balder the Brave #2 of 4
The Fantastic Four #286
The Mighty Thor #363
The Punisher #1 of 5
Secret Wars II #7 of 9

Secret Wars II #9 of 9

February 22, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
March 1986
*
The series takes a truly weird twist as its protag invents a Kirbytech “birthing module” that allows him to be reborn as an omnipotent mortal (the turn echoes Shooter’s similar, infamous “Rape of Ms. Marvel” plotline). Every superhero in Marvel Comics wants to stop the cosmic being, leading some to propose infanticide! Instead, the nebbishy Molecule Man & his homely g’friend save the universe.
[continued from The Fantastic Four #288]
[continued in The Avengers #266]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #8 of 9]

Secret Wars II #8 of 9

February 21, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
February 1986
*
The Beyonder, annoyed w/ the enigma of existence, contemplates destroying it. #8 epitomizes what’s wrong w/ SW2. Shooter, having imagined godlike beings such as Korvac, wants to draw an omnipotent Hamlet—all introspection & inaction—but he’s no Shakespeare. The ersatz philosophy is fun to read.
[continued from The Defenders #152]
[see also The New Mutants #37]
[see also The Amazing Spider-Man #274]
[continued in The Avengers #265]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #7 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #9 of 9]

Secret Wars II #7 of 9

February 20, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
January 1986
*
The Marvel U’s version of Satan aims to destroy the Beyonder w/ Kirbytech & a battalion of supervillains. Luckily, the Thing has Big B’s back. Since last ish, the godling has gotten lost in meditation. His passivity & fiendish temptation could be holy, but in Shooter’s hands it’s just dull & inert.
[continued from Power Man & Iron Fist #121]
[continued in The New Mutants #36]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #6 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #8 of 9]

Secret Wars II #6 of 9

February 19, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
December 1985
*
After getting his consciousness raised elsewhere by Dr. Strange, the Beyonder turns superhero. His resolution to eliminate death pits him against Marvel’s 1970s cosmic entities, a pantheon inspired by quaaludes. Shooter aims so high & falls so far short, while Milgrom gets increasingly sketchy.
[continued from The Fantastic Four #285]
[continued in Cloak and Dagger #4]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #5 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #7 of 9]

Secret Wars II #5 of 9

February 18, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
November 1985
**
The Beyonder picks a fight w/ Kirby space-gods, a good concept wasted by dull fight choreography. The protag does have an emotional arc—unable to return to his home dimension, he’s now sulking w/ a mutant teen runaway—but his moods are impossible to follow if you don’t get every crossover issue.
[continued from The Avengers #261]
[continued in The Thing #30]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #4 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #6 of 9]

Secret Wars II #4 of 9

February 17, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
October 1985
**
The Beyonder dabbles w/ romance, but since he’s omnipotent there’s no tension to his wooing. He also stumbles into Alpha Flight, where he rescues a heroine from a strange fate. This mag’s love object, MTV mutant Dazzler, isn’t given a personality, but she is granted cosmic awareness.
[continued from The Incredible Hulk #312]
[see also Alpha Flight #28]
[continued in Dazzler #40]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #3 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #5 of 9]

Secret Wars II #3 of 9

February 16, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
September 1985
**
A self-contained humanist parable, #3 is closer to a ’50s SF one-off than an ’80s superhero adventure. The childlike, omnipotent Beyonder gets tutored by a seedy mobster, exerts his will over every molecule on Earth, then gives it all up to challenge himself further. He also gets an MTV makeover.
[see also The Avengers #260]
[continued in Daredevil #223]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #2 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #4 of 9]

Secret Wars II #2 of 9

February 15, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
August 1985
*
The Beyonder, a universe incarnate, wanders NYC. In one low point, Peter Parker must toilet-train the omnipotent being! SW2 is a true crossover: you gotta read other titles to follow the plot & vice-versa. An FF arc gets scrambled in with this mag, as an evil super-empath corrupts Sue Richards.
[continued from Captain America #308]
[see also The Uncanny X-Men #196]
[see also Fantastic Four #281]
[continued in Web of Spider-Man #6]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #1 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #3 of 9]

Secret Wars II #1 of 9

February 14, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
July 1985
**
Despite its plodding pace, bad characterization, & awful action, Secret Wars sold comics so it earns a sequel. Luckily, SW2 seems to have a smarter concept than  “good v. bad”. Its blank-slate protagonist, a godlike entity called the Beyonder, seeks experience & wisdom on Earth—& finds superhero violence.
[continued in The New Mutants #30]
[continued in Captain America #308]
[continued in Iron Man #197]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #2 of 9]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 of 12

February 13, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
April 1985
**
An anonymous roster of artists, betrayed by a diversity of styles, help Zeck complete issue #12 on time. The motives of the Beyonder (such a terrible name!) again get teased but remain obscure. Doom’s final battle w/ the entity is a sound-&-light show, while the heroes get resurrected offstage then return home via Kirbytech. And so the Wars wrap up patly, tying up ends left dangling since #1.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12

February 13, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
March 1985
**
Rule #1: never show Doom’s face! Tho’ the now divine Doc has removed his mask, he hasn’t quite left behind his human desires. Presumably that’s why the heroes, chatting at a conference table <yawn>, get zapped by lightning. Plus, Colossus gets busy w/ an alien chick, to the fury of Pryde fans.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12

February 12, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
February 1985
***
Shooter’s flaws (bad dialogue, brute combat) haven’t vanished, but he pulls a twist! While the heroes cower, Dr. Doom wins the Secret War! With Miltonic self-regard, he syphons off the cosmic power of Galactus then challenges the godlike “Beyonder”. Finally, the series’ scope equals its remit.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12

February 11, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
January 1985
**
Mr F asks what a godlike entity could hope to gain from arena sport. Shooter almost breaks thru the banality, but <sigh> having no answer, he falls back on his plot of Galactus Rising. Anyway, Zeck submits his best work of the series: his panels smooth & unfussy, his pacing tight but not hurried.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12

February 10, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
December 1984
*
Finally, something happens! The good guys storm the citadel of the bad guys. It’s a bash-’em-up battle, which is ironic as Shooter made his youthful rep on DC’s Legion by inventing non-strength & -energy superpowers. The cover tells the real story of this ish: Spidey gets a new black costume.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12

February 9, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
November 1984
*
A new Spider-Woman in a black leotard walks out of the shadows. “I’m Spider-Woman!” she announces. The next panel: “Hello everyone! I’m Spider-Woman!” Then she wanders off for the rest of the issue. To think, Shooter is Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer! Another low point: She-Hulk gets a beatdown.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12

February 8, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
October 1984
*
Colossus moons over an alien chick; the Wasp gets killed; Galactus constructs his enigmatic Kirbytech; combat resembles schoolyard tussling. Thankfully, Zeck has returned with his delicate line. His long shots of tiny figures, each carefully rendered & colored, are the only entertainment on view.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12

February 7, 2012

Jim Shooter // Bob Layton
September 1984
*
In the latest wrinkle to this slow-moving mag, Galactus plans to eat the artificial world out from under the superhumans. But it’s a case of telling, not showing. Layton’s fill-in work shows him to be a fine match for Shooter, w/ dull pencils & conventional layouts contributing a lack of urgency.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12

February 4, 2012

Jim Shooter // Bob Layton
August 1984
**
Despite being fill-in work, the cover to #4 is the series’ best: not a pin-up pose but a claustrophobic shot of the Hulk propping up a mountain. Finally, something happens! The rest, however, is down to MSHSW‘s usual level. Check that last page, meant to be a cliffhanger: Galactus raises his arms!
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12

February 3, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
July 1984
*
A hurricane pounds the Kirbytech bases on the patchwork world, establishing—surprise!—a romantic mood! In a twist, the Wasp hooks up with Magneto! But Shooter has a tin ear even for strongly voiced characters like Spidey & Dr. Doom. His own creations, a pair of superwomen, have woefully generic powers.
[last issue: Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #2 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #2 of 12

February 2, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
June 1984
*
Zeck’s landscapes give this maxiseries a weird sense of place, and his trad three-tier grid keeps the action clear. But Shooter—Marvel’s creative chief!—writes such flat characters & brute superpowers! Only Dr. Doom is on model, as he audaciously aims above the series’ good v. evil battle royale.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12]

Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #1 of 12

February 1, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
May 1984
**
The original event-comic maxiseries! A godlike entity kidnaps superheroes & -villains & demands they battle on an alien world. The hoary plot is as childish as the ’40s JSA formula, & lifted only a little by the moral ambiguities of Doom & Magneto, by the cosmic grandeur, & by Zeck’s rubber faces.
[next issue: Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #2 of 12]