Thursday, 16 June 2016

YouAreComic Presents: Hal-imony #2...

Welcome back for another installment of Hali-mony, YouAreComic's merry march through the history of the greatest Emerald Gladiator of them all: Hal Jordan. This week to make up for how much we enjoyed John Stewart in his spot in the Justice League cartoon we're going to slog our way through Green Lantern v2 #2 by John Broome and the mighty Gil Kane. It's going to be a blast.

It's a promising cover for the GL savvy in the audience as we recognize that dude chucking the lightning bolt as a Weaponer of Qward. We love those guys and they've got a great history with GL through the years.

Who knew that that history began with Hal huffing over Carol ignoring him (due to her infatuation with Green Lantern) and being accosted by a weird looking bald alien dude with a telepathic sob story:

Turns out that baldy didn't just wander off the set of the movie Coneheads as we first suspected. Rather he came from the anti-matter  universe of Qward. A mean and horrible place ruled by evil-doers and with a society based on the precepts of *gulp*...evil. Turns out he, and a bunch of his weener pals, are sick of all the yucky evil and are going to use a secret, heavily guarded dimensional bridge to escape to our positive universe. Armed with only his wily wits our bald pal, Telle-Teg by name, outwits two lighning-bolt packing guards (who seem to be dressed in a hot-pants based version of a British Redcoat uniform) and escapes into our universe.

Then while he was happily enjoying the sunshine, lollipops and rainbow daffodils that we all take for granted here in our positive matter universe, he was brutally attacked by one of the, infinitely better dressed than their guards, Destroyer Weaponers of Qward.

Tale told Hal uses the old 'I'll just go get Green Lantern For You' routine to ditch baldy, nip to his dressing room, change into his GL duds, charge his ring, take a pee, maybe have a sandwich....then he heads back out to help out Telle-Teg.

He doesn't have to go far to do this as the Destroyer has tracked Telle-Teg down and shows up at the Ferris Airfield! The fiend tosses a super-powerful and conveniently yellow lightning bolt at Hal. Luckily Tele-Teg tackles him out of the way, otherwise our stalwart hero would've been done for - I mean it's not like he could've flown to safety, scooped up a chunk of rock to use as a shield or...y'know..stepped out of the way.

Never mind that now, psyched by his new bald friend's heroics GL puts his game face on and....shoots a green fist at the dude with the big yellow shield:

Dammit! How did that not stop him? 

Not to worry GL regroups, turns invisible (because, y'know, he can do that) and snags the befuddled bolt-chucking Qwardian with a power lasso. Job done....except Tele-Teg got killed at some point during the melee.


To honor his deceased baldy pal's memory GL zips off to the anti-matter universe and sees off the Qwardian Detroyers and their questionably dressed guards using a combination of a 'stinging rain of tiny steel pellets' and a football player made of energy. He rescues Telle-Teg's weener friends and brings them home to the positive universe.

Hooray! Then just when you thought to was safe to go back to ogling Carol Ferris, the law-loving Qwardian weeners warn of a Weaponer plot to steal all of the Green Lantern Power Batteries in the universe. Dun! Dun! Dun! Nice foreshadowing Mr Broome - we'll see those pesky lightning-bolt chuckers again!

In our backup feature this time around we're treated to a joyous, celebration of eskimo culture...or a lively jaunt into casual racism...depends how you look at it really...*sigh*.

So Pieface, Hal Jordan's unfortunately named mechanic, is getting roughed up by some thugs who want a piece of a treasure map that had been entrusted to Pieface by his father. Hal steps in and runs the crooks off but not before they steal the map leaving Pieface devastated.

Pulling a total dick move Hal pisses off leaving Pieface to dry his eyes solo, so that he can show back up as Green Lantern and re-create the map-piece with his power ring after plucking its image out of the shocked eskimo's memory.

It's a long flight to the Great White North even by power ring. You'd think Hal, seasoned GL that he is would've thought of that, but since he didn't when he and Pie track down the map-stealing thugs he can't even lasso them because his power ring is out of juice!

In a pair of fun panels the thugs beat the snot out of Hal then encase him in a block of ice using a watering can. I love it!

With his ring running on empty and no hope for escape, Hal makes one last ditch attempt. There may be a tiny spark of power left in the ring - not enough to form a lasso perhaps but surely that tiny spark is just enough to conjure up....a miniature sun.

Ooookay, so the miniature sun melts the ice enough for Hal to escape and beat the living shit out of all of the thugs. Bing, bang, boom justice is served, GL is the winner and Pieface is the sole owner of a fortune packed goldmine!

Back at work the next day Pieface (because you know as sole owner of the gold mine of course Pie was going to be back in his greasy overalls first thing next morning), reveals that Hal's lack of fresh and original moves gave away his secret identity as Green Lantern but that his secret is safe with him.

All is well, everybody laugh, fade to black.
But Pieface, seriously don't tell Batman I blew the secret identity thing okay?

YouAreComic GL Tally:
Constructs Count: 3 Power Beams ,1 Huge Nozzle, 2 Pairs Of Tongs, 1 Giant Hand, 1 Tiny Hand 1 Pair Handcuffs, 1 Vice, 1 Fist, 1 Stinging Rain of Tiny Steel Pellets, 1 Football Player, 2 Lassos, 1 Memory Probe, 1 Minature Sun, 1 Bubble, 1 Map, 1 Compass
Randomly Yellow Things: Cavemen, Jumpsuit, Lightning Bolt, Shield

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Superman: Post-Crisis Punch-up #6

Welcome back for another round of Post-Crisis Punch-up, it's week 6 and this time around we're going to be talking about the big blue boy-scouting that went on back in April 1987. I should say up front that all three issues in this installment of PCPU were top notch - any one could've been top of the heap. So my reasons for ranking them as I have may seem even more arbitrary then usual! Anyway let's get to it:

Adventures Of Superman #429:
As the cover suggests Adventures of Superman this month is all about Superman fighting a big monkey dude in questionable armor. That monkey-dude, Concussion by name, is the only reason this issue finds itself languishing in the bottom spot. Dude was lame. Everything that isn't that monkey-dude in this awesome. It's a veritable smorgasbord of sweet character moments. We get Cat Grant insulting Clark's taste in sweaters and emotionally confiding him about the painful custody situation with her son. We get Superman feeling powerless and awkward as he pays a visit to Cat's ex, movie-mogul Joseph Martin. Poor Supes realizes too late that to Martin and his son he comes across as Cat's hired goon strong-arming them for custody. Then it all goes to hell when the big purple monkey comes crashing in whooping and wailing about 'I'm gonna avenge the death of my telepathic cat pal* this' and 'you must die that'. Of course Superman makes with the fisticuffs and dispatches monkey-boy in a few panels but it's the aftermath and Superman's reaction to it, beautifully rendered under Jerry Ordway's masterful pencil, that's worth the price of admission. Martin has been seriously injured in the melee and his son doesn't want the cape wearing wack-job responsible for bringing all this random destruction down on them anywhere near him or his dad. Superman's dejected expression as he's reduced to calling 911 for help is a masterpiece. In the end Cat gets to be reunited with her son, but not under circumstances anyone would've wanted and Supes is left pondering whether he can afford to ever blur the line between Clark and Superman again. Excellent stuff - kudos Mr Wolfman.
* NOTE: In case my 'telepathic cat' reference slips by you, Concussion is a member of the Circle who Supes has clashed indirectly with already in this Adventures Of Superman run. You can bet this isn't the last we'll see of them.

Superman v2 #6:
This issue opens with a jaw-dropping splash page - Safari Lois finds the Superman costume among Clark's things!! You'll remember that stubbly Clark was seemingly whacked by a large robot mummy last issue. It seems he was retrieved and brought back to base camp by Lois and her archaeologist pals - he recovers just in time to see himself outed. Luckily everyone, except for Supes, has been possessed by the minds of an ancient alien race courtesy of the giant robot mummy - Phew! Incidentally all of this batshit information is communicated to us by way of flashbacks framed by a sequence of Superman and the giant mummy robot having an awesome, destructive battle of Godzilla proportions in the middle of a large South American city! That boys and girls - is comics! The resolution is an equally delicious slice of comic-book insanity as the blabbermouth aliens and their equally chatty robo-mummy pal sow the seeds of their own destruction. From their yakking Supes learns not only that the alien's can't decide which of them should get to wear his super-powered body but also the robo-mummy when under threat is capable of sucking all of the alien minds out of their host bodies and back into itself. So Supes pounds the mummy until it gets upset enough to suck it's alien pals back out of Lois and co. Then using his super-noggin, he plays possum, pretending his chiseled pecs and rakish spit-curl are up for grabs, knowing that the alien minds controlling the robot won't be able to form an orderly queue in their rush to possess his body. The resulting contention between the arguing alien back seat drivers overloads the robot and makes him fall down, go boom. Lois remembers nothing, Superman makes flimsy excuses about where Clark went and we're done! A joy to read - so much fun!

Action Comics #589:
Okay so nothing about this comic makes it better than either of the preceding two, other than my completely subjective love for this era of the Green Lantern Corps - so deal with it ya poozers! That's not to say that this comic is not a shit-ton of fun -because it is. It also gets extra points by dredging up and re-using a plot point from a previous batshit crazy Byrne issue of Action.
So we open with resident GL totty Arisa discovering Superman floating unconscious in space where those jerk Hawks left him last issue. Once she and her fellow GLs get him aboard their temporary space citadel (an awesome sentence that I just don't get to say enough) and reassure him that Earth isn't under attack from an imaginary Thangarian invasion fleet, they notice a massive cloud of biological gunk winging it's way ominously toward Earth.
Sounds simple right? Big Blue and the GLs will just fly out there and whup some evil living space cloud ass! Uh Uh - this cloud of biological stink knows how to defend itself (with spiky balls and slimy tentacles apparently)! So what? That still shouldn't be problem for this lot! Wrong - all of the cloud defenses are...yellow! Goddamn that shitty Green Latern luck - every goddamned threat they face turns out to be goddamned yellow - where are all the purple and blue alien menaces huh? That's what I want to know!
Anyway,  things go from bad to bonkers as Hal discovers among all of the mustard tentacles and other assorted alien guck...a grave marker:

That's when Supes figures it out. Remember that sentient graveyard he and the Phantom Stranger tossed into orbit a few issues back? This is it and it's pissed! Clearly just tossing every single threat into space is not as solid a plan as Post-Crisis Superman originally thought - damn, that was his go-to play too! Then an ingenious plan comes to him, adding his own willpower to the formidable mental might of the gathered GLs they form a massive planet-stopping claw and.....push the thing a wee bit further out into space. Hmmm, while on paper it sound like the same bad plan over again - the giant cloud of alien puke freezes solid - so clearly the Earth is now completely safe from it now and forever. Huzzah! Good job guys!