Posts tagged ‘Alex Toth’

Detective 442 – Biplane Batman, and Manhunter faces his master

tec_442

Detective 442 (Aug./Sept. 74) features another Aparo cover, but it’s Alex Toth art on the Archie Goodwin story.

tec_442_001

The story is a murder mystery, with a World War 1 biplane used as a weapon.  It was viewed as a follow-up to the Batman/Enemy Ace tale from a few years earlier, but has no direct connection.

tec_442_002

It’s fairly straightforward, and the villain’s identity is obvious, but it’s the Toth art that carries the tale.

tec_442_003

The penultimate chapter, and last solo story, for Goodwin and Simonson’s Manhunter series sees Paul Kirk in Japan, hunting down the man who trained him.

tec_442_004

The best page of the story has Christine’s father pulling a gun on her, but unable to use it.  She walks out on him, and the lower half of the page is wonderfully evocative as he heads to his doom.

tec_442_005

Manhunter battles his master, Asano Nitobe, to a standstill, trying to convince him to join his crusade against the Council, but it’s Christine who flies in with the evidence to convince him.

tec_442_006

This marks the end of the Manhunter solo series, as the story concludes next issue in a Batman team-up.

Advertisements

Adventure 497 – Challengers of the Unknown end

Adv_497_003

With the conclusion of the Challengers of the Unknown story in Adventure 497 (March 1983), the book becomes entirely reprints.  This made for a very disappointing 500th issue later in the year.  Such a missed opportunity.

Adv_497

Nor is this final chapter of the Challengers origin anything particularly special.  Bob Rozakis and Alex Toth wind things up adequately, but there is nothing in the five-part tale that makes one glad it was printed.

Adv_497_001

They figure out that none of them was the intended victim, that is was a man named Johnny Green, a friend of Red Ryan, who was also supposed to be on the flight.  Johnny was owed money by the casino owner Red was in debt to, and the bomb was planted so he could avoid paying off the man.

The fight in the casino is the best scene, but even still, the solution is wholly unsatisfying,  with none of the team being the inadvertent cause of the crash.

Adv_497_002

The Challengers of the Unknown next appear three years down the road in an issue of DC Comics Presents.  A couple of year after that they get a decent mini-series of their ownn.

 

Adventure 496 – The Challengers figure things out

Adv_496_002

The Challengers of the Unknown story has its penultimate chapter in Adventure 496 (Feb 83), by Bob Rozakis, Alex Toth and Frank Giacoia.

Adv_496_001

Investingating Professor Haley’s story, they discover that the dead uncle is really still alive.  He had faked his death, but then dies anyway.

Adv_496

Red Ryan gets confronted by a casino owner he is in debt to.  The man is accused of plotting the murder, but defends himself by pointing out that with Red dead, he would never get the money he is owed.

The story concludes next issue.

 

Adventure 495 – The Challengers try to figure things out

Adv_495

The Challengers of the Unknown story in Adventure 495 (Jan 83), by Bob Rozakis, Alex Toth and Frank Giacoia, has better art than the previous chapters, but not much of a story.

Adv_495_001

After dismissing Rocky’s gambling enemies as suspects last issue, they discuss possible enemies of the other three men.  Ace Morgan wound up earning the ire of some Inuit after discovering gold on their land, and Red Ryan ran afoul of Central American revolutionaries.

Adv_495_002

Professor Haley talks of being disinherited by his uncle before his death, in favour of his cousin, and the story has so little to it that it almost begs to be the important one.

 

 

Adventure 425 – Captain Fear begins

Adv_425___

With issue 425 (Jan 73) Adventure Comics changed its format radically, dropping all super-heroes, and becoming much more like the anthology book it started out as.

The issue contained three stand-alone stories, the best of which was also the cover feature, “The Wings of Jealous Gods,”, with excellent art by Alex Toth. A very dark story based on the legend of Pegasus, but set in the present day.

Adv_425

Adv_425___Captain_Fear

The one new series to begin in this issue was Captain Fear, a serial adventure of a Carib from Haiti, whose father is killed by Spanish invaders.

Fero is enslaved by the Spanish, sent to work in the mines. Het leads a slave revolt, and escapes from Haiti.

Adv_425___Captain_Fear_001

He winds up on a Chinese junk, gets enslaved and rebels again, taking command of the ship.

Adv_425_001

By the conclusion of the first chapter of this story, Fero commands his own pirate ship and crew, and has adopted the name Captain Fear.

The strip was written by Robert Kanigher, with superb art by Alex Nino.

Adventure 419 – Supergirl’s bad boyfriend returns, Black Canary ends, and Zatanna faces Gorgonus

Adv_419___Supergirl

Mike Merrick returns in Adventure 419 (May 1972), with a new girlfriend in an unusual, and surprisingly sad, story by John Albano, with art by Tony de Zuniga and Bob Oskner.

Adv_419___Supergirl_001

Supergirl battles magical threats, and the reader discovers that these have been created by Lorelei, Mike Merrick’s new girlfriend, to divert Supergirl and keep her from tracking him down.

Adv_419___Supergirl_002

It’s a bit of overkill, really, as Supergirl has shown no inclination to find Mike over the last 6 months since he appeared, but he calls her and informs her of what has been going on.  This phone call is the only contact Supergirl and Merrick have in the entire story, never even sharing a scene together, but the story works extremely well despite this.

Adv_419___Supergirl_003

Remorseful and self-loathing, Mike kills himself and Lorelei in a car accident.  Supergirl is informed of his death, and comments that he “escaped from a world in which he never quite belonged.”  There is an absence of sappiness in this tale that makes it genuinely touching.

Adv_419

Black Canary’s 2-parter by Denny O”Neil and Alex Toth concludes in this issue, as she wakes to find herself bound and at the mercy of the gang she helped train.

Adv_419___Black_Canary_002

While I kind of hate the fact that she only finds the strength to fight back from this situation by remembering advice from Green Arrow, I can’t fault the beauty of Toth’s art on the flashback.

Adv_419___Black_Canary

And fight back she does, defeating the gang, and at the end discovering that it was all a plot to free Catwoman, in a surprising cameo.  It’s a nice touch, but does make one wish that there had been some bigger scene between the Cat and the Canary.

Black Canary’s next solo series is in World’s Finest Comics in the late 70s.

Adv_419_001

Zatanna returns in this issue, in a story that is sort of an epilogue to her earlier adventure, written by Len Wein with great art by Dick Giordano.

While rehearsing for a new act, Gorgonus suddenly appears, having been expelled from his dimension as an unwitting side effect of the spell Zatanna used to help her and Jeff escape.

Adv_419__Zatanna

She defeats the monster  by subterfuge rather than magic, tricking him into staring into a mirror, which turns him into stone.

Adventure 418 – Supergirl meets Johnny Double,Black Canary begins, and an unpublished Dr Mid-Nite story

Adv_418____Supergirl

Supergirl plunges into Chinatown intrigue in Adventure 418 (April 1972).  The story, by Len Wein, with art by Jose Delbo and Bob Oskner, also introduces her to Johnny Double, DC’s underdog private detective, who was currently also appearing in Wonder Woman’s comic.

Adv_418___Supergirl_001

Nasty hires Johnny Double, claiming that Linda is trying to kill her, but hoping that Johnny will instead find some evidence to prove Linda is Supergirl.

Adv_418___Supergirl_002

Instead, Johnny and Supergirl get enmeshed in a plot by Batman villain Dr Tzin-Tzin to take over the gangs in Chinatown.  Supergirl briefly falls for Tzin-Tzin’s illusion casting powers, but remembers hearing of them from Batman.

Johnny calls Nasty out on her lies about Linda trying to kill her.  There is some flirtation between Johnny and Linda, but he is busy with Wonder Woman, and nothing more comes of it.

Adv_418___Black_Canary

Black Canary gets her first solo story since the golden age in this two-parter, written by Denny O’Neil, with superb art by Alex Toth.

The story is fairly simple.  Black Canary applies for a job as a judo instructor for an organization called the Women’s Protective League.  She is surprised to discover that the women she is training are already fairly skilled, and even more surprised when she discovers gunmen in the centre.  It turns out the gunmen are in league with the feminists (isn’t that always the case?), and Canary gets captured.

Adv_418___Black_Canary_001

 

Adv_418__Dr_Mid-Nite

This issue also includes an unpublished Dr Mid-Nite story, which I believe was not published because it’s incredibly stupid and awful.  So much so that I am going to cover it in detail.

The story begins by introducing an echo-flashlight, a kind of sonar gun for blind people to navigate with, which Dr McNider (Dr Mid-Nite in his secret identity) has invented.  Money is being raised to help mass produce this device, and criminals plan to rob the event.

Adv_418___Dr_Mid-Nite

Dr McNider is on his way there, but hoods are waiting to ambush him.  By sitting on a telephone pole.  Because that’s a place no one will ever notice, or find suspicious.

McNider dives into a bush, and emerges in his Dr Mid-Nite costume in the next panel.  Now let’s consider this.  Take a look at how much clothing he needs to remove and get into, all the while in the bush.  He must be in there at least 5 minutes, possibly more.  And all this time the criminals just wait patiently, one must assume.

But wait, there’s more!  As he jumps out of the bush, the bad guy says “Dr. Mid-Nite!  Wh-where’s Dr McNider?”

OK, so for at least 5 minutes McNider has been in that bush, changing clothes.  That would cause the bush to move and rustle.  Jump in a bush yourself and change clothes, I’ll bet it attracts attention.

But the bad guys, who have waited and waited, ignoring the sound and movement from the bush, cannot figure out where Dr McNider went, or how Dr Mid-Nite got into the bush in the first place.  Even in a universe where Lois Lane cannot recognize Superman when he puts glasses on, this strains all credulity.

Adv_418___Dr_Mid-Nite_001

Dr Mid-Nite then trounces these incompetents, until a man riding a pennyfarthing bike rides up and bumps into him with it.  There may be some other, American, term for this kind of bicycle, I only know the term “pennyfarthing” for it from the 60s tv show “The Prisoner.”

But anyway, let’s examine this scene.  Those bikes did not go particularly quickly, and being hit by one is far more likely to cause the driver of the bike to fall to the ground, rather than render the person being hit unconscious, but that’s what happens in this scene.  Nice top hat, by the way, Mr bad guy.

The criminals then decide to kill Dr Mid-Nite.  So they shoot him.  No, that would be silly.  They choose a much more certain mode of murder.

Adv_418__Dr_Mid-Nite_001

They tie him to the bike and let it drift away.  By some as yet unknown force of nature, the bike continues moving, rather than simply falling over on it’s side.  I realize most of you reading this have never driven this type of bicycle, but take my word for it, it was no more capable of self-balance and propulsion than any other non-motorized bicycle.

Adv_418___Dr_Mid-Nite_002

Of course Dr Mid-Nite escapes from this “death trap.”  A five year old could probably escape from it.

He defeats the amazingly inept bad guys, and then the story ends with a plea to the reader to help contribute to the funding for the echo-flashlight.  So really, this entire story is an ad for the flashlight.

I can fully understand why this story was never published in the golden age.  I have a harder time understanding why it was published in 1972.

 

 

 

 

Tag Cloud