Posts tagged ‘John Albano’

Adventure 427 – Voodoo Lizards, Vigilante ends and Denise toys with Captain Fear

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Nelson Strong hears the tale of a callous and arrogant photographer who goes to Africa in search of a secret tribal ceremony, in this Adventurer’s Club story by John Albano and Jim Aparo.

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His trespass first costs the life of his guide, and the story has a dark ending.  Again, this would fit completely into House of Mystery, or any of the rest of the DC horror line.

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Vigilante deals with a murder on a western film set in his final outing in Adventure Comics, a story by Cary Bates with art by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano.

An actor’s gun is loaded with real bullets, and though he claims innocence no one except Vigilante believes him.

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The brief tale winds up being about mob vengeance and a phony production company that is a front for diamond smuggling, but is actually pretty good for all that.

Vigilante’s next series comes about four years down the road, in World’s Finest Comics, though the Earth-3 version of the character gets a story in Adventure in another year or so.

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The woman Captain Fear rescued in the previous issue, Denise, turns on him when their ship is attacked by another.  The enemy ship is captained by her father – or so she claims at first, and Fero is put into chains in this Robert Kanigher/Alex Nino story.

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She tells Fero that does not want to see him imprisoned and killed by her father, and frees him, but this is merely a set-up.

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He defeats the pirate, and Denise reveals that he was not her father, rather, she was his unwilling mistress.  She takes command of the ship, and offers to make Fero her second in command, but he spurns her once again.

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Adventure 426 – Adventurer`s Club begins, Vigilante hunts cocaine dealers and Captain Fear sets sail

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The Adventurer`s Club begins in Adventure 426 (March 1973), which is basically just a framing sequence for unconnected stories.

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Nelson Strong is the host of the strip, and though he is meant to look manly and authoritative, his introduction of the concept makes him look sort of crazy to me.

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This first tale, written by John Albano and drawn by Jim Aparo, would not have been out of place in any of DC`s horror books from the era.  It tells the story of gangsters haunted by the vision of a woman accidentally killed in a drive-by shooting, whose father was a hypnotist.  The story makes is clear there is nothing actually supernatural happening, beyond the hypnotic powers of the vengeful father.

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Vigilante comes to the aid of a young woman who kicked a cocaine addiction, and is now being hunted by her former dealer and ex-boyfriend, who fear (correctly) that she will turn them in to the police.

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A decent tale, written by Cary Bates, with art by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano, that makes the most of its ski resort setting, not the normal locale for a motorcyle-riding hero.

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The Captain Fear story in this issue must take place quite a while after the last one, though no time frame is given, but he is now in Indochina, where he rescues a white girl from some nasty people who want to sacrifice her.

She begs him to return her to her wealthy father, a plantation owner, and also tries to make some moves on Fero, who rebuffs her coldly.

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He does manage to get her aboard his ship, fighting off a rival crew, but she turns the tables on him, pulling out a gun.  There is more to her than it seems, but what…?

Robert Kanigher and Alex Nino were at the helm of this tale.

 

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Adventure 410 – Supergirl falls for a bad boy

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Supergirl falls for Mike Merrick in Adventure 410 (Sept 71), a thief and con man.  The story is by John Albano, with art by Bob Oskner and Vince Colletta.

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Nasty moves into a new apartment, and tries to convince Linda to become her roommate, in order to spy on her.  When she sees a monster attack a handsome neighbour, she makes excuses to leave, then flies back in to rescue the unconscious man, flying off with the monster.  By the time she returns, Nasty has made her move on the guy, but he offers to take both women out.

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The monsters return, grabbing Mike and Linda and taking them to their remote village, where we learn Mike took part in transforming the inhabitants into monsters, and then robbed them of a precious jewel.

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Supergirl rescues him from the vengeance-crazed beasts, but collapses in the ocean when her powers vanish again.  Mike Merrick leaves her on the shore, having figured out Linda is Supergirl.

Mike Merrick returns a few issues down the road.

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