Posts tagged ‘Lady Merria’

Adventure 478 – Aquaman, Starman and Plastic Man end

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Aquaman gets the cover for his final, really final, story in Adventure 478 (Dec 80), by Jean-Marc DeMatteis and Dick Giordano.

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Black Manta has gathered an army of homeless and disaffected people, and told them lies to make the Atlanteans seem like evil monsters.  Aquaman and Cal manage to escape, and Aquaman swims right by Manta and his men, who probably could have at least tried to stop him, but don’t.  They just…don’t.

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Pretty dumb move, as Aquaman convinces Vulko and the Atlanean troops to open the gates.  Must have done some really fast convincing, as it happens almost immediately.  But it works, and Manta’s men desert him.

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Mera captures Manta in a hard water bubble, and Cal Durham shows up as well, just as everything goes boom.

The story continues in Action Comics, as Aquaman’s series moves over there.

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Starman’s tale concludes a bit more than the Aquaman one does, but not by much.  Paul Levitz and Steve Ditko do bring Mn’torr’s story to an end though.  He is sentenced to death for saving Prince Gavyn, and as Starman showed up to try to save him, he faces the same sentence.

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Not content to die, Starman fights back against the monsters that are meant to kill them, saving Mn’torr once again.

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Meanwhile, Jediah Rikane and Lady Merria return to Throneworld, only to learn that Empress Clryssa is on her death bed.

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Mn’torr insists that, no matter how much Starman wants him to survive, his time is at an end, and dissolves in a really cool, very Ditko way, bequeathing Starman his staff of power.

As promised, the story does get resolved in an issue of DC Comics Presents, though not exactly “soon.”  More like eight months.

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Plastic Man’s story really does end.  And begin for that matter, as it’s complete in this issue, by Marty Pasko, with Joe Staton art.

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Plas and Woozy Winks deal with thieves who resemble Groucho Marx and Harpo, and I do like the layout of this page, integrating the building into the panel lay-out.

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Plastic Man’s series continues as a back-up in Super Friends, which it would fit in with pretty well.

Adventure 476 – Aquaman vs Poseidon, and Starman vs Lord Protector Oswin

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Aquaman hunts for Mera in Adventure 476 (Oct 80), in a story by J.M. DeMatteis and Dick Giordano.

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He runs into a powerful man who claims to be the god Poseidon, although it’s fairly clear he is not.  When he explains his past he is clearly an amnesiac survivor of a shipwreck who comes across a mysterious but powerful trident, the source of his powers.

He has nothing to do with Mera’s disappearance either, and there is little significant about this tale, aside from the gorgeous art.

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That, and the fact that their battle leads them into the town of New Atlantis, not seen for decades in Adventure, but re-introduced in his World’s Finest run.

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Oswin hold the powerful staff of Mn’torr, and thus the upper hand, as the Starman story opens, by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal.

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While Starman tries to hold off Oswin, Jediah attempts to get Clryssa and Merria to safety, but they refuse to leave.  Jediah follows the Empress’ orders and departs, hooking up with the freed convicts as a sort of resistance movement, while Oswin defeats and captures Gavyn, Clryssa and Merria.

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Oswin imprisons Starman in a crystal chamber seemingly impervious to his powers, but Gavyn manages to escape, and he and the evil Lord Protector face off for the last time.  The resulting explosion appears to kill them both, but Starman leaves behind a message indicating that he survived.

Adventure 475 – Aquaman begins, again, for the fifth time, and Starman battles to restore the Empress

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Aquaman returns to the pages of Adventure with issue 475 (Sept 80), joining Starman and Plastic Man. All the regular sized comics in the DC line gain 8 extra pages, most often corresponding to the addition of a back-up series.  This marks the fifth separate run of Aquaman in the pages of Adventure, his series moving back from World’s Finest Comics.

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Jean-Marc DeMatteis and Dick Giordano take the reigns of Aquaman as his series moves here.  Part of the plot of this story continues from the pages of World’s Finest Comics, his pursuit of some ancient Atlantean machinery.

Mera wakes with a feverish illness, and Aquaman heads out to get help, but is distracted by Topo, who leads him to the machines.

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There he winds up in battle with an old foe, the Scavenger, who had not been seen since the brief revival of Aquaman’s book in the 70s.  Although Aquaman bests the Scavenger, the machines are destroyed by the villain, so no one can have them.

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Meanwhile, Mera’s illness gets worse, and she has a really touching sequence in which she hallucinates about her dead son.  She collapses, and by the time Aquaman returns, she has disappeared.

This is the final appearance of the Scavenger pre-Crisis, as well as Topo, who had not been seen since the issue of Adventure in which Arthur Jr died.

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It’s all-out war in this chapter of the Starman saga, by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal.  Clryssa pardons two of the prisoners from Asryx, who join with Jediah Rikane as they lead one attack against Lord Protector Oswin and his men, while Starman transports the Empress and Lady Merria to the throne room.

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Still unaware that Starman is really her brother Gavyn, Clryssa promises to share the throne with him.  A nicely ironic touch.

Despite the ending of the last issue, in which Mn’torr confronted Oswin, there is no sign of the man in this tale, although Oswin makes brief reference it.  Only on the last page do we get a confirmation that things did not go well for Mn’torr.

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Oswin now has Mn’torr staff, a powerful weapon in and of itself, and has no fear of Starman or the returned Empress.

 

Adventure 474 – Starman fights without his powers

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Once again, but for the last time, a cover that features Starman and minimizes Plastic Man (who battles villains called Acid-Tongue and the Skunk), in Adventure 474 (Aug 80).

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Starman leads the search for Lady Merria in this story by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal.  Following instruction from Mn’torr, he and Clryssa head to Asryx, the prison planet, but wind up getting captured themselves.

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Clryssa is in “disguise” – which means she has a strip of cloth over her imperial tattoo.  Starman bracelets are taken from him when they are captured, and he is forced to fight some robots single-handed in order to retrieve them and regain his powers.  This scene actually looks better on the cover than in the story.

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There’s more awkward romance between Starman and his oblivious sister, before they free Merria, as well as Jediah Rikane.  Clryssa pledges to reward Jediah for his service.

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The chapter ends with a wholly unexpected scene, as Mn’torr suddenly shows up to confront Lord Protector Oswin.

 

 

Adventure 473 – Starman rejects incest

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Bad tidings across the empire in the Starman story from Adventure 473 (July 80), by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal.

Starman defends the odd bubble ship from an attack by Lord Portector Oswin’s forces, but as they have no idea the Empress is on board, this is taken to mean that Starman abducted and murdered her.

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Clryssa knows this isn’t the case, and promises to reward Starman when they return to Throneworld.  But the “reward” is a little more erotic than Gavyn is comfortable with, considering it’s from his sister.  One of the creepiest, but also entertaining, elements to this serial.

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Oswin’s men also pick up Lady Merria and Jediah Rikane, but refuse to listen to anything they have to say.  Under the belief that Clryssa and Merria had both died on the ship, Oswin has been made Regent of the Empire.  Somehow, Lady Merria being alive and heir to the throne does not change this, possibly because Oswin immdeiately has her and Rikane arrested as traitors, for complicity in the Empress’ death.

Adventure 472 – A tense day for Starman

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I like the cover to Adventure 472 (June 1980), as it sort of shoves Plastic Man to the side in favour of Starman, much like I am doing in this blog.

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Starman comes across the wreckage of the Empress’ ship in this story by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal, and is distressed to discover only one occupied life capsule on it.

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As both the Empress and Lady Merria were aboard, Gavyn assumes one has died, and is fearful to open it and find out.  But he gets doubly good news when it turns out Merria was in the capsule, but saw the Empress taken alive before she got in.

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Still, that means he has to find her, but his powers prove useful, and lead him to an unusual craft that appears to be cojoined bubbles from the outside, and trippy hippy decor on the inside.

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The craft was keeping the Empress safe, but Oswin has tracked it and presumes it a threat, and prepares to attack as the story comes to a close.  Meanwhile, Clryssa meets Starman, but completely fails to recognize that he is her supposedly dead brother.  Considering that the costume largely covers his head, and she has no reason to think Gavyn might be alive, I can accept this.

Adventure 470 – the origin of Starman

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The flashbacks continue as the origin of Starman concludes in Adventure 470 (April 1980), by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal.  And look, he almost gets the cover all to himself!

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Mn’Torr rescues Prince Gavyn, and brings him to his bizarre little asteroid.  He informs Gavyn that he was not, in fact, dying, and gives him the bracelets that allow him to channel his power.  Gavyn learns little of Mn’torr, or how he knew all this.

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Mn’torr also provides Gavyn his Starman costume, and trains him in the use of his powers.  Starman makes his first outing protecting a mine colony from a space beast, which looks much cooler on the cover than in the issue itself.

With Lady Merria all filled in, the trio return to Throneworld to see Clryssa safely crowned.  Gavyn no longer has any interest in the crown, and stays in the background, content with his new life, but also determined to protect Clryssa from Lord Protector Oswin’s schemes.

Adventure 469 – Starman dies

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Plastic Man fights an albino assassin called Pinkeye in Adventure 469 (March 1980), but that’s not the story I’m going to talk about.

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Much of this issue’s Starman story by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Roneo Tanghal is told in flashback, as Prince Gavyn unmasks in front of Lady Merria.

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We learn that Gavyn is Clryssa’s brother, both heirs to the crown of Throneworld.  Gavyn was a bit of a playboy, and Merria’s boyfriend, but also had plans for reform.  Primarily, he wanted to get rid of the tradition that, upon the crowning of a new leader, all other heirs are put to death to prevent rebellion.

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When Clryssa is chosen to become Empress, he is distressed to discover that she does not share her views.  Clryssa promises to adopt Merria into the royal family as compensation for Gavyn’s death.  Though this seems callous, in fact it was probably an extremely considerate gesture on her part.  One would expect Merria to be executed or exiled as well in that culture.

Gavyn is taken aboard a spaceship for his execution, and when offered the chance to survive as a pawn, fights for the honour of his sister and Throneworld.  There’s a true hero for ya!

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The story ends with Gavyn being shunted into space, and dying.  Obviously it continues next issue.

 

Adventure 468 – Starman unmasked

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Plastic Man fights a killer ballet dancer in Adventure 468 (Feb 80).  Look, there he is on the cover.  No need to say anything else.

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Starman heads to Throneworld, the central planet of the Empire, in this story by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal, in hopes of preventing Lord Protector Oswin from assassinating Empress Clryssa.

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He deduces that the crown itself must be part of the assassination plot, and as he fights to obtain it, Mn’torr shows up to help, displaying even more mysterious abilities.

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Starman prevents the guards from fulfilling Oswin’s plans to turn the crown into a weapon, but Lady Merria, who comes to retrieve it, is far from thankful, even when he unmasks.

Although his specific identity is not made clear, there are two intriguing hints.  Firstly, he has the same forehead tattoo as Clryssa, which Merria got as well in this issue, referred to as the sign that one is a member of the imperial family, and Merria’s statement that Starman has a claim to the throne!

Adventure 467 – Plastic Man and Starman begin

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Two new series begin in Adventure 467 (Jan 80).  Plastic Man gets his first ongoing series since the cancellation of his own comic in 1977, and though it was hugely popular and I admire it, I never enjoyed it, and likely will not write about most of the stories.  The Starman series is an entirely new character, despite having the same name as two former heroes, which I loved so much as a teenager that I bought this book despite Plastic Man.

I do have to admit, the series do compliment each other in a way.  The Plastic Man stories are all pretty much self-contained, while Starman runs as one long serial.

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Len Wein and Joe Staton provide the story and art on Plastic Man, and I have to admit, Staton is perfect at capturing the frenetic and humourous look of Plas and his sidekick, Woozy Winks.  This story briefly recaps Plastic Man’s origin, as hoodlum Eel O”Brian gets wounded in a shootout and doused with chemicals. He is rescued and tended by monks, discovers his new abilities to stretch and reshape his body, and begins to fight crime instead of committing it.

He works for the National Bureau of Investigation, the NBI, which his sidekick Woozy longs to join as well.

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In this story, he is assigned to protect an informant, Carlton Canary, from mob killers.  Which he does.

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Far more interesting to me was (and is) the debut of Starman, byPaul Levitz, with art by Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal.  The story begins mid-stream, with the mysterious masked figure rescuing Jediah Rikane, who is being tortured by Lord Protector Oswin.

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Despite being set deep in space, there is a very medieval quality to this series, both in terms of the feudal structure of the society, and also the costumes and weapons.  We briefly meet the new Empress, Clryssa, as well as Lady Merria, her lady-in-waiting.

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Starman is considered a dangerous rebel, so Rikane is surprised that he fights against Oswin, who plots to take the throne.  Starman’s identity remains a secret, as do the full nature of his powers, but he is capable of surviving unprotected in space, and has bracelets that emit intense heat, and force blasts.

After rescuing Rikane, Starman brings him to his asteroid home, where we meet, again briefly, Mn’torr, whose name pretty much assures the reader that he is Starman’s mentor.

 

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