Posts tagged ‘Mike Netzer’

Adventure 466 – Flash, Deadman, Justice Society of America and Aquaman end

Adv_466

Adventure 466 (Dec 79) is the last issue of the book as a Dollar Comic, and with the next issue it shrinks back to regular size.  All four of the series conclude their runs in this issue, most with arguably their best stories.

Adv_466_001

The Flash faces one of his regular enemies, the Weather Wizard, in this story by Cary Bates, with art by Mike Netzer and Vince Colletta.

Adv_466_002

Mark Mardon claims to have turned over a new leaf, and intends to use his powers for good, although the Flash doesn’t believe or trust him for a second.  Nonetheless, it seems to be true, although his behaviour seems irrational, if benevolent.

Adv_466_003

But even his good intentions prove disastrous, as his drought relief turns into a raging flood.  Flash realizes his change in behaviour is likely connected to increased sunspot activity, and his mental bond with his weather controlling wand has allowed his emotions to become affected.

And though he commits no crimes during this time, he still winds up in prison at the end of the story, after attacking people who called him a hero, enraged that they would insult him so.

A fun little tale, and by far the best art of any of the Flash’s stories in Adventure.

The Flash’s series ends, but he continues in his own comic.

Adv_466_004

Len Wein and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez go out on a high note with the final Deadman story, by far the best of his run.  It begins quite simply, as Deadman watches an old man in a park, feeding the birds, and envies him his life.

Adv_466_005

When the man pulls out a gun and tries to kill himself, Deadman is horrified, but acts quickly, inhabiting a bird and using that to knock the gun out of his hand.  He follows the old man home, and discovers that he lives with his abusive adult son, a drug dealer, and his innocent grand-daughter.

Adv_466_006

Deadman follows the son when he storms out after a fight, pretty much intending to see that he gets arrested.  But when the man heads to the docks and ponders his life, deciding to change, Deadman’s faith is restored, and he tags along to make sure he lives up to his intent.

Adv_466_007

The grandfather also heads out, and both wind up at the big boss’s place, where things go horribly wrong, despite the best intentions of the hero and the two men.  Deadman possesses the grandfather, which causes him to freeze, and he winds up getting shot, and dying, as a result.  Th boss kills himself rather than wind up in prison, but at least the son and his daughter survive.

Adv_466_008

Even still, this is a dark and powerful story, fully worthy of the last panel of Deadman screaming in frustration.  That happens a lot in Deadman stories, but rarely with as much meaning.

Deadman’s next appearance, in DC Comics Presents, follows up on this tale.  Deadman’s next continuing series comes in the late 80s, in the pages of Action Comics Weekly.

Adv_466_009

The entire Justice Society of America appear in this final story, leaving the funeral of Mr Terrific following the latest JLA/JSA crossover, in a story by Paul Levitz and Joe Staton.

After their departure, Power Girl asks Huntress about something she overheard, about the Justice Society disbanding in the early 1950s, and for the rest of the tale, Huntress relates the story to her.  Much of it is a fairly standard super-hero tale, as the team is offered a satellite headquarters, which turns out to be a deathtrap.  They escape, and capture the man behind it, but the last few pages take a surprising twist.

Adv_466_010

The man was a Soviet agent, and the Justice Society are summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee to testify about their relationship with him, a session that quickly degenerates into a witch hunt.

Adv_466_011

In order to clear their names, they are told they must unmask and reveal their identities to the Committee.  As a group, they refuse, and disappear from the chamber.

Adv_466_012

A powerful story, with long-lasting effects throughout the DC Universe.  The story gives a solid explanation of why the team abruptly vanished in the early 1950s, a reason rooted in the issues of the time, even moreso than it appears.

In reality, the publication of the book Seduction of the Innocent, which blamed all manner of mental and social problems with youth on the influence of comic books, had swept the US in the early 1950s, and virtually all super-herores ceased to appear.  So there are really two levels to this tale.

The JSA continue to appear regularly in Justice League of America, and Huntress was soon to get her own series in Wonder Woman.  The next time they had their own book was in the America vs the Justice Society mini-series in the mid-80s.

Adv_466_013

After three strong stories it would be nice to say that Aquaman goes out on a high note as well.  I can’t say that, but at least the story, by Bob Rozakis and Don Newton, doesn’t suck.

The underwater Nazis return, as we discover that Helga’s death was simply a hologram, and they have subtly invaded Atlantis.  Vulko turns out to be a hologram as well.

Adv_466_014

Mera accompanies Aquaman as he invades their base.  As a kid I found her behaviour on this page suspicious, and noted the subtle clue in the lower left corner of the bottom panel.

Adv_466_015

Aquaman also figures out that Mera is a hologram, finds and frees her and Vulko, and brings the Nazi base crashing down around them.  He even gains a new pet, the telepathic mutated Nazi seahorse, Siggy.

Aquaman’s series continues in the pages of World’s Finest Comics a few months down the road.

Adventure 451 – Aquaman vs Starro, and Martian Manhunter ends

Adv_451

Even as a kid I was not impressed by the Aquaman story in Adventure 451 (June 1977).  The cover was dramatic, and it was cool to see Starro the Conqueror, who had not appeared since battling the Justice League in their very first outing back in 1959.  The art by Jim Aparo is strong, as usual, but David Michelinie’s story was just too easy.

Adv_451_001

Topo grabs Aquababy yet again, and this time makes it out of the Aquacave with him.

Adv_451_002

Aquaman follows, and discovers Starro in a hidden underwater cove, now able to mentally control sea creatures, as well as the purple-eyed Idyllists that had featured in the Aqualad sub-plot.

Adv_451_003

Starro promptly explains to Aquaman that his new powers only exist if he stays in the polluted waters of the cover.  Just great when a villain immediately explains how to defeat him.  Aquaman has a bunch of puffer fish spray clean water into the cove, Starro loses his abilities to control others, and Aquaman trounces him.

Not very impressive, even for a starfish.

Starro’s next outing, 4 years down the road in the pages of JLA, takes a different slant on the character, and makes him a far more viable villain.

Adv_451_004

The conclusion of the Martian Manhunter story, by Denny O’Neil, with art by Mike Netzer and Terry Austin, pits him against Hawkman and Hawkgirl, whose spaceship he encounters.  He immediately jumps to the conclusion that they must have come from New Mars, and attacks.

Adv_451_005

I love that page.  Look at it as a whole, and you will notice that the various components form an outline of Hawkman’s head.

Hawkgirl manages to talk some sense into J’onn, and the reader is allowed to see that N’or Cott is now openly scheming against the Manhunter, and clearly not the noble being he had appeared to be in the first two instalments.  He builds a Superman robot-bomb, and sends it onto the ship with the three heroes.

Adv_451_006

Instead of resolving the storyline, this final chapter actually serves as a lead-in to a Superman/Batman/Martian Manhunter team-up in the pages of World’s Finest Comics, with the Hawks having cameos in it.

 

Adventure 450 – Aquaman vs Weather Wizard, and Martian Manhunter vs Supergirl

Adv_450

David Michelinie contributes the Aquaman story in Adventure 450 (April 1977), which pits him against the Flash’s foe, the Weather Wizard.  Jim Aparo stays on the art.  The Weather Wizard had last appeared in DC Super-Stars, with other villains, playing baseball against super-heroes.  I am sooo looking forward to writing about that story!

Adv_450_001

General Morgan turns to Aquaman for help when a NATO plane goes down over the ocean, and Aquaman discovers it in an area of dry land, where the water is being held back by the Weather Wizard.

Mark Mardon had done this in order to lure the Flash, and is disappointed when Aquaman shows up instead, which is a nice touch.

Adv_450_003

Some good art on their battle, and it’s interesting to see Aquaman battling on dry land, even if it is an ocean bed.

Adv_450_002

Intercut with this is the confrontation between McCaan and Aqualad and Aquagirl.  Garth’s purple eyes are the key, a trait of the Idyllists, whom McCaan blames for stealing his son.  He has been tracking Aqualad over the past few issues, convinced he was part of the group because of his eyes.  Garth disabuses him of this notion, but agrees to help him find his son.

Adv_450_006

This story is also notable because Aquababy finally gets a name, mentioned in passing by Mera.  After what must have been seconds of thought, he is called Arthur, Jr.

The Weather Wizard, defeated by Aquaman, next appears a few months down the road in The Flash.

Adv_450_004

The Martian Manhunter approaches Earth in this chapter of his story, written by Denny O’Neil, with are by Mike Netzer and Terry Austin.  He is pursued by N’or Cott, though unaware of that.

He winds up in a confrontation with Supergirl, appearing between issues of Superman Family, though he claims to have mistaken her for someone else.  Exactly who he thought she was is not explained.

Adv_450_005

Once again there is little use of his extensive powers, and the best thing about this chapter is the art.

Adventure 449 – Aquaman vs Marine Marauder, and Martian Manhunter begins

Adv_449

Steve Skeates takes over the writing on Adventure 449 (Feb 77), introducing a new villain, the Marine Marauder, while Jim Aparo stays on the art.

Adv_449_001

The Marine Marauder has developed a tech that allows him to command air-breathing sea creatures, and has been using whales in his piracy, stealing rare vaccines.

Adv_449_002

Aquaman’s investigation brings him back into contact with General Morgan, but the long-awaited confrontation between the two men does not happen.  In fact, they work pretty well together in this story.

The Aqualad storyline progresses as well, as he and Tula are stalked by the man from the previous issue.

Adv_449_003

The climactic battle between Aquaman and the Marine Marauder ends as it must.  Aquaman has far more animals under his control than the Marauder does, but at least the battle between the creatures makes for some interesting visuals.

Although this version of the character never appears again, a female Marine Marauder shows up in the 80s, and proves more of an enduring foe.

Adv_449_004

The Martian Manhunter begins a three-part story in this issue, written by Denny O’Neil, with superb art by Mike Metzer and Terry Austin.

This was my first introduction to the character, who had made occasional appearances, mostly in Justice League of America, since his last series in House of Mystery ended in the late 60s.

J’onn is about to be sworn in as leader of New Mars for the second time, but senior stateman R’es Eda is murdered at the ceremony, and mentions “Sol” as the place the killer was from.  Interpreting this to mean Earth, J’onn assumes one of his former Justice League comrades must be the killer, and determines to return and find out who was responsible.

Adv_449_005

N’or Cott tries to stop him, but J’onn commandeers a ship and heads off back to Earth.

A simple start to the tale, though certainly dramatic enough. The art was what really grabbed me as a child.  And looking back on this now, I cannot help but notice that this introductory story does not utilize any of J’onn’s powers or abilities.

 

 

Tag Cloud