Posts tagged ‘Plastic Man’

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.

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Adventure 477 – Aquaman faces Black Manta, and Starman learns the origin of Mn’torr

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Another split cover on Adventure 477 (Nov 80), and the final one to really feature Starman and Plastic Man.

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Aquaman leaves New Venice by mutual agreement as this story, by J.M. DeMatteis and Dick Giordano, begins.  The mayor is furious with him for abandoning so many of this plot lines from World’s Finest Comics.

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But another long-abandoned character shows up, Cal Durham, formerly one of Black Manta’s men, now forced to live underwater.  His young sister goes to Aquaman for help.  Cal had last appeared in Aquaman’s brief 70’s revival, along with Manta.

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And it’s Black Manta that is the trouble once again, capturing the two after Cal stumbles across Manta’s new base, from which he plans to attack and conquer Atlantis.

On the last page, Mera re-appears.  She had not be taken, so much as phased away, and now back, still all feverish and comatose.

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Starman goes in search of Mn’torr in this chapter, by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal.

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He heads to a trippy temple Mn’torr was connected with, which speaks to him and allows him to essentially teleport to Mn’torr’s homeworld.

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We discover that he broke sacred vows about the balance of the universe when he rescued Prince Gavyn, and that he was not defeated by Oswin, but by his own people, who gave Oswin the staff to balance the power.

 

 

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 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 471 – Starman vs Captain Krydd

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Another split cover on Adventure 471 (May 80), showing Plastic Man saving Woozy Winks from Brickface, and the story I am going to talk about instead.

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Lord Protector Oswin has become obsessed with Starman, seeking to learn the secrets of his powers.  He also sends his forces under Captain Krydd to attack Akademe, a training world for merchant spacemen.  If those two things are related, it’s not clear how.

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Jediah Rikane is now living with Starman and Mn’torr on the asteroid, and knows he is really Prince Gavyn.  He seems content to take the sidekick role in the story.  Mn’torr alerts them to Oswin’s assault on Akademe.

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So after a few issues of backstory, we get one of action, as Starman faces not only the normal soldiers, but also the massive Captain Krydd.  Not that it proves much of a difficulty to him.  Jediah does get briefly captured, but also gets saved by Starman.

 

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.

 

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