Posts tagged ‘Supergirl’

Detective 510 – The Mad Hatter returns, and Batgirl shows brains beat brawn

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Gene Colan and Klaus Janson take over the art as Gerry Conway brings back the Mad Hatter in Detective 510 (Jan. 82)

This is the first major appearance of the Mad Hatter in years, reverting to his original appearance, like the Tenniel illustrations from Alice in Wonderland.

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The mayoral race between Hamilton Hill and Arthur Reeves is heating up.  Reeves tries to publicly embarrass Batman, but it backfires on him.

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Lucius Fox is kidnapped by the Mad Hatter, who plans on using his knowledge and position to raid Wall St.

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Of course, the Hatter’s plans include Batman, and he lets Bruce Wayne know that he has taken Fox.

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At the time I was not happy with Gene Colan taking over the art, I preferred Don Newton.  But I have come to appreciate how moody Colan made this series.

The Mad Hatter proves a fairly easy victory.  He’s rusty after all these years.

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As the story ends, the bigger threat by far is Arthur Reeves.

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Cary Burkett, Jose Delbo and Joe Giella conclude their three-part team up of Batgirl and Supergirl in this issue.

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While Supergirl continues to battle the Anhilliator, Batgirl pays close attention to the effects that her various attacks are having.  Though the villain seems invulnerable, Batgirl has noticed some weakness.

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Batgirl gets Supergirl to freeze the villain once he has been weakened, which causes him to revert back to the scientist he once was.  Then they just don’t seem to care about him anymore.  They don’t take him to prison or anything, just go off their separate ways.

Supergirl and Batgirl’s next time together is int he pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths, a scene expanded on in a DC Comics Presents.

 

 

Detective 509 – Cat-Man’s revenge, and Supergirl and Batgirl vs the Anhilliator

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Cat-Man returns in Detective 509 (Dec. 81), making trouble for both Batman and Catwoman in this story by Gerry Conway, with art by Don Newton.

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Things are looking promising for Bruce and Selina as this issue begins.  She has been trying to put her criminal past behind her.

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Cat-Man shatters the happy mood as he bursts in on Selina. His face is mangled, the result, he believes, of the tearing of his magic cape the previous year.

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Batman also checks in with Dr. 13.  He had been checking out the supposed ghost in Wayne Manor in recent issues of Batman.  Batman’s solicitous behaviour is really a cover, so he cam make sure Terry saw nothing that would indicate Bruce is Batman.

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Cat-Man really has little to complain about.  He wouldn’t even have survived their previous encounter if it wasn’t for the cape’s 9 lives, and his facial scarring is nasty, yes, but it’s a bit much to blame the people he attacked.

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Cat-Man’s vengeance plot brings him nothing but another close call with death.  He returns in a couple of years.

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Though he is unaware of it, Cat-Man’s plan actually does have a negative impact on the lives of those he hates.  Selina blames her Catwoman past for the attack, and leaves Bruce, until she can be sure her past is in the past.

Actually, she winds up coming back in less than a year, in the pages of Batman.

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The story ends with a tease for the return of Vicki Vale.  She appears more properly next month in Batman, trying once again to prove Batman is Bruce Wayne.

Vicki Vale really hadn’t been used since the early 60s, although she did cameo in an issue of Batman Family in the 70s.

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Sueprgirl discovers she is not as powerful as she thought in this Burkett/Delbo/Giella story that continues the battle against the Anhilliator.

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Batgirl actually gets to swoop in and rescue Supergirl, although she needs to use her unconscious body as a shield to protect herself.

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Batgirl also finds herself getting jealous when Jeff pays attention to Suerpgirl.

The story concludes next issue.

 

Detective 508 – Batman climbs the Sphinx, and Batgirl teams with Supergirl

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Catwoman gets kidnapped, and Batman is off to Egypt in Detective 508 (Nov. 81), a story by Gerry Conway and Don Newton.

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Bruce Wayne discovers that Selina Kyle has gone missing right at the top of the story.  Clues in her apartment connect her to the Egyptian exhibit at the Gotham Museum, and Bruce goes to investigate.  He discovers that Selina resembles a long dead Egyptian princess, and that the curator has disappeared as well.

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So Batman flies off to Egypt.  He really lucks out in this story.  He heads to the Sphinx, gets chased by jackals, climbs the face of the sculpture and just happens to find a secret passage into it.

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One cannot help but think of King Tut while reading this story.  A curator, an Egyptian obsession, dressing up in a costume.  Even the storyline resembles, loosely, one of the King Tut stories from the tv series. But there is no fun to this character, and I am really not certain if it was inspired by Tut, or the similarities are simply due to them both being Egyptian themed characters.

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At any rate, Selina gets rescued, and then she and Bruce have some time together to see the pyramids along the Nile.

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Supergirl joins Batgirl for this three-part story by Burkett, Delbo and Giella.  This was the only time Supergirl guest-starred in Batgirl’s series in Detective.  The last time they had teamed up was in the mid-70s, in an early issue of Superman Family.

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The villain in the story is a scientist, attempting to harness energy from an unusual rock.  His process backfires, badly.

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And, as so often happens, he winds up transforming into a monstrous and destructive creature.

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Supergirl only shows up at the end of this chapter, after Batgirl has a very unsuccessful first encounter with the Anhilliator.

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

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Adventure 424 – Supergirl ends

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Supergirl’s run in Adventure Comics comes to a close with issue 424 (Oct 72), in a story that actually winds things up and sets the stage for her own comic.  Steve Skeates handles the writing, while Tony de Zuniga and Bob Oskner take the art.

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Linda has been successful at getting information from a mob informant, and looks to be in line for a promotion, which irritates Nasty.  Linda finds herself falling for the guy, but is less than happy when he does not act to try to protect her when the mob tries to kill him.

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When he flees after a grenade is thrown at him, Linda covers it with her body, and fakes her own death to teach him a lesson.  This is really less than admirable behaviour on Supergirl’s part, as she shows no sympathy for a person who simply doesn’t want to die, and resents the fact that he does not sacrifice himself to save her, even though she is in no danger.

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Figuring she will teach him a lesson, she pretends to be her own ghost to haunt him, but merely winds up a witness to his murder.

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Her guilt over the situation changes to rage when Linda discovers Nasty gave the mob the information on who the informer was.

The ending involves a teleportation machine, which gave the assassin the illusion of being a ghost, and a mob graveyard in space, just to work in the cover image.  After rounding up the gangsters, Linda returns to her news office.

 

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A strong conclusion to her run, as she quits her job and leaves San Francisco.  Hew own comic starts the following month.

Nasty does not appear again for a very long time.  Later writers do not even acknowledge her existence, when writing about Lex Luthor and his family.  It was Grant Morrison who finally brought her back, in All-Star Superman.

Adventure 423 – Supergirl saves the Justice League

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Aliens plot to conquer the world using mind-controlling sunglasses in Adventure 423 (Sept 72), a story by E Nelson Bridwell and Steve Skeates, with art by Mike Sekowsky and Bob Oskner.

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Linda is out shopping when a pushy saleswoman shoves a pair of sunglasses on her, and she discovers she cannot remove them.  The glasses also force her, or anyone wearing them, to follow the commands of the aliens who created them.

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She is ordered to Metropolis, where she switches the glasses with Clark Kent’s usual ones, rendering him under the aliens control as well.

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The two aliens brothers behind this are not working together well, and one decides to betray the other, and has Supergirl use her heat vision, which results in the destruction of the glasses, freeing her mind.

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Superman brings the glasses to the Justice League, but Supergirl intervenes, much like the scene on the cover, and gets Green Lantern to destroy the glasses Superman is wearing.

A fairly silly story.  She still has her problems with her powers vanishing at times in this tale, although that has been used less frequently in recent months, and this would be the last story to reference that.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Adventure 416 – The All-Female Hero 100 Page Super-Spectacular

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Adventure 416 (March 1972) was an all-reprint issue, which featured reprints of various DC heroines, as well as Phantom Lady, from Quality Comics.

The wrap-around cover was also notable for its inclusion of pretty much every female hero from the DC universe at the time, as well as a couple of female villains (though Catwoman is notable absent).

Three Supergirl tales are reprinted, and the classic Wonder Woman story Villainy, Inc, in which all her female enemies teamed up against her.

The issue also had the first appearance of Black Canary, in Johnny Thunder’s strip, as well as the only reprint ever of a story of Merry, the Gimmick Girl.

The Phantom Lady reprint from Quality Comics was a story DC actually did not own the rights to.  They purchased the entire Quality line, with all its characters, but Phantom Lady had already been split off from that by its writer, and had her own book published by Fox, and later Ajax-Farrel.  When DC launched the Freedom Fighters series, made up of Quality Comics characters, she was part of the team, but the status of who actually had the rights to the character would not be settled until the 80s.

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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