Posts tagged ‘Ted Grant’

Adventure 464 – Flash vs Abra Kadabra, Deadman gets trapped by psychics, Wildcat retires, Aquaman defends Atlantis and Wonder Woman ends

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Deadman gets featured on the cover of Adventure 464 (Aug 79), which was intended as the cover for an issue of Showcase, before its cancellation in the DC Implosion.

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The Flash deals with Abra Kadabra, the “magician” from the future who uses advanced science as if it were magic, in this story by Cary Bates, with art by Don Heck and Joe Giella.

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Kadabra makes everyone in Central City perceive the world as being upside down, primarily to distract and disorient the Flash, while he seeks for the thing he plans to rob – an applause machine, used in tv recording.  Abra Kadabra’s primary motivation was always to get attention and applause, so it’s an appropriate goal, with the explanation that these no longer exist in the 64th century.

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The Flash defeats him and turns him over to police from his era, but in a nice touch, allows him to keep the machine anyway.

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As with the cover, the Deadman story in this issue, by Len Wein and Gerry Conway, with art by Jim Aparo, was intended for Showcase.  The cancellation of that series as part of the DC Implosion resulted in the story being printed here instead, and is the reason it does not use any of the locations or supporting cast from the previous issues.

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A group of scientists doing psychic research attempt to contact the spirit of Boston Brand in a seance, and succeed better than they expected, as Deadman gets pulled against his will to them.

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A fire breaks out, and the team believe the ghost is responsible, but Deadman knows it had nothing to do with him.  Taking over the body of one of the team, he tries to figure out the solution with them, and suggests the one acting as the medium, Annabelle, may have telepathic powers of her own.

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Eventually, Deadman figures out that it is the head of the project who is manipulating events.  He is an “omnipath, ” capable of controlling other psychics and supernatural beings, like Deadman.  Their battle winds up destroying the lab entirely, and the facility closes down.

Not a bad Deadman story at all, but very different than the series aleady running in Adventure, and as a kid I was disappointed in the tale.  I suspect had it been published in Showcase as intended, I would have enjoyed it much more.

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Paul Levitz and Joe Staton follow up the last Justice Society epic with a low-key tale, which is almost a Wildcat solo story.  Power Gir, Huntress and Robin appear only on the first and last pages.  The rest of the story has Ted Grant going out to his old gym, now closed down, and encountering kids coping with slum life and street gangs.

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He decides that he can do more good by re-opening the gym and being himself, rather than hanging around heroes much more powerful than he is, and chooses to retire from being Wildcat.

This is, I think, the third story that has Wildcat retire.  It was no more permanent than any of the previous ones.

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Wonder Woman’s series in Adventure ends with the conclusion of her battle with the Queen Bee, by Gerry Conway, wit art by Jose Delbo and Joe Giella.

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Zazzala attempts to murder Wonder Woman with a huge dose of bee venom, and there are a couple cool pages that show her “inner battle” with the bee poison, shown as giant bees.

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Zazzala manages to use her scientist-brain powered craft to short out the Justice League satellite, incapacitating the members on board, but Wonder Woman recovers from the poison and catches up to her.  She defeats Zazzala by throwing her into her own machine, shorting out her brain – although only temporarily, as she shows no lasting effects of this.

Wonder Woman continues in her own comic, and Queen Bee next appears in the Super Friends comic, the same issue that forms the Global Guardians.

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The issue ends with a largely unremarkable Aquaman story, written by Bob Rozakis, with art by Don Newton.

The story pits him against Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Markos, who sets up a pollution nullifying plant above Atlantis, but as a front for his armed goons to attack it.

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Aquaman defeats Markos’ men, and exposes his Detox ship as a front, but Markos sails away, vowing revenge.

Adventure 461 – Barry Allen framed for murder, Deadman finds the bad guys, Aquaman takes a stand against farming, Wonder Woman teams with Wonder Girl, and the Justice Society of America begins

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The number of series in Adventure 461 (Feb 79) drops from six to five, though with no drop in pages.  Rather, the Justice Society is given a double length series as they move from their own comic, cancelled as part of the DC Implosion.

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The Flash gets an entertaining and off-beat tale by Cary Bates, with art by Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin.  Barry and Iris are travelling by car, and stop at a gas station.  A hunter comes out, drops his gun, and Barry picks it up and shoots the man dead.

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Iris cannot figure out what is going on, and upon visiting Barry in prison, discovers that he has no idea either.  The gun shot itself, and when he raced to stop the bullets, he discovered there were none, the man had squibs planted in his coat that exploded.

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Sticking around to try to figure out the situation, Barry is set up by another faked death, and then meant to be killed escaping.  But of course he uses his super-speed to avoid that fate, and manages to find the supposed victim and clear his name of the crime.  It was all an attempt to frame and kill an outsider, while allowing a wanted criminal (the hunter) to fake his own death.

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In this instalment of the Deadman story, Len Wein and Jim Aparo slow down a bit, recapping past events as Deadman tries to figure out what is going on.  He figures out that the man behind the fire and attempted murder was Solomon, a wealthy industrialist, and tracks him down, learning that the other man who escaped, Kronsky, was being held by him to extract information.

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Inga reveals more of her past to Cleveland, that her father was a prominent scientist who disappeared a few years before she escaped from Russia.

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So all in all it’s really no surprise when Kronsky shows up at the circus, and we discover he is Inga’s father.

But at least the story has taken a clear form before its climax.

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The Justice Society begin their run in Adventure with a three-page introduction, of the team itself, as well as Earth-2. Paul Levitz and Joe Staton then give  play to Power Girl, trying to prove herself to the dismissive older heroes, Green Lantern, Flash and Wildcat.

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Robin shows up at the headquarters, where he reveals that he has known Helena was really the Huntress all along, even if Bruce never figured out what his daughter was up to.

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Then the action gets going as a powerful madman, Bill Jensen, takes over some twin towers and demands that Bruce Wayne, the current Police Commissioner of Gotham City, be turned over to him for vengeance.  Jensen quickly takes down Power Girl, Flash, Green Lantern, Huntress and Robin before Wayne arrives.

He blames Wayne for framing him for a murder he didn’t commit, and his attempt to kill Bruce is only thwarted by the power of Dr. Fate.

The story continues next issue.

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This beginning chapter to a new Aquaman storyline is a less than impressive start, although the story will improve as it goes on.  Paul Kupperberg and Don Newton have Aquaman discover that a company, Universal Food Products, has begun extensive farming of the lands around Atlantis.

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Aquaman distrusts the company immediately, and Vulko’s defense of them certainly calls into question his abilities as king.  Aqualad joins Aquaman as he seeks out information on land from the company headquarters, and discovers that UFP’s real plan is the destruction of Atlantis.

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Wonder Woman gets an extremely rare team-up with Wonder Girl in this story by Jack C Harris and Jack Abel.  Wonder Girl had been introduced as a member of the Teen Titans, an a backstory involving Wonder Woman was ascribed to her (and flashbacked to in this story), but in truth she had never been a sidekick in Wonder Woman’s comic.

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Wonder Woman finds her at a special school, while tracking down some Amazon-costumed thieves.  Donna refuses to accept any connection between the school and Diana’s case, but Diana sticks around and discovers that the head of the school is really the old, lame, JLA villain Headmaster Mind.  He has conned the girls into believing they are drawing powers from Wonder Girl as she sleeps.  The Wonder women simply turn the tables on him, convincing the girls that they have stopped the fake device from working, their powers in reality just came from their belief in the machine.

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It’s not a bad story in concept, though not great in execution.

Wonder Girl had last appeared in a Flash Super-Spectacular, and next appeared in an issue of Brave and the Bold later in the year, both times as part of the Teen Titans.

Headmaster Mind had not appeared since battling the JLA in the late 60s, and as he made no further appearances, it seems he really did die in the explosion at the end of this story.

 

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