Posts tagged ‘Zazzala’

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 463 – Flash battles an Image-Eater, Deadman gains a body, the JSA bury Batman, Aquaman defeats the evil farmers and Wonder Woman takes on Queen Bee

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Adventure 463 (June 1979) opens with a Flash story that is only remarkable in the way it ignores the major events taking place in his own book at this time.

Cary Bates, Don Heck and Joe Giella tell a story that has the Flash returning from a visit with Jay Garrick on Earth-2, and stumbling across an ancient spirit, the Urtumi, that feeds on the after-images he leaves behind while running.

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I never understood how Don Heck got so much work in comics.  I don’t believe there was ever a single panel he drew that I liked.

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Conversely, I don’t think there was ever a single panel Jose Luis Gacia-Lopez drew that I didn’t love.  With Frank Chiaramonte on inks, and Len Wein in the driver’s seat, the Deadman storyline that opened his run in Adventure comes to a powerful conclusion.

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Despite Kronsky’s unstable nature, Deadman still holds out hope that his helmet will create a new body for him, and he tries a variety of ways to access it.

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Finally, he inhabits Inga, and almost succeeds at his goal, but the body explodes.  The helmet will only work for Kronsky, and only almost worked for Inga because of their genetic similarity.

Ultimately, Kronsky sacrifices the helmet, which is driving him insane, to be able to stay with his family.

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Paul Levitz and Joe Staton bring the death of Batman storyline to a conclusion, as Dr Fate leads the team in hunting down the man responsible, Frederic Vaux, a patsy of darker forces.

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Vaux used the powers he was given to convince Jensen that Wayne had framed him, and gave him the power to destroy him.  Why did the mysterious dark forces choose to operate in such a roundabout way?  That’s never addressed, and this final chapter is not really very fulfilling in terms of the villains.

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Vuax casts a spell to remove the memories of everyone on Earth, part of the larger plan to enslave him.  After his defeat by Dr Fate, as the spell begins to wear off, Fate makes sure that the exact circumstances of Bruce Wayne’s death are not remembered, restoring his secret identity, as well as those of Helena and Dick Grayson.

All in all, the death of Batman storyline is far better in terms of what it achieved, than in how it achieved it.

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Aquaman’s battle with United Food Products over their farming of the sea beds near Atlantis concludes this issue, by Paul Kupperberg, Don Heck and Joe Giella.

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Aquaman is opposed by the Atlanteans, Vulko, Mera and even Aqualad, whom he gets into a fight with, but he pursues the UFP anyway, with Aqualad in hot pursuit.

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The leader proudly proclaims that the true plans were to destroy Atlantis, and please note the unusual garb of the sailor standing next to him in the first panel.  As I said, there is more to this storyline than it seems at first.

Aqualad overhears, and joins Aquaman as they destroy the UFP base.  Back in Atlantis, even Vulko finally concedes that the UFP were dangerous.  But their plans are far from over…

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Wonder Woman is seen at work for the only time during her run in Adventure, as astronaut in training Diana Prince, in this story by Gerry Conway, with art by Joe Staton and Frank McLauglin.

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She is sealed in a sensory deprivation test, which saves her when a swarm of deadly bees attack NASA.  She uses her lasso to round up the bees, saving her co-workers, and then follows them back to their giant lair.

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She discovers JLA villain Zazzala, the Queen Bee, an alien conqueror.  Though she bests Queen Bee in combat, she is forced to release her when Zazzala reveals that the scientists stung by the bees had their minds drained as the result, and the honetcomb contains their combined mental faculties, which only Zazzala can return to them.

Queen Bee last appeared facing the Justice League three years earlier in their own book.  The story concludes next issue.

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