Monday, 19 December 2016

Superman: Post-Crisis Punch-Up #7

It's been a while but at long last Post Crisis Punch-Up is back. We're going to check in and see what our big blue buddy was getting up to way back in May 1987. The good news is we're coming back in the same fashion that we left off with a sterling offering of books any one of which could've snagged our coveted top spot. So without further ado - let's see which one did.

Adventures Of Superman #430: I'm not kidding when I say any of these issues could've been top of the pile. In fact I feel a bit bad putting Marv and Jerry's Adventures back in the third spot yet again. This was a great issue and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Only it's lack of giant orange Amazonian chicas and lusty Platnium skanks kept it from glory. That doesn't detract a single thing from the awesome building story we're getting here. This might feature lots of Supes tussling with the Fearsome Five, a lamer bunch of super-villains you'd be hard pressed to find, but it is Clark's internal tussle that really takes centre stage. The burdens of his double life are gnawing at him in this one to the point that he's questioning whether being Clark and Superman is even a viable option. The whole thing is topped off with a wonderful heart-warming, mind-easing, father-son confab and a joyously triumphant rematch in which a smiling Supes takes down the Five and leaves us fist-pumping our way home. Could that possibly even be a sneaky tie back to the ongoing Circle subplot that I spy? Sneaky one fellas. Loved it.

Action Comics #590: Superman teaming up with the Metal Man by John Byrne and Dick Giordano? This one had me at hello. I don't think it's possible to have a comic book that features Doc Magnus and his magnificent Metal Men that's not awesome and this issue does nothing to prove that theory wrong. Byrne has these guys down pat - he's got them bickering, he's got Tin being bumbling, Mercury being snotty, Platnium putting the moves on a less than receptive Doc Magnus - complete with pipe! That's before we even mention the return of Chemo - this time shaped like a giant Superman! This one was a smorgasbord of all the beautifully clunky super-powered nonsense that makes the Metal Men great. It had the Metal Men joining together to form aeroplanes, Chemo-trapping domes and even a giant Metal-Man flavoured Voltron! All this wack-a-doodle is complimented delightfully by Supes getting his science on to win the day. He super-heats Chemo's chemical innards with some heat vision, turning him into steam, then super-breaths his goopy ass into orbit. Even if we're left in the dark as to why Doc Magnus is being such a jerk - this issue was still pure unadulterated comic-book joy. A+

Superman v2 #7: So this time around Superman by Byrne and Kesel scored the top spot. Why you ask? Well...I'm not really sure if I'm honest. It didn't have Metal Men or a touching fatherly moment with Pa Kent. I guess the idea that Lois Lane may have turned into a giant, solar-powered, orange-skinned, mohawk-sporting, Amazonian loony tune just kind of tickles me for some reason. The disappointment when we found out that Lois got blown up in mad scientist's experiment and all she got was this stupid head bandage didn't even ruin it because it was timed and executed kinda great. As it turns out the aforementioned giant amazonian chica, dubbed Rampage by the always inventive Metropolis media, actually turns out to be Doctor Kitty Faulkner. It's her lab and her renewable energy experiment that blew up. I'm not 100% on the science - but what I can tell you is when it blows up it imbues you with incredible strength, uncontrollable rage and Lois Lane's stupid 80s haircut:

Do You Like Flock Of Seagulls?

I had a blast reading this issue - even if I can't put my finger on why. I loved the Lois is the villain fake-out. I loved how the radiation suit design finally gave us a viable excuse for a female super-villain wearing the ever-popular chain-mail bikini, I loved Supes getting upper-cutted into the stratosphere because of his reluctance to slug Lois and I especially loved Big Blue using his brain instead of his mitts to end Rampage's...well....rampage I guess. We're even treated to a last page moment of classic Silver-Age super-dickery as Clark refuses to tell Lois where he/Supes had been for the three days after his confrontation with Rampage. Glorious! Top marks!

Don't worry loyal readers there'll be no super-dickery from YouAreComic as we can tell you exactly where Supes disappeared off to at the end of Superman #7. Why he went off to cross over with those lovable scamps in the Legion of Super-Heroes of course. Which is where we'll be heading to in our next extra-special installment of Post-Crisis Punch-Up. Don't miss it.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

YouAreComic Presents: Hal-imony #2...

Welcome back for another installment of Hali-mony, YouAreComic's merry march through the history of the greatest Emerald Gladiator of them all: Hal Jordan. This week to make up for how much we enjoyed John Stewart in his spot in the Justice League cartoon we're going to slog our way through Green Lantern v2 #2 by John Broome and the mighty Gil Kane. It's going to be a blast.

It's a promising cover for the GL savvy in the audience as we recognize that dude chucking the lightning bolt as a Weaponer of Qward. We love those guys and they've got a great history with GL through the years.

Who knew that that history began with Hal huffing over Carol ignoring him (due to her infatuation with Green Lantern) and being accosted by a weird looking bald alien dude with a telepathic sob story:

Turns out that baldy didn't just wander off the set of the movie Coneheads as we first suspected. Rather he came from the anti-matter  universe of Qward. A mean and horrible place ruled by evil-doers and with a society based on the precepts of *gulp*...evil. Turns out he, and a bunch of his weener pals, are sick of all the yucky evil and are going to use a secret, heavily guarded dimensional bridge to escape to our positive universe. Armed with only his wily wits our bald pal, Telle-Teg by name, outwits two lighning-bolt packing guards (who seem to be dressed in a hot-pants based version of a British Redcoat uniform) and escapes into our universe.

Then while he was happily enjoying the sunshine, lollipops and rainbow daffodils that we all take for granted here in our positive matter universe, he was brutally attacked by one of the, infinitely better dressed than their guards, Destroyer Weaponers of Qward.

Tale told Hal uses the old 'I'll just go get Green Lantern For You' routine to ditch baldy, nip to his dressing room, change into his GL duds, charge his ring, take a pee, maybe have a sandwich....then he heads back out to help out Telle-Teg.

He doesn't have to go far to do this as the Destroyer has tracked Telle-Teg down and shows up at the Ferris Airfield! The fiend tosses a super-powerful and conveniently yellow lightning bolt at Hal. Luckily Tele-Teg tackles him out of the way, otherwise our stalwart hero would've been done for - I mean it's not like he could've flown to safety, scooped up a chunk of rock to use as a shield or...y'know..stepped out of the way.

Never mind that now, psyched by his new bald friend's heroics GL puts his game face on and....shoots a green fist at the dude with the big yellow shield:

Dammit! How did that not stop him? 

Not to worry GL regroups, turns invisible (because, y'know, he can do that) and snags the befuddled bolt-chucking Qwardian with a power lasso. Job done....except Tele-Teg got killed at some point during the melee.


To honor his deceased baldy pal's memory GL zips off to the anti-matter universe and sees off the Qwardian Detroyers and their questionably dressed guards using a combination of a 'stinging rain of tiny steel pellets' and a football player made of energy. He rescues Telle-Teg's weener friends and brings them home to the positive universe.

Hooray! Then just when you thought to was safe to go back to ogling Carol Ferris, the law-loving Qwardian weeners warn of a Weaponer plot to steal all of the Green Lantern Power Batteries in the universe. Dun! Dun! Dun! Nice foreshadowing Mr Broome - we'll see those pesky lightning-bolt chuckers again!

In our backup feature this time around we're treated to a joyous, celebration of eskimo culture...or a lively jaunt into casual racism...depends how you look at it really...*sigh*.

So Pieface, Hal Jordan's unfortunately named mechanic, is getting roughed up by some thugs who want a piece of a treasure map that had been entrusted to Pieface by his father. Hal steps in and runs the crooks off but not before they steal the map leaving Pieface devastated.

Pulling a total dick move Hal pisses off leaving Pieface to dry his eyes solo, so that he can show back up as Green Lantern and re-create the map-piece with his power ring after plucking its image out of the shocked eskimo's memory.

It's a long flight to the Great White North even by power ring. You'd think Hal, seasoned GL that he is would've thought of that, but since he didn't when he and Pie track down the map-stealing thugs he can't even lasso them because his power ring is out of juice!

In a pair of fun panels the thugs beat the snot out of Hal then encase him in a block of ice using a watering can. I love it!

With his ring running on empty and no hope for escape, Hal makes one last ditch attempt. There may be a tiny spark of power left in the ring - not enough to form a lasso perhaps but surely that tiny spark is just enough to conjure up....a miniature sun.

Ooookay, so the miniature sun melts the ice enough for Hal to escape and beat the living shit out of all of the thugs. Bing, bang, boom justice is served, GL is the winner and Pieface is the sole owner of a fortune packed goldmine!

Back at work the next day Pieface (because you know as sole owner of the gold mine of course Pie was going to be back in his greasy overalls first thing next morning), reveals that Hal's lack of fresh and original moves gave away his secret identity as Green Lantern but that his secret is safe with him.

All is well, everybody laugh, fade to black.
But Pieface, seriously don't tell Batman I blew the secret identity thing okay?

YouAreComic GL Tally:
Constructs Count: 3 Power Beams ,1 Huge Nozzle, 2 Pairs Of Tongs, 1 Giant Hand, 1 Tiny Hand 1 Pair Handcuffs, 1 Vice, 1 Fist, 1 Stinging Rain of Tiny Steel Pellets, 1 Football Player, 2 Lassos, 1 Memory Probe, 1 Minature Sun, 1 Bubble, 1 Map, 1 Compass
Randomly Yellow Things: Cavemen, Jumpsuit, Lightning Bolt, Shield

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Superman: Post-Crisis Punch-up #6

Welcome back for another round of Post-Crisis Punch-up, it's week 6 and this time around we're going to be talking about the big blue boy-scouting that went on back in April 1987. I should say up front that all three issues in this installment of PCPU were top notch - any one could've been top of the heap. So my reasons for ranking them as I have may seem even more arbitrary then usual! Anyway let's get to it:

Adventures Of Superman #429:
As the cover suggests Adventures of Superman this month is all about Superman fighting a big monkey dude in questionable armor. That monkey-dude, Concussion by name, is the only reason this issue finds itself languishing in the bottom spot. Dude was lame. Everything that isn't that monkey-dude in this awesome. It's a veritable smorgasbord of sweet character moments. We get Cat Grant insulting Clark's taste in sweaters and emotionally confiding him about the painful custody situation with her son. We get Superman feeling powerless and awkward as he pays a visit to Cat's ex, movie-mogul Joseph Martin. Poor Supes realizes too late that to Martin and his son he comes across as Cat's hired goon strong-arming them for custody. Then it all goes to hell when the big purple monkey comes crashing in whooping and wailing about 'I'm gonna avenge the death of my telepathic cat pal* this' and 'you must die that'. Of course Superman makes with the fisticuffs and dispatches monkey-boy in a few panels but it's the aftermath and Superman's reaction to it, beautifully rendered under Jerry Ordway's masterful pencil, that's worth the price of admission. Martin has been seriously injured in the melee and his son doesn't want the cape wearing wack-job responsible for bringing all this random destruction down on them anywhere near him or his dad. Superman's dejected expression as he's reduced to calling 911 for help is a masterpiece. In the end Cat gets to be reunited with her son, but not under circumstances anyone would've wanted and Supes is left pondering whether he can afford to ever blur the line between Clark and Superman again. Excellent stuff - kudos Mr Wolfman.
* NOTE: In case my 'telepathic cat' reference slips by you, Concussion is a member of the Circle who Supes has clashed indirectly with already in this Adventures Of Superman run. You can bet this isn't the last we'll see of them.

Superman v2 #6:
This issue opens with a jaw-dropping splash page - Safari Lois finds the Superman costume among Clark's things!! You'll remember that stubbly Clark was seemingly whacked by a large robot mummy last issue. It seems he was retrieved and brought back to base camp by Lois and her archaeologist pals - he recovers just in time to see himself outed. Luckily everyone, except for Supes, has been possessed by the minds of an ancient alien race courtesy of the giant robot mummy - Phew! Incidentally all of this batshit information is communicated to us by way of flashbacks framed by a sequence of Superman and the giant mummy robot having an awesome, destructive battle of Godzilla proportions in the middle of a large South American city! That boys and girls - is comics! The resolution is an equally delicious slice of comic-book insanity as the blabbermouth aliens and their equally chatty robo-mummy pal sow the seeds of their own destruction. From their yakking Supes learns not only that the alien's can't decide which of them should get to wear his super-powered body but also the robo-mummy when under threat is capable of sucking all of the alien minds out of their host bodies and back into itself. So Supes pounds the mummy until it gets upset enough to suck it's alien pals back out of Lois and co. Then using his super-noggin, he plays possum, pretending his chiseled pecs and rakish spit-curl are up for grabs, knowing that the alien minds controlling the robot won't be able to form an orderly queue in their rush to possess his body. The resulting contention between the arguing alien back seat drivers overloads the robot and makes him fall down, go boom. Lois remembers nothing, Superman makes flimsy excuses about where Clark went and we're done! A joy to read - so much fun!

Action Comics #589:
Okay so nothing about this comic makes it better than either of the preceding two, other than my completely subjective love for this era of the Green Lantern Corps - so deal with it ya poozers! That's not to say that this comic is not a shit-ton of fun -because it is. It also gets extra points by dredging up and re-using a plot point from a previous batshit crazy Byrne issue of Action.
So we open with resident GL totty Arisa discovering Superman floating unconscious in space where those jerk Hawks left him last issue. Once she and her fellow GLs get him aboard their temporary space citadel (an awesome sentence that I just don't get to say enough) and reassure him that Earth isn't under attack from an imaginary Thangarian invasion fleet, they notice a massive cloud of biological gunk winging it's way ominously toward Earth.
Sounds simple right? Big Blue and the GLs will just fly out there and whup some evil living space cloud ass! Uh Uh - this cloud of biological stink knows how to defend itself (with spiky balls and slimy tentacles apparently)! So what? That still shouldn't be problem for this lot! Wrong - all of the cloud defenses are...yellow! Goddamn that shitty Green Latern luck - every goddamned threat they face turns out to be goddamned yellow - where are all the purple and blue alien menaces huh? That's what I want to know!
Anyway,  things go from bad to bonkers as Hal discovers among all of the mustard tentacles and other assorted alien guck...a grave marker:

That's when Supes figures it out. Remember that sentient graveyard he and the Phantom Stranger tossed into orbit a few issues back? This is it and it's pissed! Clearly just tossing every single threat into space is not as solid a plan as Post-Crisis Superman originally thought - damn, that was his go-to play too! Then an ingenious plan comes to him, adding his own willpower to the formidable mental might of the gathered GLs they form a massive planet-stopping claw and.....push the thing a wee bit further out into space. Hmmm, while on paper it sound like the same bad plan over again - the giant cloud of alien puke freezes solid - so clearly the Earth is now completely safe from it now and forever. Huzzah! Good job guys!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

YouAreComic Presents: Hal-imony #1...

I've always had this inexplicable love for Green Lantern. A dude who fight bad guys with a shimmering, green, skyscraper-sized lemon zester made of his thoughts - provided of course they weren't coming at him with a yellow stick - what's not to like?

Over the years however my love for Hal Jordan has been somewhat diluted by the many, many other Emerald gladiators we've been introduced to along the way - Guy, John, Kyle, Killowog, Tomar, hell even G'nort! After a while you start to feel a bit disloyal to poor old Hal.

To put things right. I'm going to go back and re-read those classic GL tales from the beginning and put Hal back where he belongs! Starting here with Green Lantern v2 #1 John Broome and the always awesome Gil Kane!

So we we begin our first step on our long, emerald-hued journey face to face with a humongous, brown, alien monkey.

I know all the YouAreComic faithful are crying out just as I did:

WTF! Where's Hal versus the Giant Creepy Clown Puppet from the cover?

Sadly we'll have to wait until we get to the backup strip before we sample that little nugget of crazy. Instead we'll have to make do with our first look at everyone's favorite balding, blue, obnoxious little know-it-alls The Guardians Of The Universe.

Modern readers can be reassured that despite decades of continuity even back in the days of Ye Olde 1960 these are the same Guardians we know and tolerate. Right out of the gate in their first appearance they're pulling a dick move:

Sure Hal go save some bright yellow cavemen from a giant telepathic alien monkey for us, but we don't want you sullying Oa with your stinky human presence.

In fact Hal still doesn't even know the Guardians exist! When they want him to come to Oa and rehash his origin for the benefit of the folks at home they summon an 'energy duplicate' that will have no memory of them. There's a good use of advanced Oan technology - way to go guys!

Although maybe they have a point with their uncertainty about Hal being up to the job - dude does go flying off to fight a giant alien monkey on the say-so of his magic lamp.

So the thing with the giant telepathic alien monkey is really just just a framing device to facilitate a retelling of Hal's origin. Mr Broome does attempt to give it an interesting wrinkle - in that the big monkey's telepathy can mess with Hal's willpower thwarting his attempts to use his ring against it directly. Hal unwrinkles that BS in the space of a few panels though as he freezes the giant monkey then deposits it on the alien planet's North Pole. Job's a good 'un.

Enough of this monkey business we want to get to Hal versus Creepy Clown Puppet already!

This back-up strip is actually a lot more fun. This one's framed by Carol Ferris pining over GL wondering why he's taking so damn long to pop the question - his pesky insistence of saving the lives of those in mortal danger keeps getting in the way dammit! Uh huh, sister - that man ain't no damn good!

While Carol gets her mope on, GL is donating his time to a charity parade through Coast City (geez, that guys sure is a jerk huh Carol?) thinking about a recent robbery he foiled. Strangely the robber turned out to be not in control of his own faculties. Putting his awesome space-cop detective skills to use GL wonders if this robber might not be related to other 'puppet-like' robberies occurring in the city over the past few days. However before he gets the chance to smugly pat himself on the back for his ability to a.) read a newspaper and b.) spot a link between two clearly linked events....

...he's attacked by a big Creepy Clown Puppet! Yayyy!

Sadly this titanic struggle lasts all of three panels. Boo! However having his life threatened by a giant gun-toting puppet puts Hal in the mood for a night of dancing.

So cut ahead few hours and a few miles across town to a local Bluenote club where GL (in full costume no less!) is having a  delightful time cutting the rug with the lovely Carol. Unfortunately Carol, as is her way, sees this as the right time to put the commitment thumbscrews to our hero. Thankfully he is abducted by the awesome puppeteering technology of the nefarious genius behind the whole 'puppet robbery' caper, the crook with the somewhat 'too-on-the-nose' moniker of  Puppet-Master.

The Puppet Master's snazzy yellow jumpsuit would have made him a totally unbeatable opponent for the emerald gladiator if only he had kept a tidier lab! Hal uses a handy dandy length of rope that the messy megalomaniac left lying around to make a puppet of the puppeteer! Irony and justice is served. Boo-Yah!

YouAreComic GL Tally:
Constructs Count: 2 Power Beams ,1 Huge Nozzle, 2 Pairs Of Tongs, 1 Giant Hand, 1 Tiny Hand 1 Pair Handcuffs, 1 Vice
Randomly Yellow Things: Cavemen, Jumpsuit

Monday, 16 May 2016

Superman: Post-Crisis Punch-up #5

It's that time again folks. We're back for another exciting installment of Post-Crisis Punch-up, for those of you keeping track this is week 5 of our Post-Crisis Superman coverage. All of the issues we'll be gassing about this time around came out in the May 1987. Let's get down to business.

 Adventures Of Superman #428:
Despite last week's victory charge Adventures Of Superman slips back to the bottom of the pile this time around. Things were going so well for Wolfman and Ordway too - they have a bunch of interesting subplots on the go, they've got yummy mummy Cat Grant - then they go and say those three little words: Jerry Frickin' White! Gah! Okay, okay, I'm being a little unfair here. The moral dilemma Perry White is confronted with in this story is really compelling - maintain his journalistic integrity or save the life of his son? Sweet! Jerry's reaction after his rescue when he learns that Perry struggled with that decision is equally understandable and compelling. It's fantastic character work from Wolfman. Sadly I just can't get past the fact that Jerry White is a horrible, obnoxious little snot. Reading a story where I'm supposed to hope that he doesn't get killed is just too tall an order. I'm going give Marv and Jerry (Ordway not White) a pass here though because 'Superman versus goons with guns' stories are hard to pull off, they need to have a ton of heart - and this one's got that in spades. A good job guys - chalk this ranking up to nothing but Jerry the Weasel.
Action Comics #588:
This is a great issue. This and the Superman v2 issue were neck and neck for the top spot. Despite being the concluding part of a larger story (the rest of which I haven't read) I not only followed it but enjoyed the hell out of it! I mean what's not to enjoy. It's got Supes in space. It's got the Hawks. It's got a Thanagarian invasion fleet. It's got a trussed up loud mouth villain sassing our heroes throughout - it's a riot! This issue is chock full of great moments. From Supes flying a disobedient spaceship from the inside through the power of sheer Kryptonian muscle; to him and him taking on the invasion fleet with his bare fists, to Hawkgirl brutally kicking the shit out of all the bad guys single handed; it's all gravy. The resolution wasn't the greatest being that this was the end of a multi-part epic depicting intergalactic war. Essentially the Hawks turn on a doohickey built into the Thanagarian ships (Operation MacGuffin I believe it was called) and *poof* the invasion is teleported across the universe lickety split! Earth is saved - job's a good 'un! However even that dodgy setup is given a few scoops of pathos by the possibility that the same thing that banishes the invasion fleet may boot our heroes so far off into the universe that it would take more than a lifetime to get back. Thankfully when the dust settles the Hawks are still in our solar system but Superman - he's floating out in space unconscious, hurt...or worse Dun!Dun! Dun! Them's good comics folks - hats off to Mr Byrne.

Superman v2 #5:
So the winner from this week's kryptonian crop is Superman v2. However the reasons why this one pipped Supes & The Hawks Excellent Adventures are entirely subjective....some might say irrational! First up, it would seem I'm just thoroughly tickled  by the concept of Superman versus a giant Mummy (even if the mummy turns out to be a big, tubby robot with eye lasers and rocket boots)! Then of course there's super-stubble! That's right the perennial YouAreComic favorite super-fashion-statement puts in appearance contrasting nicely with Clark's bright lemon shirt. This time however super-stubble is used as a plot point ! When Clark needs to tackle the angry robo-mummy he can't change to Superman as Lois might spot their matching five o'clock shadow and realize Supes and Clark are one and the same! Honestly though I don't think he should've worried so much - I mean if up to now she hasn't noticed the fact that the two of them look exactly-the-frickin'-same except for a pair of's probably all good. Speaking of Lois she single-handedly scores this issue a load of extra points this month by dressing up as that chick from George of the Jungle:
Watch Out For That Tree

If I'm being honest I'm not the biggest fan of Byrne's visual take on Lois. The short hair, snark and power suit get-up is not the Lois of my dreams, but I gotta say there's something about Safari Lois that I kinda like. One thing I didn't like was that Byrne pulled the whole 'Oh No Superman\Clark is Dead' cliffhanger fake-out this month in both Superman issue and in the Adventures issue! What's up with that? That aside, I liked Supes in civvies mummy-fighting , I liked the use of the classic 'inquisitive archaeologists unleashe ancient evil' set-up, I liked the 'Holy Crap it's really that big white dude from Big Hero Six' last page reveal. I just straight up liked this issue and named it the winner because it's my blog and I decide - so there!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Superman: Post-Crisis Punch-up #4

So here we are safely out the other side of our three-issue crossover and back to our regularly scheduled program. We're in month four of our Post-Crisis Superman coverage, that takes us up to April 1987. So let's get down to business and see who was on top of the pile:

Action Comics #587: In what is a shocking reversal of fortunes Action Comics drops from top dog to runt of the little for it's April '87 offering. What makes it even more surprising is that this issue takes us back to the Action Comics as Superman Team-Up format that we've been loving since the reboot. This time Big Blue is teamed-up with one of my favorite DC characters of all time Etrigan the Demon! The art was also top notch and included a beautifully rendered Kryptonian/Demon throw-down. Sadly it was a lackluster story that let the side down in this one when Jason Blood's occult dabbling pals accidentally turn themselves into giant It's not really clear but we do know when Supes, trying as usual to solve the world's every problem with a knuckle sandwich, punches them - they bleed. With a quick smidgen of time travel, a dash of busting into a poor old peasant's home and a sprinkle of smashing up Morgan Le Fay's magical doohickey  - Poof! Everything's back to good, Marty McFly style. Plus Etrigan didn't rhyme - it's always more fun when Etrigan rhymes.

Adventures of Superman #427: With Action Comics faltering this month Ordway and Wolfman see their chance and hit us with the most interesting issue of Adventures of Superman so far. This issue sees Superman attacking the Middle Eastern terrorist nation Qurac under the mental manipulation of a burka wearing, sewer-dwelling, telepathic, anthropomorphic cat! We're treated to Big Blue storming the palace and pounding on the evil genocidal Quraqui president until the telepathic cat's assault sends him spiraling into a series of discombobulating visions. Visions of his biological, asshat parents, of his revenge hungry villains, of Lois, Cat Grant and Lana Lang having a slut-off for his attention and, for some reason, Godzilla? Any way the strain of the mental assaults leaves Supes confused and restless, his cat-faced adversary dead and the cat-man's skull-faced wife and her burka-clad associates (a mysterious group known as the  Circle) hot for some Super-blood. Mystery, Intrigue...we like it...well we like more than we like giant robot caterpillars anyway.

Superman v2 #4: It's got a great cover, a beefy, teched-out, gun-toting villain straight out of the 90s - but in the 80s and a wonderfully clunky emotional pay-off. This is 80s comics as I remember them best. So a big masked goofball calling himself Bloodsport is shooting up Metropolis because people don't appreciate their hard-won freedom enough! Supes is unable to simply swoop in and stop him because dude's got teleport tech and Kryptonite bullets. It's all as ludicrous and wonderful as it sounds - including a short moment of Jimmy Olsen 'Action Hero'! It all builds to a final confrontation where Supes, having negated Bloodsport weapons teleporter, by using his brain for a change, forces the big galoot to play his trump card - his big atomic trump card. But before he can blow Metropolis to kingdom come Jimmy shows up wtih Bloodsport's war veteran, paraplegic brother in tow.
Dammit Lil Bro, What've I Told You About Borrowing My Bazooka Without Asking?

 Turns out Bloodsport dodged enlistment and his brother took his place and got himself blown to kibbles and bits. His guilt over his brother getting injured in his place is what drove him to all this hot lead tomfoolery. So Bloodsport's kill-frenzy ends with him weeping and hugging his brother for all he's worth. Go Jimmy. Nothing earth-shattering here, no paradigm shifting revelations, there were even some clunky moments - but an enjoyable Superman story told with heart. Nice job Mr Byrne.

Superman: Post-Crisis Punch-up #3

Welcome back to our latest installment of Post Crisis Punch-up. This time around we're travelling back to the halcyon days of March 1987 when summers were warmer, skies were bluer, the men were men, the rocky intergalactic dictators wore trunks and all we loyal, fresh-faced, still-wet-behind-the-ears DC fans were treated to the very first Post-Crisis Superman crossover.

Strap in tight folks, we're head to Apokolips and it's going to be a wild, if somewhat un-fulfilling ride:

Adventure of Superman #426
Was it just me or did this, the second of our three crossover chapters, seem really long? Normally that's a good thing, but here it felt like a lot of our time was spent lurching haphazardly from one scene to the next trying to keep in-step with our dazed and confused hero. From the Hunger Dog fishing trip that kicks things off, to Big Blue coming to the aid of, then seemingly bumping uglies with Amazing Grace (who by the way is punching far above her weight in my bitchy opinion) it seems a long, hard slog. There is an awesome full page Ordway splash of Supes, now dubbed Savior in his Grace-fueled confusion. He's sporting a tattered S-cape flag, a good crop of the always welcome super-stubble and is whomping the shit out of a bunch of Darkseid's minions with a mace! You gotta love that! The issue ends with super-stubbly-Savior throwing his new-found Hunger Dog allies to the para-demon shaped wolves, then pledging his allegiance and his daddy-issues to Darkseid. How easily the unattractive redhead and the dark master of the Mankini got Supes to pull a heel turn kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Superman v2 #3
This one almost grabbed the top spot on the strength of that sweet cover alone - lookit that thing! As for the story, I guess it follows on from an issue of Legends that I haven't read because we join things already in motion with Clark Kent being pursued through the streets of Metropolis by Darkseid's Omega Beams (which is just as ridculuous/awesome as it sounds). Despite his impressive duckings and divings they catch up and zap him directly into Darkseid's throne-room - where the Titan of Trunks promptly tosses his sorry, bespectacled ass out a window. It's a great opening! The rest of the issue follows a disguised Superman slumming it with the down-trodden residents of the Armaghetto and mouthing off to its cruel overlords until they sic a big robot on him! While the battle with the Pacifier robot is pretty sweet (with a nice 'no-one can be that strong' moment) it ends much too abruptly with a nose-dive into a fire-pit. Not a bad issue, but it does suffer for its distinct lack of New Gods, Female Furies and super-stubble!

Action Comics #586
Action Comics again? Are we beginning to see a pattern emerging here? Thankfully after three issues of bated breath - we finally get some New Gods (and a Granny Goodness cameo Weee-Hooo!). Its this issue's battles with first Orion and Lightray and then finally the big D himself that pushes it firmly into pole position. The fight with Orion is appropriately brutal if a little short. We're also treated to, the much more attractive this time around, Amazing Grace receiving her come-uppance at the hands of Lightray. He blinds her skanky ass when she tries her patented 'feel-them-up-into-submission' move. Once Big Blue's mind is put right (easy peasy lemon squeezy if you've got a Motherbox in your pocket) he hits us with a classic Darth Vader 'Nooooo':


Then zips right off to kick Darkseid's ass. Byrne gives us a memorable fight scene. Clark turning the Omega Beams back on their master then repeatedly chin-checking Darkseid until he finally puts him on his bathing suited ass. Sadly we end anti-climatically with Darkseid going out like a chump by boom-tubing the fighting mad boy scout back to Metropolis. Boo-urns!

As first crossovers go, this could've gone better. But fear not loyal YouAreComicers, our uneven, pun-heavy coverage can't be derailed by unsatisfying storylines or by dictatorial swimwear fetishes. We'll be back with more Post-Crisis Punch-Up in a few short weeks.

Take The Kyrptonians Bowling..

I'm a big Supergirl fan, but even I can admit that she's a character that's had way to many incarnations and re-imaginings. Who could forget 'spangly disco headband Supergirl', Sssh I'm secretly pink protoplasmic slime Supergirl' or how about 'refugee from an 80s hair metal video fiery winged angel Supergirl'. Geez, it's enough to give Hawkman a headache.

Anyway, the other day in a bargain bin I stumbled across a version of Supergirl that I hadn't encountered before. The 'Adventure Comics era Supergirl'.

I was pretty excited as I sat down and cracked open Adventure Comics #400. Poor bastard, I had no idea what was to come.

Let's start with, god help us, that costume. Say what you will about tiny crimson mini-skirts, knee-less armoured boots or Britney-style belly tops all of them pale in comparison when stacked up against this wretched blue....this bizarre pleaded....this....*sigh*, I don't know how to describe this freaky fashion oddity, just look at it:

Fash-Hole Of The Week

Oh the humanity!

You still with us? Its difficult, I understand. We comic fans are used to taking these things on the chin. I mean we've lived through Mecha-Daredevil and Iron Man's nose armour -but that thing...yeeccchh!

Let's move this along shall we - to the villains. This issue boasts not one or two but four devious super-criminals trying to destroy the Maiden of Might.

As the cover, which is a little bit awesome, promises we've got the return of the bitter gun-toting Black Flame. Still sore since the last time Supergirl handed her her purple-clad butt, she went out and recruited some help.

First but most definitely least is Toymaster. As his name suggests he's a third rate Toyman knock-off who's infinitely less interesting. He's balding, middle-aged and looks like he only ventures out of his parent's basement to renew his bifocal prescription. Geez!

Then there's the Inventor. Why Black Flame needed both Toymaster and Inventor on her team I don't know. I guess she thought the assets the Inventor brought to the table (a robotic maid armed with a lasso and that ugly brown suit) were somewhat lacking.

Luckily the last member of flames crew L.Finn makes those to slubs almost forgiveable. Y'see he's a leprechaun. Get if L.Finn....and he's a leprechaun? Need I say more?

Top O' The Mornin' To Ya!

Well with super science, advanced robotics, creepy looking telepathically controller toys, Irish magic and lucky charms at their disposal you know these guys will come up with some awesome, creative method for disposing of their spunky blonde nemesis right?


These bozos decide the one sure-fire way to utterly destroy a pesky Kryptonian is to render her unconscious by way of a lasso sprinkled with Kryptonite (thanks robotic maid, your sacrifice will not be in vain) then trap her in a giant bowling alley where Supergirl is one of the pins and the Flame's goons try to make a spare of her with green kryptonite bowling balls:

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel

Wow, as far as death traps go, that makes the groin laser from James Bond seem like a frickin' masterstroke!

Phew, I don't know about you guys but that's about all I can stomach this time around. After that I think I need some kind of palette cleanser.

Ooooh Superboy & The Ravers, that's the ticket!

Superman: Post Crisis Punchup #2

Welcome back loyal readers for round two of Post Crisis Punchup, where we're going to dig into the second monthly batch of Superman issues to be published after Crisis On Infinite Earths. So let's travel back to Feb 87 pull on our Miami Vice-style sport coat, throw a Van Halen cassette in our Ghetto-blaster and talk about...

Superman v2 #2:
As you can tell from the cover, this is a Lex-centric issue. Normally that would be a winning formula, but this issue comes bottom of the pile this month. It's got its high points: The always awesome and beefy Byrne art; some classic Luthor douche-baggery (including strong-arming foxy scientist chicks into dating him, ripping out Metallo's kryptonite heart without even a howdy-doo and ordering the brutal torturing of Lana Lang). This one also boasts one classic moment, when a ultra smug Lex manhandles a kryponite-weakened and thoroughly befuddled Supes out of his office. So what's the problem I hear you cry. This issue drops to dead last the instant super-smart, titan of business Lex Luthor receives the conclusion from his Secret-Identity-cracking-super-computer that Clark Kent is Superman and he...fires/dumps the foxy scientist who built it and has it scrapped. Not once does he consider 'Hmmm, now that you mention it that reporter who writes the uncannily detailed stories about Superman does look remarkably similar - except for those pesky glasses, maybe I should head over to the newsroom and stick a kryptonite shiv in that guy just in case'. I know its supposed to be character revealing moment showing how power hungry Lex doesn't comprehend altruism and benevolence but come on this just makes him seem galactically dumb. Not a quality we're looking for in our resident super-genius megalomaniac.

Adventures Of Superman #425:
This one's a continuation of last issue's stand-off between Big Blue, the giant robot catapilar and his metal insect buddies, who if you remember have formed a Voltron-like super robot bug in a effort to destroy Metropolis. This clunky concept is improved upon in this issue by using the sob story of Professor Emil Hamilton as a framing device. Hamilton is a mad scientist going out of his way to earn that epithet. In an effort to prove how effective his laser grid invention is he first uses it to trap then shoot at his potential investors. When that doesn't score him a juicy government contract, he then decides ensnaring Superman and an angry robot caterpillar in his laser grid is the surefire road to victory-  sadly this only goads the robo-pillar's crazy pilots to fry themselves. Then finally he goes right off the deep end, takes a random hostage at gunpoint and forces Supes to run a gauntlet of his frankly mind-boggling inventions. I guess he missed the submission deadline for Dragon's Den. That and some sweet Ordway panel composition bumps Adventures to second place this month.

Action Comics #585:
Continuing it's domination of the top spot, Action Comics sticks to the winning formula of masquerading as Superman Team-Up. Let's face it readers throwing the Phantom Stranger in your book almost guarantees you the top spot in any YouAreComic chart. Having him team with Superman to fight a sentient  graveyard bent on world domination takes 'almost' right the hell out of the equation. As if such magical mumbo jumbo isn't enough the evil graveyard is brought to angry, boulder-tossing life thanks to a mystical artifact falling out of the sky in the aftermath of Big Blue's battle with the sky-palace & armour bikini sporting imortal goddess Arathaza (who it turns out is secretly homely secretary Barb Kowaleski). We join Superman's battle with Arathaza in the middle on page one. By page three she's warped Superman into an old man. By page five he's tricked her back to being plain old bitter Barb. Page 8 - Boom - sentient graveyard. Decompression be damned - this my loyal YouAreComicers is comics done right. Also the Phantom Stranger gives some dead folks a damn good tongue lashing in his own inimitable style

Dost Your Mother Know You Weareth Her Drapes?

Don't worry folks the whole evil sentient graveyard thing, that incidently is powered by the anger of dead murderers, gets sorted out lickety split before the issue wraps. Supes defaults to his go-to solution here in the Post-Crisis universe. Dig up the ground below the problem then fly the whole shebang into space. Jobs a good 'un!

So that's Post-Crisis punch-up part two. Hope you enjoyed this trip in the Wabac machine as much as we did. Come back for more in a few weeks time. Next week promises a crossover across all three books. It'll have Orion, Darkseid and super-stubble!!

Nuff said.

What To Expect When You're Expecting...

"What The Fu- -"

Those were the words that rang through the halls of YouAreComic HQ last night. I was happily enjoying a stack of newly acquired back issues when I came over all blue at the events in Mantra #18.

Okay, let's be upfront about it, being befuddled into profanity during the adventures of  the Malibu Ultraverse's resident sex-kitten sorceress is not that unusual an occurrence. I mean the very concept of the book is a fricking can of worms all by itself.

Mantra: The story of Lukasz - a mighty, ages-old, sword-swinging warrior who finds himself mystically transported into the body of recently deceased, smoking hot, single mom Eden Blake. A body whose inherent magical abilities are integral to his quest to defeat his ancient, all-powerful enemy (and incidentally geriatric, magical cyborg) Boneyard - y'know when he's not checking out his new body's bazoonkas in a mirror.

Don't get me wrong, I was always a big fan of the Mantra series, what with Lukasz clumsily trying to master his new magical abilities. His trying to keep Eden's life afloat despite his thinly veiled contempt for her kids, mother and ex-husband. His desperate fight not to join in when horny co-workers wolf-whistle at his impossibly proportioned new body. Not to mention all those great 'how do women walk in these gosh-darned things' moments the book shamelessly stole from Tootsie. There were moments of total comic-book joy packed in shoulder to shoulder with all the rampant, barely controlled wack-a-doodle.

However by the time we got to Mantra #18 things had gotten a little far afield. In this issue Mantra returns from her stint in the Godwheel mini-series. There she'd been sucked into another dimension to face the evil of a megalomaniacal blue god with an eye collection, a dude made out of super-powerful discarded skin and a horde of devious little pumpkins bent on world domination. These events had left Mantra changed.

Eden, it seemed was alive, well and back in her own body, Lukasz now had his own body - one fashioned in the Rob Liefeld school of anatomy, and the two of them were very much in love. It's probably best if we just gloss over the fact that the flame of Lukasz's love was kindled while he was living in Eden's body. Ewwww.

Anyway, they get home flush with victory, pack the kids off to mom's place, dress up all glitzy for a celebratory date night and..
Brown Chicken, Brown Cow

As all the world's poets could have told him (were Lukasz not too busy watching Top Gear and reading Guns & Ammo to listen) the course of true love never runs smoothly.

Of course this being a Mantra book, Eden and Lukasz's true love does indeed forego the smooth course and instead chooses the totally bat-shit crazy course of...instant and catastrophic magical pregnancy!

Damn it Lukasz! It's like Cube said..
Shoulda Put A Sock On The Pickle

Now you might think that being up the magical duff might be the last stop on this particular crazy train, but you'd be wrong. Mantra #18 has not yet begun to fight. Next the book makes a concerted effort to piss off every female fan who has ever experienced the wondrous journey of pregnancy - as Eden goes from two pink lines to the delivery room in a scant six pages. No time for morning sickness, for wacky cravings, for braxton hicks or even for that gross chocolate flavoured birdseed stuff they give you to eat when you get all constipated, nothing!

Of course things don't go quite so rosy for poor Baby Girl Blake once she's ushered into the world. She gets a few moments of blissful newborn snoozing before suddenly and inexplicably blossoming into instant, busty adulthood in the space of seconds - complete with fetching, spiky, leather S&M ensemble, snake tattoo,  the bloody urge to murder mommy and daddy and sporting the name of her mother's slutty, sales-goosing bad girl alter-ego:

What Did Mommy Tell You About Borrowing Her Leather Spiky Thigh Strap Without Asking?

Mazel Tov Everybody! Who's got the cigars?

And that's where we're left, high and dry, confused and trembling, maybe having thrown up in our mouths a little, trudging slowly upstairs to wash out our brains.

Shame on you Mike W Barr, what were you thinking?