Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Releases (Golden Rage Variant) (July 2011)

Limited edition poster distributed to film crew
of Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Seems like Captain America is everywhere this month.

Marvel Comics is releasing a new Captain America #1 and the second installment of the intriguing All-Winners Squad: Band of Heroes limited series, as well as Captain America and Bucky #620, Captain America and Thor: Avengers! #1 and Captain America Corps #2. Tack on Red Skull #1 (starring Cap's arch nemesis) and AC Comics' tribute to patriotic heroes, and you might as well call this Captain America Month.

With so many "public appearances," you'd almost think he's got a new movie coming out.


Flag-draped superheroes swept Golden Age comics after Timely’s 1941 launch of CAPTAIN AMERICA. This volume collects the best of Cap’s imitators from competing publishers in full story reprints. Includes YANKEE DOODLE JONES, FLAG-MAN, EAGLE, U.S. JONES, SPIRIT of ’76, MINUTE MAN, COMMANDO YANK, AMERICAN EAGLE, CAPTAIN FREEDOM, FIGHTING YANK and others.


The mastermind behind "Reign of Doomsday" begins the final phase of his plan to destroy Superman and all mankind! Steel, Supergirl, Superboy and the heroes of Earth unite to try to stop the devastation, while Superman undertakes a dangerous journey in a desperate attempt to save the day!

Batman teams up with Hawkman – and though they may have beaten the bad guy, the real battle is just beginning. Now, they have to bring their prisoner to jail on the planet Thanagar...and his gang's waiting to make sure they never get there alive!

Batman uses both his wits and brute force to deal with new and old enemies alike. Will Two-Face find his coin? Does the Riddler finally get the skeleton key to his locked memories? Is there a new power hierarchy about to reign in Gotham City? Find out in the stunning conclusion of the 3-part "Pieces."

The most unlikely team-up ever comes to an end. It's the crashing finish to the brief alliance of Batman, Robin and Jason Todd, a.k.a. The Red Hood, against a common foe. After all, the three "sons of Wayne" can put their differences aside for just so long. And when one fight ends, another will begin...

Is an exclusive girls' finishing school a secret training ground for teenaged assassins? Find out the truth as Batgirl undertakes her most dangerous mission yet at the request of Batman.

The miniseries that leads into the video game continues under the guidance of game writer Paul Dini. The gates swing shut on Arkham City, trapping small-time criminals and deadly Super-Villains behind its walls. As the prisoners struggle for survival, a rogue unit of Mayor Sharp's security force hunts down rival gang bosses The Joker and Two-Face. Not only must Batman save the lives of his greatest foes, he's got to fight his way through an army to do it!

It's Batman and Red Robin vs. The Architect as the villain tears through Gotham City's first families! Plus, who is Nicholas Anders? The team continues to investigate the mysterious man from turn-of-the twentieth-century Gotham, but what they find may change everything they know about the city itself!

The 1970s was a pivotal decade for Batman, one in which he transitioned from TV's campy Caped Crusader into today's Dark Knight Detective! Now, legendary scribe Len Wein (DC UNIVERSE: LEGACIES) tells a never-before-revealed tale from this era in a brand-new story!

Plus: Following the 26-page lead story is a classic tale originally published in the '70s, also written by Len Wein!

DC Retroactive is an exciting event honoring the defining eras of DC's core heroes, featuring an original story by the legendary writers and artists who helped mold the characters! Martin Pasko revisits the Metropolis of the 1970s, telling an epic lost tale as Mr. Mxyzptlk returns for another go at The Man of Steel. Will he succeed this time around?

Plus: Following the 26-page lead story is a classic tale originally published in the '70s, also written by Martin Pasko!

From legendary scribe Dennis O'Neil comes an untold adventure starring DC's Amazon Princess in her "white costume" phase! When Paradise Island is in danger, Wonder Woman must complete three tasks to save her homeland from destruction. But are these tasks too difficult even for her?

Plus: Following the 26-page lead story is a classic tale originally published in the '70s, also written by Dennis O'Neil!

For years, Jim Gordon has been tormented by the possibility that his son, James Jr., might be a killer. Tonight, he'll get the answers he's been after. But is the truth about James even darker than the Commissioner, or even Batman, could have guessed?

It all comes down to this! The Joker is on the loose in the catacombs beneath Gotham City, more vicious and frightening than ever. But even as Batman closes in on The Clown Prince of Crime, he begins to suspect that the city may be the target of an even deadlier threat – one that could shake Gotham City to its core.

The quest for the Apis Bull continues! While Doc fends off a horde of bruiser Neanderthals, the elusive Russian woman gives him the slip. Can he catch her and convince her to share her story? And The Fabulous Five put their survivalist knowledge to the test as they traipse across the unforgiving Russian steppes!

The hidden door beneath Monument Point lies open, and the JSA teams up with the Challengers of The Unknown to venture into the city's depths. Older than the time of the Conquistadores, reaching across time and space – the deeper our heroes go, the more sinister this realm seems, until they stumble upon an ancient evil. Just what was Scythe looking for down here?

The Spirit has gone rogue, killing criminals that the judicial system has let slip through its grasp. Now The Spirit – the real Spirit – must find the impostor who is signing these murders with an "S," while the pressure is on Dolan to make an arrest. Will The Spirit end up behind bars before the killer strikes again?

What could possibly make The Man of Steel decide to stop being Superman? Superboy and Supergirl catch up with him in Portland, Oregon, and they want answers!

Don't miss this new tale of the early days of Superman and Batman's partnership! Someone has gotten close to finding out the true identity of Batman, and now that person has turned up dead! Superman is about to discover just how gray the world of The Dark Knight really is.

The mega-opus "Odyssey" proved too big, it needed two extra issues to tell J. Michael Straczynski and Phil Hester's full story! It's classic Wonder Woman versus the new one! Even if she wins, she loses!

Batman: Bruce Wayne – The Road Home
Batman: Hush Unwrapped Deluxe Edition
Batman: The Streets of Gotham – The House of Hush
DC Comics Presents: Batman – Gotham Noir #1
DC Comics Presents: Superman #4
Infinity Inc.: The Generations Saga, Vol. 1
Showcase Presents: Doc Savage
Tales of Batman: Gene Colan, Vol. 1


Aided by Bandar tribesmen, Kit Walker finally finds the source of the blood diamonds funding the Bengali coup d’etat! But when The Phantom attempts to permanently shut down the dangerous mines, he discovers that the forces of General Kiboko are trading in a commodity even more precious to win the war!

The killer-for-hire known as Redhand has taken down Green Hornet and the new Kato. Now, this highly-skilled assassin sets his sights on the original Kato. It’s an epic kung-fu battle as Hayashi Kato battles the man he helped create. Redhand won’t be satisfied, even by defeating Green Hornet and both Katos. He wants to assume the criminal mantle our heroes have established in Century City, making the villainous cover of Green Hornet and Kato a reality, once and for all.

The Triad think they have the Green Hornet and his sidekick, but they have a pair of Sentinel employees instead. Can Green Hornet and Kato save their friends in time? And what happens when other costumed vigilantes, cops, and federal agents make the scene? The conclusion to the movie sequel may spell the end of the Green Hornet and Kato!


15-LOVE #2
Millie Collins is finding that her dream of playing tennis is not as easy as she's thought.  Her new coach, Walt, has her working day and night, training to get her off the bottom of the Wayde Tennis Academy's ranking.  But when a photographer takes an interest in Mill, a whole new wrinkle is added into her life. Can she make time for modeling and still save herself from being expelled?

The super-powered veterans of World War II are facing a deadly mystery...and it goes all the way back to the top-secret missions they ran behind enemy lines under Captain America's command! Help in unraveling the mystery will come from a very tricky source – and nothing is what it seems!

U-Base: When Hydra's U-Boats take out an Allied target, it's up to CAPTAIN AMERICA and his HOWLING COMMANDOS to strike back! The heroes sneak in to a Hydra U-Base, but there they find that the tentacles in the Hydra logo might not be simply symbolize!

Bestselling Cap writer Ed Brubaker and superstar artist Steve McNiven bring you the next huge chapter in Steve Rogers life, and it's a perfect jumping-on point for fans of the Cap movie. A funeral for a fallen friend turns into a race against time as the original Captain America makes his explosive return!

Think you know the story of Cap and Bucky's origins? Well, think again.  The secret story of the early days of Captain America, told from Bucky Barnes's point of view. From co-writers Ed Brubaker and Marc Andreyko with artist Chris Samnee (Thor: The Mighty Avenger).

TWO CAPTAIN AMERICAS LEAD A TIME-TRAVELING PATRIOTIC SQUAD TO RESTORE LIBERTY! Steve Rogers and Jim Barnes – joined by US Agent, American Dream and Commander A -- now they find themselves in a dystopic America -- and branded as traitors. Can they survive in a nation that has surrendered its soul to the mysterious AMERICOMMAND? Roger Stern (CAPTAIN AMERICA: WAR & REMEMBRANCE) and Philippe Briones (IRON MAN: LEGACY) will show you a world where the Captains America have been declared ENEMIES OF THE STATE!

On the hunt to solve the brutal murder of a Broadway starlet, The Operative, The Revenant and The Aviatrix smash their way from the gleaming penthouses of privilege to the squalid alleyways of Manhattan, as the full horror of their enemies' schemes unfolds!  Plus: experience the power of the mighty Achilles and the bizarre tactics of the syringe-wielding Surgeon!

Witness the chilling creation of Marvel's greatest monster, and liberty's greatest enemy. As Berlin descends into chaos and ruin, sinister forces are on the rise...and the men who will form the Nazi Party ascend to power. Against this tragic backdrop of history, a boy comes of age...Johann Schmidt. orphan, thug, urchin – Johann has nothing...and how far he would go for power will change the world...Greg Pak, the writer of X-MEN: MAGNETO – TESTAMENT, and breakout Mirko Colak (SECRET WARRIORS) bring to life the twisted birth of the Red Skull.

Captain America: Hail Hydra


The Spider faces a monstrous flesh-eating evil that attacks invisibly from thefilthy shadows, leaving doomed New York City in a panic-stricken state of hysteria and gruesome sudden death. None are immune to the plague of the Creeping Hell, not even Nita Van Sloan, the Spider’s beloved.

PLUS: more Operator5!


Class warfare and a massive fire on the roof tops of 1950's New York continues and exiled Russian princess, Moon Girl, is helpless against the chaos! Her only hope is Doctor Benjamin Pierce -- but his skin crawling life story will reveal a disturbing secret history of the golden age of America.

 As always, please let me know if I'm missing anything.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No Justice (Society) in the DC Relaunch

The big news of the past week has been the upcoming relaunch of DC Comics, commonly referred to as DCnU.

In the wake of the current Flashpoint event, the DC Universe will undergo a major change, with established characters getting sometimes drastic makeovers in both appearance and circumstance. Last week's buzz surrounded the slow unveiling of the 52 titles that will make up DCnU, all of them starting at #1 (even long running series like Batman and Superman are starting over).

The purpose of the relaunch is to appeal to a younger audience, thereby attracting new readers. One striking casualty of the relaunch (so far) is the Justice Society of America (JSA), DC's revered heroes from the Golden Age. The implication is that heroes who fought Nazis cannot be expected to appeal to today's youth.

I have always believed that the aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths would have been more stable and successful if the changes had cut across all titles equally. Rebooting some (like Wonder Woman) while leaving others relatively unchanged (like Batman) has led to a convoluted mess that DC has never been able to straighten out. So maybe DCnU will work where other crisis events have failed.

The JSA always seems to bear the brunt of DC's periodic resets (most notably Crisis on Infinite Earths and Zero Hour) only to come back stronger than before. Should DCnU prove to have real staying power (I cannot help but think of Marvel's Heroes Reborn effort in 1996/97), will DC find a place for the JSA? With Superman once again being described as DC's first super-hero (and presumably not first active in 1938), prospects seem grim. Even a DCnU version of their wartime adventures would be off the table.

Maybe now is the time to revive their status as Earth-2's premiere heroes -- assuming the Multiverse has survived the onslaught -- and separate them from the ever-growing turmoil of the mainstream DC Universe.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Character Spotlight: Namora

Marvel Mystery Comics #82
(May 1947)
My first character spotlight falls on the Atlantean princess Namora (kissin' cousin of Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner).

Arguably one of the best golden age revivals of recent years is Jeff Parker's original Agents of Atlas (2006), which features six largely forgotten characters from the late 1940s (Timely Comics) and early 1950s (Atlas Comics). And the best of those returning characters is Namora (don't bother debating that point with me).

Namora debuts in the Sub-Mariner story in Marvel Mystery Comics #82 ("The Coming of Namora," May 1947). In true super-hero fashion, her origin story involves the death of her father and vengeance against the criminal responsible. Despite a few salty tears (more so for being shed under water), she is just as tough and brave as the Sub-Mariner.

If a tear falls in the ocean,
does anyone see it?
Notably, she is not identified as Namor's cousin but simply as a member of the royal court -- one he doesn't know. Only later will their familial relationship be established, going so far as to make them childhood playmates. Namor doesn't recognize her right away in Marvel Mystery Comics #82 because they haven't seen each other in many years.

The story is also the only time she uses her real name -- Aquaria Nautica Neptunia -- during the Golden Age. She chooses to call herself Namora (an Atlantean word meaning "avenging daughter") when the Sub-Mariner agrees to work with her to track down her father's killer.

Namora #1 (Aug 1948)
Over time, we learn that Namora, like her cousin, is a human/Atlantean hybrid. As a result, she has enhanced strength and stamina, distinctive ankle wings (sometimes interpreted as fins) and the power of flight. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and allies but prone to violent outbursts. Her passionate nature is evident in both love and war. Her known suitors, past and present, include Talan (her only known husband), Sergei Kravinoff, Hercules, Namor and Jimmy Woo.

Following her initial appearance in Marvel Mystery Comics #82, she becomes a steady presence in Sub-Mariner Comics, generally appearing in at least one story per issue. She also guest stars in many Sub-Mariner stories in Blonde Phantom Comics, Captain America Comics, Human Torch, Men's Adventures, Young Men and more issues of Marvel Mystery Comics and headlines her own short-lived series in 1948.

Namora as fish out of water
in "Doomed in the Desert"
(Namora #2, Oct. 1948)
While her first chronological appearance is published in May 1947, the Sub-Mariner story in Human Torch #29 ("The Pirates of the China Sea," Winter 1947) suggests an earlier time frame. Namora is already Namor's partner in the flashback sequence, which occurs "almost two years" before the framing story, placing the start of her partnership with Namor as early as 1945. (Yes, I'm a continuity freak. Don't hold it against me.)

Namora figures prominently in one of the longest running myths about the Golden Age. The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide includes, as it has for many years, a notation claiming that Namora, Golden Girl and Sun Girl share a crossover adventure in Marvel Mystery Comics #88. I have a copy of the issue in question, and no such story is included. But wouldn't it be nice if someone produced that "missing" story?

The Avengers Initiative
(1959 vintage)
Namora's final Golden Age appearance consists of a single panel in Sub-Mariner Comics #42 ("Invasion!!", Oct 1955). She will not be seen again until 1972, in Sub-Mariner #50 ("Who Am I?", June 1972), and only then as an ice-entombed corpse. The circumstances of her death are revealed in the following issue, in a brief flashback sequence. For the next 34 years, she is relegated to flashbacks, alternative realities and retroactive continuity (retcons) -- until she makes a big comeback with the Agents of Atlas. (Like any Golden Age character worth their salt, she wasn't dead after all, merely in suspended animation.)

Five years into her revival, Namora is firmly ensconced in modern Marvel continuity. She crosses paths (and locked horns) with Avengers, X-Men and Thunderbolts and always holds her own. She joins the Renegades in supporting the Hulk went he goes to war against the world. And a recent retcon in New Avengers reveals her involvement with the previously unknown Avengers Initiative, a group of post-war Nazi hunters whose first mission has implications in the present.

While not appearing in a current ongoing series, she and the other Agents of Atlas do appear in the first four issues of Fear Itself: The Home Front.

What does the future hold for Namora? Given her growing connections to the heavy hitters of the Marvel Universe, the possibilities seem endless.


_ Blonde Phantom Comics #14 (Summer 1947) - "The Brain Strikes Back!"
_ Blonde Phantom Comics #15 (Fall 1947) - "Death Deals in Stamps!"
_ Blonde Phantom Comics #17 (Spring 1948) - "Deep Sea Swindle!"
_ Blonde Phantom Comics #18 (Jul 1948) - "Terror of the Tattler!"
_ Blonde Phantom Comics #19 (Sep 1948) - "The Playboy Killer"
_ Blonde Phantom Comics #20 (Nov 1948) - "Science Says No"
_ Captain America Comics #68 (Sep 1948) - "My Son is a Thief"
_ Captain America Comics #70 (Jan 1949) - "Scavengers of the Desert"
_ Human Torch #28 (Fall 1947) - "Case of the Bends"
_ Human Torch #29 (Winter 1947) - "The Pirates of the China Sea"
_ Human Torch #30 (May 1948) - "The Beast of the Bowery Barge"
_ Human Torch #31 (Jul 1948) - "Troubadour of Terror"
_ Human Torch #32 (Sep 1948) - "The Roulette of Destiny"
_ Human Torch #37 (Jun 1954) - "The Rapture of the Depths"
_ Marvel Mystery Comics #82 (May 1947) - "The Coming of Namora!"
_ Marvel Mystery Comics #84 (Oct 1947) - "Case of the Vanishing Venuses"
_ Marvel Mystery Comics #85 (Feb 1948) - "Blackbeard...Scourge of the Seas!"
_ Marvel Mystery Comics #86 (Jun 1948) - "The Case of the Disappearing Watchman!"
_ Marvel Mystery Comics #87 (Aug 1948) - "The Lost Atoll"
_ Marvel Mystery Comics #88 (Oct 1948) - "Black Oil of Doom"
_ Marvel Mystery Comics #90 (Feb 1949) - "War-Cry of the Jungle"
_ Marvel Mystery Comics #91 (Apr 1949) - "Terror at Sea" 
_ Men's Adventures #27 (May 1954) - "The Ship That Vanished"
_ Men's Adventures #28 (Jul 1954) - "Killer Whales"
_ Namora #1 (Aug 1948) - "The Lost City of Yucatan!" / "The Kingdom Beneath the Sea" / "Shadow Over Shanghai!"
_ Namora #2 (Oct 1948) - "Terror in Turkey!" / "Doomed in the Desert!" / "Dressed to Kill!"
_ Namora #3 (Dec 1948) - "The Mystery of the Sleeping Ship" / "The Last of the Vikings" / "Terror Rides the Waves"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #23 (Summer 1947) - "Trophies of Terror"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #24 (Winter 1947) - "Viking's Vengeance" / "The Harbor of Madmen!"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #25 (Spring 1948) - "Firebrand, the Scourge of the Pacific" / "Murder Through the Mind"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #26 (Jun 1948) - "Murder Motor Mart" / "Terror in the Lost Colony"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #27 (Aug 1948) - "The Case of the Frantic Fisherman" / "Monument to Murder"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #28 (Oct 1948) - "A Case of King's Ransom" / "Kids! Kids! Kids!" / "Crime Makes the Writer"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #29 (Dec 1948) - "The Mystery of the Pirate's Cove" / "The Deadly Game of Captain Black" / "The Professor and the Mermaid"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #30 (Feb 1939) - "Doom from the Sun" / "Slaves Under the Sea"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #34 (Jun 1954) - "Betty Dean's Rivalry with Namora"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #35 (Aug 1954) - "Invasion!"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #36 (Oct 1954) - "The Hidden World!" / "War of the Poles"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #37 (Dec 1954) - "Wham!"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #38 (Feb 1955) - "The Sub-Mariner Strikes!"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #39 (Apr 1955) - "The Sub-Mariner Gets a Lesson in Humility from Namora!"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #40 (Jun 1955) - "The Sub-Mariner Meets a New Enemy….Fire!" / "The Sub-Mariner and the Icebergs"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #41 (Aug 1955) - "The Big Freeze!"
_ Sub-Mariner Comics #42 (Oct 1955) - "Invasion!!"
_ Young Men #27 (Apr 1954) - "The Treasure of Captain Derelict"


Namora #2
(Oct 1948)

Namora #3
(Dec 1948)

Sub-Mariner Comics #24
(Winter 1947)

Sub-Mariner Comics #25
(Spring 1948)

Sub-Mariner Comics #26
(June 1948)

Sub-Mariner Comics #27
(Aug 1948)

Sub-Mariner Comics #28
(Oct 1948)

Sub-Mariner Comics #29
(Dec 1948)

Sub-Mariner Comics #34
(June 1954)