Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 295 Alley Cat #03

TITLE-Alley Cat #03

In every comic collectors collection there is always a stack of comics that they have no idea the when,where or why of how the comics got into the collection. The above issue of Alley Cat belongs to that group.

I kind of remember seeing a few copies of this on the comic shop wall when it was coming out. But at least to me summer of 99 was kind of late for a "bad girl" comic.But I guess at the time either Alley Baggett,a former Playboy Playmate,was enough of a name to get her own comic or it is possible Ms Baggett paid to produce the comic herself.The cover seems to be signed by a DesRian C. Never heard of them,and the inside front cover credits only give cover credits for the what I assume variant Photo Covers.

Speaking of the inside front cover,holy hell do a lot of people get credit for what is  just 22 pages of average kind of Crow/Faust inspired work.
Created by Alley Baggett,Matt Hawkins & Greg Aronowitz
Written by Bob Napton & Matt Hawkins
Based on a Story by Alley Baggett,Matt Hawkins,Greg Aronowitz & Bob Napton

Wait nooo.... they just credited 4 people,all of them at least 2 times,for creating and writing this story???? These four are proud as fuck of this comic.

Set in what was then modern day NOLA,we start off with Alley and a priest roaming the streets.He is known as The Exorcist.No I ain't fucking with you,

All over the city,but only seen by Alley and The Exorcist are demons. Some as you see above just flying around. Others have possessed people all over the city.Seems Alley's outfit has powers and/or a history thanks to the Marque DeSade. It isn't really explained and Alley runs off to save someone named Mark.

Back at Alley's home a group of long coated detectives are trying to puzzle out what has recently happened at this apparent suburban New Orleans home. Thankfully before this scene can morph into Law and Order Cajun Victims Unit,now airing for 28 hours a day on 5 different Universal owned TV stations,it ends.

Time for more of Alley and The Exorcist wandering the city.Then a short time later they are in a graveyard. Encounter the previously mentioned Mark.He asks for help. Alley is willing to give it,but The Exorcist tries to kill him with a cross dagger. I wonder if he got these from the set of The Omen II? Alley subdues The Exorcist.And we find out that the demon inside of Mark doesn't want help.He summons a group of demons who manage to knock Alley Cat out.

When she wakes up,she finds herself in an old abandoned house or building.It isn't really made clear what it is. She wanders and finds Mark's killing room. He has The Exorcist tied up to a chair,and unconscious. And some lady suspended from the ceiling.At the bottom of the page we discover that to add even more sleazy to the comic  this entire room is being recorded.

But before we can find out how Alley Cat can stop all of this,and since it is a 90s comic,time for the double page centerfold poster.
Mark is about to whip the hanging woman and asks Alley to join him.When she snaps and beats him to death. In a fairly violent scene for a comic book that so far has been PG-13ish.
Now it starts to make some sense. Alley's outfit was maybe empowered by the spirit of the Marque DeSade.But I know for sure that DeSade's spirit was possessing Mark. Which is why he had the torture room set up.Thanks to him video recording everything that happened in that room,Alley will more than likely get away with brutally murdering an unarmed man. Because as the story ends,we go back to the Cajun Victims Unit detectives. Here we learn that Alley was under the influence of a powerful hallucinogen. Seems her husband had been drugging her with pills so he could get her to agree to allow Mark to torture her. Plus we find out that The Exorcist has vanished without a trace.

So was he ever really there?Was there really demons and spirits all over the city? Or was Alley just all wacked out on some strong as hell hallucinogens? The final panel hints that all the supernatural stuff was legit.

Then we get a page of text that explains that the original plan for Alley Cat was a 3 issue mini series. But sales are so high it has been promoted to a ongoing series.Well good for them for having the smarts to write the story so if they only got 3 issues it didn't leave any big plots hanging.But also leaving it open enough that it wouldn't be hard at all to make this a continuing series.Following this halfway decent text piece is a few pages of ads for all kinds of Alley Cat comics. Mostly variant covers and special con editions.With the inside front cover being a black page with white text of Alley Baggett's website URL.Just checked and the site is still up. Seems since the big comic book bucks stopped rolling in the site has transformed into what appears to be a softcore porn site.

Now when I first opened the book,well after checking out the credits,I noticed that in the indicia Alley Cat is copyright and trademark of not only Alley Baggett but also Action Toys. The name Action Toys kind of rang a bell. After seeing the back cover I remembered why the name rang a bell.
Back when the figures shipped,the comic shop I went to every week got sent a case of them. They never ordered them. Never got charged for them. And because no one wanted the figures,even when reduced down to $5 each the case got stored in the back.

Around 2005 the owner sold the store to a group of 5 regular customers.2 of whom would run the place and work there full time. The other 3 would help out and get a good discount on their weekly comics.While going thru the back they found the case of figures from Action Toys and since they knew I collected comic book based action figures gave me first shot at them. But even at a hugely discounted price it wasn't worth buying them.

While the story was nothing original or really that intriguing the art was pretty decent.Now I gotta find someone who would want this comic,cause there is no way I can donate it to the children's wing of the local hospital.

Alley Cat #03 gets a borrow.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 294 Zombies! Feast #01

TITLE-Zombies!Feast #01

I have no clue if or when this IDW Zombies! series connects to any of their other Zombies series/mini series.

A prisoner transport bus has a wreck out in  the middle of nowhere. It is up to 3 guards to lead 8 prisoners across a few miles. Mostly cause neither radio or cell phones work in this area.

They stumble upon a farm house,no it's not going there I think.While there,and looking for a phone,they run into a child zombie.

This time Shane Maccarthy does the writing chores and the art is by Chris Bolton. Again no clue who either is.The decent wraparound cover is by Bolton,but there is a variant that has Ted McKeever art. I wish I would have gotten that one.

I do have one later issue in this series. Might read it soon. But honestly unless I found later issues for a buck or less I wouldn't bother with this.

Zombies!Feast #01 gets a borrow.

2016 Comic Challenge 293 Dark Knight III The Master Race #07

TITLE-Dark Knight III The Master Race #07

Batman is dead and Superman is rushing him off somewhere. I do love how Miller sees Superman,all powerful but boring and in the end not nearly effective as he should be.

Back in Gotham,Carrie Kelly finds out Bruce is dead. Ends up meeting with the Commissioner on the roof of the Gotham Police HQ. After a lengthily discussion on if what all just happened was worth it,Carrie is says it is the Commissioner seems to think it wasn't,Kelly leaves. To bury the dead,but as a parting line makes sure the police know she will provide them with a new bat signal.

We go back to Superman with the now dead Batman. They enter a cave and Superman tosses Batman  into what I am assuming is a Lazurus Pit. Cause a younger and alive Bruce Wayne comes out of it.

The daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman,this girl's name will not stick in my memory,is recovering with the rest of the surviving Kandorians. Gets told to go get her brother.

She arrives on Paradise Island. Manages to see and talk to her baby brother,before her mother shows up. The daughter thinks cause she has a surprise army of Kandorians waiting on her word she is good to go. But Diana has gathered an massive army of Amazons.

And so ends the main part of the book. Like every other issue we get a shorter back up story. Spotlighting someone that doesn't get much attention in the main story. This time it is Hal Jordan. In the main story we see a man all bundled up crossing a desert. Turns out it is Hal and he is searching for his ring. Gotta love that Miller drew all of this back up.

Dark Knight III The Master Race #07 gets a BUY!

2016 Comic Challenge 292 Zombies! Eclipse of the undead #01

TITLE-Zombies!Eclipse of the Undead #01

Got this comic in a lot of "10lbs of random comics". Had no idea at the time that IDW even had a zombie comic.

Our lead is a medical student.Who is living in one of the stadiums in LA. The stadium is surrounded by zombies,but the military is still there keeping them out.

Then food and water run  out,the military leaves during an eclipse. And someone on the inside is infected.So we get an outbreak of zombies in the stadium.

No clue how long this series ran.The cover is ok I guess. A bit dark but not the worst I have seen.El Torres is the writer and Yair Herrera is the artist. Never heard of either.

If I happen to find the later issues of this series for a buck or less I might grab them. But this is just a slightly above average spin on your typical zombie story.

Zombies!Eclipse of the Undead #01 gets a borrow.

2016 Comic Challenge 291 Black Hood Season 02 #02

TITLE-The Black Hood season 02 #02
PUBLISHER-Dark Circle Comics/Archie

Yeah it is a few weeks late,but fuck it at least Black Hood only comes out a few weeks late instead of months late.

Starting off right where the last issue ended,the Hood manages to dodge the bullet and runs off.

After ending up at a shelter,and shaving and cleaning himself up,he meets with a man that helps out the people of the shelter.

During this the man that confronted the Hood in the park is at a pawn/gun shop. He buys a shotgun,then goes on a killing spree.

Hood sees a news report about this on TV. And realizes it happened at a place he had stopped a crime on his way out to the west coast. Realizing ,after seeing the message the hitman left in blood on the pawn shop counter,he has to accept the responiblily of having and using the Black Hood.

The issue ends with the Hood stealing a car and we assume heading out to find the hitman.

After that instead of a true crime piece we get a reprint of an early 80s Black Hood story from an issue of Blue Ribbon Comics. The preface to this story leads me to believe at least the Dark Circle Black Hood is connected to all the previous Black Hoods published by Archie under whatever imprint they used at the times.

The Black Hood Season 02 #02 gets a buy.

2016 Comic Challenge 290 The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe

TITLE-The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe
PUBLISHER-Marvel Comics

Yeah,I know I should have read this one shot years ago. Being a huge fan of both The Punisher and Garth Ennis.But even though I have owned it for close to 10 years I never read it.

Set in a universe were Frank  Castle's family dies in Central Park.Innocents killed in the crossfire between a huge battle,Avengers and X-men vs aliens. Frank snaps when  he gets to the scene. Pulls out his sidearm and kills Cyclops and a bunch of other heroes. He is stopped and sentenced to life in jail.

But a group of rich civilians all of whom either got injured cause of superhero battles or who lost loved ones cause of the same.This part really feels like the genesis of Ennis' later series "The Boys".

Frank agrees,and over the course of this longer than normal comic he manages to kill off every hero and villain in the Marvel Universe.

Finally after killing the last hero,Daredevil,Frank goes to tell the people supplying him  with the ways and means to finish this mission. And lets them know he is done. After being told that he will never be done,Frank kills all of them. Then remembers there is one superhero/villain left. And in the next to last panel Frank Castle eats a bullet and dies.

Fuck this was good. I know it is kind of popular now to rag on Ennis and what the fanboys perceive as his hatred of superheroes. To me it feels more like Ennis deeply loves superheroes and is tired of seeing the same regurgitated crap being published for decades now. So made a simple change,instead of the Mafia killing the Castle family it is super powered beings,and brings us a damn good story. One that thankfully I doubt will ever get a sequel.

The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe gets a BUY!

Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 289 World's Worst Comics Awards #02

TITLE-World's Worst Comics Awards #02
PUBLISHER-Kitchen Sink

Another of my odd finds at the local auction. I had never heard of this comic,which was a bit surprising cause I kept up with what Kitchen Sink was publishing back when this came out.

After a few pages showing how stupid and childish the science in most superhero comics are,the 3 hosts start counting down the top 10 worst comics ever.

Stuff like Dell's Frankenstein comic. Which had Frank as a superhero. And oddball stuff like Super Green Beret or Brother Power the Geek.

Then in the top 3,numbers 3 and 1,are comics I own. #3 is Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #7. Which was Jack Kirby's creator owned space opera series from the early 80s. While I own this issue ,I got it recently for cheap,I haven't read it yet. The #1 comic is Neal Adams' Skateman. Yeah the comic about a war vet that becomes a superhero that fights crime while riding a skateboard.

And I thought that would be the end of the issue.but the inside back cover the Siskel and Ebert stand-ins give Todd McFarlane's Spider-man #01 the worst comic of 1990 award. And yeah they picked a good comic. What a piece of crap that was the Todd Spidey comic.

World's Worst Comics Awards #02 gets a  borrow.

2016 Comic Challenge 288 Marvel Tales 179

TITLE-Marvel Tales #179

It was thanks to Marvel Tales that I managed to read so many of the first 100 issues of Amazing Spider-man. So anytime I am digging through cheap bins at a con or comic shop if I find any issues of Marvel Tales I grab them. 

This issue reprints Amazing Spidey #40.Which wraps up the long running Green Goblin mystery. And it is rumored that revealing who the Goblin was is one of the reasons Steve Ditko left the title. So ,and I do prefer Ditko on classic Spidey,this issue is drawn by John Romita.

But back to the story Norman Osborn has Spidey unmasked and strapped to a chair. Most of the issue is Norman explaining how he has spent so much time trying to figure out who Spidey is and then kill him.There is plenty of flashbacks and footnotes to what I am assuming was every Goblin appearance previous to issue 40.

Once Spidey is finally free we get a fun and kinetic battle between the two .I do wish this battle was drawn by Steve Ditko,but Romita's artwork is damn good. At the end of the battle the Goblin gets shocked and gets amnesia. And the issue ends with Spidey dragging Goblin to safety thinking what has been his greatest villain gone for good.

For me Spidey was at his best when it was either Ditko or Romita drawing him. Plus Spidey is one of the few Silver Age Marvel titles I can read now and not find corny as hell.

Marvel Tales #179 gets a Buy.

2016 Comic Challenge 287 Grendal #09

TITLE-Grendal #09

Under that interesting cover by the Pander Bros is a neat exercise in comic storytelling.I do love how most issues of Grendal from Comico have wraparound covers.

By this time,summer of 87,Grendal was being written by it's creator Matt Wagner.With the Pander Brothers handling the pencils and inks. The art is great which is a good thing.

Except for sound effects and one thought box on the last page,the entire issue is silent. Not sure if this came out before the infamous silent issue of GI Joe. But I am sure it came out before the silent issue of Batman,which was the first part of the Many Deaths of Batman story.

With a silent comic the artist have to have a great sense of storytelling. A way to convey the story through the pictures.The Pander Bros do a damn good job.The artwork has this energy and sense of movement that is missing from lots of the popular artists now,Cough Jim Lee Cough.

The story is of the guy on the cover with the yellow puppet strings attached to him. He seems to be hallucinating while running through what appears to be a slightly in the future major city.

One small drawback to this comic is it reads extremely fast.Took me maybe 6 minutes to read it. Which for an issue of Grendal is extremely fast. But even then I had me wanting to see if I have the next issue in one of my boxes.

Grendal #09 gets a buy.

2016 Comic Challenge 286 Fantastic Comics #24

TITLE-Fantastic Comics #24

Back in 2008 Image started up the Next Issue Project. Where they took public domain Golden Age comics and put out the next issue. And to make them even more Golden Age-ish they published them at the bigger Golden Age size.

In this issue we get 9 stories. With the stand outs being the cover feature Samson. Which is drawn and written by Erik Larsen. Now I haven't read much of the old Golden Age Samson stuff. But this story does feel of the era. Plus Larsen's art has a very Kirby feel to it.

The other major stand out is the Mike Allred drawn and Joe Keating written Stardust the super wizard.Before reading this new story of Stardust I had never even heard of him.And now he is one of my favorite forgotten Golden Age heroes. This story has a very Neil Gaiman era Miracleman feel.

For me really the only bad thing to this comic is the bigger size makes it harder to store.I usually end up tossing it into one of my magazine boxes.

Fantastic Comics #24 gets a buy.

2016 Comic Challenge 285 Caged Heat 3000 #01

TITLE-Caged Heat 3000 #01
PUBLISHER-Roger Corman's Cosmic Comics

For a short while in 1995 Roger Corman,the infamous low budget producer and director of 100s of b-films,has his own comic company. I remember seeing the ads,but never saw any of the comics in any shop. Found the above pictured issue at a con for cheap.

Based on the Caged Heat 3000 film,this comic tells the story of an all woman's prison that is out in space on a asteroid.

Some kind of space nun with all kinds of mental powers shows up. Right around the time a trouble maker,who has just murdered another inmate,is being sent to solitary. The space nun enters her mind,and we get hints that the space nun isn't on the side of good.

The rest of the issue is packed with what you would expect from a Corman Women in Prison film. Shower scenes,and lots of fights. Fights that of course include hair-pulling and clothing being ripped.

I might have to track down the next two issues,if they even came out,to see how this story ends. Cause even though the art isn't anything special the idea of space nuns and a female prison has potential.

Caged Heat 3000 #01 gets a borrow.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 284 The Walking Dead #161

TITLE-The Walking Dead #161

The penultimate chapter of the Whisperer War is out. Yeah I know it came out a week or so ago. It just took me a bit to find the time to read it.

At Hilltop Maggie is trying to fight off the forces of the dead plus Whisperers mixed in with them. While Carl and Sophia try to get everyone out of the main house.While getting people out Carl gets trapped and is barely saved.

Back at Rick's community we see him and Andrea talking about what needs to be done to end this war.And outside the  community a bit we got Eugune making as many bullets as he can.

The issue ends with us finding out someone is plotting to take out Rick.

The Walking Dead #161 gets a Buy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2016 Comic Challenge 283 The Pitt Vol 01 #01

TITLE-Pitt Volume 01 #01

Wanted to look at some Dale Keown art. Not a fan of the writer during Keown's run on Hulk. Also all of Dale's Aircel work has that Barry Blair taint on it. So I was stuck with Pitt.

I had read a few issues of Pitt in the mid 90s. Felt like a Hulk/Alien warrior merging. But with pretty art.

So for the first time I read the first issue of the first volume of Pitt. Pitt fights a bike gang,fight lasts too many pages but has great art. Then we see a little kid that is somehow connected to Pitt. Followed by what I think is a flashback for Pitt. At the end some cops we just got introduced to meet up with something in the subway.

Gonna give this at least 2 more issues to see if it improves. But as of right now looks like Pitt is a book you buy to look at the art and skip reading it.

The Pitt Volume 01 #01 gets a borrow.