Archive for Beating Up Nazis!

There's No Justice. There's Just Zombies.

Blackest Night: JSA #3

The bad news for everyone is that the Earth-2 Superman’s zombie is up and running again. The good news is… well, there’s not a lot of good news. Mr. Terrific has a plan to beat the Black Lantern, but it’ll require most of the Justice Society to charge into a hopeless battle against an undead demigod. Is everyone doomed or what?

Verdict: Ehh, thumbs down. I don’t mind a big slugfest sometimes, but this one just wasn’t entertaining enough to hold my interest.

Justice Society of America #36

We’ve got a tale told in flashback from 20 years in the future — Mr. Terrific is in prison and due to be executed soon, so the new Nazi masters of the world want him to record some of his history for their records. He remembers Liberty Belle getting taken down by a Nazi speedster, Green Lantern getting killed by a bomb in a wooden crate (the Golden Age Green Lantern has a vulnerability to anything made of wood, which is the type of thing that turns a bunch of high-velocity splinters into lethal shrapnel), and the rest of the team has to deal with a large team of evil Nazi supervillains.

Verdict: Thumbs up, at least for now. It’s been a while since the JSA had a good time-travel story to deal with, and frankly, it’s always fun to see superheroes stomp Nazis into puddles. Something about the story, however, is bugging me. I can’t really say for sure what the problem is, but it’s making me a bit nervous about how the rest of the story is going to play out.

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The Best and the Not-So-Good


Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special #1

Just about all of Marvel’s special issues paying tribute to their WWII Golden Age characters and the company’s 70th birthday have been outstanding, but this one is probably the best yet. The main story, by writer Roger Stern and artist Paolo Rivera, focuses on Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s former sidekick and the new Captain Marvel, as he discovers that some of his friends from World War II are still alive. The Young Allies were a bunch of normal kids — a stereotypical Brooklyn tough kid, a smart, bespectacled kid, a chubby kid, and a black kid — who occasionally teamed up with Bucky and Toro, the Human Torch’s sidekick, to fight the Nazis. Anyway, Bucky finds the two surviving Young Allies — Pat “Knuckles” O’Toole, the tough kid, and Wash Jones, the black kid — in a veterans hospital. Knuckles is on his deathbed, and Wash is paying him a last visit. They’re both overjoyed to see Bucky again, still young after all those decades. There’s some reminiscing over their WWII adventures and about their post-war lives. And in the end, Knuckles dies, and a few months later, Wash follows him. They close out the last few pages of the comic with reprints of ads, text stories, and comic about “Terry Vance, the School Boy Sleuth.”

Verdict: Thumbs up. Numerous thumbs up, along with several pinkies and even a couple of big toes. This has got to be the best done-in-one comic I’ve seen in months. The action sequences are fine, but where this story really shines is the small, personal moments, with a trio of old vets sitting around a hospital talking about how their lives turned out, and seeing one of their number through to his final curtain. It’s a beautiful, emotional story, and I hope like heck it wins some awards.


Justice Society of America #28

The Spectre takes Power Girl, Atom Smasher, Damage, and Judomaster back into the past to save Green Lantern, Flash, Wildcat, Hourman, and Liberty Belle from the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Kung, a former Japanese assassin who died in the bomb blast, hopes to sacrifice the American heroes to return himself to life, but can anyone stop him and his army of Japanese spirits?

Verdict: I’m gonna thumbs-down it. The action sequences are fine, but this just felt too needlessly complicated, on several different levels.

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The Golden Age of Beating up Nazis

Marvel’s having its 70th birthday, so it seems like all their comics are including references to their characters from World War II…

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #37

It’s 1954, and Miss America and Golden Girl have discovered that Captain America, the Sub-Mariner, the Human Torch, and Toro have all gone missing. When the Whizzer (Heh.) disappears before their eyes, they follow him through a time portal to find themselves in the modern day, where the villainous Puppet Master is controlling the Golden Age heroes with plans to send them back to the past to take over the world for him. Wolverine, Spider-Man, and the modern-day Captain America show up to help out, but they’ve got their hands full with just the Whizzer (Heh.) — how are they going to handle it when the Sub-Mariner, Human Torch, and Toro show up?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Dario Brizuela provides a different art style than we’ve usually seen on this comic, but it works out quite well. And Paul Tobin’s dialogue is plenty of fun, especially the way Wolverine keeps making fun of the Whizzer’s name.

Sub-Mariner Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1

We get three different stories about Marvel’s Golden Age bad boy. The first one, written by Roy Thomas his ownself and beautifully illustrated by Mitch Breitweiser, focuses on Namor being tempted to join up with the Germans. The second is a somewhat pulpy story about Namor fighting Nazis with the aid of a female American pilot and a giant squid. But the third is the real prize — Bill Everett’s very first “Sub-Mariner” story from 1939’s Marvel Comics #1, starring a particularly rotten version of Namor killing divers and wrecking a recovery ship.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Three excellent stories — ain’t nothing to complain about.

Miss America Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1

Well, while the character on the cover is blonde, the Miss America in the lead story is very definitely brunette. And she wears glasses. Even in her superhero costume. Definitely makes for a unique look. Most of the action involves Miss America undercover at an American shipyard snooping out some Nazi saboteurs. After that, there are two classic stories starring the Whizzer (Heh.) and a short feature called “Let’s Play Detective.”

Verdict: Thumbs down. I enjoyed the first story alright, but for a character as obscure as Miss America, we should’ve gotten a little background on her — something other than “She’s strong, she flies, she wears glasses, she’s engaged to the Whizzer.” But what killed the fun on this one was the backup stories — they just weren’t interesting or exciting.

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Punching Nazis in the Face

Captain America Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1

This is the first of a series of comics Marvel is putting out to commemorate their 70th birthday. And I gotta say, I love the cover, with Cap and Bucky beating the snot out of Nazis, plus that retro “Timely Comics” banner — for those of you who aren’t as up on comics history, Timely was Marvel’s original name.

Anyway, our main story is written by James Robinson, one of my favorite comics writers, with illustrations by Marcos Martin. It tells a story of Steve Rogers before he became Captain America, when he was a skinny 4-F reject, heartbroken that he won’t be able to serve his country. But by blind luck, a murdered fed pushes a mysterious jewel into his hands, and Steve is on the run from a gang of Nazi saboteurs. He manages to elude them, even manages to kill a couple of them. He even pulls off some fancy stunts with a garbage can lid that suggest that Cap’s later shield-throwing abilities didn’t come from the super-soldier serum.

And there’s a followup story, a reprint from Captain America Comics #7 in 1941 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Far from the battlefields of WWII, it details Cap and Bucky’s battle against a villain called the Toad as he tries to ruin the Brookly Badgers baseball team by killing off the players. It’s a decent story, but I kept getting distracted by the villain, who despite being called the Toad, wears a costume that looks like this:

Siiiigh. You almost wish they’d just called him Batman. (Dig the jawline on his lowlife henchman, though)

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Simon and Kirby reprint is a great bonus, but the main story really is excellent. Steve’s dejection at being rejected by the Army is really well done, the chase through New York is excellent and thrilling, and the framing sequence — Cap and Bucky preparing for a paratrooper jump over Europe — is also very good. Gotta love the way 4-F Steve manages to take out so many Nazis, even if he gets winded and banged-up in the process. And of course, there are very few things, either in comics or in the real world, that are more awesome than beating the heil out of Nazis! This is just a plain wonderful comic from beginning to end.

Wonder Woman #30

Genocide is torturing Etta Candy, Zeus has resurrected Achilles to serve as his warmongering peacenik ambassador to the Earth, and Wonder Woman beats up on Cheetah, mashes the Secret Society’s headquarters, and gains Dr. T.O. Morrow as a new (though probably temporary) ally.

Verdict: Ehhh. It seems fairly well produced, but I’m just colossally bored with this whole storyline.

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Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

Atomic Robo: Dogs of War #4

The Sparrow, British superspy extraordinaire, manages to get Atomic Robo rebooted in time for both of them to escape the crashing train, but they still need to capture Otto Skorzeny and Dr. Valkyrie. They trail them to their mountain fortress, get inside, and have a number of spectacular fights against each other, robots, and cybernetic monster men before a self-destruct sequence blows the whole place sky-high. Are the bad guys dead? Seeing as how there’s a whole ‘nother issue left, probably not.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Straightforward action is good. The screwball “I hate you but secretly think you’re cool” patter between Robo and Sparrow is made all the cooler by the fact that one of them is a hyper-scientific fighting robot.

B.P.R.D.: The Warning #5

Conventional forces finally put down the giant robots destroying Munich, but at a very high cost. And they haven’t even taken out all the robots — they may very well be scattered all over the world, ready to strike at any time. Johann Kraus learns that everyone in his old neighborhood is dead, Kate Corrigan gets to go on a date, Abe Sapien is seeing ghosts and wishing Hellboy were around to set everything right. But is the still-missing Liz Sherman the key to saving the future? And if so, will the cure be as bad as the disease?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Best scene: Johann being driven through his old neighborhood, leaking ectoplasm, as scores of ghosts spring up behind him. Spooky and heartbreaking at the same time.

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Friday Night Fights: Robots vs. Nazis!

I don’t know about you, but after a week as wild, wooly, wacky, and, um, wabash-cannonballesque as this one, I needs me a little dose of violence to get the weekend started right. So let’s get going — it’s time for FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight, our whuppin’ comes courtesy of this year’s Atomic Robo: Dogs of War #3 by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener.

The only thing better than beating Nazis bloody is robots beating Nazis bloody.

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Hot Stephen Colbert Action!

The Amazing Spider-Man #573

It’s the end of the “New Ways to Die” storyarc, which really ought to get an award for both the dumbest storyarc title and for dumbest new villain — namely, Anti-Venom: former regular Venom Eddie Brock now wearing some kind of negative-colored Venom outfit and with a mad-on for the current Venom, Mac Gargan, the former Scorpion. Hey, I just felt some of my brain cells die just from describing that! Anyway, Spidey and (snicker) Anti-Venom beat up Norman Osborne and Venom and various people and then everything goes back to the regular status quo.

Oh, but what everyone really cares about is the backup story, which stars Stephen Colbert, host of “The Colbert Report.” Most of y’all may remember that Colbert briefly threw his hat into the presidential race earlier this year — well, in Marvel’s continuity, Colbert is (A) exactly like his rightwing blowhard character on “The Colbert Report” and (B) is an actual candidate for the presidency. Well, Colbert’s candidacy ain’t goin’ so well. His most recent contribution is from Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson, and it’s for a measly $100. His rallies are marked by an awful lot of apathy and not many people. In frustration, he gives up his campaign, until he runs into Spider-Man fighting a supervillain called (GASP!) the Grizzly! He helps Spidey beat the bad guy and gets to go web-slinging with the Wall-Crawler.

Verdict: Thumbs down for the main story. Dull, dull, dull, and stupid, stupid, stupid. However, a big thumbs up for the Colbert backup story. Much fun, very goofy, and still fairly action-packed. Ya know what’d be cool? If Colbert ends up becoming president of Marvel’s version of the USA. That’d rock soooo hard.

Atomic Robo: Dogs of War #3

Robo has managed to put most of the Nazis’ walking tanks out of commission, but now he’s on the trail of the Nazibots’ designer, Otto Skorzeny. But there’s another Allied agent tracking Skorzeny, a British agent called the Sparrow, and they end up getting in each others’ way and on each others’ nerves while they’re doing their Nazi-bashing. And complicating things even more are some more Nazi experimental monsters closing in on everyone.

Verdict: Thumbs up. More over-the-top action and Nazi bashing. All the action here takes place in and on top of a speeding train, which keeps things nicely focused and intense.

Captain America #43

Several different things going on here. We get World War II flashbacks with Cap, Bucky, and the Human Torch. We get Bucky smoochin’ with the Black Widow. And best of all, we get the return of Batroc the Leaper! Batroc’s French may be the most accurate it’s ever been (as far as I can tell — it’s not like I can read French anyway), and he actually manages to uncover Bucky’s secret identity as both the new Captain America and as the former Winter Soldier.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Hey, it’s Batroc the Leaper! BATROC ZE LEAPAIR!

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Amazons vs. Nazis!


Wonder Woman #16

A flashback shows us how Queen Hippolyta’s royal guardians turned against her — they thought the birth of Diana threatened the Amazonian way of life. Meanwhile, in the present, the neo-nazi army gets stomped by Hippolyta, by Wonder Woman, by Diana’s gorilla pals, and by the escaped royal guardians. But there is at least one very important casualty.

Verdict: Thumbs up, mostly because people stomping on neo-nazis is always a good thing. However, I do wish they’d go somewhere solid with the story soon.


Teen Titans #55

Supergirl and Wonder Girl argue, and Supergirl leaves in a huff! Kid Devil likes Ravager, but she likes Blue Beetle instead! Miss Martian has her evil future self living in her head! Robin and Wonder Girl like each other, but (sob!) they can never be together!

Verdict: Thumbs down. Gaaah, the angst is absolutely murderous!

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Green Girls and Wonder Women

Well, there won’t be any new comics coming in this week here in Lubbock, but I’ve still got a lot of comics I can review from last week, so let’s hit a couple of them right now.


Wonder Woman #15

We start off with a glimpse of the distant past as Queen Hippolyta’s honor guard slowly lets their loyalty to her be replaced by demented and ultimately treasonous obsession with her. From there, we jump to the modern day, as Wonder Woman beats the snot out of Captain Nazi and then, touchingly, empathizes with the tortures he suffered as a child. From him, she learns that a bunch of neo-nazis are about to take over the mostly-deserted Paradise Island (though it looks like Hippolyta herself is doing some good old-fashioned nazi-stompage of her own). Diana wants to get to the island, but Athena has blocked off all access to the island, so she has to go ask members of Earth’s other pantheons for assistance in getting back home.

Verdict: Thumbs up. First, Terry Dodson’s artwork is just outstanding. Second, I actually enjoyed the scene with Captain Nazi — yeah, he gets thoroughly clobbered — as all nazis should be clobbered, of course — but when she forces him to confront the abuse he suffered as a child, and he starts just weeping and blubbering about it, and she feels sympathy for him — that’s getting something that’s been missing from Diana’s character for an awfully long time. The character seems to work best as a compassionate ass-kicker, despite all the contradictions involved. And the idea of Diana pledging her allegiance to a pantheon other than the Olympians is looking like something that’ll be really, really interesting.


She-Hulk #24

Well, we meet a little more of She-Hulk’s new supporting cast. Besides Jazinda, there’s an arrogant cop, the folks at the trailer park where Jen and Jazinda live, the people at the bonding company where Jen works, the mysterious new terrorist who’s got a mad on for She-Hulk. There’s a bombing, and She-Hulk pulls people to safety.

Verdict: I gotta give it a thumbs down. I love seeing good character development and interaction, but right now, we don’t have a plot or a direction for the comic. Once we get a good overarching plot going, this book is gonna start shining, but for now, it’s motionless.

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Ron Paul: Comics Geek?

Via Occasional Superheroine: Someone asked presidential candidate Ron Paul who his favorite superhero was… and, well, check out his answer:

“My favorite comic book superhero is Baruch Wane, otherwise known as Batman, in The Batman Chronicles. “The Berlin Batman,” #11 in the series by Paul Pope, details Batman’s attempts to rescue the confiscated works of persecuted Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises, from Nazi Party hands.

“Batman’s assistant Robin writes in the memoirs, “[Mises] was an advocate of individual liberty, free speech, and free thinking… and so, should I add, the Berlin Batman.” Batman, a Jew in hiding in Nazi Austria, was willing to risk his life for the sake of the promulgation of freedom, and I find this to be super-heroic.”

(Most of this original post was inadvertently lost, thanks to a programming glitch, and unfortunately forgotten. I suspect the rest of my commentary here was along the lines of “Well, isn’t this interesting? I wonder if other presidential candidates could come up with sound ideological reasoning if asked to pick out their favorite superhero?”)

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