Saturday, February 12, 2022

Comic Shop Haul January 2022

Ok I'm going to get back into Blogging especially since I stopped about a year ago. My local comic shop Comics Etc has a new service Comics Etc Direct. Each month you preorder the comics three months ahead and the comics and books come in at the end of that month. So I figured I might as well cover my purchases here. I may go back and do some of the older and relevant stuff that ties into the new stuff as well. With a new wave of the COVIDS sweeping the nation, it wasn't until the other day I got to pick up the January delivery. King of Spies #2 by Mark Millar and Matteo Scalera (Image/Netflix) - I've not read much of Millar's work for the Big Two but I've enjoyed many of his idependant works, Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl, Prodigy and The Secret Service. The latter was the basis for the Kingsman movies (I just saw the prequel The King's Man which I should review here). Like The Secret Service, King of Spies is a spy comic. The former asks what if James Bond picked and trained a lower class lad as his replacement. King of Spies is basically what if the Pierce Brosnan version of James Bond (with a little of Timothy Dalton) had retired and found out that he had six months to live? What would he do? In this case we get Roland King, who decides that he will use his licence to kill to take out the scumbags that the service wouldn't let him tackle while he was on the job. that pretty much sums up the first issue where Roland gets his diagnisis and kills a Russian Oligarch, who was rude to the waitress at his club. We see Roland tackling several of his targets in some nice action pieces killing a former President of the United States and two former British Prime Ministers - Millar doesn't say who they are but drops enough clues to make an educated guess and we get the death of Prince Ewan a son of the Queen who will never go to trial - I mean I can't even think of who that might refer to..... Now killing off such high profile targets is a bit awkward for the service and they recall Atticus King, Roland's son from his latest job to kill his father. Atticus hires a couple of drug kingpins that Roland left for dead with missing limbs (as seen in a flashback at the start of the issue). So we're left on the cliffhanger that Atticus and the druglords will be clasing with Roland in the next issue. I quite like this series. I'll cheerfully be watching the Netflix adapatation when it comes out. I like the idea of seeing an older "Bond" going sod it I'm going to take down the guys I wasn't allowed to touch. This feels like a companion piece to The Secret Service and I wouldn't be surprised if a connection is revealed down the track. Moonstone Triple Threat (Moonstone Books) So this was nice slim little anthology of three pulp short stories. The first story is The Lone Ranger: The Quest of the Golden Serpent by James Reasoner. Reasoner is a veteran western/pulp writer and this is a solid Lone Ranger tale. The Lone Ranger and Tonto find a young woman being hunted by several hardcases. They rescue her and she explains that she is hunting the Golden Serpent of the title, which has a clue to a lost treasure. Naturally, The Lone Ranger and Tonto offer to help her and they help her interpret a map she has found. Like all good treasure hunts, the rival treasure hunters oare hot on their trail and we get several shoot outs before the heroes find the treasure. This is a nice solid story and I enjoyed it. Next is a Johnny Fade in Deadtown story "Deadtown Rhumba" by Nancy Holder and Alan Philipson. I was lucky enough to meet Nancy and Alan at a convention as Nancy and I had both had stories in "Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not" and all three of us have stories in the follow up anthology Dracula Unfanged. Johnny Fade is a crooked LA Homocide detective, who after dying finds himself in Deadtown, a kind of Purgatory, where shady characters go before they move to either Heaven or Hell and it's more likely to be the latter. Johnny is tryng to figure out just what Deadtown is and how it works as well as being summoned back to the land of the living by wealthy heiresses and actresses to help them with their problems. This is a fun story with an interesting premise, the idea of a dark noirish purgatory full of badguys and femme fatales with a seedy detective trying to figure out what is happening. I'd like to see more of this world and there are a number ways this could go and I'm curious to see where future installments go. The final story is a Gladiator and Golden Amazon story "Ghosts of War" by Mike Bullock. So this will have a bit of backstory. Gladiator by Philip Wylie is a novel I've never read but is well known in superhero circles as a likely inspiration for Superman (Wylie threatened to sue Schuster who says he never read the book). A quick summary Hugo Danner's father experimented on him in the womb injecting him with a serum that makes him the early Superman (or a stronger version Captain America), Danner is invulnerable to bullets, super speed and able to leap great buildings in a single bound (so no flying, x-ray or heat vision). He spends much of the novel having to hide his powers (I wonder if Zack Snyder had read the novel) Danner has been adapted into comics a few times including The Young All-Stars by Roy Thomas where we discover that he is the father to Thomas' golden age Superman stand in Iron Munro. There have been a couple of comic adaptations of the novel one for Marvel Preview #9 as Man-God and a four issue miniseries Legend written by Howard Chaykin. The novel published in 1930 ends with Danner killed by a lightning strike during an archaeology expedition. The Golden Amazon is a character who appeared in 28 different stories by John Russell Fearn. Technically there are two different Golden Amazons. The first four stories are about Violet Ray who crashes on Venus as a baby and she grows up as a superhuman (a little bit of Burroughs and pinch of Superman). Fearn then revamped the character in 1945 (sort of like the Golden Age and Silver Age Green Lanterns or the Flash or the Atom) so the Golden Amazon is now Violet Ray Brant who was the subject of a glandular experiement as a baby which gives her increased strength and intellegence. She creates an atomic problem and fakes her death at the end of the first story before fighting menaces to the Earth and then exploring the universe in later stories. This story is the latter version. Ghosts of War is set just after World War II and it makes sense why Danner and Brandt are paired together with their similar origins. Brandt hears of a Nazi experiment to recreate the process that created her and after a random encounter with Hugo Danner (who survived the lightning strike at the end of his book apparently) teams with him to find and destroy the lab. The pair are joined by one of Bullock's own creations Death Angel (who has appeared in a couple of other Moonstone Books) and battle a German supersoldier Stahlkrieger. The trio of heroes are successful and defeat the Nazi before destroying the lab. The story ends with the possibility that Danner and Brandt may team up again.