Thursday, October 23, 2014

Not so New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #51

                Who’s that on the cover?  Could it be?  The return of Cuchulain?  Thank Kirby, I’ve been waiting for this since the third annual…

                Okay, now that we got the sarcasm out of the way, this issue opens with the Guardians’ ship appearing above a village on Earth, one that just happens to be the home of Shamrock and Cuchulain (who made their first appearance in this book in the third annual issue).  While I give Michael Gallagher a lot of crap for his lazy writing, and terrible characterizations, the fact that he is treating the Annuals as if they are an important part of the overarching story is great to see.  Many writers use these issues for giant throwaways, or at the very least, a filler tale that has little significance on the overall story.  Gallagher has not only introduced characters that he brought back into the comic (the aforementioned Cuchulain and Shamrock) but he has also introduced big, overarching plot devices that need to be addressed in the regular series (talon’s impending forced fatherhood and Charlie’s disappearance).  This makes the annual more of an issue 50.5 than a regular annual, and for someone that loves collecting the complete story, I appreciate that.

                Back to the issue at hand.  When the ship appears above the village, it is not known by the inhabitants that the Guardians come in peace.  In fact, even those that have dealt with the Guardians before are unaware of the fact that they are the inhabitants of that spacecraft.  It doesn’t help matters that Vance, in his new black suit, is the first one to touch down on Earth.  His is unrecognizable in his new getup and everyone reacts as you would expect they would, including Cuchulain going on the offensive and outright attacking him.  The rest of the Guardians make their way down to the surface, after letting Vance and Cuchulain duke it out for awhile.  This seems like a silly re-introduction to the characters but I have a feeling at this point Marvel was just letting Gallagher do whatever he wanted.

                After some more mistaken identities, where Talon gets manhandled by Cuchulain (causing him to complain about his back…again) we cut to the heavy exposition portion of the program.  The Guardians then learn that Charlie’s whereabouts are actually on the prison planet known as Stockade, as he is being accused of being the interplanetary serial killer known as Ripjak. 

                Right on schedule, we head out to stockade, where Charlie is getting some pretty poor treatment from the guards, which only gets worse when he refuses to sign a confession.  He is then thrown into General Population (which is akin to a cop being placed in the same circumstance nowadays) with the insane villain known as Diablo.  It doesn’t take long for Charlie’s presence to be noticed though as Tork, the Tokka clone comes in and makes his presence known.  He apparently “runs” the floor and is hell-bent on making Charlie’s stay a painful one.

                Back on Earth there is more exposition as Cuchulain says goodbye to Shamrock (he has been asked to join the Guardians for this mission given the fact that their “heavy hitter” is the one they are rescuing).  They all get onboard the ship and Cuchulain freaks out because he has never seen anything like this before (remember, he is a medieval character who is now in the future).  While the ladies are calming him down, Vance and Talon fight once again over command of the Guardians.  That is broken up by request for aid from Nikki to help control Cuchulain. 

                After they deal with that mess, Vance sits down with Aleta to rekindle his romance.  He pulls back the symbiote around his mouth to reveal his old man face, which Aleta finds appealing for some reason, and they begin to kiss, until the symbiote gets an alien boner and tries to latch on to ALeta.  She runs in fear and Vance begins to cry.

                We cut to Talon and Trans-Molecular Reconstitutor, which has helped save Martinex and Charlie in the past, both times not only saving their lives but augmenting their existing powers.  Talon wants to use it to help his ailing back but he know that no one else will assist him in doing so.  He then drafts Cuchulain to do this for him because he knows no better.  After the machine does its job, Talon comes out looking more like a werewolf and less like a kitty-cat. 

Next Issue: we see if Talon’s latest hairstyle sticks and Vance gets all emo. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Slurp Slurp

Again, with good reason Sluggy.
Tune in Friday to see what lurks in the shadows!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Album Review: AC/DC – Powerage (1978)

AC/DC went even deeper to their bluesy roots with Powerage, which, in my opinion, is a great album.  Powerage is one of the most complete albums with one of the least known tracklistings in the band’s discography, but it is one you should know.

Tracks you may know: 
Down Payment Blues – Just a great bluesy tune, kind of Rolling Stones-ish but with the Bon Scott sleaze.

Sin City – This is more of a traditional AC/DC track, but it is still a good one and would belong on any of their previous albums.

Tracks you should know:
Riff Raff – Kind of like “Rocker” in its speed and ferocity, just an all around great track that other bands may try to imitate but no one can duplicate.

My personal favorite:
What’s Next to the Moon – A great song with a good chorus and a nice riff.  This is one that is not a well known song, but a good one nonetheless.  The opening riff sounds incredibly familiar, but beyond that it’s one of the best songs on the album.

Album rating: 
It’s not their best album, but a solid return to form.  The final three songs end on a poor note, but the beginning is as good as any other album.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Not So New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) Annual #4

            This annual (the final one of the series) centers around the mutants.  We open with the mutants running rampant through Loki’s Moon mine, killing Inhumans left and right.  We get the stunning revelation that underneath Mindscan’s hair is a creepy-looking head, kind of like The Leader, or a Conehead with tumors.  Somehow, removing her hair-piece allows her the ability to synch up with equipment (though that’s not explained at all) which triggers a recording from Loki.  Rancor brings in the highest ranking Inhuman in order to kill him and send him back out as a message to the others in the tunnels.  Pretty shitty and a waste of time if you ask me, but Rancor has never been the brightest. 

            As Sidestep enters the Guardians’ ship, a video of Martinex shows up basically telling her that she is an intruder and to get off the ship.  Mindscan shuts it up and allows Sidestep to do her thing…which will be revealed later.  We get a quick history lesson from Ulig, the Last Watcher before the Guardians return to their ship (this all happens after the events of #50).  Sidestep has apparently altered the ship’s security system to not only recognize the Guardians as intruders and gas them, knocking them out, but also to fly to a world of Rancor’s choosing.

            The next chapter opens with Talon strapped down while Rancor regales him with her grand plan of pitting one of her mutants against one of the Guardians in a death match.  Talon tries to escape but Rancor thoroughly kicks his ass (he hurt his back after all) before turning to her video monitor to watch the melee unfold. 

            Chapter three consists of the fight between Yellowjacket and Blockade.  Yellowjacket gets the upper hand early by using her Pym particles (do these things ever run out?) to shrink blockade down.  Unfortunately, Blockade’s power is to change his size, so he counteracts that by growing.  Yellowjacket decides the best way to fight him is to just grow larger than him and continue trying to kick his ass.  She does this, but it comes at a price as she has grown too big too quickly and is suffering from a heart attack out in the middle of nowhere.

            We leave Yellowjacket to her fate and focus on the next chapter which shows us Batwing vs. Vance Astro.  We get a brief history lesson of what happened while the Guardians were asleep and en route to the planet they wound up on (apparently all of the Inhumans were moved to this new planet where they were tasked with building a new civilization).  There are only a few Inhumans that are not under Mindscan’s control and they are trying to get Vance to work for them and lead a rebellion.  He defeats Batwing quickly, but then, inexplicably, the Inhumans turn on him.

            Our next chapter focuses in on Yondu as he battles Mindscan.  However this battle is not on the physical plane but on the mental one as Mindscan shows Yondu that his “God” Anthos is nothing more than the despotic tyrant Thanos in disguise.  Because religion and spirituality are at the core of Yondu’s being, it shatters him completely, harming him more than any kind of physical attack (especially from the relatively weak Mindscan) could do.

            The next chapter involves Talon and Rancor, and the basic premise, and apparently the basic premise of this entire story is that Rancor is feeling motherly and wants to have a child.  She would never have one with a human, and the mutants available all suck, or are female, so that’s a non-starter.  She has settled on Talon.  Yes, all of this is an excuse to get Talon in the sack.  When Talon resists her advances, apparently homicidal maniacs are not really his type, she straight up rapes him.  How she is guaranteed that he’ll impregnate her I have no idea, but I guess we’ll just chalk it up to “she’s a mutant” and let it go. 

            It’s hard to keep going once one of your main characters has been raped but Gallagher pushes along, setting up the next battle between Sidestep and Aleta.  Aleta is underpowered but still formidable.  When Sidestep goes to transport her into the dimension of Nightmare (the old Dr. Strange villain) Aleta takes Sidestep with her.  They work together to defeat Nightmare and get out of the dimension, where Aleta straight-up blasts Sidestep right in her stupid half-shaved head. 

            Following that chapter, we see Charlie being confronted by the same police officers we saw in the regular Guardians book, the ones looking for Ripjak.  Charlie resists arrest and looks like he has the upper hand until the officers flying the spaceship gas him (and their own men at the same time). 

            Thankfully we’re almost done as Nikki takes on Shaddo.  They fight, with Shaddo getting the early upper hand until Nikki sets her on fire.  This was about to be the end of Shaddo until Vance shows up, extinguishes her and then bitches Nikki out for trying to survive (good lord I hate Vance as a character).  They blink out of existence and are instantly transported onto their ship, along with the rest of the Guardians, by Talon.  Vance gets all butt-hurt that someone else is doing something productive and Talon straight up slaps him before teleporting the entire ship far away.  The fact that he did all this without a direct order is what really sticks with Vance, proving that he may just be the worst leader in the history of comics. 

            We finish the story by focusing in on the mutants once again and see that Rancor is very much pregnant with her rape-baby.  This can’t be good.

            The third and final part of Future History follows and basically fills with everything we already know but weren’t told in the first two installments.  It was teased that we would finally get to hear about Spiderman’s fate as well…which basically amounted to he died but the body wasn’t recovered.  Talk about anti-climactic. 

Next Issue: Back to the regular series and more douchey Vance Astro than you can shake Talon’s stick at….too soon?