Category Archives: Mystery Comics

Mystery Comic 8: Blackest Night R.E.B.E.L.S. Issue 10

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I’ve never been a big Green Lantern fan, so most of my knowledge of the “Green Lantern Universe” is the broad cliff notes. From what I know (and Wikipedia backed up) the Blackest Night event centers around the rise of the Black Lanterns which embody death. This lead to a whole bunch of formerly dead DC characters rising back to life in zombie form. While I don’t know much about Green Lanterns, I know much less about R.E.B.E.L.S. or L.E.G.I.O.N.  Although this is Issue 10 in it’s series it is the first issue of R.E.B.E.L.S.’ Blackest Night arc, so that was helpful. There were a lot of characters in this issue that were introduced. Like a lot.

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From the best I can tell the story centers around Brainiac’s Son, Vril Dox, and Grandson, Lyrl Dox. Brainic’s son (Vril) becomes aware that his child (Lyrl) was becoming uncontrollable.  Vril uses his powers to put mental blocks in place to limit the amount of his mind Lyrl could use. This leads Lyrl to resent his father. So when Staru’s gang comes to kidnap Lyrl, he decides to go with them willingly. Staru was able to take down the mental blocks in Lyrl that Vril put in place giving him his full mental capacity.

Staru’s gang are still after Vril and his gang so they take off and are found by a group of Yellow Lanterns. These Yellow Lanterns are currently being attacked by a group of Black Lanterns so they try to take over Vril’s ship to escape. During the conflict Vril’s ship is destroyed and one of the Yellow Lanterns is killed by a Black Lantern Harbinger who then turns it’s attention to attack Virl. Vril is in a protective pill like object that momentarily distracts the Black Lantern Harbinger. The issue ends with the Yellow Power Ring of the recently killed Tribulus finding a new host in Vril and giving him the power of a Lantern. Also one of Vril’s gang Stealth who had been dead is reanimated as a Black Lantern and around during a lot of this.

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This is a lot to take in. I could, for the most part, follow along what was happening. However, this whole series deals with an entire group of comics I am unfamiliar with. I did recognize Staru from the cover of the classic Justice League 29.

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Justice League of America Vol. 1 Issue 28

I gleamed that this whole Blackest Night crossover deals with dead characters coming back to life as Black Lanterns. This is interesting and would much cooler for a series I am familiar with to see some dead characters back in action. A weird thing is that the Black Lanterns are basically zombies but still manage to be weirdly sexy. I don’t think I have ever seen sexy zombies in any of the many different interpretations of zombies I’ve seen.

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Overall this was a decent issue. I don’t think I’ll read any more from R.E.B.E.L.S., but I may read more from Blackest Night. At the very least I’m glad to be exposed to both and can add them to my base knowledge of comics.

I only have one ad for this issue I wanted to post.  It is for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days for the Nintendo DS.  I played this game a few years ago and its a poster child confusing and complicated hot mess that Kingdom Hearts has become.

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Mystery Comic 6 and 7

Mystery Comic 6: Hammer of God: Sword of Justice Issue 2 of 2

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This book is terrible. It is the second issue of a two issue arc and I’m not going to pretend I bothered trying to read the back up that explained what happened to this point.  This book is chock full of the things I hate about Science Fiction writing the most.  It goes out of its way at times to try to create a its own futurist system of slang only to abandon it just as quickly and use slang of the time that is all ready dated.

The story is based around a monkey / human hybrid called the Hammer.  I don’t really know why he’s important or care enough to find out.  The first half is spent talking about how Hammer (the monkey guy) is coming and they need to prepare, and the second half is him attacking this Brain ship.  He eventually defeats the brain ship which has a whole city inside it and they re-purpose it for themselves.  Is it the end? I don’t really care.

I don’t really have much to say about this book.  It’s by far the worst book I’ve read so far out of these mystery comics.  There weren’t really even any funny ads.  I went back and forth if I should scan more pictures of the inside but nothing was crazy enough or good enough it seemed it deserved it.

Mystery Comic 7: Squalor Issue 4 of 4

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Wow.  I thought Hammer was a terrible book but Squalor is unreadable.  I would sum things up but I honestly have no idea what was going on.  This is part 4 of a 4 part story but still, I couldn’t even get a glimpse of what the plot was suppose to be.  Here is a sample of what the comic is like.

Squalor

Every page is like this.  It mostly takes place in this dream world which the characters just speak in non-sense.  When it does cut to the real world it makes even less sense.  I have nothing else to say, so far Squalor is the clear front runner for the worst comic in this entire batch.


Mystery Comic 5: Catwoman 1 (1993)

Comic (5)

This is actually the first issue of the first on going Catwoman solo series that they ever created. It also happened to take place during the middle of the Batman Knightfall major event. If you don’t know that would be the event that lead to Batman’s back being broken by Bane and a guy named Jean-Paul Valley briefly taking over the cowl. This is important to note because there are a lot of references to Bane and him being in control of Gotham throughout this comic. I don’t think following along the Knightfall titles is necessary but it does put this book into context.

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The overall story is pretty straightforward. Catwoman is up to her jewel stealing ways and is giving all that she steals directly to Bane. She isn’t pleased with this agreement but it seems like it’s what she’ll have to do for now. Other crime lords in the city want to attack Bane so they do so by attacking Catwoman who they describe as his love. I don’t remember there being a love story between Bane and Catwoman so its probably a misunderstanding they deal with later. Either way the book ends with them finding Catwoman’s apartment and shooting it with a rocket launcher. The last panel is an explosion with a to be continued.

Overall it was a pretty good book for a first issue. There was a cool part at the beginning where Catwoman tricks a guy into thinking she’s his wife and steals all her jewels. Catwoman is a badass in this book and while it ties into Batman she is her own strong black woman. There was one part that was especially amazing and that was Catwoman’s fence (person who sells her stolen goods) who wears crazy cat lady tee shirts. At least I think she was Catwoman’s fence, she doesn’t seem to have a real purpose other than she lives with or possibly just hangs out with Catwoman.

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And lastly here are our two comic ads, first we have a grand opening of a Mile High Comics with Rob Liefeld! And then we have the greatest of fighting games on the Genesis.

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Mystery Comic 4: Wonder Woman 178

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Wonder Woman 178 is a good example of how confusing a comic can be if you try to just pick up a random issue. It’s hard to say what exactly is happening in this issue because I have no context for what is going on.

It starts off with a teenage girl and her friend reading through fan mail. We are told this is Cassie Sandsmark and she is the new Wonder Girl. We don’t really get much other information about her other than that. When going through her fan mail she finds a letter from her father which she is upset/surprised about? It looks like she hasn’t talked to her father in a long time but we really get no information about it. That’s pretty much the entire story involving Cassie.

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So sandwiched between this story is a Wonder Woman story. And it revolves around Wonder Woman going on a date with a guy named Trevor Barnes, who is not Steve Trevor. So their date is them going to dinner and they have a snowball fight afterward. Trevor comes back to Wonder Woman’s place where some sort of dimensional warp or something has opened and some guy named Garth appears. He tells Wonder Woman that he needs her help to recover Aquaman’s trident which has been stolen. She agrees and tells Trevor they will finish their date when she gets back and the comic ends with a hydra coming through the dimensional portal and attacking Trevor.

There is also a backup story in this comic too called “Troia in Post Cards from the Edge”. It stars Donna Troy who is Wonder Woman’s sister and Wonder Girl (or generally is, who knows with this Cassie situation). The backup is only a couple pages and its Donna visiting Themyscira and taking pictures. She going to the training area where they convince her to suit up and spare with them, and when she does suddenly Fury is there and beating the shit out of her friend Rhea.

So the Cassie story is pretty confusing, I guess something recently happened that made her Wonder Girl and they have some plans for that but they don’t give you a lot to go off of. We also don’t know why she’s Wonder Girl and not Donna Troy.

The Wonder Woman story isn’t really very interesting either. I don’t know who that guy is she’s dating or really care that she’s going on a date. The only interesting thing to happen is this new quest she gets to find Aquaman’s trident but that is at the end and left as a cliff hanger.

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The backup was all right but again really just raises a lot of question and not much happens.

I think this is one of those strange in between arc issues where they are sort of wrapping up a previous arc and sort of going into a new arc. It’s like those episodes of Dragon Ball Z where they just flex a lot and get ready for a fight and absolutely nothing is moved forward story wise. When done well this can be an opportunity for a comic series to have a good one off story in between major story arcs. However in this case it’s just an issue where nothing really happens. The art is also very so-so. The cover is done by Adam Hughes and is gorgeous, but the interiors are done by Roy Allan Martinez and very bland. It’s not the worst art and at times looks good but has this weird style that when it’s of close ups of peoples face makes them look like aliens.

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It reminds me a little of Tim Sale’s art which I have the same on the fence feeling for where I can’t decide if I don’t like it because of how stylized it is. The story is pretty lame. I’m sure it makes more sense in context with a few issues around it but as a stand-alone comic it doesn’t really work. The rule is that any comic is some one’s first issue and it should give the reader enough to follow along with no context. This book could have done that with a little more explanation and with how little actually occurs in the issue its confusing why it didn’t.

Lastly, here are the two best ads from the comic, one for Rollerball and one for Disney channel.

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Wonder Woman 178 Image 5


Mystery Comic 3: War Heroes 1

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War Heroes is a six part mini-series written by Mark Millar (writer of Wanted and Kick-ass). It was released in 2008 by image comics. First of all let me say that image comics does a great job with this issue in presentation, not only does this book have a nice hard stock cover but it also doesn’t have any ads within the story. At first I thought it was a fluke but there really aren’t any ads in the book until the end, and even then there isn’t an ad on the back cover. I can’t remember the last book I have seen without an ad on the back cover! Hell DC is even putting ad banners on the front cover of a lot of their books recently so it’s nice to see a company give a shit out their product looks.

So the basic premise of this book is an alternative world take on the war on terror. Past the 9/11 attacks the USA has been attacked several more time in increasingly devastating attacks, starting with an attack on the capital. As the attacks escalate the response of the USA has increased as well. Martial law was declared after the being attacked in Washington DC and within six weeks the USA has invaded Iran. Later the USA has sent responses to Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. While increases in recruits occur after every attack the war is extremely unpopular and the government is having a hard time getting new recruits. In an effort to get new recruits the government has been giving new recruits super soldier drugs which give them comic book like super powers. Super strength, speed, and flight are included in some of the powers. The book ends with a small glimpse of several new recruits on their last evening at home before being sent to boot camp.

So it’s a little disconcerting that the first page has a Muslim with a bomb strapped to his chest blowing up Washington DC. That being said this book is definitely not pro-war propaganda such as Frank Miller’s Holy Terror. There is clearly some stuff going on under the surface and it is apparent that some of these attacks on US soil were clearly inside jobs.

“Even black Tuesday when two and a half thousand Americans died in three separate chemical attacks, failed to bring the country back together like the president expected”.

Clearly more is going on and I’m assuming it gets into all of this throughout the series. I have been a big fan of Millar’s work on other series and this seems on par with some of his other works. He often likes to mix genres and which comic books. This really fits along those lines of what if soldiers had super powers. He’s done stories like this before with Superman Red Son, Wanted, Kick-ass, and Jupiter’s Legacy. It’s repeating himself for sure but he also does a good job and each one of these stories feels pretty unique and deals with different issues.

It wasn’t enough really to peak my interest into reading more but it does seem like an interesting story.

I did some digging on wikipedia and this series is famous for never completing.  It was suppose to be a 6 part series but ended abruptly after only 3 issues without a conclusion (it made it on Newsarama’s list of Comic Book Cold Cases).  The first issue was released in June of 2008, the second in September of 2008, and the third in October of 2009.  The series was optioned by Sony in 2008 for the film rights but being its been 6 years since any word we can safely call this series dead.


Mystery Comic 2: Fantastic Four 383

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This week’s comic is a classic example of the early 90’s. There is a ton of shit going on and every one is saying out thinking out loud everything that is happening around them. So this comic starts off with a sub note that Reed Richards is dead. Now in the comic world a death is held with a grain of salt. Jean Grey has been known to die at least 20 different times, so we won’t take his death too seriously. Even this comic doesn’t seem to bother with taking his death seriously, this is the first page.

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“The apparent death of their leader, Reed Richards”. I mean come on at least pretend to commit to this!

Any ways this is my first Fantastic Four comic that I have ever read. I am some what familiar with the characters in that I have watched both of the shitty movies they released in the 2000’s. I don’t know why the thing is wearing a helmet the entire time though and I can’t explain Sue Storms weird boob window in her costume.

Boob Window Crop - Skitch

“The apparent death of their leader, Reed Richards”. I mean come on at least pretend to commit to this!

Any ways this is my first Fantastic Four comic that I have ever read. I am some what familiar with the characters in that I have watched both of the shitty movies they released in the 2000’s. I don’t know why the thing is wearing a helmet the entire time though and I can’t explain Sue Storms weird boob window in her costume.

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At first I was going to let this slide, since I don’t know what is going on and what the Skrull are and what they have done. But then I thought about it and this guy’s name is Devastator and he flies around in the Death Cruiser, not exactly a name you use if your mission is peace. He says in another panel that his “scared duty is to eliminate any life form capable of waging war”. Wait what? CAPABLE of waging war? So basically any civilization capable of hurting one another. Any ways this side story goes on the entire comic. This all occurs on the same planet that the Fantastic Four are on so you are probably assuming that they will get involved in this in some way but they don’t. This story ends with Paibok, who is the king of the skrulls beating out Devastator and saving the planet (yay!). While this sounds well and good who really gives a shit, this has nothing to do with the Fantastic Four who are spending the entire book trying to leave the planet.

So I guess the main story is that of the Fantastic Four trying to escape imprisonment. It’s not really clear why they are imprison but for whatever reason it seems that it occurred around the same time Reed Richards “apparent” death. So it’s the Thing, Sue Storm, and The Human Torch along with female Skrull who probably fucked the Torch (I’m not making that up they infer that they boned). So that’s straightforward enough right? Wrong. The skrull woman is also preggers and apparently skrulls are only able to have a baby with the assistance of some device. So after they break out of prison they have to break into a hospital to get said device.

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So after helping the skrull woman get the birthing device they grab a space ship and GTFO. That’s pretty much the end of the Fantastic Four side of the story. I did very much enjoy the hilarious references to pop culture that the Thing makes. I made up a montage of them.

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That brings us to the last part of our story which is probably the strangest. Which is the fight between Franklin Richards and Huntra. They don’t tell you who either of them are or where/when any of this is taking place. So checking on comicvine Franklin is Richard and Sue Storm’s child and is a omega level mutant. I think it’s still taking place in the future since he appears to be grown and the Fantastic Four don’t seem to be that old, I have no idea though, this is just a guess. Any ways they are fighting off and on throughout the entire book for no explained reason. It ends with a cliffhanger that apparently Franklin Richards has to kill his own mother for some unexplained reason.

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And that’s pretty much the comic!

There was one strange thing I noticed in the letters section in the back and that is that on the letters they had the full address of every one who sent in a letter. Which is a pretty terrible decision on Marvel’s part seeing as they are pretty much all from kids.

And to end our report we have my favorite ads from the 90’s which include LCD video games, Huffy bike, and some Sega video games.

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Mystery Comic 1: Detective Comics: Batman – 734

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This is a great comic to start with because it’s a batshit (pun intended) crazy. First of all its part 20 of the of 88 “No Man’s Land” crossover event that took place during the entire year of 1999. Let’s take a minute to let that marinate. There was a crossover Batman event in 1999 that took place across 13 titles and various one shot comics. So if you were trying to follow along in this series back in 1999 you would have had to buy 88 issues costing roughly $175 dollars. Even though that’s over an entire year that’s a hell of a lot of comics if you want to get the entire series. It also means is confusing as shit if you were to be a new reader trying to get into a certain comic.

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It’s intimidating enough when you see a number like 734 next to a book. If you are new to comics you are going to ask yourself, “Do I need to read 733 issues to know what’s going on?” Not only that but this is part two of a two part story, “No problem!” you exclaim, “I’ll just buy Detective Comics 733 and all will be well.” So you go to Detective comics 733 but when you do its list as “Crisis of Faith” not “Mark of Cain”. No “Mark of Cain” part 1 is in Batman Comics issue 567. And not only is Detective Comics 733 not the first part of the story you were looking for but it also is part 16 of No Man’s Land not part 19. So within one month you have lost three parts of the No Man’s Land arc.

This is a perfect example of why it’s so hard to break into comics if you are an outside reader. Of course with the internet its easier now to find out what is happening with comics month to month but it’s still pretty damn difficult. If comic book companies are scratching their head to why people don’t buy comics this serves as a huge example. First it’s a huge crossover that involves close to 100 books, second they are spread out randomly across 13 titles, and third within a year afterward none of the events of No Man’s Land even mattered. I get the need to keep the status quo when it comes to a character like Batman. You can’t really kill or injure characters and so that happens the impact that stories are going to have. But to have an event like this that last an entire year and involve so man titles have all most no lasting impact in the Batman or DC universe, its little wonder how this kind of thing can lose more readers than it gains. It’s another example of the comic industry desperate for sales squeezing as much money from their base as possible rather than do something that might gain new readers.

Ok enough rant back to the comic itself.

So needless to say it’s a little confusing coming straight into this book. You get a one sentence blurb kind of describing what No Man’s Land is and then it jumps right in. Cain is trying to kill Commissioner Gordon and his daughter tackles him out a window to stop him. Batman saves the both of them holding on to Cain with a rope and Cain holding on to his daughter by the hands. He drops her and it picks up with Cassandra (his daughter) in a graveyard (hanging out not cause she’s dead) not exactly explaining how she survived the fall.

Batman then talks to Cassandra for a while (no explanation why or how he got there) and finds out that Cassandra can’t speak any language, she only knows the language of violence.

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Are you shitting me? The language of violence… I know enough about Batman to know that Cassandra Cain later will become Batgirl. I have also read enough Batgirl that they use this whole she can’t speak thing for a while in the comics. It leads to interesting stories but she understands language she just can’t speak it. I don’t know how this kind of thing works but it seems to me if you can understand English perfectly you should be able to speak it to some extent. It lead to some interesting stories but they winded up dropping the whole thing by a very random contrived method. They had some random meta-human who we have never met and never see again. He has the ability to fix peoples brains and he happens to run into Cassandra, fix her brain, and leave. So from then on Cassandra can speak and write. It was a total cop out and you can tell it was only done because the writers were tired of skipping around how she couldn’t speak and picked an easy out. So knowing what I know about the character this whole section about Batman’s shock at her only knowing the language of violence is pretty lame.

Back to the story, Batman finds Cain and fights him while Cassandra dons a black mask and attacks/steals money from Two Face. It cuts back to the Batman/Cain fight and right before they land a devastating blow on each other Cassandra breaks up the fight distracting them by throwing the money she stole from Two Face at them. Then it cuts to Batman introducing Cassandra Cain to Barbra Gordon (Original Batgirl) who thanks her for saving her father and tells her she was once Batgirl. It ends with Batman saying to Oracle “Oracle. Call them”, with no explanation of what that means.

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Over all it’s not a bad comic just really hard to follow completely out of context. I luckily had some history about No Man’s Land and Cassandra Cain but which helped a lot. Had you just picked this up without any context it would probably be a lot of non-sense. Overall I give it a 6 out of 10.

Here are a couple of my favorite vintage ads from it.

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