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Joined: December 10th, 2004, 11:01 pm

November 23rd, 2012, 2:00 pm #141

I've started dollar bin diving at my local shops and used book stores. Daredevil, Suicide Squad, Captain America, Justice League Europe, Justice League International are my main targets.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

November 26th, 2012, 3:03 pm #142

Seeking out old bargain issues of Cap might be worthwhile, but I'd caution you on JLI and JLE. From about 1990 on, those two books were incredibly second-rate. The re-tooled "Zero Hour" JLI team from late 1994 (Wonder Woman, Obsidian, Nuklon, Fire, etc) might be worse than the infamous "Justice League Detroit" issues.

New Avengers #32-33 (2012)
Daniel Drumm, the long-departed brother of Doctor/Brother Voodoo seeks revenge on Dr. Strange and the New Avengers for his brother's death. He can instantly hop and possess bodies, causing the team to fight each other on the front lawn of Avengers Mansion. To get to the team, he's already killed Damien Hellstrom (Son of Satan), Jennifer Kale and (seemingly) Victoria Hand.

Really not the earth-shaking series climax you'd expect, as "Avengers" currently has the better story. Luke Cage is getting focus, as the cover to issue 33 shows him standing over a "dead" Jessica Jones. Jessica hasn't been killed...yet... but that'll be craptastic editorial duties if it turns out she dies in issue 34.

Right now, it looks like the concept of the " New" Avengers is going away. At least temporarily, until fans pine for the "good ol' days of 2005" and someone tries to bring it back. While I absolutely loved the team's line-up in this volume, I kept waiting for better things, storyline-wise. An early joke in the series called the team "The Defenders", so I'm curious if that book will continue or pick up the cast-offs from here.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

November 26th, 2012, 11:10 pm #143

Defenders #41
Final issue for writer Steve Gerber, as he tries to tie-up all the loose ends of Nighthawk's backstory. Nighthawk and Dr. Strange visit a hippie commune in Nevada, where Trish Starr (Hawk's old flame) has moved. The commune is soon taken over by another old Dr. Strange foe, Shazanna. Doc calls in the other Defenders, including Clea. At the end, Starr is essentially written out.

There's also a sentence or two detailing Nighthawk as a "semi-professional cynic"; also present in the Annual. This didn't last long and led to absolutely nothing.

Also of minor note is that Clea is starting to become more active with the Defenders. She's been there since the very beginning, usually at Doc's home hanging out with Wong. But now she's starting to accompany them on "field missions"; starting in issue 39.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

November 26th, 2012, 11:20 pm #144

Defenders #42-45
Gerry Conway takes over for a few issues, as Egghead returns. Now decked out in a costume like a Lex Luthor knock-off, he's leading the "Emissaries of Evil", consisting of Solarr, Rhino and the Cobalt Man. They're trying to steal the enigmatic "Star of Capistan", the typical "ancient relic of great power". In addition to Egghead, the Star also brings Hellcat running. She had been warned of the Star's potential evil by Moondragon; causing the former to end her training on Titan and return to Earth as a full-time superheroine.

In the commotion, the Star possesses Dr. Strange and turns him into the Red Rajah, a bad guy who wants to bend all humans into one collective mind. New writer David Kraft arrives to script the semi-famous issue 45; one dedicated to the band RUSH. The catch is that the Rajah's motives were somewhat similar to the themes of "2112".

After a big battle in Central Park, Doc returns to normal and announces he must leave the team to hone his waning mystic abilities. Red Guardian and Power Man also leave, as the core team now becomes Nighthawk, Valkyrie, Hellcat and the Hulk.

Another turning point for the book. Not just in the roster, but the art begins to emulate Jack Kirby in what was the Marvel "house style" for a bit. Weird that it's actually done by Keith Giffen. Like George Perez, he's another guy who started out aping Kirby at Marvel, before developing his own distinctive style.

It's true that I generally don't care about creators (especially writers). Yet for whatever reason, "Defenders" seems to be a great playground for writers to really express themselves. The stories are more indicative of a writer than, say, the average issue of "Avengers".
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Mad Dog
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Joined: December 10th, 2004, 11:01 pm

November 27th, 2012, 2:15 am #145

I'm making a real effort to read more 80s and 90s DC this year. I don't care about second rate so much since I can get most of those issues for cheap.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

November 27th, 2012, 3:55 pm #146

I'll say that Captain America from about 1982 to 1991 was probably one of Marvel's best books. Everyone knows about the intriguing "Cap No More" storyline (which I personally loved), but outside of that the book had some pretty good straight-up super-heroing. There's an issue from about 1982 with the Scarecrow that I remember as being almost excellent. Yes, there is some silly stuff (like Cap's Hotline and the wrestling story), but the overall package is worthwhile.

I always liked how Cap's thought balloons would talk about rolling to absorb impact with his shield and other minor tactics. Diamondback seemed like a worthless character, but she became interesting and helped the title quite a bit. If they had added " and Diamondback" to the actual cover logo in 1990, I would not have minded. They kinda' stumbled with her around 1992, though.

It's funny how the "Cap No More" storyline was basically ripped off by several titles in the early 90's. IMO, the clearest being the Bruce Wayne/Jean Paul Valley switcheroo. When the 90's rolled around in "Cap", they ended up doing a half-assed version of it, again. I can't remember what the arc was called, but it involved Cap wearing a flack jacket, then a suit or armor, all on his way to "dying".

It wasn't all that different from other books of the time, but the Wizard magazine began slamming the book in 1994, almost to the point of slander on writer Mark Gruenwald. Wizard had a huge influence on the industry at the time and I always thought that was a chicken-shit move on their part.
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Joined: December 10th, 2004, 11:01 pm

November 28th, 2012, 12:05 am #147

I never gave Cap a real shot until Brubaker's run. I've gone back and read some stuff now and I've liked what I read of it.
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Erick Von Erich
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November 29th, 2012, 3:38 pm #148

My recent Defenders sojourn has led me to do some "looking at.." with old Dr. Strange comics. Once Doc got his own book, it seems like Clea kept playing the "damsel in distress" too frequently. Then when he rescues her, they usually start making out and it's implied that they do some Mystic Boot-Knockin', off-panel and between issues.

Pretty funny, because I don't think any Marvel or DC hero got as much action as Dr. Strange did. Other guys had more romances or love interests, but when it comes to actually being with somebody, Doc's on top of the leader-board.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

November 30th, 2012, 3:49 pm #149

New Avengers #34
Final issue of the title and the whole Brian Bendis/New Avengers era. Dr. Strange fights both Avengers rosters, who are all possessed by Daniel Drumm. He wins by claiming to "have never used black magic"... but wasn't "Master of Black Magic" his sub-title in the late 60's? Ehhh. Who cares? The Ancient One and Damion Hellstrom arrive and give Strange back the Eye of Agamotto and his title of Sorceror Supreme.

Luke Cage and Jessica Jones sell back Avengers Mansion to Tony Stark for 5 bucks (making a $4 profit. Har. Har). Luke and Jessica then walk off in to the sunset with Squirrel Girl and their baby girl (Danielle...right?)

I get that he was pretty much Bendis' personal project, but Cage was a great part of the New Avengers. So glad that they brought him back from obscurity and made him a big part of Marvel. I didn't care so much for Jessica Jones, but Cage was awesome. Loved seeing him on the front lines right next to Cap, Iron Man, Spidey, Thor and the rest.

I've been following "Avengers: Assemble" and the new "Uncanny Avengers", but I haven't looked ahead and seen who's in the new "Avengers" title, aside from Cap. I'm guessing Strange, Spidey, Cage, Daredevil, The Thing and the other Bendis additions will not be around. Spider-Woman I could see sticking around, though. Same for Wolverine. And whatever happened to Storm as an Avenger?
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

December 11th, 2012, 4:22 pm #150

Defenders #46-50
New writer David Kraft takes over for the The "Who Remembers Scorpio?" arc. Scorpio (Jake Fury, Nicks' brother) uses a Nick Fury LMD and some low-level SHIELD agents to nab Jack Norriss and create a new Zodiac. Scorpio has a BIG affection for Schlitz beer and it plays into the plot frequently. He's also wondering about his place in the world and how society constantly squashes anybody's hope of rising up.

Moon Knight follows Noriss' kidnapping and tries to get the Defenders and the Avengers involved. The Avengers involvement doesn't work so well, as the Defenders don't recognize Wonder Man, leading to the obligatory Superhero Fight of Misunderstanding.

The Defenders then trace Scorpio to his base in New Jersey. Hulk doesn't want to come along, so they decide to piss him off and get him to chase them all the way to Jersey. Big fight with the new Zodiac, who are a weird bunch. In the end, Scorpio gives into his depression (especially when a few of his new Zodica agents are essentially stillborn) and blows his head off.

The real Nick Fury arrives to clean-up and offers Norriss a job in SHIELD. Norris is reluctant at first, but then finally decides he wants to do it. Then he realizes he didn't ask Fury for an address...so he spends the next YEAR wandering around NYC trying to find SHIELD.

Issue 48-50 includes the semi-famous "Moon Knight beer can death trap escape". Using a beer Scoprio threw to him out of pity, Moon Knight emptied the can and used the air in it to survive drowning in a pit. At the end of the Scropio arc, there's some fanboy pandering as Nighthawk and Moon Knight (both Batman pastiches) become good buddies.

Also, at the end of issue 46, the Elf finally makes his way to Long Island and the Defenders' HQ. It seems like he might be readying to blow away a young kid and his dog... but then a moving truck rolls down the road and runs over the Elf, killing him and wiping out the entire story. Greatest. Subplot. Ever.
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