Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

October 18th, 2017, 10:04 pm #201

Star Wars #102
Luke and Lando go to Iskalon, where Kiro is alive and well and protecting his people from the Nagai. How, exactly, he got back to Iskalon isn't detailed, so you can surmise he stowed away on a Nagai ship.

Some really Stupid Shit in this one. The Nagai are building an undersea tower on the ocean floor, but it's shown on dry land with clouds and stuff. Also, Kiro and his people wear protective water-breathing helmets when they're in the water...which doesn't make sense. Lamest is how Luke destroys the tower: he simply hacks at it with his lightsaber, then it crumbles.

I think this is the last of Kiro. He stays on Iskalon as its protector.

Only FIVE more issues left!
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

October 19th, 2017, 3:10 pm #202

Star Wars #103
Leia and the 4 Zeltron "rockers" end up on the battle-scarred planet of Trenwyth. They all hide in some ruins, running across a lone Nagai trooper. The Nagai can't speak "galactic standard", so what plays out is sorta' like the movie "Enemy Mine", as Leia's compassion wins the Nagai, Tai, over. When he returns home, Tai is killed by Knife for being a pussy and accepting help from the enemy.

Takes place over about a week, and all the while we're told (but not shown) that there is a big battle going on. One full-page glimpse of it shows these big bearded orange guys, dressed like the stereotypical costume shop outfit of Blackbeard the Pirate. There are allusions that these are the Nagai's old enemies. They'll turn out to be the Tof.

These post-100 issues were hot in the mid-90's, because they supposedly featured the debut of artist Whilce Portacio; famous for some X-men and Image junk. I remember seeing this issue, boarded up and hanging in comic book shops with a high price tag, circa 1995. Portacio only does inking on the last issue (107), but I think there were rumors that he did the cover for this one.

Or else it was just a rare issue, because everybody had given up on Star Wars circa issue 90. Nonetheless, Star Wars nostalgia was always there, but it really began picking up in 1994 or so. At least according to my "view from the comic book shop front" of the time.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

October 20th, 2017, 4:05 pm #203

Star Wars #104-105
The main cast is invited to a party on Zeltros, home of the hedonistic Zeltrons. The Nagai attack and take everybody hostage, but the Tof also arrive. Leia begins thinking that the Nagai aren't so bad, due to her encounter with Tai. Den Siva has another encounter with Dani in what's become Star Wars's version of "Lotor and Princess Allura".

Luke and Plif end up running into the Tof. Then Plif summons the Hoojib cavalry and they take down the Tof! Plif is awesome. The Tof themselves are depicted as uneducated imbeciles. They're being depicted as cartoonish pirates now, and their skin has changed from orange to green. They've been trying to establish the Nagai as these sadistic emotionless killers... but the enemy that has been kicking Nagai tushies for years is a complete joke.

Hirog also returns, with his beetle-lookin' co-horts, the Hiromi. They're completely played for laughs and it's quite bad. Their mothership is a lame Star Trek rip-off, as they have "Cpt. Hookyr" (see... cuz' TJ Hooker. Yuk yuk) and "Mr. Tahkay".

The unofficial execution notice of the title has gone out and this book has completely gone off the rails. Just feels like they're stuffing in here, out of obligation, and not having fun.

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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

October 21st, 2017, 8:13 pm #204

Star Wars #106
Luke, the Hoojibs and the Hiromi sneak aboard the Tofs' flagship--- which looks like a big metal pirate ship, complete with masts and everything. Sheesh. Luke, the Jedi knight with supposedly all sorts of crazy powers...uses BOMBS to destroy the ship. Yes, bombs, my least favorite catch-all plot device.

Star Wars #107
Some time has passed, as the Alliance and the Nagai have signed a treaty and are working together. Even some straggler Imperial forces have joined up. They plan a big assault on the remote planet Saijo, where the Tof and their prince have set up their command. Lumiya is still bent on revenge and has joined up with the Tof.

Luke leads the small ground attack and the Tof prince surrenders. Lumiya tries to shoot Luke in the back, but she is shot (and potentially killed) by a Tof... who turns out to be Bey, in disguise, and working for Admiral Ackbar. Everyone's happy and Luke speculates that all the different people and races can live in peace.

Luke runs around shirtless, totally ripped, and with long hair. He looks like He-Man, or more precisely, the early 90's He-Man from some weird British revival. Dani and Den Siva are also an item, now, yet still hate each other. Not much justification for why they're together, so chalk it up to Stockholm Syndrome on Dani's part. Fenn, Lando, Chewie and Wedge also make cameos (Lando leads the space attack against the Tof, which lasts all of 2 pages).

The letters page just thanks a bunch of fans and interns (and the Japanese inspirations of Cynthia Martin) and signs off. No real requiem or goodbye.

Huh. While everything's seemingly wrapped up, this is NOT the way you would've expected Star Wars to go out.



Final Wrap/Exit Interview
In short, if you're ever thinking of reading of these: don't. It's mostly curious sci-fi indulgence that just doesn't feel like Star Wars (yes, I've said that almost 107 times while recapping these). But give Marvel some credit, at the time (1977-1986), there wasn't much Star Wars stuff aside from the movies. They were kinda' learning as they went along, just like the fans were. The only "expanded universe" crap was the 3 Han Solo paperbacks, the "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" sequel novel, the Holiday Special and (towards the end), the awful Lando paperbacks. Not exactly required reading for even the most hardcore Star Wars fan.

Marvel did have some involvement with the kiddie-oriented Star Wars titles: "Droids" and "Ewoks", as part of their STAR imprint. "Ewoks" lasted the longest, like all of 16 issues or so. On television, "Droids" only ran for the 84-85 season, but "Ewoks" made it into a second season (or at least a second season of airing; who knows if they were new stories or just re-runs). We shall not speak of the two Ewok TV movies. The licensing agreement between Marvel and Lucasfilm may have expired.

The biggest problem --- and maybe the reason these comics don't "feel like Star Wars" --- is the Force. In all 8 movies, the Force has been a pretty big plot element. Even in Rogue One with that bad-ass blind dude and Darth Vader. Luke RARELY used the Force in all 107 issues. Cut out the movie tie-in issues and he probably used it less than 20 times. Obi-Wan's ghost only appeared to Luke ONCE in the non-movie stories. Ditto Yoda. I mean, you have 50 some issues of original content since "Empire" and you ignore Yoda?! YODA?!! I understand that some things were "off limits" by Lucasfilm, but c'mon...

The highlight of the title is probably David Michelinie's run from issue 51 to 69. I'd actually recommend those to die-hard fans. It has more of a Battlestar Galactica feel, but flowed well. Not surprisingly, Luke's biggest use of the Force was in those issues, when he shot down Shira Brie.

Since this title ended so...lamely... I was never into the whole "Expanded Universe" stuff that began popping up a few years later. I'd just roll my eyes and think back to Fenn, Dani, Plif and Jaxxon. I tried to get into the random Dark Horse comics in the mid-90's, but found those incredibly lame. I kinda' liked "Dark Empire" from 1992, but it felt like a weak re-hash or wannabe. "Dark Empire II" from 1994 into 1995 was awful and I felt ripped off (back when I thought I had to try out everything that was on the comic racks; crap, I even picked up Gen 13 for awhile).


I don't know what I'll re-read, next. After almost 200 issues of Star Wars and Swamp Thing, I think I'm ready to go back to some good ol' fashioned Superhero Stupidity.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

October 30th, 2017, 4:46 pm #205

Marvel Spotlight #1: Red Wolf (1972)
As a one-shot "Marvel Western" story, it's okay. Yeah, it's a Western, because this is actually the 1860's Red Wolf, Johnny Wakely. A little confusing, because a "modern" Red Wolf, William Talltrees, had recently been introduced in "Avengers".

I'm writing a bigger article on this for somewhere else... yet there's some trepidation as this concerns Red Wolf and Marvel's early 70's "diversity" movement (see also: Cage, Luke and Cat, The). I'm still deciding if Red Wolf could be considered offensive-- a la Cleveland's Chief Wahoo--- or if he's enhancing and promoting knowledge of Native-American cultures. Considering he was written by a buncha' white dudes in New York, it could be a testy debate.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

November 13th, 2017, 12:26 am #206

Started reading digital copies of "The Infinity Crusade" from 1993. I've never read it, but I remember kinda' liking "War" and "Gauntlet". So far (first two issues), it's kinda' odd, as it's based around heroes' religious faiths (yet no Muslims, which is odd). And Storm apparently worships... Egyptian gods?

Everyone seems to get along too well, as they all meet at Avengers HQ. The Avengers were kinda' slimmed down in 1993, consisting of Black Widow, Crystal, Hercules, Black Knight, an impostor Vision, Sersi and Giant-Man, with Cap as a part-timer. So it's weird that Cap and Iron Man are suddenly running the show. Ditto for the Vision, who was actually a bad guy from another dimension, at the time. Yet Vision contributes heavily to the decision-making with no hint of malice.
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Mad Dog
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Mad Dog
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Joined: December 10th, 2004, 11:01 pm

November 19th, 2017, 2:47 am #207

Decided to go for something a little different so I picked up Batman and Detective Comics when Denny O'Neil started writing on the book.

Batman #223-225

Nothing super memorable here. A lot of Batman vs. thugs. 224 had a decent little murder mystery with a talk show host being murdered and a back up mystery. The books had a decent mood to them but it's DC Comics in 1970 so not a lot of personality or anything like that. #225 has a story where a man gets blinded and has his optic nerves run through his finger tips. I think this one is going to be a 2 parter.

Detective Comics #404

This is the first Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams story. This one actually made it into the Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told trade. That was actually my first exposure to Batman in comic form. A movie set is being sabotaged and this one ends up with Batman and the bad guy having a dog fight in WWI planes. Absolute classic story here. Batgirl has a backup where Jason Bard is being framed for murder and it was actually a fun little set up for the next issue.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

November 20th, 2017, 3:56 pm #208

Finished off the 6 issues of "Infinity Crusade" and it was garbage. Basically an Adam Warlock/Thanos story, masquerading as a "Marvel company-wide crossover". The subplot about faith is dropped around issue 4. Sue Storm was given some focus in this subplot, but it's forgotten. The first 3.5 issues feature all the heroes all sitting around at Avengers HQ having lunch, while Reed Richards, Iron Man and the Vision try to figure things out.

Issue 5 has some hero-vs-hero brawls, with someone usually dying. Yet you know they're not dead and that some cosmic mumbo-jumbo will fix everything. Professor X gets dragged around by Thanos as a psychic tool.

If DC had done this with Superman in the Warlock role, it might've worked better.
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Mad Dog
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Mad Dog
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Joined: December 10th, 2004, 11:01 pm

November 26th, 2017, 1:38 am #209

Batman #227

This one is actually a pretty famous cover for the O'Neil/Adams era but neither of them worked on this issue. This one has Batman taking on a cult and falling in love with a ghost. There actually isn't much to this story at all. The backup is a fairly mundane Robin story.

One thing I have noticed from reading these couple of issues is that DC at the time was trailing Marvel in storytelling. The art is better but for as dated as Marvel can be now, it's just got more fleshed out characters and better thought out stories.
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Erick Von Erich
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November 27th, 2017, 5:17 pm #210

When I think of good ol' fashioned SuperHero Stupidity, one of the first titles that comes to mind...

Marvel Two-in-One #67
I was reading this series, sequentially, about 5-6 years ago. Been reading them, slowly, "in the background" since then. Anyways, this issue ties up the loose ends with Thundra from the "Project Pegasus saga". A group of scientists try to dupe her into working for them, but she steals their dimensional transporter and runs away. Hyperion is enamored with her and, after a brief fight with the Thing, they zap into some other dimension.

Thing is sad, since he thought Thundra still had the hots for him... because Thing's in yet another "Alicia doesn't want to see me/whoa is me" phase. You might think: "hey, that's kinda' sexist. He's just going to Thundra to get another girlfriend". Yet, I remember being single and, when dumped or split, I'd think: "who's next on the list, who kinda' liked me from before? Should give her a call".

Marvel Two-in-One #68
Thing runs into Angel at a DISCO. Yup, highlight of this issue is seeing the Thing in a Saturday Night Fever/John Travolta white suit. They get kidnapped by the Toad... (yeah, the TOAD)... who traps them in a big castle full of deathtraps. Toad's identity isn't revealed until the end, so you kinda' think it's Arcade who's trapped them.

Toad wants to be taken seriously, so the heroes feel sorry for him and, with Angel's money, re-fit the castle into a family-friendly theme park. Toad's happy, yet I think any reformation on his part was quickly dumped away with this next appearance (Marvel Fanfare in about a year, I think). Toad also created an android version of the Scarlet Witch for his own private use. Hmm....

Marvel Two-in-One #69
With the (original) Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians are in the 20th century, so Vance Astro sneaks off to meet up with his past self; who's about 13. The Guardians and the Fantastic Four scramble to prevent any time conundrums, as a (fairly) unexplained FOG fills all over the place. It turns out to be caused by the meetings of the two Astros. Everything settled, the Guardians leave and young Vance Astrovik's telekinesis powers manifest. Thing introduces him as a "new super hero", but I think it'll be awhile before young Vance officially becomes "Marvel Boy".

Pretty significant development for the character of Vance Astro; something which is kinda' rare in a team-up book. But where else can you do it with a third-level character like Astro, without his own book?
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