Tag Archives: Vince Colletta

Superman 277 – proving Clark is Superman, and Steve Lombard’s aunt

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Great cover for Superman 277 (July 1974).

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The story it refers to, by Maggin, Swan and Colletta, is exactly as the cover sets up.  A famous big game hunter comes to Metropolis, and decides his latest hunt will be for the biggest game in town – the secret of Superman’s identity.  He gets onto Clark Kent’s trail almost immediately.

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It’s not a bad story, fun to see someone else trying their tricks to expose Clark.  The cover scene happens at the climax of the tale, but there is an air bag to catch him, which Clark saw. So he just stayed where he was and let the man fall.

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Morgan Edge sends Clark Kent on a week’s vacation at the top of this Private Life of Clark Kent story, by Marty Pasko, Swan and Frank Giacoia.  But that isn’t really important, as the rest of the story all takes place that same evening.  Steve Lombard shows up at Clark’s apartment, with a lame story to explain why he suddenly needs a place to live.

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In actuality, Steve wants to hide his bachelor pad apartment from his aunt, the famous mystery novelist Kaye Daye, once a semi-regular supporting character in the Batman books.  Kaye had last appeared in Jimmy Olsen’s comic in 1968.

The story gets decoyed into a crime drama with a pizza delivery boy being held captive, which is a bit of a shame.  The three characters on their own were providing enough entertainment.

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After they stop the bad guys, Kaye reveals that she knows this is really Clark’s apartment, citing the giveaway clues, and drags Steve off to see his sleazy place.

Kaye Daye is next seen in the pages of Batman in 1978.

Superman 275 – Lola Barnett debuts

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Bates, Swan and Colletta introduce a new member of the WGBS staff, Lola Barnett, in Superman 275 (May 1974).

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Morgan Edge is very proud of his coup in luring the entertainment and gossip reporter from Hollywood.  Her name makes it fairly obvious (at the time) that she is based on tv reporter Rona Barrett, who she also resembles, to a degree.

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The story puts her close to the centre, clearly trying to do what they did successfully with Steve Lombard.  But it’s really about her supposedly dead brother, who is secretly alive and a spy, and dealing with some giant killer dragonflies.

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Yeah, the dragonflies is where is all goes wrong.  Superman saves the day and re-unites Lola with her brother, but she makes nowhere near the impression Lombard did in his debut.  She does not stick around nearly as long as he does, either.

 

Superman 273 – getting rid of the Golden Eye

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Maggin, Swan and Vince Colletta bring a new hero to Metropolis in Superman 273 (March 1974).

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The man is in possession of the Golden Eye, picking up that plot thread from a few issues ago.  He did not steal it as such, he constructed an attractor to draw magical items, and the Eye was caught up in that.  He now uses it for good deeds, and intends to be another hero alongside Superman.  And he does start off that way, almost putting Superman out of work.  But then a green slime starts gunking up the harbour, and Superman realizes this is mystical discharge, of a sort, left over by the use of the Golden Eye.

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He tries to convince the man to stop using the Eye, but by then the magic has completely taken control of the guy’s mind, and he refuses to listen to Superman.

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Superman leads the battle into space, to avoid injuring anyone, and basically tricks the man into a whip movement, which sends the Eye hurtling away.  Superman rescues the man, who really had no evil intent at all, and even gets him a job as a magician on WGBS.

And the Golden Eye is gone for good.

World’s Finest 267 – Superman and Batman aid the Challengers of the Unknown, Black Canary finds a new use for her cry, Red Tornado captured by T.O. Morrow, Hawkman captured by Lord Insectus, and the Marvel Family vs the Monster Society of Evil

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The Challengers of the Unknown get one of their few good stories in this period in World’s Finest 267 (Feb/March 1981), by Burkett, Buckler and Giordano.

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The team gets a brief recap of their origin, as well as inset pictures of the four members of the team: Prof. Haley, Ace Morgan, Red Ryan and Rocky Davis.  The last time the team appeared was in Showcase 100, a couple of years earlier.

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The story utilizes the Challengers exceptionally well, considering that Superman and Batman are also involved in the story.  A terrorist group has taken control of a satellite that control gravity, and threatens to use it.  While Superman deals with the satellite itself, Batman works with each of the other four to deal with the terrorist bases.

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Not, perhaps, the best story for Superman and Batman, but they are not the ones who are meant to shine in this tale.

The Challengers return in their own series in Adventure Comics Digest, a year down the road.

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Black Canary gets her last solo story in this book in this issue, although she remains a supporting character in the Green Arrow series, much the way Oliver is in this story, by Haney, Von Eeden and Colletta.

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The story deals with a policewoman accused of killing an unarmed man.  The woman is very distraught, but Black Canary is convinced that there is more to the tale.  She finds evidence of the victim’s involvement with drugs and gangs, and uses her sonic cry to find a bullet, embedded in a pole.  It’s a neat use of the power, one that ought to be used again, but isn’t.  Dinah puts the facts together and clears the policewoman, caught in the middle of a gang killing.

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DeMatteis, Delbo and DeMulder continue the Red Tornado’s story, as he falls into the hands of T.O. Morrow.

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I had forgotten that this story actually does address Morrow’s appearance in Super-Team Family.  Tornado brings it up, only to have Morrow insist that his memory circuits are malfunctioning.  An interesting hint that something more is going on.

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Morrow hooks himself and Red Tornado up to a mind-transfer machine, and puts his awareness into the android’s body.  The story ends with Kathy Sutton meeting Tornado, unaware that it is really Morrow.

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Hawkman’s bug battles continue in this issue, thanks to Rozakis, Saviuk and Rodriguez.

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In a refreshing change of pace, it is Hawkman who winds up the prisoner of Lord Insectus, the one behind the army of mutated insects, while Hawkgirl is busy battling the hordes of monsters.

The story continues in the next issue.

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The Monster Society of Evil storyline comes to an end here, by Bridwell, Newton and Smith.  Like the rest of this storyline, it really doesn’t use the small army of villains particularly well.

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But as there are so many to deal with, Captain Marvel calls on not only Mary and Freddy, but also the Lieutenant Marvels, making their final appearance.  Tall Billy Batson, Fat Billy Batson and Hillbilly Batson were never very interesting characters, but they do fill out the roster for the final battle.

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Still, Black Adam, King Kull, Mr. Atom, Oggar, Ibac, and Sivana do take up a lot of space for all their fights, even if none get much of a chance to show off what makes them unique.

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Mr. Mind is, of course, the last to be caught, and it is the best scene in the entire story arc, as Captain Marvel finds the worm hiding in Shazam’s beard.

 

World’s Finest 264 – Clayface goes kryptonite, Green Arrow gambles, some nice art on Hawkman, Aquaman ends, and Mr. Mind’s new Monster Society of Evil

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O’Neil, Buckler and Giordano follow up the Super-Sons story in World’s Finest 264 (Aug/Sept 80).

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The story opens with Lois Lane trying to convince Jimmy Olsen (and herself) that she is not upset about discovering that Superman has a son.  She receives a phone call from someone claiming to be the mother of the child, and takes off to get the rest of the story.

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Of course, we know that there is no “mother.”  This is the second Clayface, Matt Hagen, the man who got shot in the previous issue.  He has quite a complicated vengeance plan in mind for Batman.  First, he lures Lois to pretending to be the mother of Superman’s child, and then uses Lois to lure Superman.

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He transforms himself into kryptonite, takes down Superman, and then uses that to lure Batman.

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Not a bad plan, but the heroes were one step ahead, not certain what was going on with Lois’ kidnapping.  So they switched places.  Batman was not affected by the kryptonite, nor Superman by the bullet Clayface shot at “Batman.”

This is Matt Hagen’s last significant outing.  He had last appeared in a cameo in the Detective Comics issue that introduced Preston Payne, the third Clayface, and next appears in Detective along with many other Batman villains, in the story in which Jason Todd becomes the new Robin.

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Haney, Von Eedeen and Colletta send Oliver to the casino in this issue, as a woman opens a gambling parlour in Star City, despite Oliver Queen’s column arguing against it.

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It’s a really simple little story, enlivened by Von Eeden’s art.  Green Arrow exposes the (fairly easy to spot) rigging of the casino games, and also reveals that the woman running the show is really a man in disguise.

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The Hawkman story in this issue, by deMatteis, Landgraf and Gil, has some lovely art, but otherwise is not much to crow over.  It opens with a coda to the Adam Strange plotline, sending him back to Rann to be with Alanna and Sardath.

Adam Strange next appears teaming up with Batman in the Brave and the Bold.

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After that Shayera gets hits by a car, and spends the remainder of the tale in the hospital.  Hawkman winds up dealing with what appears to be an alien on the loose in the city.

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In fact he is a visitor from Earth’s far future, alone on the planet and very lonely.  Aww.

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Dr. Light foes after Aquaman in this story, one of the few Justice League heroes that Light had not made a solo attack on yet, in this story by Rozakis, Delbo and Kim DeMulder.

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It begins with Dr. Light stealing a lantern fish from the Aquaman museum, to power his weapon.  Though Aquaman only moved in to New Venice in the previous issue, there are already tensions rising with the city officials, who resent him spending his time looking for the missing fish.

It’s not a great outing for Dr. Light, whose career is definitely on the downswing.  This is his last story before creating the Fearsome Five to battle the New Teen Titans.

Aquaman’s series moves back to Adventure Comics following this story.

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Mr. Mind creates a new Monster Society of Evil in this story by Bridwell, Newton and Hunt.  It leads off a multi-part tale, as the Society members team up against various members of the Marvel Family.  King Kull, Ibac, Sivana and Mr. Atom all cameo.

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This first chapter pits Oggar and Black Adam against Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel. Oddly, far more focus is given to the less powerful and more obscure Oggar than to Black Adam.

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Both villains wind up trapped under a crumbling pyramid, their powers stripped, at the end of the story.  But they did reveal Mr. Mind’s new Monster Society to the Marvels, who know what they are in for in upcoming stories.

World’s Finest 262 – Superman and Batman vs the Pi-Meson Man, Black Canary is not a good hostage, Aquaman begins, Hawkman rescues Adam Strange, and Captain Marvel battles Evil

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Denny O’Neil, Joe Staton and Dick Giordano introduce a new villain for Superman and Batman, the Pi-Meson Man, as well as the one blind girl who is able to see him, in World’s Finest 262 (April/May 1980).

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The villain is a victim as well, a scientist working on a new energy source (the pi-meson thing).  It exploded and irradiated him, and now he has to live in an isolated cell.

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Though his body cannot leave the cell, he can emit another self, the Pi-Meson Man, who is invisible to most people, and capable of hugely destructive power.  But one blind girl is able to see the pi-meson energy of the second self, and helps the heroes merge and secure him.

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The character bears a distinct resemblance to the 60s Batman villain, Dr. Double-X, except for the invisibility aspect.  One very nice element of the story is that the climactic battle takes place in the Batcave, adding some interesting visuals.

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Conway, Tanghal and Colletta conclude the Aunty Gravity story in this issue.  Green Arrow continues to be out-classed by the telekinetic hillbilly, and she and her kin escape with the unconscious Black Canary, intending to hold her for ransom.

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But Black Canary is not the person to just sit around and wait to be rescued or ransomed.  She quickly takes out the hillbilly boys, even without breaking her bonds, and her sonic cry takes out Aunty Gravity.  She does make a return in the pages of Green Lantern, not too long down the road.

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Aquaman’s series moves over from Adventure Comics, bringing with him Aqualad and Mera, as well as Siggy, the mutated telepathic Nazi seahorse who has become his pet, in a story by Rozakis, Newton and Adkins.  Hawkman cameos, alerting Aquaman to a missing ship carrying a US senator.

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Investigating, Aquaman finds a whirlpool and a mysterious woman underwater.  But following them leads him into a extra-dimensional realm, from which people and ships cannot escape.

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The realm is run, more or less, by Atlena, an ancient Atlantean.  With the help of Mera and Aqualad, who are both still outside the warp, they send a chain through the whirlpool.  Aquaman tries to lead the others out, but only he escapes before the entrance seals up.

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Jean-Marc deMatteis and Ken Landgraf take over the Hawkman series with this issue.  Some excellent art on this story.

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While fighting some street criminals, Hawkman sees what appears to be the ghost of Adam Strange.  The two had last seen each other during Hawkman’s run in Showcase, as is noted in this story.  The story also cites a recent appearance by Adam Strange in Brave and the Bold.

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The psychic Trixie Magruder makes what might be her final appearance in this story.  She was most recently seen in the pages of Karate Kid.  The ever-helpful Trixie uses her powers to contact Adam Strange, who has been trapped by a problem with the zeta-beam.  Trixie is able to merge Adam’s spirit with Hawkman’s body.

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Hawkman and Hawkgirl then head to the Justice League satellite, and with the aid of Red Tornado they use the teleporter to split Hawkman and Adam, and allow Adam Strange to re-emerge in his own body.

The story continues, sort of, in the next issue.

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Captain Marvel meets an early predecessor in this story by Bridwell, Newton and Hunt.  He comes to the future (our present) to seek the aid of the current Captain Marvel to battle Evil.

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Vlarem takes Captain Marvel to meet the long forgotten gods who give him his powers, before they head out to deal with Evil and his many minions.  In the Shazam universe, there are a lot of “morality” villains – the Seven Deadly Sins being the best known, and they are in this story, as well as Sin, Terror, and Wickedness.

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Captain Marvel and Vlarem defeat the various evils, and seal them beneath a huge mountainous spire – which will become the Rock of Eternity.  At the end, Captain Marvel discovers that Vlarem eventually became the wizard Shazam.

This story is based on an original version from the 1940s Captain Marvel series.

 

World’s Finest 261 – the Penguin/Terra-Man team, Green Arrow and Black Canary vs Auntie Gravity, Black Lightning ends, and Mary Marvel becomes a statue

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Penguin and Terra-Man mark the first Superman/Batman villain team-up in these pages in close to a decade, in World’s Finest 261 (Feb/March 1980).

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Although the two villains have nothing obviously in common, O’Neil, Buckler and Giordano craft a remarkably good tale for the two of them.  The Penguin is on a tv interview show, promoting a man who claims to be Butch Cassidy, still alive and young in the present day.  Batman busts into the broadcast, sure that the Penguin is perpetrating a fraud, but Terra-Man comes in as well, believing that the man is Cassidy.

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He isn’t, of course, and the Penguin explains his plans to Terra-Man.  He hired an actor to learn all there is to learn about Cassidy, and then hypnotized him into believing he really was the outlaw.  Aside from that, he simply intends to profit as the man’s agent.  But now that Batman has insisted, on television, that the man is a fraud, Penguin does not expect his plan to work.

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Terra-Man suggests turning it into a revenge plot.  Using some kryptonite that he has, added to the Penguin’s hypnotic device, they attack Superman, and brainwash him into believing that he is the Sundance Kid, plotting to have him gun down Batman.

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It’s the Butch Cassidy impersonator who messes this up, as he knows Superman is not Sundance.  Hypnotizing Superman to kill someone is a risky proposition anyway, as it does so much against his nature that Butch is able to break the spell.

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Green Arrow and Black Canary face a new enemy in this story, Aunty Gravity, an old hillbilly who mental powers of telekinesis suddenly manifest, thanks to Conway, Saviuk and Chiaramonte.  While the story itself is not bad, the art leaves something to be desired.

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Green Arrow’s skills are easily disrupted by Aunty Gravity, but Black Canary’s cry proves effective.  At least until Aunty aims the Arrow’s arrow at Dinah, knocking her out.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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After the excellent Black Lightning story last issue, this little tale, by O’Neil, Tanghal and Colletta, is a bit of a let-down, but only a bit.  A school outing on a cruise ship goes awry when a submarine crew board the ship.  Most of the guests are involved in a costume party and too distracted, but Black Lightning sees what is going on.

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He goes from ship to sub and back again before the story is out, discovering a plot to smuggle a mob boss back into the country.

After this story, Black Lightning’s series moves to the pages of Detective Comics.

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The Hawkman story in this issue is not a story as such, and even bills itself as a dossier on the character.  Bob Rozakis, Eduardo Barretto and Dave Simons give the basic background to the character before launching into the rest of his run.  It’s not a bad idea.  The Hawkman stories in this book so far have not, except for the very first, followed up on the Showcase stories, but will from this point on.  We briefly get the origin of Katar Hol, his fight with the Manhawks and theft of their hoods, from which the Hawk-helmets were created.

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He and Shayera come to Earth, join the Justice League, fight against the Matter Master and Gentleman Ghost. The final pages covers the events from Showcase, with Hyathis curing Thanagar of the Equalizer plague, becoming the planet’s leader and sending Hawkman and Hawkgirl into exile.

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Mary Marvel gets a solo story in this issue’s Shazam story, by Bridwell, Newton and Hunt.

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A series of thefts occur, at houses where some exceptionally realistic statues have recently been purchased.  Mary Marvel goes to check on the sculptor, Nivan.  She does not figure out that “he” is really Georgia Sivana in disguise.  Not even the name Nivan clues her in.

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You almost wind up rooting for Georgia, especially as she is not fooled into thinking Mary Batson and Mary Marvel are different people.  I am always dismayed at anyone who cannot figure this out, when the only thing about her that changes is her dress.  Georgia uses her statue ray on Mary – she turns her goons into statues, places them in wealthy homes, then brings them back to life to rob the places.  Mary almost ges smashed to bits, but manages to say Shazam, and turning to Mary Marvel restores her to normal.