Isis #6. September 1977.

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“The Ominous Ooze”

Cover Artists: Rich Buckler & Vince Colletta

Writer: Jack C Harris; Penciler: Mike Vosburg

Inker: Vince Colletta; Letterer: Ben Oda

Editor: Dennis O’Neil; Executive Editor: Joe Orlando

From DC Wikia:

A unit of the Egyptian Army is on the march. From the air, the Mighty Isis magically stops their tanks and lands before their commander. She tells him that she will not allow them to take human lives. Suddenly, a purple, malodorous Ooze moves over the desert sands. Isis uses the sand to lift her into the sky as she tries to think of a way to destroy the Ooze. She watches in horror as the Ooze digests a camel. Then, the Ooze disappears, leaving a puzzled Isis to ponder that, since this defies the laws of science, what would Andrea Thomas do in a situation like this.

Back in the United States, Rick begins his search for Andrea and drives to the home of Andrea’s mother in Missouri. The target of Rick’s search is flying over the trail of destruction left by the Ooze, which ends in an abandoned oil field. She lands and confronts Mister Emal, the creator of the Ooze. He orders his henchmen to release it, but the Ooze machine runs out of its plutonium fuel. They pull out their guns to kill Isis, but the local military General, Abdel, orders them not to. Isis warns that she will keep a close watch on them, then flies away.

Rick arrives in Fairfax, Missouri and meets Viola Thomas, Andrea’s mother. He tells her that Andrea is missing and asks where she might be. At the same time, Dr. David Munch, who works for General Abdel, drives to a top secret government research lab to sneak out the fuel for a large scale version of the Ooze machine. Isis locates Abdel and Emal and hitches a ride on their airplane to the USA. In overhearing their plans for their Ooze Machine, she learns that their destination is Fairfax, Missouri, where Andrea’s mother lives. Isis leaves the plane and flies to Fairfax.

After landing, Isis changes back into Andrea to explain to her mother that she wants to remain as Isis forever. She spots Rick there and waits for him to go away. In a nearby clearing, Abdel, Emal and Munch start up the full-size Ooze Machine. As it begins to digest the trees and grass in the clearing, the Ooze engulfs the machine and flows out of control. Rick is about to leave when Andrea’s mother spots the approaching Ooze.

Andrea becomes The Mighty Isis and takes to the air. She tries to destroy the Ooze by removing the ground moisture and by using solar heat, but to no avail. The Ooze now catches up with its creators. Isis tries to rescue them but arrives too late. Now it goes after Rick and Mrs. Thomas. As Isis rescues them, she realizes that the Ooze feeds on organic matter. Remove it and the Ooze should die. As Isis separates the ground, the Ooze digests the remaining matter on it and dies. After Isis replaces the ground, Rick asks her why she just happens to be in Missouri. When she replies that she is where she is needed, Rick demands that she explain the connection between her and Andrea. Andrea’s mother asks Isis if she knows where her daughter is. She replies, “I cannot tell you the location of your child”. As she takes to the air, Rick begins to wonder if Isis has kidnapped Andrea.

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The letter column still has positive letters and Cary Burkett hints at a visit in the book by Captain Marvel! They also promise they will pin down Isis’ powers and origin, as promised in the final panel blurb – next issue, the Origin of Isis!

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Mike Vosburg’s art is a mixed bag here – honestly as much as I love his work he is an acquired taste. But look at this beautiful full-page spread …Isis 6 page

Other pages, however, appear rushed and sketchy.

So Andrea is not gone for good, but the comic certainly goes into a direction far from the television series, which by now is in its final months of summer reruns. Perhaps the sales reflected this and the editors allowed Mr. Harris to do what he wished with the characters – add romance, make Isis a little more arrogant, etc. I wish they would have had more time to develop these ideas.

But the end is coming…

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

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Metal Men #55; January, 1978

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Cover: Jim Aparo

“The Master Machinations of the Missile Men!”

Writer: Gerry Conway; Penciler/Inker: Joe Staton

Colorist: Liz Berube; Letterer: Ben Oda

Story editor: Paul Levitz; Managing editor: Joe Orlando

Green Lantern’s ring helps Gold restore the rest of the Metal Men (Tin is strangely MIA during the other’s restoration). The team heads for the moon to rescue Platinum.

Meanwhile, Doc Magnus reveals the Inheritor – a synthetic robot Doc was building in the past issue – with all the powers of the Metal Men and more! Doc sends the Inheritor to the moon to do battle with the Missile Men.

The Metal Men attack and defeat the Missile Men’s leader, based on an observation by Lead of their potential weakness. The leader is destroyed and the remaining Missile Men are rendered inert. Platinum is rescued and all is well.

Oh wait, the Inheritor is on his way … to be continued.

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It is at this point that Joe Staton stopped trying to draw like Walt Simonson and used his own style on the Metal Men (although you could see glimpses of his style readers of Showcase, Superboy and All-Star Comics have seen for a while now!

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

Hercules Unbound #8, January 1977

“Game”

Cover: Walt Simonson & Wally Wood, Editor: Joe Orlando

Writer: David Michelinie; Pencilers: Walt Simonson, Inker: Wally Wood

Story Editor: Denny O’Neil

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While rafting across the Irish Sea, our heroes are strafed by jet fighters, destroying their raft and killing Dave Rigg! Herc dispatches three of the jets, and he, Kevin, Jennifer and Basil follow the fourth to a strange citadel. They are again attacked, this time by gorgeous Wally- Woodish women in spandex and metal hats! Discovering they are androids, our heroes quickly destroy them.

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They are invited into the compound and meet Miss Agatha Simms: a paraplegic military and scientific genius who built the compound (and the androids) to further her “game”. Game? She and her unknown opponent, who also has a military compound, have been hammering at each other for weeks. She mistook our heroes for agents of her opponent, hence her jet fighter and android attack. She explains she plucks her weapons from earth’s past, going back only as far as World War II. As an example, she tries to bring forward PT-109, but instead a … slight miscalculation … brought in the Bismark

Dave Rigg comes ashore, alive and well, and finds his way to a small village. He finds a robotic army recruiter and is knocked unconscious!

Simms promises to restore Kevin’s sight if Hercules helps her with the Game. With the Bismark laying down diversionary fire, Hercules, Kevin, Jennifer and a troop of androids fight their way to the Enemy’s Control Center on the Isle of Man.

Finding a hidden door, they batter their way to the control room to find Dave Rigg in the Commander’s chair!

To be continued!

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The letters page announces that Michelinie, Simonson and Wood will be the permanent creative team under the editorial guidance of Denny O’Neil!

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Simonson’s art is once again nearly hidden by Wood’s dominating inks, but it this is still cracking good story and art!

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

Metal Men #54; November, 1977

“After the Ending”

Cover: Jim Aparo

Writer: Gerry Conway; Penciler/Inker: Joe Staton

Colorist: Liz Berube

Story editor: Paul Levitz; Managing editor: Joe Orlando

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The rest of the Metal Men join Platinum’s walk-out at the end of the prior issue. We later learn that it was with Doc Magnus’s blessing!

Meanwhile, the Guardians of Oa tell Green Lantern that the Missile Men are invading planets and stripping them of all metal! They are heading to earth! GL discovers them on the moon, where the leader tells the other Missiles they were created only for the pleasure of their queen – Platinum!  The leader of the Missile Men has had a thing for Platinum since issue #5.

Green Lantern wonders if the Metal Men are involved in goes back to earth to find them, not knowing he is a pawn in the Missile Men’s plan!

Green Lantern greets the Metal Men; but the Missile Men leader changes what the robots hear – GL threatening our heroes instead! A fight ensues with Lantern getting the best of Lead, Iron, Platinum and Mercury. Gold (being yellow based) smothers GL, leaving only himself and Tin alive in the final page cliff-hanger!

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The letter column printed letters for and against the “tongue-in-cheek” approach to the comic. The editor mentions that with Gerry Conway back at the typewriter, a comic will see a more serious approach.

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases

Seven Soldiers of Victory, part 6: the conclusion of the Lost Story!

Adventure Comics #443, February 1976

The back-up feature is an unpublished saga of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – written in the Golden Age but never rendered and completed until 1975.Adventure 443 splash

Part Seven: The Seven Soldiers of Victory

“Confrontation”

Writer: Joseph Samachson

Penciler/Inker: Dick Dillin, Inker: Tex Blaisdell

Editor: Joe Orlando

Returning from their separate adventures in the Land of Magic, the Seven Soldiers of Victory confront Willie Wisher and fight off all his attempts to stop them: a steel wall, vicious gorillas and a gang of human thugs!

Instead of fighting, the SSOV convince Wisher that, although his intentions are good, he can cause evil. Wisher feels so guilty he wishes he had never been born …

Poof!

Jon Shoman concludes his film (remember?) of the battle to boos and accusations of fraud. It seems only he remembers Wisher. Vigilante remembers Wisher’s words in the movie – “Willie said he’d make sure we’d never forget him…” Perhaps this film was his way of ensuring that, they reason.

Crimson Avenger asks what if Wisher only disappeared and this was all another trick – how will Law’s Legionnaires stop him next time?

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Pure pure fun! I loved it! Were there other stories tucked away in DC’s files, unpublished? Were they as bad as this? 😉

Thanks for joining me! To read the other Chapters, you can search for “Seven Soldiers”  in the browser on my webpage. Join me again for more Back Pages.

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

The Seven Soldiers of Victory: the lost story!

A Bronze Age/Golden-Age hidden gem!

The Seven Soldiers of Victory (or Law’s Legionnaires) is DC Comics’ second super-hero team, following the Justice Society of America. Like the Justice Society, the membership of the Seven Soldiers is drawn from DC’s anthology comics: The Vigilante (Action Comics); the Crimson Avenger (Detective Comics); the Green Arrow and Speedy (More Fun Comics); the Shining Knight (Adventure Comics); and the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy (Star-Spangled Comics).

The Seven Soldiers of Victory appear in the first fourteen issues of Leading Comics.

A script by Joseph Samachson (co-creator of Martian Manhunter and Tomahawk) from the 1940s, in which the elflike Willie Wisher banishes the Soldiers to the “Land of Magic,” where they encounter various supernatural characters, was later serialized in 1975 in Adventure Comics #438–443, with each chapter illustrated by a different artist (Dick Dillin, Howard Chaykin, Lee Elias, Mike Grell, Ernie Chan, and José Luis García-López).

The first few issues of this story were overshadowed by the now-classic Fleisher/Aparo Spectre run as the main feature. Compared to those stories, nearly anything else would pale in comparison. But we fans of the back pages got a nice Golden Age gift!

Around this time, DC Comics had redrawn some Golden Age stories in their reprint books, but this was an unusual move for DC – taking a discovered script of third-tier characters (and except for Green Arrow, calling them third-tier is kind) and putting some of their best artists on it. It was a treat for Bronze Age readers. This story has not been reprinted that I know of – not even in the Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives (which in three volumes reprinted all the Leading Comics issues).

A truly hidden Bronze Age gem.

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Adventure 438 splashAdventure Comics #438, April 1975

The Seven Soldiers of Victory

“Land of Magic!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler: Dick Dillin, Inker: Tex Blaisdell, Editors: Joe Orlando & Paul Levitz

John Shoman, philanthropist, introduces the first film he has produced – the Seven Soldiers of Victory gather and ask each other who called the meeting. It was Willie Wisher. The elfin Wisher can make anything happen simply by wishing it. He brings in John Shoman and a film crew and decides to send the 7 to the Land of Magic for their new adventure.

Dick Dillin, at that time rendering the adventures of the Justice League of America, was a canny choice for the opening salvo in this team adventure, and his workman-like style did not disappoint!

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Shining Knight 438The Shining Knight

“Knight After Knight!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler/Inker: Howard Chaykin, Editors: Joe Orlando & Paul Levitz

The Shining Knight lands Winged Victory near a castle reminiscent of Camelot. He overhears that the magician living in the castle is keeping a fair maiden captive – the Princess of Twin Oaks. The Shining Knight vows to rescue her!

He fights his way into the castle before seeing his own image in a mystic mirror. His reflection steps out of the mirror and does battle with the Shining Knight.  They are too evenly matched and wear each other out. When the evil magician tries to capture the Knight, he pretends to be the reflection. Not knowing which is the real Knight, the magician locks them both into the dungeon.

The Shining Knight escapes his bonds and confronts the magician. The wizard explains that the Princess of Twin Oaks is a prize sow promised to him before the farmer reneged. The magician vows to do no further harm and Shining Knight’s doppelganger tells Knight that the mystic mirror can return the Knight to any location he wishes.

The Shining Knight and Winged Victory use the mirror to go back to Willie Wisher and to find his fellow Soldiers.

Legendary artist Howard Chaykin lent his pencils to this segment – superb art reminscent of the Shining Knight’s former pen man Frank Frazetta!

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

Super Friends #4, March, 1977

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Cover: Ramona Fradon and Bob Smith

“Riddles and Rockets”

Writer: E. Nelson Bridwell, Penciler: Ramona Fradon, Inker: Bob Smith

Editor: Dennis O’Neil, Executive Editor: Joe Orlando

From the Superfriends Wiki:

The SuperFriends must deal with the dual crimes of the Riddler and Skyrocket. The Riddler hacks the Trouble Alert with a riddle: “When does a WonderDog cause his master the most worry?” This sends Wonder Woman and Superman to the Museum of Music where they find Skyrocket robbing the place. Together they successfully thwart the crime, but Skyrocket escapes. “Meanwhile, in the Hall of Justice”, the Trouble Alert sounds off again and this time its Commissioner Gordon. He tells Batman and Robin that the Riddler has been spotted at the West Side Kennels. The Dynamic Duo rushes to the high-end kennels fearing that the Riddler will hold these dogs ransom for money. But have no fear, the crime is prevented, the henchmen are captured but the Riddler does escape.

(and by the way, the answer to the riddle is: ‘when he wonders where his dog is’. No one said Riddler was FUNNY …)

“Meanwhile, in the Hall of Justice”, the Riddler successfully infiltrates the Trouble Alert system again and provides another riddle: “Why is Wendy an unusual name?” Robin guess that its because the ‘end’ comes in the middle. This leads the SuperFriends to one of two locations: [1] Since a day ends at midnight, this may be a reference to Jeannine Gale’s performance at the Castle Theater that evening where she’ll perform her latest hit, ‘Midnight in the Andes.’ Or this could refer to [2] the performance of Romeo and Juliet that evening as well and specifically the murder of Mercutio (played by Sir Harvey Arden) who is killed in the middle of a five-act play. His end comes in the middle.

Robin and Wonder Woman head to the Castle Theater. And sure enough, Skyrocket appears. It is clear now that he nothing more than a petty thief. His crimes are prevented, but he escapes. Batman and Superman head to the performance of Romeo and Juliet and this time they capture the Riddler. They find out that he considered Skyrocket a rival, so he tried to put the SuperFriends on his trail so he could get away with his crimes. The heroes realize that he probably knows Skyrockets next criminal outing. He does. He answers them with yet another riddle: “Where does Marvin have a green thumb?”

Robin believes this is a reference to ‘Marvin Gardens’ from Monopoly Game. Wendy chimes in and say that ‘Marvin Gardens’ is in the same group as Atlantic Ave., Ventnor Ave., and the Water Works. Batman adds that there is a ship named Ventnor on the Atlantic at the water front docking in the water. Its cargo is the valuable Chromium. And their off…

They rush to the water front. This time they have plan. As Skyrocket flies over the water, several whales shoot up and out of the water effectively dousing him with several gallons of water. This renders him unable to fly and he plunges into the water, where Aquaman easily captures him.

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Kurt Busiek mentioned the Superfriend’s version of Skyrocket in the notes detailing his own creation: “Power Company: Skyrocket” #1, March 2002.

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The letter column reviews of issue #1 range from positive to scathing!

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!