Friday, October 30, 2015


Writer: Brad Mick* | Pencils: Pat Lee | Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia | Layout Assists: Ferd Poblete | Letters: Ben Lee
Colors: Espen Grundetjern, Alan Wang, Rob Ruffolo, Ramil Sunga & Pat Lee

The Plot: In the Vector Sigma chamber, Shockwave explains to Optimus Prime that 7.9 million years ago, after the Autobots and Decepticons led by Prime and Megatron departed Cybertron, the entire planet and all Transformers on it went into hibernation. Then, three thousand years ago, Shockwave awakened and set about reactivating the others and taking control of the planet. Meanwhile, Ultra Magnus slowly makes his way toward the chamber.

Outside, the Autobots and Decepticons fight while the ruling Autobot council debates whether to join the action. Meanwhile, Starscream, Soundwave, Rumble, Frenzy, Skywarp, and Thundercracker haul a quintet of deactivated Decepticons to the Autobot shuttle Sky Linx and attempt to leave the planet, but Sky Lynx has plans of his own.

Shockwave continues his story, claiming responsibility for the destruction of Ark II as a way to delay the Transformers' return to Cybertron, thus buying him more time to prepare his forces to invade Earth. Outside, the battle rages on as Grimlock joins the fray, followed in short order by the Autobot council.

Meanwhile, Shockwave declares that some secret knowledge about the history of the Transformer race lies buried on Earth and he intends to find it. But Ultra Magnus, sans his exterior armor, shows up and together he and Prime defeat Shockwave, sending him plummeting into a seemingly bottomless pit. Grimlock saves the pair and they exit Shockwave's citadel.

In deep space, Megatron's drifting body is found by a strange robot in a starship.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Stan Lee presents: STORM and the BLACK PANTHER

Writer/Co-Plotters/Artists: Chris Claremont, John Byrne & Bob McLeod
Letterer: Annette Kawecki | Colorist: Robbie Carosella
Editor: Denny O’Neil | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: In New York City, Ororo “Storm” Monroe is winged by an assassin’s bullet. She changes into costume and corners the shooter, getting him to admit the name of his employer: Andreas de Ruyter. This causes Storm to flash back to her childhood, when she met young Prince T’Challa while traveling south from Cairo, and helped him escape de Ruyter and his men.

In the present, Storm visits New York’s Wakandan embassy, where T’Challa -- now the king of Wakanda called the Black Panther -- greets her. Storm explains the situation and the Panther tracks de Ruyter to a mansion on Long Island. Storm and the Panther infiltrate the mansion but are assaulted by a monstrous robot. They defeat it and continue on their path, eventually finding de Ruyter, dead thanks to a mental link he shared with his robot.

As the authorities arrive to clean up, Storm and the Black Panther part ways.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Seven years ago this month, Roy Thomas and Ross Andru began a triumphant new chapter in the life of the amazing Spider-Man, with the creation of MARVEL TEAM-UP. Today, that milestone is both celebrated and reaffirmed as…
Stan Lee presents: SPIDER-MAN and RED SONJA!

Author/Co-Plotters/Penciler: Chris Claremont & John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin | Letterer: Tom Orzechoswki | Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Allen Milgrom | Consulting Editor: Roy Thomas | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: At the New York Metropolitan Muesum of Art, a night watchman is tempted by an ancient amulet and picks it up. Meanwhile, Spider-Man arrives at the Daily Bugle and changes into Peter Parker for the Bugle’s Christmas party. Mary Jane Watson is present as well, to surprise Peter, but his revelry is short-lived when Robbie Robertson orders Peter and reporter Charley Snow to the Museum to investigate something strange. Mary Jane sneaks into their car and tags along, to their irritation.

At the museum, a pillar of crimson flame projects up into the sky. Peter ducks away from Charley and MJ to change into Spider-Man, and enters the museum to check it out. But Mary Jane, sick of constantly being left behind by Peter, goes in as well. Inside, while Spider-Man is assaulted by a group of monsters, Mary Jane comes across a glowing sword and picks it up. It transforms her into Red Sonja and she comes to Spider-Man’s aid.

The sorcerer Kulan Gath, an enemy of Sonja’s, reveals himself and captures both heroes. They awaken shortly, chained to large slabs, which Kulan begins to lower into a boiling pit. Spider-Man manages to free himself, destroying the pit, then rescues Sonja. The fight continues and leaves the museum, where Sonja and Gath are both shocked to see how the world has changed. Spider-Man takes advantage of Gath’s confusion and knocks him out, grabbing the glowing amulet from his neck in the process. Gath reverts to the form of the night watchman, while Sonja changes back to Mary Jane.

The next morning, Peter takes the Staten Island Ferry out onto the water and flings the amulet out to sea.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Writer: Brad Mick* | Pencils: Pat Lee | Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia | Layout Assists: Ferd Poblete | Letters: Ben Lee
Colors: Espen Grundetjern, Pat Lee, Alan Wang, Rob Ruffalo, Ramil Sunga & Gary Yeung

The Plot: Optimus Prime leads the Autobot resistance to retake Iacon, as Hot Rod recalls the chain of events which led to this moment, recapping Prime concocting a plan of attack and uniting all of Cybertron's disparate resistance cells under one banner. Meanwhile, Perceptor provides Ultra Magnus with a damage report on the Dinobots and Magnus orders them repaired. Elsewhere, Shockwave is fully repaired following his fight with Grimlock and emerges from regeneration to find Iacon under siege. As he orders a counterattack, Starscream infiltrates Iacon's "monitor womb", where he's joined by Soundwave.

Ultra Magnus confronts Shockwave about the Stunticons' escape and Shockwave blasts him. Starscream broadcasts the altercation to the rest of Cybertron and an enraged Optimus Prime storms Shockwave's citadel alone. There he finds Ultra Magnus mortally wounded. With his dying breath, Magnus directs Prime toward Shockwave's escape route. Prime follows a hidden tunnel underground to find Shockwave waiting in the Vector Sigma chamber. Shockwave defeats Prime and seizes the Matrix of Leadership, which he uses to unlock Vector Sigma, an ancient supercomputer, as the remaining Transformers look on via Starscream's spy footage.

The Matrix releases a burst of energy which leaves Cybertron and, unknown to the Transformers, makes contact with the all-powerful Unicron. While, closer to home, Ultra Magnus's corpse is bathed with Matrix energy and he reawakens.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Stan Lee presents SPIDEY and POWER MAN -- together!

Plot: Chris Claremont | Script: Ralph Macchio | Pencils: John Byrne
Inks: Al Gordon | Letters: Tom Orzechowski | Colors: Michele Wolfman
Editor: Bob Hall | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: Trapped in a burning tenement, Spider-Man passes out from smoke inhalation and flashes back to how he wound up there: As Peter Parker, he attended the opening of a new disco, Studio 13, with Mary Jane Watson, but the place was raided by a gang called the Rat Pack. Luke Cage, also in attendance, fought back against the gang as Peter changed into Spider-Man. But the Rat Pack took a girl hostage and escaped. Cage knew where to find their hideout in the Bronx however, and led Spider-Man there. The heroes attacked the Rat Pack and in the ensuing scuffle a fire started.

Back in the present, Cage rescues Spider-Man from the flames, then the two heroes team up with the New York Fire Department to rescue civilians. Spider-Man saves a firefighter trapped in a cherry picker and lowers him to the ground, but, still weakened, gets caught on the roof of the building with the fire chief. Meanwhile, the other firefighters tell Cage he must bring the burning building down in order to save the block. Cage does so, knowing he will kill Spider-Man and the chief in the process, but the web-slinger regains his strength and gets both of them to safety.

Later, the firefighter Spider-Man rescued from the cherry picker is rushed to the hospital with third degree burns, while Spider-Man and Cage marvel at the courage of the New York Fire Department.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Stan Lee presents: SPIDEY and THOR -- together!

Author: Chris Claremont | Penciler: John Byrne | Inker: Tony DeZuniga
Letterer: Annette Kawecki | Colorist: Phil Rache | Editor: Jim Shooter

The Plot: The Living Monolith rampages through Manhattan and hurls Spider-Man toward the street below, but Thor arrives to rescue the web-slinger. He deposits Spider-Man on a rooftop then takes off to battle the Monolith. The Monolith proves too powerful even for the Thunder God, so Spider-Man suggests freeing Havok to cut off the symbiotic connection between the two mutants. But the Monolith reveals that Havok’s pod is booby-trapped.

As the Monolith and Thor continue their clash in New York Harbor, Spider-Man locates the pod, subdues the Monolith’s men as they attempt to load it into a car to escape, and uses his spider-sense to defuse the trap. Havok is freed and the Monolith reverts to normal, but escapes in the aftermath of a storm created by Thor. Havok remembers that Lorna Dane fell into the sea when the couple was first attacked by the Living Pharaoh’s men, and Thor promises to get Havok back to Muir Island by nightfall.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


It's another Marvelous month hereabouts, with two books from the House of Ideas joining my collection. Leading off is Marvel's first entry into their Epic Collection line for the Hulk, INCREDIBLE HULK EPIC COLLECTION: GHOST OF THE PAST. This book collects HULK issues 397 - 406 plus associated annuals and other materials. Not coincidentally, and in a nice touch from Marvel's collected editions folks, this book picks up exactly where the abandoned HULK VISIONARIES: PETER DAVID line left off more than four years ago.

The other item this month is the STAR WARS: THE ORIGINAL MARVEL YEARS OMNIBUS Volume 3, which concludes Marvel's effort to reprint their original STAR WARS comic book series in a trio of big hardcovers. But besides the remaining issues of the ongoing series, mostly by Mary Jo Duffy and Cynthia Martin, the real draw for me here is additional material from Marvel U.K. and a few other sources, produced around the same time as the earlier issues of the ongoing, and written by Archie Goodwin.

Marvel really fast-tracked this STAR WARS series, releasing all three volumes in one year, just in time for the upcoming THE FORCE AWAKENS motion picture. The funny thing is, normally I'm all in favor of quick releases like this, but I think I could've easily waited longer between STAR WARS volumes because I'm reading the series one issue a week to keep up with Teebore's review series at Gentlemen of Leisure (though at the moment I'm a couple weeks behind). But I will never actually complain about a fast-track pattern, since in general it's something I'd like to see more of from Marvel.

And that covers October!

Friday, October 16, 2015


Writer: Brad Mick* | Pencils: Pat Lee | Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia | Layout Assists: Ferd Poblete
Colors: Espen Grundetjern, Alan Wang, & Gary Yeung | Letters: Ben Lee

The Plot: The Stunticons, united as Menasor, rampage through Cybertron's Quadrant Epsilon. Ultra Magnus and his team eventually take them out. Meanwhile, the Dinobots lay siege to Iacon and Grimlock corners Shockwave and Blitzwing. Elsewhere, the escaped Autobots are introduced to Smokescreen, a member of the Autobot resistance, who takes Prowl and Ironhide to meet other resistance members.

Meanwhile, Optimus Prime comes around in a different resistance cell's headquarters, where he meets some of its members, including Hot Rod. In Iacon, the Dinobots are defeated one by one by Ultra Magnus. Back at resistance HQ, Optimus Prime is introduced to the rest of Hot Rod's cell. Soon Smokescreen arrives with Springer, Prowl, and Ironhide, and reports that Shockwave has released the city's sentinel robots.

Continuity Notes: Ultra Magnus directly refers to Optimus Prime as his brother in the story's opening pages. After the fight, Ultra Magnus's men find a blaster belonging to Rumble or Frenzy in the detention center wreckage.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Stan Lee presents SPIDER-MAN and HAVOK!

Author: Chris Claremont | Penciler: John Byrne | Inker: Ricardo Villamonte
Letterer: John Costanza | Colorist: Mary Titus | Editor: Archie Goodwin

The Plot: On Muir Island, off the coast of Scotland, Alex “Havok” Summers and Lorna “Polaris” Dane are assaulted by agents of Alex’s old nemesis, the Living Pharaoh. Lorna is knocked into the sea while Alex is kidnapped. Meanwhile, in New York, Peter Parker is working late in the ESU science lab when he notices more of the Living Pharaoh’s men stealing something from a professor’s office. Peter changes to Spider-Man but the men escape; however the wall-crawler tags their skycraft with a spider-tracer.

Meanwhile, Lorna has emerged from the sea and attempts to call the X-Men for help, but no one answers. She next calls former X-Man/current Avenger the Beast, who dashes out of Avengers Mansion to find the X-Men.

Elsewhere, Spider-Man tracks down the Living Pharaoh’s men at a Middle Eastern embassy and frees Havok. Together they take out the goons, but the Pharaoh himself arrives, subdues Spider-Man and recaptures Havok. The Pharaoh places Havok in a pod, but Spider-Man interferes again. The two men fight and Spider-Man wins, but inadvertently knocks the pod closed, which cuts off Havok’s connection with the solar rays that grant him his powers, thereby transforming the Living Pharaoh into the massive Living Monolith.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Stan Lee presents: SPIDER-MAN and MAN-THING!

Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Bruce Patterson | Colorist: Phil Rache | Editor: Archie Goodwin

The Plot: Spider-Man observes Man-Thing inside a habitat at a circus, then flashes back to earlier that night when, as Peter Parker, he and Mary Jane Watson attended the circus and were almost roughed up when Peter accused the circus’s owner of kidnapping and holding the beast against its will. Then, in the present once more, Spider-Man meets a sympathetic guard and busts Man-Thing out over the protestations of the owner and his goons.

Thanks to Dr. Curt Connors, Spider-Man flies Man-Thing down to Florida aboard a chartered plane, but the craft is shot down over the swamp. Leaving the plane’s pilot and co-pilot to await rescue, Spider-Man follows Man-Thing into the swamp to what appears to be a decrepit shack. But in actuality, the building is a massive mystical tower under the control of the villainous D’Spayre.

D’Spayre apparently kills Man-Thing, then uses his powers of fear on Spider-Man. But when Man-Thing reappears and is slain over and over by D’Spayre, constantly regenerating himself only to die again, Spider-Man overcomes D’Spayre’s magic and beats the villain to a pulp. The tower’s inhabitants, Dakimh the Enchanter and his apprentice, Jennifer Kale, stop Spider-Man and banish the tower to another dimension.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Hardcover, 2006. Collects 1975-1980's GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1, UNCANNY X-MEN #94-131, and UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #3.

Well that's pretty straightforward, isn't it? Long before the X-Men became a bloated franchise with a dozen or more titles on sale each and every month, there was simply UNCANNY X-MEN. (Technically back then it was just called X-MEN, but I'll call it UNCANNY throughout all collected edition reviews to avoid confusion with 1991's sister title, X-MEN.)

This is the first printing of the first edition of the UNCANNY X-MEN OMNIBUS. I believe the first edition had a second printing at some point, and there's a more recent second edition which has something like one extra model sheet in the back, but for our purposes I'm covering the original, released in 2006 when Marvel's Omnibus program was in its infancy. The physical descriptions at the end may not be of much help to anyone looking to pick up the current printing of this volume, but my coverage of the contents should be accurate to what you'd get if you went out and grabbed the second edition.

And what of the contents? Well, as I've said before, although the X-Men of the nineties are the X-Men I grew up with, and are technically "my" X-Men... the X-Men of the seventies through the early eighties are the X-Men, as far as I'm concerned -- and what we have here is a handsome collection of their earliest adventures.

Since there's only one series collected here, with one "giant size" issue and one annual, the contents are pretty straightforward: We begin with GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1, then proceed with UNCANNY X-MEN issues 94 - 124, ANNUAL #3, and finally issues 125 - 131.

Friday, October 9, 2015


Writer: Brad Mick* | Pencils: Pat Lee | Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia | Layout Assists: Ferd Poblete
Colors: Espen Grundetjern, Alan Wang, & Gary Young | Letters: Paul Villafuerte

The Plot: In the past, somewhere on Cybertron, Shockwave is attacked by Sharkticons and rescued by Scourge. In the present, Shockwave has the ancient Autobot Alpha Trion prisoner. On Earth, Jazz's team searches Alaska for Scourge's pod, but finds no trace of him or of it. They are secretly observed by human military operatives who have captured Scourge.

The Dinobots crash-land on Cybertron, observed by Autobots Hot Rod, Blurr, and Springer. Meanwhile, Shockwave sends Rumble and Frenzy on a secret mission, then argues with Ultra Magnus over the fates of the captured Autobots. Elsewhere, the Dinobots are found by Decepticons Octane and Sixshot. In a Decepticon detention center, Rumble and Frenzy carry out Shockwave's mission -- freeing the captive Stunticons -- but are stopped on their way out by Starscream.

An Autobot council debates Perceptor's recent findings that Shockwave's machinations may be behind Cybertron drifting through space. Ultra Magnus urges them to challenge Shockwave's authority, but the meeting is interrupted when it's discovered the Stunticons are wreaking havoc elsewhere. Ultra Magnus gathers a team to stop the escaped prisoners.

The Dinobots, having defeated Octane and hijacked Sixshot, head for parts unknown. Meanwhile, Shockwave orders the Autobots brought to him while Ultra Magnus is occupied. But Autobot loyalists free the prisoners instead, taking Optimus Prime one way and the rest of his team another. Meanwhile, the Dinobots lay siege to Iacon. In tunnels beneath Cybertron, Prime's guide, Sandstorm, is killed by the Decepticon Runabout, who is in turn eaten by a Sharkticon which turns its attention to Optimus.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


LUKE CAGE: a child of the streets… DANIEL RAND: a son of the mystic city of K’un-Lun… Two men from different worlds—both reborn with strength and power beyond belief! And together, no one can stop them!

Author: Chris Claremont | Artists: John Byrne & Dan Green
Lettering: Denise Wohl | Coloring: Francoise Mouly | Editor: Archie Goodwin

The Plot: At Jeryn Hogarth’s luxury apartment, a party is held to celebrate Luke Cage’s exoneration. Misty Knight and Colleen Wing offer him a position with their company, Nightwing Restorations, but Cage declines. Moments later, Cage’s girlfriend, Claire Temple, breaks up with him, having been used as a pawn against Cage one time too many.

Cage’s heartbreak is short-lived as his old foes, Stiletto and Discus, crash the party. The vigilantes believe Cage has dodged the law and want him dead. Danny Rand changes to Iron Fist to assist Cage against his enemies. The fight heads outside, where Iron Fist is nearly killed. Meanwhile, Cage takes out Discus. The arrival of the police startles Stiletto, who shoots Lt. Rafael Scarfe. Believing Scarfe dead, Misty prepares to execute Stiletto, but Cage stops her.

Scarfe, alive, chastises Misty and then Cage, Iron Fist, and the Daughters of the Dragon enjoy some champagne in the ruined apartment as Cage accepts the offer to join Nightwing Restorations.

Monday, October 5, 2015


Stan Lee presents: SPIDEY and TIGRA!

Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Dave Hunt
Letterer: Annette Kawecki | Colorist: Dave Hunt | Editor: Archie Goodwin

The Plot: Suffering from insomnia, Spider-Man swings over Manhattan. He is lured into a trap and captured by Kraven the Hunter, and awakens later in Kraven’s lair to find the villain has Tigra the were-woman in his thrall. Kraven sics Tigra on Spider-Man, but the web-slinger breaks the villain’s control over her.

Kraven retreats, revealing his lair to be an abandoned animal park, still fully populated by a number of beasts, which Kraven sets on a stampede toward the heroes. Tigra reaches Kraven but he beats her; however Spider-Man catches up and saves Tigra’s life. The wall-crawler is nearly run over by Kraven’s animals but survives, after which he knocks the Hunter out.

Continuity Notes: Spider-Man last battled Kraven in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #2.

The webbed wonder recognizes Tigra from the Daily Bugle’s files. He was under the impression she was working with the Fantastic Four, but a footnote states she only associated with them for issues 177 – 183 of their magazine.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


As I typed up my review of the X-MEN/AVENGERS: ONSLAUGHT OMNIBUS last week, I got to thinking: I've reviewed the UNCANNY X-MEN OMNIBUS volume 2 and the X-MEN: INFERNO PROLOGUE hardcover. Why haven't I covered the UNCANNY X-MEN OMNIBUS volume 1 or the proper X-MEN: INFERNO volume? For that matter, I've wanted for some time to write about the X-MEN BY CLAREMONT & LEE OMNIBUS collections. So to those ends, I've decided I might as well tackle all my X-Men hardcovers!*

This isn't going to be a regularly scheduled thing, though. My plan is to do roughly one book per month, but on no set date (other than that they will be on Sundays). I'll aim for somewhere around the first couple weeks of the month, but that won't always happen depending on other scheduled items. I'm going to go in chronological order, so we'll start next weekend with UNCANNY X-MEN OMNIBUS volume 1. Then it's a big jump to ASGARDIAN WARS and MUTANT MASSACRE in one go, and it'll be on from there, until we get all the way up to the mid/late nineties with OPERATION: ZERO TOLERANCE.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Writer: Brad Mick* | Pencils: Pat Lee | Inks: Rob Armstrong
Backgrounds: Edwin Garcia | Layout Assists: Ferd Poblate
Colors: Espen Grundetjern & Alan Wang | Letters: Paul Villafuerte

The Plot: Ultra Magnus's team surrounds Autobot headquarters and demands the Autobots' surrender. Meanwhile, the Decepticons return to Cybertron, where Shockwave prepares to reintegrate them into society. On Earth, Optimus Prime surrenders his forces to Ultra Magnus, but not before secretly dispatching seven of his warriors to nearby Portland for an unknown purpose.

On Cybertron, chief scientist Perceptor finds that the planet has left its orbit and is moving. Meanwhile, Shockwave explains to the Deceptions that all Transformers now possess energy converters which allow the planet itself to provide them with unlimited power. On Earth, Ultra Magnus loads the captured Autbots aboard his shuttle, where they're reunited with Prowl's group, and takes off. In the Arctic, Grimlock finds a secret Decepticon base where Megatron was constructing a space shuttle, and sees his fellow Dinobots there as well, in stasis.

On Cyberton, most of the Decepticons join Shockwave's cause, while Starscream plots against him and captures Soundwave. Ultra Magnus makes his final approach to the planet and is informed by Shockwave that the Autobots will be deactivated upon landing.