Epic Beards of Review: Firestar #4 of 4 (Comic-a-Day 85/365)

comicadayFirestar #4 of 4, JUN 86, (writer) Tom DeFalco (artist) Mary Wilshire

I really wanted to like this. Honest. Trite and contrived, there’s really no story here. Each issue is Firestar defending Emma Frost, Emma Frost setting Firestar up, Firestar eating out of Emma’s hand. There’s no real action here (the entire series, really) save for the last few pages when Firestar figures out she’s been had, and then goes a little off the deep end.

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Epic Beards of Review: Firestar #3 of 4 (Comic-a-Day 84/365)

comicadayFirestar #3 of 4, MAY 86 (writer) Tom Defalco (artist) Mary Wilshire

This issue starts out with Firestar’s training. Even after three years, she’s still struggling with figuring out the use of her powers. Emma Frost is still putting the screws to her young protege, so perhaps there’s a part of her holding her back. As we do find out later, however, there’s a sinister game afoot.

Miss Frost has arranged for Firestar to visit her father for the first time since she started attending school. Tensions are high as she arrives home, her father struggling with his daughter’s descent into mutanthood. The vacation is cut short, and it is here that Miss Frost’s plan furthers.

There is another confrontation, this time in the airport, deviously scheduled by Miss Frost. Her lackeys do their due diligence, culminating in an unleashing of her mutant powers. Running back to school, Miss Frost’s plans will be coming to fruition before too long…

Epic Beards of Review: Firestar #2 of 4 (Comic-a-Day 83/365)

comicadayFirestar #2 of 4, APR 86 (writer) Tom DeFalco (artist) Mary Wilshire

The White Queen is a wicked one. You can just feel the tendrils sliding around inside of Firestar’s brain pan, and that’s even before she gets to using her mutant power. Emma Frost is setting this girl up right from the get-go, and you know it’s headed south before too long.

This issue starts off with with a healthy dose of Butter Rum (a horse, unfortunately, not a drink.) With as much focus DeFalco places on this horse, I’d a feeling things would go from bad to worse, because that’s what the evil headmaster of the Hellfire Club has got going on.

Miss Frost is keeping the rest of her prized students away from Firestar with the intention of causing a divisive rift between them. It works. Empath is certainly the worst of everyone’s problems, and is a special kind of jerk to her as they first meet. She trains Firestar alone, amping up the agony by pitting her against visions of Charles Xavier and Wolverine as she trains in Hellfire Club’s answer to the Danger Room.

Emma Frost also ups the ante by inviting the New Mutants to the school for a social mixer. Firestar catches the eye of Cannonball, and through a little prodding, they exit the dance hall and are left to their own devices. Miss Frost has her fingers in a few pies, making this an absolute train wreck.

Anxious to see what else she’s got in store for our heroine…

Epic Beards of Review: Firestar #1 of 4 (Comic-a-Day 82/365)

comicadayFirestar #1 of 4 Limited Series, MAR 86 (writer) Tom DeFalco (artist) Mary Wilshire

Suppose I thought I was over with mutants. Kind of glad I’m not yet. Aside from the warring factions between the X-Men and the Hellfire Club, this series gets off to a good start.

There’s nice set-up here getting us into the daily life of Angelica Jones. Gives us a lot to work with in regards to her motivation and movement into mutanthood. Home and school life are fertile ground for story progression.

We meet the family and witness firsthand the struggle of such. We see a large distinction between our heroine and those that would bully and do her harm. There’s much here from which to mine.

There’s a dichotomy between Professor Xavier and Emma Frost, one which I’m looking forward to seeing pan out. It had better, for sure. These comics lose something when they feel the need to bog us down with guest-stars.

Art and pacing are top-notch, paneling and Angelica’s use of her new-found powers. If I had one qualm, looking back I don’t think I should: I’ve not read much mutant comics, but I assumed powers would go come about all willy-nilly. I guess it just makes sense that they come and go, even in high times of stress.

Epic Beards of Review: Alpha Flight #37 (Comic-a-Day 81/365)

comicadayAlpha Flight #37, AUG 86 (writer) Bill Mantlo (artist) David Ross

This was a neat little package, though tied up poorly for a single issue. I know I can’t expect miracles, but this comes close.

We’re confronted this issue following the journals of Captain F.R. Crozier, chief science officer of a doomed expedition to finding the Northwest Passage. Ships are stuck, sailors are starving, and this sentence has a lot of the letter ‘S.’ They’re taking a 600 mile trek across the Arctic. Things are looking bleak, so Crozier takes himself a powder; however, it is specially concocted to slow his bodily functions to where he would need neither food or drink. His plan is to “die” in the ice as his shipmates continue without him. Unluckily for him, they give him a proper burial.

Years pass, and Snowbird is pregnant. Shaman is going to deliver the baby at a special place of power to do what regular science could not. Turns out he isn’t going to be able to, either, because his daughter Talisman wants today to be hers for revenge. She’s longed to humble her father for killing her mother and losing her own humanity. Oh, the humanity!

Things aren’t looking good, with or without Talisman. You got to research people. If there’s a dead guy buried under your place of power, it’s probably not the best place to be birthing a child from a demi-goddess. Talisman won’t help her father (who has inadvertently summoned Crozier) and she wants to step in and save the baby herself. The only problem: Crozier isn’t dead!

All these maggots and rust and other forms of decay attack Alpha Flight as they do the bidding of Captain Crozier. It also turns out that Talisman cannot control Crozier because he’s not yet a spirit. Bad juju, indeed.

Our issue ends (almost) as a tear is forming in Shaman’s eye, calling out for help having been made old and feeble by Crozier. That LAST page focuses on Atlantis and maybe some foreshadowing of things to come.

Epic Beards of Review: Daredevil #238 (Comic-a-Day 80/365)

comicadayDaredevil #238, JAN 87 (writer) Ann Nocenti (artists) Sal Buscema & Steve Leialoha

Now if there were one mini/crossover that I enjoyed (even through all the mutant zaniness) it was the Mutant Massacre. Sure, it was a little much with teammates all up in each others’ grills, but it was leading somewhere.

Not so with this issue.

You’ve got Sabretooth running around what’s left of the Morlock tunnels going through what Wolverine was during this time. Maybe something to do with the moon?

There’s a bit at the beginning where Daredevil saves some guy, but is harassed by him because Daredevil is upping the vigilante game so the punks up their game in return. This is only my second Daredevil issue, but I find it a little suspect that he can hear heartbeats from four blocks away.

Anyhow, Sabretooth is finding it hard to be the animal that he is. Or maybe that’s the man. He obviously remembers how to fight, though Daredevil gives him the what-for.

So yah, Mutant Massacre tie-in, but two references to anything that is/was going on. A bit of a shame.

Epic Beards of Review: The Avengers #266 (Comic-a-Day 79/365)

comicadayThe Avengers #266, APR 86 (writer) Roger Stern (artist) John Buscema

I suppose they needed an epilogue to Secret Wars II because there wasn’t enough junk crammed down my throat concerning this crossover maxi-event.

This is the aftermath, Molecule Man having defeated the Beyonder and the state of the Earth is in such upheaval, there may only be six hours left of life as we know it. Molecule Man lies in a coma, probably replaying in his head how he came to be such a heavy-hitter in not just one, but two secret wars.

The Avengers, Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer must somehow convince this villain to come through for them by using his powers to stitch the world back together, even if it means losing his powers.

Not a bad story overall, but too much talking, not enough action.

And hey, at least we didn’t have to deal with the Beyonder this issue!

Epic Beards of Review: Daredevil #223 (Comic-a-Day 78/365)

comicadayDaredevil #223, OCT 85 (writers) Denny O’Neil and Jim Shooter (artist) David Mazzucchelli

The Beyonder comes knocking on the door of Nelson and Murdock, Attorneys at Law. What he asks is ridiculous, but maybe not as ridiculous as seizing control of the planet by sheer force of will.

Again, I’ve not gotten more than a few glimpses of the character and none of them are the main mini, but it seems like pretty boring stuff. Exactly NONE of what I’m reading makes me want to read any more, even with the Hulk issue and this one. It’s not horrible, and they’ve brought The Beyonder front-and-center, even as goofy as it is, it’s not as bad as some I’ve read.

The Beyonder wants to legally and legitimately own Earth. Matt Murdock doesn’t want his filthy money, can’t even be sure he trusts the guy, but The Beyonder’s admiration for Murdock’s sense of justice greases his wheels.

Long story short, instead of money, he gives Murdock/Daredevil his sense of sight back. He and his ladyfriend have one of those movie days where they do everything there is to see, literally. They’re having such a good time until Murdock figures out that he values his sight more than the off-chance that this would compromise his sense of judgement.

Epic Beards of Review: The Avengers #260 (Comic-a-Day 77/365)

comicadayThe Avengers #260, OCT 85 (writer) Roger Stern (artist) John Buscema

After my disappointment over last night’s denouement featuring “the one from beyond” The Beyonder. It’s beyond me as to why this chump is getting any page-time, especially the goofiness that he tends to bring to a mere scene or two. Only two more issues in the Secret Wars II stack to go!

That being said, this mid-80s iteration of Avengers is a bit wonky. There’re only a half-dozen panels with Captain America in them, and I’m not sure who most of the members are. There are a few notables here, however: Quasar is said to helm her (?) new movie soon, Thanos will be a major villain in an Avengers movie, and Nebula was a high-profile addition to Guardians of the Galaxy.

Anyhow, Nebula has commandeered a starship named Sanctuary II and wreaking havoc across the galaxy. Firelord has been helping the Avengers, but he calls it quits once he learns they’re working with the Skrulls.

The Beyonder shows up towards the end like normal, strutting around in his white pantsuit, looking to “help” the Avengers. That help includes donning some goofy looking garb. Definitely a slap in the face to the rest of “normal” superhero community’s fashion sense.

I agree it’s just one issue out of many, but these team books have a lot going on in them. Too much to keep track of.

The Beyonder didn’t really ruin this issue, but it’s my duty to blame him anyhow.