Cancelled Comics Commentary for 1998
Book of Fate #12 (DC): the continuation of the series
starring Jared Stevens in the role of the wizard usually known
as Doctor Fate, this didn't fare any better, and soon after it
ended, Stevens was killed off when the JSA began a year later.
In other words, they repeated the same errors made when Kent and
Inza Nelson were slain a few years before too. Very sad.
Ghost Rider #93 (Marvel): By
far one of the most bizarre creations Marvel could come up with
during the Bronze Age (initially inspired during the late 1960's by
a horse-riding character they'd introduced in a western series) a
crimefighter named Johnny Blaze who could turn into a creature that
looked like it had a flaming skull, the series protagonist was the
son of a champion motorcycle racer who'd developed a facination with
the occult, who, desperate to save his stepfather, Crash Simpson,
from dying of a rare blood disease, made a Faustian deal with the
Marvel version of Mephisto to save him.
Wow. Now that's an amazing premise for starters, right? But only the
beginning. Mephisto, coming to snatch Johnny's soul from him
following a daredevil cycle stunt at the racetrack, told him he'd
only agree to save his stepfather's life, nothing more. But before
he could take possesion of Johnny's soul, Roxanne Simpson, Crash's
daughter, came to the rescue, using a banishment spell that she'd
read in one of the occult books Blaze was using, and while Mephisto
was forced to leave without succeeding in taking Blaze's soul, he
did manage to graft the essence of the demon Zarathos to Blaze's
body. And Zarathos was an entity who attacked human souls, and in
order to capture Zarathos, as he did many centuries ago, Mephisto
stole the soul of an American Indian now known as Centurious. When
Zarathos' attack on Centurious proved ineffective, the demon's
followers lost faith in him, and Mephisto was then able to steal the
living flames that was Zarathos' soul. Over the centuries Mephisto
amused himself by placing the essence of Zarathos within various
human hosts, with Johnny Blaze being the latest.
The effect was that Johnny had a seperate personality dwelling
within him, that usually manifested itself at nighttime, or when
there was danger and evil in the vicinity, turning Johnny into a
skeletic creature, with the cycle part explaining the name here. He
could usually control the composite form, but Zarathos later tried
to take over and dominate him instead. Eventually, Johnny and
Zarathos seperated and went their seperate ways, but later, when
teenager Dan Ketch, who turned out to be a long-lost brother of
Johnny's, discovered the Ghost Rider motorcycle, things came around
This ran for close to 8 years, but it never really caught on in the
end. It later came back as a Marvel Knights miniseries, but
that turned out to be pretty uneventful as well. It's a very bizarre
concept alright, but not the cup of tea for everyone.
Ninjak #12 vol. 2
(Acclaim): another volume chronicling the adventures of the ninja
spy who was really a British playboy named Colin King, but for
reasons mentioned in the 1995 files,
that's why this is something I'll pass upon. It may have stopped
publication mostly due to the collapse the speculator market brought
upon the comics world at the time, and the reasons I gave for
avoiding it could certainly be why to give it a miss today.
Superboy and the Ravers #19
(DC): Wouldn't you know, the Boy of Steel got a spinoff co-starring
a bunch of crimefighters vaguely reminicient of the Legion in the
30th century, in a team-up title of their own. They were called the
Ravers, their members being part of the earth's meta-clique, and
their purpose was to travel around the universe looking for places
to party, in pure fun-filled fashion. The leader of the group was
Kindred Marx, and, as Superboy found out, he ran this concept mostly
in hopes of finding his would-be bride, Kindred Sol. Raves were
something she enjoyed, and Marx hoped this would help to allure
Sol's interests. The rest of the Ravers included Aura, a metahuman
girl framed by her father for the murder of her mother, since he
hated both of them for being metas, Hal-Life, a teenager who was
first born in the 1950's who'd survived an alien spacecraft that
crashed on and killed his family, but with alien ectoplasmic powers
added to him, Hero, as he was called, whose background was fuzzy,
but whose power was the use of an "Achilles vest" to create force
shields with, Kaliber, a renegade Qwardian and the only Raver not
from earth, and even, get this, Rex the Wonder Dog!
It certainly does sounds like a very funky concept for Superboy to
co-star in. But, it didn't win the same success his own solo series
did (my assumption is that Hero's being written out of PC lunacy as
a closet case may have helped to doom it as a family-friendly
title), and was put to an end after a year and a half. It's a shame,
since it did seem to have some good assets of entertainment to find
in it, most certainly Aura, who looked adorable with
black-dyed-purple hair, and it was certainly a fun idea for them to
Deep Space Nine #15 (Marvel): In 1996, Marvel aquired
the rights to publishing Star
Trek based comics from the now defunct Malibu Comics,
which they took over (and took apart), and two years later, in
all their financial strappings, they put the entire line they
were working on to rest. This one, based on the first spinoff
from the The Next Genration,
was one of the first of what they were putting out at the time
to bite the bullet that year, and I have to say, it's sad, given
that, as mentioned in the files for 1996, the franchise is on a
decline, and sadly so.
I know, I know, what goes up must come down sooner or later, but
even so, it's just so depressing when some of the greatest of
classics end up on the retirement shelf in the end.
Star Trek: Voyager #15
(Marvel): The second Trek comic from Marvel to get the axe, just
like the above. Now that Capt. Janeway and her crew have found
their way back to our galaxies since 2001, and the series on
television has since ended, any such series in comics has now
been rendered unnecassary.
Ghost #36 vol. 1 (Dark
Horse): first appearing in a special anthology called Comics Greatest World, the
heroine here was the ghost of a reporter who'd been slain in an
attempt to cover up a crime that had been committed. In a kind of
nod to Superman and Supergirl, her weakness was jade, which hampered
her ability to phase through objects properly. This is also one of
the earliest series I know of that was oddly relaunched in another
volume soon after cancellation, and from an indie company, no less.
Why I have no idea, because I don't think relaunches are helping
anymore in boosting sales and the book had already been successful
enough when it first began.
Xero #12 (DC): This was
some kind of a spy series written by Christopher Priest, but I know
very little about it.
No data, but no matter.
Elektra #19 (Marvel): Before the
Marvel Knights take on Daredevilís near-famous femme fatale, this
version was tried out, which had her getting assistance from Doctor
Strange in a few cases (not to mention he once astrally communicated
with her while she was in the shower, heh). But while Elektra
Nachios, I will be honest, is indeed an appealing lady, and the
artwork for her on a coverscan like the one next to this writing is
even sexier than how she's been drawn in the MK series if you ask
me, this just didnít work out, and was cancelled after a year and a
Oh, and do you know why I find it sexier than most of Greg Horn's
covers for the MK series? Because it look just like a comics
character, and not like some painting in an art gallery or in a
museum, that's why! Mind you, I'm not saying that Horn is a bad
artist for good girl art, and the artwork for the MK series' covers
is certainly a lot better than the ludicrous covers he drew for -
gasp! - an ongoing series with White Queen Emma Frost of the X-Men,
but with the exception of the Elektra covers he drew so far,
most of his other cover drawings have almost nothing else to give
them some meaning. They're vapid, to be honest, and in the case of
Emma Frost, whom I'm becoming less impressed with as a character
every day now, it's worthless.
I do know this though - I like Psylocke of the X-Men just as
much as Elektra if we were to talk sexy brunettes with sexy ninja
outfits in the MCU, thatís for sure.
Journey Into Mystery #521
(Marvel): With this issue, this series that began way back in the
Shadow Age, the precursor to the Silver Age, officially came to a
close. As mentioned in the files for cancelled
titles from 1996, this had already changed its name to The
Mighty Thor back in 1966, under which Marvel published it for
30 years, then, when they tried to do the Heroes Reborn
stint, which was a disaster (and can be read about some more in the
1997 in this section), they cancelled it, in a manner of
speaking, and reverted it back to JIM again for two more years.
Given how bad Heroes Reborn
was, I can't tell you how glad I am that since then, the god of
thunder is now back in the MCU as we know it following Heroes
Return, and has since then returned to his crimefighting
activities (and even ascended the throne of Odin in the kingdom of
Asgard) once again. All's well that ends well...I think.
Magnus, Robot Fighter #18
(Acclaim): third attempt at an ongoing with this hero originally
from Gold Key, and but due to how the market was tanking at the
time, this had a very short shelf life.
Shadowman #20 Vol. 2
(Acclaim): this second series featured a different protagonist named
Zero, of all things. It was much darker and more violent than its
predecessor, which is mentioned in the 1995 files.
Maybe that's why it eventually petered out.
Star Trek: Early Voyages #17
(Marvel): A prequel-like series chronicling the adventures of
Captain Pike, the Starfleet captain first seen in the original
series, whose first story was initially intended as a series pilot
for the first one, but was never actually realized, and was instead
written later as part of the series that did debut with Captain
James Kirk, played of course by William Shatner. It's a shame, since
it could've been an interesting chance to see even Kirk's
predecessor in action.
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #19
(Marvel): A series that focused on one of the most interesting parts
of the world of Trekdom, this series was mainly about the academy
where space cadets enrolling in the the program for training
prospective future members of Starfleet. A most intriguing
experiment indeed, that unfortunately ended due to Marvel's
financial woes. Meaning, in other words, that we don't get to see
anybody graduating from college, or any diplomas being given out to
Star Trek Unlimited #10
(Marvel): This series featured stories starring both the old and the
new crews of the original series and of The Next Generation. And another Marvel published
Trek series to get the axe that month. Sigh. If there was to be a
team-up of the old and new here, I'll bet it would've been a lot
better than the Generations
movie that was made in 1994.
WildC.A.T.S #50 (Wildstorm/Image): this was one of the first
series launched under the Wildstorm imprint, and it chronicled the
adventures of a superhero team comprised mostly of half-alien,
half-human protagonists called Kherubim, who were enmeshed in a long
war with an alien race called Daemonites. It was scripted mostly by
writers like Chris Claremont, Alan Moore, and James Robinson, the
latter whom I've already become very disillusioned with. There was
also a brief revival that can be seen in the 2004 files.
X-O Manowar #21 vol. 2
(Acclaim): the reboot of this series used a different premise than
the first volume did, featuring a modern scientist named Donovan
Wylie who managed a suit of armor captured from nazi Germany during
WW2, that was discovered to have been worn by a whole myriad of
warriors throughout the ages. And this was a very tricky form of
armor, since it could graft itself to a person's body. This was
another product that also made its way into video games and had a
co-starring role in the same medium with Iron Man.
Challengers of the Unknown #18 vol. 2
(DC): An attempt to revive the classic adventure series penned by
Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, this volume, written by Steven Grant, had
the team investigating the usual sci-fi and supernatural that
menaced the earth.
Sadly, it just didn't catch on with readers, which is a shame. The
series concept, which preceded Fantastic
Four by about 4 years, was also one of the first ongoing at
the time of the Silver Age to offer full-length adventures, even
before Teen Titans as
penned by Bob Haney would certainly take that approach.
It was revived as a miniseries years later in 1991, one of the first
books written by Jeph Loeb, when he was first starting out in comics
writing, in which they tried to do it as a satire, but was simply
not successful in its attempt to reinvent their background,
satirically or not, and was probably swept under the rug when Zero Hour took place.
There's been a miniseries since the cancellation of this second
volume, written by Howard Chaykin, that's given the characters
another try, but who knows if it'll ever be able to have the chance
that the FF's now got again? What a shame that DC's series has to
end up falling short of Marvel's.
Marvel Team-Up #11 vol. 2 (Marvel):
An attempt to revive the classic series that usually starred
Spider-Man alongside other notable characters in the MCU, this had
some potential to it, and Tom Peyer was a good choice for writer,
but fans didn't seem to take to it with the same enthusiasm as they
did years before, and it never went anywhere in terms of sales.
Of course, while the old series that ran for 13 years did have it
moments of fun, and not to worry, it wasn't entirely excluded to
having Spider-Man as its main star character for others to team up
with (having the April 1975 issue of the series at home, which
teamed the Human Torch with Daimon Hellstrom, that can certainly
attest to that), it did have its downsides too, since, as some
readers argued, it didn't seem very consistant at all times with
continuity as dealt with in various other series throughout the MCU
(an early argument on continuity, and aside from being an admirable
and understandable argument, it's shows that fans are alert to such
things, and I'm proud whenever they do), and then of course, there
was that awful 1974 issue by Gerry Conway called "The City Stealers!", which
teamed Spidey with Hercules, and ran a ridiculous farce of an
adventure in which an army of robots manned by an oddly timid
mad-scientist type of character tried to make off with the whole of
Manhattan and hold it for millions in ransom! And if you think
that's silly, you haven't lived till you've seen Herc put the island
back in position facing the wrong
way! It's since been written off as a big fib once told by
Herc, who's been known to boast more than a bit at times, and who
does tend to be something of a loose cannon comedian too.
Still, there were some good points to it as well: the premiere
issue, written in March 1972 by Roy Thomas, introduced Misty Knight
in a cameo appearance, and when teaming Spidey with the Human Torch,
as the first issue also did, there were some good episodes to find
This volume, while it did begin with Spidey in its first issue, did
have its moments without resorting to our friendly, neighborhood
wall-crawler, such as in some issues here that starred Sub-Mariner
alongside either the Thing or Iron Man, which certainly was a good
move on the part of the writers, so not to overexpose Spidey too
much. What a shame then that it never got the attention it could've
(For the record, Marvel
Two-in-One, also published in the 1970's, was another
anthology series that starred the ever lovin' blue eyed Thing of the
FF. That too was definitely fun.)
Since then however, there's come another volume, written by Robert
Kirkman, and which'll hopefully do better. And the third volume,
even more ideally, didn't start with anything involving Spidey.
Sovereign Seven #36 (DC):
This was a creator-controlled concept written by Chris Claremont,
and drawn by Dwayne Turner. The basic premise was about a bunch of
aliens exiled to Earth, where they battled with various villains
menacing the planet while working out of a cafeteria that borrows an
element or two from the old Doctor
Who series: the cafe looks bigger on the inside than on the
outside, and it even served as a portal to other dimensions.
The members of the team were Cascade, Network, Finale, Rampart,
Reflex, Cruiser and Indigo. There was one problem though: the series
used the Islamic religion as a superficial plot device in its
presentation of Rampart as the prince of an Islamic society. This
character was seen as attractive to several local girls. Given that
in Sura 4:23-24 of the Quran, it says, ďForbidden to you are ... married women, except those
whom you own as slavesĒ, that's why I find this superficial
presentation of the Religion of Peace ludicrous.
Maybe Claremont realized this, which is why later on, Rampart was
dropped from the series and in his place arose the more ideal choice
of Power Girl. The series went on a little longer and was then
cancelled with the 36th issue, and as it ended, it was revealed that
the whole story had been written by two women living in the DCU,
which was how they thought to ensure that this was all a
creator-owned property and would not affect the DCU in any way. And
that's how it went at the time.
I really don't know if we're likely to see much creator-owned
properties from Claremont again in the forseeable future, given how
his career has been flagging of late, and there's no telling if
we'll ever see Sovereign Seven again either.
Star Trek: Untold Voyages #5
(Marvel): The last of Marvel's Trek comics to get the axe that year,
this was set between events that took place - get this - the first
movie of Trek from 1979 (The
Motion Picture), and the second one from 1982 (The Wrath of Khan)! And I guess
you could say that it had the distinction of being the
shortest-lived one of all the ongoings that were published around
then. Great. Another potentially interesting idea besides Early
Voyages to bite the bullet due to financial woes.
Steel #52 (DC): John Henry Irons, the Afro-American
crimefighter who built a suit of armor not unlike Tony Stark/Iron
Man over at Marvel, was one of a few characters introduced during
1993, at the time the Death and Return of Superman storyline went to
press that lasted a year. He was an almost family kind of guy, who
became a crimefighter around the time of Dan Jurgens's Death of
Superman story, working as Metropolis' resident superhero
until the Man of Tomorrow was thankfully saved from death and
returned to his duties as the DCU's leading superhero, and one
difference that John had from Iron Man was that he carried a
high-tech hammer as a weapon with him. But while he proved
interesting enough as a character to get as far as toplining his own
series, he couldn't handle it for long, and his series was
eventually cancelled. I suspect that one of the things that did it
in was a truly awful hack movie from 1997 "based" on the character,
but which actually did more a disservice to Steel than a favor.
Since then, he's appeared on occasion in Superman's and the JLA's
own books, ditto his neice Natasha, and they've both been a very
welcome presence as supporting characters in the Man of Steel's
world. And now that Natasha's got her own suit of armor with which
to battle crime, well...here's to hoping she'll make a career out of
it in the coming future!
Teen Titans #24 (DC):
Before the version that was set to come out in 2003 courtesy of
overrated writer Geoff Johns, but after the New Titans had ended some time before, there was
this installment of the now classic teen to young adult series in
the DCU, and it was here that characters like Argent, whose powers
are almost reminicient of the Green Lantern's, were introduced.
Unfortunately, the problem with this version was that it was
probably too politically correct in that the characters here talked
too much like moronic and self-important clowns, the same kind I may
have known in some of my own schools. And if so, that could probably
explain why nobody overall cared for this incarnation.
Which is a shame, since here, Ray "the Atom" Palmer, could've had a
great chance to shine. In all due honesty though, the premise of
reverting him back to his teen years did not work well, because it
tied in with Zero Hour and the demonization of Hal Jordan, so unless
they avoided all mention, you know something could be wrong there.
X-Factor #149 (Marvel): When this first
began, it was mostly a title in which the original five X-Men could
take the spotlight, with Peter David helming the book in its early
years. Then, a few years later, when they began to frequent the two
main flagship books again, it became a title in which a couple other
characters, some interesting, others not, could be the stars, such
as Cyclopsí own brother Havok and even Polaris, whoíd often been his
ladyfriend many times.
I kind of wish itíd stayed instead of what was to follow, the truly
unreadable Mutant X, yet another parallel world of X-related
subjects. In this case, a dystopic alternate world in with its own
parallel versions of several of the X-Men we know in the regular
universe (well, so to speak, if you take a look at how theyíve been
trying to render them as unrecognizable as possible in recent years,
supposedly to cash in on the movie and make them more recognizable
to moviegoers, whom, it should be noted, did not take to the comics
so well following the sequel, X2), who were de-facto evil by
contrast and led by none other than Magneto. They did return as a
miniseries more recently in 2002, albeit a forgettable one, and I
canít say I warmed so much to that. So much for trying.
Adventures in the DC Universe #19 (DC): Itís a pity this went
away, as it was a pretty fun anthology book, sort of like DC Presents in the pre-Crisis
era, which shared a bit in common with Marvel Team-Up in
that it usually co-starred Superman alongside some other notable
characters in the DCU. And in the case of this series, it was also
done along the lines of the Superman and Batman Adventures books,
which may be based on the television serials. Heck, itís a concept
that Iíd be eager to see tried out more often in team-up format, so
I hope itíll come back again sometime.
Daredevil #380 vol. 1 (Marvel): With
this issue, the first volume ended, and so began volume 2, in the
Marvel Knights series. What I donít find enjoyable about the shift
to the later imprint is that it had Kevin Smith, whom Iíve long
since written off as pretentious and superfluous as a writer,
(though not as much as Judd Winick) and there were a few things in
there that turned me off, such as the murder of Karen Page, Matt
Murdockís former secretary, whoíd been much maligned as a character
over the years (sheíd become a drug addict and even a porn star,
among other bad characterizations that were thought of for her), and
then Smith goes and takes the easy way out by having Bullseye do her
in, I think by knocking DD down and then grabbing one of his billy
clubs and beating her to death with it. That Joe Quesada, whom in
blunt honesty Iím not fond of for his misuse of Marvelís characters
these days (most notoriously, Captain America), was the artist here
didnít help matters.
And it hasn't improved one bit under the writing "talents" of Brian
Michael Bendis, one of the worst in his fields in recent years next
to the overrated Ed Brubaker, the former who crafted a pretentious
story where Matt Murdock's secret identity was seemingly revealed,
and that they would do something as awful as terminating Karen like
they did when Kevin Smith was helming the MK volume was too much for
me to bear, ditto his overbearing style of writing. Still, I canít
say heís been making waves ever since his fallout on the Black
Cat miniseries of 2002, which may never be finished (even
Quesada had the decency to admit that hiring him was mistake), so
maybe my misgivings arenít all that important.
That said, it's regrettable Hornhead's suffered as badly as
virtually every other Marvel hero ever since Bill Jemas and then Joe
Quesada sowed the seeds of the company's undoing ever since they got
their feet in the door.
Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #24 (DC): Black and white it
was, how clever.
Excalibur #125 (Marvel): It ran ten
years, was first led by Captain Britain and then by Nightcrawler,
and had plenty of fans, but finally, it ran out of steam. An X-Men
spinoff set in the UK, it featured some pretty wacky tales using a
British-style sense of humor. One of the things I dug about the
debut issue, say, was that Kitty Pryde looked like such a foxy lady
in that martial arts robe and tight ballet pants of hers. Colossus
also joined the cast here later on, and it had quite a following for
quite some time, but, when Chris Claremont and Alan Davis left,
Scott Lobdell entered and brought it down to mediocrity for at least
a year. Afterwards, Warren Ellis took over, and it improved a bit,
but never regained the same energy it had during the first half of
I liked some of what was in store here, but, as I said, it's the
first half where things really worked out. Excalibur came back as a
mini a few years later too, but unfortunately, it was during a time
when Marvel was on the decline.
Jack Kirbyís Fourth World #20 (DC): Not having ever read
this, I would assume it was similar in some respects to Isaac
Asimovís sci-fi magazine that was named after him. Actually, it was
a continuation of the New Gods series from the year before.
Unfortunately, the writer assigned here was none other than John
Byrne, and given what a retcon hack he's become as of late, that's
one more reason apparently why this didn't last for long. It's kind
of a pity, but that's what comes from when companies make
questionable choices of who to assign as writer. And in Byrne's
case, given that he's now fairly unpopular as a writer, let alone an
artist, it's really no surprise.
Major Bummer #15 (DC): A satire of superheroes, this too
never made the cut with readers, and it was probably done in by some
really snide writing that may have offended the more literal minded
fans, perhaps rightfully so. Oh well. Whoís the Boss,
(Wildstorm/Image): starring a covert-ops military force that
combated the supernatural. It was initially to begin as a 3-part
miniseries but plans soon changed to make it an ongoing.
Amazing Spider-Man #441 (Marvel): They ďrelaunchedĒ this at
the time that relaunching was in vogue for Marvelís staff. The good
news? Since then, five years later, they decided to return it to its
original numbering, starting with issue #500, after the Fantastic Four gets that kind
Which, I might add, is a real relief. It was getting to be very
grating how they were shamelessly relaunching all those books
endlessly, with the possible exception of a few X-books, which,
being what they are, are therefore apparently an exception to the
rule at biased Marvel. Besides, this act of theirs back in 1998
didnít really change anything, certainly not with the infamous
Howard Mackie as the writer (although even with the iffy J. Michael
Straczynski as the writer, not much changed even afterwards).
Peter Parker: Spider-Man #98 (Marvel): This continued from
the sans-adjective Spider-Man
title of the early 1990's. Like Amazing, it was relaunched in a
secondary volume. Unlike Amazing, however, it wasnít planned on
being restored to regular numbering, as was thought in 2003. Rather,
it got cancelled, to make way for a revival of The Spectacular Spider-Man.
Quicksilver #13 (Marvel): I do like
Pietro Maximoff-Lensherr, but in spite of being an appealing
character despite some of the misgivings heís had towards
non-mutants in years gone by (his character's moral flaw), he just
doesnít have the ability to carry a title on his own, which is sort
of like the case with X-Men cast members like Gambit and Bishop.
I am curious to know: whyíd they want to give him a title instead of
his sexy twin sister Wanda, known to many as the Scarlet Witch?
Considering how she can make the guys drool with her unmatchable sex
appeal, I canít see how it couldnít be possible to give her a title
of some sort where she could have the main spotlight (and she did
have a miniseries in the early 90s). Once again, Marvel missed the
boat for cashing in on a femme fatale with great potential.
Sensational Spider-Man #33 (Marvel): I think this one only
ran two and half years, making it probably the shortest ongoing
Spider-book at the time. Coincidence?
Spectacular Spider-Man #263 (Marvel): See above.
Spider-Man Unlimited #22 (Marvel): Yet another one dropped
around that time.
Stormwatch #11 vol. 2
(Wildstorm/Image): one of the earliest relaunches of its sort I know
of in the modern age that comes soon after a previous volume did,
and came out after the previous volume ended, and around the time 4
of Marvel's titles spoken about in the 1997 files
had been canceled and then relaunched as part of the ill-advised
Heroes Reborn, all of which were returned to the MCU proper in this
particular year. And since, as mentioned before, this had one of the
most otherwise embarrassing premises from a political perspective,
that's why I simply couldn't care less about this second volume of
Stormwatch either. And I definitely couldn't care about the really
big embarrassment spoken about in the 2004 files.
The X-Files #41 (Topps):
based on the TV sci-fi thriller series of the same name, this was
one of at least a handful of comics the Topps trading card and
pastry company tried to publish during the 1990s, but never got very
far with. And to be bluntly honest, since the series itself was
basically a platform for telling horror stories, a genre I'm not
very fond of - certainly not if it lacks intelligence - then I can't
say I'd be missing this time and money-wasting bungler of a comic.
Blade #3 (Marvel): A miniseries that was prepared to cash in
on the movie at the time (something Marvelís flubbed endlessly since
then), it got cancelled before the fourth issue came out, which may
have been solicited, but never appeared. It was probably due to Marv
Wolfmanís lawsuit for his proper share, since he created the
character back in 1973 in Tomb of
Dracula, but I canít be sure.
Chase #9 (DC): It was almost like a low-budget movie, but a
good one, that starred a smart female character named Cameron Chase,
an agent for a government agency for superhuman affairs whose power
was the ability the dampen those of other superhumans. She'd first
appeared in Batman #550, and the series in focus here was basically
an espionage tale dealing with her exploits in tracking down
superhuman criminals. But it never got anywhere with readers, and
was was cancelled very shortly afterwards.
Creeper #11 (DC): This, on the other hand, is decidedly best
Green Arrow #137 (DC): I donít
know if it was because Connor Hawke, illegitimate son of Oliver
Queen, didnít prove interesting to readers, or because Kevin Smith,
who launched the succeeding volume, led to Oliver Queen's return,
but with this issue, the series, which began in 1988 as one of DC's
"New Format" titles, and bore a mature readers note for at least the
first 60 issues, came to a close. And Ollie Queen, who'd gone MIA
for about five years since his seemingly being lost in a plane
crash, came back a short while afterwards, whereas Connor all but
went back to his life in the monestary he lived in. Well, not for
long. He did come around again to working in crimefighting, though
of course, he's not the main player as of today. In recent times,
he's also made appearances in the new Batgirl's solo book, and of course has spent time
meeting his bowslinging dad again.
As far as the Emerald Archer's own series goes, not bad, but when
looked upon by todayís standards, I think it can be said that Mike
Grell may have jumped the gun simultanouesly for this book. His Green
Arrow: The Longbow Hunters was fairly questionable in how it
set up its premise, an excuse not just to turn Ollie into a raging
samurai, but also to make Dinah Lance more ďdrivenĒ. Unfortunately,
it canít be by losing a loved relative that a woman can become more
driven and devoted to crimefighting; in the eyes of people like
Grell, nooooo, it just has
to be via assault and battery, which Grell for the past several
years seems to be putting far too much of an emphasis on. At least
Chuck Dixon, who's aces better than he is at being a suspense
writer, pulled off a must better job with relish when he took over
the book, following Grell's five year run.
It was later relaunched as a volume 2 with Kevin Smith writing it,
but he left after 10 issues proving very little in the ways of
talent, I kid you not. His later successor, Brad Meltzer, wasn't
much better than him (and the Archer's Quest story arc he wrote is
said to be fairly overrated), and then, alas, he was likewise
replaced by Judd Winick, and I canít say itís been much of anything
since then either, certainly not with that stereotypical dialogue
that he wrote for the story in which Ollie and Green Lantern number
three Kyle Rayner teamed up in summer of 2003.
Marvel Universe #7 (Marvel): The most interesting thing about
this book was how it used a rotating concept in the creative teams
for it, and had old pro Roger Stern as one of the leading
supervisors for it. It was meant to explore unwritten periods of
history in MCU. You could say that it consisted of two story arcs,
and the latter had a really good one that gave characters with
smaller recognition like Ulysses Bloodstone (whom, if memory serves
me right, is alias Klaw, one of the villains from the Fantastic
Four whoís also been an enemy of Black Panther), and also Dr.
Druid (also sometimes known as Dr. Droom, and guess what that sounds
like, eh?) a chance to take the spotlight and shine. There was also
a new female character from Wakanda introduced in this series, an
explanation of the Golden Age Hurricaneís background (he was
Makkari, a member of the Eternals), and it even expanded upon the
Mole Manís origins!
Strange Tales #4 (Marvel): This was intended to be an answer
to DCís own Vertigo line, but thereís a problem: you see, most of
the Vertigo line consists of books that are creator owned (including
possibly Neil Gaimanís own Sandman series), and second, the
top brass at Marvel chickened out, obligating the writers to do it
according to the now abandoned Comics Code Authority (Marvel being
the first to do it). The muddled artwork didnít help matters either.
Not that it really matters to me. At least Werewolf by Night
mightíve made for a good story or two. Or, better yet, forget it.
Speaking of any attempts to emulate Vertigo, if at all, Marvel
launched the MAX line 3 years later, and the results, which include
such monstrosities as the Fury miniseries and even the Cage
mini, are anything but impressive. For all the shock-value tactics
that were used in these so-called masterpieces, itís been nothing
more than a mere exercise in futility. For which reason I will not
be buying such crap even if I win the lottery, which I never have,
and doubtless never will (I never played it, so is it any wonder I
wonít win it? Go figure.)
Young Heroes in Love #17 (DC):
Itís a shame that this didnít find an audience, a humor title about
young heroes in Spandex and their love affairs. I don't know if it
bore any connection to Young
Justice, which began soon afterwards, but it certainly had
some of the cleverest story titles for an age in which few like the
ones seen in the Golden and Silver Ages are ever used (would you
believe, say, a title such as "Your
lips! Your eyes! Your nuclear breath vision!" Now there's a good one for
starters). What a great idea that sadly never succeeded.
Important note: Chase, Creeper,
Green Arrow and Young Heroes in Love all actually ended with an
issue of DC 1,000,000 the month after the official series volume
did, but they don't appear on this list.
Silver Surfer #146 (Marvel): I
heard once that it was going to be another victim of Marvelís
relaunching mania, but it never even happened that way, it just got
cancelled then, and fairly quietly too at that, and it sat on the
shelf like that for almost five years. Pity, because Norrin Radd was
a favorite character of mine. The former herald of the warlord
Galactus, first seen in the pages of Fantastic Four in the mid-1960's, who turned
against the being who gave him immense powers and used them for good
instead of bad, deserved far better than to have his own title
dumped like that at the time.
Silver Surfer recently returned in a new series in 2003, but it
appears that sadly, it may be an even less worthy event, and didn't
seem to be burning up the charts or the discussions across the webs
Spirit: The New Adventures #8 (Kitchen Sink): I think this
was a more recent take on Will Eisnerís classic comic strip
character, Dennis Colt/The Spirit, an anthology by several top
writers that was pretty good stuff. A real pity it got canned, since
it was, as Iíve heard, quite a gem.
What IfÖ? #114 (Marvel): If this was cancelled, they sure did
it very quietly at that. This was the now House of Horrors's own
anthology title, first tried out in 1977 by Roy Thomas and later
revived in 1989, going much longer that time around, and while I may
have only read two issues of it myself (around 1996), there were a
few good ideas abound.
(The most astounding thing about this whole concept though, is that
a few of the ideas, such as the one exploring what if Elektra hadn't
died, have since then come true in a manner of speaking!)
Whatís really maddening about this book getting canned though, is
that now that itís gone, Marvel, instead of putting all the
anti-patriotic, defiant of superheroics, contemptuous-of-core-fans
stories theyíve been forcing into their books since post-9-11, does
exactly that with, alas, their own mainline books. Hey, wait a
minute, what am I saying? I wouldnít go for that
kind of stuff even if it was just in there, not even I were paid to
read it. I better start thinking better than that.
If there was anything good about What IfÖ?, itís that it did
help lead to the Spider-Girl title that, as of this writing,
is the only survivor of Marvelís futuristic M2 line, the second
House of Secrets #25 volume 2
(DC): In all due honesty, do we really need to have another go at
this horror/thriller series of yore? Yeah, I know that it was where
the Swamp Thing first got his recognition, but still, I think in all
due honesty, it's time to put the whole thing to bed.
So simply put, this one won't be missed.
Ka-Zar #20 (Marvel): A title that succeeded only due to the
teaming of Mark Waid and Adam Kubert, and when they left, so did the
readers. It starred a Tarzan-ish character, whose name almost
reminices that classic character of Edgar Rice-Burroghs, who debuted
as early as 1936, almost the same time as Lee Falk's Phantom, in
pulp novels published by Martin Goodman, later to become the main
founder of Marvel Comics' template, Timely, during 1938-39, and the
protagonist then was known as David Rand. Ka-Zar appeared for a time
as one of the featured strips in Marvel Mystery Comics, then
was largely forgotten until the Silver Age, when Stan Lee and Jack
Kirby brought him back in with X-Men
#10 in 1965, and also gave him a few revisions, such as now
being named Kevin Plunder, the relative of a British aristocrat, and
a resident of the Savage Land, in contrast to earlier, when he'd
been simply a resident of Africa. He also made appearances in Amazing
Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Astonishing Tales, and got
his first shots at a solo book during the Bronze Age. Not only that,
he even got his own version of Sheena to accompany him, Shanna the
She-Devil! The two jungle citizens married in 1984.
Alas, jungle adventures of the Tarzan variety, like the western,
seem to have largely gone the way of the dodo these days, and if it
hadn't been for Waid at the time he was notable, this probably
would've sunk out of sight faster than it did.
Copyright Avi Green. All rights