MARVEL PREVIEW# 23 BIZARRE ADVENTURES 2

comics

“Shandra”
Writer: Lynn Graeme
Artists: John Buscema & Joe Jusko

On a world that is perpetually frozen are a group of domes. Inside live the Mu a race of bald big-headed people. Outside are the Shakora or normal humans. Once both peoples lived in equality inside the domes but due to shrinking resources the Mu expelled the Shakora. Now they hunt them for sport and will let in a few occasionally to serve them. Shandora a Shakora woman infiltrates the domes to rescue her brother who was taken for medical experiments. She is helped by a sympathetic Mu.

“Annie Mae: A Love Story”
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artists: Gene Colan and Alfredo Alcala
Photography: Eliot R. Brown

A couple is forces to stay at a dump in New York. The man decides to pass the time by telling a love story. A Neanderthal sees a beautiful woman who he falls in love with. In later reincarnations he continues to see this woman. Finally far in the future the human race has evolved to a higher plain and leaves one behind. This man creates a woman who is the one that he sees throughout his lifetimes.

“The Whole Tooth”
Writer: Steve Skeates
Artist: Ned Sonntag

A medieval wizard casts a spell that transports him to a dimension where he gains cosmic awareness. Then sent back he finds himself in the twentieth century. He burns up on reentry into the atmosphere and all that is left is his tooth. He grows the tooth and decides to adopt a smiley face pin as his face. Everyone thinks he is in a costume. An agent gets him to represent a toothpaste commercial. He gains celebrity status and wants to get on a talk show to tell everyone the universal truths. Unfortunately a jealous man who thinks his girlfriend has dumped him for the tooth shoots the wizard. Police cover up the body with a blanket. When the detective arrives he finds a quarter under the blanket.

“Final Warning”
Writer: Lynn Graeme
Artist: Frank Miller

In 2034 New York a man tries to escape the telephone company over an overdue bill. In the future unpaid bills result in the execution of the offender.

“Fantasy Gambit”
Writer: Roger Stern
Artist: Steve Bissette

A woman receives a call from her friend. The next thing she knows is that she is transported to a restaurant. The friend has developed powers where anything he thinks happens. At first he develops a messiah complex but decides that he will become Absurdman. Absurdman will make the world safe for absurdity. The woman wakes up and we find out that she is the one with the powers and was sublimating her imagination through her childhood imaginary friend.

“The Way of Heaven”
Writer: Mike Barr
Artists: Gene Colan & John Tartag

A man in New York is getting mugged when he transforms into a big man and scares the muggers away. A woman believes that this man is tied into The Way. The Way is the philosophy of Chinese Tao Te Ching. The mugger decides to recruit an old woman who knows magic and she casts a spell that switches the Way to the mugger. The mugger is killed because he doesn’t see that the people he’s mugging are really tough gang members.

So another batch of Bizarre Adventures and they are truly bizarre. Shandra was a fascinating idea and it was left open for future stories. I don’t know if any were ever done but I would have liked to read more on this world. The Final Warning story was also fascinating about a world were the utility companies would execute you if you didn’t pay your bills on time. And the other ones were really out there. All the stories were interesting and I look forward to reading more Bizarre Adventures.

MARVEL PREVIEW #20 BIZARRE ADVENTURES

comics

“Dominic Fortune: The Power Broker Resolution!”
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Howard Chaykin

Dominic Fortune is a hard gambling man who is constantly losing his money. He lives on a gambling ship called the Mississippi Queen anchored offshore from Los Angeles in 1938. One day his landlady brings him an assignment so he can pay off his rent. A woman wants Dominic to kidnap her husband. The man owes $250,000 in alimony but he stays in a coastal mansion surrounded by a minefield. She needs him brought to court to get her money. So when Dominic sneaks into the compound he finds it guarded by Japanese soldiers. The husband is making a deal with the Japanese. He will give them plans to American military bases in exchange for getting Texas and Mexico to rule over. Now Dom has to get the traitor and foil his plans.

“Dominic Fortune: The Messiah in the Saddle Resolution”
Writer & Artist: Howard Chaykin

Dominic is hired to stop one Noble Flagg. Flagg was a cowboy star of silent westerns. He now has started a cult that attacks all the vices of southern California including the movie industry. He also has a device that causes earthquakes. He is using it to help the east coast mob take over California.

“War Toy”
Writer: Tony Isabella
Artists: George Perez and Rico Rival

In the future a general has built a robot with independent thought. He hopes to replace losing men in battle with these robots. But the general staff wants nothing to do with this and derisively called it a “War Toy.” So the general gets assigned to an out of the way place with his robot. Then aliens invade and occupy Australia. The general is with the UN forces that are sent there to liberate the country. He is killed but the robot performs a heroic act that wins the war. The robot is then discharged and forced to look for a job in the civilian sector. It eventually gets depressed and commits suicide.

“Good Lord!”

See Marvel Preview #1

“Of Heroes and the Bizarre”
By Roger Stern

A short article on heroes and how this issue came about.

A collection of bizarre stories that served as a filler when they scrapped a Spiderman story. This title will eventually morph into Bizarre Adventures. I think the idea is great because I like Bizarre stories and these stories were Bizarre. I know I have been critical of the Dominic Fortune stories in the Hulk. I will say that I really enjoyed these stories. I guess the right writer does make a difference and if these two write more I would be very interested in Dominic Fortune. Too bad they didn’t do that for the Hulk backups.

The two science fiction stories were also enjoyable. War Toy was a sad and fascinating story. I suppose it was a commentary on the treatment of veterans which is very relevant these days. The second was a reprint I had already read and you can see that in Marvel Preview #1. A surprising good issue.

MARVEL PREVIEW #6 SHERLOCK HOLMES

comics

“The Hound of the Baskervilles Part II: The Demon-Hound from Hell”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Val Mayerick & Tony Dezuniga

Sherlock Holmes decides to send Dr. Watson to look after the new heir to the Baskervilles. They reach Dartmoor and get introduced to the cast of suspects. There is the butler and his wife. There is a neighbor Stapleton and his sister Beryl. The sister gives Watson a warning when they are alone to leave because he’s in danger. There is also an escaped convict roaming the moors. Watson faithfully reports back to Holmes with written reports. Later Holmes is revealed to have been conducting an investigation in secret. It all comes to an exciting conclusion.

The final adaptation to The Hound of the Baskervilles was an interesting read from start to finish. I never read the book but it seems like a faithful adaptation. It had a real Victorian feel to it. There were some interesting turns in the story which I won’t reveal if anyone has an interest in reading the original story. This comic has interested me in exploring the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. I think there was plans for more adaptations but they never materialized.

MARVEL PREVIEW #5 SHERLOCK HOLMES

comics

“The Hound of the Baskervilles Part I”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Val Mayerick

A Doctor Mortimer comes to ask for the famous detective’s help. He tells the story of Hugo Baskerville who in 1742 was an evil man. He kidnaps a young woman who later escapes. He goes out to track her down. When he doesn’t return his friends ride out to find him. They discover that he was killed by a hound from hell. Now an ancestor to the Baskervilles has been found murdered. Mortimer an old friend claims that he found the tracks of a dog by the dead body. The heir a young man from Canada arrives to claim his inheritance and gets a cryptic message to avoid the moor.

This is the first part of an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective. Its probably his most famous work. They did a real good job of adapting the story even thought the first part is mostly exposition. I enjoyed the story and I might like to actually read the book sometime. It sounds very interesting.

MARVEL PREVIEW #1 MAN-GODS FROM BEYOND THE STARS

comics

“Man-Gods from Beyond the Stars”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Alex Nino

Far in the past an alien expedition arrives on the planet Earth. The aliens look like humans and are there to observe the primitive inhabitants. The inhabitants naturally assume the visitors are gods and start to give them offerings. The aliens have a strict policy of non-interference but the commander decides to break that rule in saving a girl from a sabertooth. His second in command mutinies and deserts to set himself up as a god. Meanwhile we learn the truth of the aliens. There was a war and a race of soldiers were created. When the war was over the soldier were dumped on Earth and this is the origin of the human race.

“Erich Von Daniken: The Man Behind A Phenomenon”

A brief biography of Erich Von Daniken the author of Chariots of the Gods and the founder of alien astronaut theory.

“The Chariots of Erich Von Daniken”
by Ed Summer

An article on Von Daniken’s theories and other theories about ancient astronauts.

“Facts On Danikenitis- the Von Daniken Phenonmenon”

A bibliography on the works of Erich Von Daniken. These include his three books a documentary, TV show and his lectures.

“The Books of the Gods”
by Ed Summer

A listing of all the books out there at the time about ancient astronauts.

“Good Lord!”
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Dave Cockrum and the Crusty Bunkers

An expedition in the future is searching for proof of God. They land on a mysterious planet that at first looks like a paradise. But is has creatures that start to kill off the crew. The survivors come upon an amazing city. It has a temple with statues of alien that in the past represented the ancient gods like Zeus, Ra, Odin. It also has statues of the prophets Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and Moses. A creature steps out and is killed. Then a strange darkness comes from the body. They have killed God and now the darkness will spread across the universe.

If you haven’t already guessed this is a very Erich Von Daniken inspired issue. Written at the height of his popularity it has two very interesting stories. The first shows that the aliens and humans on Earth have much in common. Both the alien expedition and the primitive tribe had the same power struggle. The second was way out there but also an interesting and enjoyable story.

The articles were also very informative about Von Daniken and what was out there at the time for ancient astronauts. This idea was probable ahead of its time. Now days we have I guess an army of graduates in ancient alien theory who populate the history channel. An interesting idea that didn’t to my knowledge go beyond this issue.