Monday, November 27, 2017

Longbox Junk - Two Shots Part 1: Predator vs. Magnus, Robot Fighter & Hellboy: Almost Colossus


The Two Shot is a form of comics that doesn't exist in today's market (as far as I can tell).  It seems to have been popular in the short time between the phasing out of "Prestige Format" squarebound books (A Two Shot is generally the same length as a double-size PF book) and the coming in of "Writing For The Trade" 6 issue ongoing series story arcs and mini series.
I like two shots for the same reason that I like one shots. . .they are compressed storytelling where the creative team is pretty much forced to swing for the fences.  They don't have the 6 issues to tell a story.  They have to get right up on it and get the story started and finished in an extremely limited amount of page space.

Two shots. . .more than a one shot, less than a mini.  Let's do this!


Dark Horse/ Valiant (1992)
SCRIPT: John Ostrander & Jim Shooter
PENCILS: Lee Weeks

There's nothing fancy about this first issue. The art, starting with a decent cover by the great Barry Winsor-Smith, is good, but not great. It's standard 90's layout, fairly heavily inked and colored. It does the job it's supposed to do.
The story is set in the far future and revolves around an encounter with the Predators where humans barely win and even manage to steal a trophy from the Predator ship before it explodes. Fast forward a bit and the Predators return to get their stolen trophy back. It's in the hands of a rich "Hunt Club" that hunts robots and people for sport, which brings them on the bad side of Magnus.The first issue brings together the 3 sides mostly as setup for shenanigans to follow.
The story is okay. Like the art, not great, but good. The problem here is that if you don't know anything about the Valiant version of Magnus and his world, you're probably going to be lost. This is not so much a Predator book as it is a Magnus book.

Once again, there's nothing bad about this issue. The art is nicely done, but not great. The Windsor-Smith cover isn't as good as the first issue, but there's nothing wrong with it.
After the setup in the first issue, this half deals with the running battle between the rich "Hunt Club" after the Predator and Magnus. . .Magnus after the Predator unwillingly trying to save the Hunt Club after discovering exactly what they're dealing with, and the Predator after the Hunt Club to recover the stolen trophy, and then after Magnus when it realizes that he's the best trophy around.
So basically, everyone is hunting everyone. The Hunt Club is the biggest loser, as they are decimated before the final showdown between Magnus and Predator. Of course, in the end Magnus triumphs. . .then refuses a trophy from the other Predators who arrive.
Once again, the only real problem is that the reader really needs to be familiar with Valiant's version of Magnus, as well as X-O Manowar. . .the trophy is an X-O helmet and figures heavily in the story, as Magnus' girlfriend is able to telepathically communicate with it.
I'm not a big Magnus, Robot Fighter fan, but I DO love me some Predator. . .so this two-shot fell a little flat for me.  There was nothing wrong with it overall, and it was interesting to see a FAR future Predator visit to Earth, but I had a hard time getting behind this story since I have no particular like for the hero or the world he lives in.  If you are a fan of Magnus (Valiant's version) then you might really like this book, as it's basically a Magnus book with a Predator being his "Monster of the month".  

Dark Horse (1997)
SCRIPT: Mike Mignola (Almost Colossus) & Gary Gianni (Autopsy in B Flat)
PENCILS: Mike Mignola (Almost Colossus) & Gary Gianni (Autopsy in B Flat)

Be warned that this is not a stand-alone story. It leads on directly from events in Hellboy: Wake The Devil and sets up events in Hellboy: Conqueror Worm.
That said, it's not bad at all. Mignola's art is one of those unique flavors of "Love it or hate it." and I'm definitely on the "Love it" side.
The story concerns Hellboy trying to save Liz Sherman, who gave up her soul to revive an ancient artificial man (Roger the Homniculus). He travels to Romania and tracks the creature to an ancient, cursed ruin, but discovers that there's a lot more going on than he thought.
The story is good, but fairly short. . .first because there's quite a bit of exposition up front, secondly because there's a backup story in back.
The backup, by Gary Gianni is a "Corpus Monstrum" tale where two agents are in a tomb waiting for a vampire to return and one of them tells the strange story of when he was alone on a tropical island and is pretty much raped by a squid-headed woman.
Oooookay. . .Hmmm. . .I like the art and the imagination, but what the hell was Gary Gianni smoking?

If you like Mignola's art, you'll find his work in this issue remarkable. If not. . .well. . .you won't. He's one of those kind of artists. I found it remarkable. Mignola at his best when Hellboy was still his baby alone.
The story concludes as Roger is offered immortality in a giant, Godlike body by his "Brother". . .a failed first attempt by Roger's creator. Hellboy stumbles into the plot and starts punching things, as Hellboy will. In the end, Roger destroys the gigantic "God Of Science" using Liz Sherman's fire powers, then he returns with Hellboy to B.P.R.D. and returns Liz's power/soul to her, thereby sacrificing his own life and coming out the hero of the tale.
I liked this half of the story. Unfortunately, it isn't really a resolution of anything. As I said in the review of the first issue, this is just a filler to set things up and tie loose ends between two larger stories (Wake The Devil and Conqueror Worm). As a matter of fact, while I enjoyed this, I wonder if it needed to exist. It could have easily filled a single issue without the backup, and could have been the first issue of Conqueror Worm.
Speaking of the backup. Once again, I have to wonder just what the hell Gary Gianni was smoking when he wrote it. Whatever it was. . .I want some.
Squid-faced pirates kill the narrator while he watches from outside his body, then they bury him alive (dead?) with a violin in a treasure chest.
I'm a huge fan of Mignola's art, and this early Hellboy stuff is some premium Mignola at his best.  But like I said above, this story just feels like filler. . .like Mignola felt like he HAD to put out something Hellboy while he was working on his next big story.  Really, it could have fit into one issue.   Still, there wasn't anything really WRONG with it, I just had a hard time thinking of a reason for it to exist when (by dropping the backup) it could have just been the first issue of the next story.
Coming next. . .
More Two-Shots! The Thing From Another World and Trial of The Punisher.
Be there or be square!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Longbox Junk - Green Hornet Part 6

PART 6: ISSUES 33 - 42

I discovered that I DON'T actually have the full run of this series like I thought.  I am missing issues 32, 36 and 37.  But trust me, you aren't missing much.  Last batch of Dynamite's Green Hornet. . .let's do this and end the pain!

With this issue, Green Hornet's status quo completely changes as Britt Reid Jr. is presumed dead (but is actually in a coma) and Mulan is missing and also presumed dead. Clutch Kato and Jeffrey Hollister (AKA Scowl/Moonbeam) decide to continue the Hornet's work with Hollister taking on the name "Green Hornet 2.0" and wearing a high-tech suit of armor.

As Hornet 2.0 starts cleaning up the city, it becomes plain that he is a lot more brutal than Britt Jr. as he maims and kills his targets.

The art is still awful, but shows improvement. . .only because with more masks involved, the horrible faces aren't so much on view.

The story is extremely derivative of Batman's "Knightfall" arc, with Hollister playing the part of Azrael taking over as a more brutal Batman. There is also very strong resemblances to Iron Man in both the design of the Green Hornet 2.0 armor and the super-intelligent A.I. "Hive" that runs it and provides information.

Also, with the introduction of not one, not two, not three. . .but SIX costumed supervillains, it's plain to see the direction this series is taking. Clearly, Dynamite blamed the foundering title on not enough superhero cliche instead of the poor writing and awful art. Nice.


As of this issue, it's pretty clear that Dynamite has pretty much given up on this Green Hornet series. This issue had a 3 month shipping delay, the title is changed to "Green Hornet: Legacy" to set it apart from Mark Waid's new ongoing classic Green Hornet series, and none of the issues from here to the end have variant covers. . .and for Dynamite that definitely is a sign that things are wrapping up. They DO love their multiple covers!

The story inside also reflects the "F%ck it. This is almost done." attitude as it basically turns into pretty standard derivative superhero cliche.

A supervillain team robs a train to steal radioactive material for a dirty bomb in order to punish Green Hornet 2.0 (Or, as I like to call him. . .Iron Hornet) for "Breaking the rules" and killing a supervillain. Britt Reid recovers from his coma and realizes that things are going to hell in the month or so he's been out. He suits up and joins the battle with Iron Hornet just in time to save the day.

The fact that nobody really cares any more about this series is plain to see. It's a damn shame.


This issue was mostly a fight between the two Green Hornets and a gang of supervillains ready to set off a dirty nuclear bomb.

Green Hornet tries to get them to surrender peacefully, but Green Hornet 2.0 (Iron Hornet) decides to start killing. This all leads to Clutch Kato shutting down the Iron Hornet suit and Jeffrey Hollister meets his end by falling into the radioactive chemicals.

Overall, this was an abbreviated version of the Bruce Wayne/ Azrael Batman confrontation that ended "Knightfall" but with a more final ending for Azrael. . .er. . .Iron Hornet. . .er. . .Robin. . .er. . .Scowl II. . .er. . .Moonbeam. . .er. . .Jeffrey Hollister. Whoever, whatever. We've seen this story before.

It's just a shame that Dynamite didn't grant this series the same merciful death. 

They kept it painfully crawling on the floor and bleeding slowly out for 7 more issues.


In this one off story we get a cliche "Let's fight until we realize we're on the same side" team up between Green Hornet and Nikki Stripez (one of the supervillains that was going to set off a dirty bomb in Century City a few issues back). But since this crappy artist loves to draw boobs and Mulan has been missing for 7 issues, we also get an extremely awkward and forced sex scene between the two.

Ridiculous on so many levels.

God, why didn't Dynamite cancel this series 10 issues ago? 


In another one off issue, when an old flame of Britt Reid Jr. is robbed, Green Hornet discovers a new hero in town (El Gato Rojo) who robs from the rich to give to the poor.

So we've had Robin, Iron Man, and Azrael in this series. Now we have a male Latino version of Catwoman. 

It's all so forced. So derivative. So weak.
Thank God it's almost over. . .


Why, Dynamite? Why couldn't you let this die with some honor at issue #27? Why must this poorly-drawn and written corpse shamble toward me, pitifully moaning at its awful fate?

Why must I be the witness (indeed one of the last witnesses) to this sad, forgotten creature's prolonged demise? Can it be that you have no soul, Dynamite? Can it be that you enjoy the torment of this unfortunate living corpse, and by extension, you enjoy my torment as well?


Doctor Creepy (facepalm) unleashes a horde of exploding radioactive zombies on Century City and. . .oh F%ck it. Why does this even exist?  I can't even do this. Let's just get to the last issue.


This is the final issue. Thank God.

A poorly-written and drawn unsatisfying conclusion to what has to be one of the worst storylines I've ever seen. It ends with the return of Mulan Kato and the revelation that she left because she was pregnant.

The final page leaves it open for further adventures of the new Green Hornet and Kato. . .but with so much damage done, we never saw them again in a regular series.  A damn shame. This COULD have ended so much better, but with this issue we're well past the point where nobody cared any more.


After starting off SO strong on this series, reading the last handful of issues just made me sad. It was obvious where Dynamite stopped caring (Issue #28 ), and that's a damn shame because Kevin Smith left them a great foundation. At the end they wasted it all on embarrassing, derivative plots, some of the worst art I've ever seen in a regular comic series from a major publisher and completely out of place superhero/supervillain nonsense.

The worst part about this all is that the whole IDEA was ruined. Except for appearing in the "Masks 2" mini (also by Dynamite), we never got to see these characters again. The back half of this series left me with such a bitter, disappointed feeling of waste that I find it hard to suggest it to anybody.

Do yourself a favor. . .if you decide to check out this version of Green Hornet, PLEASE stop reading at issue #27. Issues 28-42 have no real reason to exist.

Up next. . .

We're done with Dynamite's Green Hornet and ready to move on!

What's bigger than a one-shot, but not quite a full mini-series?

Two-Shots! Two issue stories. . .
 Punisher, Hellboy, The Thing, Predator and Magnus The Robot Fighter!

Be there or be square!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Longbox Junk - Green Hornet Part 5

PART 5:  ISSUES 25 -  31

And over the cliff we GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


I'm not sure exactly WHY they needed 5 color artists on this issue, but the art roller coaster this arc is on hits the top of the curve with the best looking issue yet. 

Lt. Chritton (the chubby, fedora-wearing Harvey Bullock version in this issue) traps Mulan, but decides to help her, and pays for his good deed with a bullet to the face from a crooked cop. At least he'll be spared the future indignity of never looking the same from one issue to the next. . .

Elsewhere, Green Hornet and Fake Green Hornet engage in a no-holds barred brawl at the scene of a rooftop wedding massacre while the police close in with orders to shoot them both.

All in all, not a bad issue. Mostly fighting and chasing, but Chritton's death took me by surprise and the art really delivers this time. Not GREAT, but not bad at all this time out.


I'm surprised. . .they kept the same artist on this arc for 2 issues in a row! AND it's the good one! Maybe this won't be so bad after all. . .

Well, it turns out the bullet to the face Harvey Bullock. . .er. . .Lt. Chritton took last issue didn't kill him, but he's in a coma that lets Kent Palmer whip up some public anti-Hornet sentiment. . .which leads to an all-out manhunt for Green Hornet by just about everyone in the city with a gun.

Hornet and Kato are in bad shape by the time they have a final showdown with Jensen (Fake Green Hornet) in an abandoned department store. But just when it looks like the end. . .Moonbeam (the most unfortunately-named hero I can think of) shows back up in the story out of nowhere to shoot Jensen in the back.

All in all, a pretty good issue. Even though it's once again mostly running and fighting, the art delivers the goods and makes up for the so-so story. Still. . .I'm glad this arc is almost over.


And so we come to the finale of the 6 part "Outcast" arc. I have to say that it ended better than it began.

Hornet, Kato and Moonbeam team up to take down Mister Jensen. Lt. Chritton remains in a coma. The Hornet confronts Palmer and lets him know that one of his crooked cops is turning witness, so his game is up. The Hornet reveals his identity to a reporter that was a friend of his father's and decides to give up pretending Green Hornet is a villain and let Central City know that it has a hero instead. Lastly, Moonbeam joins "Team Hornet". 

All in all, this arc came to a nice conclusion (except for the teen sidekick thing) after starting out as a derivative mess with extremely uneven art. I'm not saying it was GREAT. It ended JUST this side of "Pretty good" and that was mostly thanks to finally getting the art under control.


Sweet baby JESUS! WHY?

I don't even know where to start. The last arc ended on a pretty good note, but this issue gets a creative team switchup and with it, this series goes off the rails and straight over the cliff.

The art. . .my GOD, the art is so bad. It all seems sketchy and unfinished. And when I say unfinished, I mean that on page 5 there's a guy with artist guidelines across his face! Not only that, but Mulan is now rendered with a rack of boobs that Dolly Parton fans can truly appreciate. No longer is she a lithe ninja. . .now one wonders how she keeps balance being so top heavy. And vehicles look like something a teenage boy would draw on his school folder while dreaming of the day he can finally get his learner's permit.

It's bad. Real bad.

And don't think the art is the only reason for the bad review. The story here is god-awful as well. I don't even want to talk about the story. Okay. . since this IS a review, I guess I HAVE to talk about the F'ING story!

Kato Sr. goes to Iowa where he has a son he never knew about. . .a fat slob named Seymour. Kato takes down a redneck meth ring and decides to accept Seymour into the Kato clan with a samurai sword "knighting" ceremony with Green Hornet, Mulan, and Hornet's new Robin (Moonbeam) in attendance.

The whole thing is poorly written, poorly drawn, and just so far outside of what has come before in this series that I can't help but wonder if it was all an intentional joke.


After the pile of steaming, reeking crap that was last issue, this one elevates itself to the exalted ranks of a plain old pile of crap. . .

The art is still bad to the point of distraction. Faces are rough, vehicles are a joke, and each one of Mulan's boobs are as big as her head. All that and Green Hornet's hat is way too small for his head. Please, God. . .let this guy just be a fill in and not the new regular artist.

So while the art is still in the "weird slime at the bottom of a dumpster" territory, the writing has marginally improved.

Basically, it follows three threads. I DID like the way it was presented, with each thread running across the page in small panels from front to back of the book, so you can read each one from start to finish if you wanted before moving down to the next one . .so a nod to that small bit of originality.

In story one. . .Green Hornet and Kato finally get down to bedroom business after getting turned on while reconning a gang.

In story two. . . Moonbeam (Now a "Ward" of Britt Reid, for God's sake!) and Nikita Gravilov (son of arms dealer Sergi Gravilov) go through their first day at a swank private school, becoming friends. I'm sure that's gonna end well.

In story three. . . Century City's new Mayor gets assassinated on his first day after a night out on the town and his assistant gets sworn in. They might as well issue a red shirt to Century City Mayors at the swearing in.

God-awful art + so-so story = No Bueno


Please, God. . .let this arc end. 

I pondered a couple issues ago if this was an intentional joke. The further I go down this rabbit hole, the more I think it might just be.

The art is still so distractingly bad that I don't think that "bad" describes it accurately. It's more like. . ."What the hell? Was this guy the editor's out of work brother in law?" 

The story? Okay. . .the story is okay, but not much more than that. Arms dealer, blah blah. Lethal weapons in the hands of street gangs, blah blah. New mayor is an old friend of Britt Reid, Blah blah. Police now cooperating with Green Hornet, Blah blah.

What's REALLY important in the story here is that Moonbeam changes his name to Scowl and gears up in full superhero sidekick kit in such an obvious rip-off of Robin THAT HE EVEN WEARS A FRIGGIN' YELLOW CAPE!

Yeah. Robin is now in Green Hornet.



This issue maintains the low quality of the rest of this terrible arc, with some of the worst art I've ever seen on a regular comic series and writing that strives to reach the lofty goal of "Okay".

Most of this issue is told from the viewpoint of Robin. . .er. . .Moonbeam. . .er. . .Scowl, as he makes romantic moves on a classmate and provides lengthy chunks of caption box thought exposition.

Wait. Let's discuss this classmate a moment. London Thompson is a high school freshman. Freshman is what? 14 or 15 years old? She is drawn with a giant rack of boobs, a short skirt, and hooker stockings. THERE is where the art is. 


Arms dealer makes his move, blah blah. Thugs track down Green Hornet's hideout, blah blah. Big attack on the Hornet's nest, blah blah. Robin realizes his new best friend's dad is the arms dealer, blah blah.

Did I mention the artist draws a 14 year old girl with giant tits and hooker stockings? 

No bueno.


This batch of Green Hornet was pretty much just plain bad.  Dynamite probably should have stopped when they were somewhat ahead.  The 'Arms Race" arc is some of the worst comics I have ever read. . .with blatant Robin ripoff sidekick, sketchy, unfinished art, and oversexualized female characters. . .including underage girls.  This series has become an awkward shadow of what it started out as. 

 Where it was once a great tribute and modern update to a classic character, now it's just embarrassing.

Coming next. . .

More Green Hornet.  The final issues in this run.  God help me.

Be there or be square!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Wayback Wednesday - Tarzan Of The Apes #186

(Gold Key - August, 1969)

SCRIPTS: Gaylord Dubois
PENCILS: Nat Edson -  Doug Wildley
COVER: George Wilson

Welcome back to another Wayback Wednesday edition of Longbox Junk, where I take a look at some of the older single issue comics in my collection and give the internet a review that NOBODY ever asked for!  Why? Because that's what I do, son! Let's get to it. . .

So what we have here before us is the first part of a two issue adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's "Tarzan and The City of Gold", brought to us by Gold Key comics in the wonderfully politically incorrect year of 1969, in that long gone era of comics where a series could actually get up to triple digit issues before getting a reboot for that sweet, sweet #1 collectors issue (with 18 variant covers, of course).  But enough about TODAY'S comic book comedy.  Let's dig on into the Longbox Junk at hand.

Just to get this out at the start. . .I've read a few of the original Tarzan books, but I've never read Tarzan and the City of Gold, so I'm coming into this one cold.  This is also the only issue of this series I have, so I don't know what came immediately before, or how the story ends.  It's this and just this.

Let's start at the front of things with the cover.  Of all the older comics in my collection, I have to say that (in my extremely humble opinion) Gold Key really has consistently the BEST covers.  Now, I don't have a LOT of Gold Key comics, but I have about 30 or 40 of them and they pretty much beat Marvel and DC covers of the past hands down.  The cover to this issue is no exception.  It's dynamic, colorful, and very nicely done. The rich blue of the soldier's cape is a real eye-catcher. So a great cover. . .moving on!

The story goes like this:  Tarzan rescues a stranger from bandits, as Tarzan does.  The stranger's name is Valthor and not only is he wearing some pretty inappropriate jungle garb (a shiny white suit of ivory scale mail) but he's also hopelessly lost.  Tarzan offers to guide him back home, because Tarzan is a solid guy. After a couple of days travel, they come in sight of "The Fire Mountain Xarator",  a giant, smoking, active volcano. . .which one would think would be visible from quite a distance, making Valthor seem even more of an idiot when he could have just told Tarzan two days before, "I live by that giant volcano that you can see the plume of smoke from over there in that direction.  See it?" instead of making Tarzan track his way through the jungle. . .BUT I DIGRESS!

At the base of the volcano is a huge walled city named Cathne (the titular City of Gold).  And excuse me for digressing AGAIN, but one would think that Tarzan would be well aware of a big city at the base of a smoking volcano two days hike from his home.  ANYWAY. . .Valthor tells Tarzan that his home is another day's hike past Cathne in the city of Athne, and that Cathne and Athne are enemies.  So Tarzan decides to hike another day, because Tarzan doesn't mind hiking through the jungle.  It's sort of his thang. 

As they attempt to cross a river under the cover of darkness, Tarzan and Valthor become separated when the river (which has become flooded because it's been raining all day) gets crazy.  Tarzan washes up by the Cathne city wall and Valthor is nowhere to be found, so Tarzan says "Screw it. . .I'm gonna check out the City of Gold while I'm here." and jumps the wall, only to immediately be captured.  And when I say immediately, I mean Tarzan was only about 6 feet from the wall when he gets busted.  He literally only took about 4 steps.  The City of Gold has some pretty stout security, but one would THINK the Lord of The Jungle would be just a bit sneakier. . .just saying.

Tarzan gets tossed into a cell with a bruiser named Phobeg. . .a former Imperial Guard who accidentally stepped on a lion's tail. . .who let's Tarzan know that they will probably be killing each other in an arena fight pretty soon.

In the morning, they are brought before the Queen. . .Nemone. . .a sultry beauty with a hilariously 60's giant bright red beehive hairdo.  She proves Phobeg right by condemning the two prisoners to a fight to the death for her amusement in the arena.  And so after a merry day of chariot racing, Tarzan and Phobeg are brought out for the main event, and Tarzan easily kicks Phobeg's ass, because Tarzan is the kind of man whose ass will NOT be kicked.  But then he refuses to kill Phobeg despite Nemone's demands. . .which makes her hot for Tarzan, because that's the effect Tarzan has on women when he tells them they can take their demands and stuff 'em because he's no slave. . .he's friggin' TARZAN!

And so Tarzan is brought to the palace to. . .er. . .amuse. . .Nemone.  He's escorted by a chubby palace guard named Erot who keeps telling Tarzan how scared he should be, and Tarzan is like, "Why?"  It culminates hilariously when Erot tells Tarzan that stronger men then him have trembled before the queen and Tarzan is like, "Tremble?  What's that?".  Erot gets thrown out of the royal chambers as soon as he brings in Tarzan and Tarzan can tell he's made an enemy, but Tarzan doesn't really care because Erot's just gonna have to wait in a long line for a piece of him because Tarzan collects enemies like I collect comic books. . .

So Nemone gets Tarzan on the bed and starts getting frisky with him, telling him that she'll let him live, but only if he stays in Cathne with her forever. . .because that's how Tarzan makes women feel.  They are interrupted before Tarzan can give Nemone an answer by the news that they've captured an intruder and they're going to feed him to a lion if Nemone and Tarzan want to come watch.  Nemone just LOVES a good lion execution, so she decides bedtime fun with Tarzan can wait a bit. 

At the execution, Tarzan sees it's Valthor who's getting fed to the lion.  Tarzan jumps in to save him, because of course he does.  He kills the lion with a little knife and gives Nemone his best Tarzan victory yell.  Valthor tells Tarzan he came back to see what happened after they got separated in the river and got captured by Cathne's outstanding security team.  Tarzan tells Valthar to shut the hell up before someone figures out they know each other, then demands that Nemone frees Valthor. . .because queen or no queen, once Tarzan gets into a woman's head, TARZAN makes the demands.

Nemone frees Valthor, then tells Tarzan it's time to come back into her chambers.  To be continued.

Okay. . .not too bad of a story.  It's not perfect.  It's not even close to perfect.  But not TOO bad.

There's a pretty big suspension of disbelief necessary for the enjoyment of this story.  It starts out with the fact that Valthor can't find his way home despite there being a giant smoking beacon to lead the way.  Then Tarzan has no knowledge of the huge walled city and smoking volcano TWO DAYS away from his home.  And then there's the way that there's not a single black person IN THE AFRICAN JUNGLE! Athne is a Roman-style city in the middle of Africa and the population is whiter than Salt Lake City in 1850.  Okay, I get it. . .1969.  But still. . .IT'S FRIGGIN' AFRICA!

Other than the extreme suspension of disbelief needed to get through this story, it's not bad.  It moves at a pretty brisk pace and it's well-written.  I wish I had the second part of it, so the fact that it left me wanting to read more says something right there.  

Let's talk about the art for a moment.  I found the art to be a bit uneven.  It starts off great. . .dark and thickly-inked, but not murky.  A great sense of depth and shadow.  And then about page 10 it looks like they swapped out inkers and the lines become a lot thinner, giving the back half of the story a weaker look than the front.  The pencils are still really good, but the change in inker drags them down quite a bit.  The colors are surprisingly good in this book as well.  I've found in a lot of these older comics that the coloring is pretty sloppy, but on this one at least, I have no complaints about the color art.  Generally speaking, the art in this issue was pretty good from end to end. . .

BUT. . .

Like I said above, I get it. . .this comic was created in 1969.  But did they REALLY have to give Tarzan an Elvis pompadour and sideburns?  And I've got to ask the same question about Tarzan that I had to ask about Tor in a previous Wayback Wednesday.  Just how the hell does he get that clean shave?  Tarzan has a shave that would put a Marine to shame.  And I ain't just talking about his face.  The Lord of The Jungle is "dolphin smooth" as the Walking Dead's Abraham (R.I.P.) put it so well.


Overall, I liked this issue.  It has a great cover, good art for the most part, and a nice brisk story.  Sure there are some issues here and there, but in this case the good outweighs the bad.  Is it the best comic I've ever read?  No.  Is it the worst? Not even close.  It's pretty good. . .and what more can you ask from Longbox Junk?

Up Next. . .

Back to Longbox Junk as usual with the back half of Dynamite's Green Hornet.

Be there or be square!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Longbox Junk - Green Hornet Part 4

PART 4: ISSUES 20 - 24

And here's where Dynamite's Green Hornet officially jumps the rails.  Let's do this!


With the departure of the final remaining member of the original creative team (Phil Hester), Green Hornet's slow downward slide increases in speed with this utterly forgettable one-shot filler issue. . .

The story revolves around a Green Hornet and Kato exhibit at a museum that Britt and Mulan go to, only to have the opening crashed by one of the original Hornet and Kato's enemies. . .a white supremacy guy who has a homemade tank.

There was a pretty nice flashback to when Hornet and Kato first defeated the villain, but between the cheesecake turn the art takes on Mulan and the extremely weak villain, not to mention the ridiculous notion that a fully functional tank (Including ammunition!) would be part of a museum exhibition. . .this issue couldn't scream "FILLER!" any louder.  No bueno.


Another one and done filler issue, but this one is a bit better than the last. There's an artist change and I like his bold, brighter style quite a bit. The only odd thing is the way he draws Lt. Chritton (the crooked cop blackmailing Green Hornet), changing him from a skeevy beanpole with a ginger 'fro to a chubby, fedora-wearing "Harvey Bullock" imitation.

The story revolves around an old friend of Britt's who is a washed up, drug addicted MMA fighter in an underground fight club scene. When he kills an opponent, the Hornet investigates, uncovers the ring, and shows his friend that redemption is possible. . .even if it has to come in prison.

It's a story that's been told many ways many times. . .the old "This is how I might have turned out if I'd followed a different path." sort of thing. Once again, it shouts "FILLER!" loud and proud.

All in all, nice art. . .tired story.


The art takes a severe dip in quality on this first issue of the 6 part "Outcast" arc. I don't really understand why, the same artist that has done several previous issues is credited, but it looks completely different. I begin to wonder if there's an uncredited inker to blame. . .it's just strange.


A lot of setup in this issue. We have 3 storylines starting up here. . .First, Britt's newspaper (The Sentinel) is failing and a sleazy company wants to turn it into a sensationalist scandal rag. 

Second, the new mayor (after Mayor Hady was killed earlier in the run by Black Hornet's. . .er. . .giant typewriter trap *facepalm*) ousts a member of his staff after being caught red handed stealing. The enraged staff member (Kent Palmer) swears revenge and hires a killer (Mister Jensen).

 Third, Scowl and Moonbeam (The bungling heroes who tracked down Hornet for Redhand a few issues back) are back in town. Scowl is killed trying to stop a robbery. Moonbeam teams up with Hornet to take down the gang that killed him, then he decides to stick around Century City to see if Hornet can use some help.

Okay. . .beyond the terrible art, the Moonbeam/Hornet teamup is ridiculous (He was just shooting at Hornet a few issues ago!) and forced. It's plain to see that the creators are going to bring in a new face to "Team Hornet". No bueno.

All in all this issue was pretty bad. We're now officially on the back half of this series and it only goes downhill from here. . .


The art in this issue is 100% better than last. It's actually pretty damn good. There's just a few strange points to it. . .once again, Crooked Cop Chritton goes from ginger 'fro to Harvey Bullock. . .and Mulan is drawn as a white girl with light brown hair instead of Japanese with black hair. It's strange, but MUCH better than the slop from last issue.

As for the story, more setup. . .Moonbeam is nowhere to be seen this time. Kent Palmer's plans for hired killer Mister Jensen start to be revealed as he has him dress up like Green Hornet and kill Mayor Gedder. And Britt meets with an old reporter friend of his fathers who tells him to stand his ground and not let his newspaper turn into popular scandal crap. All that and Kato Sr. announces he's going on a mysterious trip and doesn't know when he'll be back.

But oddly enough, those storylines are just given a few pages, while the bulk of the book feels like a one shot with Kato and Hornet taking down a gang of heavily-armed robbers who are geared up with. . .sigh. . .power armor. During a ridiculous monologue, one of them reveals that they are disabled army vets the government tried to turn into super-soldiers.

Power armor. Super-soldiers. The old "Political figure hires a villain to impersonate Green Hornet" that we saw in the first arc repeated. Nice art, but the rest of it? Two words. . .No bueno.


The art on this arc has been a real roller coaster ride. Now we're back at the bottom end of the loop. Mulan is back to being Asian, but now so is Britt! Crooked Cop Chritton goes through a THIRD transformation from Ginger 'fro, to Harvey Bullock, and now to stubbly, tired old drunk in a rumpled trenchcoat. Why?

As for the story. . .

Chritton has the tables turned on his blackmail game as he is blackmailed into helping Palmer find and kill the Green Hornet. The fake Hornet goes on a killing spree. Mulan is forced into a trap by Chritton and some of his crooked cops, and the Real and Fake Green Hornet come face to face for the first time.

Between the derivative story and the roller coaster art, this arc is pretty bad.


With this batch of issues and the departure of the last member of the original creative team, Green Hornet goes from pretty good to pretty bad quickly.  I'm starting to not want to read the next issue.  The story is becoming derivative of earlier issues.  I see hints of a series departure from modern pulp into teen sidekicks and supervillains.  The art is extremely uneven.

The pain has officially begun.  13 more issues to go. . .God help me.

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