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Bill Oakley Archives - Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

1987 And All That: Fallen Angels #1-8

FallenAngels1Fallen Angels #1-8 (Marvel) by Jo Duffy, Kerry Gammill (#1-2, 4, 7), Marie Severin (#3), Joe Staton (#5-6, 8), Tom Palmer (#1-3, 7), Val Mayerik (#4-6), Tony DeZuniga (#8), Petra Scotese, Jim Novak (#1-2), Bill Oakley (#3, 5-8), L.P. Gregory (#4), and Ann Nocenti

As a story about a group of misfit superpowered kids, it’s appropriate that Fallen Angels would be something of a misfit superhero series, too. It’s not at all a bad comic, but it doesn’t look, feel, or move like your typical cape-and-cowl adventure. Its cast is cobbled together from characters old and new, popular (at the time, at least) and obscure, and the characters are constantly butting heads with one another. This internal conflict leaves little room for external enemies, so there aren’t really any villains for the stars to face until the last couple issues. There also aren’t a lot of codenames or costumes used; even Sunspot, the protagonist and narrator, is referred to by his real name, Roberto “Bobby” da Costa, more often than not. It’s a non-traditional team with mixed morals and motives, not fighting for good or evil but merely sticking together for the sake of survival and some semblance of friendship/family. Fallen Angels is a coming-of-age story for the entire titular team, and it is more interested in studying human behavior than the high-powered violence of the average superhero tale. In this story, being a teenager comes first, and having powers comes second, an interesting and unusual prioritization that makes for an entertaining if not astonishing read. Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 223: Tony Harris, Part 2 – Starman #43

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Tony Harris, and the issue is Starman #43, which was published by DC and is cover dated June 1998. Enjoy!
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1987 And All That: Comet Man #1-6

Hello all, and welcome to the first ever CSBG installment of “1987 And All That,” a project which began just over a year ago at The Chemical Box, where I review randomly selected comicbooks published in 1987. Why 1987? Because that’s the year I was born, and it seemed as good a reason as any to choose what to read. Which brings me to the topic at hand…

CometMan1 1

Comet Man #1-6 (Marvel) By Bill Mumy, Miguel Ferrer, Kelley Jones, Gerry Talaoc, Daina Graziunus, Petra Scotese, and Bill Oakley

Fans of superhero comics will find a lot of familiar bits and pieces within the pages of Comet Man, yet as a whole it’s a rather atypical story. It’s bleak without being dark, done in the style of more classic superhero origin stories but with the opposite attitude and end result. This is not the tale of a great new hero rising up and bringing hope, protection, and justice to the world. It is the story of several hubristic men ruining their own lives and those of everyone around them through an increasingly disastrous series of accidents, lies, and evil schemes. The villain comes out better than the hero, but nobody truly gets what they want by a long shot, and everyone is worse off at the end than they were in the beginning. Several people die needless deaths, an innocent child is abused to the point of catatonia, a family is disassembled, and humanity’s violence infects the mind of a peaceful alien observer. It’s not an uplifting series, but it’s a smart, interesting look at the dangers of great power when no responsibility is taken whatsoever.

The main character is Dr. Stephen Beckley, a.k.a. the titular Comet Man, an astronomer and astrophysicist who gets his superpowers through a mash-up of the Fantastic Four and Green Lantern origin stories (if the alien Hal Jordan met weren’t dying, I guess), with a sort of accelerated-timeline Captain Atom thrown in for good measure. While on a mission to track and study Halley’s Comet, Beckley’s vessel is caught in the comet’s tail, causing a massive explosion that kills Beckley and disintegrates his body. Lucky for him, Halley’s Comet is secretly an alien spaceship in disguise, and its pilot, Max, is able to pull Beckley’s molecules out of the inferno and reassemble him. Part of that process is unavoidably enhancing Beckley’s biology via the advanced technology Max has to use, since it’s calibrated to the physical standards of Max’s people and not human beings. So Beckley comes out intact but also overwhelmed by his new capabilities, which are many and varied and hard to control. Max suggests that Beckley return with him to his homeworld of Fortisque, where Beckley can learn all about his new self and adapt gradually in a safe environment. In the first of many blunderous missteps, Beckley assumes he can handle it on his own, and turns Max down in favor of returning to Earth without any understanding of what he can do or how he does it. Even getting back is a happy accident, as he discovers he can teleport by inadvertently transporting himself from deep space into his own office. He never really does get a handle on all of his powers, and seems to stumble into new ones all the time, so it’s not totally clear what all Comet Man can do.

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Trade paperbacks, older editions, and miscellaneous for August 2013

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“Someone got hurt, someone got high, some of them left the rest behind”
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Trade paperbacks, older editions, and miscellaneous for July 2013

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“Can you picture what will be / So limitless and free”
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 365: Starman #80

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. As it’s now December, I will be examining the LAST pages of random comics, so watch out for SPOILERS! Today’s page is from Starman #80, which was published by DC and is cover dated August 2001. Enjoy!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 324: Martian Manhunter #4

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Martian Manhunter #4, which was published by DC and is cover dated March 1999. Enjoy!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 323: Shadow of the Bat #47

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Shadow of the Bat #47, which was published by DC and is cover dated February 1996. Enjoy!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 315: Thrillkiller #1

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Thrillkiller #1, which was published by DC and is cover dated January 1997. Enjoy!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 274: Avengers West Coast #57

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Avengers West Coast #57, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated April 1990. This scan is from Avengers West Coast: Darker Than Scarlet, the trade that was published in 2008. Enjoy!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 266: Supergirl #43

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Supergirl #43, which was published by DC and is cover dated April 2000. Enjoy!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 259: Fantastic Four #348

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Fantastic Four #348, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated January 1991. Enjoy!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 230: Sleeper “Season One” #1

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be looking at four writer/artist duos, as voted on by you, the readers! This week features Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips! Today’s page is from Sleeper “Season One” #1, which was published by DC/Wildstorm and is cover dated March 2003. This scan is from Sleeper volume 1: Out In The Cold, which was released in 2004. Enjoy!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 135: Young Heroes in Love #4

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Young Heroes in Love #4, which was published by DC and is cover dated September 1997. Enjoy!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 88: Fantastic Four #339

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Fantastic Four #339, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated April 1990. Enjoy!
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