Petra Scotese Archives - Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources
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…
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.
Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Marshall Rogers, and the issue is Detective Comics #475, which was published by DC and is cover dated February 1978. This scan is from The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told, my beat-up edition of which came out in 1988. Enjoy!
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“Someone got hurt, someone got high, some of them left the rest behind”
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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 Dazzler #35, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated January 1985. Enjoy!
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