Image © DC Comics, Inc.

Last issue was mostly about Kyle Rayner, this one is mostly about the Guardians and Star Sapphire, as they investigate the apparent abduction by force of their Guardian brother. Anything that can take a Guardian by force, even these relatively inexperienced ones, has to be powerful. And to put a name to it, one only has to look at the cover above, Psions. The Psions were created by Marv Wolfman decades ago, and I used them a bit in my issues of THE OMEGA MEN, so I’m interested to see what writer Justin Jordan does with them. This issue is just a prelude to that. When Carol Ferris and the Guardians find and enter the gigantic Psion ship that’s holding their brother, you just know things aren’t going to go smoothly. The art by Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy is quite good, and I particularly liked the coloring by Wil Quintana this time, great use of glow and lighting effects.


And Then I Read: HAWKMOON: THE SWORD OF DAWN by Michael Moorcock


Image © Michael Moorcock.

This third of four books about the warrior Hawkmoon’s struggles with the empire of Granbretan is very much a segment of the larger story. It begins with a synopsis of what happened in the first two volumes, and ends with an unsatisfying “to be continued” non-ending. That aside, it was entertaining, though not as good as the first book of the quartet, “The Jewel in the Skull.” It remains to be seen how satisfying the final book will be when I read it.

Hawkmoon, Count Brass, and the entire city of Kamarg have escaped the domination of the evil Granbretan empire by slipping into an alternate version of their Earth which seems to have no human inhabitants. It’s quiet and rather boring to the warriors of Kamarg, and even to the regular folks there. When a new person shows up on the border of the city, Hawkmoon is quick to investigate, and soon a troubling alternate method of reaching them is revealed. Hawkmoon and his friend Huillam D’Averc decide they must return their own world to investigate, try to find the sorcerer who has pierced their hiding place, and retrieve his devices and knowledge. The process is made easier by the fact that nearly everyone in Granbretan’s capital city of Londra wear ornamental masks covering their entire heads, a handy plot device. The quest and pursuit of Hawkmoon and D’Averc of the sorcerer, and themselves by their arch-enemy Meliadus of Granbretan, make up the first half of this volume. The second half dumps them in a distant land they know nothing about where they must contend with desert predators, river monsters, and pirates before reaching a special sword that can help them on a larger quest engineered by a mysterious figure who keeps popping up in the series, the Warrior in Jet and Gold.

The story and characters are appealing, the action and adventure keep things moving, but overall this entire book feels like the middle section of a long movie, and had me wishing for some resolution that won’t arrive until the final book, “The Runestaff,” apparently.

Mildly recommended.

And Then I Read: AQUAMAN 32


Image © DC Comics, Inc.

As a kid I was not a regular reader of AQUAMAN. I saw him mostly in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, or occasional backup stories. That may be one reason why I’ve enjoyed this new version, which restarts the characters and continuity. Mera seems much more interesting in the new series than she ever was to me before, and the undersea kingdom of Atlantis and related fiefdoms, with their cliques and infighting, feels fresh.

What would comics do without scientists out of control? Here, one creates a new threat which is sort of an anti-Aquaman, with many of Arthur Curry’s powers and enough hate to fill an ocean. Meanwhile, Mera is confronting the terrorists who are trying to kill her in their own deep corner of the sea. They think she’s stepped into their trap. She has, but they won’t like it. Nice writing by Jeff Parker, fine art by Pelletier and Parsons.




Image © Dark Horse Comics and Mike Mignola.

The lead feature and highlight of this issue for me is a new serialized Hellboy story. I don’t quite get Mignola’s fascination with Mexico as a film noir/horror setting, but he makes it entertaining. Taking place in 1956, Hellboy is something of a wastrel, drinking and smoking his way into trouble without seeming to even notice it or care much. Blinded by love until it’s too late…or is it? Nice art by Mick McMahon, another interesting interpretation of the Mignola style.

“Alabaster: Boxcar Tales” by Kiernan and Lieber is up to 12 chapters, and I still don’t know what’s going on, really, but the visuals and dialogue keep me reading.

“Nexus: Into the Past” is on chapter 7, and it’s been a wild ride, which continues here, but the story finally gets more personal for Horatio Hellpop and his family on Ylum. I still feel this story is somewhat out of control, but I liked this chapter.

“Monstrous” by Horton and Cody is an interesting premise: a human soul trapped in a monstrous body, but in this case amid a society of monster overlords that he’s trying to infiltrate.

“Saint George: Dragonslayer” part 2 is trying to turn the heroic legend on its head, and doing an entertaining job of it so far. I like the irreverent art and script by Van Lente and Brown, though some of the faces are too manga for my taste.

Other stories here didn’t catch my interest.


Bedminster School Reunion, 2014


About fifty years ago, in the 1960s, my brothers and I attended the Bedminster Township School in Bedminster, New Jersey, seen above in the 1950s. Recently I wrote a series of articles about the school on my blog, which begin HERE. During the research and writing process, my long-time friend and Bedminster schoolmate Tim and I were able to contact a few members of our grade-school class, and at some point the idea of a reunion was suggested. Among the group of us that were corresponding regularly now by email or on Facebook, many either still lived in the central New Jersey area, or had family who did. A plan was made, and last Saturday, July 12th, some of us got together.


We gathered at the Clarence Dillon Library’s Local History Room in Bedminster, where Tim and I had done some of our research. Attending were myself, Brent Franklin, Catherine (Cathy) Downey, Pru (Hobbie) Cuper, Tim W, and Curtis Vreeland. Several others had planned to attend but were unable to because of last-minute situations: Roxie Blazure, Bruce DeBacco and Robert (Bob) Schork. But, with my wife Ellen and Brent’s wife Sharon, we made a group of eight, and we had a fine time. We spent an hour and more in the library first, getting to know each other again, looking at old photos, and reviving old school memories. Tim and I have stayed in touch, and the two of us had dinner with Curtis a few months ago, but the rest of the group had not seen each other in decades. I was happy to learn that we all have some good memories of our grade school days and each other. From the library we continued on through an eventful day that had been planned largely by Curtis and myself, with help from the rest. Continue reading