Category Archives: Cult Comic Essentials

Green Lantern: Rebirth (Issues 1-6)

Looking back and reflecting on the Green Lantern: Rebirth six issue mini-series from 2004 makes you realise that it can now be viewed as a turning point in the history of the Green Lantern. Written by   Geoff Johns and art by Ethan Van Sciver it tells the tale of the redemption of Hal Jordan.

The story begins with the Green Lantern of Earth, Kyle Rayner, crashing at Highway Hill on Earth in a spacecraft, mumbling to the two hikers who find him, “It has a name”. His power ring begins speaking, “Parallax is coming…”

A series of strange and disturbing incidents then begins to occur. Jordan, pronouncing judgment on the villain Black Hand, becomes unable to focus clearly, and senses that something is wrong, telling his friend Oliver Queen (aka Green Arrow), “None of this should have happened. This isn’t me. This isn’t who I am.” The shape-shifting Vuldarian physiology of former Green Lantern Guy Gardner begins going haywire. Coast City, long destroyed, suddenly reappears to two pilots flying over it, though the only building that is restored is Hal Jordan’s old home.

When confronted, Jordan tells the Justice League that he is not responsible for the restored Coast City. Stewart, however, suddenly goes berserk, attacking the other heroes, his ring now intoning, “Parallax is coming”. Meanwhile, at the Justice League Watchtower on the Moon, the emergency power ring that Jordan once gave Green Arrow duplicates itself, and places itself on Guy Gardner’s finger, restoring him as a Green Lantern.

Back at Highway Hill, the extraterrestrial Green Lantern Kilowog appears, and inexplicably attacks Kyle Rayner. However, Ganthet, one of the Guardians of the Universe, appears to stop Kilowog, attempting to protect the coffin, which it is revealed holds the corpse of Hal Jordan. He and Kilowog engage in a fierce battle, and Rayner himself feels something within his ring attempting to take over his will, much as with Stewart and Kilowog. Ganthet teleports Rayner and Jordan’s corpse to the Watchtower. Meanwhile, Jordan investigates the appearance of his old apartment building, where he is confronted by the Parallax version of himself, who engages in a battle of wills with the Spirit of Vengeance bonded to Jordan’s soul.

It is then that The Spectre explains to Jordan the truth about Parallax, while simultaneously on the Moon, Rayner does so to Queen. Rayner explains that he journeyed to the edge of the universe within Sector 3599, and on the tenth planet from the star Pagallus, the inhabitants told him that Parallax was actually a yellow demonic parasitic entity that was born at the beginning of sentience, feeding on fear, creating terror in anything it came into contact with, and causing entire civilizations to destroy themselves out of paranoia. It was this creature that the Guardians of the Universe imprisoned within the Central Power Battery on Oa, using fear’s opposite energy, willpower. Rayner explains that there is an emotional electromagnetic spectrum into which the collective willpower of the universe is collected by the Central Power Battery, and that green willpower is the most pure. Parallax had lain dormant for billions of years, his true nature covered up by the Guardians to prevent anyone from trying to free it, and thus, it had eventually come to be referred to as simply “the yellow impurity”. This was the reason why the rings were useless against the color yellow: Parallax weakened its power over the corresponding spectrum, and hence only someone capable of overcoming great fear could master the power ring. The Guardians, therefore, selected only such persons to become Green Lanterns…

 

Manhunter (1988) Issues 1-24

Mark Shaw was a public defender, unhappy about how easily criminals manipulated the system and got off without punishment. Shaw’s uncle Desmond introduced him to an ancient sect of crime fighters called the Manhunters. Shaw contacted the Grand Master, the sect’s leader, through a magical lion medallion. Shortly, he assumed the Manhunter name and costume from a previous Manhunter.

It should be noted that the Manhunter sect was composed of androids, created billions of years before by the Guardians of Oa to police the galaxy. For millennia, they served the Guardians well. The Manhunters became obsessed with the act of “hunting” criminals. Their code, “No Man Escapes the Manhunters“, became more important to them than seeing justice done. Eventually, the androids rebelled against the Guardians, but were swiftly defeated by their creators. Those that survived went into hiding.

The latter-day Manhunters attempted to disgrace the Guardians with Mark Shaw at their side. They were opposed by the JLA, especially by League member Green Lantern. Shaw realized that he had been duped by the Manhunters and turned on them, killing the Grand Master, who was revealed to be a robot. Mark Shaw quickly returned as a new hero called the Privateer, but it was soon revealed that he was also working as a villain called the Star-Tsar, in league with the Key. The Red Tornado discovered this deception and Shaw went to prison.

While in the midst of serving his sentence, Shaw was offered the chance to accompany the Suicide Squad on a mission as the Privateer, and was released when the mission was completed.

In the wake of the Millennium crisis, he donned a new costume to distance himself from the Manhunter cult, and had his own adventures. Shaw now hunted costumed criminals for the bounty. He kept insisting that he was just operating for the money, but he kept finding himself doing the right thing and this is where the comic series begins.

During this series, Shaw and his family are threatened by two shape-shifters named Dumas. Shaw killed the first Dumas and his battle with the second led him to give up the Manhunter identity at the end of his series.

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It was later revealed that Mark Shaw was actually himself Dumas and much of his history was actually the result of mental programming by the US Government!

Sex Criminals – Volume 3: The Hard Way

The Eisner- and Harvey-award winning raucous sex comedy that Time magazine called the Comic of the Year and Apple called “inappropriate for sale on iOS devices” returns in SEX CRIMINALS V3: THREE THE HARD WAY.

So it turns out Jon and Suzie aren’t alone — other people around the world, like them, freeze time when they climax. A self-appointed group wants to regulate and control them through fear and intimidation. Jon and Suzie are falling in love and want their freak flags to fly, but if they’re going to fight back they can’t do it alone. And really, isn’t that a metaphor for the whole series?

That we might all be alone but we’re all alone together? I think so. If you read only one comic with a semen-demon in it this year, please make it SEX CRIMINALS V3: THREE THE HARD WAY.

Collecting issues #11-15.

Infinity Watch – Volume 1

Run the Gauntlet from War to Crusade in this essential companion to Jim Starlin’s Infinity Trilogy! In the aftermath of INFINITY GAUNTLET, Adam Warlock wears the almighty glove – but no single being should wield all six gems.

Adam recruits his most trusted allies to guard one each – including the deadly Gamora, the destructive Drax, the demanding Moondragon and the diminutive Pip the Troll! But who holds the Reality Gem?

The team finds a home on Monster Island, but INFINITY WAR rages when Adam’s dark side, the Magus, strikes! This sounds like a job for Thanos?!

Warlock wrestles with himself, Drax battles the Hulk, and Pip takes charge when the Goddess sets the Marvel Universe on an INFINITY CRUSADE! Before the Guardians of the Galaxy, there was the Watch!

Collecting WARLOCK AND THE INFINITY WATCH #1-22. Rated T

Thanos: Infinity Revelation

There is an imbalance in the universe. And since his latest return from oblivion, Thanos himself feels…incomplete.

Now, the so-called Mad Titan would put both wrongs right. The revelatory waters of the Infinity Well lead Thanos on a new quest, with a once-sworn enemy at his side. A crusade that will bring confrontation with the Silver Surfer and the galaxy’s mightiest heroes, the Annihilators. An odyssey that will change everything.

Cosmic maestro Jim Starlin returns to his signature character in a tale of death and rebirth that will transform the Marvel Universe once more!

Titans Hunt

After having visions of a Teen Titans team the world has never known, in the aftermath of Convergence, the Titan called Lilith is compelled to set out to warn Dick Grayson, Roy Harper, Donna Troy and an Atlantean named Garth of something dark and sinister that she believes is coming after them. Is tragedy in store for the Titans, and where is this mysterious Lilith getting her visions from?

Find out in these stories from TITANS HUNT #1-8.

Blue Devil (June 1984 – Dec. 1986)

Blue Devil was created by was created by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn, and Paris Cullins and first appeared in a special insert published in Fury of Firestorm #24 (June 1984) which led directly into Blue Devil #1, (June 1984) which ran for 32 issues (including 1 Annual).

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In Blue Devil we meet Dan Cassidy, a stuntman and special effects specialist in Hollywood who has created the Blue Devil full body suit, complete with a built in exoskeleton, specifically for the île du Diable (Blue Devil) movie being produced by Verner Brothers Studios.

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During filming the demon Nebiros is accidentally released from within an ancient temple and, thinking Cassidy was an actual demon, tried to drain his demonic powers with blasts of magic. Instead, the blasts permanently bonded the suit to Cassidy.

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This unnatural fusion of magic and technology caused Cassidy to experience unusual events and draw the attention of otherworldly beings, a condition known in occult circles as a “weirdness magnet”.

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Horrified at the prospect of being stuck in the suit forever, Cassidy sought out ways to separate himself from it, becoming a reluctant super hero along the way.

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Cassidy tried to make the most of his new predicament. The Blue Devil film was eventually released and it became a box office smash. The public knew Cassidy ’s story and they were mostly sympathetic to his problem. All this publicity didn’t deter him from keeping up his social life. Cassidy continued to spend time with Marla Bloom, his producer and best friend, along with keeping up his dating life.

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Being a “weirdness magnet” resulted in This culminated with Cassidy entering another dimension where he met Cain and Abel – the famous brothers from the Bible. Cassidy  learned that Cain was currently the proprietor of something called the House of Weirdness, which could be accessed from the mortal world in certain spots. So, Cassidy bought a place in Metropolis that connected to the House and a hideaway in Malibu that did the same. Now, he could teleport across the country by simply walking through a single building.

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Cassidy was eventually transformed into an actual demon after making a deal with the demon Neron. Regretting the deal, Blue Devil decided to fight occult evil, often alongside the other members of Shadowpact.

 

The Complete Concrete

A political speech writer is kidnapped by aliens while on a camping trip trying to get over his divorce. He wakes to find himself trapped in a powerful body of stone. Escaping from the aliens he attempts to lead a heroic magnificent life using the strength given by his new body.

Concrete tries to use his body for noble endeavors, such as helping out on a family farm. Later, Concrete climbs Mount Everest, becomes involved with a group of hardline environmental militants, and reluctantly agrees to become the spokesperson of a campaign to voluntarily reduce the Earth’s population.

Unfortunately, giant stone hands make daily life difficult and despite his good intentions Concrete’s plans don’t always work out.