Marvel's New Universe (1986)

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Tulpa Girl

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Tulpa Girl Tulpa Girl I’m starting to feel like someone is reading this thread and then putting art up for sale related to your current posts. To wit:

View attachment 37706

A flattering thought, but I suspect if there's anything external driving any NU stuff being pushed recently, it might be the upcoming Overstreet price guide concentrating on various imprints and comic book universes from smaller universes.

lost-universes-starbrand-c-no-price-5-.jpg


That said, it's an amusing thought that somewhere out there someone is thinking to themselves, "Post faster, Tulpa Girl! I have pages from later issues I need to sell!"
 

Ralph Dula

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A flattering thought, but I suspect if there's anything external driving any NU stuff being pushed recently, it might be the upcoming Overstreet price guide concentrating on various imprints and comic book universes from smaller universes.

View attachment 37717


That said, it's an amusing thought that somewhere out there someone is thinking to themselves, "Post faster, Tulpa Girl! I have pages from later issues I need to sell!"
Wow, I heard about an Ultraverse cover, but not this one.
 

Ralph Dula

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Yeah, there's going to be a few different ones. The main one I think is going to have the Archie/Red Circle heroes on it.
That’s hilarious timing, as I picked up some of the Dark Circle trade paperbacks on sale last week, and was not only surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed them, but leaned Liefeld did a one-shot last year that was to have been a four-issue mini.

I leave it uup to you on whose shoulders the blame of it being a one-shot lay.
 

Tulpa Girl

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D.P. 7 #3 - “Loose Ends”

Cover Date: January 1987
Publication Date: October 7, 1986
Story: Mark Greunwald
Art: Paul Ryan, Romeo Tanghal
Timeframe: October 21, 1986

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Randy and Stephanie lead some local police to the area where they left their three attackers from last issue. Said trio is long gone, of course, and the police is suspicious of their story, as there are no small amount of holes in it (not being able to mention the parts about superpowers or being on the run). When the police mention the stolen bus they got a report on, and wonder out loud if these two had anything to do with it, Randy's shadowman takes the initiative to drop one of the police. Stephanie, despite a complete lack of combat training, holds her own due to her abilities, but it's Jeff (who had been keeping an eye out on what was going on) who knocks out the pair of cops with his superspeed. Unfortunately for the officers, being hit at superspeed can be a dangerous thing – both of them have concussions, and one had his finger ripped off from when Jeff yanked the gun out of his hand.

After they get the patrolmen to their car and Jeff starts to drive them to the local hospital, Randy and Stephanie make their way back to the others to update them. Dave attaches his mobile home to his truck, so they have more room as they head out from the area. After they leave (and Jeff reunites with them), the two cops show up at the trailer park where they had been staying, only to get ambushed by Bloodhound, Shrapnel and Vice Versa. The trio strip the cops of their gear and uniforms before continuing their search for the missing paranormals.

The next morning, Stephanie gets emotional as she fixes breakfast for the others, as the act of cooking reminds her of her kids. The others debate dropping Stephanie off to see her family, wondering if the clinic has their respective homes being watched. As they drive, a police car pulls up behind them, but as Jeff with his superspeed confirms it's actually the trio of paranormals that have been hunting them, dressed as cops (although there were only two cops, so where did they get the third uniform?). In the highway fracas that follows, the trio skid off the road, tumbling into a ravine. Randy, taking his Hippocratic Oath seriously, moves to help them, but Dave and the others are for just leaving them in the burning, overturned vehicle. Overruled, they leave, but Randy later finds out when it returns that his shadowman pulled their bodies from the vehicle and checked their vital signs before leaving.

Later that evening, outside of Stephanie's house, Dave pulls up in his truck (separated from the mobile home) with Stephanie, and Jeff in the back. Stephanie is nervous, not knowing how he will react, as what had happened to her freaked him out – he was all too eager to send her away to the Clinic, not wanting to see her again until she was 'cured'.

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Inside, Stephanie's fears are realized as Chuck reacts very negatively to her return. To add insult to injury, her three kids aren't even there, staying at Chuck's mother for the interim. While the domestic un-bliss continues, Bloodhound, Shrapnel and Vice Versa pull up in a car, determined not to fail to capture their quarry a third time. As Vice Versa approaches, Jeff heads off to relieve himself, leaving Dave in the truck alone. This gives the bad guys a chance to make their move...

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Gotta respect a bad guy who enjoys their work that much.

Shrapnel KO's Dave with multiple shots from his tranq pistol, after which he and Bloodhound approach Stephanie's house, while Vice Versa waits outside hiding in the bushes. When Jeff returns she uses her power to reverse his velocity and knock him down, firing her tranq pistol to try to knock him out. Inside, when Bloodhound and Shrapnel enters, Stephanie assumes Chuck called the Clinic, and uses her superstrength to evade capture and run outside the house. Back outside, Jeff is playing possum for a moment until it's shown that he actually caught the two tranq darts, and it looks like he's going to throw the darts back at Vice Versa. She instinctively uses her power to reverse the direction of motion... but Jeff had actually thrown the darts behind him, and as he ducks, her power causes the darts to hit her, knocking her out. Jeff and Stephanie make it to the truck, and with the unconscious Dave, make good their escape.

* * *​

Another enjoyable issue, although I would say this one is not quite as good as the first two. The pacing feels just a little off, and I think this is the result of having a hard limit of 22 or so pages per issue; having something else between the highway fight and the fight at Stephanie's house would have flowed a little better, but they didn't have the pages for that.
 

Ralph Dula

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DP7 #3 was the issue that put me off the series for a good while. Despite the fact I would read any comic ai could get my hands on, the scene with Jeff, Vice Versa and the darts made me go “Oh, come on!” and forget about the series for a number of months.
 

Tulpa Girl

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DP7 #3 was the issue that put me off the series for a good while. Despite the fact I would read any comic ai could get my hands on, the scene with Jeff, Vice Versa and the darts made me go “Oh, come on!” and forget about the series for a number of months.

Yeah, I can see that. It's one of those things that probably sounded cool in Greunwald's head, but you realistically have to question just how accurate a couple of darts thrown tail (more accurately, flight) first would be.

3.jpg

He must have spent a lot of Karma points to pull that off.
 

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Star Brand #4- “The Fight!”

Cover Date: January 1987
Publication Date: October 14, 1986
Story: Jim Shooter
Art: John Romita, Jr. & Al Williamson
Timeframe: October 30, 1986

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Not a bad cover, promising a conflict with some other paranormals, which (aside from the alien in the first issue) Ken hasn't had to deal with yet. Let's jump straight to the opening splash page...

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Of course, Ken is unharmed, and the axe is ruined as it comes down on Ken's head. Myron then tries a small blowtorch against Ken's arm – Ken can feel the heat, but it doesn't hurt him “unless I lose my concentration.” That's when Kathy, one of Myron's patients walks in, just as the sleeve of his shirt catches fire. Kathy freaks a bit, but Ken makes it look like he was able to smother the flames before they did any damage to him.

Myron and Ken relocate to Myron's office, where he gets Ken to recap the events of the first issue for about two and a half pages. Ken mentions that it happened on August 2 (which conflicts with the 'official' timeline by a few days) and recounts the encounter with the old man and the alien. Myron expresses some doubt about the parts he didn't personally see, such as the flying saucer. This plants enough seeds of doubt in Ken's mind, so he flies to the location of his second fight with the alien, where he saw the spaceship at. The terrain looks undisturbed, with no signs of a buried spaceship or a high-energy destructive fight. This just leaves Ken with more doubts and questions.

Later at the auto shop, Ken finds out that a nearby diner that the shop gets lunch from has been robbed, with the owner assaulted and badly injured. Ken is angry with himself that he could have helped had he been there, and feels that using his abilities to make work a little easier is a waste of their use. After work, while bemoaning his money woes, he gets a haircut, and we get another aspect of how his invulnerability works.

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You don't see her face, Ken, but we do. She minds, and she deserves better.

Ken cheers up Duck with a toy anthropomorphic duck that he picked up at Disney World for her. After dinner they return to his too-large apartment and have sex.

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It's Barbara knocking at the door (at least neither Ken or Duck said 'door' out loud as a response this time). Duck sneaks out the patio door, and Barbara as she talks acknowledges that she feels things have changed between her and Ken, and she doesn't understand why. Besides her daughter Laurie being more moody and difficult after the incident with the 'toy' gun, Ken hasn't been around as much, and has been acting strangely – she cites the 'tattoo' in his palm as an example. He claims it's not a real tattoo, that it will come off with special soap, and although he is uncertain if it will work, in the bathroom is able to transfer the Star Brand from his hand to his chest.

When he returns, Barb seems lost in thought before a moment, before making pleasant excuses and leaves. It's only moments later that Ken realizes that she was standing next to the Polaroid picture he took of Duck in her undies on his motorcycle.

Yeah, you brought that on yourself, asshole.

Ken shows up later at Myron's place to talk, although Myron isn't there and doesn't show up until a couple of hours later. When he does, he asserts that, while the Star Brand itself is obviously real, he doesn't believe in any of the alien stuff. As Ken begins to leave, Myron asks for payment, taking for granted that Ken automatically understood that their talks have entered a more professional mode. Ken doesn't have any money on him, and winds up in lieu of payment chopping some cords of wood for myron's fireplace, before driving off justifiably pissed.

Okay, Ken's an asshole, but Myron's a professional asshole. Switching from talks with a friend to expecting payment for professional services rendered isn't entirely unreasonable, but it's the sort of thing you should damned well make explicit before you start. And given that he has Kathy working off her therapy by manual labor around his place makes him look more than a little skeevy. While not taking everything unseen at face value isn't inherently bad, being completely dismissive about unusual circumstances while talking to someone with abilities unlike anything in human experience just makes you look small-minded and myopic. Finally, don't blame Ken for the axe being broken; that one's on you.

After Ken returns to his apartment, he eventually tries to call up a couple of government offices to talk about “an encounter with a UFO,” but doesn't get anywhere. He flies over to the White House, but stops before entering, not certain how to approach telling the President about what has happened to him. He eventually winds up in a bar, telling the bartender (under the guise of writing a SF novel) that he doesn't know what would happen a man with near-limitless power reveals himself to the authorities. The bartender responds that they would kill him in his sleep, because people in power don't like it when someone has a power they can't use or control.

(There's a discrepancy with the way time is portrayed in these scenes – the caption says that it's 9:03 a.m. when he starts making the phone calls, but it's dark outside as he does so, and still dark when he flies to the White House. Given that it's supposed to be evening when he finally makes it to Barbara's house, I'm inclined to blame the artists instead of Shooter for this one.)

Still wanting someone to talk to, and deciding against Myron or Duck, he flies to Barbara's house, figuring he should confide to her what has been happening to him.

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Yeah. Stay classy, Ken.

After waiting four hours outside her house, he finally sees her return, dropped off by a man who gives her a goodnight kiss. Ken has a little internal monologue pity-party, but at least has enough self-awareness to realize, yes, he did indeed bring this on himself. Realizing he's not going to be able to sleep anytime soon, he drifts around in the air for a little over an hour when he hears some screams below, coming from an all-night supermarket. Everyone seems to be running away in fear for no discernible reason, except for one woman carrying a couple of bags of groceries. Ken himself feels a rush of fear, and a strong desire to flee, pass through him, but is able to contain himself. Not understanding what has just happened, he decides to follow the woman as she drives away. She exits the road out in the woods, where she meets up with two strange fellows.

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(Don't tell me the visual placement of that baguette in that next-to-last panel was accidental.)

Ken approaches the campsite, with the intent of returning them to the mental hospital. The woman, Mrs. Kaminski, tries to mentally influence Ken leave in fear, but he is able to maintain his composure, even as terror gnaws at him. The boy, Deanie, influences Mr. Lovejoy into a rage-fueled attack against Ken. Despite the man's superhuman strength, he still isn't strong enough to hurt Ken. Ken asks Kaminski if her ability was given to her by “an old man,” and she responds in the negative, saying that her it just recently came to her.

Deanie redoubles his energies toward Lovejoy, and Ken is so focused on resisting Kaminski's mental influence that the wild man is actually able to hurt him when he smacks Ken with a tree from behind. This startles Ken enough that the woman's ability makes him panic, trying to fly away but momentarily unable to, giving Lovejoy the opportunity to batter Ken into unconsciousness.

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You probably could use a shrink, Ken. Just not Myron.

Making his way back to his apartment, Ken showers and then tapes up his ribs. As it's only a few hours before he has to go to work, he doesn't bother to go to sleep, instead doing a bit of writing on his typewriter, and then lifting some weights without using the power of the Star Brand, commenting to himself on the muscle tone he's lost, as he had become reliant on the it making things easy for him. He vows that the flab at his waistline (never actually visually depicted) will soon be gone, not to return.

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* * *​

Shooter really starts cooking with gas here. Ken is, of course, his own worst enemy, and his emotional turmoil throughout the issue feed into his self-doubt, which is what makes him physically vulnerable during a fight. Good stuff.

This is Ken's first time running into paranormals created by the White Event, although he doesn't know the cause of their abilities just yet. Despite being much more powerful, the combination of their abilities and his lingering self-doubts make the encounter a humbling one. Shooter's themes about power and its limitations play out nicely here.

I can't remember if the three paranormals depicted here show up against in any of the other titles. Given the sort of story Shooter's telling, it makes sense that Ken won't conveniently run into them again, but given what happens in the NU later on, there's also no reason why they might not show up in someone else's story.

Just after commenting on the fairly hard limit of the number of pages to work with in the D.P. 7 #3 writeup, this issue gets a few more pages to work with (25, instead of 22 or so). We'll see if other issues in the line follow suit, or if this was something Shooter could get away with because he was the EIC of Marvel at the time.
 
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Tulpa Girl

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Huh, I kept writing 'Byron' instead of 'Myron' before editing it just now. LOL.
 

Ralph Dula

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I missed this issue on the stands, though I recall the Bullpen Bulletins page advertising it. If memory serves, Myron turns out to be a pretty big scumbag, so this is just laying the groundwork for what is to come.



Your review got me to thinking about Solar, which I often think of as Star Brand 2.0. My first exposure to it was an issue where Solar had to fight a group of Harbingers for the first time, and that issue feels like a revised version of this one. Sadly, that one showed Solar was to be nigh-omnipotent against almost all other Harbingers, which leads to questions about the origin of the Valiant Universe, and as I type this I finally realize the parallel between the one take on the Valiant Universe and the theory the end of Secret Wars II created the New Universe parallel each other.



The fear-inducer really reminds me of Valiant, as the world’s most powerful psychic Harbinger could barely affect his mind. After Shooter was cast out a later writer made a big deal of Solar’s resistance to mental powers weakening. After reading your summary I wonder if Solar’s mental resistance was because he didn’t like Ken having such a weakness, that became a rule at Valiant due to Shooter, and its dropping a take that at Shooter.



I don’t know if the trio ever appear again, though I believe a future Star Brand foe had the weird distinction of being brought back after the line ended. I find it odd the trio were all in the same hospital when they got their powers, given the “1 out of X is a paranormal” Marvel banded about at the time. I’m very familiar with statistical improbabilities, but the idea the trio were clumped together like that doesn’t sit well with me for some reason.
 

Tulpa Girl

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I find it odd the trio were all in the same hospital when they got their powers, given the “1 out of X is a paranormal” Marvel banded about at the time. I’m very familiar with statistical improbabilities, but the idea the trio were clumped together like that doesn’t sit well with me for some reason.
From the dialogue, Kaminski and Deanie are from a local mental hospital, but it's less clear about Lovejoy, as he may be someone they encountered and picked up after they escaped.
 

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The splash page above says a bit about Myron. Not only is he willing to viciously attack Ken with an axe, but he's smirking about it. This slant to his character returns later on in at least one line of dialogue.
 

Ralph Dula

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The splash page above says a bit about Myron. Not only is he willing to viciously attack Ken with an axe, but he's smirking about it. This slant to his character returns later on in at least one line of dialogue.
And, if memory serves, in his social activities.
 

Tulpa Girl

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Spitfire And The Troubleshooters #4 - “Revelation”

Cover Date: January 1987
Publication Date: October 14, 1986
Story: Gerry Conway
Art: Todd McFarlane (spelled 'MacFarlane' on the credits page), Bob McLeod (spelled 'McCleod')
Timeframe: October 10-12, 1986

Yes, that Todd McFarland is doing the pencils on this one.

cover.jpg

(but not the cover, it seems)

The issue starts with Richard Faylen - who we last saw in the second issue – desperate and on the run, as he has been for the last several weeks since the disappearance of his boss Krotze. He's been hounded by Steel Hawk, and we find out that the blackmail material Krotze had on Faylen was that he had an encounter with an underage girl - “how could I know she was only sixteen?” Faylen makes it to a car and thinks he's succeeded in escaping, that was a false hope that Steel Hawk allowed, before the car explodes, killing Faylen.

Meanwhile Jenny, in the MAX suit, flies to Washington to testify at a Congressional committee. The appearance of what appears to be an oversized robot landing in front of the Capitol Building causes about as much panic and confusion as you would expect. One of the Senators, Dan Hurt, defuses the situation, leading Jenny inside the building.

The Congressional hearings are being televised, concerning the disappearance of Krotze, and what someone so highly connected to the Department Of Defense going missing may mean. Among those following along include the Troubleshooters, police detectives Sloan and Jenkins, and Steel Hawk. We come in on Major Benton – his arm in a sling due to the injury he suffered last issue, which he publicly dismisses as the result of a fall from a catwalk – deflecting questions from the committee, citing the need for national security for his non-answers.

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Well, at least Jenny apologized to Benton. That was nice of her, I guess.

One of the senators asks about how you swear in a robot. Which prompts Jenny to make her dramatic reveal from inside the MAX suit.

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I have to admit, seeing Jenny emerging from the high-tech powered armor brandishing a 5.25” floppy disk amuses me greatly.

(as an aside, in these more formal circumstances where she needs to make a good first impression and establish her credentials tot he senators, I can't help but feel that she should be introducing herself as 'Jennifer' instead of 'Jenny' would be more appropriate, but that's just me)

Watching this unfold on TV, detective Sloan sees an opportunity to connect Jenny to Faylen's death. Jenny makes her case, despite the lack of hard evidence, of Krotze's connection to the Club, and admits that she would be tempted to take care of Krotze “with my bare hands!”

This prompts Steel Hawk to go to the room where he's held Krotze prisoner for the last several weeks, having tortured the man when he wasn't out hunting Faylen. Krotze pleads to the terrorist that he would be more useful to Steel Hawk alive, on the outside and no longer a prisoner.

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Steel Hawk chides Krotze for asking such a stupid question, since he is, after all, brandishing a steel baseball bat in front of the weakened prisoner. Steel Hawk then beats Krotze to death, and shortly before dawn the next morning, dumps his body in the Charles River outside of Boston. He estimates that it will take about 48 hours for the gases in Krotze's corpse to bring the body back up to the surface.

A couple of nights later back at M.I.T., there's a shindig being thrown in Jenny's honor. The Troubleshooters are present, even though Jenny never divulged their part in what has happened. Senator Hurt talks Jenny into giving a demonstration of the capabilities of the MAX suit, and the movement to outside the building triggers the activation of a time-delayed bomb, which Steel Hawk had placed earlier. The terrorist is waiting nearby in a Jeep, his plan for the bomb to kill Jenny and others, so she won't be able to refute the charge of killing Krotze when his body is discovered. When he sees the police rushing toward the area, he surmises that Krtoze's body surfaced sooner than he anticipated, but that just makes the timing even better for his purposes.

As Jenny is showing off the MAX suit, the police show up, which causes Eric to stumble backwards a bit, almost tripping over the bomb. Jenny grabs the bomb and flies upwards, destroying it before Steel Hawk can manually activate it. Incorrectly believing that Krtoze must be responsible, she deduces that he must be nearby, as the radio-control for the bomb is one of minimal range. Spotting the “Rambo-type in the Jeep”, she drops toward his direction to see if he's responsible. Steel Hawk is disappointed that the bomb didn't explode, but is more that willing to settle for having flushed out his target...

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I do like it when bad guys enjoy their work.

The damage from the rocket launcher – I couldn't have identified what type of weapon Steel Hawk was using, but that's what it's supposed to be, at least according to Jenny's thought balloon – has pretty much all but destroyed the right arm of the MAX suit, although her actual arm is merely bruised. Steel Hawk follows up by firing an automatic machine gun at the right knee joint of the MAX suit, which was damaged when she fell (the text doesn't say anything about special ammo, but I'm going to assume he was using armor-piercing ammo, to give at least some credence to bullets being able to significantly damage the powered armor suit). He then follows up with a grenade which further stuns Jenny and damages the MAX suit. Krotze monologues a bit as he removes the helmet so to deliver the coup de grace, insulted that she thought of the Club as merely a form of terrorist group - “We want a new order in the world.”

This gives Jenny enough time to use the last of the suit's energy to grip Steel Hawk's leg, breaking it, causing him to fire his rifle wildly as he spasms in pain. With the suit now depleted, she is helpless as her foe prepares to finish her off, but as it turns out he's now out of ammo. He's about to instead use another grenade to kill her, but then the police show up, and he instead uses the grenade to send them scattering, while he makes his escape.

In the aftermath of the battle, Jenny is extricating herself from the damaged MAX suit... just in time for the police to place her under arrest.

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* * *​

Although not a paranormal, Jenny going public with the MAX armor is the first the general populace of the NU is aware of something that separates it from the real world.

While neither great nor particularly noteworthy, I would say that this issue is a little bit better than the ones preceding it, with the writing being a little tighter and somewhat more engaging. The art, for its part, isn't peak-McFarlane – this is fairly early in his career, and some of his more stylistic flourishes may have been tempered by McLeod's inking – but the art in this issue is at least more dynamic than the previous ones.

Misspelling the names of both the penciler and the inker on the credits page – that can't have been an accident, can it?

With the way that both Faylen and Krotze are written out of the picture, I'm now wondering if this was originally conceived (with a different ending) as a four issue mini-series, the type Marvel was fond of using as a way to test the waters for a new character or concept before committing to an ongoing series.

I do appreciate that Steel Hawk, despite first impressions, is not necessarily a stereotypical Middle Eastern terrorist, but rather an operative of a New World Oder type of group that just happens to be of undetermined Middle Eastern descent.
 

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I think this was the only issue of Spitfire I liked the art from, and probably the only issue of any of the New Universe titles that approached the visual style of Star Brand under Romita Jr.

I remember thinking that "Jenny" should have introduced herself a bit more formally than she did to a Congressional hearing. Maybe she might have worn something other than a skintight black bodysuit (despite the effort with the collar and the cuffs to make it look like some kind of pseudo-military stealth outfit). But I guess it's cramped in that trash can, and this is comics in the 80s.

You know what. I'm being a hypocrite. I watch anime where mechs are piloted by buxom girls wearing skintight latex where there is absolutely no reason for them to dress that way other than unabashed fanservice. So I guess I retract my complaint.

In retrospect, it's interesting to see all the McFarlane flourishes kind of peeking out from under the covers. I know they didn't register when I first looked at the book, but in hindsight the really do leap out now. Nothing about the story stands out to me, but the flair it was presented with did.
 

Ralph Dula

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I still meed to write my thoughts on the Spitfire issue you wrote up, but I have to ask; Can anyone tell me how many New U annuals there were? I knew of the Merc and DP7 one, but moments ago I learned there was also a Star Brand one, which apparently answers a plot thread I always wondered about.
 

Tulpa Girl

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I still meed to write my thoughts on the Spitfire issue you wrote up, but I have to ask; Can anyone tell me how many New U annuals there were? I knew of the Merc and DP7 one, but moments ago I learned there was also a Star Brand one, which apparently answers a plot thread I always wondered about.
There was also a Psi-Force annual.
 

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Star Brand #4- “The Fight!”

Cover Date: January 1987
Publication Date: October 14, 1986
Story: Jim Shooter
Art: John Romita, Jr. & Al Williamson
Timeframe: October 30, 1986


Not a bad cover, promising a conflict with some other paranormals, which (aside from the alien in the first issue) Ken hasn't had to deal with yet. Let's jump straight to the opening splash page...


Of course, Ken is unharmed, and the axe is ruined as it comes down on Ken's head. Myron then tries a small blowtorch against Ken's arm – Ken can feel the heat, but it doesn't hurt him “unless I lose my concentration.” That's when Kathy, one of Myron's patients walks in, just as the sleeve of his shirt catches fire. Kathy freaks a bit, but Ken makes it look like he was able to smother the flames before they did any damage to him.

Myron and Ken relocate to Myron's office, where he gets Ken to recap the events of the first issue for about two and a half pages. Ken mentions that it happened on August 2 (which conflicts with the 'official' timeline by a few days) and recounts the encounter with the old man and the alien. Myron expresses some doubt about the parts he didn't personally see, such as the flying saucer. This plants enough seeds of doubt in Ken's mind, so he flies to the location of his second fight with the alien, where he saw the spaceship at. The terrain looks undisturbed, with no signs of a buried spaceship or a high-energy destructive fight. This just leaves Ken with more doubts and questions.

Later at the auto shop, Ken finds out that a nearby diner that the shop gets lunch from has been robbed, with the owner assaulted and badly injured. Ken is angry with himself that he could have helped had he been there, and feels that using his abilities to make work a little easier is a waste of their use. After work, while bemoaning his money woes, he gets a haircut, and we get another aspect of how his invulnerability works.


You don't see her face, Ken, but we do. She minds, and she deserves better.

Ken cheers up Duck with a toy anthropomorphic duck that he picked up at Disney World for her. After dinner they return to his too-large apartment and have sex.


It's Barbara knocking at the door (at least neither Ken or Duck said 'door' out loud as a response this time). Duck sneaks out the patio door, and Barbara as she talks acknowledges that she feels things have changed between her and Ken, and she doesn't understand why. Besides her daughter Laurie being more moody and difficult after the incident with the 'toy' gun, Ken hasn't been around as much, and has been acting strangely – she cites the 'tattoo' in his palm as an example. He claims it's not a real tattoo, that it will come off with special soap, and although he is uncertain if it will work, in the bathroom is able to transfer the Star Brand from his hand to his chest.

When he returns, Barb seems lost in thought before a moment, before making pleasant excuses and leaves. It's only moments later that Ken realizes that she was standing next to the Polaroid picture he took of Duck in her undies on his motorcycle.

Yeah, you brought that on yourself, asshole.

Ken shows up later at Myron's place to talk, although Myron isn't there and doesn't show up until a couple of hours later. When he does, he asserts that, while the Star Brand itself is obviously real, he doesn't believe in any of the alien stuff. As Ken begins to leave, Myron asks for payment, taking for granted that Ken automatically understood that their talks have entered a more professional mode. Ken doesn't have any money on him, and winds up in lieu of payment chopping some cords of wood for myron's fireplace, before driving off justifiably pissed.

Okay, Ken's an asshole, but Myron's a professional asshole. Switching from talks with a friend to expecting payment for professional services rendered isn't entirely unreasonable, but it's the sort of thing you should damned well make explicit before you start. And given that he has Kathy working off her therapy by manual labor around his place makes him look more than a little skeevy. While not taking everything unseen at face value isn't inherently bad, being completely dismissive about unusual circumstances while talking to someone with abilities unlike anything in human experience just makes you look small-minded and myopic. Finally, don't blame Ken for the axe being broken; that one's on you.

After Ken returns to his apartment, he eventually tries to call up a couple of government offices to talk about “an encounter with a UFO,” but doesn't get anywhere. He flies over to the White House, but stops before entering, not certain how to approach telling the President about what has happened to him. He eventually winds up in a bar, telling the bartender (under the guise of writing a SF novel) that he doesn't know what would happen a man with near-limitless power reveals himself to the authorities. The bartender responds that they would kill him in his sleep, because people in power don't like it when someone has a power they can't use or control.

(There's a discrepancy with the way time is portrayed in these scenes – the caption says that it's 9:03 a.m. when he starts making the phone calls, but it's dark outside as he does so, and still dark when he flies to the White House. Given that it's supposed to be evening when he finally makes it to Barbara's house, I'm inclined to blame the artists instead of Shooter for this one.)

Still wanting someone to talk to, and deciding against Myron or Duck, he flies to Barbara's house, figuring he should confide to her what has been happening to him.


Yeah. Stay classy, Ken.

After waiting four hours outside her house, he finally sees her return, dropped off by a man who gives her a goodnight kiss. Ken has a little internal monologue pity-party, but at least has enough self-awareness to realize, yes, he did indeed bring this on himself. Realizing he's not going to be able to sleep anytime soon, he drifts around in the air for a little over an hour when he hears some screams below, coming from an all-night supermarket. Everyone seems to be running away in fear for no discernible reason, except for one woman carrying a couple of bags of groceries. Ken himself feels a rush of fear, and a strong desire to flee, pass through him, but is able to contain himself. Not understanding what has just happened, he decides to follow the woman as she drives away. She exits the road out in the woods, where she meets up with two strange fellows.


(Don't tell me the visual placement of that baguette in that next-to-last panel was accidental.)

Ken approaches the campsite, with the intent of returning them to the mental hospital. The woman, Mrs. Kaminski, tries to mentally influence Ken leave in fear, but he is able to maintain his composure, even as terror gnaws at him. The boy, Deanie, influences Mr. Lovejoy into a rage-fueled attack against Ken. Despite the man's superhuman strength, he still isn't strong enough to hurt Ken. Ken asks Kaminski if her ability was given to her by “an old man,” and she responds in the negative, saying that her it just recently came to her.

Deanie redoubles his energies toward Lovejoy, and Ken is so focused on resisting Kaminski's mental influence that the wild man is actually able to hurt him when he smacks Ken with a tree from behind. This startles Ken enough that the woman's ability makes him panic, trying to fly away but momentarily unable to, giving Lovejoy the opportunity to batter Ken into unconsciousness.


You probably could use a shrink, Ken. Just not Myron.

Making his way back to his apartment, Ken showers and then tapes up his ribs. As it's only a few hours before he has to go to work, he doesn't bother to go to sleep, instead doing a bit of writing on his typewriter, and then lifting some weights without using the power of the Star Brand, commenting to himself on the muscle tone he's lost, as he had become reliant on the it making things easy for him. He vows that the flab at his waistline (never actually visually depicted) will soon be gone, not to return.


Shooter really starts cooking with gas here. Ken is, of course, his own worst enemy, and his emotional turmoil throughout the issue feed into his self-doubt, which is what makes him physically vulnerable during a fight. Good stuff.

This is Ken's first time running into paranormals created by the White Event, although he doesn't know the cause of their abilities just yet. Despite being much more powerful, the combination of their abilities and his lingering self-doubts make the encounter a humbling one. Shooter's themes about power and its limitations play out nicely here.

I can't remember if the three paranormals depicted here show up against in any of the other titles. Given the sort of story Shooter's telling, it makes sense that Ken won't conveniently run into them again, but given what happens in the NU later on, there's also no reason why they might not show up in someone else's story.

Just after commenting on the fairly hard limit of the number of pages to work with in the D.P. 7 #3 writeup, this issue gets a few more pages to work with (25, instead of 22 or so). We'll see if other issues in the line follow suit, or if this was something Shooter could get away with because he was the EIC of Marvel at the time.

Loving the 80s Romita Jr. art. That's what drew me to Star Brand as a kid.
 

Ralph Dula

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I’m going to ramble a bit, so I apologize in advance.



A family member picked this issue up for me. They were going to D.C. for a business trip, they knew of a comic shop down there, and they asked me for a list of comics I was looking for. They misread said list, which is why I do not own the first appearance of Rocket Raccoon, instead having the issue after lt.



Also on that list was this issue of Spitfire, which they did pick up. I may even still have it. It came in a Golden Age-sized comic bag, and either a homemade backing board or a GA-sized one someone had lopped a portion off of. I recall staring at the bag and board for a long time, as I’d never seen GA-sized items before.



I had mixed feelings on this issue. This was either my first or second exposure to McFarlane’s art, and I didn’t care for it; I guess I felt like it was too stylized for the New Universe, or just didn’t feel it meshed with the art of previous issues. The weird part is while I’ve never been a fan of McFarlane, I’ve never had anything against his art; sometimes I feel like I was the only person who had a neutral stance toward any of the Image founders. Just something about this issue was off to me.



I liked Steel Hawk as an opponent, and I fear young me may have been edgy at some point and quoted his dialogue to someone.



I’m afraid to say I never picked up on the implications of power armor being proven to be real in televised hearings and the implications that would have in society. At the least, it leaves me scratching my head at the number of characters later in the New U who are absolutely shocked by its existence. That would have been a major newsmaker, and all the characters going “WTF?” in later books now seems dumb to me.



I’d forgotten Benton showed up in this issue. Given she shot him I’m impressed he keeps his cool, moreso after he finds out she showed up in a black bodysuit while he bothered to put his full uniform on while having an arm in a sling.



Regarding the misspellings, recently I saw a piece of art done by Jim Lee for sale , done a year or so after this issue came out. I still have a pic somewhere of when it first came out, and it was attributed to Tim Lee. Marvel was not good with names back then.
 

remial

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man, these take me back. I used to be a big fan of the New universe back in the day. I had all the first issues, all the last issues, and for financial reasons only collected Spitfire and DP7 regularly, until the Pitt event, then I got everything I could that followed that story line.
 
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