Category Archives: Superheroes

THE FLAG: NEGLECTED ACE PERIODICALS SUPERHERO

Flag 2Superheroes continue to practically own pop culture right now. Balladeer’s Blog’s readers wanted more, so I recently posted a look at the Superhero Pantheon of Ace Periodicals. Here is another of their characters that I just added. FOR THE ORIGINAL ITEM FEATURING NEARLY TWENTY MORE FORGOTTEN HEROES AND HEROINES CLICK HERE 

FlagTHE FLAG

Secret Identity: Jim Courtney, flag-maker 

Origin: An unnamed baby was left on the doorstep of crippled World War One veteran John Courtney in 1920. Courtney, a flag-maker, was intrigued by the American Flag birthmark on the infant’s chest. He named the boy Jim and raised him as his son, teaching him his flag-making trade.

On Jim’s 21st birthday he was visited by the ghosts of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln who told him he was a super-powered being and that his powers were ready to be used now that he was an adult. Jim donned a costume and fought the forces of evil as the Flag.

First Appearance: Our Flag Comics #2 (October 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.

Powers: Continue reading

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SUPERHERO PANTHEON OF ACE PERIODICALS

Readers cannot get enough items on superheroes! Whenever I go too long without a blog post on this topic the reminders to do another one start rolling in. Here is a look at the neglected Golden Age superhero pantheon from Ace Periodicals.

Captain Victory bigCAPTAIN VICTORY

Secret Identity: Jack Wilson, Diplomatic Attache

Origin: Jack Wilson was serving as a Diplomatic Attache at the American Embassy in the fictional Central American nation of Centralvo. While there he gained superpowers but Ace Periodicals’ writers never got around to explaining how during this character’s brief run.

First Appearance: Our Flag Comics #1 (August 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came that same year.

Captain Victory smallPowers: Captain Victory (No relation to the Jack Kirby character of that name) could fly and had massive super strength. The upper limits of his flying abilities and his strength were never established before the character disappeared. 

Comment: Since America had not yet entered World War Two, Captain Victory’s adventures had to walk a fine line. The hero thwarted an Axis Powers attempt to trick Centralvo into entering the war on their side, stopped a Nazi sub from secretly sabotaging the Panama Canal and – in a prescient bit – defeated a Japanese sneak attack on the American Navy. 

Lightning GirlLIGHTNING GIRL

Secret Identity: Isabel Blake

Origin: When Isabel’s Naval Officer father John was brainwashed by Lash Lightning’s supervillain foe the Teacher and forced to help the Japanese forces against the U.S. When Lash Lightning was in one of the Teacher’s death traps he transferred some of his power to Isabel so she could help him.

Her father was freed from his brainwashing and died a hero. Isabel vowed to continue fighting the Axis nations to avenge her father and became Lightning Girl, Lash Lightning’s partner.

First Appearance: Lightning Comics Volume 3 #1 (June 1942). Her final Golden Age appearance came in 1946.

Powers: Lightning Girl could fly at lightning speed, shoot lightning bolts from her hands, generate lightning-heat and track Lash Lightning through their shared electrical impulses.

This superheroine could recharge herself with any electrical outlet. Continue reading

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GOD COMICS: A DIVINE SUPERHERO

With superheroes taking over movies, television and even Halloween cosplay this seemed like a good time for a shoutout to one of my all-time favorite parody comic books. And remember, I take shots at ALL religions, including Islam, so I’m not one of those cringing cowards who only shows irreverence to Christianity. 

God Comics

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ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: THEIR FIRST MEETING


Tales to Astonish 44Marvel Comics continues to dominate pop culture, so with the movie Ant-Man and the Wasp now in theaters here’s a look at the very first meeting between the original Ant-Man and the Wasp in 1963. As a bonus their second adventure, up against Ant-Man’s archenemy Egghead, is below. 

Tales to Astonish 44TALES TO ASTONISH # 44 (June 1963) 

Title: The Creature From Kosmos

Villain: Pilai the Kosmosian, a monstrous alien who was a criminal even on its home planet. The creature’s form was made of formic acid and it could dissolve human beings with its touch. Bullets and other projectiles were useless against its form.  

Synopsis: After helping FBI Agent Lee Kearns with a raid, Ant-Man returns to his lab and begins fretting about his desire for a partner to fight crime with. He attributes it to the loneliness he has felt since his wife Maria Pym was killed off by Communist agents when she dared to return to her native Hungary.

In his Dr Hank Pym identity our hero is working on a way of using wasp biology to bestow wings and other powers on Ant-Man’s future partner, whoever it may be. His labors are interrupted by a visit from Dr Vernon Van Dyne and his beautiful young daughter Janet.

Dr Van Dyne tells Pym about his own current project: a device for contacting or traveling to a distant planet he has named Kosmos. After the visit the two scientists return to their respective endeavors. Van Dyne’s experimental beam accidentally transports a Kosmosian criminal named Pilai to his lab here on Earth. Pilai kills Van Dyne and departs.

Ant-Man and the WaspJanet Van Dyne comes across her father’s corpse and calls Dr Pym in a panic. One thing leads to another and Pym reveals to Janet that he is really Ant-Man and he offers to give her wasp-based powers so she can get revenge on Pilai and become his partner in superheroics. Janet agrees and is subjected to bio-genetic treatments that give her the ability to shrink and to fly with wings that retract into her body when she returns to normal size. (Her bioelectrical Wasp-stings came later.)

Ant-Man and the newly-christened Wasp then set out to fight the rampaging Pilai but even with the army plus Ant-Man’s ant-forces helping them the Kosmosian proves immune to their assaults. Realizing that Pilai’s body is made of formic acid, Ant-Man devises projectiles that make the alien’s body dissipate, thus killing him.

The Wasp agrees to remain as Ant-Man’s partner and secretly plans to lure the grieving widower into a romance with her. 

AND FOR THE PAIR’S SECOND SHARED ADVENTURE: Continue reading

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AVENGERS: KREE-SKRULL WAR CHAPTER LINKS

Marvel Comics continues to rule current pop culture. This year’s look at the Kree-Skrull War (1971-1972) was as big a hit as last summer’s examination of the Celestial Madonna Saga (1973-1975). Here are links to all the chapters for reader convenience.

Avengers 89I. THE ONLY GOOD ALIEN IS A DEAD ALIEN – Ronan the Accuser overthrows the Supreme Intelligence to take control of the alien Kree Empire. Meanwhile, the Avengers help the Kree officer Captain Marvel and Rick Jones stop Annihilus from escaping the Negative Zone after Mar-Vell and Rick break out. CLICK HERE 

II. JUDGMENT DAY – Ronan the Accuser comes to Earth to personally oversee Sentry 459’s attempt to kill the Avengers as well as to launch Plan Atavus, a project that will set back Earth’s evolutionary clock by millions of years. CLICK HERE 

III. TAKE A GIANT STEP … BACKWARD – With the De-Evolution Zone spreading at an alarming rate the Avengers (The Wasp, Yellow Jacket, The Scarlet Witch, Goliath, Quicksilver, The Vision and Captain Marvel) battle Ronan and the Sentry. Meanwhile the Skrulls launch a pre-emptive assault on the Kree Empire. CLICK HERE   Continue reading

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AVENGERS: THE FINALE OF THE KREE-SKRULL WAR

FOR PART ONE OF THIS LOOK AT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR (1971-1972) CLICK HERE 

Avengers 97THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 97 (May 1972)

AVENGERS ROSTER: THOR (Donald Blake, MD), IRON MAN (Tony Stark), CAPTAIN AMERICA (Steve Rogers), THE SCARLET WITCH (Wanda), GOLIATH (Clint Barton), QUICKSILVER (Pietro), THE VISION (Not Applicable), CAPTAIN MARVEL (Mar-Vell, Kree Captain)

NOTE: CAPTAIN MARVEL IS THE HERO THAT NICK FURY SUMMONED TO FIGHT THANOS IN THE POST-CREDITS SCENE TO AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.

GODHOOD’S END

Avengers 97Synopsis: We pick up right where we left off: Rick Jones has just been transported back into the Negative Zone, the buffer dimension between the Matter Universe and the Anti-Matter Universe. He is being attacked by Annihilus, the Lord of the Negative Zone, who wants revenge on Rick for the way the Avengers prevented him from invading Earth back in Part One.

As Annihilus flies toward Rick as he floats around in the Negative Zone, Rick finds time slowing down for him. His mind begins to expand and – though he does not yet understand why – he begins to approach omniscience. His mind is filled with images of the perils faced at that very moment by the other Avengers and by the entire Earth:

… On the Skrull homeworld (name unpronounceable by a human tongue), Captain Marvel, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are fighting against an entire army in the palace of Emperor Dorrek IV …

… On the flagship of a Skrull space fleet just outside our solar system Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the Vision are fighting frantically to prevent that fleet from reaching Earth …

… On Hala, home planet of the Kree Empire, Ronan the Accuser watches his own fleet of spaceships depart for the Earth, intent on preventing the Skrulls from seizing the planet, even if that planet gets obliterated in the cataclysmic battle of starfleets …

… On a small Skrull spaceship hurtling toward Earth, Goliath, no longer possessed of his superpowers, stands unarmed against a squad of Skrull soldiers on a kamikaze mission to wipe out the Earth to prevent it from falling back into the hands of the Kree Empire … Continue reading

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AVENGERS: THE KREE-SKRULL WAR PART EIGHT

FOR PART ONE OF THIS LOOK AT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR (1971-1972) CLICK HERE 

Avengers 96THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 96 (February 1972)

AVENGERS ROSTER: THOR (Donald Blake, MD), IRON MAN (Tony Stark), CAPTAIN AMERICA (Steve Rogers), THE SCARLET WITCH (Wanda), GOLIATH (Clint Barton), QUICKSILVER (Pietro), THE VISION (Not Applicable), CAPTAIN MARVEL (Mar-Vell, Kree Captain)

NOTE: CAPTAIN MARVEL IS THE HERO THAT NICK FURY SUMMONED TO FIGHT THANOS IN THE POST-CREDITS SCENE TO AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.

Readers can’t get enough Marvel Superheroes. I’m glad to oblige since I still have a soft spot for superhero stories because reading them as a kid served as a gateway to two of my adult passions: mythology and opera. 

Avengers 96THE ANDROMEDA SWARM

Synopsis: This part picks up a few days after the Avengers defeated Maximus the Mad and restored Black Bolt to the throne of Attilan, the Great Refuge. With the Kree now prevented from using the Inhumans as super-soldiers in their war with the Skrulls, our heroes were allowed to rest, regroup and plot their next move.

By staying in the hidden city of Attilan they also avoided having to deal with the ongoing manhunt for them run by Senator Craddock and his reluctant S.H.I.E.L.D. allies. The Avengers have piloted their Quin-Jet to the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, which is in my opinion one of the dumbest things in the otherwise impressive Marvel Comics Universe. They should have at least dropped the absurd helicarrier bit for the movies.  

Nick Fury has agreed to sacrifice his job by letting our heroes steal an internationally- constructed ship capable of space flight … if it only had a power source. Again, really dumb. The writers could have had the Avengers use a ship created in Attilan since it has futuristic Kree technology.

Avengers Kree-Skrull WarAnyway, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Goliath and the Vision board the ship, named Bogie, in honor of Humphrey Bogart. (?) With Thor’s hammer serving as the nearly infinite power source for the spacecraft – just like it could have for a craft built in Attilan – the Avengers fly off.

First they shatter the Kree Nega-Shield which has been surrounding Earth ever since Ronan the Accuser was forced to return to the planet Hala back in Part Three. After that it’s off through our solar system, just outside which lies the Stargate which the Kree, Skrulls, Shi’ar and other alien races use to bop to and from our solar system to deep space.

The Avengers plan to free the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Captain Marvel from captivity on the Skrull homeworld and then free Rick Jones from captivity on Hala, homeworld of the Kree Empire. Thor notices how tense the Vision seems, and Iron Man, who has gleaned that the android has fallen in love with the Scarlet Witch, begins to explain on the Vision’s behalf.  Continue reading

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