Back Issue #102 February 2018 (magazine review).

The Back Issue # 102 covers anti-heroes and although a certain Wilson Slade, aka Deathstroke, the Terminator, isn’t on the cover, he dominates the opening article. I was there when he was first created and caught up with his later history. You do have to wonder with all the advanced technology on the DC Earth why he never replaced his eye.

The look at Marvel’s Taskmaster and a reminder that he trained the people who ended up being part of the mobs run by super-villains is a sharp reminder of the Marvel Earth infra-structure. If anything, you have to wonder why there is only one teacher.

DC’s ‘Vigilante’ title was one I never saw through to the end although reading about it here does mark an unusual but not surprising finale. Whether you’re good or bad, shooting people isn’t a good role model.

DC’s ‘Wild Dog’ also gets some attention here. Writer Max Allan Collins and artist Terry Beatty created the series to make some money that their ‘Ms Tree’ series at Eclipse couldn’t compete with. Having it set in the mid-American Quad Cities than the usual DC Earth city haunts also meant that they didn’t have to worry too much about cross-continuity.

For those with an artistic bent, you’re going to love the ‘Rough Stuff’ pencil material this time of vigilantes from the likes of Mike Grell, Bernie Wrightson, Mike Zeck and Rob Liefeld. You also see the final product which gives a good comparison to what was done at the inking and pencilling and with the Wrighton one, painting by Joe Jusko. These images could be a little bigger but would probably ruin the pencils designs they are imposed on. Still, a little flexibility with the dead space, that is where it’s white, could make that work.

Then we have Nathan Summers, Cable by any other name, not to mention briefly, his clones. Talk about trouble and Stryfe. From his confused origins as to who contributed what to his creation, Cable’s presence in the comicbooks has been significant over the decades. About the only thing not covered is him getting his cyborg arm and eye. An observation from all of this, is considering the divergent future realities, there could be any number of Cables out there that could return to our present.

What will undoubtedly be the key selling point of this issue is an interview with Fabian Nicieza about a certain merc with the mouth, Deadpool. If you want to learn about his creation and life then you will want to read this. I didn’t realise how closely Deadpool’s costume was based on Spider-Man’s with a touch of George Perez style of weaponry. Then again, back in the 1980, a lot of characters had eye patches. Some, like Domino, painted them on. At least, I think it was. From being a character that could have been only an occasionally appearance, Deadpool caught the reader’s imagination which goes to show any character can break out and capture reader imagination. Just in case you think Deadpool should have had an opportunity to speak for himself. He does. He crops up all over the pages of this edition of ‘Back Issue’. He really needs someone there to answer him back.

The examination of when the Punisher met Archie Andrews is fun. I did wonder why no one remembered something John Byrne drew in the 1980s parodying ‘Spidey Super-Stories’ where Spider-Man introduces his pal, the Punisher, who is shooting someone to death. Considering Mark Gruewald agreed the cross-over, I wonder if he remembered it. I had a thought and a look on Google found the JPG that I’ve added here. For the record, the Punisher’s own history was covered in Back Issue # 4.

For those of you who have access to the USA, you might want to look up the Hall Of Heroes Museum in Elkhart, Indiana in its new premises. The article and photos here will make any of our own collections pale in comparison, although I reckon we all have some one-offs that make our own stand out a little. I do have to wonder with all the models and toys outside of their boxes is whether owner Allen Stewart bought two of everything.

This edition of ‘Back Issue’ covers a lot of ground. I was also surprised in how divergent these anti-heroes are in their motivations. Mind you, if I saw them walking down the street, I might cross the road to avoid them.

GF Willmetts

January 2018

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated softcover. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them    , you can get it for $ 7.61 (US))

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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