Tomb of Dracula #10 (1973)
“They call me… Blade! Blade the Black Agent X!”
Times change, don’t they? The story that introduces Blade doesn’t so much go into his background, other than his hobby of offing vampires. He takes care of some of Dracula’s henchmen early on and then fights the big bad on a cruise ship. When Dracula has things won, one of his mind-controlled lady victims comes to jump his bones. This distracts Dracula enough that Blade can get back up. Dracula makes the decision to leave, though the boat will explode in moments. Blade tosses everyone off the boat and makes it to safety himself, knowing that he and Dracula will fight again one day.
Uncanny X-Men #317 (1994)
Before Blink was well-known for her role in Age of Apocalypse and Exiles, she showed up in regular 616 continuity as part of the Phalanx Covenant. Along with members of Generation X, she finds herself captured by the Phalanx.
When attacked by a being named Harvest, Blink uses her power to teleport him away while tearing him apart. Other than that, she follows the others as they attempt to escape, knowing that the Phalanx was unable to find a way to dampen their powers.
Uncanny X-Men #3 (1964)
Xavier senses a new mutant in the area. He sends the X-Men to scout a traveling carnival. Cyclops judges certain acts, figuring out if the carnies’ talents come from mutant powers or cheap trickery. He discovers the Blob, using his abilities to be a sideshow. No man can move him and bullets get lodged into his flab. Cyclops demands that Blob come to the mansion to meet the Professor. It isn’t until meeting Jean that Blob agrees.
Would you believe that later in the issue, Blob tells Cyclops that his eye beams can’t budge him?
Xavier is pretty psyched about Blob’s powers and Blob agrees that he’s pretty awesome. This pushes Iceman to ask Xavier for permission to beat up the Blob. Xavier gives him the okay. Blob easily overcomes Iceman’s powers without even hurting him and declines membership to the X-Men. Xavier yells at his X-Men to capture Blob so he can mind-wipe him of the mansion’s whereabouts. Blob fights through the team and makes the escape.
Keep in mind, the X-Men are supposed to be the good guys and the Blob is supposed to be the evil villain.
Blob regroups with his carnie pals and attacks the mansion. When he’s eventually defeated, Xavier wipes the mind of both the Blob and his friends so that they don’t remember meeting the X-Men or where the mansion is. They wake up confused and decide to go back to the carnival. They do this while inside the mansion and in front of the X-Men. Angel proceeds to congratulate Xavier on being so smart.
Detective Comics #345 (1965)
Years ago, Bruce Wayne saved the life of scrawny chemist Mark Desmond. These days Mark Desmond is a hulking beast going around robbing banks for his brother Roland. Nicknamed Blockbuster by the media, he has no problem beating on the Dynamic Duo.
During their second fight, Batman comes to figure that this is Mark. He unmasks himself to show that he’s Bruce Wayne and therefore calms Blockbuster. This causes a bit of a problem, since Bruce now has to deal with Roland Desmond without blowing his cover.
Roland would become the second Blockbuster years later in Starman #9 (1989). This wasn’t the more renowned Jack Knight Starman series, but the one starring Will Payton. Starman deals with a rather large guy who totals an entire diner with no problem. This new Blockbuster – who seems to have a normal intellect – escapes and leaves Starman to deal with the wreckage. While Starman deals with the aftermath, a serial killer and his personal life, we see Bruce Wayne back at Gotham.
Bruce discusses with Alfred how Roland Desmond has escaped prison a week earlier and how the first Blockbuster was killed as a member of the Suicide Squad. When word of a new Blockbuster hits Gotham, Batman is already on his way. Meanwhile, Starman gets a rematch.
Don’t let the image fool you. Starman doesn’t fare so well this time either.
Marvel Presents #1 (1975)
Ulysses Bloodstone, monster hunter, is first shown fighting an amphibious creature that some dude with a flute has conjured from the sea. Ulysses wins by firing his shotgun again and again and again and again and again and again. Later, after taking in the flute guy for questioning, he’s attacked by another monster. He finds out that the monster is possessed by a spirit that wants to possess powerful creatures. It controlled that flute guy to conjure the fish monster for the opportunity of taking over that fish monster’s body. Later in the issue, the nameless possessor blasts energy through Ulysses’ chest and seemingly kills him. I’m sure he got out of it in the next issue.
Bloodstone #1 (2001)
Easily the most obscure member of Warren Ellis’ Nextwave team (not counting the brand new Captain), Elsa made herself known in her own miniseries. Accompanied by her pregnant mother, Elsa comes to her father’s old home and finds that she inherits everything. Despite her appearance and personality in Nextwave, she is nothing like that here.
Like I said.
Over the course of the issue, she fights some vampires, hangs out with Frankenstein’s monster, uses a genie’s lamp and ends on a cliffhanger where she is face to face with Dracula. All while wearing pants that are way too tight.
Mystery Men Comics #1 (1939)
Not exactly sure if this is from Mystery Men Comics #1, but it’s early enough that it might as well be. Dan Garrett was the first Blue Beetle, appearing as a guy in chainmail and a mask. You know those famed powers that passed Ted Kord over and made Jaime into an alien war machine? Those weren’t brought in until later. You can read more about Garrett at Comics 101.
Ted Kord first arrived in Captain Atom #83 (1966) as a backup story. Without a mention of who he is or where he came from, he makes his first attempt at foiling some criminals. As far as the fighting goes, he does well until they toss some kind of bomb thing at him. At first they attempt to unmask him, but then figure they’ll just shoot him and kill him there. They nix that plan when the police arrive. Blue Beetle gets back to his feet, gets into his Bug aircraft, catches the criminals’ car and delivers it to the police.
The current Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes, makes himself known in Infinite Crisis #3 (2005), which may be the most recent comic to ever show up in this series of articles. After the events of Day of Vengeance, the beetle scarab that gave Dan Garrett his superpowers years ago has ended up in the middle of El Paso. The Shadowpact and Superman both try to help out in that area as buildings fall apart and random explosions happen. Unknown to them, Jaime notices something on the ground.
This scene would be revisited in the Blue Beetle series, without the red sky and extra superheroes in the background. Apparently a lack of communication, says series writer John Rogers.
Fury of Firestorm #24 (1984)
“The costume makes the man? MAN! WHAT A COSTUME!”
In this backup story, Dan Cassidy, a stuntman and special effects wiz, has finished making a blue devil exoskeleton for a movie he’s working on. Already, the media thinks it’s stupid to waste all that potential on something as trivial as movie stunt work. The star of the movie, Wayne Tarrant, wears a mockup to film a scene while Cassidy readies the stunt suit elsewhere.
Flash villain the Trickster arrives and kidnaps Tarrant, believing that he is Cassidy and that he is wearing the high-tech Blue Devil costume. He wants the costume for himself. Cassidy finds out that Tarrant has been kidnapped, suits up and goes after the Trickster. Unfortunately, the trident that allows him flight needs an awful lot of work. The Trickster is surprised by how weak his captive is and unmasks him to find that it isn’t Cassidy after all. The real Blue Devil appears behind him.
The two fight back and forth with Blue Devil getting the win. True to his namesake, the Trickster sneaks off and gets away thanks to Blue Devil’s continuing difficulty in flying. The issue ends with Cassidy believing that his costume was a failure. His friends seem optimistic, knowing that Cassidy’s really going to just lock himself in a workshop and build on it for a while.
Detective Comics #751 (2000)
The title character in Checkmate was once Bruce Wayne’s personal bodyguard. Of course her first appearance would be her job interview. Lucius Fox does the interview and gives her the job.
Bruce is less than thrilled with the idea, but Lucius believes it’s necessary considering all the craziness that’s been going on in Bruce’s life. Blackmailed with Lucius’ resignation, Bruce has no choice but to accept. He talks with Sasha briefly before faking a trip to the bathroom so he can change into Batman and go fight Poison Ivy and her army of half-naked teenagers.
Secret Wars II #5 (1985)
Now known as Tabitha Smith in Nextwave, she’s quite the opposite from her teammate Elsa. You see, Elsa was originally hot. Tabitha on the other hand…
Don’t worry, 1980’s. I still love you.
Tabitha sees the Beyonder mentally dismantle a train and thinks he’s a mutant like her. She follows him around and befriends him, not realizing what kind of power she’s really associating with. The Beyonder leaves her behind at first, but finds that he’s infatuated with her. He tries to mend their relationship, but his wacky cosmic behavior scares Tabitha and she demands to be left alone. She later summons the Beyonder so that the Avengers and X-Men can beat him down. Feeling betrayed by his one friend, the Beyonder doesn’t even fight back. He just lets them beat him up and then leaves the scene.
Booster Gold #1 (1986)
Known at the first character to be created after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Booster Gold’s origin and beginnings aren’t part of his first issue. As we first see him, he’s already a successful superhero and is beloved by Metropolis. The main story of the issue is how some crappy super-villains have stolen some device. Booster fails in stopping them. His agent Dirk Davis talks of how this will ruin Booster’s image, but Booster shows that he does still care about the people he protects.
A fun quirk that showed up in Booster’s early days was his difficulty in getting modern-day dialect right. He’d always get certain sayings wrong and have Skeets correct him (“Here’s mud in your ear!” “Mud in your eye, sir.” “Right. Like I said.”). Looking back at the hints they dropped before revealing his origin, I’d be interested in seeing what the speculation was like back then.
Detective Comics #1 (1937)
Catwoman’s baby’s granddaddy actually showed up before even Superman in the pages of Detective Comics #1. Reading through the issue, I couldn’t believe how boring it was. Without superheroes, it was just a bunch of cops and spies who did nothing but stand around and talk. Almost no action. Then, all of the sudden, I get to the finale story with Slam Bradley beating the piss out of a bunch of offensive Chinese stereotypes for probably no reason whatsoever.
A police officer shows up and tells the freelance detective about a new job. Slam goes to his office to meet uptight rich bitch Rita Carlisle, who wants Slam to watch her prize poodle for her. Instead, he slams his fist onto his desk and screams, “JUMPIN’ BLUE BLAZES! Is this what I was dragged out of a good fight for?”
He gives the job to his annoying wannabe partner Shorty. Shorty is soon in over his head when Ms. Carlisle is kidnapped by some more Chinese stereotypes. He calls up Slam for help and it’s obvious that there’s nothing Slam Bradley wants more than to pound his fists into some Chinese dude’s face. The guy is seriously messed up, but in a pretty awesome way.
I swear, he’s like the Golden Age Brock Samson.
Slam and Shorty team up and take care of the criminals. Rita Carlisle falls for Slam, but he just shoves her aside. No dame is going to stop him from his career of terrorizing those damned Asian bastards.
Doom Patrol #86 (1964)
The story here is mainly about the Doom Patrol fighting off Rog, a giant robot piloted by the evil Dr. Morden. Incidentally, Rog would later show up in an episode of the Justice League cartoon (the freakish little boy conjured him up in the Justice Guild episode). Morden causes a disaster that the Doom Patrol must deal with, giving him the easy escape. Later, he is blindfolded and allowed an audience with the mysterious criminal known as the Brain.
Brain doesn’t really do much in the issue. His plans for Rog fail when the robot is defeated by Elastic Girl in a clash of giants.
Action Comics #242 (1958)
Before Brainiac was some kind of advanced android thing, he was really just a green Lex Luthor from space. Clark, Lois and some other reporters are brought onboard an experimental spacecraft on a test run, only to notice a UFO approaching.
Superman can’t do a thing against Brainiac, what with Brainiac’s overly-powerful force fields. Brainiac uses a device to shrink various Earth cities and put them in bottles. He wants to use them in order to later repopulate his home planet and rule with an iron fist. Superman fakes defeat and returns to Metropolis, knowing that Brainiac will get around to shrinking that city as well. The miniature Superman discovers that the Kryptonian city Kandor has also been shrunken at one point. Working under Brainiac’s nose, Superman returns and reverts all of the shrunken cities. There is only enough juice in Brainiac’s device for one more use and Superman decides he’ll use it on Kandor. Instead, a shrunken scientist from the tiny city uses the ray on Superman first. Earth needs Superman.
Our hero then sneaks off with Kandor, hoping to one day return it to its normal size. Good luck with that.
Action Comics #276 (1961)
There’s a fucking ridiculous story in this issue about Supergirl fighting an army of tiny Supermen, but thank God that has nothing to do with the Brainiac 5 introduction. Instead, in another story, Supergirl is visited by three girls from the Legion of Superheroes. They take her to the future and induct her into the team. There’s a rule that every year involves the induction of both a boy and a girl. With Supergirl out of the way, who’s the boy?
Supergirl puts on a smile, but thinks that there’s no way this Brainiac 5 guy is on the up and up. A random kryptonite meteor falls to Earth and the two save each other’s lives. Supergirl trusts her new teammate, but rejects his offer to stay in the future as his girlfriend. She goes back home and ponders about how nobody would believe that she has two boyfriends: a merman and a green-skinned guy from the distant future.
Uncanny X-Men #155 (1982)
The X-Men are taken aboard a Shi’ar spaceship and are given news that Lilandra’s been captured. Xavier and the rest go back home to figure out a way to get through this, going as far as visiting Avengers Mansion. Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler are left on-board, where Kitty uses a clothing device to dress herself like Darth Vader. Seriously.
Back on Earth, Death Bird talks with what we find out to be a Brood creature about their alliance in killing the X-Men. Death Bird goes for the direct approach, but the Brood creature keeps its distance.
Wolverine ends up killing the alien while showing respect for the creature’s admirable fighting ability. Other creatures arrive and the X-Men fight back. Somehow, Colossus gets impaled by a metal pole while in human form.
New Teen Titans #21 (1986)
The main story here deals with Cheshire fighting the Titans and revealing to Roy Harper that she had his baby. Cheshire works for a secret cult, who for reasons yet to be revealed, have kidnapped both Raven and her mother. We only get to see one quick appearance of this Teen Titans villain.
He’s the guy in the cloak, by the way.
Detective Comics #441 (1974)
Bullock only makes a quick appearance to start off the story. He heads a hostage negotiation, with neither he nor the criminal noticing as Batman sneaks out of a manhole and attacks. Batman brings out the criminal and hands him over to the police.
That’s about it, really.
Daredevil #131 (1975)
A bit into the issue, we see a poor sap receive a paper airplane through the window. And I mean through the window, as in it was thrown hard enough to break the glass. Thinking it’s some kind of sick joke, he reads the message.
“Pay me $100,000 or I will kill you!! – Bullseye”
Daredevil investigates, but doesn’t find much at first. Reporter Jake Conover finds him and tells him what he knows. Jake has plenty of secret criminal informants, so he knows all about Bullseye. He doesn’t know who he really is, but he knows about the guy’s descent into madness. Bullseye was in Vietnam, affected by each enemy he killed. He remained gung-ho as a soldier and was one day cornered by an enemy. Bullseye was out of ammo, so he just tossed his gun and miraculously killed him. After the war, Bullseye became a mercenary in Africa. Now he’s making a name for himself in the underworld.
As Daredevil leaves, a grenade gets tossed his way to get his attention. He finds Bullseye, but the criminal isn’t ready to fight yet. Instead, he lets Daredevil chase him until they reach a dark environment. Daredevil realizes where they are, but is confused. Bullseye has the lights turned on all the way so that everybody in the circus can play audience in the first ever Daredevil vs. Bullseye fight.
So, yeah, he kind of over-did it with the size of the forehead logo.
Teen Titans #45 (1976)
Mal Duncan is in for a lot of trouble, involved with gang fights and stuff like that. As an aside, he talks to his girlfriend.
And that’s the name of that tune! Okay. To draw this entry out a bit, her big plan was to become Bumblebee (she’s a scientist, she can do that) and attack the Teen Titans, thereby making Mal look better. Once she came clean, they let her join the team.
In two weeks: Sweet Christmas, that’s a lot of Captains!