Monday, October 22, 2018

Lethal Lita #1

Lethal Lita #1 1996
$2.50 Samhain Studios
Garden City, Michigan
By Michael A. LeBlanc and Donald J. England

Prologue of events leading up to this issue (most likely depicted in the issue #0)

Bridget was a good cop. She brought down the head of a powerful crime family and was thrust into the media spotlight for doing so. She thought of herself as the best there was and had dreams of promotion.
Unfortunately, that wasn't to be. Late one night she answered a call which turned out to be a trap. Three attackers sexually assaulted her. Traumatized, she took a leave of absence from the police force. 
Soon after, her assailants were released from prison due to a technicality. Deeply disturbed that the law would allow these men to run free, Bridget decided to take the law into her own hands. She created a new persona as Lethal Lita, a force for vengeance for all those who needed it.

This is where our story begins.

Lita sits atop a building, overlooking an alley. By the light of the moon she reflects on what she has become and tears run down her masked face. Suddenly she hears a cry for help in the alley below and snaps back to the job at hand!

She sees herself in the eyes of the woman being attacked. Lita deals swift justice to the attacker and leaves a message for all the other predators of the night to see in this dark alley!

Bridget goes home and puts on a sexy low cut dress to excite her boyfriend, John. She meets him at a bar (maybe? it's kind of unclear) and he begins berating her for being late. As if that isn't bad enough he then goes on to insult the paintings she's been working on! Quick aside. As an artist I can tell you one thing I've learned. You make the art you need to make. If people don't get what you're doing, piss on 'em. Not literally. But figuratively, sure. All I'm saying is that those cretins should make something of their own if their sensibilities are so effing great. So you express yourself however you want, Bridget. Make whatever painting you need to make and John can chill the fuck out!

But I digress.

We were talking about Bridget meeting up with this pinhead, John. She reminds him that it's their six month anniversary which he has apparently forgotten. John tells her he's busy tonight and can't be bothered right then. He really seems like a dick. I bet Bridget imagined it was John she was gutting in the alley earlier that night. And good for her if she was. She should at least do a painting of her gutting John. That would probably help and John probably wouldn't even give it a glance if he walked right past it. The dick.

Her evening plans with John canceled, Bridget stops by The Other Side occult shop to visit her friend Susie. Who out there has a friend that works at the occult shop? I bet that's fun. When that person comes over and tells you all about the spooky Wiccan stuff he or she knows from sitting there all day. Or about crystals. I bet this hypothetical friend of yours we're talking about loooovvvvvvees discussing the merits of crystals. 
Sorry, we were talking about Bridget and her spooky pal Susie. They talk about their boyfriends for awhile, completely failing the Bechdel test. 

They end up at a bar where they continue talking about men. Susie's blind date shows up and stares at Bridget's breasts like a sleazeball. Loud enough for Bridget to hear, he tells Susie he was hoping for an evening alone with her.  Bridget takes the hint and says goodnight and begins walking home.

As she passes an alley Bridget hears a woman screaming. She races that way, eager to act out her revenge as her dark persona Lethal Lita! But when Bridget approaches the source of the howl she finds out it is simply a sex worker and her john going at it against a dumpster. Classy.

At home, Bridget curls up with a bag of chips to watch some television. Suddenly her ears perk up when the newscaster announces that Chester Washington, a convicted pedophile, has just been released from prison after serving only one fourth of his sentence. Apparently he completed a new experimental program designed to rehabilitate pedophiles and is now a free man.

Bridget knows this case. She doesn't believe for a second that this scum has been rehabilitated. She decides that she will don her cowl for the second time tonight and give Washington what he deserves.

Washington owns Pussycat Theater in South Detroit. So Lita decides to pay it a visit. She plants a bomb in his car and then waits on a nearby rooftop. Soon Washington comes out and when he opens the car door she detonates it by remote. We are treated to this amazing two page spread of Washington's face being blown to bits while his severed hand still clutches his cell phone. Nicely done, Lita!

Hot off of the thrill of the kill Lita continues patrolling rooftops on the hunt for criminals. She soon finds one as a man holds another by gunpoint in an alley. Lita has her own gun and quickly takes aim and blows the mugger's brains all over the alley wall. This is her form of justice.

We soon see the mayor complaining that this costumed freak killed his thug. Apparently he was performing a hit on police informant Henry Jones when Lita intervened this evening. The mayor wants Lita dead and says so to his business partner... Bridget's boyfriend John! 

Back at home Bridget looks in the mirror but all she can see now is Lita staring back at her.

We cut to Henry Jones walking home. All of a sudden he is snatched into the alley by a mysterious blonde woman wearing sunglasses and not much else.

Back at home Bridget hears the breaking news story of the murder of Henry Jones. Knowing she just saved his life earlier tonight her curiosity is peaked. Bridget showers and puts on her leopard print jammies. Meanwhile the mayor is on the phone with the mysterious blonde woman who wears sunglasses and not much else. He wants to pay her to kill again!

The next evening Bridget stops by Susie's place but Susie's not answering the door.

Bridget has a key and decides to go in and make sure everything is alright. To her horror she finds Susie's body lying on the floor obviously raped and murdered. And thus this issue ends.

I honestly expected this to be exceptionally bad and it wasn't. There are some story hiccups and a few times when the artwork looked like it was drawn by a high schooler, though less so technically and more so in subject matter (like the following pose trying so hard to show off both her breasts and derierre that the artist broke her spinal cord in the process. Ouch!)

That said, I did like the soft grey shading effect on display throughout as well as Lethal Lita's great costume design. It's like an amalgam of Zatanna, Spawn and Powergirl with amazing '80's hair. Below is my artistic rendition of our anti-hero.

I honestly thought there would be more of a Halloween theme to this comic what with the costumes on the cover coupled with the publisher's name and logo. But that's okay, it was a good book with some strong social messages of anti-rape and violence against women. A message very relevant to our current climate with the increased awareness of instances of unwanted sexual behavior by men of power. It would be great if Lethal Lita could visit Donald Trump the next time he tries to grab something he shouldn't. Maybe Michael and Donald should come out of comic creator retirement and put out a new issue. I'd pick up a copy, guys! I couldn't find any record of subsequent issues of this book out there but if I run across another in a cheap bin I will definitely check it out. Which reminds me, be sure to see what I check out next month when I review...

Monday, October 1, 2018

Golden Dragon

Golden Dragon #1 1987
$1.50 U.S. $2.30 Canada
Synchronicity Comics San Francisco, CA.
By Ted Hales, Michael A. Martin and Marc Haines

It is just before dawn in the far off future year of 2019 when our hero Randall Gold parachutes down into the southern region of Chile. 

Gold quickly finds his way into a local watering hole to meet his contact, Ortiz. But suddenly one of the local women seems to take a liking to our man Gold!

When Lolita's "date" decides she is giving too much attention to this American he smacks her around. Gold doesn't like this one bit and starts brawling with the scum bag! Gold gets shot in the ensuing chaos and runs out of the saloon to find a place to hide before his cover is blown.

As he's laying low in the jungle he is reminded of his first tour of duty in Chile back in 1998 when he was merely eighteen years old. He and his platoon were mowed down by the enemy and Gold was the sole survivor!

He trained back to health and moved to San Francisco. It was there he stumble into an alley to see an old man in a bowler hat getting mugged by some punk rock hooligans. But this old man was too tough and instead of playing the role of victim, he turned the tables on the punks!

Gold was so impressed by this shriveled old fella's ass kickery skills that he asked to become his pupil. And luckily the old man agreed!

One day during training, the sensei told Gold he was ready to be instructed in the ways of Dragons. The Dragons of Old China represented the balancing forces of the cosmos. The White Dragon was Good, the Black Dragon was Evil and the Grey Dragon was the balance between the two.

Randall Gold soon found himself facing the White Dragon!
The dragon warned our hero of a great evil descending upon his world. An evil only he can stop! He goes on to allude to a power within Randall Gold that he will eventually recognize and use against the forces of evil. He is the world's only hope!

After Randall awoke from his vision, he found the sensei had disappeared. Randall wasn't sure what to do with himself so he turned once again to the army. Randall was offered a part in a special Army project. He agreed and was instructed to visit a secret lab. Once there he was told of a project called A.L.I.C. 

Inexplicably, Randall knew this project would awaken the power that the White Dragon had spoke of  which waited inside of  him. A power he was surely about to unlock! So without hesitation, Dr. Nils Reinhold began the procedure. The effects were staggering!

Randall Gold's essence was transferred into a metal body. A body that possessed more power and endurance than that of a mere mortal. That is why he wasn't seriously injured by the gunfire at the bar earlier in our story... Randall's a damned robot!!

Randall walked off into the night to prepare for what awaits him in the jungles of Chile the next morning. And we are treated to a slow pan away from the jungle and into... the moon? 
Okay, whatever.

The back cover is sweet. It totally reminds me of the opening screen of some old NES game that never was. I can see it all pixeled up with that cheesy old eight bit music playing behind it. I love it!

Speaking of  cheesy graphics, here is my version of the Sensei about to kick the punks' asses with a  little help from his pal the White Dragon!

Pretty fun comic that had lots of '80's staples like martial arts, punk rock baddies, robots and military action... what's not to love about that?!

Unfortunately it looks like there was never an issue two of the series so we will have to guess for ourselves what adventures await our hero, Randall Gold.

But just in time for Halloween I will be reviewing this treasure in a few weeks here at the Bewildering. Don't miss... Lethal Lita!