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  • atom | Male | Utah

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Longbox Junk - Black Diamond #1

212 views • 8 weeks ago • (0) Comments

I did it again.  I've had this review posted on my blog for about a week before I realized I forgot to post it here.  Apologies to Comic Book Realm!

Welcome to Longbox Junk, the place to find all the comic book reviews you never asked for!

 
I have a strange love for comic book tie-ins to stuff.  Movies, T.V. shows, video games, toys, what have you.  I just really like it when a comic book is able to move beyond what's already there.
 
I think maybe of all the comic tie-ins, the most successful in MY estimation is probably Star Wars. Back in the day when all we had were a couple of movies, the Star Wars comics definitely scratched that "I want more!" itch.  And truthfully, they still do.
 
But we ain't talking about Star Wars!
 
The comic at hand is a tie-in to an 80s action movie called Black Diamond.  A sort of female James Bond movie, if you will.  A globe-trotting adventurer pulling off crazy spy missions under the cover of being an internationally-famous model.  Starring one of the most successful of the 80s "B-Movie Queens", Sybil Danning.  Sounds decent, right?
 
But the movie never got made.  There's just this short comic tie-in series (5 issues, but I've only ever seen this one) to even indicate that it ever WAS going to be made.  There's literally no information on the internet about Black Diamond beyond the dry creator and publication details for this comic.
 
So there's no Black Diamond movie.  But we DO have this comic.  Let's check it out!

BLACK DIAMOND #1

AC/Americomics (1983)

 
 
COVER: Bill Black
 
THE COVER:
 
I like it!  The bold red background really grabs the eye and sets off both the giant title at the top and the nicely-done portrait of Black Diamond in the middle.  Yeah, the spike heels ARE a bit ridiculous, but the rest of this cover is really engaging.  definitely a very nice cover. It makes me want to get inside and see what's going on, so let's do that!
 
THE STORIES:
 
For an 80s comic, this issue is pretty packed.  Of course, two bucks back in '83 WAS a pretty stiff price, but for your two dollars you get two full stories (Really parts 1 and 2 of a continuing story), a shorter five page comic story, and several one and two page features introducing characters and talking about the upcoming movie that never got made.  
 
All that AND a sexy promotional photo poster of Sybil Danning as Black Diamond! 
 

Bewb-Tastic!
 
Like I said, this thing is PACKED for an 80s comic!  Let's check it all out. . .
 
THE DARKFIRE AFFAIR: GAUNTLET
 
SCRIPT:  Bill Black
PENCILS:  Bill Black
INKS:  Bill Black
 
THE STORY:
 
Before we get into the story proper, we get a one page black and white introduction to Black Diamond, courtesy of the one and only Paul Gulacy (who apparently also did the rest of the covers of the series beyond this first issue).
 
 
We start off with a flashback to a year previous to the current story.  Black Diamond has infiltrated the security of a Quansa (a worldwide criminal organization) in order to obtain a file of Quansa moles working as double agents in her own agency, Infocom Three.
 
After making her escape with the file, she discovers to her horror that her lover, Jack Burton, is one of the double agents!  She knows that she'll have to be the one to take him down.
 
 
We move forward to the present day.  Black Diamond is given a new assignment from her Infocom Three superior.  She's to go to New York City and investigate the presence of an elite group of female Quansa mercenaries called the Valkyrie Unit. . .led by a ruthless woman named Vanessa Cord, AKA Darkfire.  
 
Their being in New York signals that Quansa is up to something big, and Black Diamond needs to be there  to take it down!
 
 
Before Black Diamond even gets out of her apartment and on her way to the airport, she's attacked by one of Darkfire's mercenaries.  Black Diamond realizes that somehow, Darkfires knows she's on the job, so there must still be moles in Infocom Three.
 
At the airport, Black Diamond is attacked by three more Valkyrie Unit mercenaries.  As she fights them through the airport, Black Diamond wonders just what could be big enough for Darkfire and Quansa to risk such a public display.
 
 
After beating the three Valkyrie mercenaries, Black Diamond is forced to evade the authorities by way of an impromptu disguise in order to board her plane to New York.
 

 
To be continued. . .
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Okay. . .not bad.  Not great.  Not anywhere close to great, but not bad.  The story has a feel to it that reminds me of some of the Silver Age spy/action comics I've read.  Like something Dell or Gold Key would have put out. Or maybe like DC's I-Spy.  The dialogue is pretty cheesy and quippy, but there's a certain charm to it, a certain throwback quality that I can't really fault too much.
 
The art also has a Silver Age throwback look to it.  There's no real standout moments, but there's no really bad spots either.  It helps tell the story, but doesn't try to do anything beyond that. . .which also reminds me a lot of a Silver Age non-superhero comic  books I've read.   
 
All in all, it's a decent, but forgettable story that really throws off some Silver Age comic vibes.
 
NEXT!
 
BLACK DIAMOND 
(Two page text feature with photographs)
 
SCRIPT: Bill Black
 
What we have here is a bit of background on Sybil Danning and some of her upcoming roles, including pretty much all the information to be found on the Black Diamond movie.  It also tells how the comic book tie-in came into existence.  It's pretty interesting, and also pretty cool that they included something like this.   
 
 

 
NEXT!
 
THE DARKFIRE AFFAIR: MINDTRAP!
 
SCRIPT: Bill Black
PENCILS:  Mark Beachum & Bill Black
INKS: Bill Black
 
THE STORY:
 
Continuing from the first part of the story (above), we join Black Diamond on the flight to New York, where she's asleep and dreaming of the past.  After discovering that her lover and fellow agent Jack Burton is a double agent, Black Diamond is assigned to take him down.
 
After confronting him with the truth, Black Diamond shoots Burton with a knockout dart.  Instead of killing him, she plants criminal evidence on him and leaves him for the authorities.
 
 
Arriving in New York, Black Diamond goes to the secret headquarters of Infocom Three for a meeting with its head, General Van Pelt.  At the meeting, Van Pelt reveals that Darkfire (from part one, above) is involved with a Quansa plot to steal an experimental mind control device.
 
Their strongest lead indicates that the device was tested on another Infocom Three agent at a New York warehouse.  Black Diamond immediately leaves to investigate.
 
 
At the warehouse, a group of Darkfire's mercenaries wait to spring a trap on Black Diamond, but she gets the on them.  After fighting her way through the mercenaries, she confronts the last one and demands answers.  
 
The mercenary kills herself as Black Diamond watches in shock.  A nearby video screen comes on and Darkfire informs Black Diamond that she's just witnessed the power of the mind control device, and that Darkfire plans on using it on Black Diamond, so that the secret agent will be the instrument of destruction for Infocom Three!
 
 
Darkfire triggers explosives, demolishing the warehouse as Black Diamond narrowly makes her escape.  Outside of the burning building, Black Diamond wonders why Darkfire seems to have a personal vendetta against her.  All she really knows is that the Quansa mercenary needs to be stopped at any cost!
 

Coming next. . .Black Diamond in SPAAAAAAAAACE!
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Once again, definite Silver Age comic vibes from both the story and art.  For what it is, it's not bad.  Unfortunately, it's not really that good, either.  It's a pretty forgettable story that doesn't really grab me and make me want to see what's next, even WITH the promise of our heroine going into space in the next issue.  And when a comic involving a hot blonde having spy adventures in orbit doesn't really interest me, that's a definite first issue failure.
 
Let's see what else this issue has to offer. . .
 
INTRODUCING COLT THE WEAPONS MISTRESS
 
SCRIPT: Don Secrease
PENCILS: Don Secrease
INKS:  Bill Black
 
It's a one page introduction for the first appearance of a character that was a lot more popular for AC Comics than Black Diamond seems to have been.  You can see the whole thing below, but basically, Colt is the daughter of a military arms expert who married a government agent and worked together as a husband and wife spy team until her husband was killed.  Now Colt is a private agent looking for revenge.
 
 
Hmmmm. . .not much to say about this.  The art is nice, but her special weapon, the "Clipper" seems to be a bit derivative of Judge Dredd's gun, the "Lawgiver".  And when I say derivative, I mean it's pretty much exactly the same.
 
NEXT!
 
SQUEEZE PLAY
 
SCRIPT: Don Secrease
PENCILS: Don Secrease
INKS: Rick Burchett
 
THE STORY:
 
We begin in a meeting room at a government installation, where a group of high-ranking U.S. military officers are getting a presentation on a new experimental submachine gun.  A presentation being given by the ridiculously-costumed Colt.  Nobody says anything about the masked woman giving the presentation, for some reason.  Just another day of government work, I guess.
 
 
When the class is returning from a break, a bit of excitement ensues when one of the government agents is found, shot and dying!  Well, at least they don't have to go back to school now.  Colt immediately takes charge of the situation and declares that she'll get to the bottom of this mystery!
 
A quick search of the building leads her to the men's room, where she finds a used Co2 cartridge.  She returns later that night, laying in wait for the culprit to return to the scene of the crime. . .
 
 
It's one of the government officers that were at Colt's presentation. . .an agent Vawter.  He's trying to steal the prototype SMG!  As Vawter tries to make his escape, Colt manages to take him down.
 

 
Security guards rush in to take Vawter into custody.  General Wyndon asks Colt how she knew who the double agent was.  She tells him that from her examination of the dead agent, she knew the shooter was left handed.  Vawter was the only left handed person at the presentation.  Case closed!
 
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Like the Black Diamond story, I get a heavy Silver Age vibe when reading this story.  It's completely ridiculous, but played completely straight at the same time.  It's utterly forgettable, but sort of fun when you're reading it.  Just like so many Silver Age comics I've read.
 
The art is actually quite a bit nicer than the Black Diamond art.  The artist here at least tries a little harder to do something besides just tell the story.  Maybe that's why Colt eventually became a pretty popular character for AC (with a decent role in their only really popular comic, FemForce).  
 
Unfortunately, besides some decent art and a bit of goofy Silver Age-style fun, there's really not much more to it.
 

CONCLUSION

 
This is one of those weird comics where I can't really decide if I like it or not.  That may seem a little strange, but it happens from time to time.  
 
On the one hand, it's a pretty fun read.  It has a goofy Silver Age comic feel to it. The art is decent.  It's an interesting thing to have a comic tie-in to a movie that never got made.  I like strange little artifacts like this.  So I liked it, right?
 
But on the other hand, it's completely forgettable.  The story is weak and doesn't make me want to pick up another issue.  It's overall just sort of ridiculous and weird in equal measure.  So I didn't like it, right?
 
See what I mean?
 
I GUESS if I have to pick a side of the fence, I'd say I liked it.  But I didn't like it enough to recommend it as something to keep an eye out for.  I like having strange comic artifacts like this in my collection. 
 
I would only recommend it if you're also the kind of collector who likes having weird little things like this hanging out in your collection.  Other than that, there's not much here you'll be missing if you skip this one.
 
Up Next. . .
 
HEY! Remember when Catwoman got an unfortunate 90s makeover, complete with a brand new suit of shiny armor? Longbox Junk remembers!  Catwoman #50!
 
Be there or be square.
 

- read more

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