Wow, was this ever a bleak period at DC! To think that in the late 80s and very early 90s, so many great projects were able to introduce darker, more mature while still fully engaging the reader (Watchmen, Green Arrow and Suicide Squad come to mind immediately). This series evolves (or should I say devolves?) from that initial trend, but ends being just plain ugly. The Eclipso-based crossover event was not groundbreaking, but it was at least readable. The ongoing series brings the concept to new lows and managed to drag plenty of characters down with it. This particular issue brings in a bland interpretation of Cave Carson with very little fanfare. A talented creative team would have been able to infuse the character with some Silver Age charm, perhaps noting his rather anachronistic skill set. Instead, his is simply dropped in and seems immediately disposable. It's a shame, so is the book. I bought it as a 5 for $1 bundle and I still feel ripped off.
I remember my initial disappointment when I first purchased my copy of this book more than two decades ago only to discover that it was filled with reprints. I was an idiot back then. I should have been thrilled to have so many terrific back-up stories from 1963 and 1964 all in one place. In addition, this was (and likely still is) one of the most affordable Marvel Silver Age superhero books on the market. To begin with, the cover is pretty darned impressed, assembling as many Asgardians as possible in one place. Inside, you'll find no fewer than 10 five page stories featuring some of Thor's supporting cast including Odin, Balder and Heimdall. There's something particularly cool about the Marvel one-shots of this era (see Iron Man & Sub-Mariner) and this is also a great opportunity to compare the work of different inkers on Kirby's pencils. Good stuff all around and it won't do too much damage to your wallet.
We live in a Golden Age of comic book reprints. I am delighted to see collections of many Dell and Gold Key titles on the shelves of comic book stores. I do, however, still believe that there is still a lot of potential material out there that should be collected. Dell published a number of good quality war books, but I thought the best place to start is Jungle War Stories. If you include Guerrilla War, the continuation of this series, you have 14 issues worth of material, making for a nice sized introduction to Dell's war books. Jungle War Stories was the first war title to focus on the Vietnam War and, while the stories may not be 100% factually correct, it does give insight into how the various players were perceived at the time. While the bulk of the art chores are handled by the steady, but uninspiring, Maurice Whitman, keen eyed readers will spot work by the likes of George Evans, George Tuska and Reed Crandall scattered throughout the series. It's not at the level of a DC or Atlas war book, but still a good series deserving a the reprint treatment, if only for the gorgeous painted covers.