I'm resurrecting another favorite old series of mine, Elementals, by Bill Willingham. This time it's an issue that I remember being exceptionally good. Will this be another case of memory being fooled by a more critical eye years later? Let's have a look.
New Mutants #98 marks a departure from me in writing these reviews. My golden rule in writing any review is not to write a negative review. I also try not to go into a comic that I actually haven't read with no pre-conceived notions. That's usually hard for me to do, but given that this book features a character that I don't really care for, although his movie was really good and an artist that I consider one of the worst artists of my generation. It's hard not going into this comic with the expectation that it will be bad.
Batman Adventures #12 is the first appearance in comics of Harley Quinn. She actually debuted on the Batman Adventures animated series. The episode was "Joker's Favor", first airing on September 11, 1992. It was about a year later she showed up in a comic book, and that issue now sells for hundreds of dollars. She didn't actually enter the DC Universe for another seven years, but we're not talking about that comic, because this all about holy grails, and that holy grail is the first time Harley Quinn showed up in print.
Let’s revisit the early 1980s this week with a review of Iron Man #152, which featured one of the first specialized suits of armor, his all-black Stealth Armor. The first was his Space Armor ten issues earlier, and at this time it seemed that Bob Layton and David Michelinie were using the logic behind Tony Stark custom
Let's see if we can't get this tradition of reviewing old comics started again with an issue of the short-lived Legion spin-off, Valor. When DC editorial decrees necessitated the Legion of Super-Heroes writing Superboy out of their history, the inspiration for the Legion's founding shifted to Mon-El, but renamed him Valor. This series followed the crossover event Eclipso which ended with a young Lar Gand earning the name Valor from Superman.
With us being only days away from the seventh Star Wars movie, it seemed like a good time to review an old Star Wars comic. I could have gone with a Dark Horse comic, but when Marvel took back over the Star Wars license this year, a lot of people made references to forgotten character from the original Marvel series. Jaxxon the six foot tall green space rabbit is one of those characters that comes across as a joke. I thought that I should go back and read his first appearance in 1977's Star Wars #8.
THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #2 September 1984 Let's continue with reviewing the Legion of Super-Heroes comics that helped hook me on comics. Here we continue with the five issue Legion of Super-Villains story. The super-villains are now a full-fledged Legion each with a sworn oath to kill a Legionnaire. The threat is much more dire than the last time that they showed up running a school for super-villains. Now, they have some really powerful and dangerous super-villains, some just recruited in the previous issue. While they have some Legion rejects, they have the power of Lightning Lord, Sun Emperor and the mad Daxamite Ol-Vir. Dream Girl has even had a vision of a Legionnaire dying, making this threat really foreboding.
We're back with an new review of an old comic, Excalibur #1. This time we go back to the late 80s when Marvel started spinning off its popular Uncanny X-Men title. Wolverine's regular series came along about this same time. After the X-Men had apparently died in their own title, a few of the team members left behind joined with Captain Britain to form Excalibur, complete with a new series written by Chris Claremont and drawn by a fan favorite artist who just happened to have a history with Captain Britain, Alan Davis.
FANTASTIC FOUR #258 September 1983 With his prominence in Secret Wars, and the endless speculation about how he could be done better in film, Doctor Doom has been on my mind a lot lately. However, for all of my recent disappointment with John Byrne, he was the first writer, for me, that made Doctor Doom a real character instead of a stereotypical comic book villain. It first started in Fantastic Four 247 where he enlisted the Fantastic Four to aid him in overthrowing the ruler of Latveria that they had helped put in place, a ruler that had gone mad and paranoid with power. We saw then that Doctor Doom had room in his heart for the people of his homeland, and only ruled them because he truly wanted what was best for them.
FANTASTIC FOUR #1 November 1996 With the newest Fantastic Four movie being given horrible reviews on its opening weekend, it seemed like the time to review another reboot of the Fantastic Four. In 1996, the crash of the comic book industry started, with sales for that year dropping by about a third. Marvel, making an effort to capitalize on the popularity of comics bought it's own distributor and took four of its flagship books, all of which had done horribly in sales compared to the speculator-fueled frenzy in its X-Men titles and handed over creative control to Image founders Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld. Within three months of this reboot of those titles, called Heroes Reborn, Marvel would file for bankruptcy. Jim Lee was given control over two titles, Iron Man and Fantastic Four. While Iron Man was handled primarily by Scott Lobdell and Whilce Portacio, Jim Lee personally rebooted Fantastic Four. How was it? To be honest, I've never read it, despite it being in my digital collection for about ten years. Let's take a look at Heroes Reborn Fantastic Four and see if it handled rebooting the Fantastic Four any better than the films have.
THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1 August 1984 My reviews of the Legion of Super-Heroes comics that helped hook me not only on the Legion, but on comics as a whole continues. Today, we have the first issue of their series that featured printing on better paper that was initially sold only to comics shops. Yes, back in 1984, this was a big deal. At Marvel, when a comic went direct sales only, it was usually the kiss of death, but DC bet that comic shops and the direct sales market was the future for the industry. We'll argue the ramifications of that another time, but in 1984, this was a big deal. Unfortunately for me at the time, I was only thirteen at the time and did not know of a comic shop that wasn't two hours away. It would be almost a year before I would read this issue, but I'm reviewing it roughly as it came out, so the narrative is preserved.