I’ve been meaning to do this one for a while. First, my pointless boycott of John Byrne’s work got in the way, but now that we’re past that, I think I can review a John Byrne comic that’s out of print. I had actually been hoping for it to be included on DC Universe. They’ve
There are moments in comics history that simply cannot be believed. Roy Thomas seems to know all of them. He ended up putting half of them into All-Star Squadron. I discovered All-Star Squadron about mid-way through the run. I had to go back and find back issues, which was a little daunting, considering that this was early in my collecting experience. My options for finding back issues were rather limited to a single back-issue comic shop and flea markets. I think that I came across this particular issue a little later, during the comics boom of the early 1990s, when every town had a comic shop, if not several, including sports card stores getting in on the craze. I may have mentioned it in my review of Hansi that There was one in particular that kept me coming back with cheap back issues. It was probably at a shop like this that I got my first copy of this issue, featuring someone calling himself Thor.
My fascination with a multiverse hasn't been to the forefront in a while. However, in going back over my coverage of the Multiversity Guidebook, I was really fond of Earth-38. That Earth is based entirely on the series of Elseworlds series Superman & Batman: Generations. The premise of the series is that Superman and Batman debuted in 1939 and aged in real time. Many of their adventures would mirror the stories as they were published. Of course, the fact that the characters and their supporting casts aged meant that some stories wouldn't be the same.
I hadn't intended following up Pantheon #3 with another Bill Willingham comic. However, the rumors of Vertigo's demise got me thinking about a mini-series that came out just before Fables started. It was an idea that came out of Willingham's time as a poker player for a casino. Casinos have players that fill seats at poker tables until other customers come in to play. They play with their own money. Willingham had a job to make ends meet in between projects. The premise of the series is that a proposition player named Joey Martin has over drinks with friends, jokingly bought 36 souls for the price of a drink. Now he finds himself as the focus of a struggle between Heaven and Hell. As the forces of Heaven attempt to force his hand, so to speak, his friends begin to die and he finds their souls arriving in his apartment.
I was at my local library when I spotted the Essentials collection of The Trial Of The Flash. I remember picking up a few issues of this story when it first came out, but never read the entire run from beginning to end. The whole thing goes on for quite a long period of time, over two years, culminating in The Flash #350. It's almost legendary how it ends, using a method that only work in comic books, with the Flash killing his arch-enemy, responsible for the murder of his first wife, on the day the hero is to marry his second wife, Fiona Webb. Unfortunately for Fiona, the Flash had to abandon his Barry Allen identity and ended up going to live in the thirtieth century with his first wife, who'd come back to get him acquitted of murdering the Reverse Flash. Like I said, only in comics. I was curious about whatever happened to Fiona Webb, and she simply never appeared again after the Trial of the Flash. She only showed up again in flashbacks. Where she went after this day is unknown, but I would like to think that she had an absolutely normal life unaffected by super-heroes. Of course, that would be silly.
It's odd for me to get surprised by an old comic book. I tend to remember what comics were good, especially when it comes to legendary artists. I had completely forgotten that World of Krypton was drawn by Mike Mignola. Of course, this was a period in my life when I wasn't buying comics regularly. The books I had been buying before, like John Byrne's Superman were also not the ones that I ended up buying when I started up again. I recall reading Superman #18, where he returns to Krypton and has a vision of a world where all of Krypton evacuated to Earth. However, that was half a year later. Cue to one sleepless night when I was browsing DC Universe and came across World of Krypton, the 1987 mini-series that fleshed out the view of Post-Crisis Krypton we had seen in Man of Steel #1. I read the whole series in one night and to be honest, I enjoyed the first issue much more than the others, especially the last issue. The last issue actually did a lot of retelling from aforementioned Man of Steel #1. The first issue impressed me enough that I felt like I needed to review it.
We're back to the Legion of Super-Heroes stories that hooked me in the 1980's. With the story of the Legion of Super-Villains pretty much finished, we're shifting our view over to the newsstand title, Tales of the Legion. To be honest, I wasn't reading the Baxter title at the time this issue was published. I didn't have easy access to a direct market comic shop. I bought all of my comics from the newsstand. It wouldn't be until about a year later that I managed to snag a few copies at a nearby comic show at a shopping mall. A couple of years later, I would discover a direct market shop in that same nearby town.
It's amazing whenever you see Batman go into cosmic or science fiction stories. That's not to say that it's necessarily bad, because sometimes it's really good. It shows the strengths of the character. In the Justice League, we often see Batman in situations that he should not be suited for. Somehow, he manages to show himself to be very adaptable. With Batman and the Outsiders, Batman gave up the more fantastic adventures for those that were more grounded. There were still threats that should have been outside of his skill set. Writer Mike W. Barr proved how adaptable Batman is. Even in the more grounded 1980s, Batman could be taken into space and fight other-dimensional beings. With issue #22, we also saw an artist join that would excel at telling these stories, Alan Davis. It was in that issue we got to see more than the team facing a cosmic threat illustrated by a new artist. We saw the beginnings of the rift between Batman and the Outsiders.
I've had a rough couple of weeks. The thing is that comic book creators have given me some lessons that help me cope with rough times like this. A professional might take issue (no pun intended) with some of these lessons, but they're what gets me to the next stage of dealing with rough patches. Legion of Super-Heroes is one of those titles that has always been something that I come back to over and over. One run that I really enjoy is referred to as the Five Years Late Legion, specifically the first 38 issues, shaped primarily by Keith Giffen and Tom and Mary Bierbaum. It was extremely dark in that the Earth had been covertly conquered by the Dominators. The Legion had disbanded, In almost every issue, there was some level of death and destruction. It'sonly fitting that this story should end with the destruction of Earth, even after it had been liberated with the help of two Legions.
I can here you now, “You’re reviewing an eight page preview comic? You’re getting really lazy. You just hate writing synopses.” First, kudos to you for knowing that “synopses” is the correct plural of synopsis. Second, yes writing the synopsis for a Review of Old Comics is the hardest part of writing this column. That
When last we covered the Legion of Super-Heroes that hooked me in the 1980's, Karate Kid heroically sacrificed himself to try to stop the Legion of Super-Villains. In this issue, we finally see how that went. However, given that Orando, the home world of his wife, Projectra, has been taken to a limbo between universes by the Villains, it might have been in vain. Of course, I didn't read this until several months, maybe years afterwards. I lived in a little town in western North Carolina at the time that didn't have a direct market comic shop. All of my comics were bought from the newsstand, most often a little convenience store called The Colonel's Pantry because of its proximity to a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Last time, I reviewed an early issue of New Teen Titans. In it, I remarked about some changes George Pérez made over the years. I decided that rather than letting those lie, I would go and see if I was remembering right. (SPOILER: not entirely) The biggest difference is in the Inker. Dick Giordano inks George Pérez in a much different manner than Romeo Tanghal. Giordano was one of the best inkers ever in the history of comics. Whether or not he's better on Pérez than Romeo Tanghal is a matter for debate. However, the heights in the early issues of New Teen Titans were a little different than here. There wasn't much of an extreme as I remembered, but a lot of the difference is in how tall George Pérez draws Starfire's hair. Changeling is definitely shorter, or Cyborg is taller, just based on this issue. Nevertheless, let's get started by reviewing another comic from 1984, an influential year for comic books. This issue marks the start of the conclusion to a subplot that started in the second issue of New Teen Titans, marking a standard for betrayal stories in super-hero comics. Let's look at part one of "The Judas Contract."