June 5, 2017

Post-Crisis Pull List - September 25th, 1986


September 25th, 1986
DC published 10 comics, I read 6 of them.

Issue of the Week:
Hawkman (1986) 5 - "The Lionmane Diversion" (Tony Isabella, Richard Howell, Don Heck) 

In 1985, DC published a 4 issue mini-series called Shadow War of the Hawkman. (Check out this episode of my friend Bryan's Comics and History podcast for more on this mini-series and then check out his other episodes on Hawkman!) This was followed by the Hawkman Special and then, in 1986, the launch of this series five months after the end of Crisis and two months before the first comic we covered in this series, Man of Steel 1. The issue prior to this one featured Zatanna and seems to take place before events in pre-Crisis issues of Justice League of America. The post-Crisis Superman shows up in issue 10, while issues 5 through 9 show no clear sign one way or the other. Mike Voiles places these issue in the post-Crisis universe and I agree with that choice, since issue 10 wasn't published until February of 1987, which would make it one of the last titles to transition. 

Since issue 5 and the Hawkman series over all continues narratives from Shadow War, it probably won't come as a surprise that the Hawkman and Hawkwoman in this series are similar to those seen during the Silver and Bronze Age. As such, the continuity problems that the Hawks have become known for are nowhere to be seen. That also means, though, that they don't receive a post-Crisis refresh. That's fine; as we've seen, not every, in fact quite a few titles did not. In most cases, I assume this was because the comic was doing well, but given that this volume of Hawkman was cancelled with issue 17, my guess is that in its case it was more a matter of them having other characters to focus on revamping such as, I don't know... Superman, Wonder Woman... Batman a little bit. No big deal, because this series is actually quite good. But then, several years later DC did decide to present new Hawks. I think if that had been done from the jump instead of continuing this series the Hawks might not have the reputation they do today. 

Wow, I'm really going on... Fortunately, like I said, Hawkman is a good series and worth reading, including this issue. Showing their indebtedness to the Silver Age, Isabella and Howell make use of Lion-Mane, a character created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson and only seen a handful of times before this issue. Maybe this wasn't the fresh look that DC ultimately wanted or maybe it got lost in the excitement of the post-Crisis DC Universe launching, but fans of the pre-Crisis Hawkman or Bronze Age comics will find a lot to enjoy in this series. 4/5

The Rest:
Cosmic Boy (1986) 1 - "Those Who Will Not Learn the Lessons of History..." (Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen, Ernie Colon, Robert R. Smith) 

Speaking of continuity problems... DC allowed John Byrne to jettison Clark Kent's career as Superboy from his history. The problem with that for the Legion of Super-Heroes, of course, is that they were inspired to exist by the young hero. Cosmic Boy and Night Girl happen to be vacationing in the 20th Century when these changes to history occur. We've seen Cosmic Boy already in the first issue of the Legends mini-series and we continue his investigation into the alteration of the past in this tale. Continuity issues can kind of be set aside for later; they won't be solved in Cosmic Boy anyhow. Thankfully, Levitz pens a fun story about these two young folks from the future trying to figure it all out. 4/5

Detective Comics (1937) 569 - "Catch as Catscan" (Mike W. Barr, Alan Davis, Paul Neary) 

After a Legends tie-in issue, the "Barr & Davis run" begins. Though Davis was only on the book for seven issues, they are well remembered by fans and have been collected in recent years with a couple later stories. These issues come at an interesting time because, as Barr discussed a few year ago in an interview, they look back to an earlier era of Batman and Robin stories even as DC is focused on looking forward with most of its superhero line. I guess reading them thirty years later it doesn't really matter. Like they did in Batman 1 in 1940, the Joker and Catwoman (then The Cat) both appear (although in that seminal installment they were in separate stories). Perhaps feeling nostalgic himself, the Joker kidnaps Catwoman when he discovers she's been helping Batman and Robin and has plans to put her back on a criminal path. 4/5

Legends (1986) 2 - "Breach of Faith" (John Ostrander, Len Wein, John Byrne, Karl Kesel) 

I discussed Legends on episode 49 of From Kid to Flash. 4/5

Man of Steel (1986) 6 - "The Haunting" (John Byrne, Dick Giordano) 

Superman is very powerful. He's also usually an example morally. But he's not perfect or, at least, he probably shouldn't be written as being perfect if you want to tell an interesting story. In this concluding issue of Man of Steel, Byrne does a nice job of showing that even Superman can make mistakes irregardless of his good intentions. He also discovers he's an alien (WHAT!?). 4/5

Outsiders (1985) Annual 1 - "The Skull... the Serpent... and the Outsiders" (Mike W. Barr, Kevin C. Nowlan) 

"The Skull" is SKULL, a criminal organization run by a man named Simon Pons. "The Serpent" is Kobra. SKULL and Kobra don't get along and The Outsiders get caught up in the middle of a mess for which the former is mostly responsible. I quite liked the Nowlan art even if it is a fairly different look from regular artist Jim Aparo. 4/5

Also published by DC: All-Star Squadron 64, DC Science Fiction Graphic Novel 5, Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Teen Titan Spotlight 5

My thanks to the site Mike's Amazing World of Comics without which this project would not be possible.

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