July 20, 2017

Post-Crisis Pull List - January 8th, 1987

January 8th, 1987
DC published 9 comics, I read 4 of them.

Issue of the Week: 
Batman (1940) 406 - "Black Dawn" (Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli) 

I first read "Year One" in trade. That's still the only way I've read the bookends, but at some point I picked up both middle parts in slightly beat up single issues. They make for an interesting comparison to the collected edition. I find the ads in the originals kind of intrusive -- ads don't often bother me, but Mazzucchelli and colorist Richmond Lewis create such a strong mood that I find interruptions more jarring that usual. There are also differences, as Lewis "remastered" the coloring for the trades. I found a nice comparison of a page from this issue. Anyway, as for the story, middle parts sometimes sag a bit, but Miller plotted this tale tightly. As Bruce Wayne realizes that he needs an ally in Jim Gordon, Gordon suspects Wayne is Batman and questions whether arresting him is the right thing to do "in a city where the mayor and the commissioner of police use cops as hired killers..." 5/5

The Rest: 
Blue Beetle (1986) 11 - "Havoc is... the Hybrid" (Len Wein, Paris Cullins, Dell Barras)

If you listen to From Kid to Flash, the Hybrid may sound familiar... or maybe you've just read those issues of New Teen Titans. While the Titans had to prioritize dealing with Brother Blood, Mento has continued to collect unwilling folks for his experiments for his perverted version of the Doom Patrol. For some time now, there's been a subplot involving Kord Industries working on a new promethium alloy and during a test, Mento causes it to spill onto Kord employee Curt Calhoun. What follows is a battle between Blue Beetle and the Hybrid over the ambulance that carries Calhoun, a conflict that eventually draws in the Titans at the end of this installment. Blue Beetle is consistently entertaining. Wein and Cullins manage to maintain a light, fun tone while still being able to incorporate moments like Calhoun's accident. 4/5

Legion of Super-Heroes (1984) 33 - "Forgotten Planet" (Paul Levitz, Greg LaRocque, Mike DeCarlo / Arne Starr)

"The Universo Project" continues and I've begun to see that Levitz has been playing a long game as pieces he put into place as far back as the first issue I covered come into play. In that issue, Star Boy resigned from the Legion so that he could take over for the missing Atmos as champion of his home planet Xanthu. And while the Legion vowed to find Atmos, I kind of forgot about him. Last time, we saw Saturn Girl break the control that she and several other Legionnaires were under on a strange planet. This time, they free everybody else and, wouldn't ya know it, Atmos is among them! Universo machinations continue to impact Legionnaires elsewhere as well and I am enjoying how everything is escalating. 4/5

Superman (1986) 4 - "Bloodsport" (John Byrne, Karl Kesel)

The cover of this issue has always made me skeptical of its contents. While I've become more forgiving of the tropes that kept me away from comics in the '90s, a character named Bloodsport toting a gun that large always screamed '90s-before-the-'90s to my passing glance. I thought it might not be that great of an issue. And while I still find Bloodsport a bit silly, and while I still think the cover predicts numerous of the like a few years later, having actually read this issue, I can confirm that its contents are quite good. Bloodsport guns down a diner full of people including children and while that's not the sort of violence I'm expecting from a Superman comic, Byrne really sells the horror of Superman's reaction to the carnage in his facial expression. He also makes a gun-toting villain a threat for the Man of Steel, even if by relying on Kryptonite, but since at this point there's only a bit of it and Superman knows Luthor possesses it, the familiar vulnerability feels fresh and relevant. 4/5

Also published by DC: Electric Warrior 12, Secret Origins 13, Sgt. Rock 415, Star Trek 37, Who's Who in Star Trek 2.

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

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