January 29th, 1987
DC Comics published 11 comics, I read 8 of them!
Issue of the Week:
Mister Miracle Special (1987) 1 - "No Escape From Destiny" (Mark Evanier, Steve Rude, Mike Royer)
Tough choice this week... but when you actually get some Steve Rude art on a DC book it's worth noting (it had happened once prior to this: August 1984's Tales of the New Teen Titans and wouldn't happen again until 1990 I believe). Plus, I dig Mister Miracle and Big Barda! Mister Miracle was one of the books Kirby produced during his stint at DC and is part of "The Fourth World" saga. Miracle would headline another ongoing in 1989 (in fact, I spoke with Professor Alan of the Relatively Geeky podcast network recently about a few issues of that series). I think that series sprung out of the success of the new Justice League, whereas I feel this issue was designed to highlight Mister Miracle since he would be featured on that new team. And maybe to test the waters for that second ongoing volume. Having read some of the subsequent series, I think this special makes for a nice transition between the two Mister Miracle series. Worth tracking down if you're a fan of the character. 5/5
Action Comics (1938) 587 - "Cityscape" (John Byrne, Dick Giordano)
The same month that Matt Wagner's Demon mini-series wraps up, we have a story that takes place before it. Sure, why not. Maybe someone out there was already missing Harry Matthews. He, Jason Blood and Glenda Mark visit a Gotham City shop and upon opening an odd item there, Mark turns into a building. A weird, white building that then somehow turns more people into white buildings, enough that Superman notices as he's flying by Batman's turf. Etrigan ends up sending Superman back to 1162 to team up with Jason Blood (Superman thinks he must be an uncannily identical ancestor to the Blood that he's met) to stop the creation of the cursed item by Morgan Le Fey. Why white buildings? No idea. 3/5
Captain Atom (1986) 2 - "A True American Hero?" (Cary Bates, Pat Broderick, Robert R. Smith)
I thought Captain Atom debuted strongly and there's no dip in quality in its sophomore offering. Bates skips over some of the acclamation-to-the-present-day stuff often seen in these man out of time type stories by mentioning in passing that Nathaniel Adam has gone through intensive training to update his knowledge. Otherwise, the focus is on his first mission. Adam's task is to infiltrate a terrorist group run by Plastique, a character artist Pat Broderick co-created with Gerry Conway, so you could say he's familiar with her. Maybe he even suggested she be used. Or, more likely, she's here to be set up for Suicide Squad. Regardless, her powers make her a good leader for a terrorist organization; her cause is the succession of Quebec from Canada. When Captain Atom saves President Reagan and the Prime Minister of Canada (who isn't named here, but since Reagan was the real world President, it could be assumed that this is Brian Mulroney), skeptical members of the superhero community such as Batman think maybe he's alright after all. 4/5
Detective Comics (1937) 573 - "The Mad Hatter Flips His Lids" (Mike Barr, Alan Davis, Paul Neary)
So, the Mad Hatter debuted in Batman 49 in 1948 and after his defeat was put in Arkham Asylum and never heard from again during the Golden Age. That story was written by Bill Finger and so was Detective Comics 230 in 1956 just a few months before Showcase 4 which introduced a new Flash and most consider the start of the Silver Age. Maybe the same spirit was at work in the former case, though, since a Mad Hatter that went by the same name of Jervis Tetch showed up, but he clearly wasn't the same guy; instead of mind control, he had gadget hats. Finger was probably just reinventing the character for a different generation of readers, but, of course, the original eventually showed up in 1981, claiming to have killed "the imposter." He may have been lying or, this is comics, so the other Hatter may have just gotten better. Most likely, Barr and Davis, producing a Detective Comics that homages the past, just wanted to use the guy with the crazy weaponized headwear. 4/5
Hawkman (1986) 9 - "Shadow War Showdown" (Tony Isabella / Dan Mishkin, Richard Howell, Carlos Garzon)
Last issue ends with what seemed like the surprise appearance of Superman, but it turns out to be the Thanagarian shape-changing thief Byth, another character from the Silver Age. As the title implies, we're deep into the Shadow War storyline and will be for a few months. 3/5
Legends (1986) 6 - "Finale" (John Ostrander / Len Wein, John Byrne, Karl Kesel / Dennis Janke)
I talked about Legends on episode 49 of From Kid to Flash.
Question (1986) 3 - "Suffer the Children..." (Denny O'Neil, Denys Cowan, Rick Magyar)
The cover of this issue features the Question fighting a guy on top of a school bus filled with children. Said guy has just thrown a bundle of dynamite through one of the bus windows. And guess what? That happens in this issue (you can't always count on that to be the case). Question proceeds in a serialized fashion, continuing the story that began with the first issue and I continue to enjoy it. 4/5
Spectre (1987) 1 - "Vessels" (Doug Moench, Gene Colan, Steve Michell)
Gene Colan had to draw a Spectre title at some point. It's a combination that just seems natural. Writer Doug Moench isn't an odd-fit, either. In Crisis On Infinite Earths, the Spectre is a god-level being, powerful enough to make a serious attempt at holding worlds apart. First order of business then is to knock him down a few pegs. Basically he gets demoted for messing up in the aforementioned maxi-series (and in a recent Swamp Thing story) and bound again to Jim Corrigan. Differing from some earlier versions, Corrigan and the Spectre are separate entities and can spend time apart, but not indefinitely. Corrigan becomes a detective again. Much of this happening with the help of Madame Xanadu who becomes increasingly involved in Corrigan's life. All this and a cult and an evil spirit in a ketchup bottle! 4/5
Also published by DC: Mask 3, Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes 346, Teen Titans Spotlight 9.
My thanks to the site Mike's Amazing World of Comics without which this project would not be possible.