August 31, 2017

Post-Crisis Pull List - March 12th, 1987

March 12th, 1987
DC Comics published 9 comics. I read 5 of them

Batman (1940) 408 - "Did Robin Die Tonight?" (Max Allan Collins, Chris Warner, Mike DeCarlo) digital copy

The cover depicts what this issue is most remembered for: Jason Todd stealing the Batmobile's tires. Setting aside the plausibility of that (if anyone has tires you can't lift, it's Batman), it takes a while to get to that scene. The first ten pages depict a battle with the Joker during which Dick Grayson gets shot. The public thinks Robin has been killed and Batman is vilified for child endangerment, egged on by editorials by Vikki Vale. Meanwhile, Batman goes solo, forcing Dick to hang up the Robin costume. (Collins does this to serve the narrative of Batman's regrets about having a sidekick, but I don't like the way that it takes some of the decision out of Dick's hands. Sure, he decides to become Nightwing still, but the implication is that he'd have gone on being Robin if Bruce was okay with that.) One of the first things he does sans sidekick is to check out Ma Gunn's School for Boys in Crime Alley (which was once Park Row, site of the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne) and during his visit is when Jason goes to work on the wheels (it looks like a Lamborghini so maybe it's not the Batmobile and therefore easier to rip off?). Not only that but he hits Batman in the abs with his tire iron and runs home to smoke a cigarette. Not content with getting back his tires, Batman drops Jason -- who is living without parents -- off at Ma Gunn's. Unfortunately, it turns out that her school isn't what it pretends to be. Oh and Batman actually laughs! Nice to see that once in awhile. 3/5   

Blue Beetle (1986) 13 - "Prometheus Unbound" (Len Wein, Paris Cullins, Dell Barras / Pablo Marcos) 

Coloss-- I mean Prometheus and the rest of the Hybrid battle Blue Beetle and the New Teen Titans. I get the feeling that DC or co-creator Marv Wolfman or.. somebody wanted the Hybrid to catch on. They even have matching 'H' symbols on their uniforms. Pretty cute. They're not, though. Cute, that is. Eduardo Barreto's designs definitely get across the whole forced-against-their-will-to-become-a-monster thing, but that doesn't mean I want to look at them a lot. At least the Doom Patrol, who were also unfortunate individuals, looked cool. As drawn by Paris Cullins, with his softer style, they're not as harsh looking, but, like last issue, I was more intrigued by the B-plot and look forward to that becoming the focus in the next issue. 3/5   

Legion of Super-Heroes (1984) 35 - "Forgotten Friends" (Paul Levitz, Greg LaRocque, Mike DeCarlo / Arne Starr)

"The Universo Project" concludes with part four, though preceding issues set up a lot of elements that played into this story. Nowadays they would have at least been labeled "Prelude to..." So, this issue wraps up events that have been going on for longer than four months. As such, it feels a bit abrupt. I don't think the story should have been longer -- taking the lead-in issues in account -- but maybe restructured a bit to give more time to the climax. Saturn Girl pretty much defeats Universo single-handed after taking out both Mon-El and Ultra Boy (not at their full strength, but still...). I like her, so I'm not opposed to her getting the spotlight (and rejoining the Legion!), but the nature of her victory doesn't do anything to help this conclusion feel as monumental as the circumstances that led up to it. 3/5   

Superman (1986) 6 - "The Last Five Hundred" (John Byrne, Karl Kesel)

The last issue ended with Superman knocked unconscious. We open this installment with an intriguing scene: Clark Kent wakes on a cot to find Lois Lane holding his Superman costume! While his secret is still safe, it turns out, he has to deal with the possession of Lois and other members of the expedition by an ancient race called the H'v'ler'n (thanks for that, Bryne). Their consciousnesses were inside the big mummy that turned out to be a big robot that knocked Superman out. They call it, appropriately, The Host, and it still holds a number of H'v'ler'ns. To defeat it, Superman offers himself as a potential body and the competition over such a prime specimen results in The Host being destroyed. Apart from the apostrophe-laden names, a very entertaining two-issue tale. 4/5  

Young All-Stars (1987) 1 - "The Coming of the Young All-Stars" (Roy & Dann Thomas, Vince Argondezzi / Michael Bair / Brian Murray, Malcolm Jones III)

Given that All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc. took place on Earth-Two, Crisis caused a lot of changes to the characters that Roy & Dann Thomas were writing. Roy addresses this in the letters column, talking about plans for a second volume of Squadron that began with editor-in-chief Dick Giordano in late 1985. Rather than just feature the same heroes minus "its biggest guns," it was decided that "all that Crisis-displaced energy had to be somehow replaced." Thomas leaves the specifics of how they decided on their new characters and perhaps that's just as well, since issue 1 does not see the formation of these young All-Stars into a team. Instead we are introduced to them, some brand new, some familiar to readers of All-Star Squadron and/or Golden Age comic books. While the writing and research does feel of a kindred spirit to Squadron, unfortunately the art does not have the same strong definition that previous series enjoyed. Three pencillers contributed to this debut, yet Thomas promises that Brian Murray will handle all of issue 2, so we'll see how that looks next month. 3/5

Also published by DC: Electric Warrior 14, Secret Origins 15, Sgt. Rock 416, Star Trek 39.

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

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