Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Dream of Flying

"A Dream of Flying" from Black Condor #1 (DC, 1992) by Brian Augustyn and Rags Morales

Today, Palmiotti and Gray are reinventing the Quality heroes we collectively know as the Freedom Fighters (for the second time in the last decade), but the early 90s did much the same, I suppose based on the success of the original Ray mini-series and subsequent series. Re-invented or really, as was popular at the time, given a legacy character to follow in their footsteps. The Human Bomb had Damage, and there was even a new Firebrand about for an exceedingly short time. Another of these was a Black Condor who had a tenuous relationship with the original character from the Golden Age. Ryan Kendall had powers thanks to genetic manipulation conducted by his grandfather, and he struggled to find his place as a hero rather than a freak through the 12 issues of his series, with the help of his spirit guide, the ghost of the original Condor. Weird stuff.

Though this Black Condor had a short-lived stint as a Justice Leaguer, and moved to Opal City, arguably one of the coolest spots in the DCU, his character was rather abused by the post-2000 regime. He was summarily killed off in Infinite Crisis like so many other "unwanteds". His corpse was stolen by a villain in an issue of Nightwing, a villain who "wore" his arms and wings. And he was of course raised from the dead as a zombie Black Lantern. (Which makes me wonder if Johns didn't write Infinite Crisis with Blackest Night in mind, but of course, that would be ridiculous.) There would of course be yet another Black Condor, the Mayan-descended John Trujillo, and he's likely to become someone else AGAIN in the New52 (though like Doll Man and Phantom Lady, he might carry his original name, i.e. Richard Grey Jr.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Taking the Fishnets Off

"Taking the Fishnets Off" from Black Canary vol.2 #2 (DC, 1993) by Sarah E. Byam, Tevor von Eeden and Bob Smith

Black Canary's is one of the few hardcover Archive editions I bought full price, because the Golden Age Black Canary kicks serious ass. And yes, so does her daughter the current Black Canary, but none of her solo projects were all that awesome. She thrived in Birds of Prey, but otherwise, it seemed like her solo projects were predicated on whether or not she was dating Green Arrow at the time. "Are they still on a break? No? Then she can slum in GA's book." What DC failed to realize was that she was a much better character than Green Arrow. He's HER sidekick, as far as I'm concerned. But I kid, I kid, because the Byam/von Eeden monthly series (which followed the success of their Canary mini and would last all of 12 issues) obviously began with Oliver Queen still sharing bedspace with her (above).

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Penguin and the Riddler - Crossdressers!

"The Penguin and the Riddler - Crossdressers!" from Birds of Prey vol.1 #74 (DC, 2004) by Gail Simone, Jim Fern and Steve Bird

I must admit, I've never been into a Birds of Prey ongoing series. I bought and read all the specials and minis (usually by Chuck Dixon) because I liked the Black Canary/Oracle partnership (and the TV show's Oracle/Huntress relationship), but the ongoing came at a time where I was cutting back. Gail Simone, a much better fit for this project than Dixon, came on midstream, but was partnered with Ed Benes, a cheesecake artist I cannot stomach. So aside from an issue here and there, I never successfully managed to get into a book with a premise I find quite worthy. I love female characters, especially when they're done right, and Birds of Prey became filled with them. The second ongoing, strapped as it was to Brightest Day, was another chance to jump on, but it didn't work for me at all. The New52 series, though it looks pretty and is written by a writer I liked on Immortal Iron Fist, likewise failed to capture my imagination. And that's why you won't see splashes from any other volumes in the comic days.

Fancy dress credits: The Penguin is Black Canary, and the Riddler is the Huntress.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Magic of Black Adam

"The Magic of Black Adam" from Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #3 (DC, 2009) by Mike Kunkel

Like John H. Williams III splashed earlier this week, Mike Kunkel doesn't really do splashes. Instead, he delightfully crams each page with STORY, often crafting a series of moments in the same panel. A wonderful follow-up to Jeff Smith's Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil. So I've decided to show a page that technically has two panels. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Kunkel didn't continue past issue 4, and while other artists on the book (which went to #21 before being axed as all-ages books superior to the actual "coninuity" versions must fall prey to) splashed it up a little more, it's Kunkel's art I really wanted to show.

If only the current incarnation was a more like this. Instead, it's taking its cue from, what, Kingdom Come? Trials of Shazam? Jackass?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Devil's Ring

"Devil's Ring" from Big Daddy Danger #9 (DC, 2003) by Adam Pollina and Tyson McAdoo

My mom went to Mexico once, and the only thing I asked was that she brought back Mexican comics. Of the few she found remotely acceptable (i.e. non-pornographic), there was an issue of Blue Demon, nominally based on the exploits of a famous luchadore wrestler (second only to Santo). The comic was terrible (reviewed here), and Big Daddy Danger is what I would have wanted it to be like. Big goofy fun where a wrestler can antagonize Hell itself and get himself a bout in the underworld. The series only lasted 9 issues, and a development deal with Disney seems to have fallen through. I blame Jack Black for that one.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Paris Creeper

"The Paris Creeper" from Beware the Creeper vol.2 #1 (Vertigo, 2003) by Jason Hall and Cliff Chiang

Sorry folks, Steve Ditko's cramped, claustrophobic page layouts don't allow for very many splashes (exactly 0 in the original Beware the Creeper series), so it's up to the Vertigo version of the title to provide. We'll get back to Jack Ryder's alter ego in due course (under the letter "C"), so for now, let's explore this unrelated take on the concept (unrelated, but there is a disturbing image of a stripper painted in the classic Creeper's colors in the series). In reality, the new Creeper has a lot more in common with the JLE's Crimson Fox than Ryder. The series is about twin sisters in 1925 Paris, one a playwright, the other a surrealist painter. One of them is raped (by now, disturbingly a cliché) and suddenly the Creeper is jumping off rooftops terrorizing the malefactors. But which sister is she?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cape Fear

Photobucket "Cape Fear" from Batwoman #4 (DC, 2012) by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman

Williams III's splashes aren't full-page panels so much as they are graphically unified panel layouts. Beautiful, beautiful graphic artifacts regardless of the story being told, and it could be said that while his Batwoman stories are by no means bad (though slowly paced and at times confusingly structured), his art elevates the whole project and make the issues he's drawn, at least, worthy of a comic fan's attention. It's a good thing because titles featuring minority characters are traditionally low-sellers, though perhaps the Batman Family protects Kate Kane from such pecuniary concerns. In any case, we have in Batwoman a unique mainstream superhero showcase for not only a gay woman, but one in a relationship as well (a pretty complicated one).

This is one of those books that was supposed to come in pre-New52, then was delayed to coincide with the relaunch, so it's pretty much an Old52 book. It's got Old52 stalwarts like Maggie Sawyer, Cameron Chase and Mr. Bones in it, after all. Any chance of seeing Kate Spencer, at least as an attorney if not Manhunter, in Batwoman? It would seem to fit the book's profile. Especially now that it would seem the character is to show up in the (Green) Arrow TV show...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Batwing vs. Massacre

Photobucket "Batwing vs. Massacre" from Batwing #1 (DC, 2011) by Judd Winick and Ben Oliver 

When Grant Morrison created Batwing for Batman Inc. (or resurrected him, depending on what you think his actual origin - Evidence), I was pleased. I've liked the number of recent series that have explored Africa (mostly Unknown Soldier, but even the Vixen mini) and was ready for more. Unfortunately, the series didn't survive the first issue as far as my reading list went. I can't read everything, and while #1 had promise, it was also big on splashes and low on story, and ended with a machete through someone's chest, a dreadful cliché that seemed precursor of things to come. Was I right?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Santa Strange

"Santa Strange" from Batman: The Brave and the Bold #12 (DC, 2012) by Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones

The comic based on the animated series based on the (older) comic is as good as the animated series based on the (older) comic. If you follow. Just as fun. Just as crazy. And with no holds barred on the choice of guest star (and villain). This is a cartoon show that gave plenty of play to both B'wana Beast and Crazy Quilt.

I don't yet miss the cartoon, because I missed nearly all of it when first aired (schedules, channels), and still have a few DVDs to get through. I'm jealously rationing them. But I do miss the comic, that monthly dose of extra Brave and the Bold, and an excellent example of a quality all-ages comic that I wish more limited-ages comics were like.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Manhunter Moves to Gotham

"Manhunter Moves to Gotham" from Batman: Streets of Gotham #1 (DC, 2009) by Marc Andreyko, Georges Jeanty and Karl Story

The Batman stories in Streets of Gotham didn't do much for me. Early issues by Paul Dini were a major disappointment, and tone deaf to its own disturbing sexual elements (the less said...). I liked the idea of a character that built and outfitted Gotham's loony villains' whacky HQs, but otherwise, DC kept me reading by putting Kate Spencer, Manhunter in the book's back-up. I'll talk more about Manhunter when (if?) I get to the letter "M", but I don't think I was the only Manhunter fan who bit the bullet and tolerated the Batman stuff for the sake of those shorter Manhunter installments.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Send in the Inmates

"Send in the Inmates" from Batman: Shadow of the Bat #3 (DC, 1992) by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle

When Shadow of the Bat was added to the Batman release schedule, matching Superman's own one-book-a-week scheme (hard to believe today Superman was there first), I was overjoyed that Norm Breyfogle was the artist, and sad to see him go after only a handful of issues (he was still doing issues of Detective, thankfully). Alan Grant did write the majority of the series' almost 100 issues though. Today, I'm thinking Grant is an underrated Batman writer. Is it just me? His contribution in 90s Batman books is pretty substantial, and having cut his teeth on Judge Dredd, he certainly had a way with nutbar villains. Shadow of the Bat's first story, for example, introduced Mr. Zsasz who was deemed worthy of a cameo in Batman Begins.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Prediction: Hell

"Prediction: Hell" from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #54 (DC, 1993) by Dan Raspler and Mike Mignola

A little Mignola Batman? Enjoy.

The original Legends of the Dark Knight was a high quality series that invited writers and artists to contribute stylish stories from Batman's "Year One" in arcs of 1 to 6 issues. They weren't all winners, but definitely above average. Off the top of my head, the ones I best remember include James Robinson and Tim Sale on a Cavalier story, Matt Wagner's "Faces", the first appearance of the drug Venom, Morrison's "Gothic", a crazy Grant/O'Neill Bat-Mite story, and a Viking Batman tale (I'm a sucker for Elseworlding). You?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Long Live Batman Japan

"Long Live Batman Japan" from Batman Incorporated vol.1 #2 (DC, 2011) by Grant Morrison, Yannick Paquette and Michel Lacombe

Grant Morrison has an excellent track record of reinventing Batman and making it seem a completely valid interpretation even within the canon. The psychological metaphor of Arkham Asylum. The super-prepared Batman JLA. Resolving the "every Batman story ever written happened" idea. And after Bruce Wayne returned from his trip into time, Batman Inc. Batman as franchise. Batman openly financed by Bruce Wayne. Batman as mentor to many more heroes, in Gotham and in other countries. Batman as team. Not for the first time, Morrison mines an old Silver Age idea, the "Club of Heroes" he brought back in his Batman run, but he makes it fresh and relevant for our era. When he leaves the book in 2013, we'll see how well the pure premise (i.e. absent Morrison's trademark strangeness) will help tell unique Batman stories.

Monday, September 17, 2012


"Punchline" from Batman: Gotham Knights #30 (DC, 2002) by Doug Alexander and Rob Haynes

I'm sure there are some good stories told in Gotham Knights, but I can't necessarily think of one. The only reason this series existed for ME was the gorgeously designed Batman: Black and White back-ups that ran through most of the first two-thirds of the series (and the Bolland covers it had for a while there). These are short stories with major artists on them, and there's not much space to include a splash page. Above is one of the few, but yeah, there's a reason they collected these B&W stories and very few of the colored ones.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Slash Option: The Wedding of Batgirl and Robin

"Slash Option: The Wedding of Batgirl and Robin" from Batman Family vol.1 #11 (DC, 1977) by Bob Rozakis, Curt Swan and Vince Colletta

An often-mentioned "slash option", but remains fan-fictional since Dick and Barbara never really sealed the deal even if they dated for a little while. This splash makes me think all superhero weddings should be conducted in tux and wedding dress versions of the characters' costumes NO MATTER WHAT. Where are the action figures from this?

As for Batman Family, it was a mid-70s anthology series mostly featuring members of Batman's supporting cast of heroes, with original stuff and reprints from older stories. Wiki informs me that it brought back the forgotten Batwoman from limbo and also introduced Duela Dent, who I thought was a much more recent character. The article also says Batman Family was a better seller than Detective Comics in its day and that DC almost axed Detective at the time, instead cancelling Family after 20 issues and giving 'Tec its mandate.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Demonic Duo

"The Demonic Duo" from Batman: The Dark Knight vol.1 #5 (DC, 2011) by David Finch and Jason Fabok, with an army of inkers

It's probably ironic that the splash I chose from David Finch's solo Batman book wasn't even drawn by him, but then, this is a series that ran for more than a year and produced only 5 issues before being rebooted back to #1. It's STILL supposed to be a David Finch solo book, but to keep it on track, it has a co-writer and guest artists, I do believe. So my question is, if Finch is such a draw that you would give him this kind of contract, isn't he breaking that contract by not delivering the goods on a timely basis? AND if Finch's art has so many fans, what happens to sales when he's not actually drawing the book? Looks like a very bad deal DC made, and it means having a subpar Batman book (sadly, not the only one from my perspective) on the stands. And I don't mean that it's a poor book because Finch isn't consistently on it. I mean it's a poor book because he's on it at all. The art and story telling really aren't very good, which makes Finch a cousin to Rob Liefeld, if you'll accept the comparison.

Researching the art, I came across this Demonic Duo gag from issue 5 and chuckled. So sometimes the crazy EXTREME!!!! style has some flair and fun to it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Batgirl vs. Catwoman

"Batgirl vs. Catwoman" from Batman Confidential #17 (DC, 2008) by Fabian Nicieza and Kevin Maguire

Another Batman anthology series, this one in the style of Legends of the Dark Knight, in which a new creative team would come on every few months to tell their own stand-alone arc, Confidential produced both good and bad, but my choice of splash comes from what I believed at the time (I guess I still do) should be the formula for a Barbara Gordon Batgirl comic. It was funny, well illustrated, and didn't remove Oracle from the DCU. It was just a fun flashback story going back to Barb's Batgirl career. After all, if Batman can have series dedicated to his "Year 1", why can't other heroes' adventures take place in the recent past instead of the present? Sadly, that's not what we got.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bruce Wayne's Reason for Breaking Up With You, Girl

"Bruce Wayne's Reason for Breaking Up With You, Girl" from The Batman Chronicles #19 (DC, 2000) by Steve Englehart and Javier Pulido

The Batman Chronicles (not to be confused with the trades collection of the same name) were a quarterly series with work from different writers and artists, usually three stories to an issue. The point was to publish a Batman comic every week of the year, and Chronicles took care of those pesky 5-week months, but it did manage to publish some interesting stuff, like the beautifully illustrated tale splashed above, "Got a Date with an Angel", and such oddball fare as Paul Pope's "Berlin Batman" and Bill Sienkiewicz' illustrated prose story "To See the Batman". Most issues were not as memorable however.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Beyond Grounded

"Beyond Grounded" from Batman Beyond vol.2 #1 (DC, 1999) by Hilary J. Bader, Craig Rousseau and Rob Leigh

I've seen all of the Bruce Timm-designed DC animation series EXCEPT Batman Beyond. Well, I do have to keep something for my retirement! DC seems to be exploring the Beyond universe well beyond the animated series' expiration date, with digital exclusives about Batman, Superman and the Justice League of that possible future. The series has been on my Amazon wishlist for a while now, so maybe some day soon, I'll make a gift of it to myself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Or I Shall Sell Your System to Soviet Russia!

"Or I Shall Sell Your System to Soviet Russia!" from Batman and the Outsiders vol.1 #26 (DC, 1985) by Mike W. Barr and Alan Davis

I poke a LOT of fun at Mike Barr's Outsiders, and I think for good reason (just look at next issue's title), but if we're talking splash art, I've got to give it to Alan Davis for really raising the game on the title.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bat and Bird in Flight

"Bat and Bird in Flight" from Batman and Robin vol.1 #1 (DC, 2009) by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

It seems unbelievable that a series called Batman and Robin wasn't published until 2009 (the animation-related Batman and Robin Adventures, and of course, the film franchise, both got there first). This book was awesome when it was about the Dick Grayson Batman and the Damian Robin, but the dynamic was so changed when Bruce Wayne became the sole Batman again, that I tuned out. Batman (any Batman) as a mentor, I like. Batman as a gruff father, I don't. Or maybe it's that Damian was hilarious as the kid who didn't really respect Dick, but is much more dour as the son trying to impress his father. In any case, this isn't a title I followed into the New52.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Friends with the Demon

"Friends with the Demon" from Batman Adventures Annual #2 (DC, 1995) by Paul Dini, Glen Murakami and Bruce Timm

The Batman animated series is, to many, the best Batman in non-comics media. I can't disagree there. The animated series is dark without being depressing or unnecessarily violent. It is iconic with its retro Gotham yet modern outlook. Kevin Conroy is a great voice for the Dark Knight. The action beats work, but the detective element is catered to as well. And over four seasons (plus appearances in Justice League), the Batman universe thrived, gave us many villains and guest-stars, and even allowed characters (like Dick Grayson) to evolve. As it turns out, this Batman wasn't too bad a COMICS Batman either! Whether the comic is called The Batman Adventures, Batman Adventures, Batman and Robin Adventures, or Batman: Gotham Adventures, the series lasted almost 150 issues in total. I'd put them up against any Batman comics of the same same era (1992-2004) any day.

My choice of splash was made simply enough. Bruce Timm worked on the issue and is the mastermind behind the animated series, while Dini and Murakami also worked on the series. Timm's love of Jack Kirby's characters is well obvious from his Superman and Justice League efforts, but Batman doesn't crossover as much with that part of the DCU. Not as much, but it still does. The Demon Etrigan, denizen of Gotham City, is all Kirby. Dini, Murakami and Timm couldn't stay away.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It's Not Easy Being the Bat That Went Through the Window

"It's Not Easy Being the Bat That Went Through the Window" from Batman vol.2 #7 (DC, 2012) by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion

Yes, yes, Snyder is a good Batman writer, and I loved his Detective Comics work a great deal. In particular, I loved how he wrote Dick Grayson as Batman. So why haven't I mustered up as much enthusiasm with his New52 Batman? I mean, I read it, and I like it well enough, but I'm not ENTHUSIASTIC about it. Part of it is Greg Capullo, who does good work, but just seems a bit too cartoony in comparison to the 'Tec artists who worked with Snyder. It's a bit like 80s Doctor Who, so brightly lit the monsters look hokey. I'd love to see Capullo on a happier comic, I think he'd bring the right kind of energy. But matched with Snyder and Batman, there's a cognitive dissonance for me.

Another problem I have is the whole New52 aesthetic. Individual issues are shorter (lower page count, absurdly higher splash count), making stories seem interminable. Case in point the Night of the Owls, an interesting idea, continuing Synder's exploration of Gotham's history and founding families, and a sign that Batman HAS gotten a twinge of reboot (though it's played as revelations that might have fit the old universe). The Owls suffered from being showcased in every Bat-family comic, still clinging on in books like All Star Western, and spinning off in the Talon ongoing. Given that the new DCU has yet to reboot very many of its villains, and that the villains/threats (new and old) who are featured can last and last and last (the Rot being the other one), it feels like a full year on, there just aren't very many villains in the New52. And furthermore, I was hoping that Earth-1 would gain its own Owl-Man, which I would have liked more than the more generic "Talon". Ah well.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Joker's Crime Costumes

"The Joker's Crime Costumes" from Batman vol.1 #63 (National, 1951) by Bill Finger, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris

Where to go for a Batman splash? Volume 1 lasted a good 715 issues (I'm counting numbers 0 and 1M) and 26 Annuals, after all. So how about Dick Sprang, who, as you can see, had to sign Bob Kane through much of his career (I don't know how much of an honor it was to be Kane's "favorite ghost"). But as primary artist on Batman over the character's first 20 years, his contribution is huge. Redesigned the Batmobile to something we'd equate with that car today, designed the Riddler, and plenty more besides. This splash is also a reminder that Batman stories used to be like this, silly and strange and pop art. Certainly, the Brave and the Bold cartoon show owed a lot to Sprang and to this era of Batman comics.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Train Was Full

"The Train Was Full" from Batgirl vol.4 (DC, 2012) by Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf and Vincente Cifuentes

And so we come to the New52's Batgirl. It's back to basics with Barbara in the role. It's controversial because we lost Oracle in the process, a bona fide disabled superhero who inspired a lot of people AND was a key character in many series, not just in the Batman Family. It was expected that Gail Simone as writer would take the sting out of that loss, since she's always been a breath of fresh air for female characters. The crustacean armor immediately turned me off, but the art was otherwise pleasant and I liked how Simone built Barbara's villains gallery instead of borrowing from Batman's. But it's all set to end for me as Ed "Dealbreaker" Benes has been announced as upcoming artist on the book. And I cannot abide his crotch'n'ass fixation. It just undoes what a writer like Simone is trying to do for female characters in comics. Boo, DC. Boo.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Things That Make You Shout Batgirl!

"Things That Make You Shout Batgirl!" from Batgirl vol.3 #15 (DC, 2011) by Bryan Q. Miller, Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs

Now HERE'S a Batgirl I liked a heck of a lot. Though I remember Stephanie Brown's first appearances as Spoiler, the character was never all that compelling to me. She was Robin's answer to Catwoman, but wore a lackluster costume and had a generic name. As the benefactor of the Batgirl legacy, I really fell in love with her character (and Barbara in the mentor role put me in mind of the better-than-you-remember Birds of Prey TV series). She was a fun-loving though responsible college student, had her own supporting cast, a dark past (her father is the Cluemaster) that didn't overwhelm her personality, and it's a great shame that DC didn't ask Bryan Q. Miller to write a series for the New52. His Batgirl was one of the most solid superhero books at the time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Batgirl: Queen of the Assassins

"Batgirl: Queen of the Assassins" from Batgirl vol.1 #68 (DC, 2005) by Andersen Gabrych, Pop Mhan and Jesse Delperdang

You know, it's strange and sad to me that the first Batgirl to get her own ongoing series wasn't Barbara Gordon. Prior to 2000, the original Batgirl had headlined two measly Specials (one of them from the animated universe). The Batgirl blessed with a 73-issue run is instead Cassandra Cain, whom Wikipedia describes as "the daughter of assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva, she is trained from early childhood to read human body language instead of developing verbal and written communication skills as part of her father's conditioning to mold her into the world's deadliest assassin. However, after committing her first murder, she vows to never again use her martial arts prowess to kill." Like Azrael, she is a member of a visible minority (in her case, Asian), so they make her wear a full-face mask. Seriously, WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?!

Anyway, I never read this Batgirl. Part of it is timing (I was concentrating on repaying my student loans at the time), part of it is a character that seemed dark and violent and I'd had enough of that. Reading about her now, the mute/dyslexic element looks intriguing, though like another Batgirl I know, she's lost her disability. She can now be seen occasionally in Batman Inc. as Blackbat.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Burned 'em on the Stove

"Burned 'em on the Stove" from Bat Lash vol.1 #3 (DC, 1968) by Nick Cardy and Dennis O'Neil

Bartholomew "Bat" Alouysius Lash is a lover, a gambler, a con man, but not a fighter, which really sets him apart from all the other western stars. You know, when Sergio Aragones wrote a recent Bat Lash mini-series, I thought it was a little weird. That's because I didn't realize that he actually wrote some of the original stories! (And drew some cartoons at the back too.) My chosen splash is not from one of those issues, of course, but that's because I've always had trouble ignoring Nick Cardy art.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Admittedly Too Weird

"Admittedly Too Weird" from Aztec: The Ultimate Man #9 (DC, 1997) by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, N. Steven Harris and Keith Champagne

Aztek is an off-beat little series birthed by Grant Morrison that lasted only 10 issues, but at least he got to be a member of the JLA and appear in Justice League Unlimited, right? It's a book I should take out of the long boxed and re-read some day, because truth be told, I don't remember very much in the way of details. Aztek had been raised by a secret society in South America. His powers were four-dimensional and accessed through his rather fantastic helmet, but he had also been trained to the peak of human potential. Shades of Peter Cannon - Thunderbolt? To make sure the series was dead quirky, it was set in Vanity City, a new place to explore in the DCU. Sadly, we never really got a chance to. I'd have moved all the weirdos there, like the Doom Patrol, etc.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

God's Justice

"God's Justice" from Azrael vol.2 #5 (DC, 2010) by Fabian Nicieza, Ramon Bachs and John Stanisci

The Battle for the Cowl event introduced a new Azrael in Azrael: Death's Dark Knight, which led Michael Lane to get his own series, running through to the reboot (18 issues). Lane is an ex-cop who was turned into out of the Batmen in Batman RIP, seeking salvation by wearing the haunted Azrael armor. He's also another African-American superhero who, uncomfortably, wears a full-face mask so that you'd never know if from looking at a cover. For some reason, there's a lot of that going around. Is it just me? Anyway, from what I read of this Azrael series, it had heavy supernatural elements and dark, creepy art. However, it soon became clear it was steeped in the Azrael mythology of the previous series, which I really wasn't invested in.