Justice League: War
2014, Warner Home Video
I liked it.
Justice League: War
2014, Warner Home Video
I liked it.
I don’t read current comic books anymore. It’s not that I stopped enjoying them, it’s that they got too expensive (but let’s be honest, the constant parade of “events” and new #1 issues is extremely annoying). $2.99 was expensive enough for one comic, the current going rate of $3.99 is ridiculous. For the few minutes it takes me to read a comic book, I don’t think it’s worth $4. I can get an entire two hours of entertainment by spending $3.99 over at RiffTrax on one of their MP3 movie commentaries.
That said, I still own a lot of my single issues of comics. I’ve tried to cut back on the trade paperbacks/graphic novels though.Some I’ve thrown away, some I plan on donating. They’re heavy and they take up space. Still, I have a small collection of trade paperbacks that I don’t plan on getting rid of anytime soon because they hold a special place in my heart.
I randomly pulled six from my bookshelf and now I’ll talk about them…
– The Man of Steel
1993, DC Comics
Issues collected: The Man of Steel #1-6
No, it’s not the comic book adaptation of the movie. This TPB collects writer/artist John Byrne’s 1986 mini-series that served as a re-introduction of Superman and his origin following 1985’s DC Universe-altering Crisis on Infinite Earths. I’ve always felt Byrne has been overrated as a creator. His run as the artist on Uncanny X-Men back in the early 1980s is great but I think by the mid-80s his artwork was becoming a bit more rough. Certainly by the mid-90s when he was drawing Wonder Woman I think his work devolved to the point where it seemed like he was sketching his way through the panels.
While this series set the blueprint for the “modern” Superman throughout the 1980s & 1990s, it’s been rendered irrelevant for quite some time. I think DC released two more mini-series sometime in the 2000s that again tweaked the Superman mytos for a modern audience. Then, of course, we have the New 52 era of DC Comics where there’s yet another adjusted portrayal of Superman.
Even when this book was entirely in-continuity, I felt it was a bit disappointing. Can’t really put my finger on it.
– The Death of Superman
1993, DC Comics
Issues collected: Superman: The Man of Steel #17-19, Superman #73-75, Adventures of Superman #496 & 497, Action Comics #683 & 684, Justice League of America #69
“The Death of Superman” was a major event for me as a kid. While I had bought many comics before this story-line ran in 1992, I was more or less a casual comic book reader, picking up various superhero and oddball stuff like Roger Rabbit, WWF and Super Mario comics whenever I could. But, with this event, I would say that’s when I got serious about comics. For better or for worse, I wasn’t just a reader anymore. I was a collector. I still have the single issue (in the black poly bag!) of Superman #75 where Superman bites the dust.
And I’ve read this particular trade so many times of the year. It was only $4.95! Can you believe that? A trade paperback this size today would probably go for $12.95 at least these days.
This isn’t a cerebral story. Doomsday shows up and mindlessly destroys stuff, he and Superman punch each other to death. But, it did tell the story of self-sacrifice. One of my favorite issues in this collection is when Doomsday battles and completely obliterates the JLA. Even though they got their heads handed to them, it helped cement me as a fan of the Justice League.
– World Without a Superman
1993, DC Comics
Issues collected: Adventures of Superman #498-500, Action Comics #685 & 686, Superman: The Legacy of Superman #1 – stories 1 & 4, Superman: The Man of Steel #20 & 21, Superman #76 & 77
After being shown the death of Superman, DC Comics then showed us how the world attempted to cope without him. This was another trade that I’ve read and re-read so many times. Who knew that the Superman books could be so interesting without Superman?
The books collected here deal with the fallout of Superman’s death and how friends, families, Metropolis and the world at large deal with losing him. It’s a good effort that tries to add some emotional weight after the non-stop slug-fest seen in The Death of Superman.
– Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men, Volume 1 – Barnes & Noble Edition
2003, Marvel Comics
Issues collected: X-Men #94-100, Giant-Size X-Men #1
The Marvel Masterworks series is pretty cool in that if collects runs of a book in full-color glossy pages. The downside is you only get a few issues, whereas if you bought a Marvel Essential TPB, you’d get a phone book work of comics but on B&W newspaper-quality paper.
I picked this book along with two Spider-Man Masterworks at a B.Dalton Bookstore many years ago at a discounted price. I’ve seen thrown away the Spidey books but held onto this one because it features the beginning of the “all-new, all-different” X-Men team that featured Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Storm. It also marks the beginning of Chris Claremont’s amazing run as writer (he’d go on to write the book for 16 years).
No matter what format you chose to read these issues, they are essential for any fan of superhero comics. This is when the X-Men were really put on the map and moved out of the shadows other Marvel brands like the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the Avengers.
– The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract
2003, DC Comics
Issues collected: The New Teen Titans #39 & 40, Tales of the Teen Titans #41-44, Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3
2005/2006 I was becoming a huge fan of the Wolfman/Perez on the New Teen Titans. This might been my first purchase from that era so the impact of the story was probably lost of me. Afterwards, I went and bought a lot of the back issues that led up to this even though. I do know that this story was a shock for readers because there had been no indication that recent Teen Titan addition Terra was secretly working with Deathstroke to destroy the Titans.
Good story and I’d probably enjoy it more if I went to my back issues and read the series in order.
– Identity Crisis
2005, DC Comics
Issues collected: Identity Crisis #1-7
After being out of comics for a number of years, this was the mini-series that brought me back into them. It was quite jarring to see a scene where Doctor Light (always a goofball B-level villain) rapes Elongated Man’s wife. It spun off the DC Universe into a dark direction for a few years and also served as the impetus for other big events such as Infinite Crisis, 52 and One Year Later.
It’s a good story with some great art by Rag Morales, but overall, while it brought some much-need excitement and unpredictability to the DC Universe, it also gave it a darker tone (something that has always been Marvel’s thing) that I didn’t really care for.
I own a handful of special one-shot holiday comics put out by DC Comics and Marvel Comics so be on the lookout up until Christmas because I’m going to try to give a few of them a read through and post my thoughts on them.
This particular post is TWO YEARS in the making! 2009 is when I saved my first draft of this post to WordPress. For TWO YEARS all I had in this post was the cover art. Now, here in December 2011, I’m finally going to publish this. This post involves three of my favorite things: comic books, the 1980s and Christmas. So read on for my recap of…
Christmas With the Super-Heroes #1 (1988, DC Comics)
I was a HUGE fan of this comic when I was a kid. I never owned it but a friend of my did. I was obsessed with his comic book collection (along with his near complete collection of G.I. Joe) but all I can remember is this comic, Captain Carrot and a bunch of random Star Comics (Marvel Comics’ imprint for kiddie comics).
Despite being labeled “Christmas With the Super-Heroes 1988” on the inside cover, this is actually a collection of six-tales ranging from 1968-1984. Would’ve been nice to have gotten at least ONE original story but whatever.
The cover of this comic is one of my favorite covers of all time. Nice clean white background, great John Byrne art featuring some of the DC’s most popular properties at the time and a Christmas tree. How can you go wrong? The art wraps around to the back cover where you see a fireplace with the heroes’ boots hung on the mantle instead of stockings. Nice touch.
First up is a Batman story called “Wanted: Santa Claus — Dead or Alive!” taken from DC Special Series #21 (1979). It’s a short 10-page story to kick things off and centers around a reformed criminal turned department store Santa who is being forced by a gang of his old pals to help them rob the place. Batman is on the case but the criminals have seemingly made their escape until the Christmas star from a nativity scene ends up shining down and clues Batman in on where the criminals are hiding.
Next we have the Justice League starring in “The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus!” taken from Justice League of America #110 (March-April 1974). Yes, nothing says “MERRY CHRISTMAS” like a murdered Santy Claus. This is a full tale and features The Key as the starring villain and featuring giant-size absorbing Christmas ornaments and life-size toy soldiers. Good ’70s JLA action from their original classic Satellite era.
From Teen Titans #13 (Jan-Feb. 1968) we have “The TT’s Swingin’ Christmas Carol!” Really? Swingin’ Christmas? Oh well, it was the late ’60s after all. Another full length story but it’s been divided into three parts, which wasn’t out of the ordinary in those days. This is a “happening” take on A Christmas Carol but I’m not feeling the the artwork of Nick Cardy. Cardy’s pencils look like something that belongs in a MAD magazine (though I won’t complain about the busty Wonder Girl decked out in a skimpy Santa robe & boots).
The next feature is the Legion of Super-Heroes story “Star Light, Star Bright… Farther Star I See Tonight” from also DC Special Series #21 (1979). How’s this for an all-star creative team: Paul Levitz, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez & Dick Giordano. Simple tale that takes place on Christmas Eve has Superboy taking a few on-duty Legionnaires in quest for the Star of Bethlehem. What they end up finding is a planet about to enter an ice age and they help save the three alien races living on it from extinction.
Time for a Superman tale with “‘Twas the Fright Before Christmas!” from DC Special Series #67 (March 1984). Good art by Curt Swan. It’s Superman & Santa vs. The Toyman! Pretty neat seeing Santa’s toys battle the Toyman’s.
Finally, a short tale called “The Silent Night of the Batman” from Batman #217 (Feb. 1970). This “silent” theme has been done a number of times over the years but this one actually feature some dialog (and even some singing). Batman hangs out with the Commissioner Gordon and the rest of the GCPD on Christmas Eve, cynically waiting for criminal activity to be reported because he states crimes does not take off on holidays. As this is going on, we’re shown scenes of crimes about to take place all over the city but the image of Batman appears and the criminals have a change of heart, if only for that one night.
Christmas With the Super-Heroes is a fun anthology looking back at some of DC’s holiday moments over the years. It’s worth picking up if you can happen to find it in the back issue section at your local comic shop or can find it online for cheap.
For more DCU Christmas stories, you can buy the DC Universe Christmas trade paperback from Amazon.com. It was released in 2000 and features some of the stories from this comic book.
The Justice League is my favorite concept/book/team in all of comics. The League is (theoretically) where DC Comics’ biggest and brightest heroes get together to battle gods, demons, aliens, monsters, super-villains, and continuity. Of course, since the group’s debut in The Brave and the Bold #28 in 1960, there’s been TONS of members coming and going in order to keep things fresh and fit whatever direction the editors felt the book should head off in (my personal favorite eras being Grant Morrison’s “Big Seven” and the Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatteis JLI years).
Obviously, given nearly 50 years of history and an ever-changing roster, there’s bound to be a few mistakes as far as membership goes. Be it whether the character was just lame or the writing itself was. For the sake of simplicity, I will *not* be taking into account the rosters of spin offs like Justice League Europe, Extreme Justice, Justice League Elite or Justice League Task Force. I’ll be sticking with the “main” League that has been known as Justice League of America, Justice League, Justice League International and Justice League America throughout the years. It’s the only League that ever really mattered and I could easily fill this list with rejects from any ONE of those other teams.
The Detroit era gets a not-entirely-deserved bad rap. I’m not saying those issues are good, and I can easily admit the roster sucked because there just weren’t enough heavy hitters but I think Steel was an interesting character and Vibe was no more stereotypical than any other 1980s ethnic character. So yeah, while it wasn’t a strong JLA, I actually did like the characters. Except this one.
Gypsy takes the Jean Grey Award as the most useless/defenseless character ever on a team. I guess J’onn took pity on this gal, despite knowing her sole power was being able to blend in and turn invisible. Oh, and she also worked in her bare feet. She didn’t wear a costume, and would show up to JLA missions in her street clothes like a refugee villager from an early Universal Monster movie.
4. MOON MAIDEN
It’s never really a good idea to introduce a character by the way of a retcon. In JLA Giant Size Special #3 (2000), it was revealed that Moon Maiden had been an early member of the League and even hung around with the Teen Titans. The reason no one remembered her? Well, during a battle called ‘The Century War’, she sacrificed herself to destroy her arch-nemesis The Centurion, which caused both to be erased from history thanks to one of The Centurion’s weapons exploding.
If you want to say this character is part of the JLA, fine. Introduce them as a totally new character and let them in the club, but there’s really nothing to gain when you say “Oh, this character we just made up? She’s was a League member waaaaaaaay back in the day!”
What made this even more pointless is that since the DCU “remembering” her, she has yet to make another appearance!
3. TOMORROW WOMAN
While it’s not so uncommon to induct a member onto a team in their very first appearance (it happened alot in the Silver Age), is still always bugged me that she was plugged into the JLA within the first few pages of JLA #5 (1997). Then she died, doing the sacrifice thing, in this very same issue. Leave it to Morrison, I guess.
UGH! Another retcon member! Why do they do this? Who could possibly respect a character that has been shoehorned into something that happened decades ago? Get this: Triumph was a founding member of the original JLA and not only that, he was actually the leader! During battle, Triumph got thrown into another universe, causing history to change and thus everyone forgot Triumph ever existed. So yeah, DC couldn’t even make him just another member, at least that would’ve been slightly tolerable. No, they had to say he was ranked above Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman on the team. Kind of a hard pill of continuity to swallow.
The DCU (and us readers as well) were reminded of his existence during 1994’s Zero Hour (AKA – The Seinfeld of Comic Book Events) in Justice League America #92 (1994) when he came “back” to the DCU, got mad about being denied his right as Earth’s greatest hero, joined Justice League Task Force but didn’t get along with Martian Manhunter, and then eventually turned into a villain. He may or may not have been killed in an explosion of the JLA Watchtower.
Don’t even get me started on his 1990s extreme/attitude costume. Guy looks like a Rob Liefeld creation.
Another Tommorrow Woman-esque tale. Anateus popped up for his one and only appearance in JLA: Superpower (1999). After volunteering to allow STAR Labs to enhance him cybernetically (Wouldn’t YOU like to be larger?), the League was impressed enough to give him a spot on team. In the same issue, the JLA refuses to get involved in some Middle East issues, so Anateus takes matters into his own hands and thus comes into conflict with the League. His suits is damaged in battle and the man is so distraught over what he has done, he allows his power source to explode, thus committing suicide. What a hero!
This is the cover of DC Comics’ upcoming Justice League of America #10. And apparently, making the rounds across chat rooms, message boards, and blogs across the internet, is controversy regarding this picture. I don’t see what the big hubbub is all about. This is nothing new to comics and there have been far worse examples of physical exaggerations (male and female) elsewhere.
This is Michael Turner. This is why he’s a “superstar”. This is why he’s a “hot” artist. He draws T&A. Remember Witchblade, everyone? So it’s odd to me that so many people are upset over this picture when this is his bread and butter and it’s nothing new to comics in general and there were certainly worse examples during the mid-90s “Bad Girl” fad (which Turner had a boob or two in creating).
I’m not offended by the gigantic boobs (hey, in a world of big boobs, Power Girl’s are supposed to be *really* big), I’m just offended that after all these years, Turner STILL can’t draw the human figure correctly. Great line about the Popeye forearms.