This week I picked up five new comics and one old graphic novel:

  • Strangers in Paradise 89 (Only one more issue before the series ends!)
  • Buffy Season Eight – 3 (A good series so far.)
  • City of Others – 2 (I’ll give Wrightson another look.)
  • Supernatural Origins – 1 (A tie in to the TV series “Supernatural”)
  • Books With Pictures – 3 (I never saw issue two. Issue one was amateurish but amusing. The art in issue three already looks better than issue 1)
  • Kelly Green 1 “The Go-Between” (This is the old graphic novel. I got it because I wanted some Stan Drake artwork.)
  • Week Nineteen of my reviews of recent DC Comics.

    Detective Comics 826 – 827 – These are a couple of Paul Dini written issues and they are okay. I liked the second one better because we a get a story of Batman actually being a detective and not just a “creature of the night” hung up on vengeance. That’s the Batman I prefer.

    The first issue would be better except for the Joker. He is one of my least favorite villains because he is, quite often, written so unbelievably. The Joker must have killed ten random people in this issue. When he’s written as a serial killer/mass murderer I just can’t buy it. If you are a serial killer in our world you will be hunted down and locked up or killed. But in a world with DC super heroes this doesn’t happen if your name is the Joker. Why? My willing suspension of disbelief always goes away when the Joker is written like this. Other than that the issue was good.

    Detective Comics 500 – No this isn’t a recent DC comic but one I pulled out of my collection on a whim. It has a cover date of March 1981 which means it probably came out around Christmas 1980. This comic has been sitting in my collection for 27 years just waiting for me to come read it a second time. That’s a long time between reads.

    To set the scene: I was fourteen years old when this book came out. I was also a Marvel kid so I didn’t buy many DC comics. I read a fair amount of them as hand me downs but this is one of the very first DC comics I bought on my own. I couldn’t pass up an triple sized 500th issue with this line up of talent. The bang for my buck got me. And this is the pre “Dark Night Returns” Batman. Before he became a psycho when he and Robin could occasionally be seen smiling on a cover. So here we go.

    Story one” “To Kill a Legend” by Alan Brennert and Dick Giordano – Batman and Robin go to an alternate Earth (via that all purpose plot tool the Phantom Stranger) and have a chance to save Bruce Wayne’s parents of that world. A solid outing for the 19 page lead story. Batman has to go through some emotional turmoil (early 80’s DC style) and do some detecting. The ending will bring a little tear of happiness to your eye as this alternate world is without heroes even in its fiction.

    Story two: is a Slam Bradley tale by Len Wein and Jim Aparo – This is a 13 pager that has a bunch of DC characters in it like the Human Target, Mysto the Magician, and Pow Pow Smith “Indian lawman”. They’re all competing to solve a murder case but it’s Slam who’s the man. It’s a hard boiled detective story and Aparo’s art really shines. As a matter of fact I’d say this is Aparo at his best and you should check it out just for his art.

    Story Three: “Once Upon a Time” by Len Wein and Walt Simonson – A two pager. Almost a Batman poem. Dark scary and violent as Bats breaks up a violent crime and saves a women.

    Story Four: An Elongated Man Story by Mike W. Barr and Jose Garcia Lopez – An eight pager involving Edgar Allan Poe’s mysterious death. I never liked Elongated Man stories and this is no different. It’s not terrible just uninteresting and EM is annoying as he is always drawn stretching for no apparent reason. But it was over in eight pages.

    Story Five: “The Batman Encounters Grey Face” by Walter Gibson (creator of the shadow) ills by Tom Yeats- An eight page text story that I can’t be bothered to read. When I’m reading comics I want to read comics. Batman short stories? C’mon. If you care then go read it yourself.

    Story Six: A Hawkman story by Paul Levitz and Joe Kubert – A straight forward little eight page mystery that unexpectedly ties into the origin of the Martian Manhunter. Nothing great story wise but the art is Joe Kupert at his best. Hawkman and Hawkgirl are just flying around and talking for most of the story but Kupert does a masterful job of keeping things visually interesting. Worth a look just for the art.

    Story Seven: “What Happens When a Batman Dies?” by Cary Bates and Carmine Infantino – A twenty two page story about Batman being poisoned and needing Deadman’s help. The mystery part of the plot was ludicrous but the art was interesting. My introduction to Infantino was from various fill in issues he did for Marvel in the late 70’s. They were awful. I used to cry whenever I bought a one of my regular comics and then noticed he drew it. But I like his early eighties DC stuff. This story had a nice afterlife sequence that was all done in red and yellow color holds. Again nothing terrific plot wise but interesting art. This story makes me want to track down the Infantino’s early Eighties run on the Flash. I’m sad I got rid of that stuff years ago. I’d like to see it again.

    So there’s my walk back to 1980. Maybe I’ll read this comic in another 27 years.