Thursday, December 7, 2017

Flash Facts: Barry And Iris' Wedding

The comic book wedding of Barry Allen and Iris West didn't quite go the same as the version seen on CW's Flash (during the Crisis On Earth-X event they had), but it was interesting nonetheless. 

In "One Bridegroom Too Many" from Flash #165 (November, 1966 by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, under a Murphy Anderson cover), Barry did indeed get his wedding interrupted, but it was the Flash doing it!   This involved some trickery from the 25th Century villain, Reverse Flash (a.k.a. Eobard Thawne), and this time, Barry had to be careful not to reveal his identity to his guests (which included Wally West's parents, Professor Ira West who Iris' thought was her father, Al Desmond who was formerly Dr. Alchemy, and Barry's parents, Henry and Nora Allen).   Barry's dilemma was that he had not yet told Iris (nor almost anyone at the wedding other than Wally), that he was the Flash.

This plot point continued for a year, with Barry finally deciding to tell Iris during the course of the "Stupendous Triumph Of The Six Super-Villains" in Flash #174 (November, 1967 by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene under a classic cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson featuring Flash's Rogue's Gallery).  This was complicated by facing a good Mirror Master and evil Flash from a parallel Earth (as well as Barry's Earth-1 Rogues including his Mirror Master), but Barry had been his own worst enemy (and the solution to his problems) as Iris already knew.  Seems Barry talks in his sleep....so, believe it or not, Flash solved his own problem, not by being the Fastest Man Alive, but by simply slowing down and being with the woman he loved!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Celebration of Superman, Batman, Lois Lane and the Joker

As the end of the years approaches, a time to look back.

What better way to look back than a quick look at collections of your favorite heroes?


This time....

...the first four to go, as we take a look at Superman: A Celebration of 75 Years, Lois Lane: A Celebration of 75 Years, Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years and The Joker: A Celebration of 75 Years!




Superman

First up, a collection from November, 2013, of one of the heroes that started DC Comics, Superman, who premiered in Action Comics #1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Issues reprinted:
Action Comics #1 (June, 1938) his origin and [Superman, Champion Of The Oppressed]
Action Comics #2 (July, 1938) [War In San Monte]
Look Magazine #5 (February 27, 1940) [How Superman Would End The War]
Superman #17 (July-August, 1942) "Man Or Superman?"
Superman #53 (July-August, 1948) "The Origin Of Superman"
Superman #76 (May-June, 1952) "The Mightiest Team In The World!"
Action Comics #242 (July, 1958) "The Super-Duel In Space"
Superman #129 (May, 1959) "The Girl In Superman's Past"
Superman #141 (November, 1960) "Superman's Return To Krypton"
Superman #149 (November, 1961) "The Death Of Superman"
Superman #247 (January, 1972) "Must There Be A Superman?"
Action Comics #544 (June, 1983) "Rebirth!"
Superman #400 (October, 1984) "The Living Legends Of Superman"
Superman Annual #11 (1985) "For The Man Who Has Everything"
Superman #11 (November, 1987) "The Name Game"
Superman #75 (January, 1993) "Doomsday!"
Action Comics #775 (March, 2001) "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & The American Way?"
Mythology: The DC Comic Art Of Alex Ross (October, 2003) "The Trust"
Action Comics #900 (June, 2011) "The Incident"
Action Comics #0 (November, 2012) "The Boy Who Stole Superman's Cape"


A sadly misnamed collection, as Superman isn't really celebrated here.  True, his first appearance is here, but after that, readers see Superman repeatedly fail, question his abilities, mope around alone, be shown up or even die.  Still, there are plenty of great stories here including a first meeting of Superman and Batman and the first appearance (and best rebirth) of Brainiac, but as a group, a bit of a painful read for fans of the Man of Steel.

Lois Lane

Next, a collection of one of first lady of DC Comics, Lois Lane, who premiered in Action Comics #1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and these reprints came out in November, 2013.

Issues reprinted:
Action Comics #1 (June, 1938) his origin and [Superman, Champion Of The Oppressed]
Action Comics #2 (July, 1938) [War In San Monte]
Action Comics #6 (November, 1938) [The Man Who Sold Superman]
Superman #29 (July-August, 1944) [Lois Lane, Girl Reporter: The Bakery Counterfeiters]
Superman #33 (March-April, 1945) [Lois Lane, Girl Reporter: The Purloined Piggy Bank]
Superman #34 (May-June, 1945) [Lois Lane, Girl Reporter: The Foiled Frame Up]
Superman #58 (May-June, 1949) "Lois Lane Loves Clark Kent"
Showcase #9 (July-August, 1957) "The Girl In Superman's Past"
Showcase #9 (July-August, 1957) "The New Lois Lane"
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #5 (November-December, 1958)  "The Fattest Girl In Metropolis"
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #16 (April, 1960) "The Kryptonite Girl"
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #42 (July, 1963) "The Romance Of Superbaby And Lois Lane"
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #106 (November, 1970) "I Am Curious (Black)"
Man Of Steel #2 (October, 1986) "The Story Of The Century"
Action Comics #600 (May, 1988) [Lois Lane]
Action Comics #662 (February, 1991) "Secrets In The Night"  
Superman: Lois Lane #1 (June, 1998) "Lois Lane"
Superman #168 (May, 2001) "With This Ring..."
Wonder Woman #170 (July, 2001) "She's A Wonder"
Adventures Of Superman #631 (October, 2001) "Battery: Part Five" 
Superman 80-Page Giant #1 (May, 2010) "Patience-Centered Care"
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #23 (February, 1961) "The Wife Of Superman"
Action Comics #484 (June, 1978) "Superman Takes A Wife"
All-Star Superman #2 (February, 2006) "Superman's Forbidden Room"
All-Star Superman #3 (May, 2006) "Sweet Dreams, Superwoman"

This collection is a little happier, with some Golden Age independence for Lois Lane, some Silver and Bronze Age oddness, and more modern independence for the girl reporter....it does lack a major focus of Lois' life, that of trying to prove Clark Kent is Superman, but instead does give you the payoff of that lengthy storyline, with a happy ending for both Lois and Clark, and a few of their weddings.

Batman

Now, to the dark side of the DC Universe, the city of Gotham's protector, the Batman, who debuted in Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939), written by Bill Finger, with art by Bob Kane, one of many stories in this July, 2014 collection.

Issues reprinted:
Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939) "The Case Of The Chemical Syndicate"
Detective Comics #83 (January, 1944) "Accidentally On Purpose!"
Batman #49 (October-November, 1948) "The Scoop Of The Century!"
Detective Comics #211 (September, 1954) "The Jungle Cat Queen"
Detective Comics #216 (February, 1955) "The Batman Of Tomorrow!"
World's Finest Comics #94 (May-June, 1958) "Origin Of The Superman-Batman Team"
Detective Comics #327 (May, 1964) "The Mystery Of The Menacing Mask!"
Batman #181 (June, 1966) "Beware Of -- Poison Ivy!"
Detective Comics #359 (January, 1967) "The Million Dollar Debut Of Batgirl!"
Detective Comics #395 (January, 1970) "The Secret Of The Waiting Graves"
Detective Comics #442 (August-September, 1974) "Death Flies The Haunted Sky"
Detective Comics #474 (December, 1977) "The Deadshot Ricochet"
DC Special Series #21 (Spring, 1980) "Wanted: Santa Claus -- Dead Or Alive!"
Batman Special #1 (April, 1984) "...The Player On The Other Side!"
Detective Comics #574 (May, 1987) "..My Beginning...and My Probable End" 
Detective Comics #633 (Early August, 1991) "Identity Crisis"
Batman #497 (Late July, 1993) "The Broken Bat" [Knightfall 11]
Detective Comics #711 (July, 1997) "Knight Out"
Detective Comics #757 (June, 2001) "Air Time"
Detective Comics #821 (September, 2006) "The Beautiful People"
Batman #2 (December, 2011) "Trust Fall"
[The Case Of The Chemical Syndicate [Reimagined], special for this collection

With so many collections of his stories, it is hard for this one to stand out.  True, it does have the beginnings of his team-ups with Superman, the first Poison Ivy tale, the second Deadshot, the first Batgirl story, Batman's opposite number the Wraith, and Batman's toughest confrontation with Bane, it lacks his incredible collection of foes.  Still, there are many highlights, including a more modern tale focusing on Bruce Wayne that was a delight, this volume does stand nicely as a celebration.

Joker

Last, this time around, an even darker part of the DC Universe, the clown prince of crime, and main adversary of the Batman, the Joker, who first appeared in Batman #1 (Spring, 1940)  by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, to start this collection from July, 2014

Issues reprinted: 
Batman #1 (Spring, 1940) [Batman vs. The Joker]
Batman #5 (Spring, 1941) "The Riddle Of The Missing Card!"
Detective Comics #64 (June, 1942) "The Joker Walks The Last Mile!"
Batman #25 (October-November, 1944) "Knights Of Knavery"
Batman #32 (December-January, 1945/1946) "Rackety-Rax Racket!"
Detective Comics #168 (February, 1951) "The Man Behind The Red Hood!"
Detective Comics #180 (February, 1952) "The Joker's Millions"
World's Finest Comics #61 (November-December, 1952) "The Crimes Of Batman"

Batman #85 (August, 1954) "Batman -- Clown Of Crime!"
Batman #163 (May, 1964) "The Joker Jury!"
Batman #251 (September, 1973) "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge!"
Detective Comics #475 (February, 1978) "The Laughing Fish!"
Detective Comics #476 (March-April, 1978) "Sign Of The Joker!"
Superman #9 (September, 1987) "To Laugh And Die In Metropolis"
Batman #427 (Winter, 1988) "A Death In The Family (Chapter 4)"
Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight #66 (December, 1994) "Gone Sane 2 Swimming Lessons"
Detective Comics #726 (October, 1998) "Fools Errand" [Aftershock]
Detective Comics #741 (February, 2000) "Endgame: Part Three: Sleep In Heavenly Peace"
Detective Comics #826 (February, 2007) "Slayride"
Detective Comics #1 (November, 2011) [One hundred Fourteen Murders Over The Past Six Years]
Batman #15 (February, 2013) "Death In The Family: But Here's The Kicker"

Of these four, the collection that stands out as a true celebration.  True, many of these stories have appeared, even together in other Joker compilations, there is a joy to these tales that still make all of them wonderful reading.  About the only flaw is they only mention his 9 issue solo series and do not provide any of its tales (though, there is a collection of them, which is mentioned in the book, which doesn't do the series justice, as if you read one of those tales, you have pretty much read them all....perhaps why none of them were included).   

These are the earliest of DC's Celebration series, and while they contain many stories reprinted elsewhere, they are interesting collections to say the least.

More have followed (and will follow), with breakdowns of future volumes on Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, the Teen Titans, the JSA, Aquaman and more, some addressing the very problems mentioned here!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Green Lantern Fights Christmas Lights

True, some people have their Christmas lights up before Thanksgiving, but some wait until December to do that ritual...and Hal Jordan seems to be one who waits.


While enjoying Christmas with his brothers, Jim and Jack, and their family, Green Lantern has to face the Justice League villain, Dr. Light.


That puts a little "bah, humbug" into Hal's holiday, in this story from Green Lantern #36 (February, 1993) titled "The Ghost Of Christmas Light" by Gerard Jones, Gene Ha and Romeo Tanghal.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Happy Holidays From Sabrina The Teenage Witch

Whether Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's...


...Sabrina the Teenage Witch is there to wish you a happy one with this cover from 1994!



Sabrina's Holiday Spectacular #2 has a cover by Rex W. Lindsay, and is from Archie Comics., and let's all slow down a bit and try to celebrate each holiday for what it is!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Flash Facts: The Tornado Twins

Jumping a head a little bit...to the 30th Century, the home of the Legion of Super-Heroes, a group of young interplanetary heroes who uses their alien powers to protect the universe (with the help of Superboy, Superman when he was a boy)...in Adventure Comics #373 (October, 1968) they met "The Tornado Twins" in a story by Jim Shooter and Win Mortimer, with a cover by Neal Adams


The twins were Don and Dawn, who used their powers to beat up on the Legion members, and their abilities seemed oddly familiar.


Spoilers, here...

....so beware.


So, the twins were Don and Dawn Allen, the descendants of Barry Allen (the Flash), using a special formula to duplicate Barry's powers for a day to celebrate the Flash.

Now, they appeared rarely after this, showing up for Bouncing Boy/Duo Damsel's wedding in Superboy #200 (January-February, 1974) and Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1 (October, 1985), but....

...it was the son of Don (Bart Allen, who became Impulse, then Kid Flash and even Flash for a bit, who first appeared in Flash #91 of June, 1994 and joined the Titans and Young Justice) and daughter of Dawn (Jenni Ognats, who became XS, who first appeared in Legionnaires #0 of October, 1994, who joined the Legion of Super-Heroes), after the Crisis On Infinite Earths, soon after which, it was revealed Don and Dawn were Barry and Iris Allen's kids.

So, all these heroes were born on a fast track!


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving Batman

Happy Thanksgiving, Batman, as Solomon Grundy is waiting for you and he's brought his appetite.


Here's the cover of Batman: The Long Halloween #2 (January, 1997), of a 13 issue mini-series by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, with Batman searching for a new villain, the Holiday Killer.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A History of Crisis on Earth-X

Earth-X....the nastiest of alternate Earths, one where the Nazis had won World War II, was introduced in Justice League of America #107 (September-October, 1973) by Len Wein, Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano (under a cover by Nick Cardy) with "Crisis On Earth-X"...


...in a story which also reintroduced the 1940s Quality heroes of Uncle Sam, Doll Man, Phantom Lady, Human Bomb, Black Condor and the Ray as the Freedom Fighters...



...the last of the heroes on that world, who were still fighting the Nazi menace.

The battle continued into the next issue (Justice League of America #108 of November-December, 1973 by Wein, Dillin and Giordano, entitled "Thirteen Against The Earth")...

....where, with the help of the Justice League of America (Batman, Green Arrow, Elongated Man and Red Tornado) and Justice Society of America (the Golden Age Superman, Sandman and Dr. Fate), the Freedom Fighters were finally able to live up to their name.

The combined heroes were able to free Earth-X from the Nazi forces, and the computer that led them under the image of Adolf Hitler (all by breaking the system that allowed the evil forces to mind control most of the population into following all the Nazis lies).

Freedom Fighters

The Freedom Fighters then had their own comic series, which lasted 15 issues from March-April, 1976 to July-August, 1978.  Oddly, the heroes, instead of remaining on Earth-X, to help in rebuilding that devastated world, came to Earth-1 (the home of the Justice League of America), where they were falsely accused of being criminals by a corrupt government and cooperating media, and spent much of their time on the run.

Along the way, the Freedom Fighters met up with heroes like Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Batwoman (real heroes knowing the heroic nature of the Fighters), as well as established DC villains like Cat-Man, and even faced a few foes all their own, such as the Silver Ghost, King Samson, Skragg the super-sniper, the Crusaders (invading super-heroes Americommando and his partner Rusty, Fireball and his partner Sparky and the aquatic Barracuda), the Renegades, as well as some unnamed aliens.


Still, they couldn't escape their past, as the Nazi menace of Earth-X had been resurfacing, as the first Firebrand (Rod Reilly), who was came from Earth-X in Freedom Fighters #11 (November-December, 1977, by Bob Rozakis, Dick Ayers and Jack Abel), came to tell them, as the Silver Ghost, who was eventually revealed to be an Earth-X Nazi, was also recruiting the Secret Society of Super-Villains (who were part of a multiversal attack on heroes, at the time having a group attacking the heroes of the Justice Society on Earth-2).

Brief Interlude

At some point after the end of the Freedom Fighters and Secret Society of Super-Villains titles of the 1970s, the Freedom Fighters went back to Earth-X to stay....but Earth-X popped up twice, once in Wonder Woman #292 (June, 1982) with Phantom Lady helping Wonder Woman against the threat of the Adjucator, who menaced the multiverse, one Earth at a time, and the rest of the Freedom Fighters getting help from a resurgence of Nazism on Earth-X with the help of Earth-1's Superman in DC Comics Presents #62 (October, 1983), before the collapse of the multiverse during the Crisis On Infinite Earths (which also revisited Earth-X, among others, starting with its fifth issue).

All-Star Squadron Origins

The beginnings of the Freedom Fighters were explored in All-Star Squadron #31 to #35 (March to July, 1984 by Roy Thomas and Rick Hoberg), with Uncle Sam leading lesser known Quality heroes like Miss America, the Invisible Hood, Magno, and the Red Torpedo, along with former JSAer, Hourman, to stopping the Japanese from attacking Pearl Harbor on Earth-X, which allowed the Nazis to win World War II later, as the United States held off participating until directly attacked in 1942 (which this series was set in).

The Ray, Black Condor and Uncle Sam stayed on Earth-X to continue the fight, with the rest of the Quality heroes (including folks like the Jester, Quicksilver, Midnight, the Spider, the original Firebrand, Manhunter Dan Richards and more) to come from Earth-2 to Earth-X during the Crisis On Infinite Earths (as revealed in All-Star Squadron #50 of October, 1985).

Reintroduced

The Ray, Black Condor and Phantom Lady were reintroduced to the DC Universe in the Ray #1 (February, 1992), Black Condor #1 (June, 1992) and Action Comics Weekly #636 (January 24, 1989) as Ray Terrill (son of Happy Terrill), Ryan Kendall, and Dee Tyler (student of Sandra Knight), with these kids eventually uniting with Uncle Sam, the Human Bomb and others to form a new Freedom Fighters, which were devastated in the opening of the Infinite Crisis by a Secret Society which included Deathstroke the Terminator, the second Psycho-Pirate, Zoom and Black Adam.  This seven issue mini-series also returned the multiple Earths with new twists, followed up on in Final Crisis, Forever Evil and Multiversity....

.....including a new Earth-X, with evil Nazi equivalents of familiar heroes to fight Freedom Fighters (as opposed to the evil versions of Earth's heroes represented by the Crime Syndicate of America of Earth-3).   Still, evil is evil, and there will always be Quality heroes ready to fight for freedom..