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, 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!


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 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.


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.


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 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) 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... 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.... 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"... 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).


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..

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Superman As The Justice League

One wonders why Superman would need the Justice League of America, with all of his powers, he certainly outshines them all. 

Why, Superman could take over for any member of the League...

...and, back in Action Comics #314 (July, 1964) he did, in a story by Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino (under a cover by Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff), wherein readers saw "The Day Superman Became The Flash".

But, as always, there is more to the story than a flashy cover, this story featured Superman...

...becoming Atom, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Batman and the Flash, as shown in simulations by Superman's father, Jor-El, in a rocketship found by Aquaman in the ocean.   Jor-El did this to see how his son, Kal-El, might live if Jor-El sent him to various worlds, but each of these lives ended with Superman being alone, miserable or his life ending too soon.

Thus, Jor-El decided to send Kal-El to Earth, where he would grow up to be Superman (and eventually help found the Justice League).   Perhaps Jor-El was wiser than he knew, because he knew why Superman needed the JLA, not so much for their powers or abilities, but so that his son could have friends to count on.

This story, along with other overlooked gems, was reprinted in the Best of DC #8 (November-December, 1980), under a cover by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Justice League Lore: Early Days of Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf was the leader of the Dog Cavalry on Apokolips, home of the evil side of the New Gods.

He also played an important part in the battle between the forces of Apokolips and New Genesis...but fell victim to his (and others) lust for power.

The Pact

Steppenwolf premiered in New Gods #7 (February-March, 1972) by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer, where he was revealed to be Darkseid's uncle, and a foe of Izaya the Inheritor, whom Darkseid maneuvered into killing Avia (Izaya's wife), starting a bloody war between the forces of New Genesis and Apokolips, resulting in the death of Steppenwolf (and the need for "The Pact" to stop the war, as well as Izaya taking on the role of Highfather for the forces of New Genesis and Darkseid taking over on Apokolips....more info on all of that here).  

Steppenwolf was dead, but that proved to only be a minor inconvenience for him....

Even Gods Must Die

Steppenwolf returned New Gods #6 (November, 1984) by Jack Kirby and D. Bruce Berry, wherein Darkseid found himself in need of more allies (as he had been either killing them or dispatching them to their deaths recently, and Orion, the mad god of New Genesis was on his way to battle...., Darkseid used his "Omega Effect" and additional machines to revive Kalibak, Desaad, Steppenwolf and Mantis to fight for him, though their mental capacities were not quite up to snuff to start, requiring "reeducation" to be almost as useful as they had been.

Super Powers

In the second Super Powers mini-series (the six issue series, running from September 1985 to  February 1986, by Paul Kupperberg, Jack Kirby and Greg Theakston), Darkseid and his most loyal forces waged a war with the Justice League (and a few of their friends, like Robin and Dr. Fate), and Steppenwolf, sporting a new look was there was well, but still having his battleaxe.

This series reflected how Darkseid had been removed from power in the DC Graphic Novel, The Hunger Dogs, but had not quite reflected the current times of the DC Universe, missing effects from the Crisis On Infinite Earths, as well as the current run of the Justice League of America.. Steppenwolf, Mantis and the Parademons looked very different than they had before (but, then again, this series was more to sell Kenner's action figures for their Super Powers line than following continuity...

...still, it survives as a small look at what Jack Kirby might have done had he been allowed to do more with his Fourth World and the rest of the DC Universe).


Still, Steppenwolf had many more appearances, whether they be flashback appearances.. ..some, like New Gods #22 of January, 1991 with a hybrid appearance of his looks, Doomsday Annual #1 of 1995 with his new look, or Jack Kirby's Fourth World #3 and 15 of 1997 and 1998, with his original look....

...and new, post-death appearances in Damage #8 of December, 1994, Green Lantern #61 of April, 1995, Outsiders #21 and #22 of 1995, Underworld Unleashed: Apokolips - Dark Uprising #1 of November #1995, New Gods #6 of March, 1996, Mr. Miracle #2 to #4 of 1996, Genesis #3 and Superboy and the Ravers #14 of October, 1997, Action Comics #814 of June, 2004 and Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #9 (April, 2007)....with inconsistent looks in these appearances.   

New 52

It was with the New 52, that Steppenwolf was more of a menace to the Justice Society and the Justice League...

....sporting the look he has in the Justice League movie.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Batman Meets Aquaman

Sure, Batman might be secure prowling the streets of Gotham, but put him on the high seas and he's a fish out of it is a good thing he can call on his friend, Aquaman, for help.

After Batman took over the lead spot of team-ups on Brave and the Bold, Batman and Aquaman worked together in that title four times...., let's take a look at those tales!

Brave and the Bold #82

Batman starts off with a case in Brave and the Bold #82 (February-March, 1969) by Bob Haney, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, where he witnesses the murder of investor Otto Chernak, but is unable to catch his killer due to a man who looks like Aquaman.  Following up on his leads, Batman switches to being Bruce Wayne, so he can pursue Orm Marius (secretly the Ocean Master, Aquaman's half-brother), into a penthouse, where Aquaman tries to kill him.  Batman takes Aquaman to Gotham City Police Department, where he finds out Ocean Master hypnotized Aquaman into doing his bidding (taking advantage of his confused mind as he searches for his missing wife, Mera, and the guilt Aquaman feels for the death of marine biologist, Dr. Simon Link). 

The two heroes stop the Ocean Master, but Aquaman lets him escape, not wanting to kill his half-brother, then continues on his quest to find his missing wife, Mera...

This story is reprinted in Best of the Brave and the Bold #3 (December, 1988), Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Volume 1  hardcover of 2003 and softcover of 2012.

Brave and the Bold #114

Batman plans to catch  the "Last Jet To Gotham" in Brave and the Bold #114 (August-September, 1974) by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo, as the plane has noted mobster, Joe Angel aboard.  A water spout stops the plane from landing at Gotham Airport, so Batman calls in Aquaman for help.  Problem is, Aquaman caused the plane to land in the ocean.  Batman dives into the water to find the plane still intact, but Aquaman takes his scuba gear, and explains to the detective (aboard his Golden Dolphin submarine) that drug dealers had placed a nuclear bomb aboard the jet, set to explode when it got to Gotham Airport, starting a nuclear war that would end all life on Earth (including that in the ocean, with Aquaman's Atlantis).  Working together, they managed to get to the plane before it can be returned to Gotham Airport, and stop the bomb.

This tale is reprinted in Legends Of The Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Volume 1 of 2012.

Brave and the Bold #126

Batman needs to know "What Lurks Below Bouy 13" in Brave and the Bold #126 (April, 1976) by Bob Haney, Jim Aparo and John Calnan.  It is an Atlantean satellite that can detect all water vehicles and both the United States and Russia want it for their own.  Batman goes to Aquaman for help, but he couldn't be less interested in these countries' Cold War (an odd change from last time), but Batman reminds Aquaman that Atlantis could be targeted as well.  The two work together to retrieve the satellite, then turn it over to Baron Mannheim, who they think works for the United Nations, but is really a Nazi war criminal, looking for a device to revive the Reich.  Batman and Aquaman then pursue Mannheim, getting the satellite back, which Aquaman will then keep safe in his Aquacave, as the heroes feel it is too powerful for any government to have.

This tale is reprinted in Legends Of The Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Volume 2 of 2013.  

Brave and the Bold #142

It's an "Enigma Of The Death Ship" in Brave and the Bold #142 (July-August, 1978) by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo, but Batman and Aquaman are battling again.  This time, Batman wants to retrieve a diary off a sunken ship to get a crimelord's identity, but the criminals work to stop him, then Aquaman and his recently reconciled wife, Mera, work together to stop the detective as well (though she proves enough of a distraction to allow Batman to escape with the book as Aquaman and Mera deal with the criminals).  Batman opens the log to find that Aquaman's father is named in the book, and Aquaman catches up with Batman to explain that is why he tried to stop him from getting the book, fearing that this would tarnish his dad's reputation.  Batman explains that the book instead clears Aquaman's father, so Aquaman apologizes for his harsh actions, and Batman returns to Gotham to seek out the real crimelord (with help from the Creeper, in the next issue), and Aquaman doesn't return to the original run of Brave and the Bold again.

This tale is reprinted in Legends Of The Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Volume 2 of 2013.

Aquaman had actually beat Batman into Brave and the Bold team-ups, working with Hawkman in Brave and the Bold #51 (December-January, 1963/1964) and Atom in Brave and the Bold #73 (August-September, 1967), while Batman had later then worked with both Hawkman and the Atom many times as well.  

Take a look around the blog for a while, and come back for new articles as well. 

B&B seein' ya!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Justice League Lore: Early Days of Mera

Behind every good man is a good woman, and Aquaman is no exception, having as his support, the love of his life, Queen Mera.
But, how did these two first meet, and eventually find true love?

These are the tales.....

The Doom From Dimension Aqua

Mera first met Aquaman in Aquaman #11 (September-October, 1963) by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy, when the queen was exiled from her home dimension.  Mera had "hard water" powers (the ability to make water solid, and manipulate it to do her bidding), but those powers faded soon after she arrived in the oceans of Earth after an encounter with an oil tanker.  Mera was pursued by Xebel, who was the leader of the rebels who were against the queen, and even with the help of his sidekick, Aqualad, and mystical imp, Quisp, Aquaman was unable to prevent being captured (along with Mera and Aqualad), and taken back to her home dimension under Xebel.  Aquaman uses his power to communicate with fish to get help to escape, and the three return to Earth, where Aquaman figures out that oil removes the powers of those from Mera's dimension, and uses against Xebel and his forces, which allows Mera to return to her throne on her world.

Invasion Of The Giant Reptiles

Aquaman #13 (January-Februrary, 1964) by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy has Mera's next appearance, but it isn't just for second date.

Mera (as well as some prehistoric creatures) are brought into the oceans of Earth due to a time warp opened by an undersea earthquake, where she has to help Aquaman fend off the giant reptiles...

....who are being controlled by criminals from the future with a mind control ray, who then turn the ray on Mera, who battles Aquaman for a time, but Aquaman turns the tables and gets both the prehistoric reptiles and futuristic criminals to their home times.

The Tyrant Ruler Of Atlantis

Aquaman was always a bit hard headed, but in Aquaman #14 (March-April, 1964) by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy, it was proven that Aquaman was not hard headed enough. 

A head injury to Aquaman made him think that he was the king of Atlantis, so Mera and Aqualad took him to Atlantis for treatment, and in honor of his usually good deeds, the Atlanteans played along, until Aquaman became increasingly cruel. 

They place him in a watery prison, which Aquaman tries to escape from, hitting his head again, which seems to restore Aquaman's usually benevolent behavior, and clears him of the delusion that he was currently king of Atlantis.

Menace Of The Man-Fish

Aquaman #15 (May-June, 1964) with art by Nick Cardy, finds Aquaman and Aqualad helping scientist Dr. Deering with a formula of his that will allow surface men to breathe underwater, but the doctor is caught in an explosion which unhinges the man, as well as allowing him the ability to breathe underwater.

Deering uses a machine against Aquaman and Aqualad, capturing Aquaman as he tries to prevent the doctor from hijacking a ship.

Mera arrives to save Aquaman, and the pair stop Deering and his machine, whose powers and insanity wear off, and he can be taken in for treatment.

The Duel Of The Sea Queens

Mera has some competition for Aquaman in Aquaman #16 (July-August, 1964) by Nick Cardy, as Aquaman chooses to spend time with Sirene instead of Mera (and Aqualad). 

But, it is proven that that wasn't Aquaman who was getting rid of his old friends, but Rovere, Sirene's brother, who had shape-changed into Aquaman, and Mera has to rescue the original Aquaman while Aqualad finds out that the two aliens hadn't meant any harm.  Stellor (yet another of the alien race), arrives to capture Aquaman, Mera and Aqualad, and releases them in capsules into space.  Luckily, Aquaman is able to get back to the ship, overpower Stellor, find his friends and return to Earth, giving the ship to Sirene and Rovere.

The Man Who Vanquished Aquaman

Turnabout is fair play, and in Aquaman #17 (September-October, 1964) by Nick Cardy, Aquaman has to fend off a suitor for Mera, this time, the Olympian god, Poseidon, who has time-traveled to the present to claim Mera as his bride, threatening Mera's home dimension if she does not comply.

Aquaman follows the pair back in time, and gets Zeus' help in defeating Poseidon in a contest.  Being a sore loser, Poseidon takes Mera back to the present, with Aquaman following, and Aquaman rescuing Poseidon when he breaks his magic trident. 

Poseidon realizes the error of his ways, and returns to his own time, without Mera.

The Wife Of Aquaman

With Aquaman #18 (November-December, 1964) by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy, Aquaman and Mera both find their lives changed forever.  With the death of Juvor, the king of Atlantis, the Atlanteans elect Aquaman to be their king, with the provision that Aquaman take an Atlantean woman as his bride (and their queen).  Aquaman rescues Mera from Oceanus, a renegade from Mera's dimension, learning that she left her home dimension to be with Aquaman (and Oceanus had removed her powers).  Aquaman tells Mera he cannot marry her, but the brokenhearted Mera flees before she can be told why.  Mera finds Oceanus instead, who convinces her to be his queen, then conquers Atlantis, throwing Aquaman into prison.  Aquaman escapes, confronting Oceanus at his wedding to Mera, where Oceanus nearly wins, but Mera saves Aquaman, proclaiming her love for him  Aquaman then wins, exiling Oceanus, and becoming king of Atlantis.  In honor of her help, the people of Atlantis make Mera an honorary Atlantean, which allows Aquaman to marry her, with his friends from the Justice League of America (as well as Aqualad, and his friend Robin, who had recently formed the Teen Titans), in attendance.

Aquaman and Mera have many ups and downs over the years, but eventually are able to put their problems behind them and work together, with only Aquaman #18 of the above reprinted in full-sized and in color, in Aquaman: A Celebration of 75 Years.  Let us hope the upcoming Aquaman movie inspired DC to swim through their vault, and unleash the treasures of Nick Cardy art, including the introduction of Mera (and later, the quest for Mera as well....with art by Jim Aparo).