What If...I Was DC?
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #41, “Sunset,” January 1993, written by Tom Joyner, penciled by Jim Fern
Batman gets seduced by an old Hollywood starlet turned vampire and stars in her fancy homemade blockbusters until Alfred saves him. Yep.
What the 27 year old thinks: Yeah…I don’t think Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight is necessary reading. I mean, it’s whole selling point (from what I understand) is that it gives creators an outlet for out of continuity Batman stories. Every now and then that yields something truly interesting, like the Bryan Talbot two-parter from the previous two months. The rest of the time…there’s old timey vampire ladies. Not awful if you are down with that. But…
What the 8 year old thinks: I think that after getting exposed to the soap opera and continuing continuity of the other titles, he’s probably bummed that this Batman comic doesn’t have that. I know that 8 year old me could definitely tell the difference between the real deal Uncanny X-Men and the for-kids X-Men Adventures. He knew what really mattered and what was just cartoon adaptations, and as soon as he discovered the actual world of the X-Men, the luster of X-Men Adventures wore off like whoah. So while this is fine, I have a feeling that the recently-dropped Batman will be making a return soon.
Verdict: "All of the clothes in this comic book are really weird."

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #41, “Sunset,” January 1993, written by Tom Joyner, penciled by Jim Fern

Batman gets seduced by an old Hollywood starlet turned vampire and stars in her fancy homemade blockbusters until Alfred saves him. Yep.

What the 27 year old thinks: Yeah…I don’t think Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight is necessary reading. I mean, it’s whole selling point (from what I understand) is that it gives creators an outlet for out of continuity Batman stories. Every now and then that yields something truly interesting, like the Bryan Talbot two-parter from the previous two months. The rest of the time…there’s old timey vampire ladies. Not awful if you are down with that. But…

What the 8 year old thinks: I think that after getting exposed to the soap opera and continuing continuity of the other titles, he’s probably bummed that this Batman comic doesn’t have that. I know that 8 year old me could definitely tell the difference between the real deal Uncanny X-Men and the for-kids X-Men Adventures. He knew what really mattered and what was just cartoon adaptations, and as soon as he discovered the actual world of the X-Men, the luster of X-Men Adventures wore off like whoah. So while this is fine, I have a feeling that the recently-dropped Batman will be making a return soon.

Verdict: "All of the clothes in this comic book are really weird."

The Flash v2 #72, “Chemistry,” January 1993, written by Mark Waid, penciled by Sal Velluto
The Flash has a final showdown with the new Alchemist, gets to the bottom of the case of a missing microcomputer, and confesses his feelings to Linda just in time. Happy ending! Geez, doesn’t the Flash know Superman is dead? Happy endings are not POSSIBLE with Superman dead!
What the 27 year old thinks: Y’know, good. Really good. It’s not great, but it is a good superhero story. Since this is a superhero comic, a good superhero story is all I can really ask for. I’ve said superhero a lot in this entry so far. Anyway, Waid has done a solid job of creating a relatable hero who seems both flawed and confident. I like that he gets annoyed at the ex-con entrusted in his care, and I like that he worries about little things like rain messing with his powers. He’s a real person, you guys! Wally West is a real person!
What the 8 year old thinks: Man, he just really likes the Flash. Superman has been hella depressing lately, so it’s nice to read a full on action and adventure story. He likes.
Verdict: "If Genie gave me three wishes, one would be for an awesome comic book. Thank you, Genie! Wish come true!!!"

The Flash v2 #72, “Chemistry,” January 1993, written by Mark Waid, penciled by Sal Velluto

The Flash has a final showdown with the new Alchemist, gets to the bottom of the case of a missing microcomputer, and confesses his feelings to Linda just in time. Happy ending! Geez, doesn’t the Flash know Superman is dead? Happy endings are not POSSIBLE with Superman dead!

What the 27 year old thinks: Y’know, good. Really good. It’s not great, but it is a good superhero story. Since this is a superhero comic, a good superhero story is all I can really ask for. I’ve said superhero a lot in this entry so far. Anyway, Waid has done a solid job of creating a relatable hero who seems both flawed and confident. I like that he gets annoyed at the ex-con entrusted in his care, and I like that he worries about little things like rain messing with his powers. He’s a real person, you guys! Wally West is a real person!

What the 8 year old thinks: Man, he just really likes the Flash. Superman has been hella depressing lately, so it’s nice to read a full on action and adventure story. He likes.

Verdict: "If Genie gave me three wishes, one would be for an awesome comic book. Thank you, Genie! Wish come true!!!"

Action Comics #685, “Funeral For A Friend 2 of 8: Re: Actions,” January 1993, written by Roger Stern, penciled by Butch Guice
Metropolis keeps on a-mourning, and Superman is still way dead. Supergirl starts picking up the slack in the villain thwarting department and Lois starts trying to figure out how to explain Clark Kent’s simultaneous disappearance.
What the 27 year old thinks: So decompression was not invented in the 2000s. Wow! This fallout is lasting…a…long…time. All of Lois’ concerns are interesting, and I’m curious to see how all of this plays out. Just…get on with it already.
What the 8 year old thinks: He wishes Doomsday was still alive. Then there’d be more punching.
Verdict: "Everyone is so sad in comic books now! It’s like Bambi’s mom dies every month."

Action Comics #685, “Funeral For A Friend 2 of 8: Re: Actions,” January 1993, written by Roger Stern, penciled by Butch Guice

Metropolis keeps on a-mourning, and Superman is still way dead. Supergirl starts picking up the slack in the villain thwarting department and Lois starts trying to figure out how to explain Clark Kent’s simultaneous disappearance.

What the 27 year old thinks: So decompression was not invented in the 2000s. Wow! This fallout is lasting…a…long…time. All of Lois’ concerns are interesting, and I’m curious to see how all of this plays out. Just…get on with it already.

What the 8 year old thinks: He wishes Doomsday was still alive. Then there’d be more punching.

Verdict: "Everyone is so sad in comic books now! It’s like Bambi’s mom dies every month."

Adventures of Superman #498, “Funeral For a Friend 1 of 8: Death of a Legend,” January 1993, written by Jerry Ordway, penciled by Tom Grummett
Meanwhile, back at the scene of Superman’s defeat, the super citizens (I still have no idea who any of these weird looking para-military goofballs are) of Metropolis try to resuscitate Superman. It doesn’t work.
What the 27 year old thinks: So far, I’m not digging the fallout. I get that Superman’s death is a big deal, but an 8 part story with a prologue? Overkill? This entire issue covers just the resuscitation attempts and some minuscule subplot advancements and it’s…just okay. I’m really interested in reading more of Lois’ reaction, and that hasn’t really been dealt with yet. I’m also waiting to find out how they cover up Clark Kent’s disappearance too. But…none of that happens here.
What the 8 year old thinks: Another okay issue, but compared to the rock’em sock’em roller coaster ride he’s been on with the lead-up, all of this is boring. He wants to see people crying or flying, buster!!
Verdict: "Forget ‘How Do You Talk To An Angel’! I sing ‘How Do You Talk To Superman’ now, cause he’s dead!"

Adventures of Superman #498, “Funeral For a Friend 1 of 8: Death of a Legend,” January 1993, written by Jerry Ordway, penciled by Tom Grummett

Meanwhile, back at the scene of Superman’s defeat, the super citizens (I still have no idea who any of these weird looking para-military goofballs are) of Metropolis try to resuscitate Superman. It doesn’t work.

What the 27 year old thinks: So far, I’m not digging the fallout. I get that Superman’s death is a big deal, but an 8 part story with a prologue? Overkill? This entire issue covers just the resuscitation attempts and some minuscule subplot advancements and it’s…just okay. I’m really interested in reading more of Lois’ reaction, and that hasn’t really been dealt with yet. I’m also waiting to find out how they cover up Clark Kent’s disappearance too. But…none of that happens here.

What the 8 year old thinks: Another okay issue, but compared to the rock’em sock’em roller coaster ride he’s been on with the lead-up, all of this is boring. He wants to see people crying or flying, buster!!

Verdict: "Forget ‘How Do You Talk To An Angel’! I sing ‘How Do You Talk To Superman’ now, cause he’s dead!"

Justice League America #70, “Funeral For A Friend: Grieving,” January 1993, written and penciled by Dan Jurgens
The Justice League all mourns Superman, y’all.
What the 27 year old thinks: Anything would be hard to top the actual death, right? Yes…but then again, you don’t know me. I love death issues, especially mopey mourning ones. As a kid, I was not used to this type of stuff (no one got mourned on Captain Planet) so when I encountered it in comics, it felt super ADULT and new and shocking. Illyana’s death and funeral in Uncanny X-Men #303 and #304 really hit me, and I had absolutely no clue who she was. So the fact that this doesn’t…resonate with me…is odd. I dunno, maybe it’s because this death is TOO big and Jurgens is juggling too much. Like literally a dozen or more former Justice Leaguers show up and kinda steal focus from the main cast. Guy and Ice’s reactions are opposed and interesting, as is Maxima’s. Illlyana’s death hit me so hard because Scott Lobdell told the story through Jubilee’s eyes and hers alone. Maybe that focus helps?
That being said, I love Booster being worried about Blue Beetle. Love it.
Sidenote: which hero has the power to create black armbands, cause those pop up PRETTY quickly. Also, those were given out at comic book shops back in late 1992, right? Come on, couldn’t have missed that opportunity!
What the 8 year old thinks: He’s fine with this. Seeing all of the heroes, some of which he’s only seen in the Super Friends cartoon up to this point, excites him and he isn’t a discerning enough reader to really note the lack of focus. He’s also super worried about Blue Beetle.
Verdict: "Comics can be sad, just like the episode of Muppet Babies where Gonzo loses Camilla.”

Justice League America #70, “Funeral For A Friend: Grieving,” January 1993, written and penciled by Dan Jurgens

The Justice League all mourns Superman, y’all.

What the 27 year old thinks: Anything would be hard to top the actual death, right? Yes…but then again, you don’t know me. I love death issues, especially mopey mourning ones. As a kid, I was not used to this type of stuff (no one got mourned on Captain Planet) so when I encountered it in comics, it felt super ADULT and new and shocking. Illyana’s death and funeral in Uncanny X-Men #303 and #304 really hit me, and I had absolutely no clue who she was. So the fact that this doesn’t…resonate with me…is odd. I dunno, maybe it’s because this death is TOO big and Jurgens is juggling too much. Like literally a dozen or more former Justice Leaguers show up and kinda steal focus from the main cast. Guy and Ice’s reactions are opposed and interesting, as is Maxima’s. Illlyana’s death hit me so hard because Scott Lobdell told the story through Jubilee’s eyes and hers alone. Maybe that focus helps?

That being said, I love Booster being worried about Blue Beetle. Love it.

Sidenote: which hero has the power to create black armbands, cause those pop up PRETTY quickly. Also, those were given out at comic book shops back in late 1992, right? Come on, couldn’t have missed that opportunity!

What the 8 year old thinks: He’s fine with this. Seeing all of the heroes, some of which he’s only seen in the Super Friends cartoon up to this point, excites him and he isn’t a discerning enough reader to really note the lack of focus. He’s also super worried about Blue Beetle.

Verdict: "Comics can be sad, just like the episode of Muppet Babies where Gonzo loses Camilla.”

Superman v2 #75, “Doomsday 7 of 7: Doomsday!,” January 1993, written and penciled by Dan Jurgens

Superman and Doomsday duke it out and deliver killing blows to each other simultaneously.

What the 27 year old thinks: How is this regarded? Is this really regarded as ’90s crap? A cheap ploy to get readers and media coverage? Do people think this holds up? I may have crazy weird standards, but this is not crap, it doesn’t feel super cheap and media attention aside, it’s a good story. I liked this. Some shaky chapters towards the end, but this finale makes it worthwhile. What an issue! Nothing but full page spreads, big pictures, epic pictures, throughout. I didn’t know this issue was formatted that way. Dan Jurgens just knocks it out of the park with every page. Every page could be a poster. Every one. They are all that dynamic and cool. And yeah…Doomsday is not a real villain (he has no motive or personality) of note and the randomness is kinda annoying…until I realize that it isn’t. I don’t know why stories have to have…motive and reasoning. Life doesn’t. Things just HAPPEN, with no cause or reason. It is entirely plausible that an incoherent juggernaut of rage would come to  Earth, looking to stomp around, and Supes would have to fight him. Why does it have to have Watchmen-level complexity? The emotion throughout is, for the most part, spot-on. The art in this issue is spectacular. Heck, I know he comes back from this and that big page of Ma and Pa Kent holding each other was a bit much for the ol’ cryballs (aka my eyes). It’s just…this was just a good comic, through and through. 

Now, where is the 6 part mini series that gives Doomsday’s origin and motive? There’s no way they didn’t strip this big event for parts over the next decade.

What the 8 year old thinks: “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO—”

Verdict: "—OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!!!"

Superman: The Man of Steel #19, “Doomsday 6 of 7: Doomsday Is Here!,” January 1993, written by Louise Simonson, penciled by Jon Bogdanove
Superman and a ton of supporting Metropolis heroes try to stop Doomsday and, duhsville, fail.
What the 27 year old thinks: First big misstep in “Doomsday.” Filler, lackluster, confusing, boring, just not as much fun to read as the first few chapters. Plus it doesn’t help that a ton of weirdo characters pop up in this issue with no explanation as to who any of them are. It seems like Simonson was dead set to continue her own plotlines in the midst of this crossover, so we get a ton of (what I’m assuming are) her supporting players…but they do nothing. I don’t know who they are, I don’t know why Doomsday is fighting them, I don’t know what their powers are, and nothing outside of the Doomsday fight happens. These characters are just superficially keeping up appearances. Also, Supergirl is a clayfaced purple/gray alien?
What the 8 year old thinks: He was so pumped for this and it let his little heart down. The fighting was cool (SUPERMAN IS BLEEDING!!) but he doesn’t know who anyone in this comic is. Harumph.
Verdict: “If I had a magic lamp, I’d wish that this issue was better!!”

Superman: The Man of Steel #19, “Doomsday 6 of 7: Doomsday Is Here!,” January 1993, written by Louise Simonson, penciled by Jon Bogdanove

Superman and a ton of supporting Metropolis heroes try to stop Doomsday and, duhsville, fail.

What the 27 year old thinks: First big misstep in “Doomsday.” Filler, lackluster, confusing, boring, just not as much fun to read as the first few chapters. Plus it doesn’t help that a ton of weirdo characters pop up in this issue with no explanation as to who any of them are. It seems like Simonson was dead set to continue her own plotlines in the midst of this crossover, so we get a ton of (what I’m assuming are) her supporting players…but they do nothing. I don’t know who they are, I don’t know why Doomsday is fighting them, I don’t know what their powers are, and nothing outside of the Doomsday fight happens. These characters are just superficially keeping up appearances. Also, Supergirl is a clayfaced purple/gray alien?

What the 8 year old thinks: He was so pumped for this and it let his little heart down. The fighting was cool (SUPERMAN IS BLEEDING!!) but he doesn’t know who anyone in this comic is. Harumph.

Verdict: “If I had a magic lamp, I’d wish that this issue was better!!”

NOVEMBER BUY PILE!

It’s November 1992 and Disney just blew the bowl-cut right off my tiny little brain with Aladdin! Totally bodacious! But that awesome flick didn’t deter my appetite for more “Doomsday” goodness!

These are the comics that I wished for and my genie (aka Mom) got for me!

  • Action Comics #685 which says “Funeral For a Friend” on it! That can’t be good!
  • Adventures of Superman #498
  • Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #41, which has a cool cover but another new creative team. Maybe it’s time to switch back to Batman regular?
  • Detective Comics #655 featuring the second part of the Batman vs. Baby Genius (snoozefest?)
  • Flash v2 #72, which I’m still digging!
  • Green Lantern v3 #35 which is still confusing me!
  • Justice League America #70
  • Justice League Europe #46
  • Superman: The Man of Steel #19, which has a rad cover!
  • Superman v2 #75, which has a sad cover!

This is the same lineup as last month; no additions and no cuts. As “Doomsday” ends and the new Super-quo takes place, we’ll see which Superbooks make the cut. Also something tells me that some little boy may get some comics for Christmas 1992…but now, I read these comics!

October Recap

It’s October 1992 and I just finished reading a bunch of comics with the publication date December 1992. Reading Christmas comics on Halloween! All the holidays running together! Comic logic!

Here’s how this month’s comics rank, from most gnarly (#1) to most grody (#10):

  1. Justice League America #69
  2. Superman v2 #74
  3. Action Comics #684
  4. Adventures of Superman #497
  5. Superman: The Man of Steel #18
  6. Flash v2 #71
  7. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #40
  8. Justice League Europe #45
  9. Detective Comics #654
  10. Green Lantern v3 #34

The first arc of “Death of Superman” hit my 8 year old brain like a bag of Lego bricks. The top five issues are all part of the “Doomsday” storyline and everything after it suffered by comparison. This is the first time that Flash has not been in the top two. I’m really curious to see if the Superman books maintain high quality going forward.

After four months of reading DC Comics, the ongoings now rank like:

  1. Superman v2 (new)
  2. Action Comics (new)
  3. Adventures of Superman (new)
  4. Justice League America (-3)
  5. Superman: The Man of Steel (new)
  6. Flash v2 (-4)
  7. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (-2)
  8. Justice League Europe (-5)
  9. Detective Comics (-3)
  10. Green Lantern v3 (-6)
  11. Guy Gardner (-4; inactive)
  12. Batman (-4; inactive)
  13. Batman Adventures (-4; inactive)

Yep, Superman, you muscled your way into this project. JLA didn’t fall too far from it’s old top spot thanks to having an awesome tie-in to “Doomsday,” but poor Flash suffered. And the bottom three I did not read this month due to my 10 title limit. They’re still on this list, though marked “inactive,” because if any of the books I’m currently reading slip below them, they get picked back up again. Green Lantern, you are in danger!

Look out November, here I come.

Green Lantern v3 #34, “The Third Law 2 of 3: Entropy,” December 1992, written by Gerard Jones, penciled by M.D. Bright
Green Lantern goes to Oa and demands answers from the Guardians about questions that heavily involve stuff that I have never heard of. Need a big ol’ recap page.
What the 27 year old thinks: I generally like the “Star Wars” method of immersive storytelling. But this? There’s not a whole lot to grab onto. I still don’t know what the big black orbs are, or what they do, or where they came from. I don’t know who this Pie-Face guy is. This issue is in the thick of Corps mythology, with the big blue-headed dudes (who sometimes aren’t dudes, and sometimes are tall dudes, and sometimes are just heads) and the ridiculous looking GL Corps members all showing up. But…who all these people are and how they relate to each other is lost on me. I thought the argument between GL and the Guardians (right? That’s what they are? The blue dudes.) was well-written, but I had no idea what they were arguing about. 
What the 8 year old thinks: Bored. Liked the cool art, but bored.
Verdict: "This is just like Murder, She Wrote! A snoozefest!”

Green Lantern v3 #34, “The Third Law 2 of 3: Entropy,” December 1992, written by Gerard Jones, penciled by M.D. Bright

Green Lantern goes to Oa and demands answers from the Guardians about questions that heavily involve stuff that I have never heard of. Need a big ol’ recap page.

What the 27 year old thinks: I generally like the “Star Wars” method of immersive storytelling. But this? There’s not a whole lot to grab onto. I still don’t know what the big black orbs are, or what they do, or where they came from. I don’t know who this Pie-Face guy is. This issue is in the thick of Corps mythology, with the big blue-headed dudes (who sometimes aren’t dudes, and sometimes are tall dudes, and sometimes are just heads) and the ridiculous looking GL Corps members all showing up. But…who all these people are and how they relate to each other is lost on me. I thought the argument between GL and the Guardians (right? That’s what they are? The blue dudes.) was well-written, but I had no idea what they were arguing about. 

What the 8 year old thinks: Bored. Liked the cool art, but bored.

Verdict: "This is just like Murder, She Wrote! A snoozefest!”