Monday, March 30, 2009

DC Challenge #4 (2/1986)

Batman: Hung with Hawkwoman from a branch on the side of a Peruvian jungle cliff, until Adam Strange lept to grab the same. The limb snapped, but as Adam had planned, the trio just fell into the Zeta-Beam to Rann that brought Strange there in the first place. On Rann, the heroes joined Viking Prince, Sardath, Alanna and Superman in battling mythological monsters.

Aquaman: In the Sahara Desert, the Sea King was surrounded by pointy-eared aliens. "We will indeed end the 'menace,' Aquaman-- and you will be one of the most important tools we shall use! ...Just as we took knowledge of the JLA from your mind to 'borrow' their shapes-- we used your signaler to call your comrades! There are several among them who can be important pawns in our game-- for they are traitors to our cause! ...Some of your comrades are no more 'people' than I am, Aquaman! Your purpose is concluded, human. You are now irrelevant, and may prepare to cease existence."

Martian Manhunter: "Whoever you are, you can't kill a Justice Leaguer that easily!" The Alien Atlas flew into the aliens line of fire, shielding Aquaman with his own body.

Zatanna: Teleported with Martian Manhunter. "You didn't think we'd ignore our leader's summons, did you, cutie? Besides, I haven't been to Egypt for years, and the sight-seeing's great!" Zee tried to apply her sorcery to the aliens, but it wouldn't work. "The power of magic is no longer so great, woman-- and soon will be gone entirely!"

Martian Manhunter: Screamed "AYEEEIIIII!" when confined in an energy cage projected from an alien's ray gun. Spirited away through a portal in the sky with the other extraterrestrials. "We will let you live to ponder that knowledge-- for we have the traitor now-- and although your powers may be sufficient to allow you to survive, you are, as we said, irrelevant. Hardly worth bothering to kill."

Aquaman & Zatanna: "Huh???" Left to die in the desert, again.

Martian Manhunter: The aliens conquered New York, and took captive J'Onn J'Onzz, Supergirl, Superman, Starfire and Jemm: Son of Saturn, who were tied to poles for a public execution. "The independence of this planet has ended! You are now to be a part of the Greater Galaxies-- and these aliens who have lived among you shall be the first to feel our justice! For having dared fraternize with you-- for pretending to live among you in peace-- these traitors shall die!"

"Atomic Nights" was by Paul Levitz, Gil Kane and Klaus Janson.

Monday, March 23, 2009

DC Challenge #3 (1/1986)

Batman: In Midway City, the Dark Knight Detective delivered the stone tablet and number sequence he'd received to museum curators Carter and Shiera Hall for further study. Later in his Batcave, the Caped Crusader determined that the number sequence could mean the end of the world, and set about contacting Midway City. Thus led to a team-up with Hawkwoman in the Peruvian jungle, as the followed a trail blazed by Hawkman, which led that Winged Wonder to Rann. Batman and Hawkwoman were attacked by a green monster that ripped off the heroine's wings. As the pair were about to plunge off a cliff to their doom, Adam Strange arrived. He couldn't save the duo and catch a Zeta-Beam home, could he?

Aquaman: In the Sahara Desert, the Sea King snatched a vulture that intended to feast on him from the air, and turned the intent against it. Rejuvenated by the 97% water found in the bird's blood, the Sea King rose to carry on with his trek. Less than an hour later, another seeming oasis proved real, and Aquaman emerged from it to find the classic Justice League of America had homed in on his signal device. As an aside, among them was the Green Lantern John Stewart that was clearly a recolored Hal Jordan.

Aquaman explained, "I was on duty in the JLA Satellite [even though it had been destroyed once or twice by that point in continuity]-- when I detected unusual transmission beams originating from the moon, and teleported myself down to the beams' target point-- an excavation site here in the Sahara. From hiding, I overheard the Arab diggers say they were looking for 'cuneiforms of Allah's sacred words' which would give them 'the power to defeat all' ...When I snuck into one of the tents to steal a burnoose disguise, I discovered a device of apparent alien technology... and I also saw that the diggers were not really Arabs." Aquaman explained he'd had to run into the desert after being detected, only to find he'd just given the full skinny to disguised aliens mimicking the JLofA. Resuming their true forms, the bald, pointy-eared aliens directed their ray pistols at the Sea King...

"Viking Vengeance" was by Doug Moench, Carmine Infantino and Bob Smith.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

DC Challenge #1-2 (11-12/1985)

Batman: The Riddler sent Bruce Wayne a Beta video cassette stating the he knew Batman's real identity. Clues led the Dark Knight Detective to the Gotham Museum of Knighthood, where he busted second-story man Lenny Horton stealing as ancient stone tablet. The Caped Crusader learned the real Riddler was still behind bars, unaware of the videotaped challenge. At the Gotham City Power Plant, which clues had led him to, Batman found a pointy-eared, pink-skinned Nosferatu type. Turns out the nuclear device was inside Bruce Wayne's Betamax, set to explode in eight seconds. Unable to contact anyone about the bomb from the plant, Batman used a batarang to shut down service to half the city. His taunting, turbaned, antagonist vanished in the confusion. Numbers were left written on a wall as a clue.

Aquaman: Superman flew to the JLA satellite, where the Sea King had abandoned monitor duty for parts unknown. In the Sahara Desert, a robed figure wandered the wasteland. At the sight of water, Aquaman cast off his protective garb, only to be crushed by the realization it was just a mirage. Delirious, the Sea King collapsed into the sand, vultures circling overhead.

Part 1 by Mark Evanier, Gene Colan and Bob Smith.
Part 2 by Len Wein, Chuck Patton and Mike DeCarlo.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

1986 DC Comics Aquaman Mini-Series Ad

Click To Enlarge

Sorry for the late week post, but I'm working on a Detroit-related special project that's taking up a lot of time. Suffice to say, there will be a lot of make-up coverage in the next few weeks.

Anyway, here's the gorgeous Craig Hamilton promo art for the 4-issue mini-series he did with Neal Pozner that should have redefined the character for the '80s. Even though it was a modest success that actually picked up readers by the last issue, a planned sequel languished in development hell, and licensing concerns did the reinvention no favors. This mini-series is especially noteworthy here because it was the book Aquaman left the Detroit League to do, and the new costume even showed up in JLofA #250. Click on the link for the a great big high resolution version.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pérez/Ross on Justice League Detroit in Crisis On Infinite Earths!

Welcome to Justice League Detroit's first ever inter-blog crossover event! Masterminded by The Irredeemable Shag of Once Upon a Geek, this is likely the first salvo in his pipe dream plot to form a DC Blogger's League. He'd also like to direct you to his own blog, Firestorm Fan, dedicated to the sorta/kinda honorary member of the JLD. There you'll find the Nuclear Man as drawn by George Pérez and painted over by Alex Ross. The piece was produced for the 1998 Crisis On Infinite Earths Hardcover, which I discussed at the link.

Aside for my crumby J'Onn J'Onzz-related jam piece above (hi Jemm!,) Shag provided me with all of the scans to follow. They did not include Detroit Leaguer Aquaman, who will be far better represented at Rob Kelly's The Aquaman Shrine. Also, because of the length of this post, I moved commentary for Martian Manhunter & Gypsy to my other Detroit-related blog, The Idol-Head of Diabolu. I don't know if anyone will be handling short-term member Batman, but peppered throughout this post are links to the other blogs featuring portions of the Pérez/Ross artwork.

We'll start with Steel, who's a walking crisis of his own. You see, he's pictured in his very busy original costume, which was shredded during Crisis On Infinite Earths and replaced with a more open model. However, artists couldn't keep the suit straight, so Steel goes back and forth between outfits for much of the mega-crossover. Thankfully, Pérez and Ross nailed the character by having him crying and flailing about, as Hank Henshaw Jr. was emo when emo wasn't kewl.

Steel II and his World War II-era grandpappy Commander Steel are among the favorite super-heroes of Luke, who hosts a blog for their fellow right-winger Hawkman called Being Carter Hall.

Let me just say first off that I'm really glad it's Rip Hunter: Time Master in the grip of a tentacle monster, because I'm just not prepared for Zatanna hentai. Second. I miss C'hp. Third, even though I know it made her look like a Scarlet Witch knock-off, I really miss this George Pérez designed costume for Zee. It was what she was wearing when I first met her, and in the immortal words of Blue Devil, "Y'know, there aren't many women who could get away with wearing a bug on their head... but on you it looks terrific." I also dig the gigantic Shaniqua "Z" earrings. I do wish Zee looked less frightened though, as she's usually so well composed.

Fans of Zatanna should already be familiar with DC Comics' great legacy of sorcerous beings, including the one spotlighted at Rob Kelly's I am the Phantom Stranger blog, whom Zee infrequently teams up with... usually in group shots during crossovers, where the writer wimps out and shorthands "and here's what the mystics did to help in the crisis!"

Just look at that headshot of Vibe-- as smug as ever in the presence of far greater heroes... and by that I mean Steel, The Indestructible Man and the flippin' Viking Commando! Is it any wonder Ollie Queen always wanted to slap Paco's soul patch off? Speaking of Green Arrow, there's part of him just below here, though you can get a better view at Adama's Dispatches from the Arrow Cave!

I can't say for certain, but I suspect Sue Dibney was especially "pleased" by the visual of her husband being ridden by a sword-bearing Travis Morgan, the loincloth wearing Warlord of Skartaris! As opposed to Zatanna, I prefer this purple and white costume, rather than the classic red and blue suit most know him from. The latter color scheme is WAY overused for super-heroes, while this one is fairly unique. Plus, the Elongated Man was never dynamic enough to rate such a forceful scheme, which is too closely associated with a certain Scarlet Speedster he co-starred with for years. Spectral redundancy, ya'll! I'm sure we can all agree both these costumes are better than the the number with the domino mask, though. Define "drab"?

For more on E-Man's pal the Flash, check out Kelson's Speed Force blog, featuring a Crisis On Earth Blog Entry! Also, did you know Julius Schwartz once stated that, had he known DC Comics owned Plastic Man, he'd have never bothered to oversee the creation of Elongated Man? To follow the original stretchable hero, see Rick's Plastic Man Platitudes. Also, there's a a "red skies" crossover at Daniel Taylor's not-quite-E-Man-specific "An Ear -- in the Fireplace!"

We'll close out with my favorite female Detroit member, the vivacious Vixen! She comes off a bit more feral than was true of the character here. Even though Mari always seemed intended as the "Wolverine" of the group, in truth she was more like the flirtatious Tigra from the Avengers. However, Vixen was a much deeper and plain better character overall, in my opinion. The problem is, modern writers have gone so far the other way as to make her downright sedate, ala the X-Men's Storm. Could someone please offer these people copies of Vixen's wonderful appearances on Justice League Unlimited?

Playing nine degrees of separation to close things out, some of Vixen's very few solo guest appearances ever were in Animal Man, an oddball super-hero title written by Grant Morrison. Even stranger was Morrison's take on the Doom Patrol, for whom Doug has recently started a blog. Rick's also got something brewing at Mail it to Team-up, and is responsible for the promotional video below!