Friday, January 13, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 13: Your inside is out when your outside is in

Mike W. Barr has written some fantastic comics, especially within the Batman family, but one thing he's never been accused of is being a regular cast member on She's the Sheriff. Also frequently, his supervillains are a little bit corny, but I don't care. I love love love his (and Jim Aparo's) run on the original Batman and the Outsiders series. Here's their first annual, a 1984 parable adapted to the world of the DC Universe.

Cover of Batman and the Outsiders Annual (1984 series) #1 (1984), pencils by Frank Miller, inks by Jim Aparo

Villain Eric Blairman not only has a green suit (where did he get it?) but a red, white, an' blue patriotic super-team all his own, the aptly-if-goofily-named (prepare to groan) Force of July!

Panels from Batman and the Outsiders Annual (1984 series) #1 (1984); script by Mike W. Barr; pencils by Jerome Moore, Alex Saviuk, Jan Duursema, and Rick Hoberg; inks and letters by Jim Aparo; colors by Adrienne Roy

Blairman sees the diverse Outsiders as enemies of the American people, so of course he very patriotically strings them up. (Like fascists do.) Please note that altho' title-checked, the Batman will not be appearing in this annual. So there's no expecting for him to leap in and release the Outsiders! I guess we'll have to place all our faith in Halo and Geo-Force...Oh man, we're boned.

Like all good villains who have their good-guy nemeses completely at their mercy, Blairman can't help himself from speechifying, explaining for those of us who didn't get the reference on page two that he renamed himself after Eric Blair, the birth name of George Orwell, author of 1984. Also: you can tell his sister is a really really smart scientist, because she has glasses. Thank you, comic book visual shortcuts!

She's so smart (how smart is she?) she's invested the Omni-Cast, a new system of ordering pay-per-view special events over your cable, and also of monitoring what everyday Americans do and say. Oh, it's the 1984's version of The Internet!

Suddenly, the Outsiders escape! As if you had any doubt. And guess what: Halo and Geo-Force really do save the day! Makes you feel bad for laughing at them earlier in the post and/or since their creation almost 35 years ago, huh?


Blairman's evil satellite crashes to earth and all's well that ends well as the Outsiders reflect on their victory and Mike W. Barr reaches for his copy of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Meanwhile, Batman is tapping his fingers on the table in the Outsidercave, impatiently waiting for everybody else to show up for their regular weekly meeting.

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