Saturday, June 24, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 24: Shadow of the Batman

How universal is Batman's origin story? So freakin' universal that it even takes place on Earth-S&S (Street & Smith)!

Panels from "New York City, 1938" in The Shadow #100 (Dynamite, June 2015), script by Michael Uslan, pencils and inks by Giovanni Timpano, colors by Marco Lesko, letters by Rob Steen

Well, he sure told you, Mister So-Called Batman's Dad!

365 Days of Defiance, Day 175: Cap hates these guys

Huh, suddenly a 17-year old Captain America comic is as fresh as today's real-life headlines, I'm sorry to say:

Panels from Captain America (1998 series) #25 (January 2000), script by Dan Jurgens, pencils by Andy Kubert, inks by Dan Green, colors by Gregory Wright, letters by Todd Klein

Friday, June 23, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 23: Must There Be a Batman?

Cover of Superman/Batman #17 (March 2005), pencils by Carlos Pacheco, inks by Jesus Merino, colors by Laura Martin

You may remember that yesterday, or only one issue ago in comic book time, Batman shot Joe Chill and thus erased his own batariffic future. That is how time travel works, and I'm standing by that. Anyway, Superman travels forward in time to fetch the now-nothin'-but-a-playboy Bruce Wayne (he still lives with his parents, ha!) and brings him back to the Crime Alley, shouting incoherently that his kids grew up to be a-holes and that where they were going they didn't need roads.

Panels from Superman/Batman #17 (March 2005), script by Jeph Loeb, pencils by Carlos Pacheco, inks by Jesus Merino, colors by Laura Martin and Larry Molinar, letters by Richard Starkings

You know, in a world where Thomas and Martha Wayne survived Park Avenue was not the scene of the murder of two of Gotham City's leading lights, maybe they would have supported live theater city rehabilitation enough that it never would become Crime Alley. But maybe even in a world without a Batman, some things are absolutely unavoidable. Like Bruce's double past, as far as Superman is concerned. Geez, Supes, why doncha just fly him into the world where you're both Nazis oh wait you'd only just averted that one a couple issues ago

Hooray! He snaps Bruce back to his real self which makes absolutely no sense in this timeline because there was never ever a Batman at all but hey, for the sense of the story let's roll with it.

For there to be a Batman, the Waynes must die. It's the universal rule of the DC Universe. And don't feel so alone, Bruce: there's a guy just one universe over on the newsstand named Peter Parker who knows just how you feel.

365 Days of Defiance, Day 174: But if you go carrying pictures of Doctor Doom / You ain't going to make it with anyone anywhom

Oh, whaddaya know: despite the fact that I said yesterday that Doctor Doom didn't care for protests at his ornate gates, here's a ragtag group of rebels roustering for Latverian freedom!

Splash page from "Doom Must Die!" in Astonishing Tales (1970 series) #3 (December 1970), script by Larry Lieber, pencils and inks by Wally Wood, colors by Tom Palmer (?), letters by Jean Izzo

I'm sure nothing could go wrong with this plan.

Today in Comics History, June 23, 1999: Vertigo publishes Magic Eight-Ball: The Comic

from The Invisibles (1999 series) #5 (DC/Vertigo, January 2000), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Sean Phililips, inks by Jay Stephens, colors by Daniel Vozzo, letters by Todd Klein

Thursday, June 22, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 22: Why don't you just f-f-f-fade away

As I promised yesterday, tonight we see just another one of the many, many deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne that populate comics history (and this feature)...with a slight difference.

Panels from Superman/Batman #16 (Late February 2005), script by Jeph Loeb, pencils by Carlos Pacheco, inks by Jesus Merino, colors by Laura Martin, letters by Richard Starkings

Okay, here's the short explanation to this scene: Superman and Batman were corrupted by a time-travelling Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen and...Magnet Man? Cosmic Consumer? Captain Attraction?...anyway, three time traveling adult villains of the super-teens from 3005, the Legion of Super-Heroes! Then the all-new, all-different Sinisterman and Badman took over the world! Now Clark and Bruce have come to their super-senses and are hunting Cosmic King (oh, yeah, that was his name) to stop him after or before he time-travels, and of course they've popped into the most invonvenient place and time in the entire multiverse, allowing Batman to observe the death of his parents. Talk about noit being able to go home again, huh? Take that, Thomas Wolfe!

So take a moment to contemplate: what happens when Batman prevents Joe Chill from killing Thomas and Martha Wayne? Well, obviously, the Waynes, including Bruce, live! Y&ay! That's a win. But what happens to Batman himself? Think about it, won't you?

No death of the Waynes, no Batman. DC Comics will surely go bankrupt in this timeline! But stay tuned tomorrow to see how Superman personally kills young Bruce to make certain the entire future of the DC Universe timeline is restored!

(No, he doesn't do that.)

365 Days of Defiance, Day 173: Of course they're protesting; he stole Batman's grandfather clock schtick

Meanwhile, on Earth-712...

Panels from Squadron Supreme (1985 limited series) #1 (September 1985), script by Mark Gruenwald, pencils by Bob Hall, inks by John Beatty, colors by Christie Scheele, letters by Janice Chiang

Freedom to protest against the President! It's a given right in every universe except the one where Dr. Doom became president of America 2099.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 21: Bruce had fun, and it hurt

Yeah, yeah, I know: we've seen it one bajillion times before:

Panels from Superman/Batman #14 (January 2005), script by Jeph Loeb, pencils by Carlos Pacheco, inks by Jesus Merino, colors by Laura Martin, letters by Richard Starkings

But what if just imagine...something different happening that night! What could happen differently, you ask? Surely the death of Batman's parents is a universal constant? Well, tune in tomorrow to see just how correct you are! Answer: not very! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!

365 Days of Defiance, Day 172: Might as well jump

Panels from Secret Wars (2015 series) #2 (July 2015), script by Jonathan Hickman, pencils and inks by Esad Ribic, colors by Ive Svorcina, letters by Chris Eliopoulis

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 20: Cold Feet

Panel from Batman: The Cult #4 (1988), script by Jim Starlin, pencils and inks by Bernie Wrightson, colors by Bill Wray, letters by John Costanza

Today in Comics History, June 20, 1999: Rambling, disjointed email is invented

from The Invisibles (1999 series) #8 (DC/Vertigo, August 1999), script by Grant Morrison, pencils by Sean Phililips, inks by Jay Stephens, colors by Daniel Vozzo, letters by Todd Klein

365 Days of Defiance, Day 171: Okay Oxnalia, here we come!

Superman has no problem standing up for the oppressed or the invaded in foreign wars, but only if they're fictional.

Panels from "The Oxnalian Revolution" in Superman (1939 series) #15 (March-April 1942), script by Jerry Siegel, pencils and inks by John Sikela

So: Don't be like Oxnalia! Or else Superman will come to assist the country you invade in its struggle against overwhelming odds.

(I'll have more from this story later.)

Monday, June 19, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 19: I dreamed a dream in times gone by / When Joe Chill shot my mother and dad

Panels from Batman (1940 series) #621 (January 2004), script by Brian Azzarello, pencils and inks by Eduardo Risso, colors by Patricia Mulvihill, letters by Clem Robins

365 Days of Defiance, Day 170: Tempus Fugitive

Tempus! He's a guy made out of clock ice or crystalized time or somethin' and while he's certainly not one of the Fantastic Four's most famous foes, he gave 'em a good fight back in the funkadelic seventies. And it's all due to Willie Lumpkin having a gambling problem, which I'm not gonna explain. There's no...ah ha ha ha ha...time.

Panels from "Cataclysm!" in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #2 (August 1974), script by Gerry Conway, layouts by John Buscema, finishes by Chic Stone, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Joe Rosen

Mind you, this is an adventure that took place in Marvel's double-paged Giant-Size series of the mid-70s, so, like Marvel Annuals of the period, they were all self-contained stories (and eventually, all reprints). So I don't blame you if you had ignored or didn't read this story. But hey, look: Mister Fantastic in William Shatner's aging makeup from "The Deadly Years." He's old, y'all!

How will the wolf FF survive? Well, by that little-known secret weapon of the Fantastic Four, one you don't get to see in action too often but never forget it's a powerhouse: the rocky orange brain of Benjamin J. Grimm!

Hey Thing, what time is it? Ah, never mind: you're way ahead of me.

The punches themselves aren't sufficient to defeat Tempus (the deliciously quiescent summertime cooling treat), but it does give Reedd enough time to fire up his big rubber brain and come up with a truly brilliant plan, which is...oh, for Pete's sake, Reed, you're just punching him again! Ben already came up with that plan!

Yay! Success! Altho' reed, always a bringer-downer, reminds the FF and Willie Lumpkin, time-travelin' mailman, that like Santa and that chocolate cake that was sitting this morning on the kitchen counter, there's a little bit of Tempus is inside all of us. In fact, you might even say we just ate Tempus, and he's in our stomachs...right now! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!...Wait, scratch that one.

I can't use my usul joke of "And nobody ever saw Tempus ever again" here, because he has quite a wide-ranging, if ineffective, history of time-related villany across the Marvel Universe. Later on, he fought Thor, the West Coast Avengers, some guys from various What Ifs, Rick Jones, and the Annihilators. I'm imagining that at any moment in the Marvel Universe Gwenpool will be pantsing him. So yeah, getting introduced in a Giant-Size has decreasing returns for villainy over the years.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 18: Imagine Bruce is bulletproof / It's easy if you try

What If...? The Waynes' son was Clark Kent? Well, first, they'd need more durable Grey Ghost toys. Then maybe, the Elseworlds story Speeding Bullets. But before all that, Superman #353! Not a hoax! Not a What If?! Not an Imaginary Story! Not an Elseworlds! Not a dream!

Panels from "Just Imagine: The Secret Origin of Bruce (Superman) Wayne" in Superman #353 (November 1980), script by Bob Rozakis, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Frank Chiaramonte, colors by Gene D'Angelo

...oh, it was a "Just Imagine" story.


Aren't they all?

365 Days of Defiance, Day 169: Us Amazonians know where we stand / We got kids, we got jobs, why do we need a man?

Hey, Marvel Studios? Have you noticed how much everyone loved the kickass, hard-hitting warrior women Amazons in your Distinguished Competition's movie Wonder Woman?

Well, just wanted to point out: when you're makin' the Black Panther film, don't leave out the Dora Milaje.

Panels from Doomwar #2 (May 2010), script by Jonathan Maberry, pencils by Scot Eaton, inks by Andy Lanning and Robert Campanella, colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, letters by Cory Petit