100 Issues Ago June 2011

I came across this “100 Issues Ago” panel in an old JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and thought I’d tidy it up and re-purpose it. If one month = one issue, what was I reading 100 Issues Ago?


Palmiotti and Gray had been doing some sterling work with the Freedom Fighters over several series in the years running up to this, bringing the team together in INFINITE CRISIS AFTERMATH: THE BATTLE FOR BLUDHAVEN before a couple of FREEDOM FIGHTERS titles that was coming to an end with this penultimate issue.

Here Uncle Sam battles and finally defeats the Jester who had been trying to take his place as a more tyrannical spirit of America. The celebrations are muted due to the death of one of the team and the issue ends with the President having to shut them down.

I enjoyed the team’s dynamics and, following FLASHPOINT and the rise of the New 52, Palmiotti and Gray would try to launch other versions of these heroes: Phantom Lady (with Doll Man), the Ray, and Human Bomb had their own mini-series but it went nowhere, sadly. It wasn’t until the recent FREEDOM FIGHTERS title that the characters reappeared – but that’s set on Earth-X and features different versions again.

Looking at the other comics in my collection from this time shows various series starting to wind down as something big was around the corner . . . which we’ll have to address next month.

Sunday Reviews

“Inconceivable! That was half our fleet!”

Surely we don’t think some omnipotent being snapped his fingers and half our people ceased to exist? HAHAHAHA!”

The Moonheads, dealing with a sudden fall in their numbers

FREEDOM FIGHTERS #9

The torture of the captured Human Bomb and Doll Woman continue, while Uncle Sam and Phantom Lady have to moderate their plan of attack due to Black Condor’s actions. Supposedly in Detroit for a covert mission, he ends up leading a full on rebellion against the Nazis with surprising results.

Another good issue that enters into the final arc; it’s going to be a blast between now and #12, the final issue.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #15

Alive to the threat of Circe, Wonder Woman enlists Zatanna and Kent Nelson to help her access the Witchmark powers from last year’s The Witching Hour storyline; that means using Eclipso’s black diamond. Meanwhile Swamp Thing tries to reconnect with the green only to be defeated by Floronic Man, and Man-Bat goes nuts following his encounter with the Otherkind last issue.

Another cracking issue – tons of stuff happening, along with throwaway references to mystical artefacts like the Spear of Destiny and the Ace of Winchesters, and it all looks gorgeous as well.

SHAZAM #7

Billy sets off to try and find the other members of the Shazam! family; Pedro and Eugene are stuck in what appears to be an amalgamation of Oz and Wonderland, while Darla and Freddie are rescued by Tawky Tawny only to end up in the Darklands, just like Billy.

Plagued by delays, this title is still entertaining when it arrives. I couldn’t help but notice it’s taken these seven issues before there’s even a hint that it’s taking place within the main DCU as Mary Marvel plans to head off and find the Justice League to enlist Wonder Woman’s help. The next issue blurb of “Shazam meets… Captain Marvel?!” sounds intriguing.

THE TERRIFICS #20

The Terribles faces of against the Terrifics and win, finding the power source they need to start up their time machine. They need more, however, which means a threat to Phantom Girl’s home planet, but before that, the Terrifics have to contend with being warped back to the 90s and then the 80s!

Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of Bizarro and the forced backwards speech that always reads inconsistently, but I can ignore than when the rest of this issue is so much fun.

WARLORD OF MARS ATTACKS #4

John Carter finally makes it back to Barsoom, but so do the Moonheads – though half of them promptly vanish thanks to the quantum-flux state of the planet. The remainder are attacked by the Heliumites and the Tharks, led of course by Dejah Thoris and Tars Tarkas, all of which leads to the final confrontation in the next issue.

Still enjoying this – it’s very silly and charges along at a good pace and is clearly having fun with itself.

Sunday Reviews

ANIMOSITY #21

Jesse and Sandor continue their drug fuelled vision quests to find the answer to the question of who is behind the Wake., but Jesse ends up in trouble.

It’s a nice looking issue but the rationalist in me doesn’t really cotton to drug trips to find mystic answers – it’s all in their heads so the only answers they’re going to find is from within themselves already. But then, this is a comic about talking animals, so you know . . .

FREEDOM FIGHTERS #6

Having rescued Uncle Sam from the Nazi last issue, the Freedom Fighters try to catch their breath and continue the struggle, but they’re interrupted by the arrival of Overman, the Nazi Superman, who manages to capture Human Bomb while the others escape.

Another splendid issue where the action just keeps going – honestly, this series has barely let up. And if you thought you knew who Overman was, you may be in for a surprise.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #11

As Dr Fate and his Lords of Order track down the magic users who have fled before them, Wonder Woman and Zatanna meet up with Mordru who has been hiding under their noses the whole time. While they attempt to have him join them in their battle against Fate, he rejects them, telling them that he, as an agent of Chaos, doesn’t care about their battle. However, he does imbue the Ruby of Life with chaotic power and leaves it for them, transforming Zatanna and Wonder Woman into the new Lords (Ladies?) of Order.

It’s another cracking issue that runs along nicely, at the same time looking gorgeous.

THE TERRIFICS #16

Stuck fighting a military grade virtual reality combat simulator intent on connecting to the outside world via the internet, the Terrifics must deal with outlandish versions of the Plagues of Egypt, specifically gnats and flies. This being THE TERRIFICS, things aren’t straightforward as the gnats are robotic and the flies are merchants forcing the team to take weapons and armour so they can claim they’re thieves and attack them.

It’s mad, crazy and fun, and so far writer Gene Luen Yang is continuing the tone from Jeff Lemire’s run. Long may it continue.

Sunday Reviews

Bit of a bumper week this week as my comic shop didn’t have FREEDOM FIGHTERS or JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK last week.

BARBARELLA/DEJAH THORIS #3

The two time-tossed heroines fight to get back to the labof Barbarella’s now-deceased alien professor friend only to find him somehow manifesting from beyond the grave, telling them both that they have to let Mars die.

I’ve not read anything by Leah Williams before but I’m really enjoying this series; both Dejah Thoris and Barbarella (about whom I know nothing beyond the 1960s film) are written as smart, sassy, fun characters who approach things differently but always for the right reasons. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other stuff by her.

BLACK HAMMER ’45 #3

The Black Hammer Squadron continue their race to Vienna to save the scientist and his family from both the Russians and the Nazis and they manage to arrive to set up the final conflict in the next and last issue.

Once again, Lemire’s BLACK HAMMER universe’s take on the Blackhawks works a treat from a story perspective but, as I mentioned last time, Matt Kindt’s art doesn’t really work for me.

FREEDOM FIGHTERS #5

The returned Uncle Sam takes on the Nazis, while giving a history lesson to the America bystanders of who he is and what he stands for. Despite his initial success, he’s still weak and, when the Nazis release a War Wheel, it looks like his return is to be cut short. Cue the Freedom Fighters to the rescue. Elsewhere, the Fuhrer is about to unleash the one man who stopped Uncle Sam last time: Overman.

The necessary pause and info dump of Sam’s history is handled really well, allowing the story to move at the same time as filling in the blanks about why he’s been missing since World War II. The introduction of Overman, who has been mentioned but not seen in previous issues, is done as a nice reveal at the end. Still really enjoying this series.

GREEN LANTERN #7

In the magical kingdom of Emerald Sands, a mysterious Pengowirr finds a memory-lost Hal Jordan and tries to help him save the land that is dying around them, all the while without waking Myrwhydden, the wizard who built this land. As the story progresses, Jordan not only remembers himself but realises who Pengowirr is as well and manages to get back to Oa just in time.

This issue seems almost written to allow artist Liam Sharp to shine as it’s gorgeous – not just the art, but the design and layouts as well, the multiple iterations of panels using the stylised GL logo as borders, the whole thing looks lovely. (Except maybe for the final page where Jordan’s suffering from the same reptile neck that Lara Croft had.)

JUSTICE LEAGUE #23

Superman’s still trapped but is determined to break free; the rest of the League are held prisoner in the Apokolips prison with Lois Lane as their warden; and the World Forger is trying to convince Batman that only saving the good people of our universe, and allowing the bad to perish, is a necessary evil when the fate of the multiverse is at stake. The League manage to escape with the help of the Legion of Doom, just as Batman makes a choice that dooms Superman to death.

Another bombastic issue where everyone yells “the multiverse is dying!” as they have been for what seems like forever. We’re meant to think Batman’s doomed Superman when I will bet on him playing the World Forger and having a plan to subvert what we’ve seen. It looks nice (though why is Jimmy Olsen much, much older in this future but Lois isn’t?) and unless I’ve missed something, why does this Utopian future still have prisons full of bad guys?

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #10

We get a flashback where we see Dr Fate convincing the other Lords of Order of the rightness of his plan which is tied in to the whole “the multiverse is dying!” bigger story, before we take a look at Myrra which is under attack from the Lords. While they plan to evacuate, Zatanna and Wonder Woman speak with Circe who reveals the plan of Zatanna’s father. With the heroes headed back home, Circe is later revealed to be working with the Otherkind, though for her own ends. The issue finishes with a “give up magic or die” offer given to the inhabitants of Myrra.

Once again, still my favourite Justice League book, tying into the bigger picture loosely, but mostly taking it’s own path and looking damn gorgeous while doing it.