Thursday, January 24, 2013

Back-Issue Spotlight: Doom Patrol( Vol.2)#53


So I watched Arrow and AHS:Asylum last night and both were really, really good, AHS especially.

Arrow wasn't too bad, with the inclusion of the Black Hawk name, if not comic-familiar concept. We also got more back-story on Ollie's days on the island, and real twist at the end involving the original Green Hooded man. Turns out that not only did he betray Ollie, but that he might've also been in on the whole ordeal with the warden of the prison island. Maybe next week's episode will clear things up, like if the guy really did betray Ollie, and just why the warden interrogated Ollie about the hooded man's whereabouts if he already knew. Also, next week, we get to see Count Vertigo, or at least this universe's iteration of the Count. In this universe he's a major drug dealer, with his drug of choice being called "Vertigo". Hmm.
Pretty standard episode, but one that continued to expand on Ollie's island years.

The show I was really looking forward to watch last night though, was AHS since it was the season finale and I was damn curious to see how everything got wrapped up. Well the show definitely lived up to the hype, but also seemed to present a couple more questions in addition to the answers.


-What was the deal w/the Aliens? They obviously came back and took Kit with them before he succumbed to his Pancreatic Cancer, but their origins and interest with human was never explained. So where they really aliens or messed up looking angels?

-What was the big deal w/Kit's kids? Sure we found out they became experts in their fields, but the way things were looking, it seemed as though they were going to be a bigger deal than they wind up becoming. So what was the point, and what made them so special?

Other than that I was pretty satisfied how everyone's story wrapped up, but the most surprising one had to be Lana Winters' story. Her rape baby son Johnny hide out i plain sight as part of the film crew that was interviewing Lana. At the end, when they all leave, somehow she knows he was there, hiding. They talk, he argues with her, and ultimately it appears she's resigned to let him kill her. Or so it seems. Love the twist ending, as it reveals to the audience just how cool, calm, and cold-blooded she really is, as she talks Johnny out of killing her, only to flip the script as it were, and shots point blank in the head, like she did his father. Just Damn!

I think her and Amanda Waller would get along great, since they both determined, hard-headed and gutsy women.

I was definitely sad to see this season end, so hopefully there will be a next season, and an even more exciting story-line next time.

And now onto today's spotlighted back-issue, Doom Patrol (Vol.2)#52....."And men shall call him 
hero!" March 1992.

Yes, I'm still stuck in the 90's, but hey, this one's a pretty damn  amusing read.

This one's basically Grant Morrison's love letter to the Silver Age, specifically the famously classic issue of the Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four#51, "This Man, This Monster" by
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

As a homage to that story about a scientist that secretly trades places with the Thing, likewise a scientist named Norman Caesar trades places with Robotman, or Automation as he's called here.

So yeah, the Doom Patrol are re-imagined as the FF, and that's not all.

Morrison also slyly includes cameos both other DC/Vertigo characters such as John Constantine, the Phantom Stranger, and Dr. Thirteen.

It's pretty amusing to see characters like Constantine and the Phantom Stranger "Marvel-ified" as they are here, showing up in actual standard super-hero costumes. Silly yes, but definitely in keeping with the proud Silver Age tradition as seen above.

From there we see the rest of the FF-inspired Doom Patrol, or the Legion of the Strange, as they're called here.

We're shown around the Legion's HQ, housed on  Man-Hattan Island(literally shaped like a man) and all of the typical interactions of the team just like the FF of old.

and the homages don't stop there, as the other main bad guys of the story are the Galactus and Silver Surfer-inspired characters named Celestius and his herald the Living Guru. Yeah, they look just as crazy as their names sound but in a good way.

Celestius is off to Earth from the Negative Zone-inspired dimension, Foreverwhere.
It's there that he runs into the Legion as they attempt to rescue the inhabitants of a building that's rapidly being sucked up into another dimension. It's here that Celestius runs into the fake Automation who's already struggling against his main mission of revenge. Like the scientist from the FF story, Caesar winds up proving what a hero he really was by saving the life of a little blind girl who was targeted for death by Celestius. 

In the resulting battle between Caesar-Automation and Celestius, they fall back into Foreverwhere as the portal behind them closes. The massive energy that results from the portal closing, cures the little girl of her blindness, just as the rest of the team shows up to wonder just what the hell happened.

The little girl's a nice little nod to Alicia Masters, and all ends well, just like in the FF story.

You can tell Morrison really enjoyed writing this little stand-alone story, and shows with all of the little Easter eggs, cameos, and story bits that can only come from a true fan of that time period.

And the guest artist, Ken Steacy does pretty damn good job evoking the feel of reading a Silver Age comic with the way he draws the characters in the proper stylings from that era. Really nicely done.

Very cool story indeed.

Before I go, I'd like to highly recommend giving the mini-series, Masks by Dynamite Comics a try.

I recently bought #'s 2 and 3, and absolutely love them.
Basically the premise is all about pulp heroes such as the Shadow, the Green Hornet and Kato, Zorro, and others, battling a very corrupt new political regime, brutally enforced by gangsters posing as armored cops. You don't really have to know all about the backgrounds of the characters that appear here, as you kind of already get a basic feel for what motivates these heroes of yesteryear. 

Just think of it as the Justice League, but with pulp heroes.

It's being written by Chris Robinson of DC fame, with stunningly beautiful art by former Marvel artist Dennis Calero of various Marvel titles, specifically Peter David's X-Factor for example.

I'm enjoying it for the very cool story and art, as well as it being a breath of fresh air from the current Reboot and Crossover-fatigue that seems to be running rampant in the major mainstream offerings from Marvel and DC.

So again, if you're likewise feeling the same way, try something different for a change, and give this series a try. Who knows, you might even like it;)

Have a good weekend folks......


Omega Agent1 said...

Very nice post. I was going to buy those very issues about 3 or 4 times. I looked at em and put em back on the shelf. Came back around. Looked at em, put em dowm.

Zoro, Lone Ranger, the Shadow, the Phantom are all favorites of mine. I could tell you stories man. But I just refused to pick them up because it wasn't a Black guy in the group (that I know of). Basically I wasn't represented.

I said all of that to say this, Django has filled that gap. Quentine Tarantino created a retro modern hero that could stand right beside these guys and fight crime. As a comic reader, movie watcher and real member of this genre I appreciate Django unchained.

Dale Bagwell said...

You have a point about there not be many(if any) Black Pulp heroes, especially in this series. But minorities are still represented here in Zorro(Spanish) and Ms. Fury(Woman.

Now that isn't to say that there aren't any black pulp heroes around, you just have to look really good on the internet to find them:(

I enjoyed Django as well, as the acting and story was all very top notch.

I'm curious on your take with Tarantino using the N-word, especially at one of the movie premieres. Any thoughts on that?

I know Tarantino's not racist, obviously, but I'm still unclear how he hasn't gotten more shit for using it than others might.

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