Thursday, February 02, 2006

"Komix Talk"

Completed a set of the bronze-age DC title, Super-Team Family recently; a title I always enjoyed. It ran 15 issues from 1975-1978, and started out mainly as a reprint title, but quickly started featuring all new stories of various DC characters.

The issue above , #11 (7/77) I always thought was interesting because it featured two major silver-age DC characters which would be killed off 7 or 8 years later in "Crisis on Infinite Earths": the original Kara/Supergirl and the Barry Allen "Flash".

Earlier issues featured some pretty nice reprints with artwork by Neal Adams, Gil Kane/Wally Wood, Carmine Infantino (and others). Issue #4 (5/76) reprinted a 1947 All-Star story where the Justice Society battles Solomon Grundy.

There's an original "Creeper" story (NOT by Ditko) in issue #2 (2/76), a reprint of the first app. of "Eclipso" in issue 5 (7/76), and in issue #6 (9/76) a reprint of the second app. of "The Composite Superman" plus an original "Shazam/Capt.Marvel" story.

Issues #'s 7 thru 10 (11/76-5/77) have reprints from the original "Doom Patrol" title, as well as #'s 8 thru 10 featuring NEW "Challengers of the Unknown" stories. #7, as well, has a new "Teen Titans" tale.

As I said before, #11 has the Supergirl/Flash story (plus an app. of "The Atom") in a novel-length story, and other issues feature such characters as the Hal Jordan "Green Lantern", "Hawkman, Captain Comet, Wonder Woman, The Atom, Aquaman, The Secret Society of Super-Villians", and even "The New Gods". The first ten issues were fifty cent cover priced, with issues 11-15 originally costing sixty cents. Since most of these contain original material I wouldn't consider a bronze-age DC collection complete without them, and they're all well-worth hunting down.

Okay. Now I promised a review of the 1996 Supergirl series from DC, and, because it is a pretty lengthly series (80 issues plus 2 Annuals and a special "one-shot"), I think perhaps I should do this review in sections.

I'll start with issues #'s 1 thru 9 (9/96-5/97) which are the ones that originally attracted me to the title in the first place, all written of course by Peter David, with some great artwork by Gary Frank, with inks that really complimented Frank's pencils by Cam Smith.

No.'s 1 thru 9 really could stand alone as a great Trade Paperback Edition had it not been for the "Final Night" crap which was running thru the DC titles at that time. Even so, Peter David worked very well around all of that and incorporated it so well that it blended in with this whole original storyline. And, perhaps, the first 9 issues would have worked much better as a Limited Series, rather than an on-going title, they say...I digress.

I believe that this composite of various explanations from different issue's letter of comment page synopsis would probably explain the whole deal better:

"When a far-off world was dying, its scientists created a SUPERGIRL to ward off the planet's destruction. This valiant heroine, fighting alongside Superman, could not save her home, but she survived to come to Earth as the last daughter of a dead world. A powerful, artificial being composed of a wonderous shape-shifting protomat-ter, she has found a new home on Earth thanks to Superman, his adoptive parents, and the planet's heroes. Betrayed by Lex Luthor, the man she loved, she wandered the globe, seeking solace...a home...a life. Now she has landed in an odd town called Leesburg. Things are about to change for her a lot.

The powerful being once known as Matrix has long gone by the name Supergirl, and in her years on Earth she has been Superman's ally, an unwitting pawn of Lex Luthor, and a member of the Titans. In saving the life of a young woman, Supergirl merged her protoplasmic form with Linda Danver's dying body and the two have become one. At last, Supergirl had a family, a life, a soul---but they're someone else's. And more, as she pieced together the puzzle of Linda's death, she discovered that her new identity was not just the victim of Leesburg's local sickos---Linda was a high-ranking sicko herself, guilty of heinous crimes committed with her mysterious and powerful ex-boyfriend, "Buzz". But, Linda Danvers is dead, murdered by Buzz

Now I'll have to admit, this does indeed sound maybe a little confusing and complicated, but really, it's not. Simply put, Supergirl merges with Linda as she lies dying and takes on both persona's. Turns out that Linda had been running around with the wrong crowd anyway, as Buzz is a demon in human form. Throughout these first 9 issues she fights with the dark side that was Linda, a girl who was innocent until the demon preyed upon such turned her bad, and the good side finally wins out and she defeats Buzz and "sends him away" so to speak (or rather, the powers that sponsored Buzz's evil intents get tired of his mistakes and get rid of him for her). Supergirl comes to terms with being both herself AND Linda. We also discover that the reason Buzz is attracted to Supergirl is because she's much more than she appears. That she's actually an Earth-Angel, and it's the whole good VS. evil scenario.

We also have some other good supporting characters along the way; Linda's mom and dad. Her dad, a policeman, and her mother, well...maybe not a religious fanatic, but on the right path.

We also meet an odd, little boy that's...God??!!!??? (More about THAT in later reviews.)

We even meet an "old aquaintance"; a guy named "Dick Malverne"! And others that make interesting supporting characters.

She fights a couple of our old favorite baddies as well, like "Chemo" and "Gorilla Grodd", and issue #6 has guest app.'s by both Superman, and "Rampage" (DC's answer to the "She-Hulk").

These may very well be the best issues. But...maybe not. Things really change around a lot in this title. In future issues we get more special guest-stars, more info on Supergirl's new powers and an idea of just "what" that "little boy" is all about.

But---that's for a different review.


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