Friday, February 29, 2008

Book Two: Strange Adventures
Chapter Five: Fun City (DC)
DC: The New Frontier #2 When: April 2004
Why: Darwyn Cooke How: Darwyn Cooke

The Story so far...
It's a hot night in the desert, sports fans, as we bring you the title bout of the century live from Las Vegas! The champ faces an up and coming fighter with a natural ability that may not have been seen since Grant himself rose through the ranks to become champion!

Some critics claim Ted Grant is getting too old for the ring. At thirty-eight years of age, Grant stands twelve years the senior of the challenging Clay, but nobody can ever count out the fighting spirit of this man they call Wildcat.
This scrapper has survived against overwhelming odds, seemingly sharing the mythic nine lives of his feral counterparts!

Nobody can question the skills of this young challenger, but Wildcat Grant is known for drawing upon an almost superhuman reserve of strength, composed of little more than human grit and determination. Be he the underdog, or the Wildcat, one thing's for sure, it's going to be a great show as the champ defends his title in what seems like a meeting of the old and new guards in boxing!

Tale of the Tape...
ARTWORK: Mike Zeck & Jerry OrdwayARTWORK: Darwyn CookeStrength: Wildcat 3 (Athlete)
Intelligence: Wildcat 2 (Average)
Speed: Wildcat 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Wildcat 5 (Marathon Man)
Agility: Wildcat 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting Ability: Wildcat 5 (Martial Artist)
Energy Powers: Wildcat 1 (None)

- Though not specifically super powered, Ted Grant has risen through the ranks to become one of the most respected senior members of the Justice Society of America. As Wildcat, Grant for a time possessed a mystic nine lives which kept him in fighting condition and prevented the aging process, while also protecting him from several fatal accidents. Such accidents included the apparent final life, where he was killed by Jay Garrick in order to free him of mystic influence.

A former World Heavyweight boxing champion; Grant holds his own with his fellow superheroes by a combination of Olympian-grade speed, agility, fitness, and endurance. Though versed in boxing, Grant's legendary fighting skills are so broadly respected to have been sought out by a variety of students, including; Batman, Black Canary, Catwoman and Starman.

- Clay appears as an unnamed and relatively non-descript fighter in the pages of Darwyn Cooke's, DC: The New Frontier. Though fairly evasive, it's by no stretch of the imagination that the character represents 1960's up-and-comer, Cassius Clay, soon to be better known to the world as Muhammad Ali.

The character appears as a large, slick moving young fighter designed to be an obstacle to Ted Grant's crown as Heavyweight Champion. As such, he is shown to be a highly competent and powerful fighter, despite being set up for the fall.
This early glimpse at Ali likely lines up with Cooke's taste for factual period nostalgia throughout the series, casting allusions to the boxing great, without resulting in likeness legalities.

The Math: Wildcat Ranking: Draw (NR)

What Went Down...
The story takes an abrupt turn from action in Gotham [Men are from Mars!], to steer to a marquee boxing showdown in Las Vegas! Amidst the cheering crowd are wealthy socialites; Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen; accompanied by their glamorous dates, Dinah Drake and Selina Kyle.

Joining the fight in the seventh round; the champ is already feeling the pressure from his younger challenger. Grant suffers a knock-out blow which reaches the count of eight, before he's saved by the bell of the round's end.

Clay's blow sufficiently rocks Wildcat into next week, forcing his ringteam to bring out the smelling salts and a stern talking to. Grant's team manages to bring him out of his dreamstate daze, but things still look grim for the defending champion. Recognising his predicament, Grant sees about summoning a strength unique to a man who stands valiantly besides gods; shoulders above even the elite fighters of the mortal realm. For the next round he is the Wildcat.

To the shock of commentator and spectator alike; Grant launches himself into the eighth round with the gusto of a madman. Technique goes out the window as the Wildcat unleashes himself on an unsuspecting youngster, throwing punches with wanton regard for his own future in the match. This is do or die!

"Plan B" comes at Clay with all it stands for. All the heroic deeds, all the triumphs over adversity, and all the near-death experiences that have coloured Wildcat's career not only as a boxer, but as a member of the JSA as well.

Wildcat winds up and throws a devestating right! The challenger goes down!
Camera bulbs flash throughout the arena, capturing the moment of Wildcat Grant's victory over upstart challenger, Clay! The crowd goes wild for the aging defender, who is content to be their champion one last time.

The Hammer...
It's without hesitation that I boldly give to you, your winner by way of knock-out, Wildcat!

Sadly things on the Infintie Wars haven't been running as smoothly as they usually do, which means if you've been jonesing for more of our usual style of commentary and battle blogging, you've been starving. Fortunately for you, there are people who know exactly what you're going through, and by way of the cosmic meme, you can head over to the thoroughly suitable, Friday Night Fights: Knock-out Edition!

Even without the Infinite Wars representing, Bahlactus serves up a cosmic dose of flapjacks and fisticuffs combed from the entire blogosphere, which should more than make up for our slack!

I'd love to tell you delays have been rampant because I've been attending functions like movie premieres, but alas, it's nothing that glamorous.
Then again, that doesn't mean we can't talk about movie premieres, and it's a good thing too! The hotly anticipated DTV animated feature, inspired by this very Darwyn Cooke story, was released on DVD on the 26th!

Justice League: New Frontier has been in the works for quite some time, and as is typically the case, the fanboys were positively frothing at the mouth for a chance to see one of their favourite stories come to life. I don't know why I'm using such distancing terms here, because as jaded as I can sometimes be, I too am silly for the prospect of an animated New Frontier!

Emphasis should be placed on the new title. The inevitability of directorial decisions and editing means this mammoth graphic series is condensed down with the user-friendly conceit to guard the representating of the Justice League characters featured throughout the series. Given some of our other recent discussions [A League of their Own, An Apelaxian a Day...] this shift isn't at all inappropriate for our own ends, but may leave some of the niche audience attracted to the original minutia of New Frontier a little cold. Not that it isn't a little understandable, and maybe even expected.

The DVD boasts what I always look for in a purchase, and that's not just extras, but extras that really invest in the source material. I was recently bitterly disappointed by the purchase of Resident Evil: Extinction, among other things, for it's lack of extras connecting the film franchise to it's lengthy history in the video games. This is far from the case for New Frontier, boasting a range of documentaries (and cartoon episodes) relating to the history of the Justice League, and the production involved in taking the comic to the cartoon. Being quite a bit behind on purchases like these, I'll be keen to see if, amidst the Justice League history talk, there's any mention of the origin we've been discussing in the already mentioned Secret Origins features.

Talking about New Frontier again services a lot of things.
As always, our vague attempts to reflect the zeitgeist of the moment remains driven by all mediums, not the least of which is a New Frontier comic book special shipping this week, but also the film. Also contributing to this entry is another opportunity to rectify our mishandling, or lack of representation, of a good many DC heroes who deserve a ranking in the Infinite Wars!

When FRANK MILLER does it, you never hear the end of it. Hey, where's THE FRIGGIN WILDCAT memes?...Wildcat's a great character!
He isn't a [god damn] Batman, but those comparisons are obvious not just because of the dark, eared cowl, but the fact that he joins the elite few heroes without powers who can mix it up with the best of them. Wildcat's power, for lack of a better term, is that he's a great fighter, and in incredible condition.

In that respect the character, along with this story, really speaks to some of my favourite stories in comics starring The Phantom, another golden age character without powers. Actually, as I love to discuss with American fans, the Phantom predates a good many costumed heroes, despite being something of the forgotten son in the United States.

Nostalgia in comics is pretty rampant these days, and the Golden Age really manages to maintain a chic cool in the fanboy community. There's a status that goes along with having a perspective and knowledge of these classic stories and characters, I think that really goes to the heart of what makes comics great.
We've talked recently a bit about intimidation and fallacys in new reader culture [An Apelaxian a Day...], but I think that constant contingent of Golden Age characters, as much as they can be erroneously off-putting to some, really drive home the strength of comics as a beautifully perpetual medium.

Darwyn Cooke and his work, not just on New Frontier, but on many other instantly recognisable short stories and brief features, continues to push that point. His penchant for a bygone era of heroes is embodied not only in the overt visuals of his cartoon-influenced style, but even in the undertones of his themes and story telling techniques. Cooke really marries the ideals of classic comics, animation, and contemporary comics in a way that is undoubtedly worthy of the critical acclaim his work has begun to garner.

I'm pressed for time and in desperate need of a good sleep, so I can't really get into the kind of depthy conversation I might like to, but if you're one of the many diving into the DC Universe through New Frontier, drop a comment!
This story has really managed to have an effect, rightly or wrongly, on readers of all walks in comics, including the uninitiated. I would agree that it's a fantastic entry point for examining the origins of characters like Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, and even the holy Trinity; Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman.

I'd love to hear how you feel about the story, in comic or film format, and if you have that vantage point, even how you feel about the deviations from one to the other. I think, as is typical of these animated features, you can see a lot of chef's keen to steer the broth, and there are going to be disappointments that you see in just about any corporately driven adaptation. I don't doubt New Frontier will be fantastic, but at the same time, nobody should feel guilty for noting these differences, or sharing them. So come one, come all!

Before I go, I will note, I've already spotted a few hiccups in the translation that I'm disappointed by. Batman's absolved of his role in triggering John Jones' pyrophobia during the Cult fight scene, likewise, Batman's ambush of the Martian Manhunter in his apartment puts the characters on more level footing. MM loses some of his trademark naivite, I think, while Batman's ambushing menace is also lost to the mutual exchange, fading to a now silly and unnecessary reaction from a disturbed Martian Manhunter.

The Fight: 5 The Issue: 7

As you might have gathered from the THREE seperate reviews focusing on this issue, it's easily my favourite. As fantastic as it is though, this is but a tiny focus on a much, much, much larger story. In fact, the New Frontier universe has become part of the DC Multiverse, which means we might even be able to hold out hope for even more specials revisiting the series! If you like what you've seen and what to dive in to the original, there are now several ways you can do it, all provided below! By using Amazon links for your purchases you help sponsor future features on the Infinite Wars, so if you're thinking about it, go for it!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

QUICK FIX DOUBLE FEATURE: An Appelaxian a Day...
All Together Now (DC)
Where: Secret Origins #32 When: November 1988
Why: Keith Giffen & Peter David How: Eric Shanower

Quick Fix...
For those of you fiercely dedicated to the Marvel heroes February on the Infinite Wars probably hasn't been the greatest of times. As we slowly correct an inadvertant bias toward Marvel casual readers might find themselves disgruntled by the balancing onset of DC titles reviewed.

I can't really begrudge anyone for having their preferences, at least not without engaging them on the subject, but there is a related matter that really bothers me. The misconception that DC's comics and characters are somehow impenitrable totems of history is completely wrong.
Many a stupid reader has justified their compulsions with vague, poorly established arguments that struggle to claim DC's characters are moreso steeped in their histories, or less human, than Marvel's characters.

There are issues with many of these points, the least of which being Marvel's own sixty-year history which is no less garbled, but we won't dwell on that today, because that isn't what this segue is for. What's interesting to observe is the glimmer of hope DC's television provide as critically acclaimed works of art, and as alternate introductions to characters endearing even to Marvel zombies.

We'll talk more about that in the second half of the Quick Fix, but that does give us a clean entry to the first feature. If you're an avid watcher of WB's Smallville, then you've just seen Black Canary join a long list of characters who've cameoed in the series to form a makeshift Justice League. Ooo, classy segue!

No doubt the Smallville appearance exposes the character to a different audience to the Justice League Unlimited animated appearances, but in a similar fashion, I hope it's provided a point of interest for at least some of you who might like to know more about the character. It's this kind of informative branching that's inspired this entry which began with the announcement of Trinity, DC's newest weekly year-long series, and the decision to branch out to feature some other prominent members of the Justice League [League of their Own].

I have to admit Black Canary's history might be one of the more confusing, stemming directly from the transition demanded by the 1980's reboot event, Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Canary, unlike others, was given something of a blank slate, divded between mother and daughter, rather than a traditional revamp. Honestly, even though [Dinah Drake] slides backward to remain in the Golden Age, while her contemporaries slide forward with new histories, the whole Green Arrow/Dinah Laurel marriage prospect sort of creeps me out...

This particular version of the League origin features the Canary exceptionally early in her career, and destined to occupy the slot more popularly filled by Wonder Woman in other versions of the origin. Actually, so early is this adventure, that we open with Dinah [Laurel] perched atop a rooftop in full regalia, nervously lamenting on more typical inheretences.

The Canary's torn from her self-doubting when a scream echoes from the streets below. The blonde bombshell springs from the rooftop and launches herself off a fire escape to make a quick path to the alleys below! There, the Black Canary is surprised to find not a lowly mugger, but rather a strange alien humanoid made of glass! Worse still, she soon realises that the creature has turned not only her damsel in distress, but all other nearby innocent bystanders, into glass!

The creature begins firing beams of energy from it's eyes, eventually catching the acrobatic heroine with a shot to the leg [pictured earlier]. The Canary carefully sommersaults through the street, Just try and tell me this doesn't look like Madonna...rolling to her feet. Despite the massive handicap, the Canary remains cool as the creature lets out a creepily antagonising laugh.

The joke, as it were, was on him.

The Black Canary unveils her sonic cry, more than capable of shattering the strange alien creature with a high frequency wave of sound! The scream makes light work of the alien, and returns the surrounding inhabitants, along with her own foot, back to normal.

Of all the entries from this story, this is probably the one that most specifically distances itself from the better known version hinged on the involvement of the Trinity set to star in the weekly series which has inspired these posts.

As will be revealed in a later entry, Superman remains involved in the attack of the Apelaxian aliens, albeit in something more akin to a cameo role that doesn't feed into the forming of the League. In that respect, the omissions of both he, and the urban-bound Batman, are probably notable, but by no means as defining as the substitution of Wonder Woman for Black Canary.

It's a pretty fascinating choice and I'm not nearly versed enough in this history to say with any certainty what prompted it. I suppose it might have had something to do with more vivid reinventions felt by the Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman characters, post-Crisis. On the other hand, to use Black Canary in the League, without the closely associated Green Arrow, still seems highly unusual. The Canary has both bucked and enforced that theory with recent appearances with the JLA, as well as a relaunched Green Arrow series, re-titled Green Arrow/Black Canary.

A note for the uninitiated: If you've been introduced to the character and are now looking to find more; Birds of Prey has been home to the character for roughly the last ten years. Under the watchful eye of fan favourite writers like Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone, the character has definitely found a strong corner of the DC Universe, even in a world where she's again been replaced by Wonder Woman in the League.

To go back to earlier notes about the shift from pre, to post-crisis, I have my issues. The character has managed to teeter on both sides of the youth scale, sometimes bogged down in the all too typical situation of being a weak link.
Obviously that was considerably downscaled when Huntress, a character who typifies the luckless youngster, joined the team admist issues with the guardian who touches most facets of this world; Batman.

This story wraps up like all the individual tales do, ending on the convergance of heroes to the Florida everglades being isolated by US Military. They all find their way by different means of gathering information, but few have such a clean transition as Black Canary's. Confronting a howling creature [Martian Manhunter], the young Canary is startled by what she finds, to which JJ replies, "Who wouldn't know fear with something like this?" Enter the Green Lantern!

ARTWORK: Ed BenesThe Fight: 3 The Issue: 5.5
Winner: Black Canary

Black Canary also starred in the short lived "Birds of Prey" television series, featured as the youngest member of the team struggling to come to terms with her powers and legacy. The series, a blend in the vein of Charmed meets Buffy, featured the story of a future Gotham, after Batman and Joker have disappeared in a fight to the death.

All Together Now (DC)
Where: Secret Origins #32 When: November 1988
Why: Keith Giffen & Peter David How: Eric Shanower

Quick Fix...
Up until now you might have noticed that the alien invaders, Apelaxians, all have fairly simple and descriptive names for the vessels they've assumed for combat on Earth. Drawing upon that childhood love of mythology [ala; Man, Myth, Legend!], I can end your confusion about the next opponent's name in the gauntlet, going from one bird of prey, to another!

The Roc is a giant mythological bird famous, at least in my mind, for having the ability to carry away and eat elephants! This information bares very little on this particular entry into the Infintie Wars, but like I said, it's a subject close to my heart.

Also close to my heart is Hal Jordan, who's already been described on the site as 'my' Green Lantern in the chain of generational succession. Perhaps moreso than some of the other stories, this one stands out as a great representation of the character. Later allusions are made to Jordan's loss of wonder when he casually accompanies Martian Manhunter and the rest of the League on their journey, but this chapter really brings home Hal's balance of maverick and stodgy traits, the latter having overtaken the character in more recent times.

When Hal Jordan is at his best, he's a loveable rogue aware of his responsibilities, but not afraid to push the boundaries and enjoy himself. In the contemporary era of post-Miller and Moore grim and gritty comics, those qualities have probably been lost through a filter of seriousness and a push for younger characters, like Kyle Rayner. It was those things that inadvertantly led to the total besmirchment of Jordan as stodginess gave way to complete insanity and his transformation to Parallax, a role later recast as an alien possession.

This sense of hindsight has benefitted Hal Jordan not only with recent stories like Rebirth and Sinestro Corps War, but also with retro takes on the character, including the newly animated, DC: The New Frontier, which recounts the character's origins with a slick and honorable reinterpretation.

The success of DC's recent animation projects, including New Frontier which was released on DVD earlier in the week, brings us back to a point that occurred to me in the former portion of the Quick Fix Double Feature.
Green Lantern is a great example of a character lazily interpreted by a lot of uninformed fans as little more than a costume, and to their rare credit, some writers have been unflattering to the character, but that's an image gradually being chipped away. No doubt the work of Geoff Johns has been integral to improving the status of the character in the comics, but one has to expect a new surge of interest courtesy of the animated version of New Frontier -- which even comes packaged with a Hal Jordan action figure, if you buy at Walmart.

The fans I take issue with, the ones who wave a white flag when it comes to approaching the DC Universe, are the ones who will often refer to the lengthy publication history as their biggest deterrent. These same fans typically fail to see any irony in their staunch dedication to Marvel characters, but it's here that the pieces should start to fall into place.

While DC has been popularly been represented in animation for a very long time, I tend to think Marvel's mainstream exposure through animation has been crucial to creating this sense of immediate familiarity with their characters. It's a point that I've wanted to discuss before, but as DC pushes forward with DTV animated features, it seems like a good time to start to ponder the prospects of the future.

Marvel, without meaning to undermine the fantastic work of the comics, have had an audience bought and paid for for the majority of their publishing history thanks to the unforgettable cheese of the 1960's Spider-man cartoon. Since then, characters have been prominently represented in easy-to-find animation through most decades, right up to the present where we leave behind the MTV Spider-man to await the latest animated series, Spectacular Spider-man.

It will be very interesting to see how the pantheon of DC toons, already very popular amongst their own generated circles, will affect the success of the DC comics into the future. One might already speculate the steady presence of Batman in mainstream culture has helped him become one of the most identified characters in comics, rivalling even the classic pop culture icon, Superman, so well known he rivals even Santa Claus!

For those of you going deeper now, this story brings us to a point in Hal Jordan's career where he's already had quite a bit of experience fighting earthbound foes, as well as those that would oppose the Green Lantern Corps, with whom he has officially joined up with at this point.

Heading back to Earth after a space mission, Jordan runs afoul a meteor careening toward our planet, but just as he expects to intercept it on it's entry, the missile speeds up and changes course toward Africa!
The Green Lantern pursues, finding the meteor hatching after it's crash landing, giving birth to a giant bird - golden yellow, much to the Lantern's chagrin.

Much like the other Apelaxian aliens, the creature begins firing beams from it's eyes that transform other animals into yellow winged creatures! In an effort to intervene, Jordan turns his ring to a creative solution to it's inability to effect his will on anything yellow. He constructs a giant magnifying glass in an attempt to burn the creature, but it escapes the beam, suffering only minor singes.

Sprouting yellow feathers from his arms, Jordan uses his ring in an incredibly obscure fashion to call down a shower by reaching a beam up into the clouds. The cloud rains down hailstones, agitating the giant bird enough to loosen it's grip.

Freed, Jordan is shocked to discover his transformation speeding up, rather than slowing. With time of the essence, he leads the giant golden bird toward a waterfall, maneuvering even with the added weight of wet feathers into a position able to double back on the creature. With the giant bird engulfed in the fall, Jordan uses his ring's mysterious science to once again achieve the improbable by freezing the waterfall solid!

The move proves successful in, presumably, killing the creature, releasing both the Green Lantern and the African animals from the alien's influence, much the same as the other cases. Keeping the theme, GL learns of the disturbance in Florida, and soon joins the other ill-fated heroes in their thorny destiny.

Now, this might be the influences of The Absorbascon, but having already defied science by creating a hail shower in Africa, and a frozen waterfall with green willpower energy, Jordan caps his tour de stupid with one final act: He whisks the transformed animals to a zoo... Way to be a wildlife warrior, Hal!

And that about wraps this one up, folks.
The schedule's been well and truly knocked off course in the latter half of the month, but your continued visits are greatly appreciated. No doubt there'll be more discussion about the animated New Frontier tomorrow, as we continue our theme of accounting for DC heroes not yet well represented in the Infinite Wars!

ARTWORK: Ed BenesThe Fight: 3.5 The Issue: 5.5
Winner: Green Lantern

Stay tuned as we head back to New Frontier territory, and in March keep watch as we continue to look back at this incarnation of the Justice League's origin! There's still three more Apelaxians to account for, and the tiny matter of the formation of the League! Plus: coming up Saturday, the Monthly Punch-Up! And don't forget to visit the newly added Secret Wars on Infinite Earths Gift Shoppe!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

IN STORES: February 27, 2008
You can probably find complete shipping list updates on most major comics sites. Consider this an opportunity to either do all your info-shopping in the one place, or get a speculative perspective on what might be worth checking out. These are untested reads. Secret Wars on Infinite Earths can offer no guarantee or endorsement of quality. These are simply titles that may be of potential interest. Some items may ship late.

The Infinite Wars now has a gift shop!
Now you'll find Amazon purchase links to hardcovers, trade paperbacks, and other collections, not only on regular entries -- but also new releases at the bottom of the Shipping List, and now a whole catalogue of potential purchases via the Infinite Wars: Amazonian Gift Shop. Men also welcome! By shopping with Amazon via our purchase links, you not only find yourself a great deal, but also sponsor future entries on the Infinite Wars. So throw caution to the wind, and mortgage your future away! Hoo hah hah!

Thin and Crispy...
DEC070215 ACTION COMICS #862 $2.99
DEC070206 BATMAN #674 $2.99
DEC072180 DAREDEVIL #105 $2.99
JUL071950 ELEPHANTMEN WAR TOYS #2 (OF 3) $2.99
DEC072088 FEARLESS #4 (OF 4) $2.99
DEC072184 HOUSE OF M AVENGERS #5 (OF 5) $2.99
DEC070235 JSA CLASSIFIED #35 $2.99
DEC072227 X-MEN FIRST CLASS VOL 2 #9 $2.99

The Deep Dish...
HAL JORDAN: Loves what he does, and what he does is... SPOILERS!!!- DEC070204 ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN

If you're a regular to the Infinite Wars, you know the pace has slowed quite a bit lately, which is a shame, because we've almost been smack-on topical! I've been thinking about bringing some Wildcat to the table [currently starring in JSA: Classified], and pictured right; a spoiler for an upcoming feature, [following up on League of their Own], starring Hal Jordan!

Jordan, who has all kinds of buzz around him post-Sinestro Corps War, is getting the All-Star treatment once more in the eagerly anticipated ASB&RBW #9! Solicitations infer that Batman and Robin have turned into cowards, but I think references to yellow bellies might just be a clue...!

Given that Miller has, thus far, been writing All-Star Batman as a post-traumatized Vietnam Scout Leader, the prospect of Rabies Batman rolling in monkey faeces in order to trump Silver Age Green Lantern's powers? Mmm, promising! (And if all else fails, throw Robin cape-first. FLY LITTLE WOODEN BOY!!!)

- DEC072177 CAPTAIN AMERICA #35 $2.99
[Ed] Brubaker continues his tour de forced on Captain America, with the story we thought would never happen! If I can loiter in the nineties, there's shades of Maximum Carnage as Captain Bucky launches into his first mission to save the American people from: themselves!

Riots have broken out in America, sending the citizens into a deranged rush, and Shriek is nowhere to be seen! It might just be one of the biggest comics to come from Marvel comics all year, complete with mainstream media coverage, and yet, for some insane reason, I can't stop referring to a nineties cross-media crossover! Iron Fist probably won't be struggling to resist the insanity wave, but Bucky was pretty feral for a while there, so who knows what could happen...

Countdown [to Final Crisis] has officially hit single digits, and the Challengers are on their way back to the correct Earth! Like I said last week, I really hope this team can continue to have adventures beyond the weekly series! As individuals the team is comprised of characters I'm rarely interested in, but somehow as a unit they work! I just hope (without having any idea why he isn't flying on the cover) Red Robin can stick with the team!

Cover to WOLVERINE #20!- DEC072235 KICK ASS #1 (MR) $2.99
Without being steeped in any topical reference, 2008 on the Infintie Wars has been all about Mark Millar! The beauty of being three years behind the ball is that inevitably fashions come back around, and you can pretend you're actually a super-groovy retro fop who's way too cool for all the squares milling around the swivel stands... Or not.

Kick Ass as a solicitation pretty much personifies Millar's work at it's best. A cover image of someone getting their jaw broken as they're punched through a wall, and the promise of 'ultra realistic super heroes' that, if missed, will colour you stupid for the rest of your days.

Hey, and if you're a fan of the current Infinite Wars Shop featured item (Enemy of the State), you'll be pleased to know Johnny John-John Junior is back on board with the Mill-man.

It's starting to look like there'll be a Marvel Adventures spotlight every week.
Okay, so I haven't actually been in a position to experience these books first-hand, but until I do and suffer a kidney shot of terrible -- I'm telling you to buy!!!
With the MA: Hulk title boasting a whole range of heavy hitting guest stars, this issue of MA: FF featrues Thing's account of a battle with the rampaging Rhino! This is classic comics for the modern age, ready to be enjoyed by man and child alike! If I get this, maybe I can finally make up for the poor represntation of "battling bricks" in the Infinite Wars! PEACE OUT!

Know Your Trade...
DEC072257 PUNISHER MAX HC VOL 04 (MR) $29.99

Sunday, February 24, 2008

ARTWORK: John CassadayCreated in the early sixties by comics legends Jack Kirby and Stan Lee; the X-Men faced cancellation early-on, but would soon be revived in what would eventually be one of the biggest come back stories in comics history. The seventies through to the eighties saw the rise of the brand with powerhouse influences like; Len Wein, Dave Cockrum, Chris Claremont, and John Byrne.

Though the nineties would be responsible for cementing the franchise's strength through mainstream mass media exposure; the decade would also mark a substantial drop-off from the quality of the classic tales told by Claremont and Byrne - stories that remain highly regarded twenty years later.

If you've been following chronological C2C X-Men features [1, 2, 3] you'll have noticed that Infinite Wars coverage is heavily back ended. If any era has been grossly under represented, it's the periods of time that have defined what people still come to expect from the X-Men, and continue to regard as some of the geatest superhero stories ever told. I'm not sure that's something I can hope to change any time soon, but for all the negativity still surrounding the brand, maybe that strong pedigree is worth remembering...

Ultimate X-Men #49 (September 2004)
"The Tempest" Vaughan/Peterson

The X-Men explode onto the scene for a brand new era of ultimate action! Following on from the success of Ultimate Spider-man comes this bold new vision of the X-Men, retooled and revamped from a contemporary audience.

Xavier's school for gifted mutants is bulging with a rapid increase of mutants, seeing the special secret class of the X-Men increasing exponentially. Among the new recruits is the emotionally conflicted power-stealer called Rogue, whose past is a chequered one.

When the mansion is attacked by a psychopathic mutant killer, called Sinister, the incursion proves a welcome opportunity for the troubled mutant to vent
her frustrations as she faces a coming-of-age with her new classmates.

Wolverine #25 (April 2005)
"Enemy of the State" Millar/Romita Jr

After a trip to Japan turns out to be part of a complex ruse to lure Wolverine into a trap; the mutant finds himself killed and resurrected only to become the assassin-slave of Hydra, courtesy of the cult ninja sect, The Hand.

As part of Baron Von Strucker's final attempt to prove his worth as leader of the International terrorist organization, Wolverine is launched on an unsuspecting America as an agent of Hydra, fast making him an enemy of the state!

The conflict brings Wolverine home to the X-Mansion as he attempts to utilize the advanced technology of Cerebro to locate the US President, but instead
comes to blows with his friends, family, and vengeful agents of SHIELD.

Wolverine #37 (February 2006)
"Origins & Endings" Way/Saltares/Texeira

Wolverine's storied history is as mysterious as it is complex, but the many manipulations of Weapon X soon fade as the mutant comes to terms with revelations discovered about his past, and the clearing of a self-imposed fog that hid his history from himself.

On a journey for answers, Wolverine comes face-to-face with a successive collection of his long running greatest foes, marking Japan for a confrontation with Kenuichio Harada, defender of the Japanese Prime-Minister, and legendary warrior - the Silver Samurai!
Answers may prove evasive for the memory lapsed mutant, but the battle marks a bloody opportunity to close a chapter in his violent past.

X-Men: First Class #2 (December 2006)
"The Bird, the Beast and the Lizard" Parker/Cruz

Flashback to the earliest days of the X-Men as Professor Xavier leads his first class of merry mutants into a world that ignorantly fears and hates them for what they are!

Having already faced many villains, the Professor agrees to let the team take a vacation break opportunity at the Worthington holiday mansion, while he visits an old friend in Florida, Dr. Curt Conners.

The holiday's cut short for Beast and Angel when Curt Conners' condition as the Lizard resurfaces. The X-Men are thrown into feral battle, but against such a powerful foe, can they possibly prevail?

Wolverine #50 (March 2007)
"First Blood" Loeb/Bianchi

One of the X-Men's greatest foes has spent various periods as one of it's allies, but for Wolverine, the bad blood between he and Sabretooth has never been quelled by matching belt buckles. Itching for a rematch, the Canuck storms the mansion to call Sabretooth to a final battle!

Wolverine uses Sabretooth as a battering ram to smash their way to the school grounds, where the reformed villain reverts to old ways, welcoming the deadly challenge.

In what was touted by writer Jeph Loeb as the story to end the Wolverine/Sabretooth rivalry, witness what might just be their least impressive encounters!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

ARTWORK: Kevin MaguireDuring the week, [Men are from Mars], we did a little spotlight on two of my favourite stories starring the Martian Manhunter, each adding definitive layers to the martian who found an adopted home on Earth, and became one of our greatest protectors.

When you really think about it, Earth's been pretty fortunate when it comes to alien invasions. I mean, sure, there's always going to be some bad Skrull-apples in the bunch, but for the most part Earth has been blessed with some of the universe's most fantastic alien protectors!

Though they sometimes attract war mongers from space, these heroes from the stars bring us a new hope as our tiny planet continues to warrant notice from undesirable types in space, beckoned by our emenating presence throughout the fictional galaxies. Ponder with us, as we take a look at stories featuring the top five ranks alien protectors, and appreciate the evils they fight!

Silver Surfer #13 (July 1988)
"Masques!" Englehart/Staton

Earth is poised to soon discover a Skrull invasion in their midsts, but they need only look to the stars to know they are anything but the first! On a distant Kree world the Supreme Intelligence has charged his greatest champion, Ronan the Accuser, with the task of weeding out insubordination and treachery from within their ranks!

Ronan unwittingly becomes an agent of the enemy as he bends to their whims, travelling into space on a special mission to eradicate one of the Skrull's most powerful enemies: the Silver Surfer!
It's a spontaneous spat of Kree science vs power cosmic, with Frankie Raye caught in the middle!

Spider-man Unlimited #2 (August 1993)
"The Hatred, The Horror and The Hero" DeFalco/Lim

It was on Battleworld, home to the Beyonder, that Spider-man unwittingly came into contact with an alien symbiote that would change his life forever. Though threat of bondage would be averted, the symbiote would linger on Earth to gain it's revenge through the vessel of Eddie Brock!

Soon the symbiote would spawn an offspring which would bond with the serial killer Cletus Kassidy, who would use his newfound power to spread Carnage throughout New York City. Though reluctant, Venom finds himself forced to team-up with the web-slinger and a band of other NY heroes to protect the innocent, and put a stop to the familial terror of
the deranged, villainous troupe spreading Maximum Carnage!

Action Comics #713 (September 1995)
"Scarlet Salvation" Michelinie/Dwyer/Rodier

Born on distant Krypton; a tiny child named Kal-El is sent across space in a rocketship to evade certain doom on a planet destined for destruction. Having crash landed in Kansas, the child would be raised as Clark Kent, only to grow into Earth's mightiest hero, Superman!

When the beastial alien called Doomsday arrives on Earth, Superman pays the ultimate price to defeat the killer, and protect Earth from his violent rampage -- or so it seems! Superman is eventually restored, but not everyone is pleased to see him. One man believes the long haired hero to be little more than an impostor, and drawing upon strange untapped powers, he intends to become a true Saviour!

Hawkman #33 (December 2004)
"Earth and Sky" Gray/Palmiotti/Smith

Originally from the planet Thanagar, the heroes Hawkman and Hawkwoman, find themselves living multiple lives as part of a curse that keeps them destined to remain apart each time they find happiness with one and other -- star crossed lovers in every sense of the word.

In their many lives they each fight for justice, and in this most recent incarnation, Hawkman has the gift of remembering his many previous existences. Despite her reluctance, Hawkwoman joins him in the good fight, and together they face all menaces who come their way -- such as a terrible attack in New York City! Who is this chalky lumbering menace, and can they possibly be strong enough to stop the monster alone?

JLA #118 (November 2005)
"Crisis of Conscience" Johns/Heinberg/Batista

The Justice League have been torn apart by suspicion and mistrust, but as is inevitable, they will be drawn together once more by the threat of great evil. The space-borne menace, Despero, has hatched a plot to use discension in the League against them, and his first target is the Martian Manhunter!

Plummeting to Earth from the heavens, the beseiged Manhunter angles his trajectory toward a potential ally, the Atlantean monarch, Aquaman! Together they rally their unique forces against the psychic onslaught of the pink skinned alien, but Despero's battles with the League are storried, and rarely has it taken any less than the entire team to put a stop to his charge!

Friday, February 22, 2008

... And Red All Over. (DC)
Detective Comics #796 When: September 2004 Why: Andersen Gabrych How: Pete Woods

The Story so far...
When Jack Drake discovers his sons secret identity as Robin; the boy wonder is forced to reluctantly retire the mantle in order to prevent his father exposing all involved with Batman's troupe of crime-fighters.

Stepping into the void is Robin's on-again/off-again girlfriend, Stephanie Brown, who is better known to the Gotham underworld as the vigilante, Spoiler.
In the tradition of the industrious Tim Drake; Spoiler dons a makeshift Robin costume and infiltrates the stronhold of the Batcave, successfully compelling Bruce Wayne to accept her as his newest sidekick.

So begins the ill-fated career of the fourth Robin, and first girl wonder!
Stephanie is included in Batman's patrol routes, but as he will soon find, the new Robin bares some striking resemblences to a former ward. A solo career has bred a stubborn Stephanie Brown, and as Batman will soon come to realise, her inexperience may prove deadly...

Tale of the Tape...
ARTWORK: Brian BollandARTWORK: ???Strength: Batman 3 (Athlete)
Intelligence: Batman 5 (Professor)
Speed: Zsasz 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Batman 5 (Marathon Man)
Agility: Robin 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: Batman 5 (Martial Artist)
Energy Powers: Batman 4 (Arsenal)

- After the death of his parents; wealthy industrialist, Victor Zsasz, finds himself in a downward spiral of depression and gambling. Gradually he whittles away at inhereted and self-made fortunes in casinos around the globe, eventually finding himself quite literally on the brink of suicide after taking heavy losses in a casino showdown with Oswald Cobblepot in Gotham City.

Accosted on a bridge by a knife wielding homeless man, Zsasz is wrenched from his despair by a realisation that no man truly lives life in a world that no longer matters. He turns the tables on the vagrant, killing him with his own knife as a gift of liberation. It is the first in his self-mutiliating tally, and the beginning of Zsasz' life as a serial killer intent on 'freeing' people from self-made prisons.

- When the costumed criminal Cluemaster is released from his most recent stay in incarcertain, his daughter, Stephanie Brown, is soon disappointed to learn her father's claims of rehabilitation have been a fallacy. In truth, the Cluemaster merely overcame a prediliction for leaving clues, and resumes his criminal career without reprieve, or so he thinks.

Disappointed by her father's actions, Stephanie becomes the ultimate foil to the Cluemaster, replacing his obsession with her own mission to become the ultimate Spoiler. Her career begins leaving clues to lead to her father's capture, but soon continues after her first mission saw a team-up with Bat-sidekick, Robin, with whom Stephanie came to develop a personal relationship.

- When he witnessed the street murder of his parents, the young Bruce Wayne's destiny was forever shaped to be one dedicated to an ideal. Having spent his formative years studying the various sciences, martial arts, and crime fighting techniques, Bruce is ultimately inspired to become the one-man war on the criminal element in Gotham City: Batman.

Perhaps Batman's greatest power is the millions inherited from his industrialist parents, and the various facilities that came with that. They prove crucial in the design and construction of his many weapons, which are typically non-lethal, and have a variety of uses.

Complimented by his keenly strategic mind is Batman's expertise in the martial arts. He is extensively trained in multiple fighting styles, and commonly regarded to be one of the greatest hand-to-hand fighters in the world. He is also extremely proficient in general urban warfare.

The Math: Batman/Robin Ranking: Batman (#2)

What Went Down...
Routine patrol becomes a murder investigation when Batman is fed GCPD intel gathered by Oracle, his stationary technical ally. Batman's fears become self-evident when a lesson in detective work uncovers a second blood sample outside the train car murder scene. An on the spot DNA analysis matches the sample against known criminals, leading the dynamic duo to Victor Zsasz, a murderer whose serial killings defy conventional pattern.

Having already relented to allow his new sidekick a presence during his investigation, Batman orders Stephanie Brown to retreat when they discover Zsasz is not only maintaining a presence at the scene, but likely watching them.
Robin's retreat is interrupted when Zsasz snatches her, unseen by Batman, who uncharacteristically falls for audible misdirection.

Dragged to a candlelit service room deep within the labyrinth of subway tunnels; the girl wonder gains a new appreciation for the aggitating combination of an aluminum/fibreglass weave in her specialized costume. It protects her from Zsasz' blade as he attempts to slit her throat, allowing a vital opportunity.

With her life in danger, Robin foregos grace, instead biting at the hand smothering her mouth. The young crime-fighter defiantly spits Zsasz' own blood in his face, but suffers a lightning quick backhand for her troubles.

The blow sends her falling backward, and with a burst of dust Robin collides with a nearby wall, only to be knocked unconscious and at the mercy of the killer.

Zsasz' satisfcation is his undoing as Batman emerges from the gloom, tackling the knifeman in order to prevent yet another killing blow. The two nemesis' tumble to the ground, but it's Zsasz who recovers first, nailing Batman with an elbow that sprays blood from his mouth.

The Dark Knight is slow to recover, but he turns Zsasz' own momentum against him with a kick that prevents the villains' attempts to recover his blade.

The punt gives Zsasz a moments pause as he doubles over on all fours, likely suffering at the very least, a broken rib or two. The killer's infamous focus, fixated on the young Robin, suddenly shifts, redirecting toward the Dark Knight.

Zsasz is on his feet in a split-second, and despite the Batman's best effort to curb his attack, Zsasz connects with a wild clash at Batman's face. The move leaves thin scratch marks on the exposed part of Bruce Wayne's face, but also leaves Zsasz open to a retaliatory kidney punch.

Zsasz appears unaffected, retaliating with his own rapidfire exchange of a flexible back kick, followed with a stiff left, that again leaves an airborne trail of Batman's blood.

Batman responds with his own combo to enter the fight, but Zsasz easily evades the leading right, and blocks with a trap. Showing incredible speed and a savant-like penchant for fighting, Zsasz embarasses Batman, using the trap to dislocate the soulder with a focused uppercut.

With a broken wing and a tonne of pressure, thoughts of lethal one-armed attacks creep into the Batman's inner monologues. Suffering a stiff right, Batman maintains a focus to stop Zsasz without stooping to his level. He can do it, too.

Batman makes a play, using his good arm to catch Zsasz and pull him in for a devestating headbutt. The blow breaks the killer's nose, and is probably complimented by the under structure of the Batman's cowl.

Zsasz recoils, but his reaction is joyous provocation, with no sign of grimace.
He lunges at Batman with a straight shot, pounding his fist into Batman's chest with enough force to push the fight to the ground. There, at mat level, he wraps his hands around Batman's throat, slamming his head into the ground while doing his best to choke the life out of him.

Batman begins to fade, making pathetic attempts to free the killer's grip with his one good hand. Even as he feels himself losing the fight, Batman thinks only of protecting Stephanie Brown...

... It seems, however, that Batman has underestimated his new protégé.
A black leather glove reaches over Zsasz' head, snatching at his broken nose. The move finally forces the madman to acknowledge his pain as his body curls away from the Batman, who gasps for breath.

Robin snaps back at the nose, and leaps over her assailant with the acrobatic intentions of retrieving the stray knife. She challenges Zsasz to take it from her, but just as he motions to do so, a rising Batman ends his charge with a tap to the neck -- the pressure point blow drops Zsasz like a sack of potatoes.

Batman pops his shoulder back into place to avoid complications of swelling.
When Robin comes to his aid, she comes face-to-face with the stern paternity that comes with the role of girl wonder. Her actions have been met with disapproval, and the beginning of the end for Stephanie Brown has begun.

ARTWORK: Ed McGuinnessThe Hammer...
This was to have been the first entry of another packed February week, but as it would happen, I'm finishing this Monday post Sunday after bumping it back to the standard Friday Fight Night (not to be confused with the meme we unfortunately missed this week, Friday Night Fights).
To those few regular readers, apologies and thanks for your patience in the delivery of this, a victory for Batman and Robin!

There are a lot of issues surrounding this issue, not the least being the on-going debate of Stephanie Brown's right to a memorial case in the Bat-cave. It was the events of a recent issue of Batman, detailing a near-death series of hallucinations penned by Grant Morrison, that initially prompted me to dive into the longboxes to find a previous adventure. While writing the summary, however, I was somewhat ambushed by another pressing matter concerning, of all things, violence in comic books.

Not too long ago a controversial debate broke out concerning the treatment of the Marvel heroine, Tigra, who in the pages of New Avengers, was brutalized by the villain-on-the-rise, The Hood. One need only look to the comments section of our own take on that particular issue to see some points raised concerning violence in mainstream comics, and whether or not there are implications to placing this kind of scene in comics potentially in the young readers domain.

This issue of Detective, I would probably have to say, marks one of the most violent scenes I've reviewed in two years of Secret Wars on Infinite Earths.
Unlike the Tigra issue of New Avengers, Detective bares no recommendations of an age cap, and features the far wider recognised branding of Batman. Issues like this are anything but uncommon, yet, one has to feel you don't really hear much about these kinds of comics, even from the people objecting on a base level to Tigra's manhandling.

I don't think anyone has accused the feminist movement in comics of being particularly mindful of gender equality, but I suppose that's inevitable of any movement motivated by a singular cause. Remarks about men's recoil from feminist brow beating starts to take some weight when you think about the potential effect these arguments have on the creative process. A process potentially hindered when it comes to extreme violence against female characters, and the more intrusive points raised than the gender opposite.

A popular theme for adding weight to the negative response to Tigra's beating was the subtext of a sexual assault. If one really wanted to look hard enough, you could find the same sort of subtext in this very fight, particularly a homoerotic exchange as Zsasz leans over the floored body of Batman, with the specifics of their bodies obscured, and retorts "Oh, yes," with a smirk as Batman squeezes out a "no" from his collapsing larynx.

I don't personally regard either scene as including sexual subtexts as a motivated part of the fight, but for those that do, I question the merits of these arguments for their one-sided relevance. The issue completes the gender reversal as Stephanie Brown comes to Batman's rescue, and if you happen to have specific hang-ups about agism, this makes for a double-reversal of standards, refuting the infamous tradition of 'the boy hostage,' but I digress [into silliness].

I particularly enjoy this issue.
If you're an avid Infinite Wars reader, you'll have seen vague references to a great period of Detective Comics, and this issue immediately preceeds the end of the dream run. I proudly include this issue, complete with Stephanie Brown, as one of those fantastic issues. For my tastes in Batman, it has everything!

Contributing greatly to the severity of the violence is the artwork.
It became evident recently that I typically overlook artwork when discussing and reviewing comics, but this has to be acknowledged. Pete Wood's pencils are just a little inconsistent in this issue, but vaguely mirror the contributions of other artists that maintain clean, simple lines, but include more photo-realistic detail than comaprable 'animated series' style artists. Wood's work, in some panels, veers a little more over-the-top, occasionally undermining the seriousness of the tone, but that's a minor quarrel.

Colourist, Jason Wright, and inker, Nathan Massengill, are vital to the presentation. Without rummaging through my back issues, I can't say how long they were involved with Detective, but their work bares similarity to all the great artists that contibuted to this stellar period in the title.

It's the balance between realism and fiction that slathers pages with a grey classic to my vision of Gotham, and blacks that make up the uncompromising shadow of this city of corruption. It's these that supply literally, and figuratively, the tone of a Gotham city that is mature and jaded, evoking a 'musk' that I've previously attributed to it's citizens [such as Martian Manhunter].

I found myself really enjoying the visual presentation of 'Zsasz vision,' which not only paints a muted image of the scene, but depicts Zsasz' view of the world by highlighting his chosen victims with bursts of painted colour. These qualities all go lengths to typify what I desire from the title that specifically distanced itself from the other Bat-books, doing so with a mature and urban driven asthetic. In particular contrast, these issues, to the superhero adventures of Batman, such as the more colourful villain-driven arc, Hush.

Though important to the violence of this particular issue, this all gets away from the subject matter of equality, and whether or not we need to be concerned.
Part of me really wants to say there isn't an issue here. I look back to similar issues I read as a younger child, and recognise that though they were scary, they were depicted with a very vivid message of 'good versus evil.' As someone liberally minded, but fairly staunch in basic morals, I feel these kinds of tales were vital to instilling that uncompromising sense of right and wrong.

On the basis of it's ratings, Marvel recommends the Tigra issue for readers no younger than nine. If that benchmark was ever debatable, I think it's become less so in a modern age when children are becoming more savvy, and are introduced to a lot of these crimes through headlines and reports that make vague allusions. To the latter, I almost think it's beneficial that these comics use the violence to explain and denounce it, but as should always be the case, discretion and judgment needs to be exercised on an individual basis.

Given the strength of personal opinion, it can be difficult to seperate the lines between protecting young readers, and fostering a creative environment that might otherwise be compromised by excessively sensitive readers.
I certainly wouldn't want to stop this kind of comic. I enjoy it, and building on the fundamental basis of Batman as a force against crime, I think this severity only enhances the purpose of this character. Batman needs this kind of reality to explicitly describe what it is that he's opposing, and as I've said in the past, I think it would be crass and naive to attempt to deny the existence of certain crimes, just because they are repulsive.

Death is a big part of maintaining the threat of this world, and while I could probably dwell on points concerning violence and the lax arguments and opinions of other sources, I might just use that as a segue to move to the final subject.

As is evident here, I can be pretty critical of the feminist argument in comics.
I suppose you could say I have the luxury of being under the radar, because despite having hundreds of folks passing through every day, I'm very rarely called to task on anything. With that in mind, I try to remain self-aware, and it's a point like the contested Stephanie Brown subject that helps me feel comfortable with the thought that I am presenting a well considered point of view.

It's a subject that's been floating around the feminist blogs for a long time, and for many, the appearance of such a tribute, in future echoes and hallucinations in Grant Morrison's Batman #673, have been cause for personal triumph.
As much as I want to barrel down on the same side as the feminists, I have to pause to express empathy, and draw some creative deductions, because on the whole, there's a subtext to the issue that's far broader than feminism.

Stephanie Brown should have a memorial.
There really aren't any two ways about it, and I want to make that clear.
To the best of my knowledge there's never been any printed requisite for earning such a case. In fact, a fond memory of Tim Drake's rise to the mantle were scenes featuring not only the memorial to the deceased Robin, but also a case containing the abandoned suit of the very much alive, Dick Grayson.

In keeping with this very period of Detective Comics, of which I'm very fond, we have to note a particular creative shift. As Batman darkened and became more serious over the past twenty years, the mythology of the character was reshaped and whittled to increasing degree. Popular oversized Batcave stalwarts like the penny, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Joker card were all moved off the page, along with a great many other trinkets, often including the Grayson suit case.

As Batman became a more modern and minimalized exercise, the Batcave was one of the most effected elements of the fantastic, and that has continued to be the case. Where brightly coloured mementos once stood, there continues to be only darkness, storage space, and design utilitarian in design both on, and off, the page. No room is afforded for any memorial not baring specific resonance to the stories and emotional journeys of the Dark Knight -- something carried from character driven pathos, through to the unlikely return of a corrupted Jason Todd.

As someone very fond of this creative logic, complete with it's narrow sighted flaws, I can't totally begrudge DC editorial for the lack of Stephanie Brown memorabilia. That said, of all the trinkets in the Batcave, the costume cases seem like the most likely to exist, even if pushed to a side room as some stories have shown them. With that in mind, there seem to be very few logical arguments to deny Stephanie Brown such a case.

Short-lived and disastrous as Brown's career as Robin was, one might consider that her trials only make for a stronger case of inclusion. The Batman's penchant for responsibility has often been described as the motivation for the omnipresence of the Todd memorial, and it's place as a reminder of Batman's greatest failure. Even if Todd had remained dead, there's no way Batman's character would obsolve himself of responsibility for Brown's death, no matter how self-orchestrated it may have been.

War Games, in my opinion, was the immediate destruction of Detective Comics. It was at that point I stopped buying the title, and feel it never fully recovered from that intrusion, never the less, I feel I remain uncompromised on the subject of Stephanie Brown. Her career as Robin was unimpressive, but it was, and should therefore be acknowledged. Batman does not make omissions or exceptions, it simply isn't in his nature. A memorial case is just logical.

The Fight: 7 The Issue: 6

Carrie Kelly fan? Missed out on Stephanie Brown's tenure as Robin, and want to catch-up? This issue, along with many other precursors to the War Games crossover, are collected in a convenient DC tradepaper back! By using Amazon purchase links provided, you help sponsor future entries on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths -- so go forth, and purchase! While I sleep!