Saturday, March 08, 2008

ARTWORK: Ed McGuinnessY'know, there's been a bit of a recurring theme in most of the entries in the Infinite Wars recently. I mean, you've got our pending series of Secret Origins features; you've got all the hooplah surrounding The New Frontier; and this week we dove into the trademarked Miller version of the Daredevil origin [Man Without Fear #2]! If this were a hallucination, it would undeniably be a mass phenomena!

I find it interesting that superhero comics continues to be a genre incapable of leaving it's history alone. Prominent creative forces; like writer/editor, Denny O'Neil; regularly refer to the histories of popular characters [such as Batman] as being 'perfected', in a state of flux, rather than interference. Batman is, of course, one of the most successful examples. Within the Bat-catalogue alone are some of comics' greatest retellings, many of which are based on adventures from the early 1940's. Coming from the past twenty years alone are stories by visionary talents like Frank Miller, Alan Moore, and Jeph Loeb.
Join us in looking back on just a few such tales, and think about what some of your favourite redressed stories might be!

Secret Origins #35 (Holiday 1988)
"Martian Manhunter" Verheiden/Steacy

This one takes us back to the grizzled days of Detective John Jones; alias for the Manhunter from Mars, J'onn J'onnz, who finds himself unwittingly transported to Earth by the aging Doctor Erdel.

With the good Doctor startled by his Martian visitor, to the point of heart attack, he leaves the alien with a final warning and well wish, making the Manhunter's first experience on Earth one of death.

Canvasing the networks of mainstream American television, the Manhunter extracts what information he can about human society. Impressed upon this blank slate is the image of the square jawed TV detective, dedicated to truth, justice, and the battle against corruption and evil in the Earth. Thus, John Jones is born, to war against crime!

Batman: The Long Halloween (February 1997)
"Christmas" Loeb/Sale

In Batman's first year he has come to regard very few men as friends. Gotham City has become corrupt, but despite this fact, and the riddled presence of crime families, Bruce Wayne believes the city is not beyond saving. Of similar mind are newly appointed Commisioner of Police, James Gordon; and Gotham District Attorney, Harvey Dent.

The pact between the trio of powers becomes fractured when Dent is implicated in a spate of murders involving various prominent figures in the Gotham Underworld. The crime families become embroiled in a war with the "freaks" of Gotham, as the mysterious Holiday hunts the criminals. The presence of this murderous force of nature draws the attentions of Gotham's premiere freak, the Joker, who decides to dedicate his own twisted intellect to solving the crime. At the top of his Christmas naughty list? Harvey Dent...

DC: The New Frontier #2 (April 2004)
"Fun City" Darwyn Cooke

Paranoia of the 1950s has pushed the heroes of the Golden Age into the shadows, as they refuse to relinquish the veil of anonymity that allowed them to protect the very people who have turned on them.

New heroes emerge to fill the void left behind. Heroes of a new age and a new frontier, each with their own strange powers and abilities. Among them, a league of personalities destined to be drawn together in the face of evil; Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Batman, Adam Strange, Green Lantern, and the Flash.

Demanding their presence are the endless fiends who would perpetrate super powered crimes. When Captain Cold attacks a society bash in Las Vegas, the Flash responds not only as a crimson beacon of heroism, but as the concerned lover of an endangered gal!

Batman: The Mad Monk #1 (October 2006)
"Dark Moon Rising" Matt Wagner

The Batman's war on crime in Gotham takes a strange turn. With the recession of the organized crime families comes new threats, more bizarre than anything he has ever faced before.
Emerging elements of a fantastical and occult nature begin to trouble the Dark Knight, while the so-called "freaks" continue to make their presence known.

Batman's sordid relationship with the costumed thief, Catwoman, continues, while he tracks the presence of a murderous cult that has strange ties to a vampiric leader called, the Mad Monk!
Batman seems off his game, and though Jim Gordon remains an ally, the lone vigilante doubts himself as he begins to suspect the involvement of the neuro-toxin created by his arch-nemesis, the Scarecrow!

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

Professor Charles Xavier has become intimately familiar with the growing threat of mutation within the human species which proposes terrifying theories of extinction and genocide. He knows this subject so well because he himself is a mutant - a telepath - capable of reading and manipulating the thoughts of those around him.

Aware of the great responsibility of his power, Professor Xavier does his best to control his powers, and begins recruiting gifted youngsters such as himself, so as to share his knowledge with a new generation.

As the X-Men they become his students, while secretly donning uniforms as a paramilitary uprising against the forces of evil. Though humanity would fear and loathe them, they fight to protect them just the same.

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