New Reviews of Old Comics
Is there a comic book hero in the world bigger than Batman? You could make a case for Superman, but I think in the last 20 or so years the Caped Crusader has eclipsed the Man of Steel. Batman’s movies have done MUCH better than Superman’s (though I am looking forward to the new one); to my knowledge Superman has never had a comic story to match the quality of The Dark Knight Returns. That said, when I was actively collecting comics neither Batman nor Detective Comics was on my list of regular titles (neither were any of the Superman titles for that matter). Sure I would pick up an issue here and there if something special was going on (the “Year One” storyline was great), but they never made a connection with me. I’ve since read quite a few of the oldest stories through the various reprint collections and find them enjoyable. For a buck I’m willing to give Batman a try, even if it is warped like it is, bent and twistd like it got stuck in the spinner rack and forgotten for a few months.
“The Round Trip Looking Glass” written by Doug Moench with Tom Mandrake on the art starts with the Mirror Master and Captain Boomerang separately trying to steal some jewels from the Gotham Museum (which looks a lot like New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art). They’ve each been trashed by Flash in Central City so they figure Gotham is an easier target. They talk about working together, but that falls apart when Gotham’s hero breaks up their robbery. Batman and Robin perform due diligence on these newcomers to the neighborhood, expecting to meet them again at some point in the next ten or so pages. Out on the Gotham wharf Mirror Master, sans costume, is contemplating his navel when some tough guys wearing masks come looking for trouble. Well, one of them is wearing a Heathcliffe the Cat mask, so I’m not sure how much trouble that guy is going to be. MM defuses the scene by hypnotizing them with some sunglasses he had in his pocket. That’s a handy thing to carry around. Coincidentally, Captain Boomerang is breaking into the same jewelry store as Mirror Master and his masked, hypnotized stooges. The Dynamic Duo break-up the crime and capture Mirror Master, but Cap’n Boomerang escapes. While Robin and Bullock drive MM to jail, Boomerang breaks his “partner” free, but then hypnotizes him with a mirrored boomerang made up of the same glass Mirror Master used to make his sunglasses. He deserves if for just leaving that kind of stuff just laying around. It’s odd because otherwise his apartment looks immaculate. The issue ends with Mirror Master vowing to commit murder at Boomerang’s behest and the editor’s telling us to read the conclusion in the upcoming issue of Detective Comics. I don’t think I care enough to look for it. What I am curious about is the origin of Captain Boomerang’s costume. What’s up with that fashion disaster? Between the goofy hat, the scarf/ascot and the clothes with the boomerang prints all over it he must have the most ridiculous looking costume in the history of comics! How does that hat stay on his head? He looks like a deranged flight attendant who should be throwing bags of peanuts instead of knocking over museums with boomerangs. Seriously, I hope he’s received a costume up grade in the last 25 years.
Best Ad: Anyone know what the hell the “DC Challenge” was? I don’t. I was a pretty active comic collector back in ’85, but this doesn’t ring a bell at all. I don’t remember even seeing an issue or hearing anyone talk about it. Ever. Apparently I should have taken DC up on the offer to subscribe to this once in a lifetime opportunity back in ’85. The funny thing is they make no mention of how many issues your subscription will get you just that this is a maxi-series; does that make it 12 issues? The copy says each issue has a different writer/artist team using DC characters to try and stump the next team with cliffhanger endings, and they challenge you to solve it before that do. Solve what?!?!?! I don’t get it! What’s the challenge? Is there a prize? I think the challenge is just to forget you ever heard about “DC Challenge.”