Man, this was a treat. I fished this out of a cheap bin at a a comic convention a few years ago–I wasn’t looking for it and it’s in pretty terrible condition, but it was cheap and the Neal Adams cover was enough for me to throw it on the pile. It’s a dollar comic from 1977 that features stories starring The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, The Atom, and Batman, all of which are relatively short ways to promote those characters (you see a “go read this character’s book …” blurb at the end of every story. Some of these are better than others, and I’m going to give a quick look at each of them.
The Flash in “How to Prevent a Flash”: Barry sees the same accident that gave him his powers happen to a woman. But her super speed ultimately proves destructive. A story that I’m torn on–I like the idea that someone else gets super speed and it’s going to cause absolute havoc, but the fact that it’s a woman character bugs me and there’s a “deus ex machina” ending. But Carey Bates still tells a good story and the art by Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin is solid.
Green Lantern in “He Who Slaughters”: A black hole that is about to swallow Oa. Green Lantern and the rest of the Corps have to help save the Guardians. Denny O’Neil writes this one and has Hal fight an ancient alien protector who ultimately gives his life to save the planet. It’s a bit “there’s been a big misunderstanding,” a bit “classic ’50s sci-fi comic,” and we get Joe Staton artwork, which is always great.
Aquaman in”A King Without a Sea”: Aquaman fights a sun-god-like being named Sunburst in an adventure that takes him through the deserts of the Middle East. Gerry Conway writes this with references to ancient empires like Alexander’s and plenty of drama. Dick Dillin, whose artwork I admit I am not familiar with, gives us some standard Bronze Age artwork. Some good moments in this one and whereas the other two had a lot of discussion about heroism and responsibility, this has a straight-up hero/villain battle that I enjoyed.
The Atom in “The Telephone Tangle”: A Paul Kupperberg story about The Atom going back in time to foil the plans of someone trying to steal Alexander Graham Bell’s credit for inventing the telephone. It’s really goofy and I’m not the biggest Atom fan, but Steve Stiles and Bob McLeod give us some dynamic (and historically accurate) artwork.
Batman in “The Dead on Arrival Conspiracy”: Batman fights Kobra and his henchmen in a “very Batman in the Bronze Age” story that is my favorite in the entire book. Martin Pasko is doing a good job at writing the type of story I’ve seen from Denny O’Neil in the Bronze Age and Mike Nasser (who would later be known as Mike Netzer) and Joe Rubenstein do the artwork. That artwork, by the way? Freaking. Amazing. I hope this story is in a trade or available online somewhere because it’s some great “Batman: International Detective and Fighter” stuff in it.
Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?
Keep/Donate: I’m going to put it in my son’s collection and let him enjoy it.