Lots of continuing my read through my incomplete run of Secret Origins, and I continue to enjoy at least one story per issue, sometimes even both. I’m going to wind up keeping all of these because the missing issues are on my want list and then I plan to read along with Ryan Daly’s now-defunct Secret Origins podcast (I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating), the same way I read along with what I could of the Invasion books when I was listening to First Strike! earlier this year.
Here’s the rundown of the stories that I looked at:
- Issue 12: The Challengers of the Unknown and the Golden Age Fury
- Issue 14: The Suicide Squad
- Issue 21: Jonah Hex and Black Condor
- Issue 24: Dr. Fate and Blue Devil
- Issue 25: Legion of Super-Heros and the Golden Age Atom
- Issue 26: Black Lightning and Miss America
- Annual 2: The Flash
So what did I think of them?
The Golden Age Fury: Roy Thomas’ stories have been hit or miss for me. They’re always pretty dense and are like taking a class in history and continuity. That works very well in many cases, but can often wind up stifling, as it takes quite a while to get through them. Fury as a character interested me because of how she is very much a Donna Troy, having once been the daughter of Earth-2’s Wonder Woman. I know that she played an important role in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series (it’s been nearly 20 years since I last read it), so I figured that I’d see at least in some way where they tried to fix things. Tom Grindberg does a serviceable job on art and is well-inked by the always impressive Tony DeZuniga.
Jonah Hex: Jonah has been stuffed and put on display at a traveling circus and doles out beyond-the-grave justice to some crooked people. This is a fun as hell ghost story by Michael Fleischer and Gray Morrow that takes place in modern day America with flashbacks to the Old West (and a quick mention of his visit to a “strange world” in the Hex series). I have a little bit of a growing interest in the character because I’ve enjoyed what I have read so far. The art is great and moody as well and suits the tone of the story.
Dr. Fate and Blue Devil: Both stories make for a really solid issue #24. I’ve got a cursory knowledge of both characters and while they’re both magic/mystical-based characters, they are very different in tone. The Blue Devil story (written by creators Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin with art by Ty Templeton) is silly in parts and reminds me of the humor comics I’ve read from earlier in DC’s history while Roy Thomas and Michael Bair’s Dr. Fate story seems to be doing what it can to capture the feel of a Golden Age story while putting some modern flair on it. This is an issue that’s a definite get if you find it.
Black Lightning: Enjoyed Tony Isabella’s story but was not so hot on Greg Brooks’ art because it seemed like it was trying to do Jim Aparo a little too much (and made me wish for Aparo).
The Flash Annual: All of the annuals are larger-sized stories (Doom Patrol in #1, Teen Titans in #3) and while the framing device of Wally whining to his therapist works and it’s nice to see Carmine Infantino drawing The Flash again, I found myself tuning the story out at times. It has its moments but I was underwhelmed.
Black Condor: Roy Thomas and Murphy Anderson do a solid Golden Age pastiche with the art outweighing the story. I suppose I’d be more excited if I were more invested in the character.
The Challengers of the Unknown: I have nothing against the Challengers, but they never hit my radar, and while the story wasn’t terrible, I skimmed through it.
Legion of Super Heroes and The Atom in issue #25: Again, nothing against any of them, but I’ve seen the origin of the Legion (with the attempted assassination of R.J. Brande) in at least a few other places, so this didn’t lure me in any new way. I met the Atom’s story with a shrug as well.
Miss America: Another story where I wasn’t that familiar with the character and while it wasn’t a bad story by any means, I checked out at one point.
Overall, I continue to enjoy going through this series and can’t wait to track down and finish the rest of it.
Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?