Posts tagged ‘Elongated Man’

Action 480 – Amazo attacks

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Bates, Swan and Chairamonte begin a four-part story that pits Superman against Amazo, the one-man Justice League in Action 480 (Feb. 78).

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The story gets bang into the action, with little build-up.  Superman is relaxing on the Justice League satellite, when Amazo suddenly bursts out of his cell and through the floor, getting into a fight with Superman that blasts them out of the satellite and into space.

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The Justice League alert goes off, and the whole team show up.  This is not such a good thing, as Aquaman, Atom, Batman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Red Tornado all wind up trapped in the satellite by Amazo, giving him free reign against Superman.

A mysterious “Professor Ives” is also brought in to the story.

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With Amazo on the loose, and his own powers waning, Superman needs a way to get Clark out of the way, and leave him free.  Morgan Edge is holding a draw to see who goes on a particular assignment out of town, and Clark hypnotizes everyone to think he was chosen.  As well as Lois, Jimmy and Steve Lombard, Lana Lang is part of the draw, having recently been hired to WGBS in the pages of Superman.

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Professor Ives turns out to be Professor Ivo, who Amazo hates for having created him.  Superman desperately fights to save Ivo as his powers fade before Amazo.

Throughout this storyline there is nothing of Ivo’s usual two qualities, his quest for immortality, and disfigurements caused by the quest.

Action 443 – Superman saves the Justice League

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Maggin, Swan and Blaisdel give Superman a big line up of allies and enemies in Action 443 (Jan. 75).

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The story opens in a very disorienting way, with Superman as a nebbishy newscaster, picked on by Steve Lombard and rejected by Lois Lane.

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While Clark Kent is the one leaping into heroic action against Queen Bee and her drones.

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Queen Bee is leading a host of villains against the Justice League of America.  Most of them are regularly appearing big names – Chronos, Sinestro, Ocean Mchroaster, Grodd and Brainiac.  Matt Hagen makes his first appearance in over a decade as Clayface.  Merlyn and the Harpy are both newcomers. Harpy, the villain assigned to Black Canary, had appeared in Green Lantern, while Merlyn, who would go on to become a regular Green Arrow enemy, had only debuted recently in Justice League of America.

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The assembled villains had already triumphed over the rest of the Justice League, and in flashback we see them taking down Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Aquaman, Atom and Red Tornado.  At this point, Wonder Woman and Hawkman were not members of the JLA.

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Superman has used a Kandorian machine to reverse people’s perceptions of Superman and Clark Kent, simply to puzzle the villains.  They bring him aboard their ship, which is what he wants.  As he struggles with Grodd and Clayface, his heat vision pierces the capsule the Flash is being held in, and the Flash exploits this, and frees himself, and the rest of the League.

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A lot of characters.  The story is fun, but I cannot honestly say it makes the most of its cast.

 

Detective 572 – Batman and Robin, Slam Bradley, the Elongated Man and Sherlock Holmes

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It’s yet another anniversary issue in Detective 572 (March 1987), marking fifty years since the debut of Batman.  Barr scripts, with Neary and Davis on the art for Batman’s chapter, but the story includes more artists for the different chapters.

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Slam Bradley, last seen in Detective 500, gets to open this tale, which involves a lost book being hunted by Professor Moriarty.  His client barely has time to hire him before being murdered.

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As Slam pursues the killer, he encounters Batman and Robin – the first time these characters have met, despite all the years they shared this book.  Terry Beatty also contributes to the art on Slam’s part of the tale.

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The Elongated Man chapter is easily the weakest part of the story, simply because of Carmine Infantino’s art.  I cannot think of a single thing he drew after 1980 that does not look like a poor imitation of his style.

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The chapter does introduce the villain, and we also discover that the Elongated Man is a descendant of Moriarty, though that will never be mentioned again.

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The backstory of the book is handled superbly.  Ernesto Cruz is the perfect artist on the Sherlock Holmes chapter, which looks, and feels, like something from a DC horror/mystery comic from the 70s.  In a good way.

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After the backstory is filled in, we jump back to the present day, as Batman, Robin, Slam Bradley and Elongated Man face off against Moriarty.

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An extremely old Sherlock Holmes even shows up to congratulate them.  It’s a decent tale, and had it been published before Crisis on Infinite Earths, Batman: Year One, and Batman – The Dark Knight Returns, would probably have been fondly remembered.  But as it stands, it feels a bit like a holdover, and not on par with some of the other anniversary issues released the same year.

The Elongated Man returns the following year in the pages of Adventures of Superman, while Slam has to wait for more than a decade for his return.

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There is a really nice Dick Sprang spread, featuring Batman and Robin, as well as both variations of Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, the Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, Scarecrow and Cavalier.

Sadly, at the time this did not impress me at all, it was simply another thing that made the book feel out of date before the ink was dry.

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