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2016 -2017 Weekly Comic Buys n' Reads
Topic Started: Jan 4 2016, 09:22 AM (10,131 Views)
Erick Von Erich
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I'm Big E and I tell it like it is
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Marvel Two-in-One #70
Basically a Thing solo issue, as the cover states "The Thing and ???". Thing reconciles with Alicia Masters for the 906th time and invites her to move into the Baxter Building. Her hired movers turn out to be two old FF fringe villains, who were flunkies of the Psycho-Man: Livewire and Shellshock. No costumes, either, they're just two guys in shirts n' jeans. At one point, they hold Alicia hostage and get Thing to CHANGE THEIR TRUCK TIRE.

The Yancy Street Gang makes a quick appearance and doses Livewire with a bucket of water. Then Thing punches the bad guys, of course. With the tire change, Thing's usual slang and everything, it might sound like this would be a comedy throwaway issue, but it's played as straight as any other story. This is like a longer version of the back-up stories that ran in the Marvel annuals or "Marvel Comics Presents" in the late 80's. Garbage, all around.
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & the Outsiders #1 (1983)
I keep seeing this come up in my collection and think about re-reading them all. It's rather weird, but not in an interesting way. For one, Batman's a bigger jerk than usual. A lot of plot elements line up too conveniently, as well.

Lucius Fox gets kidnapped and held hostage in Markovia; which is shown to be near Belgium. Batman goes to the JLA for help, but they've been told by the State Department to stay out of it. So Batman instantly quits, almost out of spite, and goes off on his own. He quickly gets Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning) to help him, posing as "Lucius' brother". Well...it's better than Batman going into a blackface disguise.

Prince Brion of Markovia becomes Geo-Force...just because. There are quite a few references to Brion's "sister", the un-named Terra from Teen Titans. Katana suddenly appears and slices somebody. Metamorpho shows up, looking for a cure for his condition. Batman finds the amnesic Halo and is quick to use her.

Batman calls her "Halo" because she has a glowing "halo" around her. "Aura" would've been a better description, so I wouldn't be surprised if that was one of the names tossed around when they created Halo. There were too many "Aura" sounding female characters floating around in 1983, though. Princess Aura from Flash Gordon, Aurora from Alpha Flight, Mara from Blackstar and I'm sure there were more.

Just sort of a big mess that feels like a Batman "Brave & The Bold" story.
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Mad Dog
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ho ho who the hell are you?
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Batman and the Outsiders felt like DC trying to do a Marvel book.
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Erick Von Erich
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Mad Dog,Nov 30 2017
07:24 PM
Batman and the Outsiders felt like DC trying to do a Marvel book.

Yeah. That's a very accurate description.

Character-wise, it's very similar to what they did with "New Teen Titans" in 1980. Take one established character (Batman or Robin), mix in some existing secondary holdover characters (Metamorpho and Black Lightning or Kid Flash, Changeling and Wonder Girl), then three new characters (Geo-Force, Katana and Halo or Cyborg, Raven and Starfire). I think a lot of fans picked up on this, which is why they were all clamoring for a Titans/Outsiders team-up.

Batman was kind of all over the place in the 80's and fairly inconsistent. The Outsiders set up shop in the Bat-Cave, but I think they're only rarely mentioned in "Batman" and "Detective Comics". I don't think Batman's exodus from the JLA was in that book, either.

There is some karma with Batman walking out on the JLA, though. In issue 32 (-ish) of "Batman & The Outsiders", Geo-Force wants them to return to Markovia to save a friend. Which is the same exact thing Batman wanted to do in #1. Batman refuses to let them go and disbands the team. But they continue on, anyways.

It's weird, because I think Batman then storms back to the JLA (Detroit version), circa 1986, and takes over that team, immediately. He fades away in time for "Legends" and I think that's when they finally reeled in Batman and made him consistent. I don't think it's a coincidence that Denny O'Neil's tenure as "Batman group editor" started around that time.
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & the Outsiders #2
Nothing really more to add, aside from two trivial things.

1- In a flashback of Markovia being liberated in WWII, Sgt. Rock is included

2- Geo-Force tosses a defeated Baron Bedlam off the top of a castle to mob of angry people wielding pitchforks, torches and axes. Batman says: "I like the way your mind works".

I don't think I'm going to read all of these; but I said the same thing with "Star Wars" and that turned out for the worse.
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Erick Von Erich
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Yeah, looks like I'm going through the whole thing....

Batman & the Outsiders #3-7
Some one-shot villains (Agent Orange, Meltdown and the Cryonic Man) plus a crossover with "New Teen Titans". The villains don't add much, yet Cryonic Man is given two issues in an attempt to break the mold. Cryonic Man is a little bit like what became the 1990's version of Mr. Freeze-- with his wife stuck in a frozen vat until he can find a cure for her. Yet he also has two other colleagues and it ties into a 1950's Cold War bombshelter scare.

They try to flesh out the Outsiders a bit, too. Geo-Force and Metamorpho become roommates at a Markovian vacation home/embassy. Batman forces Halo to move in with Katana atop the Wayne Foundation building and they become friends, just because. Also, Black Lightning goes back to teaching and is still worried about losing control of his powers. It's even established that the Outsiders HQ is in Wayne Foundation building.

Another subplot I had completely forgotten about: Katana's sword can speak telepathically to its user. They also try to define Halo's powers, saying she has different colored auras that do various things.

Batman's still acting against his usual character, as he doesn't give a darn if the villains die. While they'd always been there, I think this may have been where the modern "Batman as the Punisher" concepts really picked up steam (of which all were demolished with "Knightfall" in 1993).

Each issue is a VERY quick read, too. About 5 minutes, it seems.
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JimBob Skeeter
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Been a while, E!!! Glad you are still doing these. Yeah, I think I gave up on BATO after a dozen issues, if that. Just...........lame.
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Erick Von Erich
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Thanks, JB. Great to see you, as well.

I'm guessing Little Zumhoff is all growed up now....ERRRR... you've probably given him a different nickname.

BATO reminds me of the superhero role playing games of the mid-80's. Champions, Villains & Vigilantes, plus DC and Marvel's own entries. It's just a buncha' guys thrown together, with quickly made-up villains, all tossed into a fight in an attempt to "get XP's and Level Up". While I enjoyed those games (Champions, mostly), I never thought the crappy heroes, villains and plots I came up with were fit to see print. Then here comes BATO...oh, snap.
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