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2016 -2018 Weekly Comic Buys n' Reads
Topic Started: Jan 4 2016, 09:22 AM (9,873 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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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & the Outsiders #8
A Very Special Christmas Issue (*fart*). All the babies in Gotham are instantly being aged to senior citizens. It all unfolds around a plot involving the Phantom Stranger and his arch-enemy Tannarak. Of course, since it's the Stranger, he uses his uber-powers to defeat Tannarak and save all the babies.

I really hate Phantom Stranger. When I see him, I think: "something that SUCKS is about to happen".

The Outsiders all do various good deeds around Gotham. Meanwhile the parents of Trina Shelton; the girl whom Black Lightning accidentally killed; hire New Wave, leader of the Masters of Disaster, to get revenge.

It kinda' funny how Batman's "training" involves him yelling at the Outsiders and simply telling them to do better.
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & The Outsiders #9-10
The Masters of Disasters kidnap Black Lightning and intend to execute him. Batman goes undercover as "Matches Malone" and leads the Outsiders to where they're hiding him. A quick fight breaks out and they save BL. It's established that the Masters are rookies, themselves.

Trina Shelton's mother takes a "bullet" intended for BL and it's implied she's dead. She even has the cliche' final words, telling BL he forgives her. Yet two pages later, she's alive and well.

A flashback shows how BL fought some thugs on a subway. During the melee, one of his lightning blasts knocked a thug's gun, and a bullet accidentally killed Trina Shelton, an innocent by-stander. Well, at least they've tied up that subplot.

There's also a Halo solo back-up story. Very lame, as it's something you'd find in Archie.

Batman & The Outsiders #11-12
The "origin of Katana". She was married and had two kids... but the husband's jealous brother was obsessed with Katana. So he joined the Yakuza and attacked the happy family; killing the husband (with a sword) and the two kids (in a resulting house fire).

Through some hocus-pocus, the husband is pulled out of the sword, along with some other super generic martial-arts based villains. Big fight, as the Outsiders travel to Japan. Once again, death is implied, as it seems that Katana kills the brother and the husband is returned to the sword. Katana's sword is revealed to have the souls of all whom it has killed. So, it's been her husband inside the thing.

They might've had something going with just Katana's origin, but pulling in the silly villains (including one who was a barbarian) ruined it. Also, note that Batman has no problem with taking the team away from Gotham to save a comrade. This is all contradicted when he leaves the team in issue 32.
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & the Outsiders #13
Batman was actually poisoned by one of the villains, while in Japan. So he passes out and the only cure is to "keep him active", so the Outsiders lead him on an origin re-creation across Gotham. Huh?

Along the way, gang boss Morgan Jones tosses out a Mr.T knock-off named "Mayme". As in "MAIM" and not "May-me". Mayme and his army of generic gas-mask soldiers easily take out the Outsiders. Of course, Batman recovers in time to save the team.

Biggest deal is that, while Batman's out, the team takes him to Alfred and un-masks him. They all now know he's Bruce Wayne. When Batman fully recovers, he shows his thanks to the team by officially un-masking in front of them. Just kind of a weird plot element, with the unofficial and official un-maskings. The first one didn't need to be there.

I can't stop reading these, simply because they're so odd and terrible.
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JimBob Skeeter
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Yeah, it was bad. Nothing really big ever came out of this series. For some reason, a really bad Metamorpho arc comes to mind...........
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & the Outsiders #14-15
Maxie Zeus wants to impress his estranged daughter. So he escapes from Arkham and calls up the Monitor to get a team of super-powered "New Olympians". They take over the 1984 Summer Olympics at the LA Memorial Coliseum; as Zeus believes some competitor is slated to be his "queen".

Outsiders shows up and what happens is a straight-up trip to Super-Friends Ridiculousness. Heroes and villains pair off in their own quasi "competitions". Halo takes on the villain Nox in gymnastics...by flying around LA. Black Lightning and Metamorpho engage their counterparts in some sort of soccer/rugby/polo thing. Geo-Force and Antaeus...punch each other.

Batman figures out the daughter thing and shifts the scene there. The "queen" actually likes Zeus' daughter and agrees to be her mom. I don't believe the "queen" or the daughter were ever seen again.


Incredibly awful.

The Monitor's scene is referenced with the tag: "The Monitor, created by Marv Wolfman, 38. Brooklyn, NY". Again, he seems more sinister and like a villain supplier for hire. Weird.

There's also a significant appearance by Pres. Ronald Reagan, wearing a bolo tie and interacting with Batman. To quote Nick Offerman in the TV Fargo: "the man did a movie with chimpanzee. That's un-dignified."

I almost forgot: there's even a romantic subplot about Geo-Force and Halo getting together.
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Viceroy Virus
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The Return of Andre "The Fucking" Giant!
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I picked up my pull list yesterday and got a few other comics while at my LCS. I got:

Batman: White Knight #4
I've never been a huge Batman fan, but I dig Sean Murphy and this story has been an interesting take. What I thought was a throwaway joke in the first issue actually leads to a bit of mystery leading to this issue.

Dejah Thoris #0
A Dynamite intro issue for 25 cents (or free in my case), so why the heck not?

Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #3
Two of my favorite comic book companies team up to do a "Meets" mini-series with a few of my favorite characters. What has me intrigued is what how Poison Ivy plans to destroy Hiram Lodge for trying to build on a swamp.

Harley Quinn #34
I'm actually super behind on this title. I'm probably going to drop this title shortly after Conner and Palmiotti depart as a good jumping off point.

Invincible Iron Man #595
I can't stand these legacy numbers. I was on issue #11, then I was on issue #593. Anyhoo, Riri Williams and Tony Stark.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #26
So...Devil Dinosaur isn't listed on the cover. It's the fantastic three storyline right now, with The Thing and Human Torch teaming with their friend from Yancy Street, Moon Girl. I actually rather like the dynamic between The Thing and Moon Girl, but I'm missing Devil Dinosaur. I mean, the entire point of her Inhuman power is that she switches bodies with Devil Dinosaur.

Moon Knight #190
I wasn't pulling Moon Knight before but the Crazy Runs in the Family storyline seems interesting. A man known as The Truth is driving people to suicide and Sun King is getting closer to Moon Knight.

Ms. Marvel #26
Kamala Khan has vanished by other people are carrying on her legacy.

Old Man Hawkeye #1
Hawkeye is going blind and seeking vengeance in the name of the fallen Avengers.

Suicide Squad #32
My fourth Harley Quinn-related title this week and the second one I'm super behind on, which means it's time to drop this title and do a little catch up. My main pull for getting his book isn't just Harley (especially since she's on other book, including her own), it's Enchantress. I'm behind, but I like Enchantress and I was digging her relationship with Croc. Croc and June Moone oddly kind of work being paired off together.

Walking Dead #175
nWo - New World Order

And, for the fun of it, the Previews Guide, the Marvel Previews Guide and Image+.

I dropped Doomsday Clock, Long Lost and Motor Crush from my pull list this week. Doomsday Clock I might get as a collection and they're $5-6 per issue. Long Lost is by Scout comics. I just wanted the #1 to see where things go. We'll see if it ends up on my pull list again. Motor Crush - I love the creative team, but something about Motor Crush was moving felt a little too slowly for me.
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SamoaRowe
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I'm officially dropping X-Men Blue. I was holding out to see what interesting things they did with time travel (in regards to Generation X) and it came and gone in one issue. This has been a digestible title, but I don't feel like I'm gaining much from reading it.

X-Men Gold is also on thin ice with me, except I kind of like the current space arc.

I dropped Weapon X a month ago. Again, a digestible title and that was always quick and fun to read, but I didn't feel I was getting anything from it once they moved on from Weapon H.

Right now I'm routinely getting Action Comics (when it doesn't sell out), The Flash, and Batman, and keeping up with Metal, Doomsday Clock, and Batman: White Knight. I try to limit myself to 3 comics at a time when I visit the shop as I have a baby and all that jazz.
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