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2016 -2018 Weekly Comic Buys n' Reads
Topic Started: Jan 4 2016, 09:22 AM (9,888 Views)
Erick Von Erich
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Batman & the Outsiders #16-18
Bruce Wayne hired Jason Bard to track down Halo's past. Along with some GENIUS Batman-reasoning: "she hasn't used her violet aura as Halo, so Violet could be her name". She turns out to be a nasty runaway wench from Missouri. How can we tell she's nasty? Because she has Jim Aparo's standard EVIL CHICK SCOWL in her flashbacks. It's all some mumbo-jumbo about how Violent Harper (Halo) had a photographic memory and saw a drug formula for Tobias Whale. She ran to Europe with her boyfriend, who subsequently was killed. Violet was killed, as well, by Whale's assassain Syonide.

While all that's happening, we're also "treated" to the main feature: Metamorpho gets zapped by the Orb of Ra, courtesy of Simon Stagg. The Outsiders (sans Halo) travel back to ancient Egypt, fairly easily. Metamorpho is mind-controlled by the EVIL Ahk-Ton, who wants to overthrow Ramses VII. Big fights, etc. When they return to the past, Sapphire Stagg asks Metamorpho to marry her.

This may have been the "really bad Metamopho arc" JBS mentioned. It is, in fact, really bad.

Batman & the Outsiders #19
They end the romantic subplot with Halo and Geo-Force, as they're more happy as "brother and sister". Geo-Force's college classmate, Denise Edwards, attempted suicide because their professor withheld her scholarship unless she performed sexual favors. Geo-Force is flaming mad and wants to KILL the prof...so Batman easily calls up Superman to stop him. Cooler heads prevail after an obligatory "Super Hero Fight of Misunderstanding", then Batman busts the prof for a history of sexual abuse. I suppose this would be "timely" and get a spot on Good Morning, America, were it released today.

The stuff with Superman is weird, because it indicates there is no riff between Batman and his JLA pals.

Batman & The Outsiders #20
More details on Halo/Violet Harper's connection with Tobias Whale and Syonide. Summed up, above. They just spaced out the "Truth about Halo" arc over a few issues, so it flows more naturally. Only real point is that Syonide KILLS Halo's parents. Of course, because the Outsiders are so damn competent, both Syonide and Tobias Whale get away.

Batman & The Outsiders #21
Filler issue. 3 solo stories on Katana, Geo-Force and Black Lightning. All like some of the crap you'd see in "Marvel Comics Presents" in the late 80's. Katana's involves a robbery that is based around the radio call of a football game between the "Gotham Goliaths" and the "Metropolis Meteors". Even the football call is blown, as it talks about the runningback is rumbling downfield, then THROWS A PASS to a receiver for the game-winning TD. Also, "the coach is wanting to put in his reserves". Which makes no sense, because you'd never put in your back-ups in a close game.

Oh, and Geo-Force fights a mechanical shark and Black Lighting fights "The Ghetto Blaster". The BL story is borderline offensive in its portrayal of characters.

Batman & the Outsiders #22
More of Halo, as they go to the old JLA satellite to use the lab. Batman's shocked that it's been destroyed and calls the JLA "fools"...further complicating what was shown as a good relationship, three issues ago.

Halo turns out to be the dead Violet Harper's body possessed by an alien energy entity, one of the "Aurakles". Dr. Jace, Markovia's scientist who pops up when the plot requires her, is also along for the ride.

Of minor note, Black Lightning and Metamorpho start to become uneasy that Batman views the team as his own little army. This is where 1998 Mike Tenay would holler: "there's dissension in the ranks of the nW....errr, BATO!" Katana has become something of an emo milksop, as all she does is whine about missing Halo.

Alan Davis also comes aboard as the regular penciler in issue 22.
Edited by Erick Von Erich, Jan 15 2018, 10:22 AM.
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & The Outsiders #23
Wasn't clearly communicated, last issue, but Katana apparently "killed" one of the Aurakles, trapping its essence in her sword. They use this and some Japanese mystical stuff (but not before stomping on the Yakuza) to get transported to the Aurakles' realm. They're a buncha' big energy blobs.

They actually use some teamwork to defeat the Aurakles and save Halo. Metamorpho makes a big conduit through all the Aurakles and Black Lightning uses it to fry them. Batman continues his asshole ways as he tells the Aurakles: "we could've killed you all... but we didn't". Everybody goes back home, but Halo flies off for some soul-searching.
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Erick Von Erich
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Fearless Defenders #1 (2013)
Misty Knight is hired by Dr. Annabelle Riggs to locate some Viking artifacts. Undead Vikings attack, which brings Valkyrie to the scene. In the midst of things, Riggs plants a big ol' smooch on Valkyrie. Gasp! Females kissing!

Has quite a bit of modern Marvel's somewhat humorous explanation of things and how preposterous they are. Example: "Misty Knight. Detective. Also bionic". Has a whimsical feel to it, yet I'm not surprised this title didn't last long. The letters page has an article from the writer (Cullen Bunn) about how he was a fan of the "New Defenders", circa 1983.
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & the Outsiders Annual #1
Annuals always throw me off in my re-reads. This one's set right after issue 13, as Batman's still laid up from poison. Geo-Force gets a new costume, to separate him from his dead sister, Terra.

This story strives to be inspired by George Orwell's "1984", since it was in fact released in the middle of 1984. Yet the results are interesting. Bad rich guy B. Eric Blairman wants to spy on everybody in the US, through their television sets. He creates the super-powered "Force of July" to fight the Outsiders.

That's fine, but what's REALLY interesting is some of Blairman's dialogue. He singles out Geo-Force, Katana and Black Lightning as un-American because they have "foreign blood" and are a threat to the integrity of the US. Furthermore, when he begins executing his plan, he says it's time to "Make America Great Again"! I shit you not.
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & the Outsiders #24
A terrorist group attacks the Gotham Zoo, while the Outsiders are visiting. It's actually a plot by Simon Stagg's business manager to kill Stagg, "accidentally". Simon Stagg and Metamorpho make up as it's a prelude to BATO Annual #2: the wedding of Metamorpho.
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & The Outsiders #25-27
Halo runs off to join a hippie commune, but it's a front by the master-criminal Kobra. Korba and his organization hi-jack the space shuttle and take over the "Star Wars Defense System" (SDI); which was a big buzz in the mid-80's. The Outsiders take them out, quite easily. Only interesting note is that Batman and Kobra go one-on-one and it ends in a stalemate. There was a lot of set-up with the whole commune ruse and it did not pay off in a good climax.

I have a random issue of Kobra's 70's series, somewhere. I seem to remember that he had a "good" twin brother, who was always tying to track him down or stop him. That's completely ignored, here, so who knows what became of that?

In a crappy sub-plot, Katana goes to the bank and meets the teller, Emily Briggs. Briggs is all sad, because she's not pretty. Yes, this becomes a major plot point, soon.

There's also more set-up for Metamorpho's wedding, as Annual #2 slots in, next.
Edited by Erick Von Erich, Jan 26 2018, 02:37 PM.
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & The Outsiders Annual #2
Metamorpho is set to get married, but he's replaced by a duplicate "chemical clone" from his old enemy, Maxwell Tremayne. The clone kidnaps Sapphire Stagg (Metamorpho's main squeeze) and takes her to Tremayne's mansion in Africa. The Outsiders follow, but Tremayne has hired the Masters of Disasters as security. The Outsiders take them out, pretty easily, as it's an attempt to make them the team's recurring or arch-villains.

Tremayne's a little bit like Arcane from "Swamp Thing". Old guy with machines plugged into him. He appears to disintegrate when the clone ("Even Steven") turns on him.

A very textbook paint-by-numbers story, from start to finish. The wedding resumes and Metamorpho and Sapphire are officially married. I don't seem to recall Metamorpho being married when I saw him in "Justice League Europe" in the late 80's...so I'm a little curious what happens there.
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & the Outsiders #28-31
Emily Briggs is abducted by a mysterious subterranean race, the Abyssians (from Switzerland), as she's the last bloodline of their long-lost leader. Rex Mason (Metamorpho) and Sapphire Stagg were honeymooning in Switzerland and noticed some weird stuff...so Metamorpho ended up getting mind-controlled by the Abyssians.

What follows is a LAME fantasy wannabe. It also ties into the return of Halley's Comet, as the Abyssians' original leader was powered by a chunk from the comet/meteor. Emily Briggs is zapped by...something...and becomes Looker. From a mousey bank teller to a (supposed) hot chick. She now has eye-beams and telekinesis.

I'd forgotten about Looker-- she's a character I absolutely hate. My pre-pubescent young self didn't think she was hot at all. The story about how she was a nobody, but now she's SOMEBODY because she's suddenly "pretty" is all kinds of ridiculous, demeaning and brainless. The story ends with her banging her husband in her body, as a Christmas present. Um...okay, but it was established that her husband liked her as she was (and yeah, she was cuter as plain ol' Emily Briggs).

What's also weird is that Looker was already introduced in the direct-only "Outsiders #1", which was released a few months ago. Around the time of issue 26 or so. This is the same effect DC used in their "New Teen Titans/Tales of the New Teen Titans" mess from about a year earlier. The direct-only title is a one-year/12 issue time-jump and the original title has to play catch up and will run reprints, soon. So people already knew who Looker was (and that Batman was gone); which may be why this story was so bland and rushed.

One more official "BATO" issue to go!

On a minor, yet important, note, I'm thinking Katana's facial design is very stereotypical and might be considered offensive. I dunno...just throwing this out and thinking about it.
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Erick Von Erich
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Batman & The Outsiders #32
Since returning from Abyssia, Batman's been running the Outsiders, non-stop, to take out Morgan Jones' gang. After two days of fighting, they finally are able to break radio silence...and Geo-Force is pissed when he finds out Markovia's been invaded (this time by Baron Bedlam and the Masters of Disaster). Dr. Jace; the Markovian scientist who only appears when the plot needs her; delivers the news.

A big argument breaks out. Batman insists that, due to their absence in Abyssia, several Gotham PD officers were killed by Jones' gang. He even shows the all-important NEWSPAPER to illustrate the point. Batman knew about Markovia's invasion, but kept it hidden from the team for 2 days. They all voice their opinions that whatever they do is not good enough for Batman. Almost out of spite, Batman dissolves the team and has a little smirk when Halo protests. Then he gets pissed when it's apparent that they'll all stay together and help Geo-Force in Markovia. Batman says: "fine. Leave me. Dick did and I suppose Jason will too, someday. Soldiers change, but my war goes on". What a prick.

Back-up story is about Looker flaunting her new "model" image in public. She gives herself the new name of "Lia". She's very unstable, seems more like a villain now and has done absolutely NOTHING heroic.

This title becomes "Adventures of the Outsiders" with issue 33. It's actually a reprint of "Outsiders #1", which was released awhile back. In short, you can continue on with "Adventures" for a few more issues, or just jump right over to "Outsiders #1".

I think Batman comes back to help the team and bury the hatchet in about 10 or 12 issues' time. I'm not 100% sure on the dates, but I think for awhile he was in the Outsiders AND the new Justice League, at the same time. I haven't seen a "Legends" crossover on any Outsiders books, yet; which would be a good timeline indicator.

So...overall? This title sucks. It sounds cool on paper: Batman runs his own super-team, his way! Black Lightning! Metamorpho! 3 new characters! Suck it, JLA! Great formula, but poor results. Mainly because Batman seems like an absolute jerk and know-it-all the whole time. Very inconsistent with where they were going with him. Like I said, they really didn't define Batman and reel him in until the late 80's. 90's Batman is pretty cool. 80's Batman sucks.
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Erick Von Erich
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Fearless Defenders #2-3
More clarification on what's going on-- Caroline LeFay (who?) is bringing back the "Doom Maidens", old Asgardian reapers that pre-date the Valkyior. They're bad, of course. LeFay and her flunky, Mr. Raven, kidnap Dani Moonstar, due to her connection with the Valkyior.

Valkyrie was supposed to recruit some modern Valkyior, but decided to drink and screw instead. This point is kinda' weird, so I hope it's cleared up in the future.

Hela also pops up and adds "Hippolyta" aka "Warrior Woman" to the team. She's a blatant swipe/homage at Wonder Woman and thus far is played up like they would Hercules and Thor (in their melodramatic days). The action and dialogue move well in these issues. Only real annoyance is the letters page, which is full of fans flooding them with suggestions for future female members. They're all over the place and it's like a buncha' nerds at a comic store simply tossing out names of female Marvel characters. I half expect somebody to ask for all the chicks to get nekkid and wrestle (to paraphrase Tom Servo).
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Erick Von Erich
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Fearless Defenders #4-6
Finishes up the "Doom Maidens" arc, as Misty Knight calls in a gigantic "Heroes for Hire" cast of female guest-stars. Capt. Marvel, Storm, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Tigra, Black Cat, Tarantula, Black Widow... and a bunch more. No Wasp and Invisible Woman, though. They defeat the Doom Maidens on a mountaintop in Brazil when Valkyrie gives in to her ancient persona of "Maiden of Rage" and kills 'em all. She wants to keep killing, so Dr. Anabelle Riggs tries to talk her down...and gets killed by Val in the process. Valkyrie then snaps out of it and tries to give an inspirational speech about how the world needs "Defenders", but Misty slugs her.

Overall, an energetic opening arc and better than I expected. They're definitely a "non-team" per Defenders tradition. The all-woman gimmick is a little bothersome, but works for this arc, since it's all about the actual valkyries (who are exclusively female in all Marvel and non-Marvel appearances).

There's also an "Age of Ultron" issue mixed in here. I abhor "alternate reality" crap, but it tries to provide some background on Hippolyta/Warrior Woman. She basically has daddy issues with Ares. It also defines that Caroline LeFay is the offspring of Dr. Doom and Morgan LeFay. Figured she was tied to Morgan, but forgot all about the time-traveling Dr. Doom F*cking that was covered in "Avengers" about 8 years ago. No idea who Mr. Raven is, though.
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JimBob Skeeter
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Erick Von Erich
Feb 1 2018, 09:02 AM
Batman & The Outsiders #32
Since returning from Abyssia, Batman's been running the Outsiders, non-stop, to take out Morgan Jones' gang. After two days of fighting, they finally are able to break radio silence...and Geo-Force is pissed when he finds out Markovia's been invaded (this time by Baron Bedlam and the Masters of Disaster). Dr. Jace; the Markovian scientist who only appears when the plot needs her; delivers the news.

A big argument breaks out. Batman insists that, due to their absence in Abyssia, several Gotham PD officers were killed by Jones' gang. He even shows the all-important NEWSPAPER to illustrate the point. Batman knew about Markovia's invasion, but kept it hidden from the team for 2 days. They all voice their opinions that whatever they do is not good enough for Batman. Almost out of spite, Batman dissolves the team and has a little smirk when Halo protests. Then he gets pissed when it's apparent that they'll all stay together and help Geo-Force in Markovia. Batman says: "fine. Leave me. Dick did and I suppose Jason will too, someday. Soldiers change, but my war goes on". What a prick.

Back-up story is about Looker flaunting her new "model" image in public. She gives herself the new name of "Lia". She's very unstable, seems more like a villain now and has done absolutely NOTHING heroic.

This title becomes "Adventures of the Outsiders" with issue 33. It's actually a reprint of "Outsiders #1", which was released awhile back. In short, you can continue on with "Adventures" for a few more issues, or just jump right over to "Outsiders #1".

I think Batman comes back to help the team and bury the hatchet in about 10 or 12 issues' time. I'm not 100% sure on the dates, but I think for awhile he was in the Outsiders AND the new Justice League, at the same time. I haven't seen a "Legends" crossover on any Outsiders books, yet; which would be a good timeline indicator.

So...overall? This title sucks. It sounds cool on paper: Batman runs his own super-team, his way! Black Lightning! Metamorpho! 3 new characters! Suck it, JLA! Great formula, but poor results. Mainly because Batman seems like an absolute jerk and know-it-all the whole time. Very inconsistent with where they were going with him. Like I said, they really didn't define Batman and reel him in until the late 80's. 90's Batman is pretty cool. 80's Batman sucks.
80's Giffen JLI Batman ruled, tho.
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Erick Von Erich
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I'd say that 80's JL/JLI Batman was there more as a foil for Guy Gardner. Which was awesome and I loved it. But again, it wasn't really consistent with how Batman was in his own titles, at the time.

Fearless Defenders #7
Valkyrie goes to Valhalla, where the deceased Annabelle Riggs has been. Val's also been hiding Clea outside Valhalla, so she calls in a favor to return Riggs to the land of the living. Clea casts a spell that combines Valkyrie and Riggs into one; so they're now sharing the same body and swap out. Sorta' like Captain Marvel and Rick Jones. Or in other words: Valkyrie has a new secret ID.

Caroline LeFay has also been looking around for her own villainous team of females. The intro to this title is officially over, so now comes the hard part of continuing things and making the title last. Spoiler: there are only a few issues left.
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