Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Essential Defenders Vol. 3 and JLA Vol. 9: Terror Incognita

Here's how this works: I finish reading a comic collection, and I tell you about it, and I try not to go on too long.

I loved The Defenders when I was a kid. This was a bizarre book which teamed kid-favorite the Hulk with a host of B- and C-listers. I had more than a third of the books in this collection of thirty issues, but the last time I read any of them was twenty years ago, so this sparked all kinds of half-memories and nostalgia. It's occasionally frustrating to see the various writers introduce ongoing subplots that they didn't get to finish before they were moved to another title, most notoriously a serial killing elf in Steve Gerber's fun run who shows up to gun down strangers with a big revolver. It's big fun until an overwritten and ponderous three-part story about demons by the otherwise reliable David Anthony Kraft which closes the collection, and it's frankly odd to see this motormouth villain called Lunatik who is the spiritual grandfather of DC's Ambush Bug. Recommended for readers familiar with 70s Marvel Comics.

I also loved JLA as a kid, and periodically indulge patches where I buy the damn thing no matter how awful it is. Every so often, I swap my singles at Wuxtry for a collected edition. This reprints a four-part story by Mark Waid about some evil aliens - "Pale Martians," if you must know - making their second bid for global control, and two one-off stories. It's really odd, the way the creators decided to make Plastic Man the "junior member" of the team of seven and write him as utterly annoying and disliked by half the team, and then acted surprised to learn that the fanboys didn't like him. The one-off where Plas improvises a bedtime story about Santa Claus being a member of the Justice League is occasionally funny, but overall this is superheroes by the numbers, unoriginal, dull and not recommended for anybody.

(Originally posted October 10, 2007 at hipsterdad's LJ.)

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