Wednesday, September 22, 2010
If I ever, for some reason, had to make the sad choice of only having one comic book, collection or trade paperback with me for the rest of my life - this would certainly be a top candidate. It's a great sampler of DC's team-ups and group adventures since just before the Silver Age to the eighties. It starts off with "The Terrible Trio", a story that teams the most famous characters, Superman, Batman and Robin against three big baddies. Other highlights for me include a two part Green Arrow (pre-goatee)/Aquaman adventure from Adventure Comics #267 with art from Ramona Fradon; a super-groovy Atom/Flash team-up from Bob Haney and Alex Toth; Adam Strange and Hawkman together in "Planets in Peril", which possibly began the Rann/Thanagar relationship still being explored today. It's nice to have the first pairing of teen heroes that would become the prototype for the Teen Titans, from Brave and the Bold #54. There's an odd but interesting story about how Tomar Re, the birdheaded Green Lantern, suffers guilt because Krypton was in his space sector, and wonders if he could have done more to prevent its destruction. There are also some indispensable team-up stories like "The Flash of Two Worlds", without which it is difficult to imagine comic history, and the first teaming of the Justice League and the Justice Society. There is also the first Dennis O'Neal/Neal Adams Green Lantern Green Arrow story, the one that kicked it all off. I'm not a huge fan of the Hard Traveling Heroes era but I acknowledge it has a place in comic history. As the volume goes on, it gets to a couple teamings that are interesting though not particularly hard hitting - Batman and the Creeper, and Superman and Swamp Thing, the latter by Alan Moore, whose work I usually don't like. I find the story here to be okay but nothing special other than the opening shot of a stubbly, addled-looking Superman driving a car.
On top of it being a great sampler in terms of characters, many of the great writers and artists are represented. Bob Haney, Gardner Fox, Bruno Premiani, Alex Toth, Ramona Fradon and Mike Sekowsky, to name several. Here's a look at the back cover of my copy, illustration by Carmine Infantino and Bob Smith - with a nice array of characters.