DC Bronze Age Read-through Project: September 1970

Boy is that Aquaman cover misleading. Just a scam to get some rich guys to blow up Atlantis with an atomic bomb. The Wonder Woman story is pretty forgettable, although she was still able to to find a full buccaneer outfit in full white. Superboy thwarts some Nazis before America enters World War II, therefore indicating that Superman must be in his 40s (this will be fixed later). Green Arrow and Green Lantern end up fighting each other while trying to end a dispute between some Native Americans and some white dudes. Batman gets accused of murder and has to clear his name, then basically has to do the same thing for someone else in the backup. Flash’s mind gets all messed up for the third issue in a row, but this time it involves him killing the President (how many references to the number 200 can you spot?). The Spectre sacrifices himself to save Earth-1 and Earth-2 in the JLA issue. In Action, After taking away his son’s powers last issue, Superman is saved by him. Somehow, this means that Superman Jr deserves to have his powers again, so Superman gives his powers to his son, then retires. And, in Detective, Batman has to avenge a murder that hasn’t happened yet, while Robin pretty much messes up again, but this time it all works out.

I just cannot get into the Wonder Woman series. I’m finding it kinda boring, and it’s getting annoying that she cannot handle anything solo, requiring someone, usually male, to help her. This is probably due mostly to the time period in which these stories are being written, but it is still annoying.

The Aquaman story annoyed me right off because it was very misleading. It wasn’t a dream, not an imaginary story, nor a cautionary tale about what could happen if a large enough earthquake hits (which may or may not be caused by a 200 megaton bomb). Just a dumb plot to scare some rich guy. Even the introductory splash page lies.

The rest was fairly entertaining, although the Action issue does not make up for last month, and seemed to be rushed. Also Frank Springer is a much better inker for this more modern Batman rather than Joe Giella, who seemed to be trying to keep the art in the 60s “New Look” style.

DC Bronze Age Read-through Project: August 1970

This month, Batman takes on a monstrous man who is also a very articulate crime boss (O’Neil must have been paid by the syllable for this one), Flash dies (with a poorly attended funeral), the JLA and JSA begin their annual team-up, Supergirl rescues Superman from the Execution planet but also watches a bunch of people sacrifice themselves to their evil gods. Also, all those criminals who stole Superman’s uniform and sent our naked hero away in a rocket appear to have gotten away with it.

Then we have an imaginary story where Superman and Batman act way out of character. Superman acts like an a$$-hat because his son isn’t very good with his powers while Batman’s son is getting awards (which Batman likes to rub in Superman’s face). The first problem is that Batman works with his son, while Superman expects his son to just know what to do on his own. Secondly, Superman says the last straw is when his son wrecks the fortress to destroy a Superboy robot he invented to help with his son’s training. First of all, Superman failed to tell his son about the robot. Second, he should be doing the training, not some robot. Not that his son is completely innocent, but he definitely has self esteem issues, since Superman literally spends the entire issue telling him that he sucks.

Then we end the month with the return of Man-Bat, who completes his mutation into a bat, and Robin re-dedicating himself to being the best hero he can be. At least I think that’s what happened. The story just kind of ends without much of a resolution.

DC Bronze Age Read-through Project: July 1970

This month, Aquaman returns to Atlantis, Wonder Woman goes to Red China made up like a Chinese woman (although with this art, the only change was the skin color), Superman saves Metropolis from bombs, but the second story has him losing his powers and costume before being sent to the Execution Planet (to be continued), the story of Superbaby blowing up the Earth helps Superboy save it, Black Canary is hypnotized, Superman entrusts the President with a weapon that can destroy even him (definitely pre-Watergate), Batman is stalked by a hunter, and Batigrl and Robin finally team up in their 2-part team-up story.

Also, in case you weren’t aware, Kirby is coming…

DC Bronze Age Read-through Project: June 1970

Another fun month down. Superboy time travels, GL and GA arrive in Desolation, Batman and Robin solve the mystery of the “not-Beatles,” Flash thinks he’s a little kid (but is allowed to make out with Zatanna in front of Iris in the backup, so it’s not all bad), the JLA go crazy while Jean Loring regains her sanity (not an Identity Crisis in sight), Superman acts way out of character so as not to arouse suspicion while preventing an alien invasion (a huge, convoluted plan that wasn’t necessary, but will be explained to the public 100 years after Superman dies), 3 Legionaires fight a robot, Batman meets Man-Bat, and Batgirl and Robin are supposed to be in a story together but don’t. Next up, more Silver/Bronze Age goodness, including a Superbaby story (oh joy)!

DC Bronze Age Read-through Project: May 1970

Another month down! Aquaman was doing decompressed storytelling before it was cool (which is annoying in a book that only came out 8 times a year). I’m not a big fan of Wonder-less Woman, but the Cyber story is starting to ramp up. Still waiting for the bat-books to be more consistent. For an era that is supposed to be going back to basics, there sure is a lot of mystical stuff going on outside of Gotham that Batman has to deal with. And the super-books were a bit weird this month, with both a Red Kryptonite story, and a sequel of sorts to the old “The Night of March 31st” story. And, once again, the JLA are saved by Black Canary’s mysterious, uncontrollable, sonic power.

And yet, I really enjoyed reading these books. Had trouble putting the iPad down. Weird!

Also, Commissioner Gordon never puts on his glasses during the Detective issue. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts.

DC Bronze Age Read-through Project: April 1970

Another month done. The Superman and Superboy issues feeling like the story was written based on the cover idea, which I know they used to do back in the day. Superman plays God in the Action issue, which makes no sense considering the dead planet he was using. The GL/GA storyline kicks off with the only issue I had read of it so far, so I’m looking forward to the others. The Batman story was solved for him because they ran out of room, and the Robin backup ended with a cliffhanger just as it was getting started. I’m also noticing the same creative team (Frank Robbins and Bob Brown) working on Superboy and Detective, and I’m liking their Superboy a little better. The writing isn’t bad (Robbins handles Batman better in Batman where he has more pages), but the art looks more like Infantino “new-look” Batman than the more modern work by Irv Novick and Neal Adams. Although, to be fair, this could be more due to Joe Giella’s inks than anything else.

Now to see what May had to offer…

DC Bronze Age Read-through Project: March 1970

Another interesting month. Wonder Woman gets saved by others, Deadman returns as Aquaman disappears, Green Lantern has his final adventure before he starts traveling with Green Arrow. Oh, and The JLA fights pollution.

DC Bronze Age Read-through Project: February 1970

This month, Aquaman and Aqualad battle a saboteur in Alaska who ends up being one of Aquaman’s friends, Diana and I-Ching meet Morgana the Witch (daughter of Morgan Le Fey), Batman tries saves a politician then sings Christmas carols with the GCPD, Flash has to marry a possessed woman (but he’s already married to Iris!), the JLA relocate to a new satellite headquarters 22,300 miles above the Earth, Superman suffers from “imaginary story syndrome” and has a super-intelligent son who realizes he’s better and smarter than anyone else on Earth (you can see where this is going).  In Action Comics, Superman travels 100,000 years into the future in a damaged time bubble, which causes him to age 100,000 years, and some mysterious force is preventing from returning to 1970. And finally, Batman has to save a young investor who is being used by crooks to get them money through the stock market.

My favorite story was probably the Action story. Hopefully next month will be better.

DC Bronze Age Read-through Project: January 1970

This month, Superman is tested, fails, and becomes half as effective. Before I go on, this issue is kind of special to me as, for a long time, this was my oldest Superman issue I owned, and is still the only Superman issue I have ever bought in Metropolis, Illinois (the prices in that store are terrible). Anyway, Superboy gets sent to the Phantom Zone and is replaced by an evil impostor (and somehow Krypto learns how to talk), Superman has to fight a sentient costume, Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams tell their first dark and moody Batman story, and Green Lantern has to take on the combined might of Star Sapphire and Sinestro. Hal also reveals to Carol Ferris that she is Star Sapphire, which she doesn’t believe.

DC Bronze Age Read-through Project: December 1969

Announcing a new reading project! Over the next…however long it takes… I’ll be reading many of the super-hero titles published by DC Comics, from cover date December 1969 until at least the end of the Bronze Age (so late 1986). I was going to start from Jan 1970, but there was too much continuation from the previous month (Green Lantern, Detective, Action, and JLA all carry over). Interesting to see all the changes initiated at this point (Dick Grayson goes to college, Bruce and Alfred move downtown, Snapper betrays the League forcing them to relocate, etc.). Almost like a rebirth of sorts… Anyway, I’ll be making posts here to chronicle my foray through DC’s Bronze Age.

This month, Superboy decides he’s had enough and wants to just be Clark, which includes giving up his powers. If you’ve ever ready a Superman comic, you know this doesn’t last long. In Green Lantern, Hal returns to Coast City, and Star Sapphire returns to GL’s life, leaving him in space and with amnesia at the end of the story. Meanwhile, in Gotham City, Dick Grayson heads off to Hudson Univerisity, so Bruce decides to move to the Wayne Penthouse downtown and employ a “back to basics” approach. He also starts up a new program to help out the vicitms of violent crimes, which also provides cases for Batman. In Central City, Captain Cold finds a way to restore youth to old people, and tries to use it to save and marry an old, rich actress. It kind of works, but after taking out Flash (catching him in suspended animation which the hero was vibrating), he brags to Heat Wave which ends up being his undoing. Elsewhere, the Joker, in disguise, tricks Snapper Carr into revealing the location of the Justice League’s secret headquarters. Fortunately, Black Canary’s new sonic powers, which she cannot yet control, allow her to save the day. However, this still leaves the JLA in need of a new headquarters. In Action, 2 alien space suits, 1 belonging to a criminal and 1 to a law enforcer, given sentience by the radiation of passing comet, reach Earth, and their struggle causes trouble in Metropolis, drawing the attention of Superman. The story ends with both suits racing to be the first to possess the powerful Man of Steel. In the 30th Century, Chameleon Boy falls for a girl who is scared of his looks, so he disguises himself to appear more human. This doesn’t last long though, as he is forced to uses his powers, revealing who he really is, but the girl decides that there is more to him than his alien appearance. In Detective, Batman has to clear both his name, and a driver hired by the Wayne Foundation for a race, when it appears that the driver was hired to shoot another driver, causing him to lose an eye. Meanwhile, Robin has his first adventure at Hudson University.