Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Why this isn't in the Sunday comics, I don't know...

I got Superman Villains Secret Files #1 because it was cheap, not because I had a burning curiosity about the state of Supes' rogues' gallery circa 1998. Still, it was stronger than expected: in the lead feature, Lex Luthor recaps the origins of several villains...as a bedtime story for his baby daughter Lena. (Whatever happened to her, anyway? Brainiac 13 something? I don't know. Same thing that happens to half the newborns in comics, anyway...) For good measure, writer/artist Stuart Immonen does the story portion in a Winsor McCay style that would look just as good on the Sunday comics page. Why doesn't DC spring for tha...ah, I thought about newspaper distribution numbers and may have answered my own question.

Even though at the time the Toyman was a really creepy child murderer, and it's mentioned elsewhere this same issue; Evan Dorkin and Stephen DeStefano apparently didn't get the memo and delivered a fun catalog piece instead. Bless 'em. The "Chatty Patsy Talking Ransom Doll," which you could actually have made to look like the kidnapped victim, is all kinds of wrong...and really pretty hysterical.

Superman sometimes doesn't have the strongest villain roster--I often think Metallo and Doomsday are classic Supes villains by default more than anything. (And Doomsday is coming up on twenty years old? Crap!) The Atomic Skull revamp was an interesting notion, with a faux movie serial background, but unfortunately made him a tragic character rather than a proper bad guy. The Cyborg has the plus of an interesting origin (psuedo-Reed Richards loses his four and his humanity, later passes himself off as Cyborg Superman, racks up a proper body count) but loses something every time he comes back from a certain end. Maxima and Obsession are two more attempts to add a female rogue for Supes; and two more misfires. Then we get down to Rock, Mainframe, and Riot: dregs.

1 comment:

Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

Oh shit, that ransom doll is funny as fuck! Good for Dorkin, as it fits the usual humor from him.

I too enjoyed Lex's origin tale by Immomen, so good on him.

I might have to keep this little gem in mind when back-issue hunting some time; good choice goo!