Tuesday, August 22, 2006

See, that's why you have to stick with gamma radiation for the quality mutations...

This scene from Timber Wolf #2 (written and inked by Al Gordon, pencils by Joe Phillips) takes place in a bar called the Gene Pool. Traditionally, there are relatively few mutants in the DC Universe; but there are those that carry the 'metagene,' and have at least the genetic potential to develop super-powers. Unfortunately, there's no telling what could be the catalyst, or 'origin,' for your powers: just because you have the metagene and want to be the Human Torch, doesn't mean you can set yourself on fire. (Mixed companies a bit there, but he's a good example!) I'm not 100% on this one, but I think all this metagene business was established in the Invasion! mini-series, from the Dominators' experiments.

I really liked this limited, a spin-off from Legion of Super-Heroes. If any Legion fans can tell me why it's traditional for the spin-offs to end up in the twentieth century instead of their normal thirtieth, let me know: Karate Kid, Cosmic Boy, Valor, and this one. Timber Wolf was the first Legionnaire whose origin I knew as a kid, and it's not too shabby--his dad really wanted him to have super-powers, so he sent androids to get a rare element. One android made it back, and the dad adopts the last android as a son, then gives his son Brin powers, then dies. The android uses this opportunity to switch, telling the newly-empowered and confused Brin that he was the android, Lone Wolf. Eventually, the Legion straightens the whole thing out, and years later he would join as Timber Wolf. If you ask me, it's a way better origin than 'zapped by lightning monsters' or 'from planet where everyone can eat anything.' Oddly, since this particular look for T-Wolf was about three reboots ago, it looks like the design used for the new cartoon takes a bit from it.

The blond kid with his back to us is Thrust, a superhero name that I can't decide if it's brilliant or horrible. An alien (hybrid?), mouthy, punk; he alludes in his first appearance that "You may have heard of my dad, but that's another story." That's great, but it was never revealed in the series, and I don't think he ever appeared again. Bugged me for years, but recently, someone (probably from Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed at Comics Should be Good or a commenter there!) explained that Lobo was meant to be his dad. Kind of a waste not using Thrust again somewhere, but hey, DC's had a ton of great teenaged characters since then, like Anima and Risk.

Regardless, this was a fun series, that seemed pretty lighthearted even though the Dominators were up to their usual evil, there's a government conspiracy that will probably lead to Earth blowing up in the LOSH future, and T-Wolf is stuck a thousand years in his past. That last one's probably as much fun for him as it would be for you or I to go back to the year 1006: everyone smells, is full of barbaric and stupid ideas, and the pornography is vastly inferior to what you're used to...wait...

The only trouble is, like I said, this was like three reboots ago. There's a Timber Wolf in the new Waid and Kitson Legion, but very different. The Creeper guests in issue 3, and he was just restarted with a new origin too. (Not a bad first issue, but why?) Rao, Lobo's probably been rebooted by now. I imagine this series, like a lot of other books, have been rendered 'continuity orphans' by the various Crisis...Crisises...Crisi...by the whole New Earth thing.

But I still have the issues, so this Timber Wolf still has a home here, with Jennifer Morgan and the old Warlord, and the old Creeper series, and any other misfits of continuity that turn up. What favorites of yours have been exiled from New Earth, or any other universe?


The Fortress Keeper said...

Wow. I didn't even know Timber Wolf had a mini-series. I'm a big fan of the new Legion, as it's the first one that has made any sense for me since the original Crisis.

Like you, I don't understand why The Creeper needed a reboot - especially since the first issue wasn't a gigantic detour from the original story.

Misfits of continuity? The entire concept of Earth-2, since it allowed heroes to age without messing up DC's core icons.

(Don't want to get into the George Bush parallel Earth-2 Superman was saddled with in Infinite Crisis ...)

I also miss the original, Silver-Age Kara Zor-El, not too surprisingly.

On the Marvel side of things, I miss the Reed Richards and Tony Stark I read about for 30 some odd years. Too bad they were killed and replaced by LMDs!

albabe said...

Hey guys!

Thanx for the great review of Timber Wolf!

The fortress keeper echos most everyone I've ever met at cons who finds out about this mini-series... no one saw this when it originally came out. I had a lot of fun Writing it and Inking it, and I thought Joe did a tremendous job penciling it.

After all these years it's great to read a review on something I did when I was just a tadpole starting out writing comics.

The metagene was something Keith Giffen came up with for the Invasion mini... and Tom & Mary Bierbaum and I contributed all sorts of fun stuff to it. Those guys (and gal) were amazing to work with. I learned a lot from all three of 'em.

As for the Legion spin-offs happening in the 20th as opposed to the 30th centuries... I can't say why that happened in other books, but I was working on bringing some of the Legion back in time (TW would have been the first) and stranding them here in our time...my idea as a continuing TW book, if it caught on. As is obvious, it didn't catch on... I think mostly because DC didn't do any advertising for it, in-house or otherwise, and like the fortress keeper... not many people even knew it existed.

FYI, when TW was in his more bestial form in the Legion books that were happening at the same time... Keith and I decided that Brin would have "evolved," because of the drugs his Dad gave him, into the monster with sneakers on from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. Check out the Legion books of that series #s 1 thru 24. I wrote #s 21 thru 24 all by my lonesome. It was my writing Baptism of Fire. Keith woudn't let me get away with any Marvel style plotting and made me write complete Full Scripts, so I learned a lot.

There was good mail response on my 4 solo issues, so I wrote half of the Legion Annual later that year, spinning TW off into the mini. That's when we sent him back in time, and Gemini's powers kinda short-circuited the drugs and he ended up in an in-between state, mentally and physically.

I knew Dave Cochrum a bit, and I knew he really liked TW a lot, I'm pretty sure that's why he morphed that secondary (at that time) character from the Hulk, called Wolverine, into the much cooler version we all know... Wolvie obviously has TW at his X-Men roots... and Keith and I talked a lot about getting some of that cache of kudos back to TW.

Thrust (Keith came up with that name) was supposed to be Son of Lobo and a Durlan gal. We figured Lobo was a wild and crazy sort that, like Ricky Nelson, was a "Travelin' Man" and pretty much had a babe in every port. We figured he really got around. I imagine there was some serious antibiotics in the 30th Century.

Having the Creeper guest in an issue was a mandate from my editor. I didn't really want to have him in the series, so I had him guest... and split. I wish I'd have written him better, because I really love the character. My bad.

Thanx again for the review!

~albabe (The Writer/Inker formally known as Al Gordon)