Tuesday, November 04, 2014

As of right this second, Arrow is the only super-hero show I'm caught up on. (I'm watching an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. right now, but I'm also really missing my VCR. Watching TV on the computer seems like playing solitaire: kind of a waste, when the machine could be doing other things.) And yet even though I think he's been in the credits all this season, I'm always surprised to see Malcolm Merlin. I always expect him to be killed off, because I can't see actor John Barrowman costing out forever. But it's also surprising that I have comics with Merlin, since I never thought he was hugely popular before. And a lot of Merlin's plotline in Arrow turns up in today's issue: on the outs with the League of Assassins, hunted by the daughter of R'as al Ghul, doing a little freelance work. Only the daughter is Talia, and the hero this issue is Black Lightning!

From 1977, Black Lightning #2, "Merlyn Means Murder" Created and written by Tony Isabella, art by Trevor Von Eeden and Frank Springer. BL's snitch in the crime syndicate the 100 has turned on the rookie hero, who does fine against them but not so well against the archer Merlyn. Merlyn's no longer with the League of Assassins, after failing to murder Batman, so Talia is hunting him down. (Which she probably also would've done if he had somehow murdered Batman...)

Merlyn explains to the former snitch that he's no longer needed in the 100, then offers Black Lightning a sporting five-minute head start. Black Lightning instead opts to punch Merlyn in the face right there, then goes after his former snitch; as an unseen gunman (namely, Talia) takes out the 100's men. A stray bullet wounds Merlyn, who accidentally kills the snitch. Lightning stops Talia from finishing Merlyn off, and "the magician" escapes with his jetpack. (?!) But Talia explains she shot the gunmen with an amnesia-inducing drug created by her dad; and Black Lightning seemingly realizes for the first time that being a superhero may be a bit more violent lifestyle than he had planned on.

Seriously, it's like it just occurred to him that punching people in the face and shocking criminals with an electrical-proto-taser thing may be "violent."

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