Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Super Powers #1

Super Powers #1, September 1985, DC Comics
writer: Paul Kupperberg
penciller: Jack Kirby
inker: Greg Theakston
colorist: Joe Orlando
letterer: David Cody Weiss
editor: Andy Helfer

I was four, maybe five years old. I was sick. My grandmother and grandfather (henceforth addressed in my blogs by their proper names, Mima and Papa) surprised me with a Super Powers Superman and Supermobile. Eventually, my young body healed, but by then, I had caught another fever. I was addicted to superheroes.

I must confess, as a kid, I didn't read a lot of comics. I was enamored with the little issues that came with each Super Powers figure (and I had a few Marvel Secret Wars figures around for good measure, but they never mingled), but I fairly consumed by the adventures I created myself. To this day, I'll never forget them . . . Wonder Woman and Hawkman's controversial romance, the Flash's death and imminent return, Darkseid's Red Tornado virus that nearly compromised the Hall of Justice defense systems. Oh, yes. I was into it. So, you can imagine my child-like excitement when I saw an old issue of Super Powers for a buck at the Comic Con. I wondered if the League's full-sized adventures were as intricate as the ones I had enacted on my bedroom floor.

Indeed. First of all, Kirby was the man behind the pencil, which elevates the book to a level of legitimacy I wouldn't have assigned an action figure spin-off. I assumed "Super Powers" were affiliated with Super Friends, but with Martian Manhunter, Red Tornado, and Green Arrow playing prominent roles in this story, all of whom didn't appear in the old cartoon series (to the best of my recollection), I obviously assumed wrong. No, Super Powers was a Justice League/DCU vehicle, putting characters into the hands of lay-kids like me that would've have heard of Firestorm otherwise. Interesting, the writer of this tale is Paul Kupperberg, I name I recognize from my two-part promo comics series a few days ago. Looks like he was legit after all.

Speaking of the story, Kupperberg and Kirby actually reference other tales in conjunction with this series, again affiliating the Super Powers franchise with the grand scheme, an effort I wonder if the old Total Justice line sought to do. Nevertheless, in this first issue of the second SP mini-series, Darkseid has been de-throned, and he and his minions retreat to conquer his favorite plan-B planet, Earth. Desaad uses his new Star Gate to attact the League on their divided fronts, first sending Martian Manhunter and Aquaman to confront King Arthur and Lancelot in old medieval times. Meanwhile, Darkseid has planted some large, alien "seeds of doom" which are sprouting roots headed toward the Earth's core. We can only imagine that these spores will transform Earth into an Apokolips reject. Ah, Darkseid. So predictable.

The most gratifying page of the entire issue is the splash featuring the heroes assembled for the first time: DC's big seven (sans Aquaman, who joins the action later), with Robin, Hawkman, Green Arrow, Red Tornado, and Firestorm. Like I said before, I didn't really delve into the comics as a kid, and since Martian Manhunter was offered in a later Super Powers wave, I didn't realize how critical he was until much later in my collecting career. Robin rounded out my big seven, which included Hawkman, so I actually had a big eight. (Still do. Heh.) Man, this is bringing back some memories . . .

That tears it. My girlfriend is going out of town next weekend. I'm dusting off the JLU figures that have been idle on my shelf and I'm having a reunion! Perhaps Darkseid will kidnap Waverider and use his time-traveling abilities to disrupt Superman and Batman's first meeting, splintering the League in the present day.

Uh oh. I don't feel so good.

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