Join Jim, Rob and Mike for the very last time as we chat all things DC and look back over the last 3 amazing years!
The whole team is together to chat Titans, Supergirl, Superman & Lois and the future of all things DCTV, also Mike has nicely surprised us with a new quiz that you can play along with at home! So what are you waiting for have a listen now!!
Growing up as a young comic book collector in the mid 1990s, there were few people to talk to about comics. This was just as the internet was becoming public, but still quite a ways off before I would gain access to it in 1998. Out of a group of peers, there were three or four other known people who read comic books, but the majority opted for the likes of Spider-Man, the X-Men and Spawn; arguably far more popular to a then pre-teen than this editorialists favourite, Superman. Superman, despite the sales spike caused by the “Death of Superman” storyline, was decidedly uncool, which in a way made the character all the more special. A close friend took to liking Superboy as an alternative to Superman, and started collecting that title. This was in late 1994 or early 1995, so the Post-Crisis Superboy was still only a couple years old at this point, one driven home by the fact he still had no other name than Superboy!
Co-creators Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett were the stewards of this new Superboy for the first three or so years, giving us a number of characters, concepts and storylines that continue to be favourites to this day. This curated list, honours that, and mostly focuses on the first Kesel/Grummett run from 1993-1996. Some decent concepts came after that, and some questionable characterizations, but for anyone wanting to see this character in his original interpretation, these stories do it:
Adventures of Superman (Volume 1) 501
The first appearance of the Post-Crisis Superboy. Clone of the recently deceased Superman, he is one of four mysterious pretenders that have appeared in Metropolis. This single issue within the “Reign of the Supermen” storyline from 1993 nearly acts as a backdoor pilot to what the Kid’s first series would be. The majority of the elements, from Tana Moon, Roxy and Rex Leech and even the introduction of a new Krypto, would be established in this funny, fast paced, yet still thoughtful single issue.
Superboy: Trouble in Paradise TPB
This collection from a couple years ago collects roughly the first year of Superboy’s solo series under Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett. The majority of characters Superboy would interact with throughout their run are introduced, including King Shark, for fans of that particular character. The majority of the collection is done by Tom Grummett, but the odd fill-in still manages to fit-in with the overall youthful tone of the book. This is Superboy just his first steps out as an independent being, and that’s eventually going to have ramifications on him and those around him.
Superboy/Robin: World’s Finest Three
This two issue prestigious format mini-series is one that slips under the radar of most comic book fans, yet should not be overlooked. Co-written between Karl Kesel and Chuck Dixon, this story features the first meeting and team-up between Superboy and the third Robin, Tim Drake. Comic book fans have for years, taken for granted the friendship that developed between the Boy of Steel and the Boy Wonder, but it was one that did not occur in either of their solo series.
Facing off against Metallo and Poison Ivy, it is your typical superhero crossover fair, but still enjoyable, and even if the story does not grab you, the Tom Grummett artwork will surely make up for it!
Superboy (Volume 4) Annual 2 (November 1995)
Superboy (Volume 4) 0 gave early glimpses into Superboy’s origin back in 1994 (and is collected in Superboy: Trouble in Paradise TPB), but it is this 1995 “Year One” branded annual that gives readers more detail into the first days of Superboy’s existence. Readers finally learn of the human donor to Superboy’s creation (only to later be retconned in an unforgivable way by another writer), Cadmus is revealed to be operating after being presumed destroyed, and this half origin/half birthday tale gives the reader some rather poignant moments of a teenager already unsure of his place in the world, facing new revelations about his identity.
While Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett would return to the title a second time a few years later, their wackier take during their follow-up was not embraced by the entire fandom, and they left shortly after; closing out a lot characters and arcs that they had first developed in the process. Subsequent writers would not do the character particular justice, and by the end of the 2000s the Superboy most of us had been introduced was mostly gone; a complicated set of retcons and mischaracterization ultimately resulted in the character really losing its shine. There is hope that this list might remind the reader of a time when the Metropolis Kid took on the legacy of Superboy, and made it something truly unique.
Peter David is a big name in comic books, especially with regards to certain characters; Hulk and X-Factor over at Marvel Comics, and most notably Aquaman and Supergirl for DC Comics. Internet fandom seems to nearly all side on giving Peter David’s run high praise, but to be honest, this is a character and run that does not particularly grab my attention. Aquaman is a very niche character that does not always do well sustaining a strong title for the long haul (despite repeated attempts), and if it was not for finding a used copy, I may have otherwise skipped over this entirely in my current spree of acquisitions.
This first book, which collects the four part Aquaman: Time & Tide miniseries and the first nine issues of the fifth volume is… a difficult read, on many levels. For one, despite the relative short gap between the miniseries and the new volume, the tones in these two different projects are nearly night and day. Aquaman: Time & Tide, while an adept attempt at wiping the origin slate a bit and tidying up some dangling threads, is actually cringeworthy in many ways some twenty five years on. The fifth volume does not kick off particularly well, either. There are some questionable appearances by other DC characters (Lobo in the fourth issue) and then some really questionable appearances (Superboy in the third issue) that demonstrate David’s desire to root his Aquaman narrative into the main DC Universe, having been at the peripheral the last several years prior. This is seemingly impeded by the guest star choices, and it is uncertain if bigger, more obvious characters were either off-limits, or of little interest to David.
On the flip side, the opening arc does give us that infamous moment where Arthur’s hand was eaten off by piranhas (hey, he is one of the very few Golden or Silver Age DC character who did not get killed off in the 90s… that in itself is something worth celebrating), and a much edgier hero as a result. One wants to also say darker, however the lighter moments in this title do not paint such a picture. And that is the dichotomy that Peter David does manage quite well; sometimes Arthur Curry is Aquaman, a hero at the time eyed suspiciously by the surface world, or as King of Atlantis, but never really himself, in many ways. These stories depicting this gruff, almost pirate-like persona at least tries to take the character into new directions, and this is in fact one of Peter Davis greatest additions to the character’s mythos.
In many ways, this book could be compared to that of a first season of nearly any television show. The basic premise is there; you just need the time to set characters and plots out, and you hope it is enough to keep going. Visually, this collection showcases the work of Martin Egeland, Jim Calafiore and others, each with their own distinctive flair for the character, while keeping him instantly recognizable. Essential comic book reading? No. Essential Aquaman reading? One still has to acknowledge what Peter David brought to the character overall, and say yes.
Collects: Aquaman Time & Tide 1-4 & Aquaman (Vol. 5) 0-8
First off let me get this out of the way NIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHTTTTTTWIIIIIIIIIIINNGGGGGGGG GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Ok needless to say I was slightly excited for this episode and it did not disappoint! The opening ten minutes of the show was everything I’ve ever wanted in a live action TV show, Dick Grayson fighting Deathstroke in that suit gave me chills, I could watch an hour of it!
But there was more to this episode than just that, this episode was about the team as a whole, not the individual parts but what they can do together and what the will do for each other, how well they work when they’re all on the same page and they needed to be in the finale.
Gar and Conner are being controlled by Mercy Graves and Cadmus, Mercy is trying to sell off Conner as a super soldier programmed to do whatever she wants and using Gar as a threat to show off Conner’s skills to the highest bidder, but the problem with that is we have a newly reformed Titans with a very strong leader and they’ll stop at nothing to get their friends back!
While all these great moments are going on really solidifying the team, the unthinkable happens and we lose a member of the team, now I’ll be honest this moment felt a little bit out of nowhere but not in a shocking way, more in a ‘huh so that just happened’ way which felt a bit odd but it did add to the rest of the episode as this moment could’ve easily split the Titans again, but instead drew them together once again.
Lots happened in this Finale, it wasnt a massive big bad fight like a lot of shows tend to be in the last episode of the season, it was more a coming together story and I really enjoyed it, the team feels complete and ready for the next challenge.
We had a brief moment at the end pointing to the direction of the next season as it appears Blackfire is now on Earth looking for her sister!
I want more Titans and I want it now, this show is so good and so well done that I’m already hyped for Season 3, just a year to wait I guess……booooooo