Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guest Review: DC Comics Presents #13

Today's guest review is courtesy Glen Davis, who gives us a look at a Black and Blue comic:

Black Lightning and Blue Devil are two characters that always seem on the verge of hitting it big, but for whatever reason, DC just can't seem to push them over the hump into "A" list status.

Both characters have had their own titles, and both earned membership to the various incarnations of the Justice League of America, but they've never really fulfilled their potential.

Black Lightning, created in the 1970s by Tony Isabella, is the first African American hero at DC, and in the first incarnation of the series was a clever commentary on the two duelling stereotypes of black men of the era: the cool competent Sidney Poitier type and the angry Jim Brown type.

Despite a certain amount of acclaim, the title was a a victim of the DC implosion. Black Lightning went on to become a member of The Outsiders in the 1980s, and the character lost his way a bit.

Isabella brought the character back in the '90s in a big way, but the character was not seen much for a while after that title ran its course, until Judd Winick brought him back a few years ago. Since then, he's been fairly prominent, even joining the Justice League, but is still not an "A" list property.

Blue Devil exploded into the DC Universe in the 1980s. Created by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and Paris Cullins, he was a stuntman who got zapped by a demon and stuck in the devil costume he was wearing while making a movie. Originally a light-hearted feature, Blue Devil went through several udpdates, losing the lightness, and most of his supporting cast, but joining the Sentinels of Magic and the JLA.

Marc Andreyko, a reliable professional, reintroduces and teams up the two heroes to go up against Tobias Whale, DC's knock off of Marvel's Kingpin.

Apparently the two heroes knew each other in the past. What should be a fun tale just feels hopelessly generic, with nothing to draw you into the plot besides a rather rudimentary plan on Whale's part of finding out who the heroes are and killing them. The story really could star any two heroes with similar powers. There's no real sense of what makes each character unique.

Andreyko still has two issues to pull a rabbit out of his hat, but this issue doesn't promise a whole lot. I hope this isn't another wasted opportunity for two characters that deserve better.

Grade: C+


Hoy Murphy said...

If Tony Isabella isn't writing Black Lightning, I don't buy it.

Chuck said...

I understand and can agree with your support for creator's rights, Hoy.

The funny thing is, after an online run-in with Isabella where he blasted me for an innocent comment, I don't buy anything he writes. It was a shock to me - I've met quite a few comics creators and they were all kind, generous and pleasant to be around. Not him.