Sunday, May 24, 2009

Secret Society of Super-Villains #1-8 (1976)

I think I may have short-changed 70s DC books. I always thought Bill Mantlo and his cohorts made Marvel the place to be in the 70s, but after reading the first few issues of this series, I think I need to check out more of the work of Gerry Conway, Bob Rozakis, and company at the distinguished competition. There were many pleasant surprises as I work my way through this series. First of all, Captain Comet is a really neat character, I love how he becomes a hated foe of the Society for no real reason, he just dedicates his time on Earth to stopping them. I like this guy a lot more than the smug hero for hire that DC is currently publishing. This guy feels more like the hero I remember from LEGION and REBELS from the 90s...

The core villains are a lot of fun too, with Gorilla Grodd standing out as always. The Grodd vs. Kalibak fight was tremendous with a spectacular finish that doesn't really demean either character. I like the use of Sinestro and the Wizard as aloof villains with few attachments to Earth-1 too. I will admit I'm still confused by the apparent ease of travel between Earths, but I can't hold it against this series. I'm also thrilled that Darkseid and his 4th World cronies (and Funky Flashman!) are so important to this series, I never guessed that would be the case.

Another outstanding part of the series is the rotating cast of heroes that show up to assist Comet. Kid Flash is around for awhile and suffers from some hero-worship (that must have been his thing). The best is how the writers brought in Black Canary and Hawkgirl. Canary tags along with Comet because Green Arrow wants to watch a football game. Hawkgirl heads out on a mission while Hawkman is cooking a fancy alien dinner for their guest. That's just awesome!

Rich Buckler, Pablo Marcos, and Ernie Chan all have a great DC house style. Grodd isn't quite as horrific as I'm used to, but I love the Star Sapphire design. Can anyone recommend more 70s DC with this feel? I always figured pre-Crisis DC was over-the-top madness like Haunted Tank and inconsistent characterization, I want more like this!


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