Comic Report: Superman’s War Of The Worlds Crossover

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Today’s project is dusting and some mild reorganizing. Seeing as I haven’t had the most interesting article lately I wanted to make up for it with something worth reading. So here’s a review from my primary project, BW Media Spotlight, about one of my favorite Superman crossovers, a different take on the H.G. Wells classic. Enjoy.


 

The year was 1938, which would see the debut of two influences from fake aliens. The first was Action Comics #1, which debuted among other characters the hero known as Superman. Unlike the Superman we know today his powers didn’t come from the Sun but because Earth’s gravity is lighter than Krypton’s. He couldn’t fly or had any special vision powers but he was superstrong, could leap an 8th of a mile and outrun a train, and while he was still bulletproof he wasn’t as invulnerable as he is today. The force of a bursting shell was the minimum to pierce his skin, and that was by 1938 levels. That wasn’t the only difference between the Superman of history and the later known iconic take on Superman.

1938 was also the debut of the Mercury Theater’s Halloween radio broadcast The War Of The Worlds. Loosely inspired by the H.G. Wells novel the setting was moved to then present day, with the framing device of a music broadcast constantly interrupted by a mysterious threat from the planet Mars. While the public reaction has been greatly exaggerated (one source suggesting it was the newspapers taking a shot at radio because radio news came faster than the twice-daily newspaper–and given modern reactions to new media I’m willing to believe it), the story still earned a place in our culture, and TV specials have used the same framing device.

1999 may be a year late for the two stories to have an anniversary, but it’s the reason 1938 was chosen as the setting for one of my favorite Superman Elseworlds stories. Superman: War Of The Worlds uses the original incarnation of Superman while mixing elements of the original Wells novel and the Orson Wells radio drama and tells a story of what could have happened had this relatively weaker Man Of Steel had to protect the world from the other Red Menace.

“Geez, J’onn, I said I’d pay you back on Friday!”

Superman: War Of The Worlds

DC Comics (1999)

WRITER: Roy Thomas

ARTIST: Michael Lark

COLORIST: Noelle Giddings

SEPARATIONS: Heroic Age

LETTERER: Willie Schubert

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Comic Report: Final Faction #1

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Recently we took a look at Churro, the flying chihuahua with guns from the Final Faction toyline. In case you missed it, Final Faction is a toyline exclusive to Dollar Tree stores in the US and Poundland in the UK. Inspired by the 1980s version of G.I. Joe and similar action figures, the line’s gimmick is a series of accessory packs used by the heroic Final Faction and the evil invading alien Karn for control of Earth’s resources. Churro is a chihuahua with a canine mech suit, the FD-O, that you can attach various weapons to, but the human and alien figures have those as well. There are also a set of vehicles and robots for the heroes while the villains’ troop builders come in the form of synthoid robots.

On my last shopping trip I went to see if there were any more accessory packs that might work for the FD-O in case I wanted to alter Churro’s load out now and then for display, since it’s the only thing in the line that interest me. I saw some that I want to look into online to make sure they’re compatible (I saw one that was actually reviewed on the FD-O and I may end up getting it, giving it VTOL engine wings and machine guns) but what surprised me was a comic book based on the toyline. I mean, that’s nothing new. Over at my other site I review comics on the daily, sometimes twice a day, and between regular and pack-in minicomics I’m certainly used to it. I just wasn’t expecting it for the $1.50 toyline. So I figured I’d check out the first issue at least and see if it’s any good. Plus it’s the origin so we get to see how best doggy got his robot. And I have a review format that I use on my other website for the deeper reviews (you’ve seen it here during filler posts), but there will be spoilers for this comic. I mean, it’s for your kids. Were you going to read it? If you’re like me, probably.

I wonder what the first faction was?

Final Faction #1

Dollar Tree (2022)

“First Impact”

WRITER: Toby Osborne

ARTIST: Chris Rarrinan

INK ASSIST: Luis Rivera

COLORIST: Mimi Simon

LETTERERS: John Heebink & Mike Manley

SPOOF AD PAGE ARTIST: Pete McDonnell

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Comic Report: Batman Chronicles–The Gauntlet

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I got back the laptop I use for the art corner but I haven’t had time to work on my comic or do some other stuff I wanted to set up on the old thing. That was my project this week, but probably not very interesting to you guys. So here’s another recent “Scanning My Collection” article from the other site so you have something worth reading. And in light of the recent Titans streaming series on DC’s new streaming service even more appropriate now than when I first posted it.¬†Enjoy.


 

The art of the sidekick is dead or dying. Merriam-Webster defines the sidekick as “a person closely associated with another as a subordinate or partner“. Often mistaken for just being comic relief the sidekick is learning from the hero or is there to provide back-up for the hero. In the world of superheroes, sidekicks are…or were…receiving training from the hero but not yet good enough to go completely on their own. From Robin the Boy Wonder to Kid Flash to Bucky Barnes, the sidekicks can graduate to take over a mantle or become their own hero, but they start out aiding their mentors.

Nowadays that doesn’t happen. The Robin of today is already highly trained by assassins and an equal to Batman despite his young age. If he’s learning anything, Damien has to respect others, including and especially his teammates. But as Tim Drake noted, Robin also served another purpose. He keeps Batman from going too far over the edge, from falling into the proverbial abyss. Meanwhile, Batman chose the first Robin before the memory of his parents’ murder ruined Dick Grayson the way it did Bruce Wayne. We all know how Batman trained Dick Grayson to become the first Robin, but do you know the story of his final exam?

Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet isn’t some huge, Earth-shatteringly epic story. It’s a one-shot story in a short graphic novel. It’s the story of Robin’s “final exam”, the last step in proving he’s ready to become Batman’s partner. It’s one of my favorite Robin stories. So why does it stand out for me?

“Shadow puppets? Really, Bruce?”

Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet

DC Comics (1997)

WRITERS/ARTIST: Bruce Canwell & Lee Weeks

COLORS/SEPARATIONS: Matt Hollingsworth

LETTERER: Albert DeGuzman

EDITOR: Darren J. Vincenzo

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Mini-Comic Report: Transformers Armada vol. 4

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I know I was going to review my last Alternator this week but I haven’t had a chance to go over it. Next week is going to be hectic but I’m going to try and get it done then. In the meantime I’m crossposting the next Armada minicomic from my other website that hasn’t been posted here yet.


Previously we’ve looked at the first three Transformers Armada minicomics Dreamwave produced for Hasbro, but there’s one more to go. So it’s time to finish this series. Dreamwave also produced minicomics for Energon so we aren’t done yet but we’ll put this series to bed.

At this point the toyline introduced the subline “The Unicron Battles”. This featured the first ever Unicron toy, long desired by those who grew up with the original toyline and Transformers: The Movie. While the toy had been planned twice in the past, once when the movie came out and once by Takara for the Japanese-exclusive line Beast Wars Neo, neither were ever produced. Finally for this line we got our Unicron and it was worth the wait seeing as the other two designs didn’t really capture the essence of the big villain Simon Furman re-imagined into a god of chaos nearly as well. (When it comes to Unicron I’m actually neutral as to which origin is better, cartoon or comic, but I still prefer the Quintesson origin over Primus.)

It was decided to make Unicron the big threat of the subline and tie the version of him in this continuity to the Mini-Cons, and so the “Unicron Battles” began. And this was the comic that introduced the idea to toy buyers who didn’t see the show or read the regular Dreamwave comics. So how does it do? The first two comics were not that great since they had to force three translations of the same dialog into the panel. The third issue was better for only needing one language but still not that great, so what does this series end on?

“Hey Galactus, the rest of us want to see, too. Wanna move to the back seats?”

Transformers Armada volume 4

CREATED BY: Dreamwave for Hasbro

PUBLISH DATE:  2003

WRITER: Chris Sarracini

PENCILER: James Riaz

COLORISTS: Felipe Smith & David Cheung

Only TWO colorists, Dreamwave? Are you finally realizing you don’t need five colorists on one book, especially a minicomic? Since none of the Energon minicomics have credits we’ll never know.

LETTERING: Dreamer Design

ASSISTANT EDITOR: Matt Moylan

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