Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Mish Mash - A Look To The Past

 2012 is coming to an end and luckily we are all still standing. The prophecy of the apocalypse came and went.

One thing that does come with the end of the year are a blessed handful of days off around the Christmas holiday for me. I love my job but it runs me ragged sometimes and having 5 days off in a row to enjoy family, friends, and some down time was about the best present I could have got.

With some of that time, I decided I should thumb through my long boxes, looking for some stories from the past that could be applied to some of the current problems/plots in the DCU. So let's turn the clock back today as we look forward.

One of the things that has intrigued me about the DCnU has been the reluctance of Huntress and Power Girl to reveal themselves to the Earth 1 version of their parents or their other selves. Why shouldn't Helena want to talk to the Batman of this Earth? Wouldn't she want to see him? Warn him of the war a universe away? Why wouldn't Karen want to talk to Kal here? Or talk to Kara about things?

I don't know if their feelings have been explained well enough for me to understand. So I thought I would look in the long boxes to see if that was handled in the past.

In the pre-Crisis DCU, the Earth 1 Batman knew all about the Earth 2 Huntress, working with her in some of the annual JLA/JSA team-ups. In Justice League of America #171, another of those annual get-togethers, Huntress tells the Earth 1 Bruce how the Earth 2 Batman has died and how she wasn't sure if she wanted to face him.

Okay, it isn't really the same situation. These two know each other, know about alternate universes.

But the concept of the other version dying, the uncomfortable nature of facing the living doppelganger of a deceased loved one, is answered here. Here is that scene, written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Dick Dillin.

It is a touching scene. This is classic Batman as he tries to work out his feelings logically. But Huntress is much more emotional. This is a chance to see her father and hug him (at least some version of him) one last time. That last panel, emphasizing how small we can sometimes feel when grieving, is nice.

At some point the Worlds' Finest pair will need to reveal themselves. Hopefully it is something emotionally powerful like this.

Another thing I have enjoyed has been the troubled relationship between Wildfire and Dawnstar in Legion Lost. While Wildfire has been pretty open with how he feels, it has only been recently ... in the wake of Wildfire's death ... that Dawnstar has revealed how much she cares.

As a Wildfire fan and a Dawnstar fan, I thought it would be interesting to look back to their earliest encounters to see where the seeds of star-crossed romance started. And what better place to look that Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #226, Dawnstar's first appearance.

Written by Paul Levitz (an amazing 35 years ago) and drawn by James Sherman, "The Dazzling Debut of Dawnstar" has the Legion trying to track some raiders but failing. They fail, that is, until Legion leader Wildfire brings in Dawnstar, someone he describes as "a mutant ... a freak who can hunt and track anything anywhere". Okay, not exactly wooing words.

But Dawnstar shows she is prolific at tracking. First she finds the raiders in one hideout. And when they warp away, she reveals she can still track them.

In an odd turn, the Legion berates her initially for losing the raiders. Seems unlike Legionnaires. Wildfire immediately defends her.

Look at that second panel with Wildfire saying he would kiss Dawnstar if he had lips. Maybe he already was smitten?

And in the end, with the capture of the raiders, Wildfire might overstep his leader powers and asks Dawnstar to join the Legion right then and there.

Even this panel, in the retrospect-o-scope, is somewhat telling. Look at how daintily Wildfire is clasping Dawnstar's wrist, as he appears to be about to caress her hand. I think he was in love right there.

And Dawnstar? Well she sheds tears of joy. As a 'freak' maybe this was the first time she has been accepted by a group. Maybe Wildfire is a kindred spirit. You don't seen Dawnstar cry that often. Usually she is portrayed almost aloof. So perhaps this has always been a romance.

And this being a Supergirl blog, I thought I should post something on the Maid of Might. Today is December 31st, the last day of the December of Despero as thought up by blog friend Frank Diabolu for his Idol Head of Diabolu Martian Manhunter blog. So I figured I would ring out the new year with some Kara-tharsis from Justice League of America #134. As with the JLA above, this was written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Dick Dillin, one of the first artists whose style I could recognize and appreciate as a kid.

This is one of those crazy late Silver Age books and reads like a Star Trek episode where the crew runs into omnipotent beings. Here the League (and Supergirl who has joined this mission to help find a missing Superman) is traveling in deep space to find Despero. They ultimately become the playthings of a race called the Krill. The two aliens have been watching the League battle and are intrigued and excited by this physical conflict. The ideas of conflict and war have been erased from their people and this is therefore new.

To get more fun, they repeatedly put a power-amplified and mind controlled Despero up against pairs of the Leaguers. The League duos consistently defeat Despero but the Krill whisk him away and send him back out again against new heroes. (Early on Despero tries to give up but is controlled by the Krill to keep fighting.)

Finally he is sent up against Supergirl who repeatedly thrashes him. She calls out the Krill and manages to outthink them. If fighting is exciting, what about rooting for a side? Someone will be elated. The Krill agree this adds even more potential pleasure, thus setting up a final match. And that is just what Supergirl wants!

Supergirl ends it quickly ... first by throwing Despero into orbit ...

And then meeting him in space in unleashing a wicked, spine-bending punch which renders Despero defeated. Talk about a broke-back position. I'm surprised Despero can walk after that haymaker.

The fight over, Supergirl gathers up the Leaguers and Despero and leaves the Krill. Ironically, the Krill who backed Despero is upset with the outcome and starts to fight the other. Supergirl, in essence, has taught a peaceful race about discord and war.

Still, there is nothing like that wonderful Dillin panel of Supergirl pounding Despero! Fantastic. To read Frank's more in-depth discussion on the issue head here.

And that is as good a panel as any to ring in the new year! Happy New Year everyone!


Anonymous said...

She takes down Despero a serious A-List JLA foe with one punch, and does the League ask Kara to join???
That was a priceless opportunity lost back in the Bronze Age to be sure...


Anonymous said...

I've liked Wildfire and Dawnstar's torn romance in Legion Lost too, although as a tracker, it would have been interesting to see the supposed relationship between her and Timber Wolf bud into something. Brin deserves someone in his life. Blok was his pal in Levitz run years ago, and DeFalco has made Gates his new chum in the recent run, but both of these characters, like Timber Wolf himself, remain outsiders.