Sunday, July 10, 2016

On The Shelf: Batman meets another 60's icon, and new Iron Men (?)

Ever since this was first announced, I've been stoked, and now, it's here.

Batman '66 Meets Steed & Mrs. Peel, a collaborative effort between DC and Boom! Studios, the rights holders to the latter franchise formerly known as The Avengers, figures to play out the same way that the last Batman '66 miniseries, a crossover with The Man From U.N.C.L.E., did, as the villains of the piece emerge very quickly. Catwoman turns up, but, judging from the first issue, it looks like the Princess of Plunder could end up joining the heroes, as her mysterious employer sent the Cybernauts to silence her. Steed is unaware that he's carrying a listening device, but how long do you think that'll last? This will be fun.

Rating: A.

One of the reasons "The Lone Ranger" bombed at the box office a couple of summers ago was the seemingly implausible idea that Tonto (Johnny Depp) had outlived the Ranger, but then, this was really a vanity vehicle for Depp, and that was one of a series of critical and financial failures.

Writer Michael Uslan, returning to Dynamite Entertainment, is trying a different tack in linking together two generations of crime busters in The Lone Ranger-Green Hornet. That is to say, the Ranger, long retired, is called back into duty, or so it would appear, in the early days of World War II. Doesn't appear to be any sign of Tonto in the 40's. So far. Uslan's paying homage to two classic radio dramas from the Golden Age, but I'm not so sure that this actually works.

Grade: Incomplete.

DC's Super Hero Girls graphic novel, Finals Crisis, was previewed on Free Comic Book Day two months ago, and it looked promising.

Unfortunately, the final product does its target audience a complete disservice. The villain was kept in silhouette for much of the story, but a distinguishing feature gives him away too early in the story. Yes, it's Lex Luthor, back to the battle armor he'd had since the 80's, and trying to wedge his unseen sister into Super Hero High. Well, at least that's the excuse he gives. Just weak.

Final grade: C-.

By now, I'm sure you've read or heard what Marvel is doing with their Iron Man line. After the current Civil War II miniseries ends, Tony Stark will step away from the armor, and no longer headline either IM book.

So who takes his place?

Writer Brian Bendis has introduced a 15 year old, female, African American genius, Riri Williams, who takes over as the star of Invincible Iron Man, presumably in October. Meanwhile, Victor Von Doom, of all people, will be the headliner of Infamous Iron Man, which replaces International Iron Man on the roster. There, you're seeing a replay of the Peter Parker-Doctor Octopus angle in the Spider-Man books from a couple of years ago.

At the end of "Iron Man 3", Stark had walked away and gave up being the Armored Avenger, only to of course return in "Captain America: Civil War" earlier this year. To be honest, "Iron Doom" isn't going to last any longer than Superior Spider-Man did. These short-term stunts that Marvel keeps running out are mostly to get the internet talking. Some work, some don't. I think that Riri (whose name is derived from the nickname of pop singer Rihanna) is being given a high profile try-out before getting her own heroic identity. I'm digging the idea of gender-neutral armor, and one must assume a voice modulator is also part of the package, especially if Riri doesn't want anyone to suspect that the "new" Iron Man is actually an Iron Girl.

We'll see come October.

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