Friday, March 25, 2022

On The Shelf: Two 70's icons meet, and a legendary brand is revived

 Readers of a certain age will remember when DC would have Superman & Batman team up in World's Finest, which went through a number of format changes in 40+ years of publication, ending around 1983-4 after 324 issues.

Subsequent revivals have not included the World's Finest brand, but veteran writer and comics historian Mark Waid has changed all of that. Apparently, one of the conditions of Waid returning to DC was to use World's Finest for this latest revival (full title: Batman-Superman: World's Finest). The first story arc is set in the recent past, recent enough where it won't be affected by pending events in Justice League and the summer event, Dark Crisis. Waid and artist Dan Mora have all but emptied the box in the opener, with Poison Ivy, Penguin, Metallo, and the Doom Patrol. The first arc figures to go six issues. Where it goes from there? Keep reading.

Grade: Incomplete.
In 2019, Dynamite held the licenses for two 70's action series, The Bionic Woman and Charlie's Angels, but didn't get full rights. If they did, they'd have been able to use the likenesses of actresses Lindsay Wagner (Bionic Woman), Cheryl Ladd, Jaclyn Smith, and Tanya Roberts (Charlie's Angels), the better to fuel a 4 issue miniseries that brought the characters together.

Roberts had joined Angels in its final season, two years after The Bionic Woman had ended its run on NBC instead of ABC. We've discussed that matter in the past. Anyway, this is fan service for devotees of both series. Cameron DeOrdio's script is simple enough to understand, though the Angels not even bothering to change outfits to go with those ski masks in the first issue was a minor misstep meant for laughs.

Soo Lee's art recalls a simpler time in the comics industry. Nothing spectacular, or out of the ordinary. Ye humble critic ordered the trade paperback back in September 2020, so it finally surfaces more than 18 months later, thanks in large part to supply chain issues and other mitigating factors. Dynamite hasn't done much with either franchise since, but then, they're too busy spamming Red Sonja, Vampirella, Bettie Page, and Elvira down the readers' throats.

Charlie's Angels vs. The Bionic Woman gets a B--.
The reason Dynamite is spamming the above mentioned licensed properties is because it gives them a license to print money, but how far is too far?

Last year's Vampiverse miniseries spins off The Vamp in a June 1-shot, which Dynamite excitedly hypes as a contemporary to The Shadow. The idea is that Vampi has become a vigilante in another reality. Vampiverse is being solicited as a trade paperback for a June release as well. As for Red Sonja, are you ready for Samurai Sonja? Yeah, that's also a thing coming out in June. I'm begging Marvel to get the license back.

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