Thursday, 19 May 2016

YouAreComic Presents: Hal-imony #1...

I've always had this inexplicable love for Green Lantern. A dude who fight bad guys with a shimmering, green, skyscraper-sized lemon zester made of his thoughts - provided of course they weren't coming at him with a yellow stick - what's not to like?

Over the years however my love for Hal Jordan has been somewhat diluted by the many, many other Emerald gladiators we've been introduced to along the way - Guy, John, Kyle, Killowog, Tomar, hell even G'nort! After a while you start to feel a bit disloyal to poor old Hal.

To put things right. I'm going to go back and re-read those classic GL tales from the beginning and put Hal back where he belongs! Starting here with Green Lantern v2 #1 John Broome and the always awesome Gil Kane!

So we we begin our first step on our long, emerald-hued journey face to face with a humongous, brown, alien monkey.

I know all the YouAreComic faithful are crying out just as I did:

WTF! Where's Hal versus the Giant Creepy Clown Puppet from the cover?

Sadly we'll have to wait until we get to the backup strip before we sample that little nugget of crazy. Instead we'll have to make do with our first look at everyone's favorite balding, blue, obnoxious little know-it-alls The Guardians Of The Universe.

Modern readers can be reassured that despite decades of continuity even back in the days of Ye Olde 1960 these are the same Guardians we know and tolerate. Right out of the gate in their first appearance they're pulling a dick move:

Sure Hal go save some bright yellow cavemen from a giant telepathic alien monkey for us, but we don't want you sullying Oa with your stinky human presence.

In fact Hal still doesn't even know the Guardians exist! When they want him to come to Oa and rehash his origin for the benefit of the folks at home they summon an 'energy duplicate' that will have no memory of them. There's a good use of advanced Oan technology - way to go guys!

Although maybe they have a point with their uncertainty about Hal being up to the job - dude does go flying off to fight a giant alien monkey on the say-so of his magic lamp.

So the thing with the giant telepathic alien monkey is really just just a framing device to facilitate a retelling of Hal's origin. Mr Broome does attempt to give it an interesting wrinkle - in that the big monkey's telepathy can mess with Hal's willpower thwarting his attempts to use his ring against it directly. Hal unwrinkles that BS in the space of a few panels though as he freezes the giant monkey then deposits it on the alien planet's North Pole. Job's a good 'un.

Enough of this monkey business we want to get to Hal versus Creepy Clown Puppet already!

This back-up strip is actually a lot more fun. This one's framed by Carol Ferris pining over GL wondering why he's taking so damn long to pop the question - his pesky insistence of saving the lives of those in mortal danger keeps getting in the way dammit! Uh huh, sister - that man ain't no damn good!

While Carol gets her mope on, GL is donating his time to a charity parade through Coast City (geez, that guys sure is a jerk huh Carol?) thinking about a recent robbery he foiled. Strangely the robber turned out to be not in control of his own faculties. Putting his awesome space-cop detective skills to use GL wonders if this robber might not be related to other 'puppet-like' robberies occurring in the city over the past few days. However before he gets the chance to smugly pat himself on the back for his ability to a.) read a newspaper and b.) spot a link between two clearly linked events....

...he's attacked by a big Creepy Clown Puppet! Yayyy!

Sadly this titanic struggle lasts all of three panels. Boo! However having his life threatened by a giant gun-toting puppet puts Hal in the mood for a night of dancing.

So cut ahead few hours and a few miles across town to a local Bluenote club where GL (in full costume no less!) is having a  delightful time cutting the rug with the lovely Carol. Unfortunately Carol, as is her way, sees this as the right time to put the commitment thumbscrews to our hero. Thankfully he is abducted by the awesome puppeteering technology of the nefarious genius behind the whole 'puppet robbery' caper, the crook with the somewhat 'too-on-the-nose' moniker of  Puppet-Master.

The Puppet Master's snazzy yellow jumpsuit would have made him a totally unbeatable opponent for the emerald gladiator if only he had kept a tidier lab! Hal uses a handy dandy length of rope that the messy megalomaniac left lying around to make a puppet of the puppeteer! Irony and justice is served. Boo-Yah!

YouAreComic GL Tally:
Constructs Count: 2 Power Beams ,1 Huge Nozzle, 2 Pairs Of Tongs, 1 Giant Hand, 1 Tiny Hand 1 Pair Handcuffs, 1 Vice
Randomly Yellow Things: Cavemen, Jumpsuit

Monday, 16 May 2016

Superman: Post-Crisis Punch-up #5

It's that time again folks. We're back for another exciting installment of Post-Crisis Punch-up, for those of you keeping track this is week 5 of our Post-Crisis Superman coverage. All of the issues we'll be gassing about this time around came out in the May 1987. Let's get down to business.

 Adventures Of Superman #428:
Despite last week's victory charge Adventures Of Superman slips back to the bottom of the pile this time around. Things were going so well for Wolfman and Ordway too - they have a bunch of interesting subplots on the go, they've got yummy mummy Cat Grant - then they go and say those three little words: Jerry Frickin' White! Gah! Okay, okay, I'm being a little unfair here. The moral dilemma Perry White is confronted with in this story is really compelling - maintain his journalistic integrity or save the life of his son? Sweet! Jerry's reaction after his rescue when he learns that Perry struggled with that decision is equally understandable and compelling. It's fantastic character work from Wolfman. Sadly I just can't get past the fact that Jerry White is a horrible, obnoxious little snot. Reading a story where I'm supposed to hope that he doesn't get killed is just too tall an order. I'm going give Marv and Jerry (Ordway not White) a pass here though because 'Superman versus goons with guns' stories are hard to pull off, they need to have a ton of heart - and this one's got that in spades. A good job guys - chalk this ranking up to nothing but Jerry the Weasel.
Action Comics #588:
This is a great issue. This and the Superman v2 issue were neck and neck for the top spot. Despite being the concluding part of a larger story (the rest of which I haven't read) I not only followed it but enjoyed the hell out of it! I mean what's not to enjoy. It's got Supes in space. It's got the Hawks. It's got a Thanagarian invasion fleet. It's got a trussed up loud mouth villain sassing our heroes throughout - it's a riot! This issue is chock full of great moments. From Supes flying a disobedient spaceship from the inside through the power of sheer Kryptonian muscle; to him and him taking on the invasion fleet with his bare fists, to Hawkgirl brutally kicking the shit out of all the bad guys single handed; it's all gravy. The resolution wasn't the greatest being that this was the end of a multi-part epic depicting intergalactic war. Essentially the Hawks turn on a doohickey built into the Thanagarian ships (Operation MacGuffin I believe it was called) and *poof* the invasion is teleported across the universe lickety split! Earth is saved - job's a good 'un! However even that dodgy setup is given a few scoops of pathos by the possibility that the same thing that banishes the invasion fleet may boot our heroes so far off into the universe that it would take more than a lifetime to get back. Thankfully when the dust settles the Hawks are still in our solar system but Superman - he's floating out in space unconscious, hurt...or worse Dun!Dun! Dun! Them's good comics folks - hats off to Mr Byrne.

Superman v2 #5:
So the winner from this week's kryptonian crop is Superman v2. However the reasons why this one pipped Supes & The Hawks Excellent Adventures are entirely subjective....some might say irrational! First up, it would seem I'm just thoroughly tickled  by the concept of Superman versus a giant Mummy (even if the mummy turns out to be a big, tubby robot with eye lasers and rocket boots)! Then of course there's super-stubble! That's right the perennial YouAreComic favorite super-fashion-statement puts in appearance contrasting nicely with Clark's bright lemon shirt. This time however super-stubble is used as a plot point ! When Clark needs to tackle the angry robo-mummy he can't change to Superman as Lois might spot their matching five o'clock shadow and realize Supes and Clark are one and the same! Honestly though I don't think he should've worried so much - I mean if up to now she hasn't noticed the fact that the two of them look exactly-the-frickin'-same except for a pair of's probably all good. Speaking of Lois she single-handedly scores this issue a load of extra points this month by dressing up as that chick from George of the Jungle:
Watch Out For That Tree

If I'm being honest I'm not the biggest fan of Byrne's visual take on Lois. The short hair, snark and power suit get-up is not the Lois of my dreams, but I gotta say there's something about Safari Lois that I kinda like. One thing I didn't like was that Byrne pulled the whole 'Oh No Superman\Clark is Dead' cliffhanger fake-out this month in both Superman issue and in the Adventures issue! What's up with that? That aside, I liked Supes in civvies mummy-fighting , I liked the use of the classic 'inquisitive archaeologists unleashe ancient evil' set-up, I liked the 'Holy Crap it's really that big white dude from Big Hero Six' last page reveal. I just straight up liked this issue and named it the winner because it's my blog and I decide - so there!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Superman: Post-Crisis Punch-up #4

So here we are safely out the other side of our three-issue crossover and back to our regularly scheduled program. We're in month four of our Post-Crisis Superman coverage, that takes us up to April 1987. So let's get down to business and see who was on top of the pile:

Action Comics #587: In what is a shocking reversal of fortunes Action Comics drops from top dog to runt of the little for it's April '87 offering. What makes it even more surprising is that this issue takes us back to the Action Comics as Superman Team-Up format that we've been loving since the reboot. This time Big Blue is teamed-up with one of my favorite DC characters of all time Etrigan the Demon! The art was also top notch and included a beautifully rendered Kryptonian/Demon throw-down. Sadly it was a lackluster story that let the side down in this one when Jason Blood's occult dabbling pals accidentally turn themselves into giant It's not really clear but we do know when Supes, trying as usual to solve the world's every problem with a knuckle sandwich, punches them - they bleed. With a quick smidgen of time travel, a dash of busting into a poor old peasant's home and a sprinkle of smashing up Morgan Le Fay's magical doohickey  - Poof! Everything's back to good, Marty McFly style. Plus Etrigan didn't rhyme - it's always more fun when Etrigan rhymes.

Adventures of Superman #427: With Action Comics faltering this month Ordway and Wolfman see their chance and hit us with the most interesting issue of Adventures of Superman so far. This issue sees Superman attacking the Middle Eastern terrorist nation Qurac under the mental manipulation of a burka wearing, sewer-dwelling, telepathic, anthropomorphic cat! We're treated to Big Blue storming the palace and pounding on the evil genocidal Quraqui president until the telepathic cat's assault sends him spiraling into a series of discombobulating visions. Visions of his biological, asshat parents, of his revenge hungry villains, of Lois, Cat Grant and Lana Lang having a slut-off for his attention and, for some reason, Godzilla? Any way the strain of the mental assaults leaves Supes confused and restless, his cat-faced adversary dead and the cat-man's skull-faced wife and her burka-clad associates (a mysterious group known as the  Circle) hot for some Super-blood. Mystery, Intrigue...we like it...well we like more than we like giant robot caterpillars anyway.

Superman v2 #4: It's got a great cover, a beefy, teched-out, gun-toting villain straight out of the 90s - but in the 80s and a wonderfully clunky emotional pay-off. This is 80s comics as I remember them best. So a big masked goofball calling himself Bloodsport is shooting up Metropolis because people don't appreciate their hard-won freedom enough! Supes is unable to simply swoop in and stop him because dude's got teleport tech and Kryptonite bullets. It's all as ludicrous and wonderful as it sounds - including a short moment of Jimmy Olsen 'Action Hero'! It all builds to a final confrontation where Supes, having negated Bloodsport weapons teleporter, by using his brain for a change, forces the big galoot to play his trump card - his big atomic trump card. But before he can blow Metropolis to kingdom come Jimmy shows up wtih Bloodsport's war veteran, paraplegic brother in tow.
Dammit Lil Bro, What've I Told You About Borrowing My Bazooka Without Asking?

 Turns out Bloodsport dodged enlistment and his brother took his place and got himself blown to kibbles and bits. His guilt over his brother getting injured in his place is what drove him to all this hot lead tomfoolery. So Bloodsport's kill-frenzy ends with him weeping and hugging his brother for all he's worth. Go Jimmy. Nothing earth-shattering here, no paradigm shifting revelations, there were even some clunky moments - but an enjoyable Superman story told with heart. Nice job Mr Byrne.

Superman: Post-Crisis Punch-up #3

Welcome back to our latest installment of Post Crisis Punch-up. This time around we're travelling back to the halcyon days of March 1987 when summers were warmer, skies were bluer, the men were men, the rocky intergalactic dictators wore trunks and all we loyal, fresh-faced, still-wet-behind-the-ears DC fans were treated to the very first Post-Crisis Superman crossover.

Strap in tight folks, we're head to Apokolips and it's going to be a wild, if somewhat un-fulfilling ride:

Adventure of Superman #426
Was it just me or did this, the second of our three crossover chapters, seem really long? Normally that's a good thing, but here it felt like a lot of our time was spent lurching haphazardly from one scene to the next trying to keep in-step with our dazed and confused hero. From the Hunger Dog fishing trip that kicks things off, to Big Blue coming to the aid of, then seemingly bumping uglies with Amazing Grace (who by the way is punching far above her weight in my bitchy opinion) it seems a long, hard slog. There is an awesome full page Ordway splash of Supes, now dubbed Savior in his Grace-fueled confusion. He's sporting a tattered S-cape flag, a good crop of the always welcome super-stubble and is whomping the shit out of a bunch of Darkseid's minions with a mace! You gotta love that! The issue ends with super-stubbly-Savior throwing his new-found Hunger Dog allies to the para-demon shaped wolves, then pledging his allegiance and his daddy-issues to Darkseid. How easily the unattractive redhead and the dark master of the Mankini got Supes to pull a heel turn kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Superman v2 #3
This one almost grabbed the top spot on the strength of that sweet cover alone - lookit that thing! As for the story, I guess it follows on from an issue of Legends that I haven't read because we join things already in motion with Clark Kent being pursued through the streets of Metropolis by Darkseid's Omega Beams (which is just as ridculuous/awesome as it sounds). Despite his impressive duckings and divings they catch up and zap him directly into Darkseid's throne-room - where the Titan of Trunks promptly tosses his sorry, bespectacled ass out a window. It's a great opening! The rest of the issue follows a disguised Superman slumming it with the down-trodden residents of the Armaghetto and mouthing off to its cruel overlords until they sic a big robot on him! While the battle with the Pacifier robot is pretty sweet (with a nice 'no-one can be that strong' moment) it ends much too abruptly with a nose-dive into a fire-pit. Not a bad issue, but it does suffer for its distinct lack of New Gods, Female Furies and super-stubble!

Action Comics #586
Action Comics again? Are we beginning to see a pattern emerging here? Thankfully after three issues of bated breath - we finally get some New Gods (and a Granny Goodness cameo Weee-Hooo!). Its this issue's battles with first Orion and Lightray and then finally the big D himself that pushes it firmly into pole position. The fight with Orion is appropriately brutal if a little short. We're also treated to, the much more attractive this time around, Amazing Grace receiving her come-uppance at the hands of Lightray. He blinds her skanky ass when she tries her patented 'feel-them-up-into-submission' move. Once Big Blue's mind is put right (easy peasy lemon squeezy if you've got a Motherbox in your pocket) he hits us with a classic Darth Vader 'Nooooo':


Then zips right off to kick Darkseid's ass. Byrne gives us a memorable fight scene. Clark turning the Omega Beams back on their master then repeatedly chin-checking Darkseid until he finally puts him on his bathing suited ass. Sadly we end anti-climatically with Darkseid going out like a chump by boom-tubing the fighting mad boy scout back to Metropolis. Boo-urns!

As first crossovers go, this could've gone better. But fear not loyal YouAreComicers, our uneven, pun-heavy coverage can't be derailed by unsatisfying storylines or by dictatorial swimwear fetishes. We'll be back with more Post-Crisis Punch-Up in a few short weeks.

Take The Kyrptonians Bowling..

I'm a big Supergirl fan, but even I can admit that she's a character that's had way to many incarnations and re-imaginings. Who could forget 'spangly disco headband Supergirl', Sssh I'm secretly pink protoplasmic slime Supergirl' or how about 'refugee from an 80s hair metal video fiery winged angel Supergirl'. Geez, it's enough to give Hawkman a headache.

Anyway, the other day in a bargain bin I stumbled across a version of Supergirl that I hadn't encountered before. The 'Adventure Comics era Supergirl'.

I was pretty excited as I sat down and cracked open Adventure Comics #400. Poor bastard, I had no idea what was to come.

Let's start with, god help us, that costume. Say what you will about tiny crimson mini-skirts, knee-less armoured boots or Britney-style belly tops all of them pale in comparison when stacked up against this wretched blue....this bizarre pleaded....this....*sigh*, I don't know how to describe this freaky fashion oddity, just look at it:

Fash-Hole Of The Week

Oh the humanity!

You still with us? Its difficult, I understand. We comic fans are used to taking these things on the chin. I mean we've lived through Mecha-Daredevil and Iron Man's nose armour -but that thing...yeeccchh!

Let's move this along shall we - to the villains. This issue boasts not one or two but four devious super-criminals trying to destroy the Maiden of Might.

As the cover, which is a little bit awesome, promises we've got the return of the bitter gun-toting Black Flame. Still sore since the last time Supergirl handed her her purple-clad butt, she went out and recruited some help.

First but most definitely least is Toymaster. As his name suggests he's a third rate Toyman knock-off who's infinitely less interesting. He's balding, middle-aged and looks like he only ventures out of his parent's basement to renew his bifocal prescription. Geez!

Then there's the Inventor. Why Black Flame needed both Toymaster and Inventor on her team I don't know. I guess she thought the assets the Inventor brought to the table (a robotic maid armed with a lasso and that ugly brown suit) were somewhat lacking.

Luckily the last member of flames crew L.Finn makes those to slubs almost forgiveable. Y'see he's a leprechaun. Get if L.Finn....and he's a leprechaun? Need I say more?

Top O' The Mornin' To Ya!

Well with super science, advanced robotics, creepy looking telepathically controller toys, Irish magic and lucky charms at their disposal you know these guys will come up with some awesome, creative method for disposing of their spunky blonde nemesis right?


These bozos decide the one sure-fire way to utterly destroy a pesky Kryptonian is to render her unconscious by way of a lasso sprinkled with Kryptonite (thanks robotic maid, your sacrifice will not be in vain) then trap her in a giant bowling alley where Supergirl is one of the pins and the Flame's goons try to make a spare of her with green kryptonite bowling balls:

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel

Wow, as far as death traps go, that makes the groin laser from James Bond seem like a frickin' masterstroke!

Phew, I don't know about you guys but that's about all I can stomach this time around. After that I think I need some kind of palette cleanser.

Ooooh Superboy & The Ravers, that's the ticket!

Superman: Post Crisis Punchup #2

Welcome back loyal readers for round two of Post Crisis Punchup, where we're going to dig into the second monthly batch of Superman issues to be published after Crisis On Infinite Earths. So let's travel back to Feb 87 pull on our Miami Vice-style sport coat, throw a Van Halen cassette in our Ghetto-blaster and talk about...

Superman v2 #2:
As you can tell from the cover, this is a Lex-centric issue. Normally that would be a winning formula, but this issue comes bottom of the pile this month. It's got its high points: The always awesome and beefy Byrne art; some classic Luthor douche-baggery (including strong-arming foxy scientist chicks into dating him, ripping out Metallo's kryptonite heart without even a howdy-doo and ordering the brutal torturing of Lana Lang). This one also boasts one classic moment, when a ultra smug Lex manhandles a kryponite-weakened and thoroughly befuddled Supes out of his office. So what's the problem I hear you cry. This issue drops to dead last the instant super-smart, titan of business Lex Luthor receives the conclusion from his Secret-Identity-cracking-super-computer that Clark Kent is Superman and he...fires/dumps the foxy scientist who built it and has it scrapped. Not once does he consider 'Hmmm, now that you mention it that reporter who writes the uncannily detailed stories about Superman does look remarkably similar - except for those pesky glasses, maybe I should head over to the newsroom and stick a kryptonite shiv in that guy just in case'. I know its supposed to be character revealing moment showing how power hungry Lex doesn't comprehend altruism and benevolence but come on this just makes him seem galactically dumb. Not a quality we're looking for in our resident super-genius megalomaniac.

Adventures Of Superman #425:
This one's a continuation of last issue's stand-off between Big Blue, the giant robot catapilar and his metal insect buddies, who if you remember have formed a Voltron-like super robot bug in a effort to destroy Metropolis. This clunky concept is improved upon in this issue by using the sob story of Professor Emil Hamilton as a framing device. Hamilton is a mad scientist going out of his way to earn that epithet. In an effort to prove how effective his laser grid invention is he first uses it to trap then shoot at his potential investors. When that doesn't score him a juicy government contract, he then decides ensnaring Superman and an angry robot caterpillar in his laser grid is the surefire road to victory-  sadly this only goads the robo-pillar's crazy pilots to fry themselves. Then finally he goes right off the deep end, takes a random hostage at gunpoint and forces Supes to run a gauntlet of his frankly mind-boggling inventions. I guess he missed the submission deadline for Dragon's Den. That and some sweet Ordway panel composition bumps Adventures to second place this month.

Action Comics #585:
Continuing it's domination of the top spot, Action Comics sticks to the winning formula of masquerading as Superman Team-Up. Let's face it readers throwing the Phantom Stranger in your book almost guarantees you the top spot in any YouAreComic chart. Having him team with Superman to fight a sentient  graveyard bent on world domination takes 'almost' right the hell out of the equation. As if such magical mumbo jumbo isn't enough the evil graveyard is brought to angry, boulder-tossing life thanks to a mystical artifact falling out of the sky in the aftermath of Big Blue's battle with the sky-palace & armour bikini sporting imortal goddess Arathaza (who it turns out is secretly homely secretary Barb Kowaleski). We join Superman's battle with Arathaza in the middle on page one. By page three she's warped Superman into an old man. By page five he's tricked her back to being plain old bitter Barb. Page 8 - Boom - sentient graveyard. Decompression be damned - this my loyal YouAreComicers is comics done right. Also the Phantom Stranger gives some dead folks a damn good tongue lashing in his own inimitable style

Dost Your Mother Know You Weareth Her Drapes?

Don't worry folks the whole evil sentient graveyard thing, that incidently is powered by the anger of dead murderers, gets sorted out lickety split before the issue wraps. Supes defaults to his go-to solution here in the Post-Crisis universe. Dig up the ground below the problem then fly the whole shebang into space. Jobs a good 'un!

So that's Post-Crisis punch-up part two. Hope you enjoyed this trip in the Wabac machine as much as we did. Come back for more in a few weeks time. Next week promises a crossover across all three books. It'll have Orion, Darkseid and super-stubble!!

Nuff said.

What To Expect When You're Expecting...

"What The Fu- -"

Those were the words that rang through the halls of YouAreComic HQ last night. I was happily enjoying a stack of newly acquired back issues when I came over all blue at the events in Mantra #18.

Okay, let's be upfront about it, being befuddled into profanity during the adventures of  the Malibu Ultraverse's resident sex-kitten sorceress is not that unusual an occurrence. I mean the very concept of the book is a fricking can of worms all by itself.

Mantra: The story of Lukasz - a mighty, ages-old, sword-swinging warrior who finds himself mystically transported into the body of recently deceased, smoking hot, single mom Eden Blake. A body whose inherent magical abilities are integral to his quest to defeat his ancient, all-powerful enemy (and incidentally geriatric, magical cyborg) Boneyard - y'know when he's not checking out his new body's bazoonkas in a mirror.

Don't get me wrong, I was always a big fan of the Mantra series, what with Lukasz clumsily trying to master his new magical abilities. His trying to keep Eden's life afloat despite his thinly veiled contempt for her kids, mother and ex-husband. His desperate fight not to join in when horny co-workers wolf-whistle at his impossibly proportioned new body. Not to mention all those great 'how do women walk in these gosh-darned things' moments the book shamelessly stole from Tootsie. There were moments of total comic-book joy packed in shoulder to shoulder with all the rampant, barely controlled wack-a-doodle.

However by the time we got to Mantra #18 things had gotten a little far afield. In this issue Mantra returns from her stint in the Godwheel mini-series. There she'd been sucked into another dimension to face the evil of a megalomaniacal blue god with an eye collection, a dude made out of super-powerful discarded skin and a horde of devious little pumpkins bent on world domination. These events had left Mantra changed.

Eden, it seemed was alive, well and back in her own body, Lukasz now had his own body - one fashioned in the Rob Liefeld school of anatomy, and the two of them were very much in love. It's probably best if we just gloss over the fact that the flame of Lukasz's love was kindled while he was living in Eden's body. Ewwww.

Anyway, they get home flush with victory, pack the kids off to mom's place, dress up all glitzy for a celebratory date night and..
Brown Chicken, Brown Cow

As all the world's poets could have told him (were Lukasz not too busy watching Top Gear and reading Guns & Ammo to listen) the course of true love never runs smoothly.

Of course this being a Mantra book, Eden and Lukasz's true love does indeed forego the smooth course and instead chooses the totally bat-shit crazy course of...instant and catastrophic magical pregnancy!

Damn it Lukasz! It's like Cube said..
Shoulda Put A Sock On The Pickle

Now you might think that being up the magical duff might be the last stop on this particular crazy train, but you'd be wrong. Mantra #18 has not yet begun to fight. Next the book makes a concerted effort to piss off every female fan who has ever experienced the wondrous journey of pregnancy - as Eden goes from two pink lines to the delivery room in a scant six pages. No time for morning sickness, for wacky cravings, for braxton hicks or even for that gross chocolate flavoured birdseed stuff they give you to eat when you get all constipated, nothing!

Of course things don't go quite so rosy for poor Baby Girl Blake once she's ushered into the world. She gets a few moments of blissful newborn snoozing before suddenly and inexplicably blossoming into instant, busty adulthood in the space of seconds - complete with fetching, spiky, leather S&M ensemble, snake tattoo,  the bloody urge to murder mommy and daddy and sporting the name of her mother's slutty, sales-goosing bad girl alter-ego:

What Did Mommy Tell You About Borrowing Her Leather Spiky Thigh Strap Without Asking?

Mazel Tov Everybody! Who's got the cigars?

And that's where we're left, high and dry, confused and trembling, maybe having thrown up in our mouths a little, trudging slowly upstairs to wash out our brains.

Shame on you Mike W Barr, what were you thinking?

Superman: Post Crisis Punch-Up #1

I'm a big fan of Superman, but for some reason throughout my comic-book reading career my reading of the Man of Steel's various series has been spotty at best. To redress this terrible wrong I've decided to go all the way back to the first appearances of Post Crisis Superman after he was re-introduced in John Byrne's awesome Man of Steel mini-series - then start reading in sequence.

Then just so that my loyal YouAreComic readers can join the fun I'm going to talk about them month by month and decide when each title was at it'

So set your WABAC machine for Jan 1987 as we get rolling with:

Adventures Of Superman #424:
 So coming in third in this our inaugural post-crisis punch-up is Adventures of Superman. I actually enjoyed this issue quite a lot, just not as much as I enjoyed the other two. Giant Mecha-Caterpillar wrecking up Metropolis? As storylines go that's pretty good fun. Especially when said robot caterpillar has guns for eyes and connects to a bunch his bug-themed robot pals to form Mecha-Pillar Voltron! Besides the hijinks with the mecha-sects, this issue also has some sweet character moments for our supporting cast. There's Lex scheming to help Lois Lane's terminally ill mother to get her under his thumb, and of course Clark accidentally falling onto the ample and welcoming rack, oops I meant into the arms of new Daily Planet gossip reporter and resident sex kitten Cat Grant while freeing his leg from an elevator (freeing his leg from an elevator - WTF?!?). Then there's the art. I'm normally a big fan or Jerry Ordway's work but I have to say this isn't my favourite outing of his (although there is a full page splash of Superman flying that is fantastic). All in all, while this was a solid issue it just didn't pop and fizz quite as much as the competition this month.

Superman v2 #1
That is an awesome cover, That alone bumped this one up the ranking before I even cracked it open. Byrne and Austin do a great looking Superman. As for the inside? This is a classic Superman issue. We open with Supes getting his Batman on investigating a lead lined lab that's packed wall to wall with equipment and data about him. Of course the Dark Knight's detective work rarely includes digging the entire lab complex out of the ground with heat vision and flying it and the chunk of ground it was sitting on into orbit for further study at a later date. He's got no time for mysterious dead scientists or their dastardly plans to utterly destroy him - dude's got a jogging date with Lois! We get some standard Clark/Lois back and forth (he's aiming for charming but comes off needy and desperate, she's derisive and mean) then they happen across a bank robbery in progress. We instantly forgive this most Silver Agey of co-inky-dinks when the bank robber is revealed to be Metallo (sleazy, white-haired and wearing a questionable, chest baring, purple waistcoat - but Metallo none the less)! The rest of the issue consists of Metallo jovially beating the tar out of a thoroughly confused Superman (this is his first Post Crisis encounter with Kryptonite). The longer the fight goes on the more messed up Metallo gets, but nothing that happens stops him from pounding on poor befuddled Supes. They even drop a building on him, ruining his snazzy waistcoat and stripping him down to his metal skeleton, but the beating continues until Metallo is mysteriously whisked away by an envious Lex. This story is as simple and straight forward as super-hero stories come, but at the same time it is a total blast. The big bombastic action (complete with the 'punches through buildings' that made a Superman fan of me as a tyke) is pure joy and the art is second to none. Wolfman's story in Adventure may have had more meat to it, but he's pipped out of second place by the Post-Crisis re-introduction of a classic villain.

Action Comics 584
Damn! What a cover!  What is it about smug, jerk Superman that just makes you love him and want to see more of him? Add to that the Titans (including Byrne's rendition of Donna Troy in what is undoubtedly her best costume), and a big arrow shaped blurb that basically tells the whole story right there on the cover! What can I say this issue had me at hello! The story inside is every bit as bonkers the cover promises. It opens with smug jerk Superman tearing up Metropolis for kicks. In another of those Silver Age co-inky-dinks Teen Titan Victor 'Cyborg' Stone happens to be on the scene wearing one of those fetching trench-coat and fedora ensembles favoured by the disfigured superhuman community. He swoops in to save the day with some cool cybernetic trapeze artistry that would make the Boy Wonder jealous. Sadly this just ticks the Man Of Steel off, prompting him to tear the unfortunate Titan literally limb from limb. This in turn prompts Cyborg to contact his fellow Titans for help. Help comes in the form of Beast Boy (who figures a big green elephant might succeed where a state of the art, fully armed cybernetic super-hero failed), master of the psychic perm Jericho (who manages to finally stop Smugerman's rampage by possessing him) and Wonder Girl (who wins this issue the top spot in one panel with her inventive weaponzing of a nearby Buick):

To Donna 'The Hammer' Troy Everything Looks Like A Nail

This issue wraps up rather abruptly when crutch-bound bystander David Gunderson reveals, to the shock of everyone in attendance, that he is Superman! Turns out 'amateur' scientist David Gunderson invented a machine that can switch human minds from one body into another. In flashback we learn how he placed a quick call to Clark 'Sure, I'd Love To Invest In Your Pyramid Scheme' Kent and lured Superman to his house where he switched their bodies. Sadly he didn't bother to purchase a halfway decent door-lock, y'know one that couldn't be easily picked by a disabled scientist with a confused Kyptonian in his brain. So Supes escaped and explains to the Titans how to put all the toys back in the box. All that leaves us just enough time for a patented Big Blue Boy Scout 'after-school-special' lecture and a moment with Lex kicking himself that he never thought of the 'just call him up and invite him over to your house' plan.

And boom that's your lot of Post Crisis Superman's first showings and how I ranked 'em.

Wow, Superman sure spent a lot of time confused back in Jan 87. Hopefully he'll manage to get his shit together in time for our next exciting instalment of Superman: Post Crisis Punch Up!

See you then