Thursday, April 30, 2020

Secret Society of Super-Villains #1 (1976)

Secret Society of Super-Villains #1 (May-June, 1976)
"Attend --or Die!"
Writer/Edits - Gerry Conway
Pencils - Pablo Marcos
Inks - Bob Smith
Cover Price: $0.30

Over the course of the past few weeks, I've been trying to make good on a promise I made to the wife about... cleaning up the comics-areas of the house.  Right now, I've got around three rooms full of the stuff, and since I'm constantly digging into boxes in order to write and/or talk about specific issues, it's... well, an absolute disaster.

It's almost a bit embarrassing, but I even shared a picture of my "progress" on the Twitta Machine.

In that li'l tweet I mentioned the fact that, when attempting to "organize" the stuff, it's just so easy to become distracted.  It's sort of like visiting old friends... and, at the same time, discovering new ones!  Such is the book we're going to be discussing today.  It's a book that, clearly I picked up somewhere down the road, but I have absolutely no memory of it!

Now this is a special one, not only is it an issue of Secret Society of Super-Villains, not only is it the first issue of Secret Society of Super-Villains... no, no, no... it's even more special than that!  Ya see, today we're going to be looking at Mark's first issue of Secret Society of Super-Villains!

Get excited!  You know I am!


We open with Captain Cold and Mirror Master rushing away from a jewelry store, loot in hand.  The N.Y.P.D. are in hot pursuit.  Through some creative use of their powers, the pair'a villains are able to give the boys in blue the slip, and before we know they're back at their roach motel to divvy up the dosh.  Turns out, these goofballs didn't quite hit the mother-lode they were expecting.  While they were lookin' fer a six-figure total, they barely scraped together five.  As they argue about whether or not they're "holding out" on one another, a rock comes flying through their window.  On it, a note... with an invitation!

We shift scenes to Gorilla City, where boring ol' Grodd has busted out of his prison once again.  He beats the heck out of the Gorilla City Guards, all the while annoyingly lecturing them on how walls and bars don't quite a cell make... or something.  He laughs... and vanishes.

From here, we jump to the Special Security Federal Penitentiary Number Three, where Copperhead... the "Serpentine King of Crime" is currently busting out of the joint.  Ya see, one of his followers smuggled his swell suit into the clink during meal time.  The lackey reveals that he didn't work alone, and shares with him... an invitation!  Now, Copperhead is the type of character I'd think of growing up when I'd compare Marvel villains with DC villains.  He just strikes me as so ugly, and so boring.

Next stop, San Francisco... where Sinestro is answering an invitation of his own.  He touches down, and changes his image a bit in order to appear more human before gazing up to the clandestine "Citadel Sinister".  In a really cool bit, we get one of those old-fashioned "cross-sections" of the building, which tells us about all the works going on within.  Why, they've even got a tailor up in there!  Whoever's behind this is doin' it right!

Sinestro heads inside, and is greeted by a French woman calling herself Camille.  She leads him to the elevators so he can head up to the lounge for whatever meeting is about to take place.

Once Sinestro is loaded in, and headed skyward, our "Camille" reveals that she is actually... Star Sapphire.  Well, a Star Sapphire.  Mr. Conway doesn't wanna spoil her story here... and so, I won't either... mostly because I'm not all that familiar with it!  She flies up to the lounge, and it looks like our "meeting" is about to kick off.  Worth noting, the caption mentions that Catwoman is a part of this "team", but we don't see her at all.

Now, as the baddies get settled in... they are suddenly attacked by: the Justice League!  If you're thinking this might play out just like the image on the cover... well, uh... yeah, that's exactly how it goes.  We spend three pages of the Secret Society fighting (and beating) some JLA robots.  Woo?

This was all an exhibition, courtesy of their "host substitute"... Manhunter!  Ay yai yai.

Manhunter introduces himself as a clone of Paul Kirk... and says he is here as a proxy for the actual leader of this Secret Society... whose name he won't reveal.  He "sells" them on the concept of joining forces... and lists off some of the perks their association will enjoy.  He informs the gang that he has been tasked with "testing" them... and declares that the testing will begin with Gorilla Grodd and Copperhead!  Wow, I guess we'll get the most boring characters out of the way first!

Before we know it, the baddie tandem are headed to Jim Aparo's buddy Chuck's lighthouse!  They're here to swipe a solid sphere of Plutonium... that is being guarded by like four guards and an old man.  Feels like a pretty underwhelming "test", dunnit?  I mean, one of these baddies is a giant genius gorilla.  Anyhoo, Grodd takes out the guards... like in one panel, while Copperhead slithers up the side of the lighthouse, and beats up the "creepy old man" who is handling the isotope.

With the sphere under his arm, Copperhead rushes back outside to re-board the Secret Society aircraft.  Along the way, however, he is shot in the shoulder by a recovering guard.  This causes him to go down, and drop the bauble into the drink.  The plutonium is gone forever... 

Gorilla Grodd decides that he ain't about to wait for his slithery compatriot... and, well... abandons him, to bleed out and/or get rearrested on the rocks outside the lighthouse!  We wrap up with Grodd informing Manhunter that Copperhead "betrayed them"... which, I mean... I couldn't care less about the snake man, but that's just a jerk move.


Hey, this wasn't half-bad!  Wasn't quite sure what to expect here... and, honestly, I'm still not entirely sure.

This was your standard "assembling the forces" sort of issue, which is fine.  I'm kind of a sucker for stories like this... so, I don't have any complaints in that regard.  I will say, if one of the big "gotchas" in the book is the revelation that the Justice League the Society spends several pages fighting are robots... maybe you don't put that on the cover?  I mean, not that I'd assume the actual League would show up... and get beaten back by these geeks... but, still.  

The characters we get here are a pretty good assortment... and I appreciate the fact that, even after a single issue, the "order" kind of changes with the loss of Copperhead.  That gives this series a feeling that there are actual stakes... and, that we might lose (or gain) members at any time.  They mystery behind the benefactor... which, I didn't want to have spoiled for me... but, did because I guess "knowledge is power" on the comics internet... and we all wanna look like we know stuff.  Granted, I probably shouldn't get all that annoyed about having a near half-century old story "spoiled".  Whatever the case, I won't spoil it, just in case people wanna find out for themselves.

I dug Gorilla Grodd abandoning Copperhead at the lighthouse... and even going so far as to lie about the snake-man betraying the Society.  This shows us that there's no loyalty among baddies.  This "team" is very different than their heroic counterparts.  We wouldn't see Superman abandon the Flash in times of trouble... but, we will see the villains turn on one another in a moment's notice.

Overall... had a good time with Mark's issue of Secret Society of Super-Villains... though, I do wish the fella was a little more gentle with his copy.  Writing inside the comic?  Clipping out coupons (see below)?  C'mon, Mark... think of your future, man!  You could've been sitting on a $24 fortune right now!


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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Brave and the Bold #124 (1976)

Brave and the Bold #124 (January, 1976)
"Small War of the Super Rifles"
Story - Bob Haney
Art - Jim Aparo
Edits - Murray Boltinoff
Cover Price: $0.25

I come to you today on final-finals day.  Got my last big exam of the semester this afternoon... and so, hopefully once that (and wrapping up the big podcast hitting this weekend) are out of the way, I'll get the opportunity to breathe a bit.  Though, I am one of "those people" who always seems to need to have something to worry about... I guess we'll see!

Wanna apologize for being lax in my responses to comments left on the last several articles... I will get those answered hopefully in the next day or two!

So, whatta we got here... from the looks of it, something a bit zany, no?  Poor Jim Aparo being held up by Cobra Commander... this is going to be weird!  Let's dig in to this dog-eared, rolled-spined pile'a pulp and find out just how weird!


We open with a drive-by shooting in Gotham City... we got some of those Cobra Commander-looking terrorists firing into a crowd of people (and a dog!).  Turns out, one of those people was Batman in a rubber human mask... oof.  He dives on top of the baddies' car and goes for a ride, while the police follow in hot pursuit.  The terrorists drop one of their number off at... I dunno, some office or something, before taking off again.  Batman decides to follow this thread, and leave the "chase" to Gotham's finest.  I do love how nonchalant these evil murderers are about making a "pit stop" during a high-speed chase.  Anyhoo... Batman looks into the doorway, and is fired upon by a big ol' rifle...

... which, then goes "boom"... right in the terrorist's face!  Batman attempts to get a closer look, to confirm just what in the heck just happened (and to rule out suicide, I guess), when he's approached by an old friend... Sgt. Frank Rock!  He's here looking for a cache of stolen experimental rifles... just like the very one that exploded in this dude's face.

The heroes decide to work together in tracking down this stolen arsenal... and figure their best "first stop" would be down at the Gotham City Police Department.  And so, they check in with the Commish, who angrily (I mean, he looks ticked) proclaims that the rest of the terrorists had gotten away!  Without much of a lead, Batman turns to Rock for advice.  Rock coolly informs him that he pulled a locker key off the dead guy.  Uh, Frank?  You might'a wanted to lead with that!  The locker is at the Bus Depot... and so, before we know it... that's where our heroes go.

Here's... where things get weird... er.  We jump to the Connecticut studio of... Jim Aparo!  He's busy drawing the very story we're currently reading... and is surprised to see what it says on the next page of the script.  Ya see, on the next page... Batman and Sgt. Rock... die!  You'd think that'd be an immediately red-flag, but in fairness... we gotta assume it's a Haney script, and probably one of the tamest Aparo has seen in a bit.  What we actually find out is... the terrorists (yes, the Cobra Commanders from the actual comic) have rewritten the comic to end with the death of the heroes.  Poor Jim Aparo is bein' held up at gunpoint... and is being forced to kill Batman!

Aparo is told in no uncertain terms that he's gotta follow the new script... or, ya know, die.  Jim accidentally-on-purpose snaps his pencil, and asks if it's cool if he go to his storeroom for another.  The terrorists have already staked the whole place out, and know that there are no windows in that storeroom... so, they allow it.  What they didn't take into account, however, was the fact that Aparo's a wiry dude... who might just fit through a vent.  Which is exactly what he does in order to escape!  Next we know, Jim's hopped in his boat, and is hightailing it to a nearby "abandoned-reconditioned" lighthouse where his buddy Chuck sometimes stays.  Inside, wouldn'tcha know it, there's a drafting table and a whole lotta comic-crafting materials!  He gets back to work, and deftly saves Batman and Sgt. Rock's lives in the next panel he draws.  Wow... this was all on one page!

Back in the story, Rock nyoinks Batman away from the locker (feels like it's been days since we first saw this scene) right before it explodes.  Yes, the whole thing was a trap!  Unfortunately, back in the "real world", this is all Aparo's got.  Sure, he's saved the heroes' lives... but, what's next?  He decides to call his buddy and co-conspirator in all things Brave and/or Bold... Bob Haney!  Jim sounds like an absolute crazy person here... talkin' about the terrorists from inside the book trying to stop them from exposing them in the actual printed comic.  Luckily, he's talking to Chevy Chase's sorta-kinda step-uncle (true story!), who might have a higher tolerance for wackiness.  Haney then calls Murray Boltinoff for... I dunno... story approval?  Okay, now we know this is a complete fiction... there's no way Haney's scripts ever pass under an editor's eyes, right?

Haney goes ahead and gives Aparo the next few story beats.  Ya see, these experimental stolen rifles require a special sort of ammo... and so, they probably oughta check in with some nearby guns-and-ammo shops.  Turns out, that's just the ticket!  The man behind the counter confirms that somebody came in to buy that very special ammunition exactly one week ago.  Batman assumes that they'll be back today for more... and so, he waits outside the gun shop for two whole hours.  Finally, the gunsmith signals to him that "the guy" just made his purchase.

Batman confronts the baddie, who unloads his magnum into the hero's chest!  Batman still manages to tackle the geek... and wonders aloud how he himself survived the experience.  The gunsmith informs our man that he sold the bad guy "blanks" instead of actual bullets.  Well, that's sure handy.

Nearby, Sgt. Rock notices a military vehicle driving down the street, but notes that it has civilian plates.  He decides to dive onto the back of the rig to see where it takes him.  Unfortunately, no sooner is he on-board, than he's faced down by a bunch of Cobra Commanders!  They beat the ever-loving dog out of him... and, get this, dump him off an overpass onto some tracks... where he narrowly avoids getting clobbered by an oncoming train!

Back in the real world, the real-Cobra Commanders meet with their big-boss to let him know what's going on.  The Big Boss is ticked that Aparo and Haney are conspiring against their rock-solid plan to kill Batman.  We jump back to Jim and Bob on the phone, when... suddenly a strange car pulls up to the Haney abode!  Bob (and his dog) hop into his car, and flee the scene.

The terrorists bust into Haney's house, and start looking for clues.  What they manage to find is a chalkboard next to the phone... with the remnants of a phone number written on it.  They assume this is probably whatever number Jim Aparo was calling from.  They check in with one of their contacts at the phone company... and, bingo-bango, they've figured out where Aparo is hiding out.  Meanwhile, Jim is chatting up Murray Boltinoff... and they're attempting to put together the finishing touches of the story.

Back in the story, Batman and Rock (who is somehow still ambulatory) are walking the "blanks-shooting" dude into the Police Labs at the GCPD.  Inside, there's just a rat in a cage.  I will do my best not to date myself with a lyrical reference here.  Anyhoo, Rock tells the Perp that the rat's rabid... and if he doesn't speak up about the rest of the baddies, he's going to let it bite him.  Dude squawks pretty quick.  The organization is calling themselves "The Thousand" (man, these Cobra Commanders always seem to call themselves something different, don't they?)... and they need the rifles because... get this... they've declared war on America.

Back in the real world, Jim Aparo lets out a stretch after (presumably) hours at work on these pages.  He spies out one of the lighthouse windows... an incoming boat!  It's gotta be the terrorists!  Knowing time is short, he makes one last frantic call to Boltinoff so they can bring this story home... unfortunately, ol' Murr didn't quite hang up his phone completely.  Ya see kids, phones used to work a bit differently... when they were left "off the hook", you couldn't get any incoming calls!

Just then, Bob Haney (and his dog) calls in from a payphone.  Haney decides, since the bad guys are closing in, they probably ought to just have Batman and Sgt. Rock come to Aparo's rescue!  Let's not think too hard about it... and just enjoy the ride.  Back in the story, Frank and Batman hop into a helicopter, and head toward Connecticut.

As the terrorists get even closer to the lighthouse... Batman and Sgt. Rock fly overhead, before descending on the baddies and knocking the lot of 'em out!

Annnnnd... that's the end of the story!  Batman and Sgt. Rock win the day... all of our creators are safe and sound... and, uh... yeah, everything's cool!


What a delightfully weird little story!

Definitely one ya gotta just let "happen" to ya... because, if we use even an ounce of critical thinking, the whole thing falls apart faster than a Jenga tower in an earthquake.  We have to just "go with it"... the story inside the story is nebulously leaking out into the real-world story... inside the story... or something.  The baddies being written about feel like their plans in the real-world will be negatively affected by the exposure they get in the story-in-the-story... and, uh... Batman and Sgt. Rock have to die in the story-in-the-story, which will change the way things go in the real-world-in-the-story.  Ya dig?  E-Z P-Z!

With all that spoo' spoken... I can't deny that I had a blast with this!  It was just so weird, and so fun.  It didn't make much of a lick of sense, but... I guess they don't always have to.

I wonder how a story such as this might've been received back in 1976.  Personally speaking, if DC/Marvel did a story like this today... say, they had Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo help out Batman with an adventure... I'd probably puke.  But, with Haney and Aparo, they're like these mythical and endearing creators... kind of like part of the "bedrock" of DC Comics.  With hindsight, I can appreciate this as a simple throwaway "funny, ha-ha"... simply because I know the body of work that Haney and Aparo will have ultimately put out... and how much they've both contributed to DC Comics.  I guess what I'm trying to say is, whereas today something like this would be nothing more than a "vanity" issue where creators pat themselves on the back for being clever (and get those "retweets"!), there's a certain innocent earnestness to this story.  Am I projecting?  Maybe I'm projecting?  That's always a possibility probability.

Now, Brave and the Bold has never really been "my jam"... so, I'm not all that knowledgeable on its conceits or anything... do these Cobra Commander-looking terrorists show up a lot?  Or have I just gotten really lucky with my last few picks?  Whatever the case, I suppose they're perfectly good fodder for this sort of story.  Their danger doesn't really come from the individual... but, their sheer number.  I'm almost surprised nobody (to my knowledge) has tried to make them a "thing".  I could see this being something right up... dare I say it... Bendis' alley.  Think about it... thousands... tens-of-thousands of hooded people, part of a secret society bent on world domination... with a wink-and-a-nod to fans of the Bronze Age for "cred"?  Seems a no-brainer to me... but, then again... consider the source.

Overall... had almost too much fun with this one.  This bugger is available digitally for your convenience, if you're interested in seeing it in all its glory!  It's also been collected several times over.  I'd definitely recommend giving it a look!


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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Secret Origins #4 (1986)

Secret Origins #4 (July, 1986)
"The Secret Origin of Firestorm, the Nuclear Man"
Writer - Gerry Conway
Pencils - George Tuska
Inks - Pablo Marcos
Letters - John Costanza & Carrie Spiegle
Colors - Nansi Hoolahan
Assists - Paul Kupperberg & Robert Greenberger
Edits - Janice Rice
Cover Price: $0.75

I feel like I preface the same way every time we discuss Firestorm... but, this was a character (and a title) I never really glommed onto.  That might sound like heresy, especially to say such a thing on the internet... but, I ain't about to lie to y'all and proclaim myself to be some sort of expert.

I've tried... Lord knows... to "get into" Firestorm.  Mostly because, it's one of those books that I'm told I "should like".  It's the most Marvel-ish of the DC books... and, as a Marvel Boy, should have felt more like "home" to me than many of DC's other standbys.  And yet, I just didn't get it.  Still don't, in fact!  I like the idea, the concept, and even the character... just not enough to actually sit through a hundred issues (or pages) featuring him.

Maybe one'a these days I'll come around... til then, however, let's take a peek into (part of) his "secret origin".  Perhaps this will help make all of those pieces fall into place for me?


We open with Firestorm on-the-job... and a little back 'n forth between his two halves.  Professor Stein is happy that Ronnie is so excited to help the Pittsburgh P.D. with all of their troubles... but, really needs to be somewhere.  What he's trying to say is, maybe some cats ought to be left in trees... or something.  More like, let the actual police have some of the fun, I guess.  The two split up, and... somewhat surprisingly (at least to me), it's Stein we follow back to the "real life".  We rejoin him at Vandemeer University, where he's met by his... assistant (?) Wendy.  She asks if he'd like to join her downtown for some Chicago-Style pizza.  I'll... fight the temptation to mention that New York pizza is world's better.  Stuffy ol' Stein declines the offer... and would rather just stand pensively in his window having a flashback...

... All the way back to his college days at Jessie Spano's alma mater, Stanford... err, Sanford.  Likely a technical school having to do with waste management then?  We catch up with him as he's being bullied by a very Tuska-looking tough guy.  This is Brad, somethin' or 'nother... and he wants to cheat off of him on the upcoming "Semester Exam".  Stein (who the bully calls "Stern") refuses at first... until Brad rams his finger up his nose... at which time, our man reconsiders.

Humiliated, Stein drops to the ground to pick up his books.  He's approached by Crystal Frost, who would like nothing more than to comfort him.  Instead of accepting this, Martin tells her to scram... unwittingly setting off a series of events that would end in her becoming the villain, Killer Frost.  Oops!

Next, comes the day of testing... and young Marty has himself a plan.  He will indeed let Brad copy off his paper... but, here's the thing, he's going to answer every question incorrectly himself!  This gets Stein a rather sizable knuckle sandwich.

We jump ahead to Stein using this beat-down as a way of digging down and finding his determination.  He'd tune out the world completely, and devote his life to his studies.  He'd eventually graduate, and receive both his Masters and Doctorate on the same day.  From here, the world was his oyster... he'd get a great gig at S.T.A.R. Labs... and yet, even with all of these accomplishments under his belts... his self-esteem still sucked!  Anytime he'd hear people laughing nearby, he'd automatically assume they were laughing at him.  Whew, it's not just me who feels that way then...

All of his self-doubts and fears ultimately turn Martin Stein toward... the drink.  He's self-medicating, and making no apologies.  One night at the disco, he's approached by a beautiful (?) woman (it is a George Tuska drawing, after all).  She is immediately smitten, and so, drags him out to the dance floor.

Seven days later... they're married!  This is Martin's wife, Clarissa... with whom he was "deliriously happy".  That's what we in the biz call "famous last words", right?

It doesn't take too terribly long for that other shoe to drop.  Ya see, Ms. Clarissa... liked to spend money.  What's more, she liked to spend money Marty didn't have.  This leads to a massive blowup, that ends with Martin "putting hands" on her.  He wrenches her arm, which freaks them both out... she ultimately storms out.  They would eventually divorce...

... and so, Marty went back to his cruel mistress... booze.  Around now, he's left S.T.A.R. Labs for a lead gig at Hudson Nuclear.  Here, he designed the world's first fully automated nuclear power plant... or, at least that was the plan.

Now, nuclear energy was (and is) a hot-button issue... and so, there were many people looking to protest the development of this new facility... including a brutish looking fellow who refers to Stein as "Stern".  This sends Martin reeling into a flashback to his tormented college days, and he shoves the dude into the fence.  Turns out, it's just some other young knucklehead and not Brad-the-Bully.  Stein's assistant, Danton Black sweeps our man away to a nearby car before he can do anything he might regret.  They head directly to the bar so Marty can tie (another) one on.

The whole chat here is... weird, and kind of a heartbreaking look into the mind of a paranoid victim of bullying.  Even though he's like top dog right now, he can't stifle the feelings that everyone views him as weak... and are laughing at him behind his back.  Danton lent our man an ear... which seems like something a friend might do... but, in reality... he was just confirming his own suspicions that Martin Stein is a drunk.  We jump ahead to a point in time where Danton decides he's going to steal an isotope... and, considering what he now knows about Stein... there ain't much he can do to stop him!

Danton tells Stein that if he dares fire him, the whole world will find out that he's a raging alcoholic.  After being whacked with a briefcase, Stein decides calls his bluff...

... which is something he'll soon regret.  Two days later, the entire operation is shut down.  Stein decides "screw it", and proceeds with the launch anyway.

Turns out, at that very moment... a "racial" antinuclear group was putting some explosives in place to tank the entire place... and probably render much of the East Coast unlivable for a rather long time.  I'm going to assume they meant to describe these goobers as "radical" and not "racial", right?  The Prof gets backhanded when he attempts to intervene... and winds up laid out by the bombs alongside some kid named Ronnie.

The timer on the bomb ticks down... and Ronnie wakes up.  Rather than rushing off to save himself, he decides to try and pull the Prof out of harm's way.  This doesn't work out well for either of them!  Also, Danton Black was still lingering around the place, and got hit with a blast of radiation himself!  This is how he'd wind up becoming the villain, Multiplex.

From here, we get the quick and dirty on what Firestorm is and does... and our flashback finally ends.  Stein stops to think s'more and decides life's too short to spend it alone with your papers.  We wrap up with him joining Wendy and the gang at that pizza joint.


Now, up to this point I knew diddly and squat about Professor Stein.  I mean, I knew of him... and who he was, but outside of pointing him out in a line-up, I couldn't tell ya all that much.  This issue, I feel, did a great job of filling in many of those blanks for me.

I think, up to this point, I always just assumed the Professor was a cold, stodgy, no-nonsense, colorless, flavorless, odorless sort of character.  Just something we dealt with while we waited for Ronnie's scenes.  Does that make any sense?  I mean, I'm coming at this as an ignorant outsider... but, the idea of following around the Professor for an entire issue, at first blush, seems like a really bad idea.  Almost like we lost a bet or something.

Instead... what we get is... pretty damned good!  We (or I) meet this Martin Stein, and find him to be downright relatable!  Someone with as many flaws as he has accomplishments... and, I tell ya what, this is one very successful fellow.  While I do feel that the alcoholism angle might be like an "easy" way to give him a vice or a failing... everything that led up to that actually felt organic and meaningful.  What I'm trying to say is, seeing him turn to the drink didn't feel "outta nowhere".

My main takeaway here, if I had to pick one, is despite Stein's many successes... at the end of the day, he still sees himself as an impotent (in the helpless sort of way) victim of bullying.  These bits really resonated with me, in that... I (and I assume many) can definitely relate to such feelings.  I can't quite say that anything I've done (or will ever do) could measure up to ya know nuclear ingenuity... but, I've had my fair share of "successes".  Unfortunately, anytime they might be acknowledged, I suspect whoever's speaking is being either sarcastic or patronizing.

Even today, though... as a dude in his forties... if I'm in a classroom, and I hear a group of people chuckling... I automatically assume they're laughing at me.  It's really hindered my ability, self-esteem, and self-efficacy over the years.  I feel like I'm too busy guarding myself to allow myself to just "be".  Ya know?  I'm not a drinker, thankfully... I guess my vice is the back-issue bins.  If I were starring in this issue, I'd jump from having my face rubbed in the dirt to my rubbing my own face in some ancient newsprint.  There's an image for ya!

Anyhoo, outside of all the heady-stuff, this was still a great little primer on Stein.  I really appreciated how Multiplex and Killer Frost's origins were tied in here.  Thought that was a neat little bit of completistness... completionism... whatever it is I'm trying to say.  The art from George Tuska was.... Tuska-y.  I swear Bully Brad showed up in every crowd shot here... even though he actually didn't.  I guess what I'm trying to say is... some of these characters looked very "stock".

Overall... thought this was pretty cool... and, I learned a whole lot about Professor Stein's origins... from, ya know, a half-dozen reboots ago.  I don't know how much (if any) of this still stands in our current DC Comics landscape... and, ya know what... I bet the folks actually collecting paychecks at DC don't either!


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