Well, that’s 1983 finished, so now it’s on to 1984. They say your own personal Golden Age for comics is when you’re twelve, and I was twelve in 1984, so a lot of these comics resonate for me (although I was reading a lot of Marvel stuff then too, especially Spider-Man). As usual, I’ll divide the comics into groups to keep things manageable; since I’ll be adding several comics to the 1984 reviews, my usual groupings will be shuffled a bit, as you’ll see.
Batman, Detective, Batman & the Outsiders, Firestorm, Vigilante: The Darknight Detective will confront some classic foes this year (Cat Man, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Deadshot, Scarecrow) and we’ll finally see Jason Todd’s debut as Robin. There’s also a boxing storyline that was voted among the best Batman stories of the year, plus the return of Nocturna and her homicidal boyfriend. The Outsiders will meet new enemies (the Masters of Disaster, the Force of July, the New Olympians … Mike Barr loves those theme villains) and Katana will confront some issues from her past. Firestorm mixes it up with Killer Frost and Black Bison, plus new baddies Bug and Byte, Silver Deer, Slipknot, and Mindboggler … one of whom will die. Vigilante continues his quest for justice, meeting villains like Electrocutioner and Cannon and Saber along the way.
Superman, Action, DC Comics Presents, All-Star Squadron, Infinity Inc.: The man of Steel confronts classic foes like Terra-Man, Master Jailer, Luthor, and Vandal Savage … plus less classic foes like Colonel Future and Ambush Bug. We also finally get to the Forgotten Heroes storyline that they’ve been hinting at for the past couple years. In DC Presents, Supes teams up with a diverse cast (Madame Xanadu, Etrigan, Vixen, Arion, Phantom Stranger) as well as a few more familiar faces like Flash and Wonder Woman. The All-Stars have their first full meeting and we get to see some ancillary groups like the Seven Soldiers of Victory and the Freedom Fighters. The Marvel Family shows up (but as friends or foes?) and the All-Stars meet Tsunami and Neptune Perkins, fight Baron Blitzkrieg, and accompany Amazing Man home to Detroit to stop some race riots. Infinity Inc gets off to a great start with a storyline that lasts most of the year, featuring the JSA (and their kids, Infinity Inc) as well as Ultra-Humanite, Brainwave, and Solomon Grundy.
JLA, Tales of the Legion, Tales of the Teen Titans, New Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes: Yup, this is the year of two Titans and two Legion titles. The new series technically take place a year later than the originals, so the storylines are different. The older Titans stories include Brother Blood, the famous Judas Contract story, and a final confrontation with HIVE, while the newer Titans comic deals with the return of Trigon. The original Legion title has them fighting the Dark Circle and dealing with the destruction of their headquarters (again), while the new Legion storyline deals with the Legion of Super Villains invading Orando, which leads to the death of a Legionnaire, the expulsion of another for murder, and the return of an old favourite. The JLA take on Paragon, Hellrazor, some warlike martians, and then we get the big change … yup, it’s time for the Detroit League. Nuff said?
Warlord, Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Jonah Hex: I’ll be reviewing Warlord with the JLA, Titans, and Legion titles through July, but when the new Titans and Legion titles come in, I’ll move Warlord to this group to keep things balanced. Travis Morgan will be trying to get Shamballah back from the New Atlanteans, while ferreting out the secrets of that ancient empire. Flash’s trial goes on (and on, and on) and he faces Gorilla Grodd, pied Piper, and Rainbow Raider amidst the chaos. Wonder Woman has to deal with the machinations of Circe and Dr. Cyber, among others. Green Lantern finally gets back to Earth and runs right into his old enemy Jason Bloch, who sends Javelin and the Demolition Team after him. GL also fights the Shark and meets a new quasi-ally, the Predator, whose identity will be a giant disappointment to fans everywhere. And Hal Jordan walks away from his duties, clearing the way for John Stewart to take over. Jonah Hex gets into more mayhem out West, though he does finally clear his name on those robbery charges.
I’ll also do a number of Annuals, some in with the regular issues and the rest afterwards, like I did with 1983. I’ve read some of these comics before and there are some classic storylines coming up, so I’m looking forward to reviewing them. I hope you’ll all join me, and don’t be shy about leaving comments.