Comics Reviews: 1985 Preview

Crisis 1 coverWell, my 1984 reviews are done, so now it’s on to 1985, which was a pretty big year for DC. Several long-running series ended (Flash, Titans, Legion, Jonah Hex) to make way for new stuff in the next two years. All this transition was prompted by Crisis on infinite Earths, where DC basically rebooted their entire Universe, retroactively wiping out all the parallel Earths and saying that all their stories take place (and always did) on one single Earth. I know a lot of people hated that idea, but I kinda liked having all the heroes on one Earth so the writers didn’t have to come up with some reason for them to cross dimensions every time they did a team-up (or even a cameo). That being said, I didn’t actually read Crisis when it first came out, as I was moving toward reading Marvel exclusively around that time. So, many of these stories will be brand new to me and I’m looking forward to finally checking them out. As usual, I’ll be dividing my reviews into groups to make things easier.

Batman, Detective, Batman & the Outsiders, Firestorm, Vigilante: Batman Batman 382 coverwill be taking on some classic villains (and anti-heroes) this year, like Mad Hatter, Catwoman, and Calendar Man. We also get more of the Nocturna/Night Slayer storyline, a new villain named Black Mask (who becomes a regular member of Batman’s Rogues Gallery), and a couple of guest villains from the pages of Flash (Captain Boomerang and Mirror Master). The Outsiders focus on some personal matters with Metamorpho and Halo, as well as fighting Kobra and his new team. The second Outsiders series debuted in November of 1985, so I’ll be adding that to my reviews. Firestorm fights the likes of Killer Frost, Plastique, and the new villain Weasel. Vigilante continues to question his mission and tries to balance being a judge (as Adrian Chase) with pounding criminals in the streets. His mission will bring him into conflict with his old friend Nightwing.

Superman, Action, DC Comics Presents, All-Star Squadron, Infinity Inc.: Superman has a mixture of tones this year, with the core title using tried-and-true baddies like Luthor, while Action goes a little goofier with theDC Comics Presents 80 cover likes of Ambush Bug (several times), the Yellow Peri, and J. Wilbur Wolfingham. In DC Presents, Supes teams up with some heavy hitters like the legion, the Outsiders, the Challengers, and the Forgotten Heroes, plus a couple of weirder co-stars … Swamp Thing and Creeper. The All-Stars fight villains like Night and Fog, Baron Blitzkrieg, and Tsunami. We also get the first couple of “Secret Origins” issues, which become more frequent after Crisis screws up the All-Star Squadron’s history. The Marvels make a return appearance too, fighting the Monster Society of Evil. Infinity Inc wraps up the Ultra-Humanite story and deals with some family matters (yes, we finally find out whether or not Green Lantern is Jade and Obsidian’s father). We also get a couple of new members just in time for Crisis.

JLA, Tales of the Teen Titans, Tales of the Legion, New Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes: the Detroit League keeps going, fighting new enemies Tales of Teen Titans 52 cover(Cadre, Maestro) as well as old favourites (Amazo). And we might just see some original JLAers pop up for an issue or two. Tales of the Titans and Tales of the Legion both end this year, leaving only the Baxter series to carry on the story. The Legion focuses on Dawnstar for a few issues, as well as bringing back the Dark Circle, the Controllers, the Khunds, and Dr. Regulus. They also hold a membership drive to add some new faces to the team. The Titans deal with Trigon, celebrate Donna Troy’s wedding, welcome newcomers Azrael and Kole to the team, and fight villains like the Fearsome Five, Cheshire, and Thia. And Terminator and Changeling finally settle their lingering animosity over Terra’s betrayal and death.

Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Warlord, Jonah Hex: Flash’s series ends this year (and so does his trial, finally) and there are several twists before the final issue. Wonder Woman’s series isn’t long for this world either, so things ramp up in preparation for the final issue in early 1986.Flash 350 cover The new Green Lantern John Stewart has his hands full with Eclipso, Sonar, Predator (whose big revelation shocked and disappointed fans everywhere), and Star Sapphire. John also has to contend with Hal Jordan, who’s having second thoughts about giving up that power ring. Warlord Travis Morgan consorts with pirates and tries to get back to being the idealistic freedom fighter he was when he first came to Skartaris. Meanwhile, his daughter Jennifer finally figures out who Tinder is. And Jonah Hex’s series wraps up too, finishing off the long-running Emmylou and Adrian sub-plots. I won’t be reviewing the post-apocalyptic Hex comic, as I never had any interest in it.

I’ll do the year’s Annuals at the end of my regular reviews, as usual. So, that’s what to expect in 1985; I hope you’ll join me as I check out these classic (and not-so-classic) comics, and don’t be shy about commenting.

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