Posts Tagged ‘Infinite Crisis


Classic EBI #110: Second Stringers

In today’s new Everything But Imaginary, I think about the nature of superpowers. Sure, it’d be cool to be able to lift tanks or fly through outer space, but let’s be honest. Some minor-league powers could come in pretty handy too.

Everything But Imaginary #422: Practical Superpowers

And in today’s classic EBI, I head back to April 2005. We all know the a-list superheroes… Superman, Batman, the X-Men and so forth. But just because a hero may not be in the top tier doesn’t mean their stories aren’t worth telling. Today, we look at the second string.

Everything But Imaginary #110: Second Stringers

With the thousands of comic book characters that have been created since the artform was invented, it’s only natural that some will be more popular than others. For every Superman, there are a dozen Gladiators, for every Batman a Moon Knight, for every Richie Rich a Royal Roy. But does that mean these characters are actually bad, or does it mean that they just missed the train to stardom? The fact is, there are a ton of really good b-list characters out there, and it always puts a smile on my face to see some of them get the respect they deserve.

I’ve always believed that there are very few genuinely bad characters, that almost any character can be entertaining in the hands of a good enough writer. Fabian Nicieza proved that way back in the early 90s with the first incarnation of the New Warriors. He picked up a bunch of characters that nobody cared about in solo adventures and decided to throw them all into a book together – Nova, Namorita, Firestar, Marvel Boy and Speedball. A bunch of B-listers if ever there was one. (Actually, calling Speedball “B-list” at that period was probably being generous.)

But somehow, he mixed in a magic touch that made those characters that nobody liked… likable. And interesting. And one of the best superhero books on the market. Unfortunately, no other writer managed to bring that same magic to the book. It was cancelled 25 issues after his departure, and a relaunch a few years later only lasted 10 issues. A new miniseries is scheduled for this summer, but time will tell if Zeb Wells has what it takes to make us care about these guys again. [2011 Note: He didn’t.]

A lot of writers see these second-string characters as a challenge, as real fodder for bizarre or unusual tales that they simply wouldn’t be allowed to tell with Superman or Captain America. Look at what happened when Grant Morrison took over Animal Man. A lame character with a lame power (he could duplicate the abilities of any animal in the vicinity) and managed to tell some of the most intelligent, thought-provoking comics ever published at the time. He found new, intelligent uses for the power, and beyond that, made the comic a bizarre, metafictional hit. Writing this comic pushed Morrison on his way to becoming one of the most respected writers in comics.

Now he’s doing it again with his Seven Soldiers series. He’s taken a B-list team and reimagined it with seven B-list superheroes: Shining Knight, Guardian, Zatanna, Klarion, Frankenstein, Mr. Miracle and Bulleteer (actually, I’d consider Zatanna A-list, but clearly Morrison doesn’t) and he’s again having some fun experimenting with seven independent stories that will theoretically weave together to create a larger whole. And people, for the most part, seem to be enjoying them.

Keith Giffen also had a lot of fun with the b-list, rounding up forgotten or cast-off characters like Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire, Ice, Rocket Red and third-string Green Lantern Guy Gardner and making them the Justice League. He made clever, hysterical comics, too, so much that even now, over a decade later, people are lining up for new material from this creative team (including J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire) with these characters.

And come on, folks – you’ve all read Countdown to Infinite Crisis by now, right? Were it not for the respect and notoriety Giffen gave the characters all that time ago, the events of this book would have been meaningless. Instead, although the title somewhat dampens a great deal of what he created back then, it makes for a powerful, heartbreaking story about a true hero – the Blue Beetle, trying to put things right when the “A-team” has completely abandoned him. There’s a moment in that book where Maxwell Lord tells the Beetle “You were never second-string.” And the events of that issue, to many readers, proved that Max was right.

And how about characters that are created, not just as second-stringers, but as nigh knock-offs of the A-list characters? Let’s look at Mr. Majestic. An alien comes to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Gee. Where have I heard this before? I was never interested in him, because I didn’t see the point in reading about a faux Superman when I could read about the real thing.

Then last year, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning took that ”fake” Superman and temporarily made him the real one, when Big Blue went missing in the timestream. All of a sudden… this guy was interesting. DnA (as they are sometimes collectively called) didn’t focus on what made Majestic similar to Superman, they focused on the differences, and how those differences made it difficult for him to truly replace the man of steel. He was an alien, yes, with similar powers, but he was raised on his homeworld and came to Earth as an adult, with different ideas and values than the Kansas-raised Superman. It wasn’t then that I saw the potential – Majestic isn’t a fake Superman, he’s what Superman could have been under other circumstances. Filtered through that perception, he’s a much more intriguing character. I followed that character, then, into his own miniseries and now into his ongoing, which I am enjoying quite a bit.

The same goes for Dan Slott’s new reimagining of the Great Lakes Avengers. I’m not sure what John Byrne was thinking when he created this team in the pages of West Coast Avengers, but they were never exactly played for the jokes that they really were. They wanted to take themselves seriously. It was the readers who couldn’t. Goofy characters like Mr. Immortal, Big Bertha and Flatman just didn’t have a place alongside Captain America and the She-Hulk. So what does Slott do in the new GLA miniseries? He plays it for laughs. Dark laughs, to be sure, but laughs nonetheless, and he tells the best story these characters have ever had. And in case the original team wasn’t lame enough, he’s decided to add even more loser superheroes, like Squirrel Girl, to the team.

Even a company like Archie Comics recognizes their second-string. They’ve just launched the new Tales From Riverdale Digest, which gives a spotlight to characters other than those who headline their own books – Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica. In this digest, their writers can have a little fun playing with Dilton or Moose or even Ms. Beazley, the Riverdale High Cafeteria Lady, should they be so inclined. (Look, you can’t rule it out. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since I began writing this column, it’s that every character is somebody’s favorite).

I think it’s good – even important – to have a “second string” of characters in any attempt to create a shared universe. First of all – it only makes logical sense. If you’re going to have people like Superman leaping tall buildings in your hometown, it’s natural to imagine that there will be lesser characters hoping to snag some of that glory for themselves. As goofy as many of the B-list characters are, their very existence tends to add a small degree of realism to comics. Second, it helps flesh out a universe and make it more full. There are tiers of superheroes, just as there are tiers of actors, or politics, or authors or musicians. And everyone, no doubt, has their own opinions as to who belongs on each tier.

And third, this is where future characters are going to come from. It’s virtually impossible, at this point, for a new character to burst onto the scene and become the new Superman or Batman. Any character who isn’t currently A-list, almost by definition, will be B-list when he’s introduced. But that B-list isn’t really that bad a place to be. You can pick up fans slowly, experiment, gain in popularity. And if the character and writer are good enough, that B-lister can eventually graduate to the A-team.

Just ask Ted Kord.


As nervous as I was about the whole premise behind Green Lantern: Rebirth, Geoff Johns has totally turned me around. Issue #5, out last week after something of a hiatus, was a total home-run, not just for the great writing and fantastic art (of which both fully met my expectations), but because in this issue, Johns did something that needed to be done. And I’m going to spoil the issue a bit here, so if you haven’t read it, jump to the italicized bit at the end of the column.

My biggest concern about this comic was that DC, in catering to the Hal Jordan fans, would dismiss all the fans of Kyle Rayner. This issue proved to me that this isn’t the case. As a resurrected Hal faces off against Sinestro, ol’ purple-puss makes a crack about how he’s going to kill the remaining Green Lanterns, leaving Kyle for last.

Hal’s response is what sealed the deal. “Kyle held the torch when no one else would. When no one else could,” he said. “You will respect him.”

Somehow, that’s all I needed to hear. That the people writing the comic know and understand that’s how the Kyle fans feel about the whole thing. That was the last niggling bit that was bothering me about this whole project, and now that it’s been dealt with, I’m ready to sit back and enjoy the finish.

Man – and what a last page, huh?

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast. E-mail him at


Classic EBI #113: Your Job on Free Comic Book Day

It’s that time again, my friends! Three days from now is the first Saturday in March, and that means it’s gonna be Free Comic Book Day time again! As I do every year, this week’s EBI column is all about FCBD and how you can try to make it work.

Everything But Imaginary #397: Free Comic Book Day Turns 10

But for our classic column, this week we’re gonna slip back to May 5, 2005 — to the Wednesday before another FCBD…

Everything But Imaginary #113: Your Job on Free Comic Book Day

As people who read this column or Ronée’s with the slavish devotion we deserve will know, we’re both quite involved in our local community theatre. Just this past weekend, we finished a run on the comedy The Butler Did it Again and we lucked out – we worked with a lot of good people and made some good friends on this set.

One of the people we worked with, Earl, has a son who wants to make his own comic books. Earl tells us that the kid spends all of his time writing and drawing, and asked Ronée to take a look at some of his stuff and see if she could give him any pointers. When I heard that, I got out a piece of paper. On it I wrote “Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner and Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud.” I said, “These are the two best books you can give anyone who’s really interested in making comics books.” Then I thought a moment. And then I wrote down “That’s a way to get some free stuff,” I said.

It’s really become quite the event. Once a year, like Santa Clauses in Punisher t-shirts, the comic book shop owners of America throw open their doors and call out to the masses, “Come in! Get free stuff! See what we’ve got to offer!”

Free Comic Book Day 4 will be held this Saturday, May 7, at a comic store (hopefully), near you. But as great as it is for fans like us, the kind who zip off to the shop weekly, faithfully, hoping for the newest adventures of Superman or the X-Men, if we’re the only people to go, then Free Comic Book Day will be a failure.

The whole point of Free Comic Book Day, the whole purpose, is to pull in new fans, new readers, to get people to try something they haven’t before. If we’re the only ones there, FCBD will simply be preaching to the converted. But that’s where we run into the problem. How do we get them there?

In the past, FCBD has been tied to the release dates of comic-related movies: Spider-Man in 2002, X2: X-Men United in 2003 and Spider-Man 2 in 2004. This year there were two obvious choices they could have linked the event with – Batman Begins or Fantastic Four. But instead, they decided to make it an event of its own, to try to stabilize it, and to try to give the event its own identity not dependent upon the films. I can’t blame them for doing it this way. Comic book movies are hot properties right now, but movies are cyclical. When the inevitable summer comes that there’s no huge comic move, FCBD should still have a presence, and it’s best to try to establish that presence right now.

But without a movie to link it to, how do you get the word out about FCBD? What comic books really need, I think, are sort of a central advertising council. You’ve all seen the ads paid for by an entire industry instead of a single company: “Got Milk?”, “The Incredible Edible Egg” and “Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner,” are all products of that sort of advertising strategy. Comic books need something like that, one central organization that can let people know about all the different, varied worlds that comics have to offer, and tell people where to find them. Such an organization can’t be created overnight, however, and the chances of one being established and set in place by Saturday, let’s face it, are pretty slim.

So this leaves us with that old standby, press releases. Speaking as someone in the journalism field (so far out in the field, in fact, that I often suspect the game ended and they forgot to call me in to the dugout), I can tell you that these are a hit or miss proposition. Typically, a press release for an event such as this will only get printed if the editor of the paper in question has no other way to fill up space. And even then, it will get chopped up, rewritten and twisted around quite often. It’s not the most reliable way to get any information out there, and the most anyone can really hope for is that they manage to print the correct web site address.

Nope – the best chance any of us has of getting the news out? Good old fashioned word of mouth. That’s what I did with my buddy Earl last weekend. I don’t know if he’ll actually make it to a shop with his kid, but I intend to pester him a little about it just in case.

Yes, the point of FCBD is to bring in new fans – but we can’t forget that we’re doing that for our own benefit. The number of regular comic book readers in this country has decreased dramatically over the past few decades. It’s painful to even contemplate. So even we, as much as we love comics, cannot sustain the industry forever. People die, people decide they’re too grown up for comics, people drop the hobby for financial reasons. New readers have to be brought in, or eventually there simply won’t be enough of us left to keep the industry afloat.

So if you love comic books, the best thing you can do is to help other people love them too. And one of the best ways to get anybody to try anything is to give them some free samples.

Parents? Take your kids! Kids? Take your parents! There’s so much to choose from this year! Sure you’ve got Spider-Man, Batman and Star Wars, the old standbys, but look at some of the other offerings: Uncle Scrooge. Betty and Veronica. The Simpsons. G.I. Joe.

Look at some of the really out-there stuff: Flight, Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai, Mortal Coils, Flare, Johnny Raygun, Runners, Amelia Rules! Come on, if you can’t find something at FCBD that’s to your liking, you simply aren’t trying.

I’m doing my best to spread the word. I’ve talked about it at nearly every message board on the net that will let me in. I’ve written an entire edition of my regular newspaper column about it and I’ve e-mailed that same column to everyone I know.

Now I’m asking you guys to do your part.

Yes, go to FCBD. Have a blast. Get some free stuff. But don’t go alone. Grab a friend who doesn’t read comics. If you have a friend with kids, make sure they bring the kids with them. Bring nieces, nephews or cousins. Guys, tell your girlfriends or wives that you want to take them out to a nice lunch and a movie, but ask them to come to the shop with you on the way. Girls, pull the same trick on your guys.

E-mail your friends. Send them the URL of the FCBD website. Send them the link to that column I just posted, if you think it’ll persuade them. Send your comic-reading friends the link to this column and encourage them to do the same things I’m talking about.

And here’s the biggest thing, probably the most important thing: when you get these newcomers into a comic shop, make it a place they’ll want to come back to.

Take them to the best, friendliest comic shop in your area. You know the shops where dust covers the back issues and kids playing Yu-Gi-Oh! are cursing like longshoreman. Some of you even may know of shops where the owner is requiring a minimum purchase for a FCBD book. Don’t go there. In fact, if possible, never go there again – save your money for store owners that deserve it. Go to clean, bright shops that welcome people. If your shop is having a sale on FCBD, so much the better.

Answer their questions. Make friendly suggestions. If they like movies like The Last Samurai, recommend the Ronin Hood comic book. If they liked the Sin City movie, casually guide them towards the trade paperbacks. (They aren’t free, of course, but if you can persuade them to invest a little money, so much the better.) Don’t laugh at somebody just because he doesn’t know the difference between Captain Marvel and Shazam!, and don’t roll your eyes when you hear someone say, “I thought Superman was dead!”

Don’t just jab your fingers at your favorite comic books and say, “Man, you’ve got to read Teen Titans, it’s the best!” Figure out what they would like. Someone who may pick up an issue of Uncanny X-Men and then never read a comic book again may fall completely in love with Strangers in Paradise, Fables, She-Hulk or Fade From Grace.

Make them enjoy the shop. Make them glad to be there. And make them want to come back.

Because if they don’t, then the entire exercise was pointless.

I love comic books, friends. Like a great many of us here, I dream about one day working in comic books, writing my own stories, seeing my characters and ideas sitting on the rack. So call me selfish. Because when the day comes for those comics to see the light, I want there to still be people out there to read them.

That’s your job. Your goal. Your quest.

Now go out there and make it happen.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: April 27, 2005
Maybe it’s because Bill Willingham is among my favorite writers or maybe DC is just on a roll, but Day of Vengeance #1 grabbed me and pulled me right in last week. After the events of Identity Crisis, Jean Loring has gone a little coo-coo, and apparently she’s taking the Spectre with her. With the hostless spirit of vengeance on a tear and many of DC’s top-level mystical heroes out for the count, it’s up to the b-listers like Ragman, Enchantress and (be still my heart) Detective Chimp to find a way to take him down. Unlike the other three miniseries that spun out of DC Countdown, this book will rest squarely on the shoulders of characters that many fans know nothing about. Heck, even I was only vaguely aware of Ragman, but Willingham gives us everything we need to understand who our heroes are and how big the threat is. I’m in awe these days. It’s been a long time since I could say it, but if you’re a fan of huge, epic adventure stories, right now the DC Universe is the place to be.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page, and check out his new experiment in serial fiction at Tales of the Curtain.


Classic EBI #139: Giving Thanks For Comics

Hey, friends. No new Everything But Imaginary today, as I’m giving this week to Erin, but I had enough time to post this classic EBI from Thanksgivings past. Originally presented on November 23, 2005, this was a look at what I was grateful for in the first post-Katrina Thanksgiving. Boy, things have changed — Alias Enterprises is no more, Dan Slott‘s Thing comic didn’t make it past ten issues… but hey, there’s still stuff worth being thankful for.

Everything But Imaginary #139: Giving Thanks For Comics

Tomorrow, my friends, is Thanksgiving, and as such I wound imagine most of us will not spend our day sitting in front of our computers. I know I certainly won’t. Sure, I’ll be on briefly in the morning working on my book for National Novel Writing Month (word count waits for no holiday), but the rest of the day I’m going to be with my family, enjoying their company, celebrating the fact that we’re all together and safe (especially after the nasty hurricane season we just went through), and eating gargantuan amounts of turkey, ham, various potato-based side dishes and pumpkin pie. And it will be good.

The day is intended, of course, to give thanks. I’m thankful for my family and friends, for everyone in my life that’s important to me, for the fact that I’ve entered quite a productive period as a writer, and for a lot of other things that people reading a comic book column don’t particularly care about. But there are things out there in the realm of comic books that I’m quite thankful for. Now normally, if I’m going to do a holiday column, I like to talk about comic book tales that took place on that holiday – Christmas and Halloween are notoriously easy for this project. Thanksgiving is more difficult. The only Thanksgiving comic I’ve read in years was JSA #54, a celebration with the Justice Society and the Justice League, and while this was a decent enough comic, it was quickly overshadowed by JSA #55, which was one of the best Christmas stories I’ve ever read in a comic book. (Geoff Johns must have been on a real holiday kick that year.)

So rather than trying to dig up some Thanksgiving stories to shine a spotlight on, I’m instead going to take this column to go over some of the things in the world of comic books that I am, at present, particularly thankful for. Great trends, great stories, great comics, great creators. It’s easy to find things to complain about – and don’t worry, I’ll no doubt get around to that around the first of the year – but today I want to go over some of the things about comic books that make me smile.

I’m thankful for the way DC Comics and a lot of the smaller publishers stepped up to help comic shops here in the Gulf South after Hurricane Katrina. DC offered shops in badly impacted areas their products free of charge for a period of time. Many other publishers and individual creators started working on benefit books or auctions to help aid the Red Cross and other relief organizations. As disappointed as I was that some of the other giants in the industry didn’t do more to help out, I was extremely proud of what DC and everyone who worked on a benefit did.

I’m thankful for Alias Enterprises. In a comic book industry that often seems too focused on drawing the dollars out of those same readers that have been around for years, Alias seems to be making a real effort to reach out not just to new readers, but to younger readers. They’re creating comics for all ages like Lullaby and The Imaginaries, bringing back great comics like Opposite Forces and Tellos that have really wide appeal, and even tapping into an often ignored Christian readership with ArmorQuest and David. Even if Alias isn’t necessarily putting out anything for you, you’ve got to appreciate its efforts to reach out.

I’m thankful that more and more classic comics are finding their way back into print. In addition to Marvel’s Masterworks and Essentials comics and DC’s Archives, this year DC began their Showcase Presents series and the Dark Horse Archives began reprints old Gold Key comics including Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom and Magnus: Robot Fighter, as well Steve Rude’s Nexus. And let’s not forget the reprints of the old Little Lulu comics, the Complete Peanuts series (which was joined this year by Complete Dennis the Menace). There are even reprints in the works for old Harvey Comics like Hot Stuff. There’s a reason classic comics become classics, and putting out old material in new editions is the best way to keep them alive. In the future, here’s hoping somebody starts doing archival editions of great stuff like Tales From the Crypt, more of the Archie superheroes like The Comet, Charlton classics like Blue Beetle and Captain Atom and old kids comics like Richie Rich or Casper.

I’m thankful for how Infinite Crisis is shaping up, again, by bringing back those elements from the past that made the DC heroes such icons in the first place. I’m thankful that the writers across the line took their time and set things up instead of just rushing into the story headfirst. I’m glad that, for once, we’re really getting a story about a universe, about an entire world of heroes that legitimately impacts each and every title, and I’m increasingly hopeful that the new DCU that emerges from the other side will be better and brighter.

I’m thankful that Fables, my favorite comic each and every month, hasn’t lost a single step even since Bill Willingham whipped out the identity of the Adversary. In fact, I’m thankful for all of my favorite comics, including (such diverse titles as) JSA, Uncle Scrooge and PVP. I’m thankful for surprises – books that weren’t even on my radar that turned out to be great, such as Young Avengers and Son of Vulcan. If there’s anything better than finding a comic you had no intention of reading and turning out to love it, I don’t know what it is.

I’m thankful that Marvel had the good sense to give She-Hulk another go. It’s by far the best comic on their roster – one that has a sense of humor about itself and the world it inhabits, and its gentle self-deprecation blends perfectly with classic superhero stories. I’m glad Marvel is recognizing the talent they’ve got in Dan Slott, giving him the fantastic GLA miniseries from earlier this year (and the upcoming GLX one-shot), and I’m really, really happy that they’ve put him at the helm of the new title for my favorite Marvel character, The Thing.

I’m thankful that the big publishers are starting to take chances on genres other than superheroes again. DC is making a big push to resurrect the western with Loveless and the excellent Jonah Hex, and Marvel is dipping their toes in that same water with The Dark Tower, although in that case they are no doubt more motivated by the appeal of having Stephen King write a comic for them. And speaking of which, I’m really grateful that somebody finally got him to dip his pen into a comic book inkwell. As I said before, though, I just hope Marvel really takes advantage of all the potential having him writing a comic book can represent.

And finally, most of all, I’m thankful for this dandy little site called I love having this outlet to talk about comics, to espouse my feelings, to think about and analyze the trends and direction of the industry, and I’m thankful that I’ve got swell folks like you out there who read along and talk it up with me. It’s the most fun you can have talking about comic books – all right here.

So have a great Thanksgiving, folks – have an extra slice of pumpkin pie for me, and be sure to come back next week when I announce the categories in the Third Annual Everything But Imaginary Awards! See you then!

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: November 16, 2005

That’s right, it’s finally back! I’ve missed having this feature here in Everything But Imaginary every week, and I’ve finally gotten my comic source stabilized enough to start dishing on the great comics every week again. And for my money, the best comic that came out last Wednesday was the first issue of the new Thing series by Dan Slott and Andrea DiVito. As I’ve often told you guys, the Thing is my favorite character in Marvel comics, and as far as I’m concerned, the best hero to ever sprout from the collected imagination of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. His new first issue was a lot of fun, lighthearted but not as over-the-top as She-Hulk… it really felt like a classic superhero tale. Here’s hoping he enjoys a nice long run.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.


Toy Stories: Infinite Calamity

I have had terrible luck trying to find the new DC Comics 75th Anniversary Infinite Heroes figures in stores near me. I’ve been looking just about everywhere (I say just about because there is, in fact, one place I haven’t had an opportunity to look yet), but no luck. I have, however, had a modicum of luck snagging a few of the leftovers of the previous lines that are still available, including these two six-packs I got my hands on not long ago.

"Get 'em, Clark! GET 'EM!"

"Get 'em, Clark! GET 'EM!"

This first pack, OMAC Attack, is based on the OMAC Project storyline that DC ran a few years ago in the run-up to Infinite Crisis. In that story it was revealed that Maxwell Lord, one time benefactor of the Justice League, had gone bad and was running the anti-metahuman police force called Checkmate, and that he had created an army of OMAC cyborgs to do his bidding. If that wasn’t bad enough, he used his mind-control powers to use Superman as a weapon, an attack that was stopped only when Wonder Woman snapped Lord’s neck like dry spaghetti. It was awesome.

The two OMAC figures included in this set are identical to the single-packed figure I got some time ago. But as they’re “minions,” I’m okay with this. This figure marks the umpteenth Superman in my collection, but again, Mattel managed to get at least a little diversity. If you look close, you can see that his eyes are red, apparently signifying Lord’s mind-control. Either that or he popped over to the Batcave for dinner on the night Alfred made his Spicy Chili Surprise. Wonder Woman is a slightly different paint job than the single packed figure as well.

The two main reasons I wanted this set, though, were Max and Booster Gold. The Max figure is a good representation of the character from that storyline, and Booster is a character I’ve been dying to get in an Infinite Heroes form. Although why they couldn’t have included Booster’s best bud, the Blue Beetle, instead of one of the OMACs, is beyond me.

"Just don't look at them, guys. Just... just don't look."

Next up is the “Mallah’s Revenge” six-pack, featuring six Teen Titans and two of their more bizarre foes. Let’s get the bad guys out of the way first. Monsieur Mallah and the Brain (I’m sure you can figure which is which) are two old enemies of the Doom Patrol who found love with one another during Grant Morrison‘s truly freakadelic run on that title. On the other side, we have Cyborg, Robin, Raven, and Arsenal. One thing I like about this pack is that there are virtually no “stock” bodies. The Brain and Mallah obvious required totally original sculpts, and the Robin figure is a bit smaller than the usual males. It’s about time we had one to go with the 37 different Batman figures, even if Tim Drake is no longer Robin and the current Robin has a different costume.

Cyborg and Arsenal (also in a different costume these days) both look pretty good, with enough bits and pieces to make them stand out among the army of 3.75-inchers. The only disappointment in this set is Raven, an identical figure to the one that came with Starfire and Captain Boomerang in an earlier 3-pack.

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