First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.33: Animal Man #7

No Invasion banner on Animal Man #7? That mistake isn’t going to stop Bass and Siskoid from covering along with the other Aftermath Extras! Cuz it definitely links to Invasion! Plus, our hosts take a look at what else DC was publishing during those two months of tie-ins to create a more complete picture of the DCU in late 1988.

Listen to Episode 33 below (the usual filthy filthy language warnings may apply), or subscribe to First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: First Strike ep.33 Supplemental

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33 responses to “First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.33: Animal Man #7

  1. Another great episode visiting a Morrison issue I like quite a lot.
    As you say, these three ‘done in one’ Animal Man issues really showcase Morrison. As with Doom Patrol, this book came out at just the right time for me as a comic reader. I was looking for more from comics than just punch-em-ups. So these three had such perfect endings to get my mind working. Buddy can’t understand the Coyote’s words. The very personal ‘Artist Bomb’ that is simply turned off by Hawkman. And now here Red Hood jumping and dying. All stories and endings that aren’t classic comic book fare.

    When this Morrison run was over I looked back at this issue and thought this was Morrison dipping his toe into the ‘comic book limbo’ idea. Who the heck were these heroes and why hadn’t I heard of them.

    Hard to believe all those great comics were on the shelves at this time. Like you, I enjoy Cosmic Odyssey for the art. The story seems a bit off. I loved the Hawk and Dove mini and series to bits. And the Black Orchid mini is a fave of mine.

    1. Good point. Since Animal Man is an obscure hero, Morrison seems to have decided to have him tool around in the obscure corners of the DCU (B’Wana Beast, Dolphin, the Sea Devils, here Captain Triumph, etc.) which naturally led to the Limbo issue.

  2. Red Mask reminds me of some of those done-in-one characters from late Golden and early Silver Age comics, like the Power Man robot that figures into the origin of the Superman/Batman team (or at least the retelling of it within that story.

    It would be a neat retcon if the Joker (or the crooks who initiated the Red Hood idea) got the actual hood from Red Mask. Maybe it was a spare?

    Morrison playing in the obscure corners of the DCU no doubt influenced James Robinson to do the same in Starman. Lots of real outlier characters there, and a few new ones that he blended in as if to make you think they existed, just like Red Mask.

    I got the Greatest Batman and Joker story hardcovers when they came out. My Batman one is dog-earred all to hell, but I managed to get a nice copy a few years back at a convention. Right at the cusp of the world entering its never-ending “Batman Phase”.


    1. Robinson is DEFINITELY a lover of obscure characters, and not just in his Starman run. Golden Age could be another example, and his Action run seemed partly based on 1st Issue Special!

  3. Man, I loved this issue. There was a period of time when Morrison could do no wrong in my eyes. Even his overpraised work like “Kill Your Boyfriend” and “The Mystery Play” won me over. Great coverage again.

    Any plans to cover the series that spun out of Invasion? I know Shag’s covering JLE (when his show eventually gets there), but any thoughts on looking at its first issue, along with L.E.G.I.O.N. and Blasters?

  4. Priorities like getting my own damned podcasts out have kept me from commenting on First Strike! since November, but I never stopped listening. However, needing to go back and remember what I wanted to say about the episodes I missed have kept me from commenting even longer. Since I need background noise while working on a menial task (not least of which is uploading one of those podcasts) I’m committed to catching up, starting tonight…

    Ep.28: Superman #27/Adventures of Superman #450
    I had intend to express my offense at Kerry Gammill being called the least of the 1989 (praising with damned feint) by claiming it was the reason I skipped several episodes, but that joke seems a bit too believable 19 weeks later. I’ll go it alone as usual and make the case that as much as I love Jerry Ordway as an inker on other Superman artists, I’ve never been terribly fond of his pencils on that character. When I was at my peak fervor for Superman in 1987, I bought the Byrne titles, but never the Ordway ones. Gammill wasn’t made for monthlies and his Superman work isn’t as strong as his Marvel stuff as a result, but I still prefer his work from that period over George Perez and Dan Jurgens. Gammill was a contender for Marvel’s JLGLPBHN, but he came along too late on too few low profile books. His significant talents were incorrectly utilized, as he should have succeeded John Romita Sr on Marvel’s merchandising and style guides.

    Oh, and the Gangbuster/Matrix plotlines were stupid. The Exile arc was alright, but they ruined Mongul in the process. Desssspissssse protoplasmic sex doll “Supergirl.” Of course I still hate Carlin era Superman comics.

    Ep.29: Starman #6
    In the year Green Lantern Corps was being published simultaneously with Flash, the latter outsold the former in the direct market 2-to-1. GLC was selling under 100K total in its final years. Hal Jordan moved to Action Comics Weekly because he was getting cancelled anyway. Anecdotally, I saw Flash & Action Comics Weekly on the newsstands, but no GLC after Millennium.

    My favorite Green Lantern Corpsman is John Stewart. My favorite rogue/former Green Lantern is Guy Gardner. My favorite Green Lantern in the Justice League is Kyle Rayner. My favorite off-brand Green Lantern is Alan Scott. My favorite alien Green Lantern is Kilowog. My favorite Green Lantern to commit mass murder before dying and having his eternal grave pissed upon is Hal Jordan. Jarhead John Stewart is not my bag, but as with Wonder Woman wielding a sword, I’ve come to accept that the people that most need the character has had them defined partially by these affectations.

    I don’t care if a hero’s parents are alive or dead so long as it isn’t built into the concept. I feel Superman’s two sets of dead parents are baked in, so their Post-Crisis status irritates me.

    Ep.30: Suicide Squad #23
    My reading of this volume gets spotty after the teens, so I never read this one, but I need to check out Vixen whipping a Thanagarian. Looks great! However, the line-ups got funkier from around that point, and The Janus Directive involved too many books I had also dropped or never wanted to read (Checkmate alone was too much to ask.)

    In the Fast & Furious Feud, I’m on whichever side Lucas Black is on. Can we get the star of the best F&F movie back in the franchise? After 7, it’s the only thing likely to bring me back to the fold.

    Ep.31: New Guardians #7
    I generally like Cary Bates, and he didn’t embarrass himself as much as Steve Englehart on an inherently flawed property not of his making.

    The New Teen Titans before Terra joins is to me like Dave Cockrum’s first run on X-Men, with notable highs but a lot more mediocrity in retrospect. From the 30s through the end of the first run material in Tales of the Teen Titans is more equivalent to John Byrne’s X-Men. The JLGLPBHN Baxter issues are like Cockrum’s second run, and then the Barreto years are like X-Factor or New Mutants Post-Fall of the Mutants until before the Image boys showed up, except worse. The Tom Grummett years on New Titans is Lee/Portacio X-Men. So in summary, Wolfman’s Titans was an X-Men knock-off. The writer’s block years were worth it for Titans Hunt, though. Also, Team Titans was really good for a couple of non-sequential story arcs, but the rest of it is among my most painful comic book reading experiences.

    I wanted to like Infinity Inc. and Young All-Stars so hard but they mostly suck the chrome off a bumper. At least Inc. had interesting art by McFarlane, Michael Bair, et al. YA-S had even worse character design and dishwater art. I do have affection for Iron Munro thanks to his Philip Wylie connection and usage in Damage a few years later.

    Ep.32: Doom Patrol #18
    I adore Steve Lightle and didn’t hang with his Doom Patrol because I anti-adore Paul Kupperberg. Of all the times I’ve attempted to read Doom Patrol, the only time it took was Giffen/Clarke. I sometimes enjoy Morrison very much and often don’t. Between my samplings of his DP and Animal Man, I’m much more inclined to follow up on Animal Man. A big issue for me is that I really dig the resurrected Rita Farr and Bumblebee in the pre-Flushpoint series, and Morrison never wrote her. I tried the first issue of the Gerard Way run and thought it was trash. Given my admittedly narrow area of interest, I’ll sidestep the Fantastic Four and X-Men comparisons and point to Peter David’s X-Factor as most analogous to the version I like.

  5. The AD&D comic was set in the Forgotten Realms, specifically using the city of Waterdeep as a base. The Forgotten Realms comic focused on a different set of characters. The two parties apparently met up in Forgotten Realms Annual #1 and there was a bit of a crossover with the Spelljammer comic characters at one point as well.

    Nice to know I actually had some minor knowledge to contribute, even if it had almost nothing to do with the overall theme of this show.

      1. I never read it as it came out, but definitely have a large run of the main series now. Personally AD&D was the better book with FR being a close second. Spelljammer was never my thing, but the characters looked kinda interesting. And you’re right about Dragonlance. Either you’re a fan or you’re not. As the main DL novels were some of my first forays into fantasy outside the usual fare, the setting holds a special fondness for me, but I accept it’s not for everybody. Even with that said, I didn’t dig the DL comic the same way I do the AD&D book.

  6. Some great discussion, as ever. I preferred Animal Man to Doom Patrol as it wasn’t so self-consciously pretentious… more wacky with big nuggets of emotional drama. This issue is a stone-cold classic from the cover onwards.

    Did you read Gerry Conway and Chris Batista’s The Last Days of Animal Man? That was a cracking mini, and they even brought Brian Bolland back for the covers (the first one was especially brilliant).

  7. If I understand it, the plan was to cover the Animal Man issue, and not go deep into Morrison’s run, but that’s what happened anyway. Not that I’m complaining. It shows how strong that run was. Loved the discussion on our favorite Buddy.

    So many interesting comics published at the same time. Personally, Hawk & Dove #1 stunned me. The final page with the first image of the new Dove. No dialog on that page. Liefeld’s breakout talent artwork before being cliche. It burned into my mind and hasn’t let go. Simply stunning.

  8. Was recently in a discussion with Kyle Benning about the feud between John Byrne and Erik Larsen, which I firmly believe is down to their being too much alike while repelled by a few key differences of opinion and the hurt feelings of a rejected acolyte. If anything, Grant Morrison’s shaving his head, wearing fancy suits, and displaying strong corporate loyalties feels like overt rebellion against his author-daddy, and the next time Alan Moore writes a metaphysical text powered by tantric magic in devotion to his snake god, he might reconsider his literary child abuse. Then they should both call up Mark Millar and talk about sharing an agent.

    New properties that are based in New York State, Metropolis or Gotham City immediately face a hurdle in gaining my support. Less so but still an issue are West Coast Green Lanterns and Central City/Keystone speedsters, opposed to diversifying with an Asian acrobat with throwing blades or a nighttime vigilante.

    Unlike you gentlemen, I haaaaaaate crazy Plastic Man. I’ve had some contentious differences of opinion with comics theorist Scipio Garling, but I admire his observations on the essential differences between the DC and Marvel universes. I’d say the flip from straight man to loon began with DC’s short-lived Plas revival in the 1960s, and DC’s long record of failure with a character once popular enough to survive the Golden Age demonstrates their consistent misunderstanding of the property and its audience. Plas was one of those characters I loathed going back to his cartoon series, because he was a smarmy “jokey” hero who wasn’t funny and whose execution expressed contempt for the genre. By contrast, Jack Cole’s strips exemplify adoration for the boundless potential of comics, centered on a heroic central figure who grounded the insanity around him. Guys like Bob Haney and Joe Kelly write Plas as a Marvel character, which is incompatible with his strengths and with the iconic DCU. Morrison was the worst though, with his Jim Carrey trickster god angle. How does an obnoxious sexual predator stand next to the Magnificent Seven JLA? He doesn’t, which is why he’s so disliked by a majority of DC readers and can’t support a title.

    All due respect to Paul & Mike at DCOCD, but Cosmic Odyssey is not an event, just a mini-series with a large and varied ensemble cast. An event has to reach outside of a single series, hence the typical full definition as a “crossover event.” The editor of Cosmic Odyssey hated it and tried to bury it, which was reflected in its lack of impact. While Rolled Spine is a denomination of the Church of Starlin, there’s much less support for his DC material in our crew. From interviews, I’ve discovered that there’s a strain of Marvel creators, especially from the Bronze Age, that hold the DC Comics model (especially Pre-Crisis) in open contempt. Starlin is among them, but I do like his Superman and Batman work. Cosmic Odyssey had some iconic moments related to my personal interests, but overall, more of a Cosmic Incident at best.

    Supreme Power was pretty good secondhand Alan Moore with nicer art than Moore ever got on that type of material.

    Random thought: The Unknown Soldier is a perfect opportunity to retcon a character as non-white, since he was a master of disguise operating in the European theater. Of course he’d pretend to be a white man more often than not, but we don’t really know if that’s true, do we? By the color of his hands? That could be part of the disguise, or if that’s too much of a stretch, any race aside from maybe African-American isn’t (and that’s arguable, as well.)

    So this is the Linda and Eric Stauzzzzzzzzzzzz…

    I’m perpetually neutral about Mr. Miracle and Big Barda. I’ve yet to read a story that shifted this alignment. I respect the concepts and the obvious love other people hold for them. I’ve never been wild for either of their costumes or color schemes. I feel they kinda appropriate an African-American slave narrative, and trotting out Shilo Norman every few years just aggravates the mild offense I feel about this impression. They’re New Gods and DC just had a Rebirth. Do an easy to explain race swap and we’ll talk.

    Haywire was about one-half to three-quarters of a solid espionage actioner with two of the all time greatest fight sequences I’ve ever seen. Never read the comic.

    1. We kinda know Cosmic Odyssey isn’t really an event, but we built in a caveat that we could include stories we really like. If you squint you can count it.

      1. There was a new New Gods series that fell out of Cosmic Odyssey, wasn’t there? I picked up a few issues of anything related when those reprint volumes of Kirby came out. (I may not have the standing to say so, but I thought the social conflict they added to New Genesis got things more wrong than even the misunderstanding of the Anti-Life Equation.)

        1. Yes there was. The stories were problematic like you say, but I love Paris Cullins’ art, so I bought it for that alone.

          1. I couldn’t remember, but Mike’s AWoC gives Paris Plotter/Penciller credits with Mark Evanier as writer (except for issues 2-4 with Starlin) until Paris left the book.

  9. I have nothing to add. I just really enjoy the discussion Siskoid and Bass have, and the discussion here in the letters page!

  10. Forgot to mention, Siskoid provided guest scores and additional commentary for DCOCD episode 5 on Invasion! Worth a listen if you like this show.

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