Mar 5, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 739: DC Special Series #1, 1977

https://www.comics.org/issue/30578/

With a leisurely Sunday morning to spend in front of the fire, an 80-page comic seemed just the thing. When I checked the GCD listing, only the Flash story from this particular comic has been reprinted - at least, in English. I'm not surprised. The comic is rife with problems. The Flash story is a clever one, and actually read much like an episode of the TV series might have - further proof that the television show is drawing very much on this late Silver age aesthetic. I'd also say it was the best of the bunch in here. The Aquaman story is a good one, and it's interesting that these one-off tales are all very firmly rooted in their contemporary continuities. Aquaman's story takes place as he returns from battle with Black Manta, and is dealing with the death of his son. You'd think something like this would have been reprinted somewhere, but I wonder if it's because of the really terrible depiction of a Middle Eastern character that it wasn't. In fact, there's quite a lot of really terrible racism in this comic. Aquaman's nemesis du jour decides he's going to use his newly-acquired powers to create a new Persian empire, which obviously means he's evil and must be stopped. There's a little aside at the beginning of the story talking about the wealth disparity in the Middle Eastern city that the villain hails from, ostensibly to make America look better? It doesn't work, especially from a current standpoint. And then we come to the Batman story, which actually seen the Dark Knight using racial slurs against the henchmen he's fighting. It was extremely off-putting to hear these things coming from the mouth of the Batman.

That aside, the Green Lantern story was nice in that the main character never really knew what was going on, and never does. I read an issue of Ultimate Marvel Team-Up a couple of years ago in which something similar happens. I quite like this kind of story - superheroes are more than human, yes, but that doesn't gift them with omniscience, so leaving them confused as to what just happened in their crazy lives every now and again makes me happy.

But not happy enough to ignore the horrendous racism of the comic. *sigh*

To be continued.

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