Eventually every character in limbo from Grant Morrison’s Animal Man will return, I guess.

§ December 14th, 2022 § Filed under this week's comics § 16 Comments

It was mentioned in the original solicitation, so I must have read it back then when I was placing orders on this book. Nevertheless, I was both a little tickled and a little proud of myself as I was reading this comic and it suddenly dawned on me that it was going to incorporate all the characters that had appeared in DC’s 1970s Showcase-esque try-out series 1st Issue Special. Now, it didn’t occur to me ’til Atlas showed up in the middle of the story, so I’m not too proud.

I’m a little surprised this series didn’t get the upscale printing treatment as writer Tom King’s other “modernized” updates to DC characters, like Human Target, Strange Adventures, and Mister Miracle, with the cardboard covers. But this series is styled like them, with a story image on the back cover instead of an ad. And the content is similar, with edgier, more “adult” updates to classic and not-so-classic characters. It’s interesting so far, and I like the gimmick of the book using this specific character set. We’ll see how it holds up for 12 issues.

I feel like this is being overlooked a bit as compared to his other Image series, the excellent Eight Billion Genies, but Charles Soule (along with artist Will Sliney) is doing some fine occult-y adventure work on this book. Using the premise of our protagonists pressed into service to hunt down coins from hell (literally, Hell’s actual currency) as a framework to discuss and critique actual economic and financial issues is a clever one, and so far not overused or overbearing. Focus is definitely on the pursuit of the coins, a nice hook driving the plots, though I expect the series to become more than a simple “get the coin” story every issue, like Eight Billion Genies going from “look how wishes mess with our characters” to “look how wishes have altered all of society.” It’s a solid book that I’m enjoying, and I hope more people catch onto it.

Okay, this actually came out a couple of weeks ago but I just now got around to reading it. It’s…fine, and I’m sort of feeling like how folks felt when they finally got their Dark Knight sequel a couple of decades back. Like, “huh, this is different from what I was expecting.” Casey from the original series carries over, as she and her son (who was obviously fathered by the eponymous Ronin himself) fight a demon roaming the city. There’s a lot of ‘splaining to do in regards to the premise of this series, but it’s only the first issue so presumably said ‘splaining is to come.

Story is told in mostly two-page splashes, written and laid out by Frank Miller and finished by Philip Tan and Daniel Henriques, so it’s certainly visually distinct from the original, as well as missing the rich coloring from that first series. As I said, I like it so far, but I need to see where it’s going exactly, which I suppose is a sign that this first issue did its job.

16 Responses to “Eventually every character in limbo from Grant Morrison’s Animal Man will return, I guess.”

  • Andrew says:

    Danger Street sounds really interesting – anything that pairs The New Gods and Doctor Fate with the Creeper and the 1970s Starman and Lady Cop is worth at least a looksee. I think, however, the most intriguing is the thought of seeing a new version of The Warlord (one of my favorite series when I was just starting to buy comics). I think I have about 50 -60 of those in a box somewhere – that original Grell art is FANTASTIC.

  • Thom H. says:

    Danger Street #1 was a lot of fun. There were a couple of moments where I thought the characters were not acting quite like themselves, but it’s like Human Target — familiar characters in a new context. As long as you don’t mind that, then it’s all good. Plus, it’s nice to see someone use Metamorpho again. I have a real soft spot for that character from his days in the Outsiders.

  • Daniel T says:

    Tom King “stole” my idea! When they solicited the collection of 1 , I remember idly thinking to myself “I wonder if you could write a series using all these characters?” King was obviously nearby using a mind reading device he kept from his CIA days.

  • Daniel T says:

    “collection of 1st Issue Special”

    Don’t know what happened there.

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    I think Tom King got the idea for this comic after he stumbled upon Showcase 100 and thought, “….but for 12 issues.” I’ll check it out at some point- I like King’s books better in trade, so probably not until then- and Fornes’s art is always worth looking at. I hope it continues to be enjoyable.

  • Dave-El says:

    I’m with Mike Loughlin on waiting for the trade for Danger Street. With Tom King’s pacing, I feel ripped off when I get a single issue of one of his series vs. the trade.

    I am very intrigued by the concept since I am old enough to remember those issues of 1st Issue Special when they came out.

    Is it just me or is Green Arrow on the cover of Hell To Pay?

  • Snark Shark says:

    “coins from hell (literally, Hell’s actual currency)”

    I always assumed Hell used the Soviet-era Ruble!

    “Ronin 2”

    Meh. I didn’t even like the first one! the ONLY of 1980’s Frank Miller I didn’t really care for, I think.
    Just read Lone Wolf & Cub!

    Andrew: “Warlord… – that original Grell art is FANTASTIC.”

    YESSSSSSS! The stuff right after Grell left wasn’t bad, either! Jan Durscema (?), I think.

    Dave-El: “Is it just me or is Green Arrow on the cover of Hell To Pay?”

    It looks EXACTLY like him!

  • Tom W says:

    It’s not Grant Morrison’s Limbo in Animal Man but the seminal Ambush Bug #3, where he tours the underappreciated parts of the DC Universe, that should be celebrated for its influence in the years that followed. Morrison used the Inferior Five in Limbo and brought back Quisp in JLA and Egg-Fu in 52. Bat-Mite made his first comeback there, Cain and the House of Mystery appeared (though they’d already been brought back in Swamp Thing), Ace the Bat-Hound… it’s acted as a Bible for the weird. Mopee and the Glop yet to make an appearance as far as I know.

  • Snark Shark says:

    Tom W: “Ambush Bug #3”

    Ohhhh that’s true! And that was a GREAT issue!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Tom W:

    Agreed that Ambush Bug # 3 is underrated! Hard to believe that Morrison brought back Egg-Fu, however.

    I wasn’t aware of Mopee or the Glop, so I went to Comic

    Vine — and, wow, Silver Age DC Comics certainly had its share of strange characters! Actually, I think the Glop should make a comeback.

    Mike Loughlin:

    Showcase # 100 is a very fun comic–wish there were more comics like that!

    I’ll take a hard pass on Danger Street, however. Almost everything King has done with DC characters I’ve disliked, and Heroes in Crisis was the worst thing he was allowed to do. Happily, I was able to trade in King’s non-Kirbyesque Mister Miracle run and some other assorted New 52/Rebirth DC Comics I no longer wanted and got some fun Golden, Silver and Bronze Age books in
    exchange: Prize Western Comics # 76 –which has a masked cowboy character called Black Bull story by Will Elder
    and John Severin; Strange Tales #163–with Steranko’s Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.–and the first appearance of Clay Quartermain; and Brave and the Bold # 119–zany Bob Haney and Jim Aparo serving up a Batman and Man-Bat yarn–and the kicker is that Batman actually ingests Langstrom’s serum and becomes a Batman-Man-Bat!

  • Andrew says:

    Snark Shark: I think you’re right that Jan took over the art chores. I can’t remember now where I stopped but at one point I suddenly apparently could not take any more super hot naked bodeis writhing on my comics page. Actually, it was probably about the time I went to college (1982) and not only was $ tight but my interest in comics was waning (I know I was still getting New Titans and LSH but I had been collecting for 8 years at that point and I think I was kind of over it by and large… I rallied for the Crisis, of course, but after that kind of petered out)

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    This is, obviously, a tangent, but I will share a thought to occurs to me every time I see a reference to “1st Issue Special”: One of the potential series tried there was entitled “Code Name: Assassin.” This has always annoyed me, because it betrays a complete misunderstanding of the purpose of a code name. You use a code name so that, in the event of someone else overhearing your conversation or intercepting your message, that person will not know what you mean. Giving an assassin the code name of “Assassin” really defeats the purpose.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    A line that occurred to me a little too late:

    If comic book writers had been running things in World War II, they would not have used the names “D-Day” and “Operation Overlord” in planning the invasion of Normandy. It would have been “Top Secret Operation Normandy Invasion.”

  • Snark Shark says:

    Turan: ““Code Name: Assassin.” This has always annoyed me, because it betrays a complete misunderstanding of the purpose of a code name.”

    You’re TOTALLY right!

    If I’m ever an assassin, I’ll remember to use the codename “Totally NOT An Assassin”.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Snark Shark:

    If you really want to keep it Top Secret! use the code name: Nick Rivers…

  • […] Almost there! As awesome as that would have been, instead we got Danger Street, a 12-issue Tom King Black Label series featuring…well, I wrote about it here. […]