Sunday, August 31, 2014

Back Issue Review: The Elongated Plague! (Detective Comics #465)

"Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives." 
-- Dan DiDio, Executive Editor DC Comics (2013)

 Last time out, we had a fun romp through the first story in Detective Comics #465. That one was all about The Batman having to protect his BFF Commissioner Gordon. Today, we're going to look at the second story, which is an entirely different flavor of Detective. And a different flavor of artist Ernie Chua, who also drew that Batman one, but here has a lighter inker, Terry Austin.

"The Elongated Plague" Written by Bob Rozakis, Art by Ernie Chua & Terry Austin

And, it's a lighter story. It's a Ralph and Sue Dibny story! Well, OK, technically it's a Calculator story. For some reason it was decided that one of The Batman's lowest-rung villains would have an ongoing backup story arc.

"...and bragging out loud on random street corners."

But, really, we're all here to see an actual happy married couple enjoy some super-heroic hijinks.

it's not the first time that Ralph's been "beamed." won't be the last.

They're off on a date to visit the local comic-book convention and boost Ralph's already large ego. So, when The Calculator engages in a mock attack, shooting him with a laser light show, the Elongated Man doesn't doubt that it's just a slightly psychotic cos-player out for an autograph.

Well, he never claimed to be the "World's Greatest Detective." Not in front of Batman, anyway.

This is why I don't go to conventions.

Oh dear. It seems that through some sort of magic science thing, The Calculator has transferred Elongated Man's stretchiness to everyone at the comic convention. And no one is happy about their new inability to handle their comic books and keep them "mint" at the same time.


Which lead to one of my favorite fight sequences, ever. This is why kids buy Silly Putty, right? "Make copies of your favorite comic strip characters and stretch them!"

Well, there goes dinner.

And this is why we read these things, right? The sheer, wonderful ridiculous-ness of it all? Sure, sometimes you want yer Dark Knight it-rains-all-the-time Greek tragedy. But we also need rainbow pop sherbet shenanigans! We need a world where the bad guy can turn off everything that troubles us by pressing a few buttons on the front of his costume.

NOOOOO! Not my DC Western Comics!

And here's the thing: these characters are still owned by DC Comics. They could put out a rebooted series starring everyone's favorite Thin Man-inspired detectives next week. And it's not like people won't buy a monthly title about a likable married couple who have weird adventures and enjoy life despite having to deal with hardships and tragedy.

"What? Sorry, never heard of it. We only sell pessimism, here."
(Wikipedia, art by Fiona Staples)

C'mon you editors of massive media conglomerate trademark farms, adolescence is only cool for a limited time period. Even Batman has to grow up. Not every hero is going to get married and enjoy life, but it's just really weird when NONE of them do.

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