Wednesday, November 30, 2011
One of the cool things about comics is that, generally, you can usually find some old comics that pique your interest. It's dope when you're digging through a box and you find a comic that you've always wanted to pick up.
That's what happened when found the Detective Comics Annual #1, Green Arrow Annual #1 and The Question Annual #1. I'd finally found a story that I'd wanted to read since I was a kid.
The three annuals are interconnected, but can be read alone. Still when you read them together, you get a fuller story. All three were written by Dennis O'Neil, who had distinguished runs on both Batman and The Question.
The story features three distinct art teams. Klaus Janson & Tony DeZuniga handle the Gotham chapter with Tom Artis and Tim Dzon tackling Green Arrow. Finally Denys cowan and Rick Magyar round things out with The Question.
Detective Comics Annual #1 is first. The story starts out in 1895 in Manchuria where a Chinese monk is killed dishonorably by a Japanese soldier. So his commanding officer tries to regain his honor by undertaking the monk's mission. Then we come to the present (1988) where the Monk is still alive and on his mission.
From there we get a tale involving Ra's al Gul, Talia, The Penguin and a plague that only attacks women and children. It's so over the top it's hard to believe that The Penguin is even involved. But the Monk and his associate, Lady Shiva show up and play a role in the whole thing.
There's also a hilarious scene with The Question, where he describes the nascent internet as "nationwide networks computer freaks call 'bulletin boards.' Hackers exchange messages, programs even carry on dialogues." It's quite adorable.
The Green Arrow chapter focuses on a rival named Kalesque who wants to be the best archer in the world and feels he needs to best Oliver Queen to do it. The Monk and Shiva show up and impart some wisdom on Ollie. Also Shiva and Black Canary tangle for the very first time.
The last chapter is set mainly in Hub City, home of The Question. It begins with a flashback to the Monk telling his wife of his new path in life back in 1900. From there we're taken to Hub City where a loose end up one of The Question's previous adventures gets tied up. Batman and Green Arrow show up, giving The Question an inferiority complex.
But in the end The Question is validated and the Monk's quest is fulfilled. It really does have quite a satisfying conclusion.
The Batman chapter is the weakest, both in terms of story and art. while The Question is the strongest in both areas. Its' a good story and I'm not even sure if it's ever been collected. But I'm certainly glad I got the chance to read it.