airdave817's Showcase '96 #4 - The Devil's Own; Day & Night, Night & Bright; Street of Dreams review

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Order vs. Chaos

Batman Family 7
Batman Family 7
One of my favorite books back in the day was Batman Family. Unfortunately I only got, like, three issues. #7, with The Sportsmaster and The Tigress; #11 with an unlikely wedding between The Teen Wonder and Batgirl; and, #13 with Alfred as The Outsider. This one was the highlight! Kirk Langstrom was tranformed from Man-Bat into a were-jaguar. And the final panel set up a Batwoman mystery. Mystery, because, to this day, I still have not read the resolution. Cover price - fifty cents

Another good book was Adventure Comics. I started reading that around issue #467. That was the start of the Prince Gavin Starman arc - by Steve Ditko? Cool! Plastic Man with Woozy Winks; Aquaman with Mera and Starman. Cover price - forty cents.

Times sure change. Along with the price of admission.

Showcase is something else entirely. There is no central anchor character(s). No Aquaman, Plas, Supergirl or Wonder Woman like in Adventure; no Alfred, Batgirl, Man-Bat or Robin, like in Batman Family. And a $2.95 cover price.

The Starman Legacy continues here!
The Starman Legacy continues here!

This issue starts with probably my least favorite "Brave and the Bold"-style team-up of The Guardian and Firebrand. Firebrand is pure modern age comics, re-imaging a classic Golden age hero for a new audience. I remember Firebrand from Roy Thomas' All-Star Squadron. Kinda like his Spitfire from The Invaders. This is a whole new Firebrand. Dark, brooding and almost like Firestorm, his costume. I've never been a fan of The Guardian. He and Gangbuster, probably the lamest parts of The Death of Superman. Other than, of course two of the four Supermen that came out of that story. I've always kind of looked at The Guardian as a Captain America rip-off wannabe. The pair fight each other before reigning in a street gang wilding.

I never really had a great appreciation of The Demon until Bruce Timm and Paul Dini. When they used him in The Batman Adventures Annual and Justice League, I was hooked. This is a Demon I'm not familiar with.

The highlight of the issue is a Tale of Times Past featuring The Shade and Dr. Fate. It doesn't seem to fit here. Matt Smith and Melissa Edwards' artwork is a bit muddy and dark here, moreso than over in Starman. James Robinson's script is a bit watery, but still works. This should have been an issue of Starman, and not a part of Showcase. An even worse crime? It is the one cliffhanger. Grrrrrr.

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