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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 38,619
Subj: Meanwhile, In Superman #39....
Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 at 03:27:51 pm EST (Viewed 564 times)

Sharply saccharine, and almost bare-faced shameless in its commitment to appeal to the readership's heartstrings and sympathies, Peter Thomasi and Patrick Gleason's Superman #39 nevertheless succeeds in being a rather fine and well meaning done-in-one tale featuring nothing but the best form of wish-fulfillment for the children in us all. The fact that it begins with a very traditional super-people beatdown is merely a precursor to the real yolk of the story, but when the latest band of super bank robbers hitting Metropolis, and being therefore hit by Superman, is none other than the one-hit wonders fondly remembered (by me...) from the Len Wein and Dave Gibbons run on Green Lantern in the early 1980s then one has to commend the two writers on A]Honouring the recently departed Len Wein. And B]Recognising the degree of outdated charm and novelty that this long forgotten team of comicbook super-baddies carries.

A band of robbers and amateur villains out to make money for themselves by basing their methods on a gimmick. On the face of it the Demolition Team are a ludicrous rabble. A pastiche on what Comicbook villains are, or were. And yet for all of their obvious disposability and one-dimensionalness these villains came from the same ethos and basic necessity as most comicbook villains came from back in the day - what is different from the Demolition Team and the Flash Rogues, The Circus of Crime, or the Royal Flush Gang after all?
Well, alright, admittedly those villains all carry that little bit more credibility and intrigue than what appears to be little more than a bunch of hacked off ex-construction workers been given outrageous bling. But then this was exactly the simple formula behind most new villains who came along through the 1970s and early 80s, the writer would think of a gimmick, a motif, and develop the new concept from there... it might be a Kite-Man that comes forth, a Colonel Computron, or a Wrecking Crew. Where The Demolition Team stand though perhaps the fundamental problem blocking any potential for further greatness is simply that despite their novelty value the DC Universe as an entity doesn't have any obvious match to fit them against. As Superman #39 shows so well this bunch don't actually have much of anything in their favor other than the novelty value... after all it is telling that even in their debut appearance all those years ago even Green Lantern didn't turn up to fight them!

But we love underdogs. At least, I love Underdogs. Len Wein's work on the Superhero genre was resolutely traditional through and through, whether it be his Green Lantern or latterly his fine work on Blue Beetle Wein's approach to plotting and conceiving new characters and foes always worked from the same rough basis as described above, where The Demolition Team came into Green Lantern was as it turned out not to offer Hal Jordan the same predictable challenges with their gold based trappings but, unexpectedly, to work as the scratching post to mysterious new frienemy(?) The Predator. And a memorable story therefore was borne....

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