As I’ve mentioned before, I really enjoy Elseworlds stories. It’s fun to take the familiar characters we’ve known and loved for so long, put them into different circumstances, and then see what happens! In DC Comics Presents: Elseworlds #1 we get a lot of exciting alternate worlds and characters.
The collection begins with a horror story, “The Reaching Hand” by D Curtis Johnson (writer), Aaron Lopresti (artist), Kurt Hathaway (letterer) and Gloria Vasquez (colorist). I adored this because Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent are both detectives, working as partners for the Gotham City Police Department. Bruce narrates in excessively flowery form, and the style reminds me of old pulp comics, film noir, and early Batman.
The second story in this issue is even more awesome (I know, how can that be possible?) – the heroes we know and love are pop singers, recording albums on Lex Luthor’s record label! Batman here is a Goth idol with a possible drug problem, so basically nothing’s changed.
Sorry about the blurry edges – the book is bound in such a way that it’s hard to scan inner pages, it doesn’t want to lay flat.This rock-tastic segment is by Bronwyn Carlton (writer), Greg Luzniak (pencils), Anibal Rodriguez (inks), Ken Lopez (letters) and Noelle Giddings (colors).
Paul Pope is also represented in this collection, which gives me a nice introduction to his work before I get started on Batman: Year 100. The story is set in Berlin, 1939, where wealthy socialite Baruch Wayne is a cubist painter who admires Picasso and gets a little too much attention from Komissar Garten, while Batman fights the Nazis. Personally I could never buy Jim Gordon as a Nazi, but other than that this was a great story. Not everyone likes how Pope draws Batman, but I really enjoy his overall artistic style, it reminds me of something that I can’t quite place. Anyone know what that might be? In any case, when Batman fights Nazis, I’m happy. Here’s a great fight sequence, with story and art by Pope, colors by Ted McKeever, and letters by Ken Lopez:
My main complaint about DC Comics Presents: Elseworlds #1 is that although the writers and artists are credited, there’s no indication of whether this is all original work, new to this issue, or if some or all of the stories are collected from previous publications. Normally I would take that to mean the work is all new, but I feel like that’s not the case here. For example, here’s a cover image that I love, which I know I’ve seen before:
We have Mark Waid, Ty Templeton, and Dan Raspler to thank for this one. Eventually my Google-fu revealed that this collection was originally published in 1999, but recalled due to controversy over one specific comic in the book (a hapless babysitter put baby Superman in a microwave). I’m also amused to note that the official description on the DC site lists this as being an “80-page giant”, but the cover of the issue tells us it’s a “100-page spectacular”. Either way, my Elseworlds craving was satisfied!