I’ll be starting this week of reviews with a reminder of what came before my hiatus began, so that we’re all on the same page, since some new people have arrived. (Hello!) Showcase is an anthology series that for some reason DC kept treating like a 12-issue maxiseries. (Too big to be mini, too short to be an ongoing.) I could understand the numbering thing (last time we looked at Showcase 93) if there was a serialized storyline going through it, but there isn’t, at least not in this entry. Maybe there’s a theme I’m missing having so few issues?
Showcase ’94 #8
DC Comics (July, 1994)EDITOR: Neil Pozner “The Secret Origin Of Scarface” part 1 WRITERS: Alan Grant & John Wagner ARTIST: Teddy Kristiansen LETTERER: Ken Bruzenak CONSULTING EDITOR: Dennis O’Neil “Brujas Y Gatos” WRITER: Eddie Berganza PENCILER: Nick Shazzo LETTERER: Ray Kryssing COLORIST: Suzanne Bourdages “Sum: Zero” (prelude to Zero Hour, which is why I bought this) WRITER: Dan Jurgens PENCILER: Frank Fosco INKER: Ken Branch COLORIST: Stuart Chaifetz LETTERING: Richard Starkings & Comicraft CONSULTING EDITORS: Mike Carlin & KC Carlson
Yes, it’s another anthology but three quickie reviews is a good start for me.
It’s part one of the origin of Scarface and the Ventriloquist. It’s been a mystery whether Scarface is Arnold Weskler splitting his personality between his usual quiet self and his more criminal persona via the dummy or if Scarface himself is alive. According to this story a lifer named Donovan created “Woody” (long before Toy Story, folks) out of wood formerly used for the gallows before Gotham dropped the death penalty, the gallows destroyed by a lightning strike. Years later Arnold Weskler, having accidentally killed a man in a barfight, ends up as his roommate, and Woody may be planning to get a new partner. Too bad Donovan is the jealous type and more willing to use his fists. One night, when Arnold plans to hang himself in his cell, the dummy tries to talk him out of it in favor of busting out of Blackgate Prison.
This story takes up half the comic, and until the New 52 changed everything is the origin of one of Batman’s less flashy but just as dangerous duo. Is Arnold speaking through Woody (which you may have guessed is Scarface, minus a scar and squinting like Popeye) or is the wood used to build him possessed? The art style isn’t to my taste. The lineart is a bit exaggerated and the coloring very dark, which I supposed adds to the atmosphere but it’s just not my thing. Still, not a bad start to the origin. It concludes next issue, which I do have.
The next one was a recent Friday Night Fight. Also note that Berganza’s alleged mistreatment of female DC staffers (mistreatment being an understatement) will not affect the review of a story decades before the allegation. The mother of the second Wildcat, Yolanda Montez, goes to a Cajun witch to have her daughter brought back to life. And while this is quite possible in the DC Universe it’s actually a scam so her son brings the original Wildcat, Ted Grant, to expose them. It’s a short story, but it brings closure to Yolanda’s mother and a good fight. I liked it.
Finally, it’s the prelude to the then upcoming Zero Hour event. By this point Waverider has joined the timestream-protecting Linear Men, which includes an alternate version of his former self, Matthew Ryder. As he and 90s makeover Rip Hunter debate his actions during Armageddon 2001, Monarch appears on their monitors. It’s a trap for the former Hawk to kidnap Waverider as part of a plot to resurrect “his” future. There are some interesting (not necessarily good or bad) ideas here, like Hawk becoming Monarch was meant to happen according to the Linear Men’s records, considering the original intent was having Captain Atom become Monarch until they decided the twist was more important than the intended story once word of Monarch’s intended identity was leaked out. I also wonder how Monarch lost his time-travel equipment (although it would explain why he never used it during The Alien Agenda) but somehow can still mess with the Linear Men?
Overall the three stories were good even if Scarface’s origin is a bit dark in both story and art for my taste. We’ll look at the next issue as soon as it comes up in rotation.