Simpsons Super Spectacular #1
Bongo Comics (2005)
EDITOR: Bill Morrison
This is an anthology of the Bongo superhero tales. You have of course Radioactive Man and his friends in Zenith City, but that’s a comic in the world of The Simpsons too. However, in Bongo comics the Simpsons themselves occasionally do superhero stuff because. Remember that “Bartman” pun from the early years of the show’s fame? They made that into a comic. Also for some reason Homer takes on the super identity of “Pieman”, which Marge isn’t too thrilled with. This issue is a flip book, with Radioactive Man on one side and a Pieman and Bartman story on the other side. There’s a total of five stories between them so I’d better get started. Due to how my collection works and what I’ve been reviewing on Fridays we’ll start with Radioactive man, even if the indicia points to the other side being the main side.
The origin of Radioactive Man (WRITER/PENCILER/COLORIST: Batton Lash | INKER: Michael T. Gilbert | LETTERER: Jackie Estrada
Well, we knew there’s be a retelling/minor retcon of his origin at some point. The stories in this book are not treated as reprints but modern Radioactive Man adventures. The difference here besides a vagrant coming upon him (yes, I looked up a scan of the origin from Radioactive Man v1 #1 for comparison) is that Claude gets airsick but the president gives him Dramamine to help take care of it. I don’t know if that will come into play in the future and you’d think the shrapnel in his head was enough for that “tragic” addition to his origin but the story is otherwise a good retelling.
“The Little Boy With A Big Dream” (WRITER/PENCILER: Batton Lash | INKER: Michael T. Gilbert | COLORIST: Nathan Hamill | LETTERER: Karen Bates)
A man gives his brat son sleeping pills and somehow his mind ends up in another dimension. Radioactive Man has to retrieve him but after getting sick of the kid they take the pills themselves. (Why not just give them to the kid again and let him burn off his excess energy that way?) The story doesn’t make sense and that might be on purpose. Still, I really wasn’t into it.
“Roargo” (WRITER/PENCILER: Batton Lash | INKER: Michael T. Gilbert | COLORIST: Rick Reese | LETTERER: Chris Ungar)
Radioactive Man has been helping a scientist with experiments in radioactivity that leave the hero drained. One of the scientists assistants accidentally releases a monster not as a side-effect of the experiments (that would come later) but with magic, releasing a Gorgo-like monsters upon the city. Luckily the weakened hero comes up with a solution, which is a silly as you’d expect for this series but it works. The story doesn’t work as well for me but it was better than the last one. Overall this was not Lash’s best writing on the character.
Pieman: “Holy Cow, Has Pieman Turned EVIL?” (WRITER/PENCILER: Ty Templeton | INKER: Mike Rote | COLORIST: Rick Reese | LETTERER: Chris Ungar)
“Pieman” is Homer’s identity, so who’s running around pretending to be Pieman and committing crimes? It’s a parody of the evil twin/someone pretends to be a hero gone bad to ruin his reputation story. Also for some reason Bart is his sidekick, the Cupcake Kid, when he already has his own superhero role, which is the next story. Why not have Lisa take that role for some father/daughter bonding? I don’t get it but it was a decent enough story.
Bartman: The Crimespree On Springfield 2!” (WRITER: Chuck Dixon | PENCILER: Ty Templeton | INKER: Andrew Pepoy | COLORIST: Joey Mason | LETTERER: Karen Bates)
When Homer gets bit by a squirrel, Bartman (guess who), Houseboy (Millhouse), and Bartdog (Santa’s Little Helper) travel to Springfield 2 (or Shelbyville, whichever) to team with Fighting Owl and Four-Eyes to stop Owl’s sister, Squirrel Girl (no, not her) from…whatever it is she’s planning. Yep, alternate universe tale and probably the best story in the book.
Overall, the comic was a fun read. While the Radioactive Man stories were not up to the usual enjoyment they aren’t bad necessarily. The Pieman story I don’t get but I didn’t follow the Simpsons comics much. However the Bartman story makes me want to see more. It might be worth a look.