Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Friday, August 28, 2020

The New Mutants

The New Mutants have, at best, a tertiary connection to the Defenders. Even though I've written next to nothing about superhero films since my first post, I wanted to acknowledge the theatrical release of The New Mutants. Originally slated to open two years ago, the highly anticipated film officially opened today, with limited seating to ensure social distancing during the pandemic.

The film draws inspiration from New Mutants #1-3, 18-19 of the original series while crafting a unique story. Eagerly catching a matinee, I liked the film's rendering of all the characters—in some cases better than their comic book counterparts. More cinematic thriller than action-adventure, the film shows the young mutants coming to terms with their powers without the conventions of heroic costumes or dual identities. The stakes are personal and contained, a refreshing change of pace from the cosmic threats that have become commonplace in superhero films.

As a pair, X-Men and X2 are my all-time favorite superhero films. The New Mutants wisely acknowledges the existence of the X-Men while working as a stand-alone picture.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Discreet Debut of Dr. Druid

An earlier post on this blog noted how the first few appearances of Dr. Droom in Amazing Adventures appeared years later in Weird Wonder Tales … prominently reintroducing the mystical hero as Dr. Druid.

Interestingly, Dr. Droom had returned for a fifth appearance in Amazing Adventures #6 (Nov. 1961), which had the same publication cover date as Fantastic Four #1. But while the Fantastic Four would enjoy lasting success, launching a new generation of heroes in Marvel Comics, the character of Dr. Droom fell into obscurity.

In that fifth and final Dr. Droom adventure, an extraterrestrial menace named Krogg used advanced technology to send houses in the town of Greenbirch to another dimension. That five-page story was reprinted as a back-up feature in Giant-Size Man-Thing #3 (Feb. 1975), changing the name Dr. Droom to Dr. Druid two years before Weird Wonder Tales #19 (Feb. 1977) … and effectively making the last published appearance of Dr. Droom the first published appearance of Dr. Druid.

This image of Dr. Droom/Druid comes from the final page of the story "Krogg!"

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Fashion Faux Pas

During most of her time as leader of the New Defenders, Candy Southern wore conventional clothing rather than a heroic costume. That changed when the villain Manslaughter captured her, dressed her in a caped outfit with a bell-shaped insignia, and then programmed a holographic image of Candy announcing that her code name was Southern Belle. In the words of the real Candy Southern, however, the costume was "atrocious" (New Defenders #151).

Candy retained the Southern Belle costume throughout #152, with a slight alteration. Her bodice, which appeared consistently blue the previous issue, was now yellow. A reasonable explanation can be found in the credits, which show that a different colorist worked on each issue.

Petra Scotese colored the upper panel from New Defenders #151 (Jan. 1986). Ken Fedunieiwicz colored the lower panel from #152 (Feb. 1986).