Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where we’re celebrating the end of the year by reading the Elseworlds 80 Page Giant! Though it was eventually published – with an extra story added – in 2012, the original printing was ordered pulped by Paul Levitz over scene in one of the stories…a story that would go on to be the first from the special to see print AND won two Eisners.
How’s It Different?
There are nine tales contained in this volume, each presenting a unique one-off tale. Every type of Elseworlds tale is represented, with some executed better than others.
Best of Differences
The Reaching Hand – a tale casting Bruce Wayne & Harvey Dent as police detectives unknowingly investigated a cult worshipping cosmic horrors – played by the stretchy heroes and villains of the DCU (Elongated Man, Elastic Lad, Madame Rouge, Plastic Man, and Metamorpho).
Letitia Lerner, Superman’s Baby-Sitter – Ma & Pa Kent hire a local teen to watch Super-Baby for date night, hilarity ensues. Won its writer/artist Kyle Baker two Eisners, heavily influenced Pixar’s short Jack-Jack Attack, and got the entire issue withdrawn and pulped.
The Vigilantes in Apartment 3-B – Birds of Prey reimagined as a Soap Opera strip from the newspaper funny pages.
Superman Jr. is No More! – A brand-new Super Sons tale in which Superman, Jr. decides to retire out of redundancy until his father’s apparent tragic death.
Worlds Apart – Superman’s rocket kills Thomas and Martha Wayne, setting him and Batman on a fatal collision course.
Silver Age Elseworlds – a series of silly fake “first pages” for Silver Age tales with a modern Elseworlds sensibilities. A one-note joke, but a funny one.
All of these stories do a fine job telling tales in worlds that feels thought out (or as thought out as possible in the space available). They either tale a complete story or feel as though more stories could come from that world and those are the true marks of a good elseworld comic in my book.
Worst of Differences
Dark Knight of the Golden Kingdom, Scandalgate, and Rockumentary are all pretty shallow joke stories without much point to them. Still, 6/9 is a darn good ratio of compelling-to-boring stories.
NEXT WEEK: Tokusatsu Gesundheit will talk about a series you can watch right now, Kamen Rider Ex-Aid!