Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You've Been Warned: Batman Family #1

Sometimes nostalgia can play tricks on you. I have very fond memories of this series from my childhood. Truth be told, most of the books I read back then were from later in the series and those are much, much better. At one point in my collecting career, I decided that I'd like a complete run of the series. There are some real stinker in that run, but this one is the worse. Right off the back, we get one of those bad 'Introduction' covers that DC used in the 70s, mostly in the Wonder Woman title. The main image by Mike Grell is quite stiff and awkward, and I'd say that about many of his covers from this period. The sight of Benedict Arnold holding a flaming sword is pretty much all you need to know about this story. It might have work in the 50s or 60s, but this was the camp-free 70s and the story is just lame. I like how the GCD notes that both Arnold and the Devil are villains - just in case you might think otherwise. For the most part, the reprint selections are weak (one from the 40s and one from the 60s). The only saving grace is that this is a slightly cheaper way of getting your hands on the "Challenge of the Man-Bat" story, but I'm sure that story appears in a least a half dozen other books since then. Avoid - and that's coming from a big Bat-Fan.


Argo Plummer said...

What!!! How can you be bagging on one of my favorite titles from the seventies and one of my first real back issue finds from the early 80's. I am shocked and appalled.

OK, maybe the Grell artwork is substandard and stiff--I always felt that his style really didn't fit this story.

And maybe this story isn't one of the top 1000 of the seventies (or even one fo the top 1000 bat-related stories).

And maybe it hinges on the questionable continuity of Babara Gordon as a senator (or working for a senator, I don't remember which--maybe she's in the house, either way it's ridiculous).

All right, fine, you have effectively destroyed a piece of my childhood...I hope you are happy.

For the record, as a man in his late 30's, I still think the image of Benedict Arnold with a flaming sword is wicked. You'll never take that from me!

Stephen said...

I'm going to have to agree with Argo here -- I remember that cover and how the sheer strangeness of it drew my attention. I had to know why a Colonial looking guy got a flaming sword to swing at superheroes in the first place.

Andrew Wahl said...


I just reviewed this on Comics Bronze Age last week and have to agree. The first story is so screamingly Silver Age that it gave me brain lock. I liked Grell’s Batgirl, though, and you can rarely go wrong with Neal Adams Batman reprints. Those two facts made this one a keeper for me.