I first heard of the pulp hero Operator 5 in the pages of Steranko's The History Of The Comics in the early-to-mid '70s, as I poured through that book's intoxicating, intriguing coverage of the bloody pulp magazines of the 1930s. The Shadow! The Avenger! The Black Bat! The Phantom Detective! G-8 and his Battle Aces! The Spider! Captain Future! Among these ten-cent avengers was Operator 5. I have yet to read a single one of his adventures. But I still have my copy of The Yellow Scourge, third in a series of Operator 5 pulp paperback reprints, a book which I picked up during the 1975 Florida vacation mentioned above. I also haven't yet read the Lone Ranger paperback I bought in the same time frame. I'll get to 'em. Don't rush me!
May as well confess this right up front: I was never much of a fan of Batman's subordinate little super-group The Outsiders. Created by writer Mike W. Barr and artist Jim Aparo, Batman And The Outsiders replaced the long-running Batman team-up title The Brave And The Bold upon the latter's cancellation in 1983. The team debuted in The Brave And The Bold # 200, the book's final issue. I loved the first half of that issue, a generations-spanning tale linking the alternate-world Earth-2 incarnation of The Batman from the '30s to the '50s to the then-current Dark Knight in "our" reality of Earth-1. That two-part story was also written by Barr, illustrated by Dave Gibbons, and it was a nice little gift for long-time Batfans. But the Outsiders' debut left me cold, in spite of characteristically superlative art by Aparo. I hated the Batman depicted in that story, a self-righteous dick who petulantly quits the Justice League because the other JLA members are being almost equally dickish. Bah. I didn't care about the new characters Barr introduced as The Outsiders--Geo-Force, Katana, and Halo--and while I did like the two pre-existing characters included in the group (Black Lightning and Metamorpho), the whole thing plainly was not meant for me. I did buy several issues of the new series, but I could never really develop any affection for it. I do like some of Barr's writing outside The Outsiders, especially a very nice 4-issue Green Arrow mini-series he wrote, some of his other Batman work (particularly the 1987 graphic novel Batman: Son Of The Demon), and his own creation The Maze Agency, a nicely-done detective series. But I could not get into The Outsiders.
|Dicks. The lot of 'em.|
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