Suspended Animation
Suspended Animation
by Michael Vance & Dr. Jon Suter

Check-out Michael Vance Comic books for sale

March 31, 1999

Reviews in this issue:

DC Universe Holiday Bash #1
Body Bags
Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron/The Phantom Affair #1

DC Universe Holiday Bash #1

A good story can be destroyed by a minor factual error.

Comics writers should hold themselves to the highest standard of accuracy. We know that there are critics waiting to pounce on the slightest excuse for condemning comics.

An unfortunate example of inaccuracy is in DC Universe Holiday Bash #1 featuring various DC characters. Not all the stories deal with Christmas. The Green Lantern story, written by Michael Jan Friedman, honors the Jewish festival of Hanukkah; however, it has a serious historical error. It is stated that "Judah Maccabee recovered the holy Temple from the Roman overlord of Palestine."


The revolt of the Maccabees began in 167 BCE against the Greek rulers known as the Seleucids.

The Romans arrived in Palestine in 63 BCE.

It took several readings before I could see around that error and recognize the merits in Friedman's story. I should note that I have found equally serious errors about that era in the writings of major historians; Friedman may have used an unreliable source.

As a balance to this complaint, I should mention a major gaffe in Herman Wouk's novel The Winds of War.

A young man, Byron Henry, age 25, is visiting his father in Berlin in September, 1939, and is described as reading and enjoying a stack of Superman stories borrowed from a servant.

Since the first issue of "Action Comics" appeared in late 1938, it is impossible for Byron to have been a Superman fan for nearly a decade. (We are told that Byron and his father had quarreled about comics while he was a teenager). If Wouk had said "pulps" the scene would be plausible.

Wouk's place in the literary pantheon is assured, but this minor error adds to the vast misinformation about comics.

Reviewed by Dr. Jon Suter

990331.jpg (22188 bytes) Body Bags

Published by Dark Horse. A despicable man-monster is visited by his slut of a daughter. They spend 'quality' time together stabbing and shooting despicable people. Ugly and violent, this technically well drawn and written comic is moral garbage.

Reviewed by Michael Vance


A Golden Age Comics writer quipped that comic books aren't so much written as typed.

But times change.

Today, most comics aren't so much written as computed...except for Starman.

But isn't this just another reworking of an old 1940s superhero? moan adult readers.

No. This one is actually written. Yes, all of the comics touchstones disdained by adults-- silly, alliterative names and spandex costumes, bloody noses and clinched fists in the battle of Good against Evil--are here, but not as the focus of Starman.

Characterization is the star of this title, and that means real, complicated people talking about real situations in real language. Superhero trappings are barely a backdrop.

As example, Starman's clumsily attempts at impressing the babes with his superhero status are met with disdain. Imagine yourself being introduced to a woman at a party as Dr. Surgery or Captain Accountant. The reactions you'd get are gotten by Starman.

Fantasy is a major element in this series, but solid, realistic dialog and characterization suspends much disbelief and breathes new life into the exhausted superhero genre. Writer James Robinson deserves four stars, man.

It's a shame the art needs a breath freshener.

Raves over its writing crumble into rumblings of discontent over its art. Although the pseudo-realistic style is right for the series, Starman is artistically weak in this issue. Anatomy and foreshortening are inconsistent (its not nice to fool Mother Nature), and Starman looks too much like forty other titles.

Because of average art, you'll give Starman two instead of three stars,man. And two out of four isn't bad.

Starman #17~22 pages & $2.25 from DC Comics. Artist Tony Harris, sold in comics shops, on newsstands and by mail.

Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron/The Phantom Affair #1

Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron/The Phantom Affair #l published by Dark Horse.

This long title deserves a long life. Excellent art and story will entertain young or adult readers whether they're Star Wars fans or not. Recommended. Hola to our readers in They Won't Stay Dead. Drop us a line sometime!


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