Nineties Week Archie Sunday

I was really hoping to find some 90s Archie comics so's I could showcase some of the abominable fashion choices that the Riverdale gang were making diring that poorly-dressed decade but no dice.

Instead, here's a brief look at that most unlikely of crossovers, 1994's Punisher Meets Archie (or Archie Meets Punisher, depending on which company you bought it from)!

So how do America's typical 1950s teenager and The grittiest and most grim vigilante of them all end up sharing a comic? Well, the setup involves mobster/pharmaceutical tycoon "Red" Fever fleeing hot leaded justice for the bucolic Riverdale home of Mr Lodge, who turns out to own stock in his company. In a surprise shocker, "Red" turns out to look just like Archie Andrews:

Okay, maybe he doesn't look just like Archie. More like... Archie's deformed brother who has to live in the basement. As you can see, "Red" ends up taking Veronica to the Riverdale High 50s-style sock-hop instead of Archie after he screws up in classic fashion. "Red" hilariously spends the rest of the evening trying for a little of the ol' Riverdale Date Rape that he's heard so much about, but to no avail:

MEANWHILE: The Punisher and Microchip have rolled into town and spotted Archie moping around the Chok'lit Shoppe. Archie hilariously almost gets mowed down but thankfully our two heroes are astute at the ol' facial recognition game:

So then Archie and the Punisher team up and Figure out that a) "Red" is at the dance with Veronica and b) a rival gang are trying to rub "Red" out, which will probably be bad for the children of Riiverdale. The Punisher heads to the dance, where he learns that he is Miss Grundy's, uh, type:

While Archie tries to rally the local police, to no avail:

To be fair, the Riverdale beat must be just pure bullshit.

But everything works out okay in the end: Ronnie gets rescued from "Red"'s eventual kidnapping, virtue intact, the Riverdale kids don't have to witness any violent shooting deaths and the Punisher gets about the most heartwarming ending that he is ever likely to see:

Not pictured: Archie trying to convince the Punisher to give him a signal watch.

So there you have it: Punisher Meets Archie is actually not a bad comic. I'm as shocked as you are, really. I'll leave you with the joke teaser panel from the last page and a humble suggestion that we all start agitating for it to happen as soon as possible.

You know it would be great.

It's a Quiz: Are You a Nineties Super-Hero?

Nineties Week continues! Today we have a quiz for all of you out there who aren't sure whether you're a Nineties super-hero or not. Well, stop your worrying because Living Between Wednesdays is here to set you straight! Helping us out today are the stars of the 1993 DC event Bloodlines, famed for introducing such well-loved characters as Hitman and... Hitman! Keep on plugging, you crazy diamonds!

I briefly considered getting all fancy and having radio buttons and check boxes and a tally and so forth but laziness won out. So have a pencil and paper handy and remember to ask your parents before doing math by yourself. PRO TIP:  this quiz can also be used to determine if someone else is a Nineties super-hero. Just change the pronouns!


Are you so edgy and grim that you have no social skills whatsoever? Do you alienate and anger all around you? Are you, in short, a big jerk? Give yourself five points for each of the following situations that would elicit a rude, angry or sarcastic response from you, every single time:

- Someone asks you for help.

- Someone offers you help.

- Someone expresses concern or another feeling toward you.

- Someone asks you a question.

- Someone says or does anything while you are present.

Part 2 - POWERS

a. Are your powers completely generic, only with lots of crazy pyrotechnics? (If yes, add five points)

b. Can one of your powers be described as "I have a knife"? (Five points)

i. Is it a lot of knives? (One point per knife)

ii. Are there a lot of crazy pyrotechnics? (One point)








c. Can one of your powers be described as "I have a gun"? (Five points)

i. Is is a big gun? (One point if your answer is "Big", three for "Ridiculously big" and five for "It's essentially a small artillery piece"

ii. Are there a lot of guns? (One point for each additional gun)

iii. Does the gun resemble no actual firearm in any way? (One point)

iv. Are there lots of crazy pyrotechnics? (One point)

d. Are your powers totally gross? (Five points)


a. Does your costume include shoulder pads? (Two points)

i. Do they extend past the reach of your actual shoulders? (Two points)






b. Does your costume consist wholly or in part of ripped street clothing? (One point)







c. Do any ties or the like on your costume have roughly one to two metres of extraneous trailing fabric? If you wear a cape, does it extend further than mid-calf? (Two points)




d. Do you have one of these face-framing numbers? (Five points)

i. Add two points if you don’t wear a mask with it.






e. Count how many pouches you have on your person. Give yourself a point for each one.

i. Subtract a point for each pouch that you have ever actually removed an item from or placed an item in.









f. Count how many spikes you have on your person. Give yourself a point for each one.

i. Subtract a point for every spike that serves some purpose beyond looking “cool” (e.g., is used offensively on a regular basis).

ii. Add a point for each spike that hinders your day-to-day activities (e.g., makes it harder to pass through doorways, is likely to stab you in the head if you nod off in costume, etc.).


g. Is your costume primarily black, silver, purple or red? (Two points)

h. Do your off-duty clothes resemble something fished out of the dumpster behind the Beverly Hills 90210 recording studios? (Five points)






Part 4 – NAME

a. Is your name a compound word? (Five points)

b. Does your name contain any of the following:

- Words related to death, dying or killing (Five points each)

- The name of a weapon, part of a weapon or action that you perform with a weapon (e.g., slice, shot, stab) (Five points each)

- Words related to blood, darkness, metal or fire (Five points each)

- Words relating to hitting (Two points each)

- The words hawk, cat or beast (Two points each)


a. Do you have unfortunate hair? (Two points)

i. Add five points if it is a mullet or rat-tail.



b. Are you dead (Ten points) or presumed dead? (Five points)

Part 6 – SCORING

Okay, do you have your points tallied? Let’s see if you are a Nineties super-hero:

Score: 0-15 Verdict: Not a Nineties super-hero

Don’t worry, you’re okay. Whether you were created in the Nineties or not you seem to have avoided the decade’s malign influence. Give yourself a pat on the back and don’t worry about stabbing yourself in the hand.

Score: 16-25 Verdict: A little Nineties

You’ve probably gritted your teeth on a chromium cover or two. Don’t worry, though, the Nineties haven’t influenced you enough that the trend is irreversible – just think long and hard about whether you need that belt of pouches around your bicep and consider changing your name from Bloodkill to something a bit more friendly.

Score: 26-45 Verdict: Firmly Nineties

If you’re not holding a gigantic gun in each hand with your mouth open in a battle-scream with ropes of saliva connecting your upper and lower rows of teeth then you’re probably running in an anatomically-unlikely manner whilst throwing several knives and venting plasma from your eye sockets. Either way, you’re pretty damn Nineties.

Score: 46-60 Verdict: So, so Nineties

If you’re not dead yet then you’ve got a big surprise waiting for you at the next big crossover.

Score: 60+ Verdict: More Nineties than the year 1995.

If you exist outside of a page in a Todd McFarlane/Rob Liefeld joint sketchbook, I’m surprised. A spiked pouch is probably restricting your ability to breathe just now. Dislodge it with a knife-gun!

This post brought to you by the Society for the Promotion of Terrorsmith

Terrorsmith: because the world needs more sad sack would-be super-villains who just can't do anything right. And make monsters.

This Week's Haul...In 1990!

As much as I would love to indulge in reading and writing about 90s comics all night, I'm afraid I'm going to have to make this quick. I am jetting off to New York City tomorrow!

But first, let's see what treasures November 1990 had to offer.

Danny MF Ketch in the house!

I suggest clicking on that cover to look at the larger image, because it is pretty awesome.

In this issue Danny fights the Scarecrow, goes on a date in Brooklyn, seeks to avenge a baby murderer, and attends his own sister's funeral! And I think this may have been mostly on the same day.

It was written by Howard Mackie and drawn by Mark Texeira and it is a pretty solid Ghost Rider story.

This issue also features the best reaction to Ghost Rider that I have ever read:

I don't know if I have ever read an issue of Spider-Man drawn by Erik Larsen. It looks really, really weird.

Spider-Man voluntarily gives up his powers to become a normal guy, because it suddenly starts bothering him that Aunt May is possibly in danger as long as he's a superhero.

Everyone looks very late-80s, early-90s in this issue, especially Flash Thompson:


Captain America has to fight the most fearsome foe of the 1990s in this issue: affirmative action! Rage shows up at the new Avengers HQ and demands to be allowed to join the team. He does so in the most stereotypical way possible:

This issue also features Captain America wearing a construction helmet, which pretty much made my life:

Aw...he's workin' hard.

Ok, this was really a weird comic. In a recent Avengers issue, Tigra was apparently transformed into being a more cat-like creature, and was shrunk to the size of a house cat with Pym Particles. So she's basically a cat with a head of long hair and a human-ish shape. And she gets eaten by a pit bull, which is disturbing (except to the pit bull's owner, who is LOVING IT!). She gets taken to the vet by a kindly old woman with poor vision who does not notice that this cat looks really, really bizarre.

I don't know what this comic is, but it seemed like a bit of a fetish rag. There was something about Tigra-as-a-small-cat that I just could not handle.

Also of note is that every issue I read in this pile featured this Splatterhouse ad. Man, that game used to scare the crap out of me. And is it any wonder?


John Would Have Bought Some of These Comics in 1990

Well, I would have if I hadn't been 10 and consequently broke. But yeah, what few comics I did buy at the time were not classics of the art. Why, I still remember my regret at selling that issue of New Mutants that Cable made his debut in - that thing was worth its weight in gold by the time I hit puberty. Anyway, tell the people what week it is, banner:

That's right: Nineties Week, wherein we take a look at that crazy mixed-up decade of shoulder pads and mullets and attitude and pouches.

Uncanny X-Men No. 268

Hey, this wasn't too bad! It's one of those stories that takes place half in the past and half in the present, with interconnections and stuff. Like Cryptonomicon, but without the math. Story A takes placee in 1941, with Wolverine and Captain America teaming up to rescue a young Natasha "Black Widow" Romanov from those kooky ninjas, the Hand, while Story B takes place in the now, with Black Widow and some X-Men teaming up to... do somethinng. I'm not to clear on what their goal was, actually, but they beat some guys up so it must have been vital.

Signs that it was the Nineties: Well, I almost just said "it's an X-Men comic" but that's neither accurate nor fair. There were only four x-titles on the market at the time - things were just beginning to heat up. However, Psylocke was in this one and with her big-titted, bad-attituded, teeth-gritting, stupid-power-having ways (psychic knife my ass) she was always a particular sign of the times, even though she had been around for a while. Also, 'Psylocke' is a stupid name.

Also, when Wolverine put an injured, unconscious Black Widow to bed he dressed her in sexy two-piece lingere, even though it is firmly established that he is like an uncle to her. gross.

Nick Fury, Agent of Shield No. 15

I know that I shouldn't be surprised every time that I read a comic from the 1990s and enjoy it, I know that. I like the Superman comics of the time and I like Aztek and all kindsa stuff. And yet I am, every time. I opened this comic expecting it to be really bad and instead got a decent little spy tale: Nick Fury infiltrates a top-secret contractor to find out how sensitive information is getting leaked and then ends up having to chase some guys into space with the help of the Fantastic Four. It's not classic spy stuff by any means - James Bond sure as heck never used the Human Torch in place of a rocket booster - but it's a fun time.

I especiallyliked the villains, by the way, because they weren't megalomaniacs or insane mutants or such, they were just a bunch of smart-but-not-brilliant technicians who knew that they would never make the innovative leaps necessary to become rich and/or famous in their field and so decided to grab what they could with what they had. In a world full of super-technology there should be more of that sort off thing.

Sign that it was the Nineties: This one wasn't too bad, aside from the abominable selection of haircuts on the front cover. There was a definite sign that it wasn't too far into the Nineties, however, as Nick Fury accepted a cigart from an attractive female aide and then made a suggestive remark but said not the words "intern" or "Lewinsky." Truely my mind was blown.

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight No. 10

This was the issue from my Nineties bag that had me wanting to play these reviews like I was doing them during the decade in question.Thankfully, I realized that there were only so many times that I could type 'chromium' or 'edgy' or 'nice shoulder pads' with a straight... keyboard. Had I done so, though, many yuks would have been generated by making much of the writing styles of Mr. Grant Morrison and either claiming that he should never write Batman again. Or maybe that he should write  Batman forever.

But I didn't do that, and so we have number 5 in a five-part storyline dealing with a ne'er-do-well named Mr.. Whisper and his plot to... disease things. I have a soft spot in my heart for Legends of the Dark Knight, I must admit, but it's been a while since I read this one. Batman fights a guy, pulls some pretty great faces and then wins. Hooray!

Sign that it was the Nineties: Well, Bats is getting firmly into his "too busy to bleed, too big a dick to be nice to Alfred" phase. After getting run over by one or two subway cars he calls his beloved manservant and orders, "Alfred?... Gotham Cathedral. Now. And bring a band-aid."

Also, at the end he throws Mr. Whisper's heart into a lake. that's gritty right? Or is it grim?

Justice League of America No. 42

Hey, it's  that recruitment issue of Justice League! Witness as such Nineties DC characters as the latter-day El Diablo, the second Dove/original Hawk team and the just-barely stopped wearing purple and yellow Starman reject the League with a great swiftness! Read issues with a special bingo card, blotting off characters that have died in the meantime (let's see... counting characters that have died and came back... many, many more than are still alive. Heck, Booster's not even in this one)!

This was fun to read again - I like the "silly" era of the JLA, though I don't love it as much as some - and yadda and yadda. It's nice to see a concerted effort to keep some newer characters (of the time) in the eye of the JLA reader.

Sign that  it was the Nineties: Well, I'll just let the last panel, in which we learn that the new recruits are going to be New Gods Orion and Lightray, do most of the talking:

Oh, the trauma of those costume redesigns. Orion must have had, i don't know, a particularly attractive new girlfriend or something. Nobody should dress that badly after having a Kirby costume unless they're getting some in a serious way as a consequence. And maybe Lightray is growing his hair in solidarity? Someone thought that this was awesome and they were wrong.

While your brain is still screaming, I bid you good night.

Edit: I'm going to leave all of the typos in this one, as a warning to the people of the world: this is what happens when you cope with having to read a bunch of 1990s comics by drinking a bunch of Guiness. A deviation from regular high-quality standards!

Oh God, Is 90s Week Over Yet?!?

All right, so this past Sunday afternoon, I held my nose and dove right in to a pile of 18 comics that were purchased on Sept. 14, 1990, for a whopping…$26.64? Great Scott! That would maybe buy you five or six comics today. On the flip side, I’m happy to report that most of these comics weren’t very good, so it sort of evens out. Amidst all the ads for movies like Darkman and Marked For Death, and defunct video game systems like Nintendo’s GameBoy and Atari’s Lynx (not to mention the occasional entertainment platform crossover, hence the ad for the crappy-looking Total Recall video game), what did I find? A lot of multi-part story arcs, storylines set in the same universe that don’t quite match up with each other, and plenty of dubious hairstyles, fashions, and anatomy. The more things change, eh?

Justice League Europe #19: This was the concluding chapter of the Extremist Vector storyline, which was actually pretty decent despite having a stupid Tom Clancyesque title. This story had the European contingent of the Justice League sparring with extradimensional doppelgangers of some of Marvel’s greatest villains (Dr. Diehard=Magneto, Tracer=Sabretooth, Gorgon=Doc Ock, etc.), unrepentant nasties who nuked their own Earth and now are threatening to do the same for the JLE’s home. However, we learn here that they aren’t actually alive, but are semi-intelligent robots from an amusement park called Wacky World in their own dimension, delusionally convinced that they’re alive or something! Whaaaa? The only one who’s for real is Dreamslayer, the super-powerful Dormammu analogue of the bunch. But he’s eventually defeated by a superheroic survivor of their Earth, Silver Sorceress, who for some reason wears a brown costume. She has silver hair, but still. This was pretty fun stuff, and it also had a swell teaser ad for the short-lived CBS Flash TV show in it. Unfortunately, since this was one of the best comics in the pile, things went downhill pretty quickly afterwards.

Uncanny X-Men #270: And so begins the X-Tinction Agenda, where the X-Men fought Apartheid, albeit in the form of fictional mutant ghetto nation Genosha. Some of this issue’s highlights include appearances by post-Siege Perilous l’il kid Storm (please don’t ask me to explain this), the X-Men and X-Force fighting over who gets to use the Danger Room (not unlike my sister and I arguing over who got to watch what on TV when we were kids), and Robotech-looking villains from Genosha attacking Xavier Mansion. The bad guys are led by a brainwashed Havok, who, if memory serves, is always getting brainwashed by someone or other. There’s some nice early Jim Lee art here, but holy crap, Chris Claremont does his level best to cover it all up with roughly a zillion word balloons.

Web of Spider-Man #70: In which Peter Parker rocks a dumbass mullet, turns into a Spider-Hulk, and meets some helpful yet suspiciously well-dressed hobos. He also runs up against a duo of toughs calling themselves the Hat Patrol, who are about as threatening as a New Kids On The Block reunion tour.

Avengers West Coast #64: This series was only worthwhile twice; in its inaugural four-issue miniseries, and the run by John Byrne beginning with issue #42 (perhaps the last decent run of John Byrne comics ever?). Sadly, this issue falls into the post-Byrne malaise, which lasted until the book’s cancellation at issue #102. Despite the appearance of the Great Lakes Avengers, and Wonder Man calling the Human Torch “Hot Pants”, this issue sucks big time. A computer geek who somehow ended up with Juggernaut’s Crimson Gem of Cytorrak sets the Avengers against one another using funhouse doppelgangers of other Avengers (a recurring theme in 1990, perhaps?). He does all this so he can steal Captain America’s shield and bring it to Show and Tell. You heard me.

Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #16: Interestingly, this issue is titled “Uh, Houston, We Got A Problem”, four years before Apollo 13 ushered a slightly different phrasing into common parlance. That’s really the only thing that’s interesting about this terrible, terrible comic. Nick and his agents fight a bunch of bad guys in space in this surprisingly gory issue; Nick punctures one villain’s space suit with a knife, causing him to explode—he is very apologetic about it, so maybe that’s why the Comics Code didn’t object.

Aliens: Earth War #2: This was the third series Dark Horse released as direct sequels to James Cameron’s Aliens, and from what I remember, they were a pretty decent bunch of follow-ups. Written by Mark Verheiden, they took place some years after the end of Cameron’s film, following the adventures of a grown-up Newt and an alien-blood-scarred Hicks. In this third miniseries, the previously MIA Ellen Ripley shows up to help retake Earth from the invading, terraforming xenomorphs. Fresh-faced newcomer Sam Kieth came on board to draw this mini, and I remember his art being a really jarring change from Denis Beauvais’ elegant painting in the previous outing, and Mark Nelson’s detailed, realistic approach in the first series. Still, I liked that DH switched up the art style for each new installment—it sort of reflected the different approach of the directors on the films. This held up fairly well, but I was a bit lost, not having read the previous material in…jeez, nearly twenty years.

Knights of Pendragon #3: Other than the Alan Davis cover, and the appearance of hero-hating British detective Dai Thomas (who I just recently encountered again while re-reading Alan Moore’s Captain Britain run), this book—nay, the whole Marvel U.K. imprint—really didn’t have a lot to offer me. If I understand it correctly, Thomas is periodically possessed by a Knight of the Round Table, which comes in handy when he encounters a crazy black sludge monster that kills people by seeping into their orifices (ew!) before making them explode with an awesome sound effect—“BLURR-CHOWW!”. Oh man, this was a confusing book, and, for the most part, boring—never a good combination.

Excalibur #30: This is another book I never had a lot of use for, other than when Alan Davis was drawing it. Sadly, this is not one of those issues. Captain Britain’s shapeshifting girlfriend Meggan gets turned into a vampire, so the U.K.-based mutant team calls Dr. Strange for help. Wong answers the phone, and a tiresome wannabe Abbott-and-Costello routine ensues…

That, unfortunately, is the highlight of the issue.

Spelljammer #2, Dragonlance #23, TSR Worlds Annual #1: The DC Comics/TSR Role-Playing Game alliance was a short-lived attempt to bring together the disparate splinter nerd groups of comic geeks and gamer geeks. Obviously, the attempt at détente failed, since I didn’t bother to read any of these comics to review them. I remember when these books started up, I bought the first issue of the comic based on TSR’s Gammarauders game—I pretty much bought any first issue of anything at that point. I also remember, upon finishing it, thinking that I had quite possibly just finished the worst comic I had ever read, or ever would read. Ah, to be so young and naïve, unaware of the many issues of Countdown and Chuck Austen’s Uncanny X-Men that lay waiting for me in the future.

Thor #425: This is from that run of Tom DeFalco/Ron Frenz Thor issues where they were in full-on Lee/Kirby pastiche mode. That’s all very well-intentioned, but it makes for pretty stale leftovers in this case. Despite the presence of classic tropes like Surtur fighting Ymir, and the Doomsday Weapon threat of pulling the Twilight Sword out of its sheath (not as dirty as it sounds), it’s pretty lame. At this point in the series, every cover had a bombastic title like “If Death Be My Destiny!”, or “When Walks…The Wendigo!”. This issue’s cover copy reads “The Flame, The Frost, and The Fury!”. A more appropriate title might have been “If Cultural Irrelevance Be My Fate”, or maybe “The Discount Bin My Destination!”.

New Warriors #4: I could never get into these guys back in the day, and for the life of me, I still don’t see the appeal. Like, why the hell was Nova suddenly called Kid Nova when he was the same guy, only now a few years older? He was Kid Nova before! Wouldn’t he be Man Nova now? Yes, it sounds dumb, but it makes more sense. This issue’s title is “Genetech Potential”, which rolls right off the tongue. This was the second book I read in this pile where a modem was talked about like it was some kind of crazy, Star Trek-level piece of future technology. Anyways, the New Warriors fight a group called Psionex, whose collective team name is quickly eclipsed by the stupidity of their individual code names. Coronary? Pretty Persuasions? Mathemanic? Well, since they’re fighting a group led by an angry skateboarder, one that counts Speedball amongst its members, that actually sounds about right.

Spectacular Spider-Man #169: Spidey and the “Outlaws”—a gang of some of his not-actually-evil antagonists, like Sandman and the Prowler—unite to battle the Avengers, after some manipulation by the Space Phantom, who rules by the way. I love that crazy weirdo and his shape-shifting tomfoolery! For more Space Phantom background material than any sane person could ever want or need, see Busiek and Pacheco’s Avengers Forever maxiseries. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah. This ish was written by Spidey vet Gerry Conway, but it features self-inked Sal Buscema art, which is…not great. There’s a subplot where a creepy dude named Jason tries to put the moves on MJ. She’s not into it, and when she tries to back him off with a “For God’s sake!”, this is his response…

Wow. As far as come-ons go, it’s no “Gimme some sugar, baby!”, that’s for sure.

Iron Man #261: Armor Wars II continued in this issue, and didn’t do much to disprove the notion that most sequels really stink. John Byrne scripted it, employing one of these goddamn parallel narratives here that he used to occasionally try out—there’s two stories being told simultaneously at the top and the bottom of each page (one where Tony Stark is trapped in his nonfunctioning armor, and one where the Mandarin is hanging out with a little old man who’s somehow connected to Fin Fang Foom), and I can never tell if I’m supposed to read it page by page like normal or finish one story thread and then flip back to the beginning and read the other one. Either way, it’s confusing and annoying. Let Chris Ware do Chris Ware, for chrissakes! You ain’t up to it!

Dr. Fate #21: There was a DeMatteis-scripted, Giffen-plotted and penciled Dr. Fate mini a few years before this where an evil psychiatrist got his mitts on the Helmet of Fate and wreaked havoc in it, looking like an effed-up Dr. Fate with creepy green lips and fangs. In this issue, that guy returns, but Joe Staton isn’t really up to the task of conveying the craziness of Giffen’s version. There’s also some kind of hamfisted ecological message, an attempt to contact the souls of Kent and Inza Nelson, and a bunch of other Order vs. Chaos hoo-hah, but it’s not really worth discussing. Instead, you should seek out that miniseries. It will mess you up, no foolin’.

Starman #27: This issue features a bad guy named Nimbus, which is funny ‘cause that’s the name of the publishing company where Rachelle works. It’s also funny because the guy is essentially a big cloud, and not intimidating in the slightest. His real name is Andy Murphy, which is a nice tribute to longtime DC artist Murphy Anderson. The Will Payton Starman teams up with the David Knight Starman (who gets killed on, like, page two of the first issue of James Robinson’s revamp a few years later) to fight ol’ Nimby, as his friends probably called him. Pretty bland stuff, although it features a cameo by Oracle, far earlier than I remembered her going by that alias, and a brief appearance by Guy Gardner ogling a nudie mag when he’s supposed to be on JLI monitor duty. Whatta scamp!

X-Factor #59: This is one of those boring, “Private Lives” issues where not much happens. Archangel flirts with interracial romance, and the media says bad stuff about mutants. The next issue box promises a tie-in to the “X-Termination Agenda”, which I guess was maybe an alternate title for the “X-Tinction Agenda”. Let’s face it, though, they both sound stupid.

So there you have it. There’s not much else to say about these books, other than the sad fact that video game ads were just as prevalent in 1990 as they are today. One other point of interest—in the Stan’s Soapbox section of Bullpen Bulletins in a few of these comics, Stan Lee drops a cryptic mention of something called The Marvel World of Tomorrow. Sure, he’s probably referring to the gestating Marvel 2099 lineup, but I prefer to think he’s talking about Ultimatum. Clearly, that’s where all this was leading, right? Excelsior!

90s Week: Back to the Drawing Board with Bruce Wayne

In 1995 a team of "archaeologists" at DC discovered Bruce Wayne's long lost collection of concept sketches for his costume. These sketches were released in the form of an Elseworld entitled Batman: Knight Gallery, and let me tell you, it has not aged well.

From these historic drawings we learn that:

a) Bruce Wayne was ahead of his time in terms of costume design;
b) Bruce Wayne has terrible ideas, and
c) Bruce Wayne draws a lot like some of the top artistic talent at DC circa 1995 (and also Jim Balent)

By the way, I hope you like pointy shoulders, because you are going to be seeing a lot of them.

My favourite thing about the above design is that the Bat-emblem is a brooch. My least-favourite thing is everything else. But as you will soon see, this is probably the best costume design of the lot.

The answers to his shoulder questions are yes, yes, and yes. Also: they look ridiculous. And I would have to think that his cape being feathered that way on the bottom would make gliding difficult. And it has an ugly belt and it's Not dark enough.

Well this gives "sharp dresser" a whole new meaning.

Ears better - more fierce & intimidating. Also, can make shish kabobs on them.

Some vision and snag concern re shoulder hooks & gauntlet projections. SOME?! SOME?! Nothing could be within a foot and a half of him without getting stabbed.

"Robin, you head that way and I'll...oh shit, sorry Robin."

And what are the shoulder spikes good for? Does he have a problem with seagulls landing on him? (Also, this one was designed by James "Jim" Balent, who I am sure needs no introduction).

Bruce is worried that this look is "too fancy." I am more concerned by the fact that it is "too stupid," "too ugly," and looks "too much like Batman is being sucked down the drain."

I don't really see how this design would hinder agility more than the pointy ones.

We have the hilarious bat-emblam-as-brooch look going on again here, and we have a right shoulder adornment that I cannot figure out at all. I am also not sure how he puts the boots on.

Oh, I don't know if it sacrifices all of the fear factor. I would be pretty scared if I saw anyone wearing this. Because they would look crazy. I am picturing this entire suit being made out of crushed velvet in royal blue and shiny grey.

Bruce Wayne and I clearly have different definitions of "good."

This is...I just...

And you know if 1995 dudes were looking at this page and saying "Oh man, that is so wicked!"

And in case you were wondering what it might look like in red:

How would he even fit in the Batmobile with those things on his shoulders?

But wait, it gets worse:

It certainly is memorable, but I don't know about striking. Confusing is a better adjective. Why would he need hooks all the way up his thighs?

I am trying to picture Batman, whenever this was supposed to be (the past), sketching this thing. And being ok with it. Considering it.

I think I am actually going to keep this page in a drawer somewhere so when my future children ask me what the 90s were like I'll just show them that. And they will cry.

I would say it is more than "verging" on the bizarre. It has kicked bizarre in the nuts and just kept running. As for not being terrifying, well...I wouldn't feel comfortable if I was cornered at a party by someone wearing it.

But how about the Donnie Darko rabbit look?:

It also looks very uncomfortable. And I doubt it breathes well.

Y'know, even if you did as he suggests and combine the best elements of each of these designs, you would still have a truly hideous costume.

There were also some Robin costume concepts, which were...not great...

So there are a bunch of reasons why the 1990s was an ugly and regrettable decade for superhero comics.To DC's credit, at least they just put out this Elseworld book of crazy 90s costumes instead of actually changing Batman's costume to one of these. At least until Azrael showed up.