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Following on from Part 1, I bring scans from Outsiders 34 and 35.

Be warned this post contains depictions of scenes from the Holocaust and as such may be triggering.

Markovia has been conquered by invading Russian forces led by the evil (and I mean REALLY evil) Baron Bedlam. The Outsiders (now 100% Batman free) are down, taken out by Bedlam's mercenary metahuman strike force, The Masters of Disaster, and a Soviet handler, the international political mover and shaker known only as the Bad Samaritan, has just discovered that Bedlam has a REALLY warped secret agenda...

This has not been the Outsiders best day...

Undisputed leader of the Masters, New Wave, wanted Windfall to kill Halo, partly because she genuinely HATES Halo, and partly to make Windfall kill the only other person to show her compassion, but Windfall couldn't do it. She normally will kill, reluctantly, if New Wave tells her to, but not in this case... She has instead given Halo some of New Waves worrying large assortment of drugs, so that Halo is too doped to be able to use her powers, and trapped her in a half buried cell in a location known only to her, and she WON'T tell New Wave.

She doesn't realise that New Wave already knows, having simply followed her sister undetected (in her water-form), but whilst she COULD kill Halo then and there, she decides that it's more interesting to let this game play out, and once she's been given approval to kill the captive Outsiders by Beldam, she'll come back and drown Halo and Windfall together, just for laughs.

So when Windfall later assured New Wave that Halo won't interfere, she plays along...

Have I mentioned that New Wave isn't a nice person... at all.

Okay, next mini infodump (Sorry, but the maount I had to cut out of this issue in particular is killing me). Bad Samaritan wakes up find he's not dreaming and Bedlam really IS recreating Adolf Hitler for his own ends. Bedlam explains that at the end of his first encounter with the Outsiders, he was left for dead by a rioting crowd of Markovians who had farm implements and a lot of anger to take out on their would-be-conqueror.

We now meet another member of the cast, who has a name which makes me wince every single time I read it, even now.

Evil reproductive biologist Madame Ovary? I get that the name is a literary pun, but there's a reason that Kurt Busiek has been known to refer to giving a character a contrived pun of a name as "unleashing your inner Mike W Barr" (He says it with affectionate respect though, I hasten to add)

Another sad victim of the 1/3 rule is the scene which shows the only Outsider still free, Looker, getting into Markovia. (I'm posting the cover here for dramatic effect)

Looker is a intruiging character, who gets sidleined a lot because of her frankly... unsubtle outfit (My respect for Jim Aparo is boundless, but if neither he (who created it) nor Alan Davis (Who could make a sackcloth cassock look sexy) can make it work, it's probably past saving. Pink certainly can work on a costume, the bow on the hip might work. But the cumulative effect of the pink, the bow, the eyeball effect on her breasts (which look more suggestive of nipples than actual nipples probably would)... just... NO. (She also wears more eye make up than Jem, but it's a look I suppose)

Looker's origin (the arc before this one) is one I would love to post some day if I can find the issues (My comic collection is, alas, in a rather disorganised state), but for the moment just know that she's a Marvel Girl style psionic who is still discovering the range and of her powers; levitation, telekinesis, telepathy and a dazzling light blast from her eyes.

Suffice to say that Looker has sneaked into the Russian encampment and has just found the Outsiders being held captive, but in finding them, she is found herself. (This is, I should note, her first actual outing as a costumed superhero)

Remembering her TK powers, Looker sets things up so that the Masters detonate a fuel dump, and in the ensuing chaos, during which she also uses her telepathy to nudge Windfall into helping her, she is able to free her team-mates, and they escape, along with Windfall, to rescue Halo.

We interrupt this fight, to bring you more Nazi shenanigans. The newly cloned Hitler has been awakened, and dressed appropriately, but has none of his memories and is essentially nothing more an ambulatory piece of meat. Ovarni's technique allows, under optimal circumstances, for clones to be given their memories up to the point of death, as in the case of Bedlam, but not in this case, so far at any rate...

Bedlam leads him into the bowels of Castle Markov...

Revealed is a secret weapon, the Proton Cloud Accelerator, which can vaporise a human being in moments. Bedlam doesn't QUITE say "And now... nuzzink in ze vorld can stop me now", but you sense it must have been very tempting to him. The test subject is the commander of the Russian forces who has (like the Bad Samaritan before him) been skulking around and uncovered the depth of Bedlam's insanity. But whilst the Bad Samaritan got out with his skin intact, the Russian commander is vaporised.

Also, Dr Ovarni brings forward the next step in her insane plan to bring the Fuhrer back to his senses... and I use the term loosely of course. A young girl from the village to be his maid, she's slightly simple minded but should suffice. Bedlam is delighted, as she will be useful to the Fuhrer, and when his memories do return, the fact she's wearing her Star of David necklace will make her his final test too. (I can't quite articulate the unease that plan made me feel when I first read it)

We move on to issue 35 here. Again a LOT going on, so I've trimmed out some of the actual Outsiders scenes, which involve a lot of good character moments, with the character dynamics of the four women in the group; Halo, her mother figure Katana, Looker and Windfall.

We then cut back to Castle Markov, where Bedlam is trying to prompt Hitler's memories to resurface by reminding him of past "glories".

"...and the the Masters can deal with them properly." Ovanri thinks that it was too soon to unveil the Nazi insignia since Russia had no love for the Fuhrer either, but Bedlam is confident he won't need them soon enough, so it doesn't matter. He then goes to do a little mandatory gloating over King Gregor and Princess Ilona (Who appears to have been captured again off panel)

Meanwhile up above, Hitler is having lunch when....

I have to give credit to Alan Davis here (which is rarely hard), he captures the body language of Hitler in this little scene beautifully, the controlled movements, the ignoring everything outside of his own situation, the single minded focus, even on something like eating, plus the innocent relief on the young girl, unaware of who she is serving, and indeed, whose life she has helped save.

After lunch the re-education continues... And this remains one of the most powerful and disturbing moments I could remember from comics in a long, long time, as it becomes clear that Hitler's memories are returning.

We'll come back to this, obviously.

The battle outside is renewed too, with the Outsiders, now bolstered by Windfall and Looker, proving to be highly effective. Windfall, for example, is very handy for spreading Metamorpho in ether form, but her old team-mates are not happy.

And an unarmed Katana has to face Shakedown...

See, nobody does an evil smirk like Alan Davis....

So the Masters are defeated by the Outsiders and the rallying troops of Markovia rout the Russians, who are not helped by the fact their commanding officer is, unknown to them, a cloud of accelerated protons somewhere in the dungeons.

In the castle proper, Geo-Force has cornered Bedlam. The proton cloud accelerator that Bedlam was relying on, proves ineffective against someone with Brion's gravity increasing powers, the cloud just falls to the floor as it is suddenly superheavy. As you might imagine, the brother and heir apparent to the throne does not take kindly to insane invaders, but he is not averse to a supreme moment of badass.

Damn, but that's cold...

I have to say I love this ending. There is no pat, simplistic "Evil is in the genes" here (You hear me Geoff Johns?). There is an awareness that the likes of Hitler (indeed all of us) are a summation of thousands of different events and circumstances throughout our lives, and whilst there may well be a genetic base to certain elements of us, without all those little events and circumstances AND the subjective context of them all, we literally COULDN'T be the same person twice. The notion that the cloned Hitler could be so disgusted and horrified at what his past self had done that he would suicide in preference to living with that self awareness is impressive. IMHO at least.

Date: 2011-08-24 02:35 am (UTC)
aaron_bourque: default (Default)
From: [personal profile] aaron_bourque
Ah ha ha ha ha that's ridiculous. Also not very distinctive, she's just got a bikini top and leather jacket.

But the smaller collar helped a bunch.


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