Villainy On Vacation
Our last challenge was the "Villainy On Vacation", the sequel to the very popular "Arkham Asylum's Vacation". In it, all supervillains, rogues and enemies switched cities and encountered different superheroes.
Here are the submissions:
Hourman vs. Mr. Mxyzptlk
Plastic Man vs. Killer Croc
Blue Beetle vs. Lex Luthor
The Outsiders vs. Mirror Master
Lana Lang vs. Poison Ivy
Elongated Man vs. The Riddler. It's geek vs. geek! Elongated Man must meet his challenge to nab Riddler by Friday. Supervillain cameos galore!
THIS STORY IS NOT UP FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE CONTEST.
Harley Quinn hits the road with a Joker android!
Batman must cope with a mysterious villain
Booster Gold and Blue Beetle hatch a plan for rounding up the escapees.
Michael Rees submitted four pieces for this competition, and for the most part my reaction is the same to each of them: Michael nails the characterization many times. From the stereotypical behavior of Young Justice to a Booster and Beetle who seem plucked straight from an issue of JLI from a funny Harley Quinn to a flawless Hourman (hard to do with such a short series) Michael proves himself to be a well-rounded writer who can work with many of the crew in the DCU. I particularly liked "Loose Ends", which bounces off most of the "Villainy on Vacation" entries and is funny throughout. But of the four stories, the best is "Scripture". Michael crafts a taut thriller that puts Batman in a trapped situation, builds suspense with the four terrified programmers, and achieves a resolution that is clever and very cunning, as befits the Dark Knight.
Michael Rees' pieces (ummm I could really go for some peanut buttery Rees' Pieces right now) could all use one last proof-read before submission. And the villains encountered in "Fifth Vs. Fourth" and "Scripture" aren't quite the escapee-types that were intended for this competition, but Rees manages to tie them in well.
Ed Buckler's "Never Smile at a Killer Crocodile" begins quite well, with a lot of good Plastic Man humor. However, the confrontation between Plas and Croc is short and unsatisfying, given that Plas is too squeamish to chase Croc.
Don Ricciardi's "Bug That Wasn't Crushed Under Luthor's Heel" is a decent story, but it doesn't really work for this competition. Luthor isn't an escapee in the arc's plot and the encounter isn't a superhero one. Furthermore, a superhero-activity browser doesn't seem like an Internet-rattling product (seems like I know a number of people who could recode a Google-type engine to work that way); more to the point, it seems counterproductive for Blue Beetle to help people gather information on his fellow crimefighters. Lastly, Lex Luthor isn't the type to get snookered just because someone with media attention announces they have a deal; if it were, everybody in front of a camera would say, "And Lex Luthor has agreed to a deal wherein I get a million dollars every day for doing nothing!" Despite all that, this would be a fun filler story for a Superman Secret Files.
"Insect Queen" fudges the continuity a bit in order to bring back the pre-Byrne, pre-Crisis, Silver Age Insect Queen. The rules for the contest did state that it had to fit present, current DCU continuity. That aside, I enjoyed this story and found the Kents' attitude toward the killer crop quite funny.
David R. Black's "Diamonds Are An Outsider's Best Friend" is fraudulent because it is clear that Mike W. Barr wrote it and David just put his name on it. Yes, I'm kidding; it's just the best compliment I could come up with. This story is extremely well done. It ties in with the Villainy On Vacation theme AND the theft of the Comtelle Diamonds in "Starman". It lets the villains get away but in a way that isn't forced; it actually brings out the characterization of McCulloch. The plot is intricate and fun. Best of all, it captures the Outsiders as few outside of Barr himself are able to. It makes me want to read more of Katana and Looker and the last run of the Outsiders didn't even do that!
"Takes One to Know One" well, it can't be up for consideration.
This was hard to judge, but it came down to a close race between "Diamonds " and "Scripture." In action and scripting, both of them were excellent. In the end, it came down to the plot and I enjoyed the plot of "Diamonds" more, while the plot of "Scripture" had some holes in it.
Congratulations, David R. Black! You're the winner of the Villainy on Vacation fiction contest! You'll win your choice of a Fanzing T-shirt or a $10 gift certificate.
Thanks to everyone who submitted especially Michael Rees for his four submissions!
Article and layout © Michael Hutchison 2001.
All artwork is © the individual artists credited above.
All characters © 2001 DC Comics.
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