Daily Archives: January 6, 2020

DC Reviews: DC Comics Presents #17

“The Ice Slaves of Killer Frost!”

Script: Gerry Conway
Pencils: José Luis García-López
Inks: Steve Mitchell
Colors: Jerry Serpe
Letters: Ben Oda
Cover price: 40¢
Cover art: José Luis García-López (pencils/inks), Tatjana Wood (colors)

Synopsis: Superman helps a team of scientists trying to do an autopsy on the frozen corpse of Killer Frost, but at it turns out she was only in suspended animation. Now freed, she enslaves Superman with a frozen kiss and puts him to work building a giant machine atop New York’s World Trade Center that will turn the whole city into her frozen slaves. Good thing Firestorm is on the case!

Prime Cut Panels: So everything in this story happens because a bunch of S.T.A.R. Labs geeks want to do a “scientific autopsy” on the frozen super-villain psycho whose entire shtick is being frozen. I don’t know who’s the bigger dum-dum here — the guys in the white lab coats for not seeing her revival as a possibility, or Superman for allowing this sub-zero succubus (who, note, does not possess super-speed powers) for getting the drop on him. Either way, this is a fine example of García-López’s flair for faces and action poses, and he’s definitely one of my fave artists from this period. “EEEAAHH!”

That’s Why They Called It the (Almost) ’80s Dept.: The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center complex were the tallest buildings in the world when they were completed in 1973, immediately giving them an iconic status in the New York city skyline. The media hoopla around their construction — as well as them being obvious symbols of strength and dominance — led to hundreds of appearances of the towers in films and TV shows throughout the ’70s and ’80s. No surprise, with so many heroes (including Firestorm) making New York City their home based, comics were no exception. And so when Killer Frost needed a lofty venue to build her giant super-cooling doohickey device, the top of the Twin Towers was an obvious choice.

Still hurts a little, even now, to see them in old comics like this.

Random Thoughts: So, confession time: Firestorm is one of my favorite heroes. I have a few reasons why this is the case, and Killer Frost is surely at the top of the list. So believe me when I say how thrilled I am to see both her and Firestorm returning to active duty in this issue.

Firestorm debuted in his own title in early 1978, and he got five issues out before he fell victim to the DC Implosion later that year. Not wanting to let a good thing go to waste, creator Gerry Conway brought him back into the DC universe through this team-up; he’d later get a back-up strip in Flash and appear in the Justice League’s book (see also Superman’s question above) before getting a second shot at stardom in 1982.

So what we have here is one of my fave characters fighting one of my fave super-villains drawn by one of my fave artists from the period. I’m not exactly the most impartial observer here, is what I’m saying.

Yes, the whole “build a giant cold machine to freeze the world” bit is a little silly (side note: imagine how much better that Batman and Robin movie would have been with Killer Frost making the bad ice puns?). Yes, Ronnie plays the dunderhead a little too long for my liking — like, come on, Professor Stein is telling you to take the fight with Frozen Brain Superman to the center of the Earth, what do you think is the reason behind that? But it’s all good. Firestorm’s back, and that’s all that matters.


The challenge: Can I review a month’s worth of DC books from January 1980 in under a month?