State of the Multiverse 38
I wasn’t even born when Brother Power the Geek #1 first hit the stands.
J Michael Straczynski has done it again. Every time he slips from my attention, he comes out with another superb story.
I wasn’t even born when Brother Power the Geek #1 first hit the stands, my first exposure was in the pages of the original Who’s Who in the DC Universe, just as I was learning my way around the DCU. I found the idea of him, well, quirky to say the least. Kitsch. A symptom of the post-Werner (Seduction Of The Innocent) sillyness that swept the comics industry. Endearing maybe if you read it as a child, a very young child, but not for a young teenager in the Eighties. Happy days. I was so sure of my maturity, a good sign that I possessed very little of it.
So when I finally encountered the animated mannequin; given life by lightning and the gift of “wet and bloodied ‘hip threads’” hung upon it by a pair of hippies squatting in a tailors shop; it was at the capable hands of Neil Gaiman, in Swamp Thing Annual #5, way back in the early nineties. Gaiman turned him into a form of elemental, returning to earth after being fired into space by Govenor Ronald Reagan. Yet another being created by the Earth to defend itself, Power was now a doll elemental, connecting with human simulacra such as dolls, dummies, statues, etc. He could be called a toy elemental, or even a trash elemental. I remember a scene where Brother Power was leading a herd of lost socks, in fact that has alway stuck in my mind. I never looked at laundry in the same way again. He returned in another Vertigo one shot, and then was never seen again.
And after a very long wait, he returns this week in Brave And The Bold #29, teaming with Batman. One may think that this is an unusual pairing, but it is not the first time they have encountered each other.
The highlight of the issue for me is more the contradiction between the two personalities, rather than between the two eras of today and the sixties. Still, Brother Power is based upon an idealised version of the sixties hippy culture, and the flashbacks are quite illuminating. The story walks a fine line between kitsch and relevance, if tending to the preachy a little.
However, this is what I enjoy about the current DC. Unlike the eighties they no longer throw the baby with the bathwater. After all, there was a reason why they didn’t go out of business in the kitsch years, and the preponderance of super boys, girls, cats and monkeys has a certain charm when handled right.
So I will be looking for a herd of crime-fighting socks in the future! I hope it’s not too long.