Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Nightwing & Flamebird: The Dynamic Duo Of Kandor
Here's another wonderful Silver Age classic that made it into the consciousness of Bronze Age kids by way of this Jimmy Olsen reprint.
In this one, everybody in the bottle city of Kandor has taken against Superman, and to sort it out, he and Jimmy visit the city, and soon find themselves fugitives on the lam. Their solution as to how to go about town unrecognised is inventive to say the least.
Rather than simply put on the Kandorian equivalent of a fake nose and glasses, the duo spend a huge amount of time coming up with new superhero identities for themselves ie. Nightwing & Flamebird, Kandor's own dynamic duo, complete with Nightcave, Nightmobile and Night utility belts.
When I read this story as a kid, I thought Nightwing & Flamebird were the coolest thing ever, and there isn't nearly enough of them in this tale, which is why they came back again and again. Personally, I instantly wanted them to have their own series, or guest star in The Legion at the very least.
But as an adult, you can't help thinking Supes & Jimmy had spent a lot of time between issues sitting around getting stoned, as in: 'You know what'd be cool, man? If WE were Batman & Robin!' 'Dude! That'd be awesome!'
So, like a lot of Superman Silver Age stories, it's easy to laugh at some of the dialogue and scenario's here, and that's ok, because what this story also has is that absolute, freewheeling sense of fun and fantasy that the best of those stories had, and that as kids we completely responded to.
From the moment Supes and Jimmy parachute through the neck of the bottle, you're through the rabbit hole, with something crazy happening in just about every panel. The fact that you also get a great new pair of superheroes is icing on the cake.
Oh, and notice how Jimmy 'commandeers' a Kandorian flivver. Where I come from that's called stealing, Olsen.