Countdown Breakdown #47A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: John Hays
All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall. The issue’s title might just be a throwaway nod to both the Source Wall and a Pink Floyd lyric, but in case it ends up being more, I think I’ll give a little background into this particular lyric, song, and album. The album, released in 1979, focuses on a young man named Pink who is oppressed by society, having lost his father in the war, and now suffers an over-protective mother, overbearing and abusive school instructors, and a cheating wife. Pink builds an emotional wall, with every bad thing in his life becoming another brick in that wall. Once the wall is built, Pink starts heavy drug use (along with becoming a rock star), and he believes his concerts are Neo-Natzi rallies where he sicks his men on “unworthy” fans, only for his conscience to tell him this is wrong and that he must tear down his wall and open himself up again to the outside world.
I first encountered the album as a whole (apart from hearing some of the songs on the radio) last year on a trip to see some friends in Florida. One of my friends owned the album and related the story to me as it played on a long drive we were taking. As I mentioned above, perhaps the line is just a throwaway nod, but perhaps not. Perhaps it’s a hint at what we are to expect from Jimmy Olsen’s personal storyline, or perhaps another character’s, like Holly Robinson.
Wait, Holly Robinson? Who? That’s what many of you are asking, right? Yeah, sure, she’s Catwoman’s backup or something, but for those of us that don’t happen to follow that title, who the heck is she? Holly first appeared in Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One story. She met Selina at a young age when they were both prostitutes. Once Selina became Catwoman they lost touch, with Holly going to live in a convent with Selina’s sister, Maggie.
After living in the convent for a while, Holly returned to prostitution and the streets, eventually going back to the apartment where Selina had once lived, only to find Selina living there again, so the two were reunited. Holly became a type of sidekick for Selina, eventually training with Ted Grant. One year later after the events of Infinite Crisis, Holly has taken over as Catwoman for Selina, who has retired.
I think I’ll go into more detail on The Trickster and The Pied Piper. Born Giovanni Giuseppe, James Jesse was a circus acrobat who enjoyed the thrill of crime. He was brainwashed by the Top into giving up his criminal life, but that was recently undone. During his time on the side of the angels, James actually tricked Neron, lord of the underworld. He also worked for the FBI for a time. During that time, Axel Walker stole his gadgets and became the new Trickster. He was later defeated by the original Trickster once the Top had undone his work on James.
Hartley Rathaway, The Pied Piper, was actually born deaf. He was later cured, but this caused an obsession with sound and sonic technology. He developed a method of hypnotism through music. He clashed with Barry Allen numerous times, but retired from crime upon his death. He became one of DC’s first openly gay characters. Piper had his mind altered by the Top just as the Trickster had, but Wally West revealed his true identity to Piper (he’d had his identity converted back into a secret by the Spectre…long story), which caused Piper to become his old good self again.
There weren’t as many new characters this week, so the breakdown’s a bit shorter. Let’s hope we get several new faces next week!