Null & Void Part I

WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #293, DC Comics, July 1983
Bar none, the comic with the best super-powered duo ever, and I'm not talking about Superman and Batman. Sure, those guys are pretty good, but I'll always have a soft spot for Null & Void's first appearance... one of only 5 (and none since 1984)! And that makes them the best characters that never show up.

Null & Void are gentlemen thieves who, when they shake hands, connect mystical tattoos that give them powers. Void can teleport things from one hand to the other, while Null can take away people's senses. They've apparently been operating since the 40s, but never been caught, and they get together for "one last job"TM.

But for a comic I would never ever trade away, it doesn't start too promisingly. Superman is on the scene of a crash between two planes, and by the looks of the survivors that bailed out of the smaller plane, the little Cessna had 2 kids and 8 adults aboard! What--?

And the first villain we see is the Expropriator, who looks like what you get when you press Randomize on HeroMachine!
Either that, or Big Barda's hand-me-downs.

But soon enough we're following Null & Void and everything's going right. Both are getting on, but Void is still a charmer who pickpockets a waiter only to see if he can do it, later giving the man back his cash. Null doesn't really want to commit the daring robbery, but the IRS is on his ass so he's desperate. How daring? Superman's yard sale (or charity expo), with both the Man of Steel and Batman on hand to answer questions. Void sure can pick 'em.

Void, making Batman go "YEOWCH!":
Null, totally making Superman his bitch:
And they almost get away with it too! Great teamwork on their parts, really unusual powers, and a strong friendship that mirrors the World's Finest team's, yet manages to be a lot more believable. In the end, a senseless Superman smashes into one support beam too many and Void actually saves civilians AND Batman. I LOVE Null & Void. Somebody should really bring them back.

A fun "before they were stars" bonus can be found in the letters page: a letter by a 23-tear-old Norm Breyfogle, the man who was to become THE best Batman artist of our time (or so I've been known to claim). He decries the overuse of sci-fi, asks that Batman and Superman stop talking about their deep friendship and just show it through their actions, have a little down-time where they're not talking about the destruction of Krypton or the death of Bruce's parents, and maybe have differences of opinion once in a while.

And he's right! This very issue has them talk about Krypton and Crime Alley (as if there is someone, somewhere who has no clue as to these heroes' origins) as well as their deep friendship. Superman calls his relationship to Bats "special" to him, and Batman acts the groupie when he sees all of Superman's cool stuff. Speaking of which, I don't know what 90% of this stuff is, but of everything here, he chooses for the expo - what is that? A shield? Ma Kent's largest cookie?
"I like this thing - whatever it is!" Of all this stuff, that's what he picks up on. Whatever turns your crank, Bats. I guess you've got your own dinosaur in the Batcave, so that doesn't impress you.

First appearance of Null, Void AND Norm Breyfogle? A minor 80s classic to be sure!


mwb said...

Excellent find. I had never even heard of Null & Void.

But you peaked by interest enough that I'm going to keep an eye out!

FoldedSoup said...

N&V are one of those 'super villain created because of a common phrase' things, aren't they? Like Cloak and Dagger? Still, could be worse. I'm still waiting for "Holy Roller" or "Cashed Czech" myself.

And that Dino in the batcave? ... yeah... *shiver*

Those old "Big Lizard" drawings really irk me somehow.

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for the Null and Void write-up! I read only this, the first issue and never quite forgot them - what made them REALLY unusual was the fact that
a) they were middle-aged. :)
b) they actually dealt with real life issues - like not being able to manage their taxes. :)

Siskoid said...

Plus, really original powers and looks. It took me a while to track down further appearances, and I'd love to see them again in some form.

Being older, they speak to that limbo in the DCU between the Golden and now Modern ages.


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