Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part One

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds 3

by Geoff Johns and George Perez

Oh, I am so glad to read a comic like this. It’s everything the actual Final Crisis wasn’t. Astute readers may realize that I have not reviewed Final Crisis #7 yet. I may wait a while and review it as part of an overall commentary on the event itself. Suffice to say that some of my criticisms of Morrison’s series cannot be made here. Geoff Johns has a masterful understanding of all of these characters, their histories, and how they relate to each other. He manages to squeeze in a rebirth for the entire Green Lantern Corps in the future, in the space of three pages, all intermixed with a funeral for Rond Vidar and two Daxamites relating to each other about their long-lived lives, and the trouble with finding the motivation to continue.

Next, your eyes are assaulted in the grandest fashion, with a two-page spread of the Legion fighting its enemies against the backdrop of a futuristic Metropolis, with pain-stakingly beautiful unique buildings in the process of taking massive collateral damage. Perez creates a great battle collage showing the mass of the Legion intermixed with the Superman vs. Prime fight, while Johns manages to drop all sorts of status updates that flow as part of the story without making you read entire paragraphs of exposition.

There is none of the “red skies,” and not even necessarily a threat to more than one of the parallel worlds, proving that a crisis is what you make of it, not something that has to be confined by specific story-telling stereotypes that people have somehow come to expect from this particular brand of DC event. We do see Mordru manage to create Shadow Demons, which is fairly interesting, and the concept that Night Girl gets stronger by fighting them is awesome.

Then we kick into overdrive by bringing in the Legions from two other parallel worlds, and we get to see them beating back the villains while getting used to the different versions of each other. Johns also manages to highlight the most glaring differences between the original version of the Legion and these alternates, which also helps the reader, even a new one.

Finally, Johns works his ret-con magic that so many of us DC fans have learned to love, as he reconciles the existence of Xs, tying her birth into Barry Allen’s family line. I will resist the spoiler here, since I am posting only one day after the release of the comic, but of course the final page is all over the internet already. The final eight pages are jam-paced with intensity and meaning for those who have been following Superboy-Prime’s story since Infinite Crisis, and it all adds up to a great comic.

And we still get two more!! It’s enough to make me forget all about the fact that this was supposed to be over before Final Crisis #7 came out. It’s rare that I find myself willing to wait for the rest of a story, but to me, this is worth waiting the extra time. Officially my pick for best Final Crisis tie-in, period.

Secret Six 6

by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott

The group confronts Ragdoll’s sister, who kills the remaining twin henchman for having seen his/her face; so the rest of the Secret Six obviously will have to die too. The story is a fair mess, with not much reason to leave their enemy alive, but with their newest member claiming not to try it, as if she could kill all of them right now. Tarantula is still dead weight, sitting around in handcuffs, and no real reason to even carry her along, and the letterer misspells “difference” and then decides to put it in bold, “differance.” Please, Lord, if I ever misspell a word (and I know I will), please don’t let me put it in bold so it stands out so much from the rest of the sentence.

The Mad Hatter shows up alive, with no real explanation as to how he survived Ragdoll’s little attempt to get rid of him, then Jeanette tells her origin to Deadshot, as if knowing this stuff will allow her to get into bed with him quicker. There’s nothing remotely interesting about the origin, and the crushing of the glass in someone’s food seems ripped straight out of the cable series Oz, which just makes me think that Simone is lifting tons of things from other places in an attempt to make this title work.

It is not working. There are tons of people who mistakenly think that all the gore and nonsensical sexual innuendo and blood splatter is hardcore, and making for an awesome spectacle. I suppose there is a place for that, but in order to do this, Simone has ignored all of the character of each one of these people. I have zero idea of any of their motivations now, and none of it matches anything that anyone started out with when the group was formed. Deadshot is a villain for a ton of reasons, none of which have anything to do with a fling with Jeanette. Don’t get me started on the strange torture that Bane has now become, or the uselessness now infecting Scandal. The random violence and gore and things that people think make up moral degradations are not evil, they are symptoms. It is an artificial attempt to make people think these are bad guys. There is no reason for any particular thing that one of them does.

Deadshot decides he wants the “get out of hell free” card, and takes out all of his allies in quick order. Then he takes off with Tarantula in the car. I have no idea why. The last person who should care about that card is Deadshot. We’ll see if anyone bothers to explain his thinking, or if this is all we get. The backup story is part of the “Omens and Origins,” and mixes in a little history of the Secret Six with the scarred Oan. Does this mean the scarred Oan will be involved with the Secret Six at some point? Or are the writers just mixing random stuff together?

Terror Titans 5

by Sean McKeever and Joe Bennett

The Star-Spangled Kid, the one without any powers, emerges as the winner of the contest. Even though this was telegraphed early on, I still feel a little cheated that we did not get to see more of the individual matches. The Clock King has a bunch of stupid people on his Terror staff, as he manages to get their parents murdered, and the confused youngsters seem to think it’s all right. The conversation a couple of them have is not very satisfying, and does not do enough to inform the reader exactly what is going on in their heads.

The great master plan of Clock King is revealed… and it’s all because he’s bored? What a waste of a mini-series. McKeever rips off Alan Moore and we have the whole “it already started” line, which isn’t even all that important anymore. Then Rose’s abilities fail her completely, and the Terror Titans take her down easily, setting us up for the final issue. Whatever place this story was headed, it certainly took a big nosedive here. Between this and Secret Six, it’s like the writers can’t come up with any good motivations. We’ve gone from the dark period of comics to the era of chaos for the sake of chaos. We’re going to do bad things.. just ‘cause.

Trinity 36

by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens

The big three have finally returned! Sort of. This is the alternate versions of them, transformed after Morgaine and company’s restructuring of the universe. In the universe we know, things fell apart between these three due to Identity Crisis and everything leading up to and including Infinite Crisis. In this rearranged lifetime, they call each other out for hypocritical stances, and blame each other for things not working out. Is this because everything is warped, and nothing can truly be “right” in this unnatural configuration of the world? Or is this just an alternate reflection of the way things broke down in the regular universe? Either way, I’m still holding out for issue #40 being the one where the big three are themselves again. But I’m glad I’m not a betting man, because it’s hard to tell.

The backup story shows us that the henchmen are slaves of Morgaine, and the Atom (Ray Palmer) was along for the ride as a spy to hear them talk about the prospect of eventual freedom. Primat smelling out Atom is clever, and TVM is just an interesting character. Then the spirit of Enigma’s daughter, encased in S.P.H.E.R.E., catches them all and blasts Atom. Ah, it was a teleportation beam, sending Atom to his hero friends, because she obviously does not approve of her father’s actions, even as he would probably say he was doing it all for her. Not entirely unpredicted, but compelling storytelling, all the same.

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

I haven't dug out COIE in a long time but I think Night Girl getting stronger by battling the shadow demons was an idea from that story.

I'm still having a bit of trouble with the 'original' Legion since I can't reconsile when the retconned timeline diverges from the published works. No one but a longtime Legionnaire would get this but Ayla (classic Lightning Lass) told Brin (Timber Wolf) to screw off as long ago as LSH #296 so why she'd call his name is confusing. I suppose it's possible they could have gotten back together but that pretty much undermines a years-long story in the LSH mythos.

The opening scene was very strong and something I should have seen coming a mile away but the rest of the issue felt light in comparison (character-wise). At least Gates was written correctly, and I loved the 3-Brainy verbal jousting. I get the feeling that New Earth Brainy and Gates would get along swimmingly.

Since we now have heroes from three worlds, I wonder if we will see villains from three worlds next. What would classic Mordru do if confronted with his Archie-version self I wonder?

I'll reserve judgement for the Lex Luthor link until it plays out but I'm not holding out hope. Note to DC - there are other major Superman villains besides him.

And three cheers for George Perez. Seriously.

-- Posted by: David at February 6, 2009 12:18 PM