Well, all four miniseries leading into Infinite Crisis are out. I’ve also read The Return of Donna Troy and the JSA Classified arc settling Power Girl’s origin.
Villains United: Fun adventure book with bad guys. Last-issue revelation was interesting. Cheshire is genuinely insane—I can believe this is the woman who nuked a small country just to prove she wasn’t bluffing.
Day of Vengeance: 3-issue story stretched out to 6. Some nice character moments, but overall have to wonder what the point was.
OMAC Project: Suspension of disbelief hung by neck until dead. And the worst part? The most important thing to happen in the series didn’t actually happen in the series.
Rann/Thanagar War: Total mish-mash. Even knowing who most of the alien races were didn’t help me keep up with what side anyone was on. Someone remarked that this was like a 12-issue epic condensed (badly) into 6 issues, and that sounds about right.
Donna Troy: I wanted to like this book. I really did. Donna Troy, George Perez/Phil Jimenez art, a direct sequel to a classic Titans story, and they all-but ignored John Byrne’s Dark Angel retcon-fest. But all the characterizations seemed off from the first page on. Even the art didn’t grab me. (The coloring didn’t help.) And while it’s interesting to take the idea that all her origins are true, the ending—particularly how Donna dealt with the Titans of Myth—really disturbed me. (While we’re at it, Donna doesn’t need her own moon for a headquarters.)
Power Girl: Believe it or not, I didn’t read it for the cheesecake. Like Day of Vengeance there were some great character moments (PG and Jimmy Olsen sitting on top of the Daily Planet building while Jimmy ate lunch and tried not to stare, for instance). But I had a hard time believing this was the same Power Girl I’d read in Justice League Europe during the 1990s. (Yes, JLE was populated by caricatures of the leads—anyone who read that book and Flash should know that—but it became more serious near the end of the run.) And again, I thought that the story could have been told in half the space—even keeping the character moments. And even though I’d guessed PG’s true origin early on—or perhaps because of it—the finale felt like a let-down instead of a “Hell, yeah!” Maybe if they’d let her say “So that’s who I am!” instead of slinking back to her apartment as confused as ever, only to run into a “To be continued…” sign, it might have felt less like an Infinite Crisis setup piece and more like an origin story.
Verdict: One hit, two sorta OK, three turkeys.
On a related note, Warren Ellis’ arc on JLA Classified, which started strongly, is rapidly going downhill. The plot’s holding up, but the dialogue has gone from “Clever!” to “Okaaaay…” to “You have got to be kidding me.” J’onn’s rant last month about how we insist on calling his home planet “Mars” was one of those moments. (You know, I don’t normally refer to Japan as “Nihon,” or the capital of Russia as “Moskva,” but that doesn’t mean I’m calling them by the wrong name.) And I think Wally used the words “speed force” more times in 5 pages than he has in the last 5 years of his own book.
I was idly wondering about the way super-heroes and villains are named—not the code names, but the actual names like Clark Kent, Matt Murdock, etc. Was Hunter Zolomon destined to become Zoom? Was Roy G. Bivolo doomed to become the Rainbow Raider the moment his parents named him? And why do so many people with the initials L.L. gravitate toward Superman?
“Obviously, he’s a ta’veren!” Katie said. I laughed for a second, but then remembered an interview I’d read about Infinite Crisis. It actually fits.
Ta’veren is a term from Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time that refers to a person who forms a focal point for history (or, from another perspective, destiny). Threads of probability bend around them, and the unlikely becomes likely. Babylon 5 referred to the concept as a nexus. “You turn one way, and the whole world has a tendency to go the same way.” Continue reading →
Well, I picked up Infinite Crisis #1 yesterday. Aside from the fact that I think I’d be lost if I hadn’t been reading the various mini-series that led up to it (and the big reveal depends on knowledge of the original Crisis), I started thinking: I’m reading more comics right now than I have at any time in the last few years, but very few of them are DC Universe. And I’m not entirely sure I’m going to stick with the ones I am reading, post-Crisis.
Back in 1985, when Crisis on Infinite Earths was first published, I was reading these ongoing DC books on a regular basis:
The New Teen Titans
Tales of the Teen Titans
That was it. I was also reading Groo the Wanderer and Transformers.
In 2005, with Infinite Crisis arriving, I am reading these ongoing DC books on a regular basis:
When DC Comics first announced the quartet of miniseries leading up to Infinite Crisis, I figured I’d take a look at Day of Vengeance (the magic corner of the DCU) and maybe Rann/Thanagar War (the Sci-Fi corner), and that was it. Countdown to Infinite Crisis got me excited about The OMAC Project, though, so I figured I’d pick up the first issue of each mini and see what I thought.
At first I found OMAC and Rann/Thanagar the most interesting, and Day of Vengeance just enough to get me to try issue 2. Villains United didn’t impress me at all.
After three issues of each (plus Day of Vengeance #4 out this week), my impressions have more or less reversed. On a whim I picked up Villains United #2 and enjoyed it much more. OMAC and Rann/Thanagar are both bogged down, and Day of Vengeance reminds me a lot of March of the Wooden Soldiers (my least favorite Fables arc): some nice moments, but a bit slow and not particularly exciting.
Right now, I could probably leave OMAC and Day of Vengeance, and the only things keeping me on board Rann/Thanagar War are the L.E.G.I.O.N cameos and trying to figure out what’s going on with Blackfire. Part of the problem is that none of them seem to be six issues worth of story. Sure, there’s a cliffhanger at the end of each issue, but they just still feel padded.
Well, we know DC is planning for big changes in the Crisis’ wake. I can only hope they have good reasons for what they end up doing, rather than just doing something like “Let’s kill off the Flash and Supergirl again because we did it 20 years ago!”
The Teen Titans’ Starfire is an alien princess from the world of Tamaran. A virtual paradise, populated by a proud, but beautiful and sensual warrior race. (Think of co-ed Amazons without the attitude.) When Starfire—or, rather, Koriand’r—was a child, the world was invaded. The war went badly, and the king ultimately agreed to sell his daughter into slavery in exchange for Tamaran’s freedom. (Years later she escaped her captors and ended up on Earth.)
Tamaran’s story unfolded during the 1980s in The New Teen Titans and The Omega Men (which featured Kory’s brother). Koriand’r returned home to help stop a civil war, but then her sister wrested the throne from their father. Komand’r (a.k.a. Blackfire) surprised everyone by becoming a much better—and fairer—ruler than anyone expected. Eventually Kory returned home to stay.
As The New Titans wound its way to a close in 1996, the story returned to Tamaran, now embroiled in a new war—one which ultimately destroyed the planet. The survivors settled on an uninhabited world to rebuild, dubbing it New Tamaran. (New Teen Titans #126-230, 1996)
Then things got nasty.
Just a few months after the final issue of The New Titans, DC published a prologue to the year’s big crossover, The Final Night. The sun-eater, before setting its sights on Earth, destroyed New Tamaran utterly, with no time for an evacuation. Starfire, exiled just hours before by her suddenly-evil-again sister, was believed the only survivor. Continue reading →