Thursday, September 29, 2005

Comics Recap

Spoiler warning... the OMAC finale wasn't that bad, albeit slightly anti-climactic. I think there were some other factors at play, which I will get to in a moment. The key plot point of the issue was that over one million OMAC units were set loose on a hunt for "metahumans," be it hero or villain. There are some logic flaws in that, primarily that as a reader i don't think the human mind can easily comprehend that number of objects. The closest I can get is the image of a football stadium, where there can be forty to fifty thousand people. Beyond that, it's just a number. The implications of a million individuals on a hunt for significantly less, say a few hundred at most in the DC universe, is hard to grasp. With an OMAC itself in possession of super-destructive abilities, as well as flight, the complete wipe-out of metahumans on earth couldn't take more than a couple hours.

I'm talking about fiction here, people, the degree of suspension of disbelief that is requested of us for this type of story. I have no problem with heros facing impossible odds, I just feel that when you push it to an extreme that we can no longer relate to, the caring is diminished. I was also expecting a much larger gathering of heroes to face the OMAC swarm, and to be honest, faced with those odds that battle was lackluster. Shown what the OMACs were capable of, and the sheer number of assailants, the only survivors should have been Wonder Woman, Superman, and the Green Lanterns. The only reason any of them should have survived, even the big guns, would have been because of the Green Lanterns: Guy Gardner and John Stewart-- they have the only established abilities to face such amazing, outright cosmic odds. As a geeky aside, I feel only John Stewart could even begin to navigate such a battle, if based only on his experiences wiht the Mosaic world. Time and again Stewart receives far less respect than he deserves.

Batman notes to the reader that OMACs are hunting metahumans, even though he isn't one. What he should have said was that Brother One was hunting everyone on its list of groups and individuals Batman compiled, those involved in heroic or villainous activity. What started to happen was something most of us could see coming, the systematic slaughter of obscure and low-tier personalities. I was expecting this to go on for pages, captured in shock as it was finally revealed who bites it, like that season finale of Dynasty where everyone is gunned down at the Moldavian royal wedding... that's not exactly what happened, I suspect the serious shit was saved for Infinite Crisis.

While the story unfolded well enough, the instant shut-down of the OMACs by anti-OMAC Sasha could be seen a mile away, though I wonder why they even bothered with the big showdown. Overall I found the real letdown of the issue to be the production values. There was some artist switcheroo that detracted a bit from the flow, and a coloring error made it appear that the Teen Titans were both in San Francisco and the showdown in the Himalayans. The art switching also detracted from separating those two battles. Editorially, this is a bit sloppy. The OMAC Project is supposed to be a benchmark event, a direct lead in to the premiere event to follow (Identity Crisis), and as such I expect the best DC has to offer. I would like to say, pointedly, that from an editorial standpoint this is an extremely difficult task, and I empathize. I have had my own share of artist gang bangs just to get an issue out on time, (for those of you in the dark, I was a mainstream comics editor in my misspent youth). Also I know all too well how one late artist screws the shit out of everything, and tho I have no firsthand knowledge of this book's difficulties, I can suspect some. With the muscle behind the Infinite Crisis event, one would hope such things could be anticipated and diverted. I think that would have been possible if OMAC was four issues instead of six, re-reading the series it easily could have been. DC's lust for trade compilations of a certain page count to catch the book market may have tarnished an otherwise exciting event.

Day of Vengeance #6
Not nearly as much for me to say here as in OMAC, things got tied up into a nice tidy bow. Clearly this is a setup for a new series, it does everything but announce a shelf date by the last page. I find the characters in the Shadowpact to be an eclectic mix of personalities, tho maybe (to me) not as appealing as those over in Villains United. But I do like the characters, and who doesn't love talking monkeys?

JLA #119
JLA as a bimonthly trips me out. I mean, I like it, the story gets told that much faster. Here is yet another conclusion before the big IC, and I enjoyed it alot more than last issue. The entire JLA vs Despero was handled better than the entire DCU vs OMAC, and the fallout from the battle was reached more naturally. Now we have the league once more dissasembled, leaving poor J'onn J'onz left with the bill... again. Seriously, how many times have we seen this? That poor bastard. It's not a complaint, I like it, I'm intrigued by the idea of how a collection of ultra-identities reaches the breaking point to where they just can't stand each other. And there at the end, JJ will struggle to rebuild-- here, this alien with unconditional love for his adopted planet, struggles so hard to maintain an ideal. He must rebuild his family, (literally his surrogate family) because that's what he choses to believe.

A couple things confused me, and it's just because I can't remember my DC continuity. I remember the early JLA run where the founding members decided to reveal their identities to each other, feeling no more secrets should be kept. This was a result of Batman having compiled a method of defeating each of his pals, and keeping some secrets of his own (sound familiar?). But in this issue, we hear Hawkman call Batman "Bruce." Hawkman was not part of the original group when they revealed themselves to eachother, so did this happen later or was it a result of Despero being in everyone heads? Is there a connection to how the Secret Society had some funky memories of their own? And the Catwoman connection? I would like some answers, I think I missed something.

A last note, in regards to the end of the battle that finds everyone bailing out of the league: Superman is a dick.

Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #1

Come on down to Detroit Rock City! I really dug the return of the Corps in its deserved, grand fashion. Green Lantern is probably my all time favorite superhero, and the concept of the Green Lantern Corps has fascinated me since I began reading comics. Yes, I'm a Hal Jordan purist, but I've been a supporter of all of Earth's Lanterns. I love Guy Gardner, and I think he's finally going to get the attention he's needed for a loooooong time. Extra kudos to artist Patrick Gleason, he draws a great Guy Gardner. Great looking book all around, too.

The story sets up the corps for something big, something that may or may not be related to IC. I'm quite interested in the fate of Kyle Rayner, he is in a very unique position as both a DC mainstay and a GL. I suspect he plays a part in IC, perhaps sacrificially, but now I'm not too sure. I was surprised not to see John Stewart invited to Oa and help build the Corps. That detail is... unsettling. Hal Jordan is has been re-set as Earth's role model GL, the JLA has been rebooted and may not include Stewart. What does that mean?? Stewart is a hell of a GL, I would consider him a veteran of high regard at this point. Is Stewart a new contender for the IC chopping block??? -gasp- It hasn't occurred to me until now. He does, however, have a serious weight in his corner, the fact that he's the GL face of the animated series Justice League Unlimited. While not out of the question, it is unlikely DC would axe such a popular representative.

I'm putting my faith in Dave Gibbons for this book. I didn't know it was being co-written by Geoff Johns, and readers of my blog will recall I have some issues with that guy. There are some definite Johns-y moments in this issue, but it was nothing abrupt, and I look forward to how it plays out.

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