Comic books I bought the week of 26 March 2008.
It’s a small, all-DC week!
- All-Star Superman #10, by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely (DC)
- Countdown to Final Crisis #5 of 52 (backwards), by Paul Dini, Adam Beechen, Keith Giffen, Jim Starlin & Rodney Ramos (DC)
- Countdown to Adventure #8 of 8, by Adam Beechen, Allan Goldman & Julio Ferreira, and Justin Gray, Fabrizio Fiorentino & Adam Dekraker (DC)
- Legion of Super-Heroes #40, by Jim Shooter, Francis Manapul & Livesay (DC)
I’ve been trying to resist commenting on Countdown to Final Crisis until it wraps up, but I can’t resist this one: The Great Disaster arrives (a concept from Kirby’s Fourth World series from the 70s, which as I’ve said before I think are silly and forgettable at best), and it’s because a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes came back from the 31st century, decided to stay, and happened to be carrying an advanced virus (“morticoccus”) which causes humans and animals (and Kryptonians, it seems) to mutate into murderous monsters.
There are still four issues to go, plus the inevitable Final Crisis series coming up, but this whole series makes basically no sense to me. Not only have many of the plot threads been seemingly-irrelevant to the main story, but the time travel element introduces logical difficulties which the story has made no effort to explain.
While there’s a certain fascination to watching the fall of the “real” DC Universe, and the audacity that it’s being handled in such a straightforward fashion – when the series involves time travel and parallel universes, it seems all too easy for them to write this one off in a few glib panels. While I suppose it’s remotely possible that this drek could be woven into a sensical story in the last 4 issues, it sure seems unlikely.
The best of the various Countdown-related comics has easily been Countdown to Adventure. Of course, it’s not the Countdown-related elements that I enjoyed; rather, it’s the unrelated material which is entertaining.
The Forerunner half of CtA has been completely pointless. She was a pointless character to start with, and is only more so here: A supremely-skilled combat expert and the last survivor of her race, she finds reason for being at the end of this tale, but since she’s pretty much a total cipher as far as her personality goes, that basically renders the whole thing, well, did I say pointless?
The headlining story is by far the reason to check out this series: The “mystery in space” characters from 52 – Adam Strange, Animal Man and Starfire – deal with an infection brought by them to both Earth and Rann which turns people into violent slaves of a religious demagogue named Lady Styx. It may sound silly, but it’s very much in the tradition of the Silver Age yarns from which Strange and Animal Man hail. All three characters undergo some decent character tests along the way: Strange is deposed as protector of Rann and replaced by a psychopathic fellow Earthman, leaving Strange wondering what his reason for living is, since he’s unable to support his family as a civilian. Animal Man’s marriage is strained after his year-long absence in space. He and Ellen are letting Starfire live with them until her powers return – if they ever do – and Ellen worries that her husband is thinking of leaving her for the statuesque alien babe. Of course, it all turns out all right in the end, but it was a fun read.
Adam Beechen does a good job guiding the story, and while Allan Goldman’s art is a little unpolished, it’s dynamic enough to work, and reminiscent of Norm Breyfogle at times.
I guess the characters will return in this summer’s Rann/Thanagar: Holy War, although unfortunately I find the Rann/Thanagar warfare to be pretty tedious by this point; not only is it an old idea (dating to the late 70s) but it’s addressed in little bits here and there without much sense of ever moving forward. I fear that the character bits which made CtA enjoyable will be completely lost in that series. Still, that’s no reflection on this series, which I’m almost sorry to see come to an end.