Got me a brand new computer, though I’m still trying to get all the programs I need up and running; especially a serviceable video editing program. Nonetheless, we’re onto the pull list and it’s a short one. Includes GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #0, DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #0, BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #8, and DAREDEVIL #18.
GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #0 is, like GL#0, a departure from the usual zero issue fare by being not an origin issue but a bridge for the plot at hand. If anything, the GL books would appear to be reluctantly going along with the zero issue ordeal entirely, and just want to get back to the amazing Third Army business years in the making.
Remember Carol Ferris, Hal Jordan’s boss/girlfriend? Remember how she’s also a (part time) Star Sapphire? Well we finally get to see what she’s up to…in a completely different book than the one she’s appeared in before. Also when she powers up she has a significantly different uniform than her previous appearances. Then again, the last one had a v-cut down to her navel, so this could arguably be an improvement. Kyle Rayner stops by Ferris air looking for Hal, only for the two to learn about that whole graveyard battle with Black Hand Hal and Sinestro were in.
Investigating that, they find out that Hal and Sinestro are apparently deceased and their ring(s) found its way to a new owner. But due to the Star Sapphire’s ability to sense emotional ties, Carol is certain that Hal still lives. Or is at least still “active” as it were. Which is good news so far as I’m concerned. More good news if you’re a fan of Kyle especially: he’s apparently more of a potential Mary Sue character than we realized.
What I mean is that Kyle can channel the energies of the entire spectrum, possibly as a result of having worn many types of rings early in the series run. Remember that bit of awesome? They finally touched on it again. If I really were a vindictive person, I’d say DC was making Kyle into one of those fan fiction characters with special powers no one else has. I am more optimistic than that (could just be a defense mechanism to keep me from driving myself into fits of rage), and plus Kyle always did have the element of editorial favor. Anyone remember Ion?
I keep saying to remember things when a lot of readers might not know what I’m talking about.
Next up is DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #0. I know what you’re thinking: how a series revolving around spotlighting different characters possibly have a single origin story? After all, no one character or team has really dominated the last twelve issues except Deadman (by virtue of having two more issues than the other two subjects). Well as it turns out, it doesn’t have one origin story. It as six.
We’re going to be here for a while.
Save for the aforementioned Deadman, the subjects for origins are four of the six series that got canceled in preparation for the New 52 Second Wave. These are OMAC, Mr. Terrific, Hawk and Dove, and Blawkhawks. For whatever reason (possibly due to their specific runs), Men of War and Static Shock do not get origins. I personally can’t say if they needed them though, because I read neither. The ones featured here it would seem did need their origins told, so we now have them. For anyone who was sorry that one or more of these books were canceled after only eight issues, here you are.
Personally, I was most interested in the OMAC origin story, since that’s the only series of these (besides Deadman obviously) that I read. Read and loved. I am not disappointed. We finally learn roughly how the OMAC technology came to be, what the nature of Maxwell Lord’s relationship with Cadmus is, and how Brother Eye was created. If you ever read Countdown to Infinite Crisis and the OMAC Project, Brother Eye’s origin is basically the same, though without the exact same context. Originally Batman created Brother Eye to monitor the world’s metahumans after the events of Identity Crisis made him super paranoid. In this case, Batman created it after the emergence of metahumans entirely. So it didn’t take the rape/murder of Sue Dibny and some assorted mind-wipes to make Batman paranoid, he was just always that way.
We also learn how Brother Eye broke ties with Maxwell Lord, and how Kevin Kho came to have the OMAC technology in his body at the beginning of the series. I’ll say it now, giving fans resolution on at least a few of the dangling plot threads is the least DC could do. And I’m thankful for that.
If I were less professional writer, I’d disregard all the rest in this issue and move on. But for sake of the fans of Mr. Terrific et al., we’ll keep on this.
Speaking of Mr. Terrific, we learn that Terry Sloan (smartest man on Earth 2) wasn’t the only guy who found the mysterious dimension that foretold possible futures. Shortly after donning his new costume with intents on becoming the hero he turned into during the series, Terrific briefly entered the dimension and got a view of several things that would come to pass over the course of his eight issues and his subsequent involvement in Earth 2 and the budding JSA.
Oh, and Terry Sloan had much more to do with Terrific’s heroic origins than we originally thought. Awesome retroactive continuity there, James Robinson. Well played.
I never liked Hawk and Dove. Especially considering Rob Liefeld worked on this version, and did the writing duties for this origin. Anyway, we learn here that the current Dove having replaced the previous one was engineered by Peace, the god of order. Naturally this pissed off War, the parallel god of chaos, who as it turns out was right about Peace being a manipulative creature bent on using the “balance” of war and peace to her own advantage.
As I said, I barely care about Hawk and Dove. Let’s move on to another kind of hawk team.
The Blackhawks for those unfamiliar with the team were a group of WWII era fighter pilots that got rebooted as a modern team of UN commandos. This origin chronicles their initial work during the Darkseid attack five years prior to the relative present, and how their actions created their enemy (I assume) Mother Machine. Makes me sort of wish I’d read the book back in the day. Maybe I’ll check out the trade paperback when that comes out in November.
No promises though. I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate.
Finally we have the modern origin of Deadman, the only returning alumni of DC Universe Presents and specifically the first guy to be featured in it. Also he spent time with Justice League Dark, but I haven’t paid that much mind. Specifically we get to see Boston Brand on his first possession mission, which just so happened to be the man who killed him. Thing don’t go well.
All together this was a mixed bag of an issue on account of collecting a number of smaller origin stories. None of them were terrible, though it helps to care about the ones collected. Luckily I’m personally familiar with two or three of these, and tangentially familiar with the rest. If you were sad about the first round of cancellations, this should ease the pain.
Unless you read Static Shock or Men of War. In which case DC says you can screw off.
Another multi-story comic, BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #8 has the new freaking Vigilante. Freaking Vigilante! Ha ha ha!
To give context here, Vigilante was a DC character who ran around delivering vigilante justice (what else?) to organized crime and assorted malcontents. The extent of my experience with Vigilante is a two part storyline by Alan Moore, and an appearance of the original’s female successor in one issue of the nineties Resurrection Man series.
And I thought I was done talking about Resurrection Man for a while.
Anyway, remember that J. Chill guy from a few issues back who killed future Batman’s father and was racked with enough guilt to turn to crime fighting out of penance? Yeah, this is him. He became Vigilante, and teams up with future Batman for…
Oh that’s right I didn’t explain what this issue was about! Yeah, the Jokerz are suicide bombing the entire city. I’m not even kidding. Best part is you just know the TV show never would have been able to show the carnage depicted here. Especially not with ruffians strapping bombs to their chests and detonating in public places.
And I loved every minute of it. Things are really starting to happen, and fast. Meanwhile Bruce Wayne is dying of liver failure, and Terry has to balance the drama of that with all the destruction going on. Hell, we even get one of the most heartbreaking opening pages I’ve seen in any comic. Like last week with the AVX issue, it’s a sight best seen yourself.
In the Superman Beyond segment, Luthor’s daughter and the Lex hologram turned their building into a giant robot, and are busy going on a rampage of their own. Two rampages of destruction in one issue? This comic is spoiling me now. Superman can’t initially do anything because of a belt of kryptonite asteroids circling the planet, so for a while it’s up to the nanomachine enhanced police to get things done. It doesn’t go well. Let’s just say nanomachines to a number on the brain.
Luckily, Superman has a secret weapon in his fortress of solitude. How he knew he’d be threatened by a an asteroid belt of kryptonite I have no idea.
And finally the future Justice League prepares for the inevitable Earth confrontation with the giant space snake trying to destroy the world. Bruce gives Terry some magic stuff to be used in the event of things going sour (by the law of Chekhov’s Gun it most certainly will now). And Micron – the black future version of The Atom – seems finally set to do something in Batman Beyond aside from getting beat up and healing in a tank. Also there’s a lot of drama and worry about whether they’ll succeed.
Much better issue than the last few, now that they have the number of stories down to three.
Finally we have DAREDEVIL #18. In previous issues the Man Without Fear was delivered from captivity and senselessness at the hands of Latvaria, only to be fired from his law practice by his partner Foggy Nelson. The cause: Foggy found the bones of Matt’s father in Matt’s desk drawer. Naturally Foggy came to the conclusion that Matt was unhinged.
After the events of issue eighteen, I’m starting to believe that too.
In between investigating an apparent frame job of a nurse for the killing of a mob boss, Matt suddenly finds his insane ex wife in his apartment. Or did he? Actually explaining how it goes would defeat the purpose of trying to get people to read what is possibly one of the best books out there. DAREDEVIL won an Eisner Award, as is displayed on the cover.
So why aren’t you reading this series yet? It’s great! We have an insanity subplot here! What more do you want?
What more DO you want from comics? Should a book be required to use its zero issue for origins only, or can it move along as if nothing were amiss? Did you read any of the first wave books that got canceled? Are you sad Static or MoW weren’t among those given more page time here? Did you know who Vigilante was prior to this post, and if so where did you know him from? And are you getting sick of the zero issues yet? Leave a comment below with your answers.