Final Crisis came and went…and I couldn’t really tell you what the bloody thing was all about, besides cementing the utter bad-assedness of Bruce Wayne once again. Do you all remember Rock Of Ages? Batman survives a meeting with Desaad, beats him and masquerades as Desaad under the very nose of Darkseid, and ultimately sets the stage for his defeat.
I didn’t think he could top that.
Not that he was slacking; after all, he was instrumental in the defeat of the White Martians upon the regrouping of the big guns after the Detroit JLA era. Mark Waid was so enamored of the Batman that he had multiple storylines dedicated to Bruce’s complete owning of the aforementioned aliens; first, he had hypnotized one to become him in order to move behind the scenes, unbeknownst to his team; later, he nearly took them out singlehandedly again when they devised a way to change Earth’s atmosphere.
So, to recap: Bruce Wayne can pretty much whip your fanny.
When Bruce Wayne was struck by Darkseid’s Omega Beams…well, come on – that’s it, right?
Whachoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?
Now, maybe Grant had gone total obscura on us, with the Batman, R.I.P. storyline, but where else would you see the Black Glove and Bat-Mite in the same book? Regardless, I think a lot of brain cells were fried in the regaling of these storylines.
But remember…this is Batman we’re talking about – he’s supposed to be unfathomable!
Now, let’s go on to another tack.
Grant and Frank Quitely gave us All-Star Superman.
What a sweet book. I mean, I have to be honest here…I thought Superman soaked cork before the reboot (and no, this is before I read Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?). He was just too powerful. Moving planets? Traveling back and forth in time at a whim? I felt sorry for the bank robbers. Now, once Crisis On Infinite Earths and the reboot by John Byrne and Marv Wolfman came about, the character of Clark Kent made more sense, though not everything was golden initially. It took Roger Stern, Jerry Ordway and their associated illustrators to fully flesh out the newly-revised Man Of Steel.
When Superman was killed by Doomsday, I was out there on Herald Square, doling out the books like crack to dope fiends. Adventures Of Superman #500 was a different story. Great story, but too much of the same gimmick. I have to mention this as I segue into the new series by Grant for the New 52.
52 was an excellent series by DC. It was the first big weekly series ever done, and the amazing thing was that it kept to that 52-week schedule, yet kept up its quality (well, that’s if you give all of the artists mostly equal footing – but considering the enormity of it all, I was impressed) and told a great story of the disappearance of the Big Three and the emergence of the complement of DC’s heroes to fill that void. We got to see a re-imagining of Infinity Inc., the rise and fall of Black Adam, the coherence of DC’s villain base into a palpable threat, and the purpose of Booster Gold, as well as a coda to Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle. Not to mention, Infinite Crisis
Right after that, we got…Countdown.
I have the first issue signed by Paul Dini…I don’t have any others. It felt too much like it was riding the coattails of 52…but I was wrong.
Countdown tore off the label from the coat and tried to make itself from the ingredients, without realizing that it’s not the parts themselves that make the whole – it’s the sum of the parts. That’s what 52 was.
It’s what Countdown wasn’t.
DC has just re-imagined the DC Universe, along with the inclusion of the Vertigo characters and the Wildstorm Universe, into the New 52. This required Superman to be re-imagiined – and who better than All-Star Superman’s Grant Morrison?
Grant chose Rags Morales, formerly of the fantastic Identity Crisis, as his artist of choice. Remembering his renderings of Superman and Clark Kent in those books, it’s no real surprise why. Rags has an ease with conveying emotion in his art. It was apparent all through Identity Crisis, and it’s apparent throughout this series. Assisting on the art is Gene Ha, whose first work I saw in the excellent Night Man series put out by Malibu/Ultraverse (we were also privy to Kyle Hotz’s first work in that series, as well). Andy Kubert also stepped in for two issues, and we also got some pages from Brad Walker and Ben Oliver.
I have to mention here that I have never cared for the Legion Of Super Heroes.
After saying that, why is it that I find that Alan Moore and Grant Morrison can actually get me to care about these characters to some degree?
It’s kind of like Adam Strange – never had an interest in the character, but after reading Swamp Thing #s 57 and 58, I was compelled by his story…and the funny thing is, half of the issues aren’t even in English!
Have I talked at all about the New 52 Superman?
He knows about his rocketship.
He has an indestructible cape, now joined with his indestructible bodysuit.
He’s no longer married to Lois Lane.
John Corben once had a relationship with Lois; now, he is joined with a battlesuit composed of…Metal-Zero. He also no longer has a heart.
Braniac is the internet of other worlds.
He’s stronger than a dinosaur’s hide.
He had a new identity as Johnny Clark, the hero firefighter.
Clark’s landlord is from the 5th dimension.
Actually, I am very excited by this, and by the impish figure assembling his Anti-Kryptonian Army. Do you recall Crisis Times Five, in the pages of JLA, guest-starring the JSA? We got the last storyline of Triumph, along with a helping hand by Captain Marvel and a revelation that the Thunderbolt under the control of the various Johnny Thunders is…a genie.
How cool was that?
Grant Morrison has really chowed down on some good shrooms, because he really gets the idea of the higher dimensions. I still need to find my copy of The Ambidextrous Universe by Martin Gardner before he finishes his next storyline. I understand that his last issue is #16.
Maybe they can get Neil Gaiman to sign on?