Wednesday, 2 February 2011


You're going to have to be very patient with me because, unless and like me you are a fan of DC superheroes, this takes a little explaining. All the characters in the picture above were, until recently, dead. Some have been dead longer than others. They include major and minor heroes and some villains. Following the events of a major cross-over series set in the DC Universe (DCU) entitled Blackest Night (which I didn't read) wherein dead heroes and villains came back as psychotic zombie versions of themselves, a powerful energy source brought back to true life the characters depicted above. They are-

Firstly the major iconic superheroes, mostly created in the late 50's or thereabouts: 
Hal Jordan, the Silver Age and second Green Lantern.
Barry Allen, the Silver Age and second Flash.
Arthur Curry, Aquaman.
Carter & Shiera Hall, the Silver Age and second Hawkman and Hawkgirl.
J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter (actually one of my favourite superheroes).

Then there's the second tier, more or less.
Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond plus, um it's a bit complicated).
Hawk (Hank Hall who makes Ronald Reagan look like a liberal).
Jade (Jenny Lynn Haden, daughter of the Golden Age and first Green Lantern).
Osiris (a Middle-Eastern superhuman who wasn't around five minutes before he was eaten by a talking crocodile he thought was his best friend).

A couple of villains:
Captain Boomerang (Digger Harkness).
Reverse-Flash (Eobard Thawne)
And then there's the mind-controlling Maxwell Lord whom I last saw having his neck broken, and for very good reason, by Wonder Woman. He thinks he's a hero.

Lastly there's Boston Brand aka Deadman. He only became a superhero after he died, having the power to take over the bodies of living people. Now that he's back in the land of the living he's in need of a new sobriquet and fast. He's also the only link, so far, between the various characters. Wearing the white ring (see above) which has something to do, or maybe is, the power which resurrected them all, it drags him, unseen, from situation to situation. What also may be the same power has incarnated itself as a white battery (see Green Lantern mythos). 

The main thrust of the narrative, other than the mystery of the power, concerns the various heroes and the new threats they face. Just some examples: J'onn discovers there's another but psychotic Martian on Earth; the Hawks get transported to the primitive Hawkworld; Aquaman learns that his wife of many years was originally supposed to be his assassin and now her sister has arrived to finish the job; and much more.

Crossover series like these can be a mixed bag. Some are very good like DC's terrific 52 and the legendary Crisis on the Infinite Earths, and some are very bad like the Invasion series of some years back. On the evidence so far, I'd say this falls on the good side of average. There's a lot of interesting stuff going; the two writers, on form, are excellent super hero writers, the art is slick and despite six different pencillers drawing different sections the styles don't noticeably jar. The package itself is good: 192 pages of story, plus a selection of variant covers, and glossy paper. It's a slick and reasonably entertaining package.

I'll be back for the next installment. Here are some more covers.

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