Thursday, February 09, 2006

Rann-Thanagar War Infinite Crisis Special—the Post Mortem

FanBoyWonder was out of town at a business conference as part of our day job—consigned temporarily to the seventh circle of hell. You know it as Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida (not to be confused with the Seven Hells of Thanagar—at least nobody on Hawkworld wishes you a “magical day”…and lives too long to tell about it).

So we’re catching up on comic commentary. However, one week later and we’re still annoyed and disappointed after reading the events of the Rann-Thanagar War Infinite Crisis Special.

The upshot: RTW Special follows up from last summer’s six-issue mini-series and it takes place following the events of Infinite Crisis issue #4.

Here’s DC’s breakdown of events from their “Crisis Counseling” section of their Website,

At the center of the universe an assembled superhuman strike force — including Donna Troy, Green Lanterns Kyle Rayner, and Alan Scott, Jade, Supergirl, Starfire, Adam Strange, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Captain Comet, the Omega Men and more — battled Blackfire's massive army!
As two mysterious hands — who we now know belonged to Alexander Luthor — emerged from the destructive cosmic storm, Rann and Thanagar leaders discovered that Superboy-Prime was responsible for pushing Rann out of its orbit! Realizing the true culprit behind their problems, the leaders ended their war!
Luthor's giant hands sent out waves of destructive energy that killed Jade! But before she died, she transferred her remaining energy into Kyle Rayner, transforming him into Ion — who was called by the Guardians "the first of a new breed, the next step in the evolution of our cause!"

FBW really wanted to like this series. It had a lot of unrealized potential. We admire writer Dave Gibbons’ attempt to pull together so many of the DCU’s outer-space races into a single story, but he bit off more than he could chew.

Gibbons, who is known foremost as an artist, seems in over his head as a writer of a major event mini-series. To be sure, he has laid out an ambitious plot, but his dialogue was weak and there was a definite sense he had just a loose grasp of the characters.

Example: Throughout the mini-series, Gibbons superimposed Green Lantern Hal Jordan’s personality onto GL Kyle Rayner right down to the “Great Guardians” exclamations.

Even for readers with three-decades of DC Comics history like FBW, it was impossible NOT to get lost in all the plot noise. Better art could have helped. RTW has credited as the issue's
pencillers Ivan Reis and Joe Prado and as inkers, Marc Campos, Oclair Albert and Michael Bair. Inept coloring compounded the mess.

Deaths: During the mini-series, Hawkwoman, the Thanagarian Shayera Thal, was murdered by Blackfire (Starfire’s evil older sister) with little fanfare.
Even worse was the way Gibbons killed off Jade, Alan Scott’s daughter—a stupid demise, clumsily executed on page 29.

As noted above, Jade transferred her “Lantern energy” to Kyle allowing him to become Ion again—internalizing the emerald power (i.e. power ring no longer needed). Apparently it was Jade’s last wish that Kyle be saddled with yet another bad costume choice.

Here’s the inconsistency: Jade is the daughter of Alan Scott, the original Earth Green Lantern but Alan Scott was never a member of the Green Lantern Corps, the creation of Guardians of the Universe of Oa. Scott power comes from the Starheart, also known as the Green Flame—magic.

However, during Judd Winick’s GL run, Kyle as Ion used his enhanced emerald Oan power to jump start Jade’s burned out but dormant power. Now apparently she gave the power back but “her energy, her spirit lives on.” It was a dumb fate for a good character but there appears to be wiggle room to bring her back.

One more thing: Call it nitpicking but on page 40, Green Lantern Kilowog said his ring “identified the perp as Superboy-Prime.” How does his ring know who SBP is since he is from the pre-crisis reality???????

Aquaman #39

The upshot: Aquaman has lost his kingdom for a second time, and chaos closes in on the unsure hero in the form of Black Manta. It's a fight that may make or break Aquaman, just as an important part of his past reemerges.

It really doesn’t matter what this issue was about because next issue it’s One Year Later with a new creative team and title—Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40.

But FBW is getting off the ride here. Three major creative sea changes (no pun intended) on this book should be a sign—the book can’t find any traction. Continue reading at your own peril


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