Friday, December 29, 2006

Don't They Know It's The End of the World?

So yeah, I feel bad about recommending the first issue of Howard Chaykin's Guy Gardner: Collateral Damage so highly. Because as good as the first issue was, the second issue... wasn't. It's almost as if, halfway through the project, he realized he was doing a freakin' Guy Gardner book and then decided to get the whole thing done in one mad No-Doze fueled weekend. Because all the good exposition and set-up in the first issue really didn't have nnaything to do with what actually happened. And as for what actually happened? I'm not really sure. There was a lot of yelling, and some really horrible Liefeld-esque anatomy, and plot points out of left field. Just bad.

There was one line that got a real, honest-to-God laugh out of me, however. I won't give the joke away if you haven't read it yet, but "Hey - thanks for your support" was almost worth the price of admission in and of itself.

If you know me at all, you know there are a few things for which I am unabashed sucker. One of these things is Quasar (who should be getting resurrected any minute now). Another of these things is, sadly, Secret Wars. Yeah, I know, it doesn't exactly speak highly of me.

But yes, Beyond! kicked all kinds of ass. Not only was it sort-of a sequel to the first Secret Wars, but it also had some of my favorite b- and c-list characters featured prominently. Hank Pym and the luscious Wasp? Check. Deathlok II, Michael Collins? Check. The Space Phantom? Check. Xemnu the Titan That's a Ten-Four, good buddy.

Dwayne MacDuffie gets props not only for taking some cool characters and using them well, but for using some frankly lame characters in such a way as to make them, well, maybe not interesting, but at least sensible in the context of the book. I mean, the Hood and Al Kraven? Not exactly any Marvel Zombie's favorite characters, and yet MacDuffie used them in such a way as it made perfect sense for them to be there, and furthered the characters in such a way as any future writer could easily pick them up for their own purposes. You know, like how writers used to apply the shared universe concept, before it became a bunch of semi-autonomous feifdoms where each writer had their own pet characters whom they use to the exclusion of all others...

Anyway, I did have a couple nitpicks, but they were small. First, the original Battleworld took place in a barren galaxy, so all the stars and moons in the sky were slightly distracting, if this was indeed supposed to be the OG Battleworld. Second, I have a hard time believing that the person pretending to be the Beyonder (I won't give that away) wouldn't have seen through the deception at the end of the book... but I'll accept that since it was the end of the series there needed to be an ending. Otherwise, MacDuffie did a great job of following through on the logic of his premise. Although, I have to ask, what happened to Dragon Man, Xemnu and Northstar? How did they get off the planet? Inquiring minds want to know!

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