Thursday, January 12, 2012
Reading Crisis, Part 7: Beyond The Silent Night
My first thought upon seeing this cover in the trade paperback is "Well, sh*t just got real in here." My second thought is that can you even imagine a cover like this being used on a series nowadays? I can't imagine the fanboy outrage over "Spoooooilers!" right on the cover like that. You folks old enough to remember when this was released -- was the cover image advertised a lot before the issue was released? Did people get mad over the spoiler? Or maybe think it was a fake out cover? I'm really curious now.
The issue starts off with the inevitable data dump from Lyla and Pariah. This was totally necessary because at this point we're more than halfway through this event and still did know what the heck the Anti-Monitor's deal was -- in fact, heck, we didn't really know what the Monitor's deal was! So the "Show and Tell" was something of a necessary evil. The actual story gets a little lost in here for me. I mean, I don't have any trouble following it as Wolfman tells it here, but it's very blatant to me that this is trying to rectify a lot of past continuity into one short passage. I'm also a little confused as to Why the Anti-Monitor is created before the Monitor? Wouldn't that make the Anti-Monitor just the Monitor and the Monitor (being the opposite of the original) the Anti-Monitor? I know I am being cute here but this is a logical fallacy to me.
The story told by Pariah I liked a lot more. Pariah has finally started to grow on me as a character and not just be a whiner. As a scientist who oversteps his bounds and unleashes cosmic destruction, and then has to atone for his sins for all eternity, the Kirby traits are starting to get fast and furious. Even his look, using his green cape dramatically (not unlike the Spectre) is winning me over. It seems like he is destined for some rough fate in the coming issues, though.
The short character scenes this time out are a mixed bag. I like having Braniac and Luthor confirmed as picking up all of the bad guys. Perez is at it again with the Brainship, giving us one more excuse to see him draw this awesome vehicle. The bits with Wildcat didn't do much for me, but I liked all of the little vignettes of the different Earths. Firestorm also has what might be the line of the series so far when he refers to "Fetus Marvel."
Of course in this installment everything is building towards the siege of Anti-Monitor's asteroid fortress. And this sequence does not disappoint. Seeing the force of heroes put together is enough to make any DC fanboy's eyes go all agog. And personally I like seeing Martian Manhunter in there.
Interestingly, when Alexander Luthor (who, unlike Pariah, I'm still pretty ambivalent towards) opens the portal, Perez seems to be channelling a little bit of Jim Starlin in the cosmic stuff. This is not a complaint.
Once the battle begins, everything hits the fan, as expected. This is big, bombastic, insane action in the manner which only comic books can achieve. For all of the drift we have gotten making comics more like movies, this sequence alone illustrates that comics work best when they are played as comics, because the medium has a lot of advantages which others cannot and most likely never will be able to duplicate. A lot of modern writers could learn something from this.
Maybe it's me but in my mind the Anti-Monitor's voice is a high-pitched, robotic, shrill voice. Don't ask me why. that's just what it is.
Now then: Supergirl. To be completely honest, the Supergirl I knew and read about in DC was the Matrix Supergirl. So the Pre-Crisis Supergirl was pretty much a non-factor in my mind for a long, long time. I read a few stories with her here and there, but I still always thought about the Matrix Supergirl when I heard the name. I never had much reason to care about her. This issue has changed that. Maybe that's a cliched response, that this is the "best Supergirl story ever" or some such. But I challenge anyone to read this issue and not come out saying "You go Supergirl!" Wolfman makes us intimately care about Supergirl in the span of a few panels when she comes to Superman's rescue, and then we are very shortly enthralled with her battle against Anti-Monitor. She goes out a hero of the highest order. This story is a legitimate classic.
Her death also gives Wolfman an opportunity to give us plenty of character bits which I really loved. Perez's art plays a big role in this too as his art is so evocative that the panels make a real impact. Scenes such as Batgirl giving the eulogy, Dr. Light seeing the light (no pun intended), Lady Quark looking on with disinterest, and Brainiac-5 breaking down are all fantastic little moments.
All I can ask now is how can there still be 5 issues left after this?
Next: A Flash Of The Lightning!
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I think there was an advertisement featuring this cover art, but can't recall whether it was before or after release. This was my first issue, picked up at Waldenbooks. Solid recap of the series to date, awesome character selection, beautiful art, massive stakes, and a well executed heroic sacrifice with necessary in-issue follow-up. It truly is justified as a classic.
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