Tag Archives: doug mahnke

Seven Soldiers (of Victory)

Seven Soldiers (of Victory)

Zatanna Zatarra!  Klarion the Witchboy!  Jake Jordan – the Manhattan Guardian!  Ystin the Shining Knight!  Shilo Norman, aka Mister Miracle! Alix Harrower – the Bulleteer!  Frankenstein!  The Seven Soldiers of Victory!

Believe it or not, this is one of the series I was looking forward to least in this little project of mine.

Not because I don’t like it, mind, but because I’ve really, really loved it.  It’s got everything I love about Grant Morrison’s superhero stuff that’s not All-Star Superman: big ideas, weird adventures and a feeling of slight dissonance with reality as he starts playing with how you can play with time in the context of a superhero comic and the way the pictures and speech bubbles interact with the people reading it.

Heck, now that I think about it, it’s not even that much of a superhero comic.  More a weird urban fantasy yarn with superheroes in…

Anyway, after going back through it, I realize that it’s another of Morrison’s noble failures.  A failure not of scope or, I maintain, ability, but a failure in that it doesn’t really work.  But nonetheless noble because for all it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work with more style, swagger and ambition than a large number of pieces that do work even come close to.

Again, it’s the Project Runway-inspired rule I have over here: ugly beats boring.  That is to say, if it fails because it tries to do too much, it’s finer than a thing that fails because it didn’t try to do anything at all.

But why does it fail?  Why does it not work?

The answer is frustratingly similar to the discussion of Final Crisis I had earlier: it doesn’t work because it’s trying to do too much.

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Final Crisis

Final Crisis

NOTE:  So to be clear, I only read the Final Crisis hardcover.  There are supplementary collections which have a lot of stuff by people I like but… well, those aren’t the main story and even if they are, what the hell are they doing in some other book?  Crossover bloat is bad enough when it happens on the stands.

Final Crisis is the culmination of plot threads which start in Morrison’s Seven Soldiers (about which more later) and keep building through 52 (again; more later) right on up to here, the Summer Blockbuster Event Comic To End All Summer Blockbuster Event Comics.  The DC Universe faces its weirdest, most devastating conflict that rocks its core with the whole of Creations at stake with everything filtered through metanarratives and playing with the nature of the comic book and all those other things Morrison’s so fond of talking about.

So right up front, the ambition level’s high.  A sure way to win you points in my book.

But does it work?

As a hardcover, it works a lot better than it did in floppies, not only because I feel like the story benefits from a bit of immediacy but also because in its original run, three of the chapters—two of which are necessary for understanding the end of the story and one which drove home what the rest of the book had made explicit only to set up a narrative arc that never went anywhere—were offered as optional tie-ins, something which irked me to no end.

But does it work?

Well… mostly.

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