Generations Shattered #1 review

I’m a sucker for motley crews. Give me heroes from across time and space whom you wouldn’t usually see together, and I’m there. Enter the Golden Age Batman, Superman’s Pal Steel, New Titan Starfire, the original Superboy, the second Dr Light, the one and only Booster Gold, Last Boy on Earth Kamandi and Green Lantern Sinestro before he went to the yellow side. If you had to guess which of them was gathering the rest to face a dastardly villain, you’d likely say Booster Gold. He’s had a stint as a time agent, able to travel throughout history. So of course it’s…

Kamandi?

It is. To be fair, it would have been Booster Gold… an older Booster Gold, who comes to collect Kamandi as a wave of anti-matter wipes out his timelime.

But circumstances prevent ‘Booster Old’ from carrying on, and his Skeets glove goes to Kamandi, along with his mission.

Now this is fun. Good, old school fun. Old as in Nineties, with characters such as Waverider, Knockout and the Linear Men playing a part. Even the mystery villain is a refugee from that terrific decade for DC, someone who proved a headache for a big hero and then pretty much vanished.

Well, they’re back, and out to move realities, having become tired of this hero-filled one. The plan’s collateral damage is the death of the current universe, with time unravelling.

Generation Shattered #1 is the classic ‘gathering the team’ issue, with dozens of pages following the same template – Kamandi and Skeets drop in on someone with a desperate plea to help save Everything. If there’s reluctance, it’s soon overcome. An especially interesting sequence sees the then-new Dr Light, Kimiyo Hoshi, approached… by Green Lantern’s psychic nemesis Hector Hammond. Dr Light feels threatened but then Kamandi and Skeets make the scene.

Even though Kamandi can’t speak Japanese, Dr Light instinctively trusts him, and signs up for the mission. It’s a little odd – sure, Hammond is a known bad guy, but she’s just come back from the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a situation which saw heroes and villains teaming up for the greater good… she couldn’t even listen to him? Does Kamandi have a sincerity aura that brings instant trust? There has to be some reason Booster Old would seek him out in the first place, when he’s supposedly looking for geniuses who might be able to deal with time trouble, and powerful warriors to run interference. Perhaps Hammond will show up in the concluding part of this story, next month’s Generations Forged.

I could easily believe this was an old, typically entertaining Dan Jurgens script that had been languishing in a drawer that DC decided to use in a month that has many of its regular books shelved. It’s certainly in his ballpark, even the main villain is from the Triangle era of Superman which Jurgens helped make such a creative and financial success. The seamless presence of co-writers Andy Schmidt and Robert Venditti, though, tell us this is something newer. I understand Generations Shattered was commissioned – as Generations Fractured – as a step towards the 5G event that was going to reset DC continuity. With Dark Nights: Death Metal now filling that role, and 5G plans mostly truncated to the Future State event, this has been repurposed as Metal-adjacent high adventure. While Future State characters have been squeezed into a symbolic splash image, there’s no true link I can find between events in the Death Metal books and this, but it fits with the new ‘everything happened’ notion.

Not that I’d have passed on this had it simply been a piece of nostalgia – Jurgens is always wonderful value and this book has a bevy of superb artists to carry us along. So many great names.

There’s outstanding visual work throughout, so much that it’s tough to play favourites. I must, though, as a fan of the classic Legion of Super-Heroes, note how great Fernando Pasarin and Oclair Albert’s pages are, filled to the brim with scores of heroes, citizens and monsters.

And Yanick Paquette’s Titans scene has a classic Eighties look, super sleek and dynamic. Then there’s Kevin Nowlan’s Sinestro and Adam Strange encounter, an ode to classic sci-fi comics. And the Golden Age Batman meeting the world of OMAC moment by Jurgens and inker Klaus Janson is a hoot.

Oh, there’s just so much lovely work in here, and all of it lettered and coloured by stalwarts Tom Napolitano and Hi-Fi.

The cover, by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Hi-Fi is a winner too, while Darran Robinson’s publication design – complete with sharp back cover art – is typically terrific.

There’s a cliffhanger that guarantees I’ll be back for the conclusion, one that hits the same zeitgeist button as an upcoming Disney+ TV show. I can say no more!

$9.99 is a lot to pay for a comic, but this is four times the length of the average book at a lot less than four times the price. And it’s huge fun all the way through. Don’t miss it.

10 thoughts on “Generations Shattered #1 review

  1. I’ll be honest, Martin, I skimmed your review to avoid spoilers because I’ll be picking this up in a couple of days, but I’m glad I picked up on the sense of fun that I was hoping for when this was announced.

    So looking forward to reading this!

    By the way – “Booster Old”? Nice one!

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  2. I’ve also got to tip my hat for “Booster Old.” Great wordsmithing, my friend!

    And man, this story. Loved every second of it. Sat down to read the Kamandi chapter before taking a walk, and suddenly I’d read the whole thing. Absolutely wonderful. The story is engaging and fun, and the art is a pleasure to look at.

    And special thanks to Tom Napolitano, who seems to have upped the size of his lettering throughout. Maybe DC realizes that a project with this much nostalgia value might just be being read by 50-year-old eyes!

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    1. I hadn’t noticed the larger lettering, you’re right. It looks great, I hope it’s a trend. Well, it doesn’t make a lot of difference to me as I’m generally reading on Guided View, but I hear more and more that folk have problems with physical copies.

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  3. That super-large lettering kind of tipped me off that this was some kind of parody. Dan Jurgens is the perfect to parody the kinds of work he used to do – bombastic and broad. A good artist showcase, though.

    If this is the first example of “everything and anything happened” it’s too bad for me – I personally don’t love those old events. But I think this was never meant as the immediate followup to Death Metal – it feels like it’s on its own track. One that has been reduced from the importance it was originally going to have when this was supposed to debut on Free Comic Book Day and then be an event spread over a number of months.

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      1. As it turns out, I re-read it tonight and saw it as even a bigger parody than during the first read. I don’t read it as “in the style of” those old stories, but rather making good clean fun of them. Jurgens is certainly allowed to tease himself and I think that’s most of what’s going on here.

        I could cite a dozen panels.

        These ridiculous exchanges or dialog:

        “I’ve got you, Kimiyo. And I’ve got oxygen,”
        “N–no need! I can’t explain it, but I can breathe out here…”

        “We do appear to be outside of time but experiencing it normally.”

        “And you’re lucky to be targeted by Knockout! What a way to go!”

        “It’s not random! It’s a helix!”
        “Quit your smart talkin’!”

        “He’s here to help. Don’t get all Adam Strangey on us.”

        “That’s what you call a Green Lantern? When you said lantern, I thought you were talking about a weird flashlight or something.”

        “Sucks to be you.” “G-Go! Go away!”

        Then there’s the page with 8 vertical panels – 7 of them silent, then in the 8th Batman says “Hrn.”

        Then you have poor Beast Boy getting thrown all over the place. I can’t find the second spot, but he says “Whullff” more than once when struck, which is pretty funny because he’s in the form of a wolf. There are also jokes about him and Terra (who he had a crush on, right? – my main knowledge of that is the Tiny Titans version of it). He keeps questioning if Starfire is really the most powerful. Terra says “Who, Starfire? Not a chance” and he responds “Oh Terra – you’re the worst.” That’s literally a 1960s sitcom beat – cue the audience laugh track, or maybe the drummer goes “ba-da-boom!” there.

        It shares some DNA with the ancient “Not Brand Echh” parody. (Satire? I don’t know the technical difference.)

        That’s why I find it tonally strange as a supposed follow-up to Death Metal. Death Metal definitely had comedic moments, which some readers found jarring, but it was mostly earnest. It WAS an example of a big, daft event.

        Besides the silliness, I do agree there is an actual point to this – Dominus sees the current state of the DCU (including some Future State characters) and decides he’d have more success defeating the heroes of earlier times when they weren’t all in teams and a united fighting force. And indeed, we meet all the heroes back in the years of actual publication – very different from the New 52 timeline, where all the characters emerged during a single 5-year period.

        I have never been able to get through the entire Crisis on Infinite Earths or most other events, because they EARNESTLY employ ridiculous plot turns. Generations I can get behind, because it’s just acknowledging all the silliness. I don’t know why DC published it, but I think it’s funny.

        Sorry I’m rambling a bit…

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  4. What a great post, thank you. It’s great how differently we see things. You look at these panels and think parody, I just look at them as a throwback to when comics were often loads of fun, with oodles of silliness.

    I wish we could take a poll.

    I wonder what Anj reckons!

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