Heroes and villains lost in time. Unlikely team-ups. Angry gods. Reality rewritten.
On the one hand, so far as Generations Forged goes, you’ve seen it all before. On the other GIANT cosmic hand, the aforementioned story points come up again and again for good reason – they’re guaranteed crowd pleasers when brought out by a top creative team.
And that’s what we get in this 80pp issue, the conclusion to the story begun in Generations Shattered. With a Crisis-level event wiping out time and space, a delightfully diverse crew of goodies has been gathered to set things right. As we rejoin them, they’ve been exiled to the far reaches of the DC Universe by the villain of the piece, Dominus. Rather than cackle over his handiwork, though, the Lord of Order turned multiversal madman is busy with smaller affairs.
Holy Wandavision Coincidence, Batman!
It looks like he’s trying to trip up random children in Mike Perkins’ full-page image. Actually, it’s Dominus having fun with family members he’s created from scratch. He doesn’t want to rule the cosmos, just hang around an eternal suburbia – but his plan threatens all reality.
Meanwhile, so much as the term makes sense when talking time tripping…
Dr Light II, Starfire and Kamandi find themselves on the doomed world of Krypton.
Steel and the original Superboy are on prehistoric Thanagar.
And Batman, Booster Gold and an off-panel Sinestro – plucked from a point at which he was a Green Lantern in good standing – are in the time of Omac.
Eventually, the heroes – and Dominus’ villainous henchpeople, having realised their boss has abandoned them too – escape the various eras and come up with a plan to confront Dominus in his realm of ‘Extracted Time’.
After a long, tough battle, Dominus is contained, but while Booster, Starfire and co have triumphed, some find the victory bittersweet…
Afterwards, they make their way to Vanishing Point, base of time guardians The Linear Men. Heroes and villains are returned home, one by one, whether they like it or not.
The most intriguing comment there is the business about their universe being unique. Batman alone hears more about it, from time cop Waverider
That’s new. I don’t need a reason for comic book characters remaining, say, 29 for decades, but it makes for an interesting moment in the story. I suppose it’s a vestigial plot point from the abandoned 5G project, to be ignored even sooner than was Hypertime back in the Nineties.
The real point of this issue is the fun, both verbal and visual. Talented writers Dan Jurgens, Robert Venditti and Andy Schmidt give us acres of action and cracking character moments. It’s wonderful to see the woefully underused Kimiyo Hoshi not simply appear in a story, not just team-up with Jor-El, but provide the circumstances that give Lara Lor-Van, who’s months from her due date, the chance to give birth to Kal-El.
What’s more, powered up by Krypton’s red sun, she gets a striking new look.
Other terrific moments include Batman 1939’s reaction to the future Build-a-Friends – and he thought he was creepy! Then there’s Starfire’s distrust of Kamandi, reminding us that Kory was a spikier character back in 1983.
One thing Starfire and Kamandi do have in common is enviable hair, and it’s the former’s that leads to a wonderful ‘What the?!’ moment. As for Kamandi, he’s impressed by that of the man he doesn’t know is his grandfather.
A huge kick for me was seeing Silver and Bronze Age Jor-El and Lara again… and is this the first time we’ve seen Superman’s birth mother pregnant? She looks suitably lovely, as drawn by Joe Prado.
The art is terrific throughout, it’s by Mike Perkins, Marco Santucci, Joe Prado, Paul Pelletier, Norm Rapmund, Bernard Chang, Colleen Doran, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Dan Jurgens and Kevin Nowlan.
It’s nice to see Dominus’s ‘wife’ is his lost love Kismet, though she’s not named in the comic, which is a shame – an editor’s note directing folk to issues they can find at DC Infinite or ComiXology would have been useful.
Randomly lovely panels include Santucci’s glowing Krypton; Pelletier and Rapmund’s Steel vs dinosaur; and Chang’s liquid Golden Age Batman. It’s all terrifically coloured by Hi-Fi and sharply lettered by Tom Napolitano, while the cover has the excellent Liam Sharp counting down some of DC’s greatest hits.
Gush gush gush… there must be something I can complain about. Hang on, I have it. Would you look at this!
Yes, yes! Isn’t that disgraceful? How on earth could they forget that by the time the Legionnaires were in their Dave Cockrum costumes, the Kents had swapped the farm for a general store. Editor!
Kidding. Well done to editors Brian Cunningham (let go by DC in last year’s restructuring, which really is disgraceful) and Andrea Shea (also a pretty great writer) for a fantastic diversion from the glumness of Lockdown 73 or whatever. Particular gratitude goes to, presumably, Shea for giving us the artist breakdowns on the contents page, it’s a huge help to reviewers with tired eyes. And credit to Darran Robinson for another great design job, from the slick logo to the burnished back page.
With DC having been in Future State mode for two months – some issues of which I have enjoyed – I can easily say that this has been the most fun I’ve had in comics. I heartily recommend Generation Shattered and Generations Forged for pure DC Universe enjoyment.