Gotham in the daytime is really rather beautiful. Who knew?
It’s especially appealing when, look, up in the sky, we have original Green Lantern Alan Scott slamming time-twisting upstart Extant with an old-worlde steam engine.
And he’s not alone – Alan’s accompanied by fellow heroes Mr Terrific and Hawkgirl, and from the darker side of the DC Universe, Vandal Savage, Talia al-Ghul and Lex Luthor. They came together after the most recent crisis in time and space to monitor the multiverse in the hope of averting any more reality rewriting. Because there’s been a lot – Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour and Flashpoint to name but a few. Previously, most people on Earth didn’t realise life had been different to the way it is now, but post-Dark Metal, the whole world has been told. Some people are intrigued, others are disturbed, the rest are trying denial.
Just imagine not being able to trust your memories, to not know if the life you’ve built could just vanish tomorrow. If you could vanish tomorrow.
Alan Scott and son Todd Rice are both back in the world after a period in limbo. GL’s daughter Jade, aka Jennie-Lynn Hayden, suffered the same fate, and here she’s once again not around, after a scheduled get-together with Alan and Todd goes… somewhat awry.
Elsewhere – oh so very much elsewhere – Silver Age Flash Barry Allen is exploring.
And spymaster Mr Bones is making former Department of Extranormal Operations agent Cameron Chase an offer she’d very much like to refuse.
While a refugee from the vanished Flashpoint reality, Thomas (Batman) Wayne, has been rocketed to Earth 0 and a meeting with the Multiverse’s mightiest.
This summer mini-series declare its ambition with its opening caption, ‘Worlds will live’, part of the slogan that went with DC’s best-known blockbuster.
Well, as the Barry page indicates, there are currently a lot of worlds hovering in the DC Multiverse – including a rather authentic-looking Earth 2 – and I’d be disappointed were they to vanish in the course of this series. Because writer Josh Williamson demonstrates how much fun the concept of parallel worlds can be. The Crisis callbacks include the return of a pumped-up Psycho-Pirate who, I suddenly notice, has the same surname – Hayden – as the missing Jade? Given both were originally Earth 2 characters, surely Roy Thomas, the king of convoluted connected continuities, linked them at some point? If not, you’re welcome, Josh Williamson.
One thing I like from the off is that, as with the famous weekly series 52, this book isn’t depending on Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman to shift copies. Sure, we have President Superman and Flashpoint Batman, but they’re a very different World’s Finest pairing. Which isn’t to say I’m thrilled to see Thomas Wayne – he’s been popping up for a decade now and really, I’ve had enough of ‘Batman… but more ruthless’.
Intriguingly, Alan and Todd were planning to liaise with Jennie-Lynn at the old JSA HQ in Gotham where she was going to meet ‘some old friends’. Maybe Infinity Inc members? I mean, apart from Kyle Rayner, who else does she know? I’d love to see more of that old gang.
Barry exploring the Multiverse is wonderfully appropriate, given he was the first person from Earth One – now Earth 0, go figure – to discover parallel worlds, in Flash #123. And, linked to that, the nameless diner girl who believes in the Multiverse dreamed of it, just as Gardner Fox did, according to Barry in the aforementioned ‘Flash of Two Worlds’ issue.
I do have a question – why the heck are DC’s shining heroes working with murderous scumbags like Luther, Talia and Savage? Sure, they have brains and experiences that might give them insights, but so do any number of good guys? These people simply can’t be trusted.
Williamson’s well-worked script is drawn in fine style by Xermanico, and it’s about time this talented guy – real name Alejandro Germánico – received a splashy showcase. I like his straightforward, but never dull, compositions a lot, and his people are appealingly on model. And if it’s he who devised Psycho Pirate’s new look, extra plaudits.
Romulo Fajardo Jr adds light and depth with his well-chosen colours, helping each locale feel appropriately different. And Tom Napolitano demonstrates yet again why he’s one of my favourite letterers, with sharp fonts and smart effects that prop up the narrative.
If you hadn’t read the Infinite Frontier #0 giant that preceded this issue, or guessed from Psycho Pirate’s new look, the villain of the piece is right there on the cover… Darkseid. Mitch Gerads’ illustration is splendid, all ready for the inevitable trade paperback.
After the somewhat exhausting Dark Metal event we were promised no more Crises. Well, this reads like a Crisis book, but I guess it’s off the hook because it’s about heroes trying to prevent crises. Whatever, it’s great, and recommended for all DC superhero fans
What did you think?