Dark Crisis: War Zone #1 review

Here isn’t a bad idea for a comic – five stories from the Dark Crisis battlefield.

There’s Jim Corrigan racing towards the possessed-by-evil Spectre in the hope he can reunited with the Spirit of Vengeance who used to share his body, and help him regain control. Frank Tieri gives Corrigan a ‘tougher’ voice than usual in a straightforward tale whose highlight is a run-in with super spy Frankenstein. The Frankie moment carries over from Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #6, while this tale will be picked up on in… I don’t know, the story ends with ‘END?’ Probably Dark Crisis #7. Anyway, it’s a diverting few pages, with nice art from Serg Acuña, though you could easily skip it… I mean, is it exciting that Corrigan and the Spectre are reuniting when probably no one knew Corrigan and the Spectre had split?

Writer Stephanie Williams and artist Caitlin Yarsky show us that while the superheroes such as Wonder Woman battle the supervillains, regular Amazons leave Paradise Island to help firefighters hold their hoses. Whee. I wish DC would stop trying to make the Amazons a thing, all we need is one great Wonder Woman comic with Amazons as occasional supporting characters, not multiple strips with no reason to exist.

Green Lanterns Guy Gardner and Jo Mullein fight shadow demons, and learn from one another. Matthew Rosenberg writes, George Kambadais draws, Martin Gray sleeps. Seriously, this is so dull, despite the intriguingly pretentious title, ‘Make our confessions long ‘cuz when we pray we keep it short’. The illoes by Kambadais, coloured by Matt Herms, are pretty snazzy, and Troy Peteri’s wildly hand-lettered look is great. But GLs zapping generic monsters while making motivational speeches is simply dull.

Red Canary, who made a decent debut in Dark Crisis: The Dark Army #1 a couple of weeks ago, continues her heroic education in a strip by Delilah S Dawson and artist Tom Derenick. It’s a speedy read but a fun, good-looking one as Red Canary meets her idol, Black Canary. I do wonder, though, in a world where we have about a dozen powerless bat-sidekicks, what’s the need for one with a canary rather than a bat on their costume? I suspect that a character this likeable is going to be used to show us that while anyone can be a hero – in a modest way – if they don’t have powers, or a heckuva weapon, they’re dead. I fully expect Red Canary to be offed in Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7.

Saving the best to last… that’s the first story in the book, starring newly super-speedy Linda Park West and experienced superhero partner Iris West Allan. As the assault on the Justice League’s Hall of Justice continues, they team up to rescue a couple of kids visiting the public museum there. And the Mesdames Flash are magnificent.

The quality of the script is no surprise, given it’s by Jeremy Adams, who has put the fun back into The Flash over the last couple of years. The pencils of Fernando Pasarin and inks of Matt Ryan make for exciting visuals, including one of the best melee scenes I’ve seen in this event, with lots of specific action.

The lettering and colours throughout the book are never less than good, while the cover by Rafael Sarmento is partially great… I’m not keen on the Spectre’s head, which is very off model, while The Flash looks like a plushy (I blame that new nose-covering mask). The three ladies look splendid, though.

Thinking on, ‘partially great’ pretty much covers the whole book, with one excellent strip, two decent ones and a couple of page fillers. The book could easily be renamed Beige Crisis: War Zone.

6 thoughts on “Dark Crisis: War Zone #1 review

  1. Oh, man, you were a lot easier on this one than I was. I agree with your ranking of the stories — Flash family first, Spectre and Canaries next, GLs and Amazons last (with the GLs story eking out the Amazons with better art). But overall, even the fun opener doesn’t make up for the fact that this flaccid collection of vignettes cost $6. It’s been a while since I’ve regretted buying a comic as much as this one. There’s nothing offensively bad about it, other than the sheer brazenness of DC just churning stuff out to milk its fans for cash.

    So my main regret is that I fell for it. There’s just nothing here… and especially nothing here that couldn’t wait a month, when I could read it for free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spooky, my initial final paragraph was me saying this was the kind of book DC Infinite Ultra was made for, but I pulled it because it seemed such a familiar thought, I assumed I’d written something similar very recently. I know, quality control or what?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve found the Amazons intriniscally boring since Perez’s reboot. Remember Science Island and how pre-Crisis the Amazons had achieved advances in science and technology as well as grew their philosophy over time? Perez gave us an island where they stagnated the entire time between its founding and present day. Some stuff leaked back but nowhere near what Superman regained.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay! Pasarin! Boo to most of the rest of this!

    A rogue/possessed Spectre. Again! How many times does he have to get jobbed out? For a being who is supposed to be doing the work of the Presence, he has been treated like a chump again and again for years (decades?). Someone should just read how John Ostrander handled him or, gee, Michael Fleisher. Heck, the Spectre as written by Roy Thomas threatening those HUAC scumbags is a better template than this. The goofballs could take a look at Marv Wolfman used him in the one-and-only original Crisis on Infinite Earths for gawd’s sake.
    Given the title, it would have been funny if they had written it all as Punisher War Journal-style entries (the twist would be that the writer was Bat-Mite or Ambush Bug). Imagine Sholly Fisch getting to write this.
    The obvious point is that instead of imitating the Death Metal (*vomits into tin bucket*) model they would have been better going back to the original Crisis but as it is this latest stunt is going to be a bust in comparison. Cynical? Not really. Despite the fanfare do you really think that the Dawn of the DCU is going to bring things on the level of the JLI, Suicide Squad, Byrne Superman, Perez Wonder Woman (despite its flaws), Hellblazer (sounds like a the jacket to a really bad school uniform), The Sandman, Animal Man et al? I say thee may! But I’m prepared to be proved wrong… (One mustn’t overlook that the post-Crisis era also brought Young All-Stars, the pre-Morrison Doom Patrol – although I liked that at the time as it was old-fashioned, I was young! – by Kupperberg, the crippling of Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke, and the eventual deterioration of New Titans into awfulness. I’m aiming for balance!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh George, you bring back so many great memories. And no, I can’t see something akin to that golden period happening soon. I suspect we’re stick in a Ragnarok-style cycle of ever-diminishing Crises. But stranger things have happened, meet me back here in a year…

      Like

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