Sunday, September 02, 2007

Countdown to Adventure #1

Countdown to Adventure #1
I didn't expect to enjoy this at all. What with the fact that it's basically a spinoff of the CRAPtacular Countdown, which is a spinoff of 52 which is a spinoff of Infinite Crisis which is a spinoff of DC Countdown which is a spinoff of Identity Crisis which occurs following Zero Hour which is essentially the parent story for Infinite Crisis and a spinoff of Crisis on Infinite Earths which is a spinoff of all the old JLA/JSA teamups, well, I wasn't expecting good things. Is it just me, or does it seem that most of the current crop of DC books are mired in stupid crossovers lately?
That said, this is actually really GOOD.

The main story by Adam Beechen is essentially two smaller stories, one for each of the active principles in 52's outer space adventure. Firestar spends most of the issue sleeping it off in Buddy's house, so she doesn't really have much story yet, but it's actually looking pretty good. Ellen Baker is upset because Buddy has his beautiful, exotic, superpowered alien princess coworker sleeping in their spare bedroom, and seems to be extremely good friends with her when she finally wakes up. Buddy is currently making a living as a stuntman, his son is going through puberty, his wife is anxious because she basically hadn't seen her husband for a year - and then he returned home with a hot alien chick in tow, who prefers to sleep in the nude. Sure, it's not like it's immediately relatable, but what married coouple hasn't experienced some tension when a spouse's friends of the opposite sex seem to be getting to close for comfort?
Actually, upon consideration of the Animal Man and Koriand'r plot, and talking it over with my wife, I'm convinced that this story is actually VERY GOOD.

Then there's an interesting backup story by Justin Gray which essentially details the origin of the Forerunners. It's not particularly interesting, but it's extremely well-told, which I believe makes all the difference between eh and OKAY, which is what I'm ranking it at. What's really sad is that one backup strip did more for Forerunner's character than all her appearances in Countdown combined. In fact, you could, like I have, completely ignore any of her appearances in Countdown, and still understand this story. It's a credit to Justin Gray, and simultaneously shows just how bad the writing on Countdown is - that it couldn't even provide a decent backstory for a character it introduced, and instead has had her wandering around doing, um, something.
I'm not too keen on Captain Atom as Monarch, since really, that's the story that never happened, but as long as he remains on the side of angels, I can deal with it. It'd have been better if they could've come up with a different name and costume as opposed to recycling an old one, but no matter, he's an entirely different character. Until, that is, some new writer makes the mistake of not being able to differentiate between the two Monarchs. And then I'll get very pissed. But for now, I can deal with it.

It occurs to me that I'm skipping any discussion of the Adam Strange story, so here it is in brief: on Rann, Adam Strange has always been a hero who stood out of the crowd. It's obvious to him though, and to those who know and love him, that on Earth he would be just another hero. So imagine his chagrin when he discovers that his father-in-law has recruited a brash young man as a replacement for him in the role of Rann's protector. Imagine even more, when it becomes clear to him that this young man is all about brawn, with no brains whatsoever. See, if you've read any of the old DC Archives Adam Strange books, you'll note that what set his adventures apart from those of other heroes was the way that many of the problems he solved were done so through use of his intellect, as opposed to the use of brute force. So you can see the about face being done here.
Even worse, the Rannians strip Adam of his uniform and jetpack so ungraciously and humiliatingly. What is a man to do?
It sucks. And you can identify with this story as well. Many people have gone through the trial of being replaced by a younger model, and Adam Strange acts as a representative of all those people who have suffered similar indignities. His story is VERY GOOD as well.

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