Thursday, April 19, 2007

So, yeah...

World War III kind of sucked.

Spoilers ahead.

I mean, it was all over the place. First, 52 #50 was fairly decent (albeit haphazard), but then it went and stole its ending from a Futurama episode. And what was Black Adam's motivation? I mean, I thought they were getting somewhere with Atom Smasher saying that it was actually Death who killed everyone in Bialya, but then Adam kind of ruins that case by throwing a global hissyfit. Yes, we realize you got tortured and betrayed and you're upset. What the hell does Pisa, Italy have to do with it?

And then there's the specials, which were doubly unnecessary. Not only did we not need them to understand the War (and in many cases, I understood it better before I read them), but their entire purpose was to answer questions, about half of which no one was answering. And even then, they fouled it up left and right. I could totally accept that Supergirl got emo-fied by passing through suffering-wracked Martian Manhunter, but he said he sensed her turmoil (or something) before she touched him. Why have Kid Frankenstein die, when he's already made of dead body parts? Didn't the elder Frank lose a limb or two in his miniseries without ill effects? Why raise Sub Diego? I haven't read the latest Aquaman issues, but I thought the city was coming back into play (besides being a downright neat idea). We already had an explanation for why Batgirl went nutso, why have Slade approach her? Is there a reason that we can't just assume he was controlling her from the start? Did we really need two "Adam fights the Titans and kills one" scenes? Couldn't there have been some back-and-forth about how they were friends with Osiris, how they lost him too? Or maybe BA could have torn through some other team, rather than the Titans? Was anyone honestly asking "whatever happened to Terra II, who actually turned out to be a genetic match for the regular Terra but GeoForce didn't tell her and I don't think they ever picked up that plot point again"? Because, you know, I might have cared a little more if this hadn't been, like, her first appearance in years. Did J'onn really need to out himself to his co-workers? Was he really in such an existential crisis that "saving lives" was a tough choice? Isn't King Faraday's hair supposed to be white with a black streak? And if not, why not? Because it looks much more interesting that way. If J'onn's pain and suffering were so great before, why was he so affected by Adam's? After all this, after his big sweeping epiphany that humans are both good and bad, why does J'onn end up Mr. "I hate everyone and I'm sooooo deep" OYL? And I swear, the artistic mistakes and continuity errors were all over. At the very least, they should have been clear on who all was holding on to BA when Captain Marvel brought the lightning down on 'im.

And after all that, isn't this the week that Animal Man saw a few weeks back? Why foreshadow a specific event in a specific week if you're not going to address it?

So, yeah. I've been with 52 pretty much the whole way. There have been lulls, but never a misstep quite this bad. And so close to the end, too. Ah well, next week looks like oodles of T.O. Morrow. Booster Gold, and Rip Hunter, and it's hard to go wrong with that.


Anonymous said...

What made the World War III books so frustrating was that they added nothing to World War III. Either they haphazardly dealt with unexplained OYL plotholes or they had Black Adam telling someone "I let you live out of respect / because you are kids / I found a candy bar, but now I will kill you." Martain Manhunter taking the "Life of Santa Claus" trek around the world was just tired. Wouldn't it have been more interesting to have Black Adam narrate instead?

By the way, the ending felt more like Simone's Welcome to Tranquility than Futurama, but I can see the connection there, too.

Anonymous said...

Hehe. That Futurama was on the other night. It's got one of my favorite lines: "My people tell a story about a ball who bounced three meters into the air. Then, he bounced one-point-six meters into the air. THEN, he bounced FOUR METERS into the air. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?" I also thought of Welcome to Tranquility first, but yeah, that was definitely a Futurama gag as well.

But as far as World War III, I'm in complete agreement. Out of all the books I read yesterday, not a one of them was not great, except for these four... even series that have thus far been lackluster (Flash, Justice League, Ultimate X-Men) were fantastic this week, but World War III was a big let-down. You're right on that these four one-shots actually made the 52 issue less comprehensible than more, and in the end, I'm not sure how many satisfying connections we got between 52 and OYL. I think a big part of the problem was the totally non-linear plotting, not only between 52 and World War III, but even within World War III itself. I was not happy that book one began on day five, but book three flashed back to day two, for instance.

At the end of the day, I don't think World War III mars the 52 legacy (how awesome is it that DC actually got these books out on time?), but I do think that collected editions of 52 could certainly do without this four-issue stumbling block.

Anonymous said...

What I don’t get, is why didn’t Black Adam kill all of Intergang, find Sivana and kill Him and his family (as well as all of the other scientist), the whole Chinese communist party and the Great Ten?

Why did he pick the countries he picked?

He killed Terra? Made no sense, and seemed pretty out of character.

Overall, it just didn’t make sense.

SallyP said...

Oh, I didn't mind it so much. Some of it was a bit hasty perhaps, but it did answer a couple of questions that I what was up with Aquaman. I thought #50 of 52 was pretty good. Loved when Booster kept showing up.

And it had John Stewart and Guy Gardner in it, which is always nice.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Ambassador, my people tell the same story."

Awesome quote, Eric.

David C said...

Yeah, I thought 52 itself was pretty good, but WWIII actually undercut it in a lot of ways.

For one thing, Black Adam is, like, just a big ball of rage and fury in 52, barely even speaking, whereas he's downright chatty in much of WWIII. The former seems to fit better, either for explaining that he's lost his mind, or is under someone else's control, or perhaps unwittingly letting someone else guide his rage.

I'm not sure where they're going for it, but it seems to me there *must* be more to the Oolong Island scheme than auctioning Black Adam on Ebay. Who was really pulling the strings there, and what did they want to achieve with the Four Horsemen? Was "WWIII" their goal, or an unintended consequence?

But the WWIII books make Black Adam sound a little too rational in some ways.