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Excuse me but I just have to explode: Graeme faces Armageddon from 10/31

Graeme McMillan

The short version of this, if you’re pressed for time, is Diana is right, but I wanted to vent about this as well.

The more I think about MIDNIGHTER: ARMAGEDDON #1, the more I think that it’s some weird cynical joke being played on the few Wildstorm fans remaining out there. I mean, a week after the latest launch of an Authority series, we get a new series by the same writer starring the same characters that is full of things that only make sense if those involved in the creation of the book have contempt for (a) the material, (b) the audience, or (c) both. For example:

* The fact that it’s being solicited as a series of one-shots, purely to get more #1s on the shelves, even though the end of the book clearly states “See more horrifying visions of the future in the next issue of Wildstorm Armageddon!” It’d be great if there was actually a book called Wildstorm Armageddon, wouldn’t it (The next issue is actually called “Welcome To Tranquility: Armageddon #1,” for those keeping track at home)? This latest trick of DC’s (See also “The Search For Ray Palmer”) wasn’t funny the first time, and seems pretty pointless outside of trying to con first issue completists, if any still exist.

* The fact that nothing actually happens in the issue. The plot is this: Midnighter gets kidnapped into what he’s told is the future. This being comics, it’s a dystopian future that he needs to try to prevent. He meets future versions of his friends, fails to learn what caused the dystopia, then goes back to the present where his friends say “Yeah, don’t worry.” The end. There’s no character arc, no shock or surprise in meeting the future version of friends (One of them now has glowing eyes! My God!), and no-one learning anything. To make matters worse, this is apparently going to be the plot of the rest of the issues of the Wildstorm Armageddon-non series, all of which are going to feature characters from individual series being brought forward into the same future that they don’t do anything about. How do I know that they don’t do anything about the future? Because these six “one-shots” then lead into another six-issue series about characters working to prevent the dystopian future in question. So, basically, the whole “Armageddon” thing? Six issues of filler pretending to be the start of a big event. Feel free to make your Countdown To Final Crisis jokes here.

* No-one cares whether the Wildstorm universe turns into some freaky dystopian world because, really, no-one really cares about the Wildstorm universe anymore. No, wait, I mean, because Wildstorm continuity has become so elastic and redone over the last few years – and the same can be said about the Wildstorm identity as a publisher – that it probably won’t last for more than a year before the next relaunch anyway. Remember when the Authority took over America, for example? Or the completely-botched Worldstorm?

* To the powers that be at Wildstorm: If you really want to make people sit up and notice the bold changes you’re willing to make to your publishing line, just make the fucking changes and don’t have at least twelve issues of prelude and teasing, because we’ll be bored of it by the time you get there, just in case there really is a there for you to get to.

* While we’re at it, why would anyone want to read an entire line of books about a world gone to shit? Sure, you could probably get one interesting book, maybe two, out of the idea of a horrible, post-disaster, world where almost everyone is dead, but basing your entire line of superhero books around it? Really? Doesn’t anyone remember how crappy Marvel’s New Universe was post-The Pitt?

(Or, really, before, but you know what I mean.)

* Christos Gage’s script comes with pre-made snark making fun of the book for you: Midnighter doesn’t need to have the Days Of Future Past concept explained to him, because he’s as familiar with it as everyone else in the entire world: “Okay, I get it. A possible future. Some dystopian world created by a disaster I have to avert.” Jenny Quantum manages to explain what’s wrong with the whole concept for you: “Honestly, I can’t see what the big deal is. I mean, I understand it was horrible, but we’ve seen countless horrible worlds; dozens of awful possible futures. And we’ve fixed them all.” Despite writing something this self-aware, Gage still tries to play the concept straight and finishes the book with a line straight out of Heroes – which is also replaying this “I have seen the future and it will be” schtick this year: “I just can’t help thinking… whether it’s this or something else… all it takes is for us to fail once.” Can’t you hear the synthetic strings of foreshadowing? No? Maybe it’s because it’s being drowned out by the sound of Gage trying to have his cake and eat it, too.

* Yes, I know that you could only eat your cake if you had it. I’ve never understood the phrase, either. But still.

* I have no idea why I ended up doing this in bullet points.

It’s a Crap start to what may be an even worse storyline overall – although I feel like I should point out that I kind of liked Simon Coleby’s chunky art in this issue – and another example, just one week after the last, of the fact that all of Wildstorm’s potential has been pissed away in favor of imitating the diminishing returns of mainstream DC and Marvel.

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