Posted by: Brian Hibbs on July 30, 2005
So, I have a busy weekend up — have to finish the order form for September’s comics, have to setup the subs for August’s comics, and have to get my first draft of TILTING at done because I need that one vetted before the deadline.
This means I don’t think I’m going to have the review time this week. (I’m going to try, though, because there are a few more things I’d like to say)
But not wanting to totally leave you hanging, here’s what I thought of WONDER WOMAN #219 and OMAC PROJECT #4.
Let me fully and absolutely warn you that there ARE SPOILERS here, so, if you haven’t read the comics, turn back now
No, really, SPOILERS AHEAD.
WONDER WOMAN #219 & OMAC PROJECT #4: Going to review this as a pair, because WW is clearly OMAC #3.5. I think that was kinda scuzzy, really — especially with the way the vague way in which they were solicited; and I think it shows a real failure in spiraling editorial lack of control and direction (especially since the lead-in Superbooks were, for the most part, wasted filler), but I appreciate the way Rucka stood up and offered to take that bullet. So I’ll just say “Yeah, boy, you durn fucked up”, and leave it there.
So, let’s get one bit out of the way first: While I’m of the “heroes shouldn’t kill” camp, the actual event flowed pretty well out Diana’s character, and she’s the one dichotomous hero in the DCU that I think this wears OK on. Being the “warrior for peace” is always been the strange role, but it’s hard to not justify this killing in the context in which it was given. She tried defusing the situation in every way possible first, and only killed as a defensible situation.
I really liked WW #219, in and of itself — I thought it was well paced, well choreographed, and well written. To see a real “no quarter” fight happening was very dynamic and exciting. It’s been a while since we’ve seen something that elemental, and so I really liked.
My problems really come from the larger picture of the OMAC PROJECT and the tangled sequences of plot-hammering and coincidences and absurdities that we have to accept to get there.
For example, I suppose that I could (just barely) swallow that Batman built an all-seeing, all-powerful satellite and that somehow, without him knowing about it, that satellite gets taken from him. That’s a whole damn lot to swallow, yes, but I guess I can accept it.
Likewise, I might be able to (just barely) swallow that Max Lord (of all people!! What about frickin’ BRAINIAC?) was able to slowly and subtly reprogram Superman’s mind so that he sees friends as foes, and takes an action (attempted murder) that is fundamentally repugnant to his very nature and character.
But both of the things? At once? From the same source?
Not a chance, mister.
And so my problems loom large in OMAC #4. See, I think if Batman created a shadowy satellite system, the VERY FIRST THING he’d do would be to make the base programming some variation of Asimov’s Laws of Robotics. That is to say “No one dies. Ever.” would be, you would think, hardcoded into every program and subroutine, right? That’s what Batman is ALL ABOUT. So I had a pretty damn hard time accepting that Brother I’s free-sentience immediately starts murdering everyone and everything. Not if it was created by Batman.
I also find it to be pretty lousy storytelling to have built up Max Lord as this huge mastermind, killing Blue Beetle, controlling Superman, playing Batman, masterminding all of this stuff, then killing him off in what amounts to his 4th appearance in the role — I think that reducing the threat in such a way renders everything that he did to be plot hammering of the highest degree. Sure and we’re going to find out that someone else was behind it all along, right? And someone behind him, and so on.
I did get a good laugh out of the Variable-Wound Batman Action Figure though — first they show him in full ICU-mode, then as each week’s comics go along he’s better and better off, until now when he’s barely wounded (at least for Batman!) after going 3 rounds with Superman. What the hell?
I suspect that this has a good chance of “ruining” Wonder Woman in any practical realworld way. Once it gets out she executed Max (and hey, look at next issue’s cover, I think we can assume it does), seems to me her “Mission of Peace to Man’s World” is effectively over. Who would trust her as an ambassador any longer?
So, as discrete units of entertainment delivery systems, I’ll give WONDER WOMAN #219 a VERY GOOD, and I can go with an OK for craft on OMAC PROJECT #4, but in the greater “Where are you going and why are you doing it this way?” sense, this is really AWFUL.
What did you think?