Subterranean Bright Young Thing

(Disclaimer: this entire post is really just an excuse to use that title. Honest.)

There are a handful of comics that consistently make it to the top of my pile each and every month. They’re the ones that, quite simply, get it right. Whatever “it” is, of course, and I’m still figuring that one out. Anyhow. Here’s three, from the top.

Terra

There’s no other way to say this; Terra is a terrific comic hiding behind a huge pair of breasts. I mean that in the best possible way – they’re nice breasts, but it’s the character and storyline that keeps me coming back. We’re up to issue 3 in the series, and the comic is pacing along beautifully developing a mythos and backstory as it goes along. We’re seeing Terra’s (beautifully drawn) subterranean homeland, and get the impression that an entire interwoven set of cultures and societies have been developed by the writers. It’s a deep, engrosing setting that makes this comic better than 90% of DC’s other titles (and 100% of Marvel’s output).

Then there’s that diamond guy………..

Justice Society of America

My Green Lantern would beat up your Green Lantern. So there.
My Green Lantern would beat up your Green Lantern. So there.

This is, by far, my favourite comic, ever. While some have complained that the pace of the current storyline is too slow, I think they’ve got it just right. The steady pacing gives it more of an epic feel with each character being given a chance to shine. And boy, are there a lot of characters! The JSA is home to more heroes than you can shake a stick with, and I love ’em all.

First and foremost, the Justice Society sees itself as just that – a Society. It’s a place where new heroes learn from the old guard what it means to be a hero, and boy do they have some teachers. There’s Alan Scott, the original (and best!) Green Lantern, Jay Garrick, the original (and best!) Flash, the Superman of Kingdom Come (an ageing, more experienced, slightly darker and better Superman), Ted Grant aka Wildcat, Power Girl of Earth-2, Sandman, Hourman, Liberty Belle, Doc Mid-Nite and Starman. Phew. And that’s just the old guard.

Then there’s the youngsters – we’ve got Citizen Steel, Wildcat II, Cyclone, Damage, Judomaster, Jakeem Thunder, Lance, Mister America and Stargirl. I’m sure I’ve missed a few along the way too. It’s a dizzying array of characters but sharp writing and interplay keeps tham all hanging together. The characterizations are nothing short of brilliant with each hero’s unique outlook and personality shining through.

It’s like the Justice League and Legion of Super-Heroes all rolled into one, done right.

‘Nuff said, right?

Seriously, I can’t praise about this comic enough.

The Authority


I recently re-read Marvel’s Secret Invasion series (finally concluded with this month’s issue 8, and not a moment too soon) to try to work out why it just doesn’t work. There’s several reasons, not least the poor quality of writing overall. But a big one for me was that we knew that, after the dust had settled, fuck all would change. The Skrulls would be defeated, maybe one hero would die (the Wasp, as it happened. Anyone mourning? Thought not) and Tony Stark would end up in danger of hitting the bottle at the end. In other words pretty much the same as any other storyline to come out of Marvel in the last 25 years. Ho hum.

If the guys who wrote The Authority had written Secret Invasion, the Skrulls would have won. Now THAT would be a series worth reading!

And that, essentially, is what The Authority is. The heroes lost and the world is totally screwed. It’s post-apocalyptic superheroes (a geekgasming concept if there ever was one) where every single surving hero has been changed (physically, emotionally or mentally) by what’s happened. They’re fighting just to exist, but their core decency and heroism keeps on shining through regardless. It helps that it’s also chock full of sharp, original heroes like Hawksmoor and The Midnighter (who would kick Batman’s ass, and in a recent miniseries killed the Joker without so much as a first thought, never mind a second one).

Want more proof it’s utter brilliance? Dan Abnett is one of the writers. If he wrote the frickin’ phone book, it would be worth reading.

Ok. That’s my top of the pile. What’s yours?

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6 Comments on “Subterranean Bright Young Thing”

  1. I haven’t kept up much with comics since the late eighties, but I used to love DC’s Earth-2 characters. I don’t know what it was about them – there was a feeling of community. Superheros and villains who had been around for a long time, gotten old together, had kids who would hang out together. . . Everybody knew each other. Then Crisis on Infinite Earths came along and blew that whole world away.

    If the JSA is back does that mean Earth-2 is back?

  2. Yep. Power Girl took a (forced) trip back to Earth-2 a few issues back in JSA and met up with Justice Society Infinity from over there, including Jade (Alan Scott’s daughter), Huntress and the rest.

    If memory serves, Starman explained that the multiverse is expanding again, so Earth-2 is very much back in the picture. Good, eh?

  3. Kingdom Come… that very phrase just tickles my happy space. Aside from DKR, and Watchmen, KC is the third in my Triad of OMGYouMustReadThis. How long has JSA been running? How far back would I need to go to get a good feel?

    I sense more money being spent… *sigh* Dammit.

    If you need me to test any of those updates for the blogging theming and comment RSS feed on the m20.net site, I’m around this weekend. We’re decorating for C’mas.

  4. @Chgowiz The current run is up to issue 21, and if you want the full-on JSA effect I recommend starting at #1 and working up. Sorry :D Otherwise, hop in anytime. It’s all good.

    Files for the upgrade are prepared and I’d expect things to do live tonight, UK time. Watch this space!

  5. JSA – I’ve not given a shot. What with budgets, and the book always having the air of “Old Guard” to it (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing)I’ve always focused on “newer” material.

    AUTHORITY – I have to admit that this book used to anger me (which was half the point I’m sure)largely due to the fact that STORMWATCH was killed to make room for it. The WildStorm reboot was exactly what was needed (they had to PAY for killing StormWatch!) to get me interested. I’m really digging this (although Dick Grayson’s Batman would be ready for Midnighter and fight him to a draw.)book now. I particularly like how Abnett is taking second and third string characters and throwing them into the mix as well.

    TERRA – I don’t like it. I feel that “Terra” is an example of what is wrong with DC (my favorite comic book publisher). They just keep rebooting any character they think will resonate with the audience, accept they never take it far enough into something completely new. This new “Terra” may be a new person, but why? DC has failed to hook me after the first issue because I don’t see why I should care about Terra (other than her considerable assets and the possible shower scene with her and Powergirl).

    MY TOPS – XMen Noir because its shaken off all the dust and put a considerably interesting spin on the characters who always rated second to “Titans” to me.

    Dynamo5 because its a purified distilled “teen team” done wright month after month.

    Nightwing because Dick is “probably” beginning the biggest journey of his life.

  6. @Blaquesaber You mean there’s an XMen comic that’s not wallowing in the pits of mediocrity? This, I gotta see! I’ll watch out for that one. And I agree entirely with Dynamo5 – it’s a superb series, and high on my pull list too.

    Thanks for the input :D

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