The Rescuers Down Under (1990)

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After coming off the brilliance that is The Little Mermaid, I was anxious to keep working my way through Disney’s library and continue on with The Rescuer’s Down Under.  Disney’s first theatrically released sequel, I had very distinct memories of watching this movie. Not good, not bad, just memories that I had seen this film more than others.  I went in with a healthy dose of trepidation (this isn’t exactly considered a classic, after all) but I figured I’d still enjoy it for the nostalgia factor.

Ummm…right. This movie is kind of a train wreck.

Set in the Australian Outback, we open with young Cody leaving home and going out exploring, meeting his animal friends and learning that a giant golden eagle needs rescuing from a trap.

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A few notes on this:

  1. What sort of terrible parent lets their no-more-than-10 year old son go wandering about in the Australian Outback unsupervised? This is Australia, where approximately 98% of the wildlife can kill you. Then again, this movie came out before “The Crocodile Hunter” was a thing, so I guess we can chalk that major plot hole up to ignorance.
  2. Why is the golden eagle 10 times bigger than a grown man?? I know Australia is known for large animals, but this is just crazy. Again, I think all animal inaccuracies can be attributed to this movie coming out before we ignorant Americans actually knew anything about the Outback.

Back to the plot: as Cody is out gallivanting around the wilderness, he falls into a giant pit.  Enter McLeach, the jerk poacher who tears a path through the forest with a way-too-massive truck/cage combo.  Cody, ever the dumbass, calls out McLeach for being a poacher (kid, the guy has a shotgun. Play stupid and just go home).  Unfortunately, McLeach sees a golden eagle feather in Cody’s backpack, decides it must mean Cody knows where the bird’s nest is, and promptly kidnaps him and locks him up in a cage.

…What?????

  1. McLeach, isn’t is at least vaguely possible that Cody just found this feather lying on the ground? How do you magically know he knows the bird just from that alone?
  2. In what world is kidnapping this kid the best solution??  Why don’t you just let him go and then follow him back to the nest? No, let’s abduct him and just hope he tells you where to find the bird. Completely logical idea.

Lest we forget, let’s remember that this is still a “Rescuers” movie.  Interspersed throughout the film are small inclusions of Miss Bianca and Bernard, the mouse duo who takes on the task of helping rescue Cody, and who spend most of the film just traveling halfway around the world to get to Australia (are there seriously no other mice “Rescue Aid Society” workers closer to the situation to lend a hand?).  Once they reach the continent, they’re met by Jake, a weird mouse/kangaroo hybrid who is somehow the only character in the entire film with an Australian accent.

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Jake spends most of the movie flirting with Miss Bianca, much to poor Bernard’s chagrin.  They help a little bit in rescuing Cody, but most of the time these felt like two completely separate films.

There are plenty of other issues and plot holes in this film, in addition to things that just do not make sense. A small sampling of these problems follows:

  1. Why is Frank, the obnoxious little green lizard trapped by McLeach, even a character in this film? He’s not funny, he has no sense of urgency (wasting time and making noise when his life is literally on the line), and he foils Cody’s escape plans simply because he’s a dope.  Maybe this character is entertaining to kids, but to adults he’s just ridiculous.
  2. Why in the hell is there an entire subplot built around Wilbur, the wise-cracking albatross (note: not the same albatross as in the original Rescuers.  This is his brother). Oh yeah that’s right, it’s because he’s voiced by John Candy, so obviously the writers felt he needed a little more screen time. John Candy is awesome, but this side plot went absolutely nowhere.

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3. Can someone explain to me exactly what sort of animal Joanna is supposed to be?!?! Is she a komodo dragon?  A radioactively enhanced gecko? What is this??

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There are so many problems with this film that I really just can’t even explain what was going on.  The only saving grace of the movie was the animation, which was actually quite impressive. Disney’s first attempt at computer-generated animation, the jump in animation is quite clear, making for a few truly beautiful scenes.  Although still in their infancy, the computer graphics were well-used in crafting the Australian Outback and creating a beautiful 3D world.  Unfortunately, the art was not enough to save this film.  It’s odd to think this came out after The Little Mermaid, a much better indicator of Disney’s abilities as animators and storytellers.  I’m glad this movie is behind me, a minor blip in the world of Disney, easily forgotten amidst the far superior films of its day.

-Jess

52: Vol. 3

Here we are at Volume 3!  A lot’s been going on in the series, and the individual storylines are finally starting to tie together.  They still exist as separate vignettes, but they’re beginning to relate to one another to help paint a full picture of what’s been going on in the DC world at this time.  Turns out, it’s a whole heck of a lot.

1. The Black Adam family is trying really, really hard to fit into the world, but everyone still views them as villians (good job, Adam).  Osiris is taking the animosity especially hard, as he had hoped to become a member of the Teen Titans.  The family seems to be making real efforts to stay on the “hero” side, but after being attacked and goaded, Osiris tears an opponent in two, a move which is seen across the world, and at least for now effectively labels the entire Black Adam family as “evil” in the eyes of the public.

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2. Batman, apparently, is no more. In one of the best issues in the trade, Nightwing and Robin comment on how Bruce seems to have finally broken, seemingly hoping to groom one of them to take over the title of Batman.  He seems to have completely given up that side of him, and with an elaborate and drama-filled move, Bruce seems to have rid himself of Batman forever.  Obviously I doubt this is really forever, but I’ll be curious to see if we get an interim Batman while he’s out finding himself.  As long as whoever they get is better than Azrael, I’ll accept it.

3.  In a fierce space battle, poor  Animal Man, dear old Buddy Baker, is killed.  Kory and Adam Strange mourn him but leave his body on a rock, fearing he may be contaminated with a deadly virus or poison.  As soon as the ship departs though, we see Buddy miraculously wake up and beg them not to leave him It’s too late though, and as his story arc closes in the comic we see him being greeted by two alien beings who comment, “And so it begins.”  Cryptic much?  At least Buddy isn’t dead, so yay for that!

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4. Continuing in the “hey look who’s not dead” category, we get a two-for-one deal when it’s revealed that not only is Booster Gold still alive, but he’s really Supernova!!  I’m way happier than I ever thought I’d be that Booster is alive, because I just couldn’t bear to see so many of my beloved Justice League International heroes dying off.  The fact that he’s Supernova was an unexpected twist, and I love that he’s getting help defeating Skeets from good old Rip Hunter. Bonus: the fact that all of the seemingly random, innocuous comics and characters from “the shelf” (I’m looking at you, Time Masters) are finally paying off makes for a very happy Jess.

5. Lex Luthor continues to prove that he’s a total douche by staging a rather elaborate and gruesome New Year’s, as he pushes a button at the stroke of midnight, causing all of his engineered meta-humans to lose their powers at the same time. Many were flying in a New Year’s parade at the time, and so we see them all plummet to their deaths.  It’s over the top and so completely Luthor, and it reminds everyone that there’s not a kind bone in his body. Everything he does is done to help further his own agenda, even if it means killing countless innocent people.  Seriously, what a dick.

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6. And then there’s the little old ending in which Luthor finally gets his own engineered superpowers. Nursing a serious case of cape envy, Luthor labels himself Superman and clearly has some pretty dastardly plans in mind for his new powers. With the real Superman out of commission for the time being, I wonder who will be forced to square off against him?

(Side note: Can we bring back the word “dastardly” into common use? It’s so fun to say).

7.  With The Question suffering agonizing pain as his cancer spreads throughout his body, Montoya makes the decision to bring him back to Nanda Parbat in the hope that it will help save his life.  She traverses snow-covered mountains with nothing guiding her but her own resolve, not wanting to lose another partner and friend.  She fails, but not before Question instills a last bit of wisdom.  We last see her outside of Nanda Parbat, with no clear sign of what will become of her, though it’s obvious her story isn’t over yet.

As with the previous trades, Volume 3 doesn’t disappoint.  the storylines are richly imagined, with plenty of surprises and unexpected twists that undoubtedly kept readers coming back week after week.  Booster’s reappearance was the biggest shock for me in this trade, but it was brilliantly executed, with plenty of hints along the way as to Supernova’s identity.  It’s also nice to see that he figured out Skeets’s villainy and managed to keep it a secret for so long, proving that Booster isn’t the incompetent numskull he’s so often believed to be.  With only one trade left in the series, I can’t wait to see how it all ties together, and what it’ll mean for the DC universe as a whole.

-Jess

52: Vol. 2

Halfway through the 52 series and I still have no idea where all of this is going.  That being said, I’m dying to find out, so kudos to the writers for keeping me engaged with a drawn-out storyline that doesn’t focus on any single hero or group.  This wouldn’t generally be the type of comic I’d think I’d like, but damn, it’s just too awesome.

The only downside to this storytelling technique is that it makes it really difficult to sum up what all’s been happening.  Since the list format worked so well with Vol. 1, we’ll stick with that again.

  1. Luthor has created his own super-powered team, Infinity Inc, and is orchestrating plenty of press time for the group.  They’re incredibly loyal and grateful to him, and unfortunately Luthor is the puppet-master in more than name only, as he has the ability to cut off their metahuman powers with the flip of a switch.  He proves he’s not above doing so when he cuts off aTrajectory’s powers, allowing a villain to kill her.  Being Luthor, he uses the situation to his advantage, playing up to the press how brave she was and how she gave her life to save people.  He’s terrifyingly cold and intelligent, proving to be a dead combination. How does the entire world not see that already?

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2.  With the help of The Question and Renee Montoya, Isis finds her lost brother, though he’s been badly beaten.  Black Adam gives the boy some of his own powers, transforming him into Osiris.  The little family seems complete now, with each core member of the Marvel family now having a Black Adam counterpart.  It’s an interesting development, and I like seeing the Marvel and Black Adam families getting along…at least for now.

3. On the same note, towards the end of this trade Osiris stumbles across what may be the sweetest, most polite crocodile in existence. He’s so friendly and scared that I just want to squeeze him and make him feel better. Then I remember he’s a crocodile and would probably eat me.  Still, Osiris makes a friend, yay!

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4.  Lobo makes a surprise appearance, rescuing Kory, Adam Strange, and Animal Man from imminent death in space.  Towing them to a refuge planet, Lobo reveals that he’s found religion, in a sense, and is trying to turn over a new leaf.  The fact that he’s surrounded by the requisite talking space-dolphins makes this scene a million times more entertaining.

5.  Wonder Girl confronts Supernova, believing him to be Conner in disguise.  This seems a little too easy of an explanation, even though a part of me would love to see Conner come back.

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6. This thing.  Labeled “Egg Fu” in the trade notes, I don’t even know what to say about this odd creature.  He’s in all of one panel in this trade, but clearly he’ll be a big player moving forward.  Also, who are the four horsemen???

7.  In a bizarre and unexpected twist, Dr. Fate’s helmet has found a new owner: Ralph Dibny.  Ralph and the helmet spend this trade traversing the universe, so that Ralph can learn that all magic has a price that must be paid.  I never would have expected this twist, but it seems pretty fitting. After all he’s been through, Ralph deserves to begin the next chapter of his life, and becoming Fate feels right.

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8. In the biggest shock in this trade, poor Booster Gold dies in action. What’s more, it’s revealed that his wisecracking robot sidekick, Skeets, is evil.  What?? Again, this was a pretty cool twist I didn’t see coming, and I’m excited to see how Skeets’s diabolical plan unfolds, whatever it may be.

There are still so many unknowns in this comic.  Why do characters keep remarking, “52”?  What is 52?  I’m sure this will be revealed in due time, but I’m too damn curious. This comic continues to impress me with how it seamlessly weaves together seemingly disconnected stories.  The characters in each vignette don’t really interact with one another, but we know they’re all connected. My guess is that all of these smaller stories will collide at some point, uniting the characters across the trade as something big is revealed.  What that will be, I don’t know. I’m dying to find out, though.

-Jess

52 Vol. 1

It’s times like this I’m glad I’m reading these comics in order of continuity, not in order of publication.

After Infinite Crisis, Mistah J tells me the comics jump forward a year. To know what happened in the interim, you had to buy 52, a weekly series that filled in that missing year in real time.  Reading this week by week must have been excruciating, especially because you were reading other comics concurrently and trying to piece it all together. I’m grateful to be reading the entire 52 run first, allowing me to ease into all of the changes slowly.

And changes there are.  52 is less a single storyline and more a collection of vignettes that loosely tie together.  There are so many characters at the forefront of this comic that it would be incredibly difficult to summarize in any sort of cohesive manner.  So rather than even attempt that, I’m going to just compile a list of some of the prolific changes seen within the first 13 issues of the series:

  1. John Henry Irons is slowly becoming Steel.  After Luthor got his dirty mitts on him, Steel’s body is morphing into stainless steel, and as of now there’s no cure in sight.  Meanwhile, he and his niece Natasha are at odds.  John doesn’t believe Natasha has earned the right to wear her Steel suit, and Natasha thinks John doesn’t understand how important it all is.  It’s typical parent/child miscommunication, but it’s handled really well in the story.

2. Renee Montoya, having resigned as a GCPD officer, finds herself thrown into an investigation with The Question, an enigmatic and mysterious creature whom I haven’t come across for quite some time (buy yay me for recognizing him!)

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Bonus: Montoya/Question banter is awesome and I just want to read it all the time.

3. Booster Gold is being his typical self-centered, obnoxious self, and is trying to use facts from the future to become Earth’s most popular hero.  Skeets’ memory banks are proving inaccurate though, as time and again what he reports doesn’t end up happening as it’s supposed to. Booster gets angry, throws some temper tantrums, and winds up disgraced in front of millions. So…basically not much has changed with him.

4.Black Adam is consolidating the world’s meta-humans, claiming it’s to protect his homeland. It’s more likely that he’s building a team to go up against the US. When a rescued woman challenges him, he decides to grant her meta-human powers of her own, transforming her into the new hero Isis.

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Luckily, Isis is less murderous than Black Adam, so she’s actually proving to be a positive influence on him.

5. Clark Kent is trying to adjust to life without his powers, and spends his time working at his reporter skills. Perry White is less than impressed, as it seems much of Clark’s writing skill came from the insider knowledge he got from being Superman. Undeterred, Clark Kent literally throws himself out of a window for a story, hoping that the new hero in town, Supernova, will catch him and grant him an interview. (No wonder he and Lois are married. Soulmates, I tell ya.)

6. Animal Man, Adam Strange, and Kory are all trapped on a far-distant planet together, after Adam’s Zeta Beam dropped them off far from Earth.  Adam tries to repair his ship while Kory eats fruit from the planet and begins acting a bit strangely (how can they tell?)

7.  Finding it difficult to adjust to life without Conner, Cassie joins a cult-like group that promises it can bring Conner back from the dead.  They want to practice first, and decide to use Sue Dibny as their test subject.  Vandalizing her grave and stealing Ralph Dibny’s wedding ring, they convince Ralph to join them, but it turns out to be a trap. Unfortunately, it looks like the cult’s magic may have at least worked partially, as a reanimated straw version of Sue seems to be brought back to life briefly.

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And now poor Raph seems completely off his rocker, as we see him clutching the charred remains of fake-Sue under a bridge, vowing to try again.

8.  BATWOMAN! BATWOMAN! WE HAVE BATWOMAN!! (Can you tell I’m excited for this part?)

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Kate Kane is revealed as Batwoman after Montoya goes to her for help, and we also learn of a tumultuous relationship between the pair nearly a decade prior.  We haven’t seen her in action very much at this point, but I’m just excited to know she’s there, waiting to jump in at the right time.

That doesn’t nearly cover everything that happens in this book, but when stories are happening so rapidly and concurrently, it’s difficult to sum them all up in one post.  There are so many changes happening in this world, and without our core three characters, it was interesting to see how the world survives.  Truth be told, I thought there might be a little more mayhem without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman around, but it turns out there are plenty of heroes, old and new, who are willing to answer the call in their stead.  These stories are engaging from the start, and with plenty more weeks still to go, I can only imagine what all will come to pass.

-Jess

Infinite Crisis Omnibus

Finally! After a week of posts leading up to this moment, along with countless storylines slowly converging, we’re here!

And you know what? I have no idea where to even start.

Let’s begin with the practicalities.  This omnibus is MASSIVE.  Like, over 1,400 pages massive.  It hurt my arms just trying to support it, and the book left indentations on my legs from where it was resting (nobody can say I don’t suffer for comics).  The volume also contains the Infinite Crisis storyline in its entirety, along with every tie-in issue.  Therefore, I didn’t actually read this whole book. I read all of the stories collected within it, but most were read in their own, separate trades. Thanks to Mistah J’s handy dandy post-its, I was bouncing back and forth between this and all of the tie-in trades, attempting to read the story in order.

Having read it, I honestly don’t even know where to begin.  So much happens.  I could probably write a post about each and every issue in the mini-series and still not do the story justice.  How then do I attempt to sum up the entire trade?

Frankly, the easiest way seems to be by focusing less on what happened and more on what changed.  After all, isn’t that what all these crises are about? Serving as a catalyst to a shift in the status quo?  So much of the story takes place in the previously discusses trades anyway, that this seems like the most organized way to approach it.

A New Spectre

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After floating around without a body for a while, The Spectre has finally been relegated to a new host: Cris Allen, the tough-talking murdered cop from Gotham Central.  This scene was unexpected and yet fits the story perfectly, and I’m particularly a fan of the 4th panel shown above, in which The Spectre is trying to escape his new host’s body.  I was really upset when Allen was killed in Gotham Central  Book 4,  and knowing his story will continue makes me really happy (and also gives me hope that Allen will get revenge against Corrigan, the dirty cop who killed him).  It wasn’t a huge part of the Infinite Crisis storyline, but it’s clearly ushering in the next era of The Spectre’s story, and I’m sure it will be interesting to watch unfold.

Sasha Bordeaux, Take 3

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First she was Bruce Wayne’s bodyguard.  Then she died, was revived by Checkmate, and became an odd human/android conglomeration.  After sacrificing herself to destroy the fallen Brother Eye satellite, the nanobots that covered her body were destroyed, allowing her to be reborn yet again.

Sasha’s a character who sort of sprung up out of nowhere for me.  I didn’t read very many comics of when she was in the employ of Bruce, but I read her entire storyline and have enjoyed seeing her change as she became involved with Checkmate.  The comic doesn’t specify what’s going to become of her now; if I had to guess, I would think she’d be sticking with Checkmate to help bring some stability back to the organization. Maybe she and Bruce will reunite, or maybe she’ll just be a part of his past that he has occasional interactions with.  I’m hoping this isn’t the last we’re seeing of Sasha Bordeaux, because she’s quickly grown into an incredibly complex and interesting character.

An Iconic Death

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In what is easily the most poignant and moving scene in the entire comic, Earth-2 Superman fights to save the world, and while he’s successful, he isn’t strong enough to survive.  As Kara tearfully looks on, Clark tells her that he finally understands that the ones they love are never truly gone, and with a final call out to Lois, he dies.

I’m not going to lie, I cried. It was incredibly sad to see the original Superman pass away, and although his dying words indicate that there’s at least the remote possibility that he could return one day, at least in some form, it still felt like the ending of an era.  The writers weren’t ready to let go of him completely during Crisis on Infinite Earths, choosing instead to let him and Lois retreat to a quiet existence in a separate dimension.  Here though, it seems they were finally willing to let them rest, allowing the characters to pass on and be reunited in death.  It’s a bittersweet ending, but for me it was the climax of the entire series.  It’s not a major paradigm shift for most of the characters, since Earth-2 Lois and Superman haven’t been part of any storylines for a few decades, but it feels like a major shift in the way writers are willing to tell stories.  This Superman was the first superhero for DC, before DC was even a thing.  To be willing to definitively kill him off, even if you’re providing an out should future writers ever want to bring him back, speaks volumes as to the mindset of the company and how they handle their own iconic characters.  At this point it feels as though all bets are off, and basically anything could happen moving forward.  Superman’s death ushers in a new age of the comics, and it will surely affect the way future stories are told.

Trinity in Retirement

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As the comic closes, we see Clark, Diana, and Bruce going their separate ways, vowing to take some time off from saving the world to reconnect with the human sides.  Bruce is leaving Gotham to retrace the steps he took to become Batman, but this time he’s bring Dick Grayson and Tim Drake along with him.  Clark, having lost his powers, is going to focus on being a husband to Lois.  Diana is taking time off as well, being alone on Earth now that her gods and sisters have left this world.  The world is to continue without the core three heroes, at least for the time being, while they each regain their sense of self and try to reconnect with their true selves.

Moving Forward

I’m always surprised when I read a big “Crisis” event. I go in expecting to see so many changes to the story, and somehow I’m always left feeling like there haven’t been enough.  It’s insane of course, since Infinite Crisis saw the creation of “New Earth” which will undoubtedly usher in a host of new changes for any number of characters. I suppose I always expect the “Crisis” to elaborate on these changes, even though that’s not what the story is for. Infinite Crisis explains the war, not the aftermath.  That being said, I’m extremely excited to read 52, the year-long special that fills in the gaps of what happened to everyone after Infinite Crisis.  I’ve learned that these are the stories I like most of all; not the end-of-the-world crises, but the quieter “now what?” storylines that flesh out all the changes that have occurred because of the crisis.

Infinite Crisis was an incredibly elaborate undertaking, and I must say DC pulled it off wonderfully.  The fact that they were able to connect so many storylines so flawlessly speaks wonders to the writing team.  Nothing felt unnecessary or extraneous, and there were enough major twists and shakeups revealed, with plenty of opportunities for future changes.  I must admit I’m happy to finally be through this massive undertaking, but I’m so glad to have read it.  I’m loving this recent line of trades, specifically how they all connect to help build upon the larger story arc.  Although I still have plenty of trades to get through on “the shelf”, I feel as though I’m finally beginning to get into the modern era of comics. I want to dive into the next batch of trades head-first, and although I had originally planned on taking a little break after completing Infinite Crisis, the story is just too damn good to stop reading.

Damn comics. Once they grab you, they don’t let go.

-Jess

Superman: Infinite Crisis

“Infinite Crisis Week” Day 5!!!!

We’re inching closer and closer to Infinite Crisis. The suspense is palpable, and each story is more closely tied into that story than the previous.  Superman: Infinite Crisis, as the name suggests, directly ties into that storyline.  With this trade a huge reveal is made, namely that Earth-2’s Superman and Lois Lane, Earth-Prime’s Superboy, and Earth-3’s Alexander Luthor (all of whom were saved from destruction during Crisis on Infinite Earths) have returned to the fold, and are less than pleased with what they’ve seen happening on the current Earth.

Saddened and disgusted with how corrupt the world has become, they all feel as though they must do something to correct the natural of order of things. Compounding this feeling is the fact that Lois, trapped in this alternate world for so long, has started to fade.

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Desperate to save the woman he loves, Superman crafts a recreation of Earth-2 , hoping this will restore Lois and heal whatever’s been ailing her.  It seems to work at first, but as Lois points out, it’s not really their world, and with that she collapses and dies in Superman’s arms.

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Distraught over Lois’s death, Superman breaks through the barrier between the worlds, bringing him face to face with the current Superman.

The two have a “Freaky Friday” style moment, in which they switch lives and make different choices based on what they view is right.  In these altered realities much stays the same, but many things change as well, not always for the better.  One reality finds the world thrown into a fascist state, with Superheroes playing judge and jury for all villains.  Regardless of what happens, the two wind up locked in a desperate battle to preserve the world they know and love.

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Ultimately the two are united on one earth, facing off against each other, with Earth-2 Superman being convinced that our current Superman is leading the world to destruction.  An unexpected appearance by Wonder Woman changes the course of the fight, with Diana ensnaring Earth-2 Supes in her lasso, forcing him to listen to reason.  In a moving scene, current Superman points out that a perfect world wouldn’t have a need for a Superman, leaving Earth-2 Superman to realize that the perfect, idealized world would never be his world.

The story is far from over, but at least now the two Supermen are fighting on the same side.  It was heartbreaking watching Superman lose Lois, as well as come to the realization that he can never be a part of the perfect world, no matter how many times he’s saved his own world from utter destruction (the biblical image of Moses being refused entry into the promised land comes to mind).  It’s heartbreaking to say the least, and only helps cement Superman as a true hero.  Nevertheless, the story is just beginning, and with everything about to happen in Infinite Crisis, more than just Superman’s life is about to change forever.

-Jess

Teen Titans: Life and Death

“Infinite Crisis Week” Day 4!

Sure, some of these comics don’t all tie into Infinite Crisis as directly as others, but they’re all a lead-up to that event, and therefore deserve an honorable mention.  That being said, this comic puts us in the thick of things.  Teen Titans: Life and Death focuses on everyone’s favorite teen superhero team as they deal with the aftermath of Superboy’s attack.  Relegated to the Kents’ farm in Kansas, Connor is out of action for a bulk of the trade while the rest of the Titans are facing the most imminent danger: the OMACs, sleeper agents who have begun attacking meta-humans who have been deemed a threat to society.

Of course, this isn’t the only problem the Titans are facing. Early on in the comics, Tim Drake is confronted and attacked by none other than Jason Todd, who is upset that he seems to have been forgotten by the Titans and replaced by someone else.  He challenges Tim to a fight and beats him senseless, leaving a message for the group on the wall, written in Tim’s blood.

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This scene was really well done, and helps show why these recent comics are so great. Everything is connected.  It would have been easy for the Under the Red Hood storyline to remain rooted in Batman, but here we see Red Hood cross over into Teen Titans to confront his replacement. It’s a realistic inclusion that helps the comics feel more real, with interactions across a number of titles, rather than keeping characters relegated to a single comic.

This scene is quickly overshadowed by the larger story arc though. At this point I was jumping around between trades constantly, with post-its guiding my journey through the comics so I wasn’t facing spoilers within a single trade.  I learned of character reappearances in Infinite Crisis, a story that carries over into this trade as Conner is attacked by Superboy-Prime.

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Superboy-Prime, having watched this Earth from afar, believes he was robbed of his true life, and that Conner is making a mockery of the title of Superboy.  Prime attacks Conner, beating him senseless and fighting anyone who gets in his way, even killing a handful of heroes.

The Flashes unite to banish Superboy-Prime, but Conner is in pretty bad shape.  The Titans band together to seek out a cure to Conner’s ailment, and with the help of Luthor they actually succeed (Luthor wanting Conner alive for his own dastardly plans).

Conner returns to the fight and engages in a fairly epic battle. Unfortunately, Prime returns as well, and as the two battle, the very existence of Earth is at stake. Conner ultimately triumphs, repairing the damage that’s been done and uniting the split universe once more.  Unfortunately, it’s at a terrible cost.

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Conner, the conflicted Superboy who constantly felt torn between the good and evil within himself, is dead.  He died a hero though, saving his world from complete annihilation.  It was difficult to read about Conner’s death, especially because he’s been Superboy for so long and just seemed like a staple character at this point.  I also couldn’t help but notice that in the throes of these crises, Superman always seems to be the one who loses someone.  First Kara in Crisis on Infinite Earths, now Conner.  It’s a heartfelt tragedy, and the fact that Superman can continue to fight and hold out hope in the wake of such losses speaks lengths to his character.

Teen Titans: Life and Death was easily the most poignant and moving trade in the Infinite Crisis lead-up so far.  As a sendoff to Conner it was wonderfully done, reminding readers of his strengths and insecurities as he finally saves the world with the ultimate sacrifice.  Conner’s death saved the world, but the repercussions of the events that led up to his death have yet to be felt.  I’m sure they will be widespread, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the Titans will have to adjust how they operate without Superboy by their side.

-Jess