Archive for Superbat

Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #2 (of 6)

Posted in Comics, DC, Final Crisis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd June, 2009 by Adam Redsell
She aint much to look at, but shes got it where it counts.

She ain't much to look at, but she's got it where it counts.

Author: Joe Casey
Artists: Andre Coelho & Eduardo Pansica
Inkers: Andre Coelho & Sandro Ribeiro
Colorist: Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Cover Artist: Stanley “Art Germ” Lau
Editors: Ian Sattler, Rex Ogle & Will Moss

I have to admit, after such a stellar debut, I’m more than a little disappointed with the second issue of Dance.  This is largely due to the artwork, which not only suffers from the absence of previous artist ChrisCross, but also from the inconsistency that comes with having two artists on board (Coelho and Pansica).  This is unfortunate, because it lets down what is otherwise a well-written comic by Joe Casey.

The plot’s pretty interesting, and reminiscent of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, perhaps to a fault.  Those who have read it will likely recognise one of the major plot points, perhaps with fondness.  The whole satellite headquarters thing didn’t work out so well for the Super Young Team, so they’ve been transferred to a suite in Las Vulgar (which is apparently Vegas in DC-Land).  Their ‘handlers’ try to get a reality TV show off the ground, accompanied by a bit of product placement and a hot-tub, in hopes that Shiny Happy Aquazon might get her Shiny Happy Gear-off.  Aquazon agrees to the product placement – much to the surprise of her teammates – but not the gear-off (much to the disappointment of lovesick Atomic Lantern Boy), and things get stranger from there with a product-launch-gone-wrong.  Meanwhile, the rest of the team get bored and go looking for a fight.  This results in a pretty interesting tea conversation with a supervillain.  It’s good to see that the flavour of their first outing hasn’t been lost altogether.

Cut to Tokyo, where a burnt out and bottle-broken Rising Sun decries Japan’s disrespect for its heroic traditions.  Tokyo has been quarantined, closed to everyone – especially superheroes – and no-one seems to want to say why.  All we know is exactly this: Japan has been in a very bad way since the Final Crisis; the powers-that-be don’t want anyone to know about it; and the Super Young Team is being groomed as a Grade-A distraction from it.  Never has Rising Sun been such an interesting character – not during the first Crisis, not ever – as he has been in this Drunken Also-ran incarnation.  He’s the Voice in the Desert, crying out for Japan to reclaim its honour, and I for one can’t wait to see what lies ahead for this super-prophet.

Superbat’s ‘tweeting’ reveals the conflict they all feel: they want to be heroes, but they want to be teenagers too.  Fame and fortune is nice, but it’s ultimately empty thrills for these eager youngsters (“but we saved the Multiverse!”, they exclaim).  The slick PR people do their darned best to distract them, but their restlessness is almost tangible.  The Super Young Team’s True Enemy brings all new meaning to “friends close, enemies closer”, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

As you can see, there’s a lot of story packed into these 22 pages (and a lot of pointed observations on commercialism, truth decay, and Reality TV); more, I dare say than most of the stuff on comic book shelves.  It’s certainly worth continuing with this one; it’s just such a pity about the art!  If either one of these artists penciled the full story, it would have been better for it.  And with colours as brilliant as the day-glo-rific Dance #1, anything less was doomed to be a disappointment.  Bring back the art team from the first issue, DC, and this could be the best book on the shelves.

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Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #1 (of 6)

Posted in Comics, DC, Final Crisis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 29th May, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Snap, crackle, Pop!

Snap, crackle, Pop!

“This Is How We Do It”
Author: Joe Casey
Artist: ChrisCross
Inkers: Rob Stull, with Mick Gray, Wayne Faucher, & ChrisCross
Colorist: Snakebite
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Editors: Eddie Berganza, Rex Ogle & Ian Sattler
Cover Artist: Stanley “Art Germ” Lau

Finally! A new DC book I can get excited about!  Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance may as well be named Super Young Team because that’s what it is: a new comic mini-series starring those upstart Japanese superheroes we saw too little of (and loved) in Final Crisis.

For the record, I think it’s great that DC is experimenting with new books and ideas like these in a time of financial uncertainty.  The trade off, of course, is the title, but who cares when a book is as good as this?  The artist is called ChrisCross as well – what’s with that?  Again, it doesn’t matter, because his pencils are hot; they’re manic and clean; they crackle and fizz with sci-fi and J-Pop and…honour – all of those things that a Japanese super-team needs.

That’s kind of what this book is about.  The Super Young Team – Most Excellent Superbat, Big Atomic Lantern Boy, Shiny Happy Aquazon, Shy Crazy Lolita Canary, and Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash – post-Crisis find themselves on a satellite surrounded by hot-shots and PR people trying to groom them into the next sensation.  The satellite is to be their new headquarters, it seems.  They have ice sculptures and sushi platters in their meeting room, and a trophy room full of conquests they never made.  They have a rave party with the Paris Hiltons and various other good-fer-nothin’s to kick things off, all the while wondering aloud if this is really what this superhero biz-o is all about.  A personal highlight for me: the Most Excellent Superbat receives a visitation from the ghost of the late great Ultimon, who harshly admonishes him for dishonouring the proud traditions of superheroism.  By now the youngsters grow restless for action, and they want to see what’s happened to Japan behind the curtains and levers.

The beckoning of the Ancient amidst the noise of Pop so perfectly encapsulates Japanese culture and the Meiji Restoration conflict that it’s hard to imagine it was written by a non-Japanese.  Joe Casey has completely nailed the concepts, the focus, and the dialogue – all of it has an unmistakable Japanese-ness, and all of it is supremely entertaining.  The Most Excellent Superbat’s internal monologue appears in the form of ‘Twitterati’ posts (‘@MosExBat about 2 seconds ago’) – a great new spin on the caption box.

My God, did I mention that the colours are gorgeous?  Neon yellows, pinks, greens, and metallic blue.  This is the sexiest comic I’ve laid eyes on for a while.

The whole thing feels like a jaunt through the mind of Grant Morrison, which is great (and always a privelege), because he devised this team for Final Crisis, obviously with the intention of someone running with them later.  Thing is, Dance has all the verve and modernity of Morrison – the same energy that propelled Metal Men and Booster Gold – and yet, I can’t imagine this being any better had Morrison himself written it.  (Morrison this, Morrison that; Morrison, Morrison, Morrison – why don’t I just marry the guy already?) Joe Casey may not be Grant Morrison, but you know what they say: “a rose by any other name…”