by Mark Waid; Alex Ross Book
Good, but not for everyone   (2008-11-28)
I know that this was one of those epic comic storylines of the 90s. And on its face, it's a good story - war is about to break out between the generations of superhumans and everyone, super and regular, will suffer for it. Will the older generation of heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman abandon their morals to stop their children and grandchildren, who have little regard for human life? And on the other side, we have mortals like Batman (who is not aging well - but who ever expects Batman to age well?) and Lex Luthor and his most unfortunately named organization, the Mankind Liberation Front, or MLF. I swear, I could not read that abbreviation without thinking "MILF" and wondering if that had not crossed Mark Waid's mind. Anyways, these men seek to protect humanity, though for very different reasons. And then there's Captain Marvel/Billy Batson, caught in the middle of it all.
So yes, it's a good end-of-the-world story. But it just didn't appeal to me. The artwork is incredible. That's probably the biggest selling point for this story. But I felt like I was reading a "Who's Who" of DC heroes and villains, which became so dizzying that I couldn't keep characters straight and I really didn't care. In the back of the compilation, there's a chart of 105 of the heroes/villains, and many of their names end with the numbers 2 or 3. Despite the plethora of characters, the focus is mainly on Superman, with supporting roles from Wonder Woman and Batman. Several of the heroes I recognized (which didn't feel like many... go go Wesley Dodds) looked like they'd have interesting stories to tell and opinions to contribute... but they hardly utter a word. Which brings me to my biggest gripe - Captain Marvel/Billy is the character that this whole story hinges on. He is both mortal and superhuman. His mental state is less than whole, and he's the only person capable of matching Superman's powers. But he gets so little attention for such a pivotal character! Plus, I have a little trouble getting invested in a scene where the key word is Shazam. I guess it's just a sign of the times.
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