Last thing on recent pamphlets for the year.

*52 Dept: The old year must pass to make way for the new. So in 52 terms, that means DEATH! Villains DIE! The Black Marvel family thought they could reform?! Soon DEATH will be thrust in their faces! And speaking of faces, the Question's is twisted - with the ravages of DEATH!! What of the new year? Of the famous countdown? DEATH will rain from the sky! DEATH to all the new superheroes!! Let the streets pile with corpses, unless the cliffhanger turns into something else!! There's 21 pages of story, plus Brian Bolland! ONE MORE PAGE FOR DEATH DEATH DEATH!!

Summary: death.

*In other recent comics news, I concur with Tim’ O’Neil - Guy Gardner: Collateral Damage had a nice first issue, but #2 was pretty awful. And I tried to draw an important distinction with issue #1, that the comic is inevitably going to appeal more to admirers of writer/artist Howard Chaykin doing his signature thing than continuity-interested fans of Guy Gardner as a character. Certainly I thought the book worked well in the former sense, and I’m ill-equipped to comment on the latter. Maybe one helps the other? Hell, at least one commentator felt the book could have stood to go a lot farther into Chaykin territory, though Dirk also admits that such things aren’t as easy a sell in the superhero environment of today. Still, I liked the issue.

Not this one. This one, I would like to stress, does not succeed on any level. There remain a few flashes of cute political play, what with the Rann/Thanagar War prompting a nasty explosion of ancient conflicts between less politically visible peoples, but the whole thing swiftly descends into an opaque mass of egotistical braying, jarring plot lurches, grotesque (seemingly rushed) facial contortions, and the sort of splash-fueled superhero fisticuffs that Chaykin’s never entirely been able to crack with his visual approach. There’s still some good, bouncy dialogue, and the occasional impressive page (nobody will ever draw neon-laden building exteriors like Chaykin, and I do enjoy a good head-crushing), but even the artist’s design sense seems to have been temporarily subsumed into the sort of airy, comparatively loose layouts that have marked Chaykin’s recent art-only projects. Too bad.