Review: DC Universe: Legacies

DC Universe: Legacies
DC Universe: Legacies by Len Wein

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Framed as a DC version of Marvel’s excellent Marvels, there’s no shortage of talent on this book, from writer Len Wein through to a roster of artists that would be the envy of any company: Kuberts ndy and Joe; Dave Gibbons; Walt Simonson; Keith Giffen; Jerry Ordway; Dan Jurgens; Brian Bolland; Frank Quitely; Bill Sienkiewicz… the list just goes on and on. And in the end, it’s that talent that save the book because, really, it’s really just not that good.

DC has great characters and no mistake: right down to the third-tier supports they have a fantastic range of powers, costumes, and personalities. But the ‘everyman’ police officer who fills the role of narrator and his story is pure schlock, and take up far too much of the narrative. Rather than an avenue for readers to view the miraculous workings of the overpeople who populate the DC Universe, it overshadows the narrative to the point that the superheroes become an interruption and a distraction, and what we do see of them constitutes, for anyone who has a passing familiarity with DC’s major storylines, nothing more than a precis of the major events. There’s no angle here, no spin, just a quick precis of the storyline and then on to the next interminable run-down of this average man’s very average life.

Whereas Marvels was a brilliant distillation of the Marvel Universe’s ethos and philosophy, this is little more than a primer: well-written occasionally entertaining, but ultimately little more than an expertly illustrated Wikipedia article in drag.

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Review: Thunderbolts Classic, Vol. 3

Thunderbolts Classic, Vol. 3
Thunderbolts Classic, Vol. 3 by Kurt Busiek

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thuddingly average book about a group of third-string characters without any depth that even a writer of Busiek’s skill can’t bring to life beyond momentary interest in the narrative twists that occur within the text. Not even the addition of Hawkeye– in the midst of one of his least interesting character turns– and an interesting side-adventure with Captain America (in the midst of one of his least interesting narrative arcs) and a reborn Citizen V can lift this above the very pedestrian.

There was a period when Marvel was so desperate to create any kind of successful team book that they threw characters together like spaghetti strands at a wall, praying that something would stick. This is a classic example of their approach, and notwithstanding their current attempts to cash in on any random collection of masks by slapping ‘Avengers’ somewhere in the title, serves to show why, when the Avengers really works, there is no better team title in print.

One for completists or a very rainy afternoon. Not bad, just incredibly average in every way.

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Review: When the Wind Blows

When the Wind Blows
When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautifully sad and whimsical fable about the effects of a nuclear conflict upon a retired pair of typical Little Englanders. Filled with gentle humour and deft characterisation, it’s a wonderful parable of the dangers of trust in authority and the imminent threat of worldwide conflict. The message is from another time, now, and some of the jokes float more towards the nostalgic then the classic, but the sadness and tragedy at the heart of this bittersweet tale are still strong enough to make it a classic example of graphic storytelling.

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