What a fabulous week! So many good books. And yet, I find that one purchase has possessed my mind to the extent that it even crowds out such sure-fire winners as Green Lantern Corps, Booster Gold and Wonder Woman. What could this be, you ask?
The Millenium trade is now out, as published by DC, written by Steven Englehart and drawn by Joe Staton and Ian Gibson. As you may all recall, I wondered a while back about whether or not Millenium was any good, as I had somehow, in all of my wanderings, never actually READ it before. The general consensus was...not good.
I do believe that perhaps that belief was something of an understatement. For I have now READ Millenium, in one glorious sitting, and I must declare, that Millenium is wonderfully, gloriously, MAGNIFCENTLY horrible.
And yet...and yet, for all of its faults, I enjoyed it completely. Possibly because I was sniggering to myself throughout the the entire book. It made absolutely NO sense whatsoever, the dialogue was frequently painful, and there were plot holes so large that you could have thrown the entire planet of Oa through them...and yet it was also, frequently hilarious. So I am glad that I read this NOW, as opposed to when it first came out, because I am sure that I wouldn't have appreciated it nearly as much.
Now, Millenium originally came out in the late '80's, in 1988, I do believe. Things were a tad different back in the old days. Steve Englehart was something of a hot writer, and Joe Staton was something of a hot artist, so it made perfect sense to put the two of them together. And really, as a Joe Staton enthusiast, I have no problems with the art for the most part. Keep in mind, that when this takes place, the new Justice League has only recently formed, and that Guy Gardner is currently in his sweet little girl mode of brain damage. Hal is at his stuffiest, and Batman is beginning that swing away from being best buddies with Superman. Wonder Woman is apparently practically fresh off of the boat from Paradise Island. Black Canary is wearing that hideous costume. Geoforce actually thinks that he's important. Jade is alive. Shayera is alive. All the Green Lanterns are living in California. Katma Tui is alive. Dmitri is alive. Aquaman still has short hair and his hand. Barry JUST died. Beetle isn't bestest buddies with Booster yet.
This sucker went on for eight weeks, and also tied in with just about every other book out there. The trade has reprinted the eight issues of the actual mini-series, but not the individual relevant books, so it makes it a little jarring when reading, because characters disappear and then reappear, with lots of events happening in the various cross-over books.
Anyway, apparently, the Manhunters have invaded Earth, and hid out Among Us Secretly, for years and years. They want to undermine our American Way of Life, and you can't trust anyone. Does this sound vaguely familiar? The Manhunters are still pretty pissed off at the Guardians. The Guardians in the meantime, have abandoned the Green Lantern Corps, so that they can go and make whoopie with their soulmates, the Zamorans. That's why Kilowog, Salaak, Arisia, Ch'p and Katman are hanging out on Earth with Hal and John. Guy used to hang out too, but he got mad and went and joined the new Justice League, where he was one-punched by Batman. The Teen Titans, the Outsiders and Infinity are all lurking as well, filled with a lot of characters that nobody really cares about. I mean really, Looker? Halo? Katana and Geoforce?
For a completely obscure reason, a Guardian named Herupa Hando Hu, and his girlfriend Nadia Safir show up on Earth, in order to create NEW immortals...or something. These two get the Green Lanterns to get ALL of Earth's heroes together so that they can drop this bombshell on them. There is naturally a lot of disbelief, and confusion. They also warn the heroes about the Manhunters, glossing over the fact that they were former stooges of the Guardians themselves. There is a LOT of bloviating. Then everybody leaves, but we soon find out that there are Manhunters disguised as a Rocket Red, Firestorm's acquaintance, some Doctor who hangs out with the Outsiders, Wally West's own father, and Pan, who is giving Wonder Woman a hard time. Oh, and Lana Lang.
Next, Harupa and Nadia fly off, and in a VERY public manner, they visit a bunch of people from all over the world, telling them that they are the next step in Human Evolution and so on and so forth. They all seem to take it remarkably well. There is an aborigine from Australia, some girl from China, a Japanese guy, some old fat creep from South Africa, a rather flamboyant individual from Peru, a woman from Iraq, and a Russian, and a Jamaican from Fascist Britain.
I...wait, Fascist Britain? I went back and read that over again at least four times, and I STILL don't get it. I guess somebody didn't like Margaret Thatcher! Oh well. They also throw the Floronic Man and Tom Kalmaku into the mix.
Now, having VERY PUBLICALLY notified all of these people, then Harupa and Nadia step out of the picture for a while, having done their part to paint bullseyes on the backs of the chosen. Who promptly start dropping like flies, courtesy of the various Manhunters. The heroes all flap around for a while. Ronald Reagan shows up, and it turns out that Nancy Reagan is a Manhunter! At this point, I had to take a break because I was laughing so hard, I couldn't read.
Harbinger keeps wandering around for some reason. Oh, and it is all her fault that the Manhunters are even here, since she wrote down ALL of the information that she gleaned during the original Crises, tied it up neatly,and sent it OUT INTO SPACE! Naturally, the Manhunters intercepted her little thesis, and now know everybody's secret identities and stuff.
Meanwhile, a lot of clues point towards the swamps of Louisiana, mainly the Suicide Squad shows up, and Batman, and a bunch of other people. And, as I said, things keep happening in the individual books.
Things like THIS!
Eeeewww! Old Blue people sex! My eyes!
Apparently Batman and some other people blow up a crapload of Manhunters in the swamps, while Superman is off doing whateve it is that he does. Superman comes back into the headquarters only to find that EVERYbody is there, and having a Batman party.
Batman is all "shucks, I couldn't have done it without help." But what he is REALLY thinking is that he's so goddamned GLAD that Superman had nothing to do with it! Nya, nya nya!
Once I regained my composure, I continued to struggle on. The remaining Chosen, keep making cryptic remarks, and Guy Gardner continues to look like an idiot. Wonder Woman keeps showing up and gushing, and then being disrespected. They discover a flying saucer. A bunch of them decide to all go out into Spaaaaaaace to look for the Manhunter planet. This part is particularly amusing, as they are all flying and talking in outer space, WITHOUT space suits, or even being contained in a Green Lantern aura or bubble! At one point they all get hit, and Hal is wondering how they are all doing, since their Green Lantern Rings protected THEM. Fortunately, Firestorm and Captain Atom were able...somehow...to protect the rest of them, but how is never explained. Oh, and Doctor Fate screws everything up anyway.
Back on Earth, the chosen are all lying around being transcendental or something. Batman continues to be rude to Wonder Woman. Booster Gold is apparently a traitor, and beats up Guy and Bats. Which leads to one of my favorite lines.
"Every TIME! Every time you think you have them nailed, they prove you WRONG! Gardner, I hate to admit it, but I liked you better BRUTAL!"
I laughed and laughed.
Urgh, what else? It turns out that the flying saucer was actually a submarine of some sort, because although the heroes have been weeding out the Manhunters all over the place, there is STILL an outpost inside the Earth, accessible through the Mariana Trench, beneath the ocean. This is nice, since it gives Aquaman something to do. Not MUCH to do, but something. The rest of the heroes who aren't floating helplessly in Spaaaaaaace, all pile into Blue Beetle's retrofitted sub to go chasing the Manhunters. There is angst. There is inappropriate joking. There is a self-destruct button on the bomb, and a lot of fighting. Oh look Booster was a good guy after all! He saves them all from being blowed up, but everybody is still mad at him.
Harupa and Nadia have in the meantime been giving TOTALLy incomprehensible instructions to the Chosen. And I DO mean incomprehensible. Then they start turning the Chosen into hilariously ridiculous-looking Super Humans...such as Gloss! Ram! Extrano! Jet! Oh, and the Floronic Man has seen the light, but he just keeps his old name. Tom Kalmaku wants to stay with his wife and kids, since they are freaking out just a tad over all of this, but they give him the power anyway, which freaks Hal out completely. As they pass on this stuff, Harupa and Nadia are withering away. They finally croak in the end, and everyone stands around and poses for a while, and it all ends with a whimper.
What's really strange, is that mixed in with all of this verbal diarrhea, are some rather interesting concepts that never really turned into anything. There are even a few hints of some of the ideas for Blackest Night and such. If you stick your tongue firmly into your cheek, and approach this as just another version of a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 movie, your appreciation will be greatly enhanced.
I have to go and lie down now.