Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Cameron Stewart
Publisher: DC Vertigo/Titan Books
When the first issue of this collected three-issue series was published, I hated it with a vengeance. It just seemed so trite and boring, almost like Morrison decided to shoehorn all those half-ideas writers have into one story, shake it up a bit and see what happens. Reading the whole story in one go allows one to revise this somewhat, as it's clear from page one where he's heading by page 80 (more on this later) and instead we have a single story which seems to have been almost arbitrarily chopped into chunks for serialised publication.
So, back in its intended format, what do we have? The tale of Seaguy and his flying fishy friend, living in a world without villains - all the bad guys have been defeated, so what do the heroes do then? Mope around, it seems, feeling something is missing from their lives, but not knowing exactly what. It's easy to read parallels for Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman et al into the story (and it makes one ache for Morrison to write a DCU story along similar lines and be allowed to have Superman break down - what happens when the ultimate boy scout has nothing to do...for years on end?). I can forgive the reused plotline from Morrison's work Dare - although being aware of either that work, or a certain Futurama episode, or Soylent Green - does negate the impact of the big revelation somewhat.
Stewart's artwork is great in the initial and closing stages, bright, cartoony, airy, lots going on and carries the story well. For the darker sections, though, I personally would've preferred a slightly different style to reflect the direction of the story - it would've made returning to the original style in the last pages have greater impact - but that's just me.
As for those last pages, although I'm not a huge fan of the device of reverse the first few scenes and rerunning them as the close of a book (you'll see what I mean when you read it), I'm anal enough to want to have the first and last page sat side-by-side to compare the differences. Maybe Morrison was influenced a little by Alan Moore's closing wink in his "last Superman story", but he uses the simple device to good effect here too.
Enjoyable and thoughtful read, a good piece of work.
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