Writer: Mark Waid
Artist(s): George Perez (p), Bob Wiacek, Scott Koblish (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Three! Count them; Three! Entertaining stories for the price of one!
Commentary: The trend continues at DC. Secondary books like this one continue to dominate in the story and art department. Itís a testimony to Mark Waid and George Perezís experience and love for the medium. Iíve followed this series from the start, and truth to tell itís sometimes hard to figure out whatís going on with the whole Book of Destiny/Megistus sub-plot. Regardless of that, the creative team continues to mine the annals of the DC Universe to bring us fun comics story-telling month in and month out. You can just tell this book is a labor of love for Waid and Perez. For once, the cover of a comic book delivers on its promise. This monthís cover boasts, ďStar-Studded Spectacular!Ē and three covers on a cover. Waid, Perez, Wiacek and Koblish live up to that hype.
First of all, I have to say that Waid and Perez make what would normally be uninspired and even goofy story elements and visuals happen. I mean, just take a look at the walking Book of Destiny in the opening pages of this issue. A creature made out of the pages of a book? Címon, how threatening and exciting can that be? Somehow Waid and Perez pull it off. As those pages reach out and grab June, we are convinced of the threat it poses.
Thereís also the bit of goofy, unlikely Sci-Fi elements such as the Nth Metal of Hawkmanís harness and the Dwarf Star material of Atomís belt wreaking havoc with each otherís powers and then being combined to save the day and create a ďportalĒ eliminating the villain from the field of battle. What? Huh? I dunno how it all works, but somehow itís an entertaining story! Waid and Perez have that magic spawned by the likes of Lee and Kirby. They can make the most unlikely of story elements entertain us. Perez, of course, renders all the chaos and time-jumping going on this issue fantastically. Perez works best in a crowd of characters and between the BlackHawks, Boy Commandos, Metal Men, Dial H for HERO, Hawkman and the Atom he couldnít ask for more toys to play with. Letís not forget his well rendered locales either. From cityscapes to World War Two battlefields to ancient tombs and University grounds Perez does it all to perfection. His pencils seem to be so fully rendered that there is nary a miss by anyone who inks him. Regardless if itís Wiacek or Koblish, itís still definitively recognizable as Perez.
Some key story elements that particularly thrilled me are:
- The Challengers of the Unknown guarding a book which spans all of time but does not include them because they are living on borrowed time.
- The Metal Man Tin using the HERO dial to temporarily become the hero heís always wanted to be.
- World War Two Aces shooting at mummies! Címon! What a great comics image!
- The dichotomy of Carter Hall/Hawkman being a brutish brawler as well as a learned academic.
Final Word: Fast paced action with consistently slam bang art is what comicsí readers hunger, for and this creative team serves it up!
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