Majestic: Strange New Visitor review

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI admit I probably wouldn't have been reading Majestic at all if not for the Superman crossover in the front of it--which, perhaps, is the reason is exactly that they had the Superman crossover in the first place. Given that, however, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's stint on the Superman titles is a greatly enjoyable blast from the past for longtime post-Crisis Superman fans. Not only do they respect current plotlines with cameos by Lena and Lana Lang with her son, but the authors are obviously fans of the late '80s/early '90s Superman stories, with appearances not only by Superboy, the new Steel, and a newly-redesigned Eradicator, but also John Henry Irons and old favorites like Bibbo and Rampage. If only "Terrible" Dan Turpin or Gangbuster had poked their heads out, this reunion would have been complete.

The three Superman issues, of course, give way to the four-issue Majestic miniseries (which would later subsequently give way to the new Majestic series). The story is somewhat standard super-hero fare, but as with the beginning chapters, there's a charming sense that the authors are trying at every turn to take the story beyond the everyday. The first issue, for instance, takes place almost entirely in a cafe, featuring a conversation-over-coffee between Superman and Mr. Majestic; the second issue then takes an unexplained jump to a few weeks later, when a stranger moves to a small town, interspersed with scenes from the seemingly-immortal Majestic's early life. All is explained in the end, and again, whereas the story could have been very straighforward, Abnett and Lanning take some unexpected twists and turns that I very much appreciated.

Majestic, as I understand it, is the story of a once-warlord, now trying to find his place in the world during peacetime, all the while struggling to get home. In this way, he has in common perhaps more with Odysseus (or the New God Orion) than with the Man of Steel. And the challenges against the character, both internal and external, are engaging. I don't have much stake in the Wildstorm universe, finding much of the Stormwatch continuity difficult to understand, but if a trade of the new Majestic series were to come out, I might give it a glance. Mention should be made of Karl Kerschl's art and the colors of Carrie Strachenand Tanya and Richard Horie; the colors and special effects in this book really went a long way toward making the plot shine. Kerschl's Lois veers toward the frumpy, and noses often appear very square, but he's got a nice thin-line style overall that makes for appealing square-jawed super-heroes. It'll be interesting to see him on Adventures of Superman proper with Greg Rucka.

So there you go. A non-DCU review (sorta). I'm almost reading Teen Titans: Beast Boys and Girls, so look for a review soon, along with a couple other goodies.
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4 comments:

  1. I thought that Warren Ellis' Stormwatch run that lead into the Authority was some of the best superhero stories I've ever read and is well worth checking out.

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  2. Hey, thanks for the suggestion! Can you recommend any Stormwatch trades in specific that I can check out?

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  3. The first volume is called Force of Nature, I'd start there. If you like Stormwatch it changes to the Authority after book 5, the first 4 volumes of that are pretty good. I also highly recommend Planetary and Sleeper which are both set in the same universe.

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  4. Well If you liked this one I'd definitely suggest the Mr Majestic trade by Joe Casey & Ed Mcguinness which also contains a short by Alan Moore & Carlos D'anda

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