Review: Seven Soldiers of Victory trade paperback retrospective (DC Comics)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Hope you've enjoyed Collected Edition's Seven Soldiers trade reviews as much as I enjoyed writing and reading them. What follows is something of a retrospective of final thoughts on the series, but moreover some links to sites that do an especially good job, far better than I could, of annotating and investigating this story.

To wit, certainly one of the main things I missed in reading Seven Soldiers was the story of Aurakles, which apparently has ties as far back as the Silver Age Seven Soldiers stories. Without understanding the Aurakles plot, Mister Miracle's triumph becomes fairly hollow, and the Bulleteer's final scenes are stripped of their meaning. I'd mention that subsequent research reveals that this Aurakles is also tied to an ancient DCU alien race that gave the original Outsiders' Halo her powers ... it's all very confusing. I am wondering if a reading of Justice League (original series) #100 before Seven Soldiers might not have helped immensely.

Second, as I learn from the fantastic Barbelith Seven Soldiers annotations, there's effectively one top hat in the story that's passed back and forth, with no two characters each wearing a top hat in the same panel. Not only is this the kind of thing you can only notice if you're really watching, but it also apparently has great resonance in the story of Ali Ka-Zoom and his fight with the Time Tailor (not to mention, the fact that they both wore top hats likely lead to my constantly confusing them).

Third, we're left with a still somewhat unsolved mystery of Chop Suzi's twin children, and whether Captain 7 or Baby Brains is the father. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, that's fine; one of the equally strongest and most infuriating aspects of Seven Soldiers, I think, are the strong backstories of the characters, which though offering a great amount of sound and fury, may ultimately signify nothing. The question of Suzi's children is posed in the crossword puzzle of Seven Soldiers #1--but how does it affect things? What does it have to do with the plot? Even as I wonder about it, I also wonder if Morrison didn't make the story too complicated, finally, for its own good.

Jog - The Blog offers an excellent review of the end of Seven Soldiers and a retrospective of the series, thoughtfully done and worth reading. Of note is the examination of the tailor's coat as a metaphor for the DCU as a whole, and the damage that's been done to it. Ultimately, as Jog says, Seven Soldiers is "rife with little failures ... [but] I liked the experience," and I have to agree. For a story with a lot of little nuances, Seven Soldiers definitely works best when not sweating the small stuff. Like a cross-country train ride, there's so much to look at here that while you're watching one thing, you can't help but miss another. I'm not heading to re-read it anytime soon, I don't think, but maybe one day, and maybe on that day the experience will be entirely different.

The Double Articulation blog offers a long list of Seven Soldiers link, more than enough for you to meta-textualize yourself for years.

Essentially, this concludes my reading of Infinite Crisis and the Infinite Crisis crossover trades. I'm going to read some non-mainstream DC trades for a bit now, and then we'll rejoing the DCU with One Year Later. Thank you for reading along!
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  1. Awesome job on reviewing all 4 trades of this morrison masterpiece. All my respect goes to the man for introducing obscure characters and succeeding in making a great storyline.

    Personally i thought Klarion was my favorite series - frazer irving's art is amazing.

  2. Hey, thanks for the compliment. I hope my absolute adoration for the series showed through all my frustration.

    I'm glad to see DC's bringing out the JLA Classifed prequel in trade, too.

    My favorite remains Frankenstein. Will we see him again, I hope?