Review: Majestic: While You Were Out trade paperback (Wildstorm/DC Comics)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Quite a while ago I reviewed the Superman crossover Majestic: Strange New Visitor, and ever since that time I've had the subsequent Majestic trade, While You Were Out, sitting on my shelf. Spring cleaning -- or in this case winter -- offered a chance to check it out.

Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning offer an imaginative science-fiction tale along the lines that made their Legion run so appealing. Here, the writers' imaginations seem to know no bounds, and in swift procession they offer a deserted planet, an ancient space ark, a bevy of alien species, even an entire civilization created within a space ship -- and that's just the first storyline. I was not entirely taken with the story of While You Were Out itself, but I thrilled to the concepts the writers unfolded.

For me, Majestic: While You Were Out didn't hold up to Strange New Visitor. Whereas the earlier trade, amidst a bit of action, also featured Majestic and Superman chatting in a diner for a couple pages, the latter dedicates five full pages of the first issue to wordless fighting, and later chapters offer even more. This is a visually appealing and creatively sci-fi collection, but I didn't always feel I got enough bang for my buck.

It's possible that I'm projecting too much of what I'd like Majestic to be on the series, instead of taking it for what it is. Strange New Visitor was a largely earthbound story, literally and figuratively, putting Majestic in a Superman-esque superhero role; While You Were Out, I think, puts Majestic in more cosmic settings, and this didn't hold as much interest for me. Abnett and Lanning do well to isolate Majestic in the beginning, letting the reader continue to get to know their hero; by the end, however, Majestic faces off against a bunch of WildStorm heroes, none of them fully introduced, and I found myself simply lost and ready for the story to be over.

(An interesting side note: page six of the first chapter of this book essentially spells out the basis of DC Comics's new Multiverse, a good three years before 52 or Final Crisis. That's right. The Bleed is the membrane between numerous multiple universes? Uh-huh, page six. You'd think someone planned it that way.)

The WildStorm books have an audience out there somewhere, and while I've tried sometimes to make it me, usually I just can't get into them. I'm glad, ultimately, that WildStorm has become another of the DC Comics New Earth counterparts; I find I much prefer visiting the WildStorm Universe with the DC heroes than living there. But that's just me.

[Contains full covers]

A review of Green Arrow: Year One coming soon. Don't miss it!
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  1. I used to love the Wildstorm books back when Jim Lee was on "Wild C.A.T.s and J. Scott Campbell was drawing Gen 13 but now I think they should just integrate the characters with the DCU and get it over with.

  2. Integrating WildStorm with the DCU, like the Red Circle and Milestone characters? That'd be very interesting, though I imagine it'd be much tougher for the Justice League to have "never been" to the giant Authority carrier than to have "never been" to Dakota. But it bears considering.