Tuesday, December 27, 2011

War of Kings #1-#2, War of Kings: Ascension #1-#2, and Nova #24-#25

War of Kings #1:  Holy crap, DnA really just hurl us into the story here.  I loved Crystal's narration of the Starjammer hurling through the Shi'Ar's space barrier.  It really sets the tone of the events that follow:  Vulcan sends in the Imperial Guard to disrupt the wedding of Crystal and Ronan the Accuser, resulting in the kidnapping of Lilandra, the loss of Ch'od's hand, and the deaths of two members of the Imperial Guard, Nightside and Smasher (again).  I mean, what more could you want from a first issue?  So far, DnA take a somewhat different approach to Vulcan than Yost, falling down a little heavier on the "mad king" side than on the "tortured soul" side.  (His decision to drop Nega-Bombs essentially willy-nilly was particularly chilling.)  Yost generally made Vulcan a more nuanced character, certainly portraying him as insane but also never forgetting the tragedy that drove him there.  But, it's early days, so we'll see how his character develops as the series progresses.  DnA use the characterizations of other characters as foreshadowing here.  Crystal's arrogance in her conversation with Polaris will clearly not go unrewarded, if you will, and Gladitor's constant reference to serving at the pleasure of the Emperor seems to be him clearly reminding himself of that fact as he struggles to implement Vulcan's orders.  We'll see where DnA go with both those thoughts.

Nova #24:  OK, this issue is everything I hoped it would be.  I loved the use of Suki, a rookie Centurion, as our perspective on the battle at the Gulf of Sarenta.  (I also love that the battle at the Gulf was mentioned in "War of Kings" #1, just move evidence of the attention DnA pay to continuity.)  Using Suki -- and the fear she feels engaging in battle for the first time -- makes Robbie realize that his brother may have been right, that sending a bunch of inexperienced, untrained Centurions into battle might not have been the best idea.  Unfortunately, Robbie also thinks that he still wants to be on the front lines, and not at the strategic command, though we'll see if that opinion changes as a result of Suki's death.  By having Strontian kill the Centurion hostages, DnA remind us that Vulcan is playing for keeps.  I'm intrigued to see where Rich's confrontation with Ego-Worldmind goes, because I'm really waiting for the "Worldmind Gone Mad" plot to end.

War of Kings:  Ascension #1:  OK, after finishing the "War of Kings" series, I decided to read "War of Kigns:  Ascension," because I wound up being really confused about the whole Fraternity of Raports business.  Unfortunately I'm not entirely sure if I'm any clearer on the concept, though.  I spent most of this issue just wanting Chris to stop whining.  Seriously.  I did enjoy the moment where Chris, in his human form, talks about how much he just wanted to be like Rich, a honest-to-goodness hero, and realizes that it's easier said than done.  DnA excell at those moments of characterization.  But, the constant whining made it hard to sympathize with him, because he seemed to spend more time complaing about not being able to achieve his potential (and become said honest-to-goodness hero) than doing anything to try to realize it.  I do like the idea that the anger-management issues he's always had were a result of his poor union with the Darkhawk suit, because it seems to set up a scenario whereby he'll get past those issues and they won't constantly be used as his Achilles' heel everytime a writer has written himself into a corner.  At this stage, I'm not quite sure what to do with the reveal that the Fraternity of Raptors are some sort of cosmic bad buys.  Also, I'm not sure how exactly Chris reached full compatability with the suit.  He made it seem like Talon had taken control over his suit to activate his full armor mode (and make him kill their attackers), so it seems unlikely he had achieved full compatability if Talon had to do it for him.  I'm also not clear on where they're going with this other personality, Razor, taking over Chris' suit.  If I remember correctly, when Darkhawk first started, he switched places with his suit.  I'm pretty sure DnA are using that approach, where only a wearer's consciousness is imbued in the suit.  It leaves open the question, though:  where is Chris now?

War of Kings #2:  Well, the Empire strikes back.  I was thinking when Havok is exhorting Ch'od and Korvus to get the Starjammer to go faster that he sounded like Han Solo, a sense proven even more apt when he pilots the Starjammer underneath the Shi'Ar warship to board it.  The Inhumans definitely land some punches here, and it'll be interesting to see how Vulcan responds.  The Inhumans seem to be planning more than just destroying the Shi'Ar's second battle group, though.

Nova #25:  OK, I cannot possibly imagine a better issue.  When this whole "Worldmind Gone Mad" ordeal started, I had no idea how DnA were going to resolve it in a way that didn't result in Worldmind being a compromised character.  Here, they give us a brilliant answer.  First, they detail how Worldmind didn't just go insane but that Ego took advantage of its insanity to take control of it.  It makes so much sense, because it explains Worldmind's need to divest itself of Richard, since Ego probably realized that Richard was the one person who could get Worldmind to shake off Ego's control.  Second, at first, I simply loved the fact that Worldmind used Ko-Rel and Rohmann Dey as its avatars.  (Also, I need to say that I laughed out loud when I saw the He-Man figures in Rich's room.  Well done, Kevin Sharpe.  Well done.)  I thought Ko-Rel was a great character when she was introduced in "Annihilation:  Conquest," so I was glad to see her return, even if it wasn't exactly her.  But, the fact that she took over the personality of Worldmind was unexpected and awesome.  I'm sad that we won't have Worldmind and Nova's banter, but, if anyone could replace it, it would be Ko-Rel.  I've mentioned before how I haven't been a huge fan of this "Worldmind Gone Mad" plot, but DnA bring it to a close in such a way that I find myself appreciating it, even if I still find it annoying.  Looking at the rest of the issue, the one-liners in this issue are great:  Nova telling Worldmind that it is "critical you pay attention at this time" and telling Ego that it's "time to start thinking about others," not to mention his banter with Ko-Rel ("Is there a vegetarian option?"), were all excellent moments.  DnA brought back some of the fun that I've felt has been lacking since this whole "Worldmind Gone Mad" arc began.  I'm excited to see where they go from here, particularly given the surprise arrival of Garthan Saal at the end!

War of Kings:  Ascension #2:  OK, so, DnA set up a pretty significant ret-conning of Darkhawk, claiming that the original story we "knew" was something Chris created to try to make sense of the information he was being fed by the Datasource.  My guess is that, if I thought too hard about that or read previous issues of "Darkhawk," I'd wind up finding any number of inconsistencies with that story.  (For example, I'm pretty sure people saw Darkhawk and Evilhawk together, so I'm not sure how Evilhawk was just an "evil" manifestation of Darkhawk that emerged whenever Chris lost control.)  But, I'm actually willing to put my obsession with continuity aside, because, to be honest, Darkhawk could use a ret-con, particularly if he's going to be re-introduced as a major charcter.  In terms of the Fraternity, I'm still not sure what its game is.  I've read the series, so I know that their role is helping the Shi'Ar Imperium achieve its glory.  But, why did they decide to use Blastaar?  (I'll return to that thought in the review of "War of Kings" #3.)  Why was it necessary to bribe him with the Cosmic Control Rod?  Couldn't they have just used it?

Final Thoughts:  OK, I'm intrigued.  I'm enjoying the "Nova" issues more than the "War of Kings" issues at this time, but mostly because I feel like DnA are righting the ship, if you will, on that title, whereas they're still just building the story in "War of Kings."  I'm still skeptical of "War of Kings:  Ascension," but I concede that Darkhawk could use a shot to the arm, creativity-wise, so I'm willing to give DnA some space to work.  But, so far, so good.

No comments:

Post a Comment