Friday, April 20, 2012

CBR Rann/Thanagar: Holy War


And we're back with Adam Strange once more!
Fresh from his adventures with Starfire and Animal Man in Countdown to Adventure, it's the return of the Rann–Thanagar War conflict in this culmination of different space opera storylines!

Don't miss out my previous Adam Strange-related reviews!

Comic title: Rann/Thanagar: Holy War Vol. 1 & 2
Art by Jim Starlin, Ron Lim, Rick Leonardi & Rob Hunter
Story by Jim Starlin

Published by DC Comics
From 2008
Lineup Adam Strange, Animal Man, Rann/Thanagar, Captain Comet
Format: Two trade paperback collecting the entire 8-issue limited series as well as both Rann/Thanagar: Holy War one shots, the Hawkman Special & Adam Strange Special.

This is it!
Finally, the end of the Rann/Thanagar space conflict in the DCU!

Written by Jim Starlin, an author who was already quite well versed with space antics from his past experience on other space events, the Cosmic Odyssey and some New Gods events.
He also took partially care of the artwork in this Holy War.

Rann/Thanagar: Holy War was a limited series that followed the previous Rann/Thanagar, Countdown to Adventure, as well as combining the sub-plots brought in Starlin's own Mystery in Space mini-series.
After the death of the original Captain Comet, this book introduced a new younger incarnation of the space hero.

The universe is still under the repercussions of the war against the new villainess, Lady Styx.
The heroes got close to have another "Darkseid" wannabee around, stopped just in time thanks to the combined forces of various heroes.

Everyone returned to his place, only to find out, it wasn't over yet.

Adam Strange and Hawkman found out a new sort of religion has been formed, around the cult of Lady Styx. Churches are being opened all over their respective worlds, on Rann and Thanagar.
The problem is, it isn't a crime to have another faith. But surely there's something they can do to prevent people from bringing Styx there?

The story then goes into various directions before coming together.
We're (re)introduced to the various protagonists and the new players.

The new Comet is trying to keep a job in Hardcore Station, something to make some quick bucks.
The war gets toThroneworld, home of the Starman Prince Gayvn.

The apparent new threat reveals itself to be called Synnar the Demiurge (a Thanos-like character, the way Starlin used to actually write Thanos when he was at Marvel).
He wants to alter time and space with his godlike powers, using pawns - the very same villains our heroes had been fighting!

Oh, also. Hawkman's backstory gets revealed to be fake(?). Or at least, that's what the Demiurge tells our hero to confuse him further.

Well, I could have done without the retcon/changes in Hawkman's status quo.
I mean, it starts from the Demiurge/narrator/Jim Starlin making Hawkman notice errors in the way Egypt's been represented in Hawkman's past...because it wasn't errors, but false memories!! (dun dun duuun!!)
This "Hawkman Rann/Thanagar: Holy War Special" issue really is a waste of time and ink. I mean, it's barely touched upon, forgotten later on, never explained or expanded.
Geoff Johns' revamp of Hawkman as distant Egyptian ruler born and reborn time after time with a curse, using Thanagarian technology was simple enough.
Yeah, it sounds complicated put like this, but a rescapee from another timeline having false memories of a "distant Egyptian ruler born and reborn time after time with a curse" is far worse!!

Later in the 2nd trade paperback, Adam Strange's own Special issue is a bit filler but at least it's relevant to the main story.

But I disgress;
It's a simple enough cosmic crossover, featuring a bunch of DC space heroes fighting a religious threat and a mysterious villain.
It features a huge cast of colorful characters, old and new.
Strange takes the leadership, which comes naturally from his recent stories.
Space swashbuckling adventure!

But perhaps it tries too much?
Prince Gavyn's planet Throneworld gets depopulated thanks to Lady Styx...only to be later occupied by the population of Rann?
Zeta-beams are used left and right, wasn't it supposed to be Rann's secret weapon?
A bunch of our heroes are revealed to be part of so-called "Aberrant Six"?
Oh and the recently reintroduced The Weird swon't be appearing outside this story I guess...?
And apparently Bizarro was in this book.

It's the conclusion of several storylines, and even so it hints at a future mystical threat for the DC's magical characters like Phantom Stranger, Etrigan,..

The story jumps from place to place with intrusive narration boxes all over the place, there's several art shifts due to the various artists, most of the art way too confusing and sketchy...

Overall, it's the long awaited conclusion to DC's science fiction space-based crossover!
...and it's a bit messy.

The art's a bit bland and generic, the story goes in all sorts of direction for such a straightforward plot...

I think we could have done without the bad fillers (that Hawkman retcon ends up being disregarded completely, since he appeared after that as his usual modern self in blackest Night and the Egyptian Immortal even survived into The New 52 reboot!) and the excessive cast that doesn't get used much (Animal Man, what are you doing in here?!).
This could have filled one single trade paperback, instead of being stretched way too long.

Check it out if you enjoyed the previous related titles.

I give it:

  1.5 / 3 Plastic-trophies!

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