Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Darkstars #32

The Crimelord-Syndicate War – Part III: The Night They Burned Ol' Dixie Down!

Michael Jan Friedman ~ Writer
Mike Collins ~ Penciller
Ken Branch ~ Inker
Bob Pinaha ~ Letterer
Linda Medley ~ Colorist
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt Passing the Bucket
Paul Kupperberg Toasting Marshmallows
Darkstars created by Michael Jan Friedman and Larry Stroman

This issue's cover was pencilled by Mike "the Welshman" Collins and inked by Ken "Hershey Bar" Branch. John Wren and Curtis King played fiddle and watched Dallas burn. It's not a bad image of Darkstar, Deathstroke and Supergirl — I just wish they were featured more in this issue. Although this is the third part of the Crimelord-Syndicate War, Friedman basically treated it like a backup story to all his other dangling plot threads.

So since it's been a while, let's recap a little bit. In light of reports that Crimelord had a nuclear bomb, Sargent Steel sent Deathstroke and the New Titans to Dallas to investigate. Instead, they found a Syndicate space ship, loaded with plenty of aliens and robots ready to attack. And then, in the thick of the battle, Crimelord sent his elite Force-Troops — a random collection of low-level super villains. And this issue begins in the midst of this chaotic battlefield.

Everybody is attacking everybody and no real progress is being made, except for Darkstar beginning to suspect that someone might have set them up. A military helicopter gets caught in the crossfire, and Darkstar and Minion save the soldiers inside. A newscopter then goes down, and Terra and Impulse save the reporters, taking the time to crack a few jokes.

We then get page after page of a completely unrelated and uninteresting side story before returning to the main fight in Dallas. Impulse cracks another joke, saying, "Hey, didn't anybody tell you? My hand ... is quicker than your eye?" And everybody keeps fighting the three-way conflict to a complete standstill, until one of the Syndicate leaders attempts to broker a truce with Darkstar by giving her the location of Crimelord's six nuclear bombs. But before Donna can agree, John Stewart shows up with six more Darkstars to save the day.

Ugh. Can't this stupid war end already? I liked the idea behind this big crossover, but it was poorly handled right from the get-go, and it really felt like none of the people working on this book had any interest in it. Impulse had a couple of little moments, but he and the rest of the Titans were reduced to nothing more than a couple of jokes and cheap, meaningless action scenes. I like humor and I like action in comic books, but I need to have a direction, a purpose for it. All the fighting in this issue felt like Friedman was stalling for the war to be wrapped up next issue. And he could have accomplished that task in an interesting way by showing off the diversity of Crimelord's Force-Troops.

None of the letters in Mugla Mail mention Impulse, so let's head straight to the ads.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Beginnings. The early voyages ... The original six-issue miniseries collected in trade paperback.

Blood Syndicate #28. You can't fight city hall! By Milestone.

Across an ocean, Nightwing battles to save his oldest friend. Gotham City never seemed so far away. Nightwing: Alfred's Return. By Alan Grant & Dick Giordano.

The deal of steel. DC subscription form. Interestingly, I can't find The Darkstars under the list of available titles. Perhaps DC new this book only had six more issues left.

The Dark Knight is just the beginning. Batman Chronicles. A closer look at the heroes and villains of Gotham City. An all-new 48-page quarterly.

Rage. The Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Collectible trading card game.

Next time: The conclusion of the Crimelord-Syndicate War in Deathstroke #49!

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