Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Genesis #1


Ron Wagner Penciller
Joe Rubenstein Inker
John Byrne Writer
Patricia Mulvihill Colorist
Clem Robins Letterer
Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt Assistant Editor
Paul Kupperberg Editor

It's unusual for the penciller to receive top-billing in the credits, especially when said penciller didn't even draw the cover. Alan Davis and Mark Farmer drew this cover, which shows Martian Manhunter, Superman, Green Lantern and Starman falling out of the sky. It is a rather haunting image to start off this year's DC-wide crossover.

Genesis really is DC's forgotten event. It still hasn't been converted digitally by Comixology, and I had a very hard time finding anyone on the Internet wanting to talk about it. If anyone did mention Genesis, it usually was only to say that it was not well-received. Was it really that bad? We'll find out through the course of the next 10 issues — four for the main series and six tie-ins.

Our story begins in Keystone City, which the Flash has apparently returned to after living in California for the past few weeks. Some bad guys have fired a missile at a bank, and Flash thinks this will be an easy save. But suddenly, he loses his super speed, and is forced to throw a trash can at the missile to divert its course into a parking lot. Exhausted, Flash can only watch helplessly as the bad guys get away.

We quickly find out that Flash isn't the only superhero struggling. Green Lantern, Captain Marvel and the Legion of Super-Heroes all have their powers fluctuating. But the results are random. For example, Spark has lost her electric powers and gained the ability to make objects weightless. And Superman, who already is having a tough time with his new powers, has somehow become even more powerful.

We then cut to the fused worlds of New Genesis and Apokolips, where one of the new gods, Takion, reports to his leader, Highfather, that powers are fluctuating across all creation. Highfather suspects this is the doing of Darkseid. The Justice League of America meet at their Watchtower on the moon to discuss their problems, while Batman searches for solutions in his Batcave. Meanwhile, more heroes continue to have problems with their powers at the worst possible time, including our beloved Impulse.

For some reason, Max is no longer missing, and Jesse Quick decided to come help Max and Impulse battle some clowns. But it was a good thing she showed up, since Max has lost his speed and Impulse can only ... vibrate? In any case, all heroes are struggling, even those without powers like Robin, Nightwing, Arsenal and Guy Gardner. Instead of losing their powers, they've simply lost faith in themselves.

Back on New Genesis/Apokolips, Takion scours over the Apokolips half for Darkseid, only to find the entire area mysteriously empty. On Earth, we see one of Impulse's old teammates from New Titans, Donna Troy, try to visit her former boyfriend Green Lantern. But he's busy meeting with the JLA and a smattering of other heroes, who are consulting with Dr. Kitty Faulkner of S.T.A.R. Labs. She reports a sharp decline in the Kurtzberg Field, a low-level background radiation discovered by Professor Kurtzberg in 1937. Dr. Faulkner explains that the disruption to this field could only have been caused by a front of radiation that passed by 40,000 years ago and again about 1,000 years ago. I don't know how Dr. Faulkner is supposed to know this, or why the effects of these waves of radiation are being felt now and not a thousand years ago, but she's a scientist, so whatever she says is true.

Anyway, Batman calls in on the video monitor to explain away one very small and worthless detail. Apparently Supergirl is unaffected by this because she's from a different dimension. But everyone else is subject to the power fluctuations, including Green Lantern because his ring was created by aliens in this universe. Batman also says he has more news, but he is interrupted by the sudden arrival of an alien armada closing in on Earth.

This isn't a terrible issue to start off a major crossover event. All the main players are involved and they're dealing with a strange, and widespread crisis. But I don't like the random nature of it, and I like the explanation given even less. I really could have used some graphs and charts to illustrate this crossing waves of radiation thing. Or least more discussion than two or three sentences from Dr. Faulkner and Captain Atom saying, "That makes a kind of sense." No it doesn't! It actually gets more confusing the more I think about it, so I'll just leave it right there.

I also am a bit disappointed in our editors, Paul Kupperberg and Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt. They're watching over Impulse right now, and doing a fairly decent job, as far as I can tell. But why did they allow the continuity error of Max Mercury slip through? They could have very easily told John Byrne to write out Max and thrown in a line of dialogue about Jesse helping Bart look for him. Then, to wrap everything up in a nice bow, tack on a small editor's box directing readers to Impulse #29. It would have helped so much! Also, what's the deal with Impulse "vibrating"? He already can vibrate through walls and stuff! Just take away his speed or give him flight or super strength or something that makes sense. The last thing this book needed was more confusing moments.

All right, that's enough of this strange, confusing book with uninspiring art. Let's take a look at the new ads:

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Give your day the brain off. Mello Yello.

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Watch This Space only has one small, vague reference to Impulse. Apparently, one day a bunch of people in the office happened to be wearing Hawaiian shirts, including Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt. Man, this feature really sucked.

Next time, Impulse will make a very quick cameo in Starman #35.

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