Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Finish the damn' story already

I'm still waiting for my copy of the Day of Vengeance Special to arrive, so I can't review it as such. I have read this week's Crisis Counseling, so I know pretty much what happens (and what doesn't).

I'm pleased by the presence of heretofore minor characters (or missing pieces) of the DCU. One thing the Infinite Crisis lead-in series have done is reinforce the possibility that anything could happen, and that anyone might matter. Why would (to pull an example out of a hat) Nightshade bother to put on her spandex in the morning if nothing she does really makes a difference? Having her take out Eclipso back in DoV #6 puts her on the board as a potential Major Player, something she hasn't been since DC acquired the character. And if Detective Chimp has a legitimate role in a Crisis, then anyone could.

I'm displeased by the fact that the Special invalidates the premise of the series. Okay, "Shadowpact", move over, the Big Boys are back.

I'm pleased at the resolution of the Rock of Eternity's destruction, which really couldn't have ended any other way. I'm displeased by the is-it-or-ain't-it resolution to the hostless Spectre.

Ultimately, I'm displeased by the fact that this special, and the other minis' specials, even exist. I feel cheated, buying into a six-part mini-series when the Powers That Be knew that there would be a seventh part. It's not like the series moved so fast that these threads couldn't have been tied up in six.

I'm further displeased that stories never end anymore, they just lead into other stories. The original Crisis on Earth-One/Crisis on Earth-Two ended. Zatanna's Quest ended. Crisis on Infinite Earths ended. Even Final Night and Zero Hour ended. I find it impossible to evaluate the success or failure of a story that never ends.

I understand the need to maintain continuing characters. I understand that each magazine's most compelling purpose is to make me want to buy the next one. But there are other ways to do that than creating an eternal middle. What I want is a well-told story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, in which characters cope with dramatic conflict, resolve it, and are in great or subtle ways changed by it.

So I can't tell you if DoV is ultimately any good until I know how it resolves--and that didn't happen in the pages of DoV Special. Maybe it will in Infinite Crisis.

Or the first, or second, arc in the upcoming Shadowpact title.

Or never.

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