Friday, May 29, 2009


Most TPBs are pretty enjoyable, with eye-popping art and engaging storylines. But, of course, there's always some that are somewhat below average. This Millennium TPB, the collection of the eight-issue crossover miniseries that ran across DC's books in 1988, falls in the latter camp. It's not atrocious or offensive but it's still not very good.

The story by Steve Engelhart basically covers just two areas. The first involves a member of the Guardians of the Universe (an Oan) and a Zamaron (the female version of the Oans) coming to Earth and changing 10 (actually 7 in the end) selected humans - The Chosen - to become superpowered immortals. Meanwhile, the Manhunters, the original group of galactic policemen created by the Guardians before the Green Lantern Corps, decide to stop the Guardian and Zamaron from creating these Chosen. And that’s about it.

It is the latter idea that's the most intriguing because, unknown to the reader, the Manhunters have placed a number of sleeper agents - some androids, some willing humans, some mind-controlled beings - close to the various heroes of the DC Universe. These were sometimes already established characters in the heroes’ books and, when activated, were retconned into Manhunters to try to stop the heroes helping out. It's sort of like Marvel's recent Secret War series but with Manhunter agents rather than Skrulls. Unfortunately most of this action goes on in the other crossover books and is only hinted at in this central Millennium limited series. In fact, a lot of action is mentioned in this TPB but never really gets shown, occurring instead in other comics.

Instead, the focus in this book is the creation of the Chosen - via a load of mumbo-jumbo by Engelhart - which, in the end, produces a group of supposedly high-powered immortals to protect Earth. These New Guardians never made much of an impact and have since disappeared from the DC Universe (well, almost - a couple are members of the Global Guardians).

The artwork's also somewhat average. Joe Staton provided layouts over which Ian Gibson inked and it does certainly look like Gibson's other work, only looser and sketchier. I must admit, I never cared much for Gibson's 200AD work on stories like the Ballad of Halo Jones - it's just not my cup of tea. And I don't really have much knowledge of Staton's work. Overall, I guess the art manages to tell the (lacklustre) story but it's just not that good. Similarly with the colouring.

So, overall a bland collection that suffers from the lot of the problems that come with a company-wide crossover – i.e. a somewhat incomplete story. The art is weak as well and, with no additional material (annotations, introduction or sketches) in the book, this amounts to something of a turkey. And it seems the spin-off of this series – the New Guardians – was just as bad as well.

Grade: Fair

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