Ever had one of those weeks where you discover a comic that seems like it has been written specifically for you? Whether it’s the chosen cast of characters, the art or the subject matter; or more likely a combination of all three; you simply know that when the writer sat down, he or she had you specifically in mind.
This week, I have been lucky to be so gifted. Twice, all at once! After a couple of months where although there were many series that gained my interest, there were none that gave me that tingle, none that I knew I would place in my ‘never sell this on eBay on pain of death’ pile. It’s quite a small pile to be honest, mainly limited to Animal Man and Crisis On Infinite Earths and those special issues of Fantastic Four that I could not live without. The tingle that the Saga Of Crystar, Crystal Warrior that I wrote of earlier this week.
The first title that I must bring your attention to is Flashpoint: Secret Seven, where the second issue shipped this week. Now, I am a child of the Eighties, as regular readers will know. (Technically I suppose I’m a child of the Seventies, but that was hardly my influential decade.) I came to DC during the Crisis On Infinite Earth and grew up just as Vertigo began hitting the shelves. The one title that I would move Heaven and Earth to ensure I got was John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad.
So, Secret Seven has a cast list that makes me drool simply thinking about it. Rac Shade the Changing Man. June Moon the Enchantress. Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. To a lesser extent so far, Raven of the Titans and Zatanna, and a guy called Mindwarp and finally Abra Kadabra.
Under Ostrander’s tutelage, my heart went out to June Moon. Nice as it was to see her in Shadowpact, it hust didn’t seem like the same person. Now however, we see the same manipulative nature that the Enchantress was renowned for, and no doubt her vulnerability will show at some point.
Same story with Amethyst really. I loved her earlier series that I collected from the back issue bins, but disliked her appearance in Fate and Scare Tactics, as the adult and embittered Monarch. That childlike nature is what always endeared her, before she became a hard-assed Lord Of Order. That Amy is back.
I neglected to mention that Pete Milligan writes this, so we see Rac Shade in all of his insane glory, bringing back the halcyon days of both his own two titles and his stint in the Suicide Squad. If you were a fan of ANY of these titles, you need this. I don’t know what, if anything, this spin-off has to do with the main thrust of the Flashpoint story, nor do I care. I don’t need to. Fernando Blanco and Scott Koblish provide art that perfectly suits not just Shade, but the entire cast.
DC, don’t you dare let this be the only time we see this team. Flashpoint Secret Seven must not only see a fourth issue, but a hundredth issue, even if you have to chain Milligan to a desk and never let him see the light of day. Cancel the reboot, sorry, relaunch, and focus all of your efforts in this one title.
Second is Boom’s latest offering, Elric: The Balance Is Lost. The Michael Moorcock multiverse can seem a little impenetrable at first glance, but this first issue easily describes the status quo, introduces various incarnations of the Eternal Champion. Chris Roberson is masterful at drawing the reader in, giving enough similarity to the world we know to make the worlds of Elric, Corum and Hawkmoon seem not only palatable, but delicious on first taste. Francasco Biagini provides the art, and effortlessly switches from ‘real world’ to fantasy realm in a fashion that flows beautifully. Finally, there is a tribute to Mr Moorcock’s work by Neil Gaiman at the end. Though reprinted from 2008, it sums up the joy that Michal Moorcock provided us long term fans with over the years in dozens upon dozens of novels.
If you are new to the tales of the Eternal Champion, this is an ideal jumping on point, opening up easily a year’s worth of thoroughly enjoyable reading for you (not including sleep I might add). If you are a Moorcock fan, seriously, you will love this. Despite the many Elric comics over the years, this is easily the best so far, and I’m saying that simply after the first instalment!