Thursday, April 6, 2017

Millennium #3 (1988)

Millennium #3 (January, 1988)
Story - Steve Englehart
Layouts - Joe Staton
Finishes - Ian Gibson
Letters - Bob Lappan
Colorist - Carl Gafford
Editor - Andy Helfer
Cover Price: $0.75

Okey dokey... we picked the ten people to advance Earth's... something or other.  Now, we gotta keep 'em safe.  Gotta wonder why our ZamarOan crusaders didn't already think of that!  I figure, you've got someone or something you wanna protect... you protect it straightaway.  Guess that's why I'm not an immortal... or maybe I am, I haven't died yet!

I wanna apologize for the picture quality for this piece.  It would appear that the comic shop I nabbed this from all those years ago used this issue to stamp out a grease fire and sop up spilled paint... perhaps not quite in that order... but what I'm trying to say is, I might wanna consider replacing my copy.


We open in Manhunterville... where Manhunters are manhuntering around, all the while proclaiming that "no man escapes the Manhunters"!  Manhunter, manhunter, manhunter.  They are addressed by the Grandmaster... who pretty much says the same thing.  He does also reveal that one of "the ten" had fallen... Salima Baranazir from Iran.

Elsewhere, a reporter... maybe Bethany Snow (?) is delivering a televised report about possible UFO sightings.  In the network's control room, old Green Lantern thorn-in-the-side, Tawny Young watches on.  She is approached by Mr. Niederman... who I'm gonna assume is the station manager, who offers her the opportunity to "climb the ladder".  All she has to do is ixnay all talk of Manhunters and their Manhunteriness.

We shift scenes to Soviet Russia, where our potential recruit Nikolai is being grilled by some ranking officials.  He insists that he sent the aliens away... they blow his brains out anyway.

We head back to the Green Lantern Citadel just as our ZamarOan pair arrive.  Gotta mention that Hal Jordan has Tom Kalamaku and his family in a construct-bubble for safe-keeping.  Blue Beetle tells Safir that Salima was lost... not to be outdone, she reveals that Nikolai is dead.  No worries though... they allowed for attrition.  Okay... so, they should've said "We have chosen ten... or so, people of Earth...".  They don't get to chat long, as John Stewart arrives with a television set.  On it, President (and Englehart fave) Ronald Reagan is saying the Manhunters ain't no big deal... they're just a vicious rumor.  Kilowog figures Reagan must be a Manhunter... Englehart wouldn't allow that... he's no Manhunter... he's just an idiot.  His wife Nancy, however?  Well, yeah... she just might be a Manhunter.

We shift to Tokyo with the Outsiders.  They are there to pick up Yakata.  Before they can split... they are surrounded by Manhunters!  Makes ya wonder why Safir didn't just bring him back the first time around... almost like they're trying to, I dunno... stretch this to eight issues?  Anyhoo... the Outsiders fight them off until they have the opportunity to escape.

In the Outback, the kids of Infinity, Inc. arrive to pick up Ms. Clawman who still can't stop talking about seeing things in the Dreamtime.  They pick her up without a hitch.

Next stop, Washington, DC.  The Justice League International stand atop the steps of the Lincoln Memorial trying to assuage the panic of the mob that has assembled.  The mob is oddly accepting of their statements... so, no big deal.  Gotta mention that Captain Atom is currently in his "JLI spy" role, so he's acting a bit strange.  After they disperse, Booster Gold overhears Hadley admitting that he is Captain Atom's Manhunter.  Wait... huh?  That seems kinda sloppy, right?  Booster hoists him into the air to give some (empty?) threats... before placing him right back down to go about his Manhuntery business.  Okey doke...

Also on the ground, General Eiling (of the Captain Atom project) and Amanda Waller (of Task Force X) bump into one another.  They both mention that their respective groups are going to be sitting this present crisis out.  However, through the aid of thought-bubbles, we readers know they're both full of it.

At Arkham Asylum, a Dr. Wetson arrives to counsel the Floronic Man.  The nurses and administration seem totally cool with her just walking in... you'd figure Arkham would have some pretty stringent protocol when it comes to things like this... but, nope.  Anyhoo, she's obviously a Manhunter... and she springs Woodrue from the rubber-clink.

Back in (fascist?) Britain, Batman, Mister Miracle, and Guy Gardner arrive to try and convince Celia Windward.  This time around, she's open to the idea... because, get this... Ronald Reagan said the Manhunter's ain't no big thing... and anything Reagan says is bound to be wrong.  D'oh... layin' it on a bit thick, Steve.  They are surrounded by Manhunters... but are able to escape pretty quickly.  So much for "No man escapes the Manhunters", right?  Should consider changing that to "Pretty much everybody escapes the Manhunters!"

Wonder Woman arrives in South Africa to pick up our racist pal Kroef.  He's basically everything that can be bad about a person... really unsubtle.  First, he scoffs that they sent Wonder Woman instead of Superman... but is happy to see that she is "every bit as white as he".  Ay yai yai.

Next stop, Peru... to my favorite New Guardian... Gregorio!  He's a pretty tortured soul... no longer drowning his sorrows at the bar.  He is being catcalled by a dock worker, and concludes that everybody despises him.  I suppose I should say that it's pretty clear that Gregorio is gay... the dialogue and character design might even be less subtle than the racists jerk we just visited.  Anyhoo, Greg attempts suicide by throwing himself into the drink.  Luckily, the Flash is there to save his skin.

In Shanghai, Katma Tui, John Stewart, and Kilowog arrive to pick up Xiang Po.  They are attacked by a Manhunter agent... that they incapacitate with the quickness.  At this point, Stewart realizes they might be up against a cult of androids.

Elsewhere, we meet up with our old friend Harbinger.  She's still in panic mode over spilling the beans on the heroes... and has split herself into twenty forms to try and find the Manhunter's "cloaked world".  It isn't long before she's captured.  Wow, somebody actually didn't escape the Manhunters!

We wrap up back at the Citadel, where all of the Chosen have been assembled.  But, waitasec... where did the Kalamakus go?!


Alright... this was a bit better than last issue, but not quite as enjoyable as the opener.  Like I mentioned in the preamble... it feels foolhardy for the ZamarOans to just inform their "chosen" and not collect them at the same time.  You'd figure they'd all be safer at the Green Lantern Citadel, rather than just out in the open where any number of Manhunters (or even a freak accident) could wipe them out.

Perhaps this was done in such a stilted, time-wasting way as to allow the tie-in issues to keep in lockstep.  Not sure, it's been even longer since I've read some of those.  Even if that was the case, the pacing here feels a bit wacky... and redundant.  Kinda like digging a hole with the express purpose of filling it back in.  This issue only occurs because of what happened in the one before... and reading that back, I can see how stupid that sounds... but I can't shake the feeling that we're stretching this to reach the eight issue mandate.

I did think it was pretty cool that a few of the chosen were actually killed here, it really shook things up a bit... until... we learned that they had planned for attrition.  Plus, they replaced Terra with Woodrue... so, that kinda tells us that these "chosen" might not be quite as elite as we are meant to believe, right?  Like, say all ten died... would our ZamarOan duo just, I dunno... choose another ten?  Ehh, who knows.

I like that the idea of trust was bandied about during this issue.  Everybody is second-guessing those around them.  It's that kind of paranoia that I really dig.  I think the heroes should be portrayed as perhaps a bit more hesitant to participate in recruitment and damage control though.  We have members of the Justice League noticing that Captain Atom is acting a bit odd... during an event that is full of Manhunter sleeper agents showing their true colors... but, nobody's questioning him?  I dunno...

While on the subject of Captain Atom... why doesn't Booster Gold tell him about learning the identity of his Manhunter?  He just threatens the guy... and puts him back down to go about his Manhuntery business?  So much of this seems to be lacking in the urgency I'd expect from an android invasion.  It's hard to see this as a true "event" when even the heroes don't seem to be completely committed to the idea.

I will say, I could do without the political commentary here.  We get it, Steve... you don't like Reagan.  I think this sort of thing hurts comics... we do not need to check in with the President for every event... especially if we're doing so just to throw some not-so-subtle jabs.  I don't care which side of the political aisle your lobbing attacks to or from... I'd just prefer it be kept out of my comics.

Overall... I will say I'm not enjoying this as much as I hoped I'd be when I started this reread, though I don't feel it's nearly as bad as its online reputation dictates.


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