Thursday, April 13, 2017

Millennium #8 (1988)


Millennium #8 (February, 1988)
"The Rising and Advancing of Ten Spirits"
Writer - Steve Englehart
Pencils - Joe Staton
Inks - Ian Gibson
Letters - Bob Lappan
Colors - Carl Gafford
Editor - Andy Helfer
Cover Price: $0.75

Oh happy day... we're just about done with Millennium!  So far in my blogging "career", I've only dropped one series without finishing it.  It was the The L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons) mini-series.  It was so boring I only made it halfway.  I was almost positive Millennium was going to fall to the same fate... but, we pushed through.

If you've followed along with me, I hope you enjoyed and I sincerely thank you.

Now what's say we put dis one to bed, eh?

EDIT 6/7/2017: For our thoughts on the whole kit-n-kaboodle, please check out Episode 21 of Weird Comics History.




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We open unsurprisingly, at the Green Lantern Citadel.  All members of the chosen are present... so, our Booster Gold-abduction cliffhanger must have been dealt with in the tie-in issue (of Booster Gold, I'd imagine).  Everything's hunky-dory, and Kilowog informs the gang that the now ancient-looking ZamarOans are ready for them... it's time for the ascension to begin.



They call Xiang forward first... and she takes that to mean that she will "lead" the team.  Nobody argues... and so, she steps forward to become... Gloss, the Feng-Shui superhero!



Her ascension and apparent subsequent hair-extension fitting is felt far and wide, the Gods of Olympus and the Parliament of Trees in the Amazon Jungle to be specific.



Next up, Takeo... who becomes RAM.  His new electric mind can tap into the Green Lantern computer.  Seems a little, I dunno... inorganic for something like this, no?



His transformation is also felt around the universe... most notably, its Fourth World corner.  Apokolips and New Genesis both feel it.



Safir begins to stumble... her rapidly aged body catching up with her.  Mister Miracle helps her to her feet so she can continue.  The next New Guardian not yet... to step up is my favorite... Gregorio!  He becomes (the somehow even more flamboyant) Extrano.



His ascension is felt by the Phantom Stranger and in the Anti-Matter Universe of Qward where Sinestro is being held.



Next is the Aborigine Betty... whose transformation is quite a bit different than the others.  She ascends to become the embodiment of the world... and will live through Extrano.  I think she will actually "reside" in the Dreamtime.



This is felt by Etrigan the Demon, the Spectre, the two fallen members of the Chosen... Nikolai and Salima, and the Creeper.



Celia steps forward next... and is transformed into Jet, with the powers of flight as well as control over sound and light.



Elsewhere, the Challengers of the Unknown, Warlord Travis Morgan, Sarge Steel (I think), and Deadman's ears perk up.



The Floronic Man is next, however... declines any Guardian gifts.  He will become Floro, however, feels no need for anything more than the Green.



It's Tom Kalamaku's turn... and much like Floro, he declines... not just the power, but his spot on the team.  He cannot leave his family behind.  Hal initially seems really ticked off, but Hawkman and Hawkwoman quickly defuse the situation.  The remaining chosen harbor no ill will toward their would be teammate.



Tom apologizes to the ZamarOans... but they're cool with it, claiming that "seven will suffice".  Bu-bu-but, we've only got six, right?  Nope, just so happens we've got one on the bench... Harbinger!  Only, she says "no thanks", splits into twenty bodies, and flies away.



The Old-Timer reaches out to Tom, and slips him a bit of "latent" power... just in case.  We then shift scenes to "darkest Africa" where the old racist is rallying his forces for a (totally super subtle) War Against Change!



Back at the Citadel... Heru and Safir finally die.  It would be touching if they weren't so annoying throughout this story.



And so we wrap up this issue and the event with the heroes leaving the Millennium-Six to face their future.



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Okay... this wasn't bad!

I've been thinking about this Millennium event quite a bit this week, and come to the conclusion that perhaps it would have been better if it were structured more like some contemporary event crossovers.  Keep all the tie-ins... and have two "bookend" issues.  Millennium #1 and #8 were the high points of this entire endeavor.  I think had it been kept to that, with (reworked) tie-ins to fill in the rest, the story would not have dragged nearly as much as it did.

Now, while this wasn't bad... I can't necessarily say it was "great" either.  It's a very procedural issue... a necessary one, but not as fun to read as maybe it could have been.  I appreciate that we finally got to see the nebulous "ascensions"... even if they don't completely make sense.  I'm not sure how we're supposed to look at the soon-to-be New Guardians as anything "more" than any of the other heroes of the DC Universe.  I get the feeling we're supposed to see them as being on a plane above folks like Superman... and, lemme tell ya... I ain't feelin' it.

I appreciate how it was shown that the ascension was being felt throughout the universe.  Again... I'm not feelin' it, but it was neat to see that this event was so far reaching.  It kinda begs the question why folks like Etrigan, Deadman, and the Challengers of the Unknown weren't called to fight the Manhunters (might have something to do with none of them having ongoing series' for tie-ins) but whattaya gonna do, right?

I'm happy to see that Joe Staton returns to form with this issue... which lends credence to the idea that the past few issues just didn't inspire his best work... though, that's just a theory.  Still interesting to see though...

Overall... if you really wanna read Millennium, I'd suggest maybe reading the first and last issues, and ignore the middle six.  Just know that there's a ton of repetition and cliffhangers that pay off in tie-in books.  Check out the tie-ins, or maybe read the Illustrated Indexes (see below).  I honestly cannot recommend reading this in its entirety... even for the morbid curiosity of it.

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(Not the) Letters Page:



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Bonus #1 - The Illustrated Indexes:

In the Spring of 1988, prolific indexers at the Independent Comics Group did their mojo on Millennium.  This looks like it hit the shelves just a few months after the event wrapped... which seems like a crazy quick turnaround time to me.  I'd say if you have any interest in following this event, this is probably how you should do it.  You get all of the context, none of the slog... and it's only two-issues long.

I'd suggest grabbing these even if you have no interest in Millennium.  Their DC Comics indexes are always a blast to flip through, and I nab 'em every time I come across 'em.  There are indexes for Doom Patrol, Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes, Hawkman, and the Justice League of America.  There's also a set that I never see (but really want) on Crisis on Infinite Earths.  It's (somehow) only two-parts!





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Bonus #2 - DC Focus #1 (Summer, 1987)

DC Focus was an in-house magazine used to hype upcoming event (singular).  I cannot find much information about this, however, if my normal research haunts are correct, this was the only issue of the "series" to be published.  It's a pretty good package, filled with news, interviews, solicitations, and creator bios.  Definitely something I'd have dug... especially for that price (though, I did happily pay 25-cents for my copy).







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Bonus #3 (added June 7 2017)

Comics Price Quotes #2 (October, 1987) from Malibu Graphics, Inc. included a "Market Watch" section which shared the sales success of the Millennium event as well as a complete checklist.








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Interesting Ads:



6 comments:

  1. I noticed that Extrano is referred to as a "gay Peruvian man" in DC Focus. I think that is the only time his orientation is explicitly stated in a DC publication.

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    1. I'd bet you're right... because they sure don't bring it up in the comic! I mean, he's written with the subtlety of an anvil to the head, but they never say it outright.

      In 2017, however... he did surface in an issue of the Midnighter and Apollo miniseries. I would have to assume it was made clear during that... however, I can't say for sure... it's still in my ever-growing "to read" pile

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  2. I remember enjoying Millennium up until this point because they were being creative with the story and not making yet another group of superheroes in costumes ...
    ... then this issue came along and they became a team of superheroes wth costumes. :( I don't mean to devalue of the series, but I really was expecting a completely different direction.

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    Replies
    1. In the wake of Crisis and Legends, I think there may have been too much pressure to do the yearly event book which would result in spin-off titles.

      Oddly, this issue (along with the first) are the only ones I enjoyed. Granted, I am likely doing the story a disservice by not reading the tie-ins... but I must agree, the fact that these folks became just "a team of superheroes" seems a bit anticlimactic. Like I mentioned above... why are we supposed to see the New Guardians on a higher plane than say, Superman? For that matter, why didn't the ZamarOans just pick Superman, or Captain Marvel, or Wonder Woman to "advance the Earth" into the new Millennium?

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  3. I first read Millenium a couple years ago and was left underwhelmed as it seems you were Chris. It's not bad enough to say it's terrible but... definitely not the best work for misters Englehart and Staton.

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    Replies
    1. I think "underwhelming" might be the perfect descriptor for this series. It was just such a letdown, especially after (what I consider) a strong first issue. This had the potential to really rock the DCU... and instead just launched a lame-duck title in New Guardians and changed some backstories which were more or less completely ignored by other creators.

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