Millennium #5 (February, 1988)
Story – Steve Englehart
Layouts – Joe Staton
Finishes – Ian Gibson
Letters – Bob Lappan
Colors – Carl Gafford
Editor – Andy Helfer
Cover Price: $0.75
Millennium… yawn. Let’s do this.
We open with the ZamarOan duo schooling their chosen on “the Universe” It’s about as exciting as you might imagine. The Guardian uses visual aids in the sky to punctuate his points… one of which draws the attention of a certain Man of Steel. Fresh off the discovery that most of Smallville consisted of Manhunters, Superman arrives at the Green Lantern Citadel. He’s pleased to see that the light show was not Manhunterian in origin, and enters to find a sassy, smirking Batman getting regaled by applause.
Superman’s all “what’s this about?”, and he (and we) learn that Batman and pals shut down the Manhunters’ terrestrial base of operations. Batman shares credit with other heroes, but is quite pleased that Superman wasn’t among them. Wow… I mean, I know Superman and Batman were contentious post-Crisis, but this seems childish and petty, no?
We get our weekly Millennium tie-in recap… Batman and Jim Corrigan did some stuff, Captain Atom was able to sway Firestorm back to the good guys’ side… Superman gets to allude to his recent Smallville discovery, but doesn’t get the opportunity to elaborate. Superman’s getting the short shrift here… more on that in a bit.
After some more Guardian “Universe 101”, we shift scenes to… hey look, another installment of “Steve Englehart doesn’t like Ronald Reagan” theater! In this scene, the President is made to look like a liar and an idiot. Par for the course for this story. Oh yeah, did I mention that the First Lady is a Manhunter? Cuz she totally is.
Back at the Citadel, we get another boring page and a half of ZamarOan hokum. Inside, the Outsiders lament the loss of Metamorpho… and team member, Looker receives a psychic scream from her people in Abyssia. The gang packs up and leaves… without checking in with Batman. Uh-oh.
After some more superhero meet and greet… Aquaman and Aqua
teenlad arrive with a discovery… a Manhunter UFO! This tells the heroes that, while the terrestrial Manhunter base may be no more, they still may linger in space. Superman takes charge and suggests that he and the Green Lantern Corps head into space to find the Manhunter planet of Orinda, in the Procyon System. This suggestion is immediately shot down, and reworked by several heroes. Dunno what’s up Englehart’s butt about Superman to make him look so foolish here… maybe he voted for Reagan!
Speaking of Orinda, we shift spaceward to find Harbinger still in captivity. As she struggles with her bindings, she is joined by that strange little Green Lantern we very briefly saw last issue. He frees her, and beams his backstory into her head. The Grandmaster sees this and proclaims… get this “No Man Escapes the Manhunters!” Go figure.
Back at the Citadel, some heavy-hitters arrive to aid in the assault on Manhunter HQ… including Hawkman, Hawkwoman, and Dr. Fate. We close out with several heroes leaving… and the ZamarOans concluding their lecture.
When I started rereading this series with the express purpose of sharing my thoughts here, I was hoping that perhaps I would be that “one voice” that viewed this event differently than the rest of the internet. That is to say, I wouldn’t hate it. Welp. Sometimes popular opinion turns out to be correct… this is really unpleasant to read.
I mentioned in my thoughts for the previous chapter that this was beginning to feel like a Batman vanity project… and that feeling is still strong. I’m really not feelin’ (post-Crisis) Batman standing there accepting the jubilant adulation of his peers… while sneering in Superman’s direction. Like I mentioned during the synopsis… I get that Superman and Batman ain’t buddy-buddy here, but… Batman comes across like a petulant child. He did everything but thumb his nose and say “nyah nyah”.
Keeping with Superman… it’s hard to see him going from the man who inspired the heroes to listen to the words of the Guardian in the opening chapter of this event… to a bumbling fool who nobody is willing to listen to… and the one’s who might listen, only do so to contradict and correct him. Not cool.
I’ve complained time and again about Englehart forcing his politics into the story… so, I won’t really do it again, except to mention that… yup, it’s still here. And, I’m still tired of it.
Overall… this series has gone from decent to dreadful with the quickness. Even with the sluggish early-mid event, I was still hopeful that it might turn around. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve first/last read this, and I couldn’t even tell ya how it turns out. At this point, my optimism is rapidly dissipating… and I’m actually beginning to dread subsequent chapters.
(Not the) Letters Page: