Millennium #6 (February, 1988)
Story – Steve Englehart
Breakdowns – Joe Staton
Finishes – Ian Gibson
Letters – Bob Lappan
Colors – Carl Gafford
Editor – Andy Helfer
Cover Price: $0.75
Keeping to a daily discussion schedule can become a drag even in the best of times. When we’re discussing Millennium, however… that drag becomes almost debilitating. This event is a certain kind of bad… it’s not “so bad, it’s good”, that would make this fun… it’s just bad… and boring. Characters are written to be unlikable, and more often then not, nothing happens!
Welp, let’s hit it…
We open with our space-bound heroes, being led by Superman and Hal Jordan closing in on the Manhunter big-bad… who just so happens to be very… yellow. This unfortunately renders the Lantern Corps fairly useless… and so, it is left to Superman and J’onn J’onzz to proceed with the assault. Before they can do all that much damage, the Manhunter vanishes.
Dr. Fate attempts to follow the baddie via magic, however… this is the new Doc, and his inexperience greatly inhibits his abilities. He begins affecting the very life-energy of all present heroes… and decides to channel all of the energy into two of the champions… Superman and Hal Jordan, after which the heroes and Fate fall comatose.
Back at the Citadel, the ZamarOan duo appear to have put their “chosen” into a sort of trance-state. Really feels like we’re missing something here… though I can’t imagine why they’d put important “chosen” scenes in the tie-ins instead of the main event series. Maybe I’m just missing something… or, ya know… it’s sloppy storytelling.
After the transcendental trip, the Zamoran concludes that “he” will be the traitor. “He” in this case is the fat racist South African. Go figure, right? Let’s see… we choose a handful of diverse and good people… and one stereotypical jackass. Hmm, wonder who’s gonna be the bad guy. I’m tellin’ ya, if they’d chosen someone else it would have been a bit more interesting… have the racist clown see the error of his ways… actually become a well-rounded character. But, that’s probably too much work.
We shift to a brooding Batman as he is approached by Wonder Woman. He’s more than a bit snippy… because he’d just received word that his Outsiders were “crushed” (in a tie-in). It’s hard for me to feel bad for him here… as, had he been with them instead of soaking in the cheers last issue, maybe things would have went a bit better.
From here, Batman and the kinder-gentler Guy Gardner head to Booster Gold International to chat with their former friend and teammate. Guy is in full-on apologist mode here… and it’s almost funny. They find Gold, and fight… Booster takes them out with ease.
Back at the Citadel, the members of the chosen wake up. Tom Kalamaku is joined by his family, and they have a touching reunion. The racist South African is… well, racist. What’s that funny way of saying “subtle”? Sub-tull? Yeah, that’s the characterization here. It all comes down to the racist South African quitting. Safir bids him adieu… so, that’s how he’ll be a traitor? He’ll quit? Okay. Anyhoo… on his way out, he refers to John Stewart as a “kaffir”, because… racist. Stewart punches him out… and the South African vows to destroy the chosen.
Nearby, Floronic Man meets with that person with the bad mohawk. The would-be Dreadnok informs him (and us) that “No Man Escapes the Manhunters”… yawn… Woodrue renounces the Manhunters as no more than myth… and claims not to be “one of [them] anymore”. He dodges an attack, and taps into the green… tying the punk up in the undergrowth. The rest of the heroes head over to see what’s up.
They drag the punk to the Citadel and proceed to interrogate him. Batman plays “bad cop” and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t talk. The other heroes are unsure as to whether or not Batman is bluffing.
We wrap up with Blue Beetle revealing that he studied the flying saucer they found last issue… and concluded that it’s origin is the center of the Earth!
So… we got rid of the racist guy, right? That’s something…
It kinda begs the question why they chose him in the first place… but, hell… eight issues ain’t gonna fill themselves, right? I know I’m repeating myself here… but this entire series is an exercise in wheel-spinning. We’re supposed to think the ZamarOan duo did their homework on their “chosen”… and we’ve spent how many scenes now where we’re still futzin’ with the concept?
I mentioned in the preamble that this is bad… but not “so bad, it’s good”. There’s so little to even poke fun at here… it’s infuriating. I can say say that the only people with consistent characterization throughout this entire thing are the South African racist… and Ronald Reagan. I could say that the art is especially rough here… perhaps a result of the weekly-release time crunch. I could mention that characters who should come off as likable don’t. There’s a lot I could point out… but none of it is fun to discuss or explore, and by this point my ability to critique this issue in a vacuum is pretty much shot.
I’m not sure I’ve ever discussed anything here at the blog that I actually said to “avoid”. I’ve covered some stinkers… but nothing I’d recommend not reading. We’ve had some “for completionists only” or “for novelty value only” or “don’t pay too much for this”… but, today… we’re gonna break out the unspoken avoid. Millennium is not worth your time. I hoped I’d be able to shine a light on the better points of this event… but, as we proceed deeper in, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that perhaps there aren’t any.
(Not the) Letters Page: