Genesis #3 (October, 1997)
Writer – John Byrne
Penciller – Ron Wagner
Inker – Joe Rubenstein
Colorist – Patricia Mulvihill
Letterer – Clem Robins
Assistant Editor – Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt
Editor – Paul Kupperberg
Cover Price: $1.95
Wow, we’re almost done with Genesis already? I suppose we shouldn’t throw any babies in the air just yet… we still got about 45 pages to go.
We open with the straws being drawn… an endeavor which appears to be rendered moot the very next page, when every hero is transported to the Source Wall, and stood before a very sassy Darkseid. I’ve been looking at this panel with Darkseid with his hand on his hip for a few minutes now… and I’m still chuckling. I’m picturing him saying “Don’t go there.”
From here we get yet another explanation of the God-Wave, just in case people decided to jump on with this issue, I guess. It’s the same as it was… first wave swept over the universe 40,000 years ago leaving a “seed of divinity” in its wake, creating the Gods of worship and myth. It would then double back, planting the potential for latent super power in the folks we look at as the DC pantheon of superheroes.
Darkseid stops yapping when we hit page 5, and our story can finally begin. The heroes get restless, and so Darkseid sics his legion of Parademons and Elite Forces on them.
The battle is short lived, as Takion pops his shiny bod out of the mix… and with him, a handful of the heroes (probably those who drew the “short straw”). He informs them all that he is able to communicate with the Source, and right now what it wants is… to be penetrated. Metron uses his Mobius Chair to scan for an advantageous point of entry… and as luck would have it, there’s one right below them! The wizard, Shazam arrives just in time to lend a hand.
Meanwhile in Gotham, Robin, Huntress, and Catwoman still sit perched atop a roof complaining about their loss of hope. I guess quoting Hitler will only get you so far, eh Selina?
Back at the Source, a battle rages. Superman grows frustrated over his lack of control over his strange new powers. At the same time, Darkseid and Desaad are standing at a console. They are visited by… yawn, the Spectre. I guess this is when we’re supposed to realize that this event is important. He doesn’t stick around long, and inserts himself into the Source Wall. At that very moment, time… stops! For a moment.
At the console, Darkseid continues to pontificate. He is then visited by a strange man, who introduces himself as one of the Old Gods… the “opposite number” to Arzaz. He offers Darkseid his aid.
Suddenly, the Source… screams! It is felt far and wide across the universe.
In its fury, the Source ejects the interloping heroes. When the cosmic dust settles we learn that Takion did not survive.
Before the heroes can collect themselves, the unthinkable happens. The Source… explodes!
Okay… I didn’t hate this. Heck, I didn’t even really dislike it! But, I gotta say… it’s all happening way too fast.
It feels like what happened in this issue could have easily been spread out into a second… any urgency or feelings of intensity or suspense is lost when the reveals occur on the next (or the very same!) page.
Now, I get that I am not reading the tie-ins that go along with this, which may be taking me out of the cosmic gestalt… but, to my eyes that’s more of a problem with the way comic events are produced. To me, if I’m buying the four-issue Genesis (or eight-issue Millennium) event miniseries, I’m expecting to receive a full story. Unfortunately that’s not the case. While Millennium put everything important in the tie-ins, Genesis doesn’t give us even half a second to reflect on the severity of the threats, how the heroes feel, or even what would occur should the bad guys win. I almost cringe to say it, but I think Genesis may have benefited from a fifth issue… at least to this point. Haven’t read the ending yet, so I cannot really speak to that.
To briefly recap my event thoughts, I think Millennium should have been a two-issue “bookend” miniseries… and Genesis should have started with an issue #0. Yikes. Hmm… maybe just a “double-sized” #1… yeah, let’s go with that.
For the issue itself… the problem is definitely in the pacing. Like I’d said above, everything is happening way too fast. They draw straws… but send the entire group anyway. The heroes are immediately standing before Darkseid… they battle. Darkseid is visited by the Spectre who enters the Source… Darkseid is then visited by a dark Old God… the Source explodes.
There’s just no breathing room there… none of it feels important, because by the time one beat ends, another starts… and ends! I think we were supposed to feel something when Takion died… but it was treated as just another beat. This may have been done on purpose, with the thought that the end of the universe waits for no man… but, in comics, I think we need more than that. The comics format is about as flexible as they come. Heck, they could have added something along the lines of a countdown clock in the corner of each panel. It worked in a recent issue of Batman… where characters spoke full paragraphs in a single second. Impossible (and annoying to some), but comics allow that kind of wibbly-wobbly freedom.
The art here is still doing very little for me. I don’t know about you, but the first time I see the Source Wall… I think that ought to be a grand, epic, and beautiful looking page. I mean, the Source Wall is a pretty big deal… and has the potential to look absolutely jaw-droppingly amazing. Here, it’s just another panel. Such a wasted opportunity which really diminishes (to me) the impact of its destruction. I will say that some of the full-page character shots were pretty nice though.
Overall, this… of the three issues I’ve read so far, is my favorite. Does that mean I’d recommend it? Probably not. Characterization is lost in a sea of “stuff happening”. Given how little time is spent on the characters, those heroes chosen to confront Darkseid could have easily been anyone. The only time there is a pause in the action is when we receive yet another info-dump.
I guess we will see how this one wraps up tomorrow. I was planning on covering a reader request, however… I realized I don’t own the issue in question… and my local shop didn’t have it. I’m going to be running some errands on the other side of town this weekend, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to procure it there. Apologies for the delay!
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