Takion #1 (1996)

Takion #1 (June, 1996)
“Birth Pains”
Writer – Paul Kupperberg
Artist – Aaron Lopresti
Inker – Gary Martin
Letterer – Willie Schubert
Colorist – Lee Loughridge
Assistant Editor – Alisande Morales
Editor – Dan Thorsland
Cover Price: $1.75

Today we’re going to meet Takion!  You remember him, right?  We last bumped into him when we discussed the Genesis debacle at some point last year.  I wondered just who in the hell he was then… and so, when I happened across nearly a full run of his title in the cheap-o bins (just missing #7), I excitedly snapped it up.  What can I say, I’m a stupid, stupid man.

Anyhoo… if you’ve been Takion-curious… read on, I promise you won’t be for long!

We open with a blind man seemingly being struck dead on the sidewalk.  He claims that since he’s a psychologist, he should be able to “detach himself from pain and fear”… I’ve been taking psychology for six years now, and I gotta say… that class hasn’t yet popped up on my schedule.  He collapses, and begins to smolder with energy as a crowd forms around him… and then…

Next thing we know, our blind shrink (Joshua Sanders) is ripped from his body and sent soaring through the cosmos, before winding up stood before… the Highfather!  This is notable because… having been blind since birth, this is the first time Joshua has ever been able to see anything… and now, he can see everything, not just what is front of him.

Highfather explains that he has chosen Sanders to be the “Takion of the Source”, a Source Elemental… with the ability to manipulate the, wait for it, Source.  Sanders is the perfect pick because, according to Highfather, he’s a “man without destiny”, and therefore wouldn’t be sorely missed.  There’s a “compliment sandwich” if I ever heard one.  Anyhoo… as if I haven’t typed “Source” enough yet… Takion’s gig will be cleaning the taint of the Source… which, ya know… kinda sounds gross.  Profane, even!

We hop into a flashback, where we’re seeing through Josh’s eyes… kinda, because, ya know… blind.  He’s behind his desk and chatting up a lady friend named Nancy.  It looks like they might have a romantic relationship.

The flashback is interrupted by Takion’s own Cosmic Awareness kicking in.  He finds himself overcome by… everything.  Past, present, future… sights, sounds, smells… all’a dat stuff… including seeing a battle, seemingly with himself, perhaps a physical representation/manifestation of his Joshua Sanders self being at odds with his new Takion of the New Gods self?  Or, maybe just a sign of things to come… yeah, that’s probably more like it.

After this, he returns to the scene of his own apparent demise… the crowd is still there.  He knows everyone’s names… and introduces himself as “Takion”… which, gets a confused narration caption.  Overhead, Kyle Rayner soars by… however, upon passing over Takion, his ring briefly powers down.  He’ll be back later.

Takion then flashes back to a time where he, in his blind fella form, almost wandered into the path of a truck.  Dude must’ve been deaf too… that was a big damn truck!  He then heads over to the hospital to chat up his lady friend, Nancy.  It doesn’t take him as long as you might imagine to convince her that the flaming golden god standing in front of her is actually the blind psychologist from down the hall.

Since Josh isn’t in control of his new cosmic awareness, his thoughts bleed into her brain.  She can hear so much of what he’s worried about… for example, a solar flare erupting on the Sun at that very moment.  Their reunion and chat is cut short by the arrival of the Highfather… which Takion ain’t at all happy about.

Takion takes off, and finds himself facing off with… Kyle Rayner!  Toldja he’d be back.  They spend the next several pages doin’ that thing where superheroes fight one another.  It looks like Takion’s got Kyle’s number… and is even able to shut down his ring a time or two.  The fight continues until Takion is able to break through one of Kyle’s constructs.

Takion and Kyle slam down onto the rooftop where Nancy is (still) standing.  Suddenly, the Highfather’s voice comes from her body… telling Takion to accept his powers.

Highfather keeps riding Takion to “open himself up” to these powers… because the Source needs a scrubbin’.  To his credit, he also apologizes for the position he put Josh in.  Highfather then senses that his presence is known… and so, he bugs out back to New Genesis.  By this point, however, Takion’s powers are sorta-kinda going out of control… and he’s actually lifted an entire aircraft carrier out of the nearby drink!

We wrap up this opening chapter with that Takion’s power seemingly shutting down, and that aircraft carrier slamming down onto a row of New York City high-rises!

Well, this wasn’t all that great, was it?

Let’s start with some praise… this book moves along at a decent clip.  Had this book come out in “current year”, it’d take about six issues to get where we are.  Hell, today we’d probably get an eight-page scene of blind Joshua feeding his cat in his darkened apartment or something.

Also, the Takion design is pretty cool.  Getting big-time Silver Surfer vibes (in look, power set, and angst), but I suppose that isn’t the worst thing in the world.  Gotta wonder if this design was pitched as “Silver Surfer, but gold… with a sash”, because that’s kinda what it is.

Now, the story we get here… I’m sorry, just isn’t terribly interesting.  It’s well-written, and has all of the “nuts and bolts” a first issue ought to have… it’s just really dull.  We have no reason to really care about Joshua Sanders… and no reason to empathize with the plight of Highfather, who comes across here as a selfish, callous jerk-ass.

Also, I didn’t care for the way the fight with Kyle Rayner went down.  This is a staple of comics-character-introductions… you create a new character, and s/he must immediately best another character in battle.  My “go-to” example of this is usually new-monster-on-the-block Doomsday beating the hell out of Darkseid.  It feels forced, and I feel it doesn’t do any of the characters involved any favors.

Overall… ehh, if you’re down for a short-lived 1990’s oddity, I suppose you could do worse.  I didn’t find this interesting in the slightest… though, in fairness… I’m not the biggest New Gods guy to begin with.  The art is solid, it looks as though Lopresti was having a lot of fun with the malleability of the Takion character.  Might be worth a flip through, though I wouldn’t recommend paying near cover price for it.

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