I get to see an advance screening of the Star Trek movie tonight, thanks to movie reviewer Kyle Smith (who is not really a sci-fi geek — though he has a daughter who turns one this month, named Summer, like the actress from the Terminator franchise, which returns to the big screen later this month). Watch for his review.
I’ll just note that a lot of comic books and genre films lately involve time travel or altered memories, often used as a means of refreshing a franchise, with the most obvious clot being this month’s three major nerd films, Wolverine (revealing his amnesia-obscured origin), Star Trek (using time travel and an aged Leonard Nimoy to introduce us to the new version of the cast), and Terminator Salvation (wisely leaving present-day time travel adventures behind for the post-apocalyptic wastelands while warning us in advance in one of the trailers that this isn’t the same future John Connor expected).
I was torn between two times myself tonight, since, alas, the Star Trek movie is being shown at the same time as the old documentary 1991: The Year Punk Broke, the latter pointed out to me by Dimitri Cavalli and both close to my heart. But I can always revisit 1991 in my mind — the future must be experienced (and four days before the rest of the world experiences it).
As for comics (specifically, DC Comics): despite plans to stop reading them, I’ve long been kept coming back to comics specifically by DC’s “Crisis” events, which appeal to my sci-fi aspirations by depicting alterations in reality and the timestream instead of just Batman stopping bank robbers — but I kept wanting it all to end so I could move on, and with events such as this year’s explicitly “Final” Crisis, I finally can and will.
As if they were trying to fulfill my comics wishlist, 2009 will have seen satisfying finales for the reality-altering characters known as the Monitors, Krona, Gog, Darkseid, and Time Trapper (arguably representing the First through Fifth Worlds of the DC Universe, respectively, more or less — with similarly powerful Monarch bumped off one year ago as well). So there’s little question in my mind that this, at long last, is a good stopping point for my comics-reading. Add to all that a film based on the most highly-acclaimed comic book of all time, The Watchmen, and Wolverine on the big screen solo, and a comics fan has little reason to complain right now. This means I’ll leave the printed superheroic realm behind before I turn forty, sparing me at least some embarrassment (the final issue of Trinity, the series depicting the final battle with Krona, who I used in one of the comics I wrote for DC, comes out May 27, and the final issue of the series depicting the final battle with Time Trapper, Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, comes out June 24).
Of course, next year — though I won’t be reading superhero adventures — I will have to go to the theatre to see the Iron Man sequel and the Green Lantern movie. (An adult should be well-rounded, after all, so I can’t just see the Harry Potter and Narnia films that are due out late next year. That would be juvenile, obviously.)
Earlier on this blog, I said it was a shame DC stopped doing the Crisis on Multiple Earths volumes collecting old Justice League/Justice Society team-ups because they were just about to reprint (even solicited in some venues) a story from 1980 drawn by George Perez that pitted the two Justice teams and the New Gods against Darkseid. Since Perez’s art and these story elements were all part of the Final Crisis of the past year as well, the old tale would be timely again — and luckily, that story will now be in the August Justice League by George Perez Vol. 1 collection (one of the old issues even had a cover by currently hot-again Jim Starlin, as if the whole thing weren’t 2008-presaging enough already).
Speaking of multiple Earths, I see that next year, Grant Morrison (who wrote the main Final Crisis miniseries) will write seven one-shot issues about DC’s multiverse, including (perhaps controversially) a de facto new version of Watchmen using the Earth-4-dwelling old characters on whom the Watchmen were based. (Since Bruce Wayne ended up being zapped into living multiple, horrible versions of his life in different realities at the end of Final Crisis, maybe he should pop up in these multiversal stories before finally, inevitably, making his way back to the main DC universe — sort of like the Batman version of Quantum Leap.)
Morrison plans to depict the once-Objectivist character the Question shifting toward a more postmodern “spiral dynamics” philosophy, meaning he’ll shift paradigms while retaining insights from his prior philosophies — which sounds somewhat healthy and probably makes more sense as an m.o. for a character named “Question” than having all the answers.
Speaking of that Time Trapper vs. Legion comic that’ll serve as my June 24 farewell to comics — it’s a perfect alpha-omega sort of deal for me, since the old Legion series was the first DC Comic I read regularly, partly as a reward for keeping an eye on my maternal grandmother, then suffering from Alzheimer’s. The next DC series I read regularly — and with even greater enthusiasm — was New Teen Titans, drawn by the aforementioned Perez, who’d drawn the multiversal first superhero comic I ever read, Marvel’s Avengers #149, and is now (very slowly) drawing the Trapper/Legion miniseries. It’s hard to believe he drew New Teen Titans monthly back when I was eleven. (Hard to believe I was ever eleven, really, still able to run faster than bullets, able to cloak criminals in my shadowy “soul-self” to render them unconscious, morphing into various green animals, or so it seems in fading memory. Ah, good times.)
After the Legion miniseries, they’re restarting the Superboy/Legion series Adventure, which will probably pick up the Legion’s story where it left off in 1989 before various (partly Time Trapper-caused) manipulations and revisions of their history. That means they’re likely to effectively erase the past twenty years of Legion history to preserve the preceding thirty-one — an interesting measure of how much more iconic the early decades were. Of course, the only truly shafted period, if they’re retaining recent versions (1994-2004 and 2004-2009) as alternate universes, will be the tumultuous, dark, doppleganger-filled, and continuity-bending period of 1989-1994. Farewell, Five Years Later Legion and Batch SW6. Talk about a “five-year gap.”
P.S. If I were in charge, I might well use the Legion miniseries as one more means to tease the “Blackest Night” event I blogged about on Saturday, since the Alan Moore-created character Sodam Yat appears in both, haunted in the future world of the Legion by terrible events that devastated the Green Lantern Corps back in our time. And I’d use the Trinity series, which also ends just as “Blackest Night” begins, to tease the event as well, since it wouldn’t be the first time Krona’s death awakened the menace of the deathgod Nekron. Might as well tie it all together, across the centuries and multiple realities.