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DC Zero Issues Review, Week 2, Part 2
By Tim Janson
September 17, 2012
To mark the one year anniversary of DC Comic’s New 52, September has been tabbed as Zero Month. The New 52 titles will be getting #0 numbered issues all month featuring stand-alone stories that tell the origins of a character or team, or offer surprising new details about the New 52 Universe.
Green Lantern Corps #0
Written By: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Fernando Pasarin, Scott Hanna
While it’s title Green Lantern Corps #0 this issue deals almost exclusively with Guy Gardner. I’ve alsway thought Guy Gardner’s origin to be well done because it was so simple. He was one of two candidates that the dying Abin Sur found to inherit his power ring along with Hal Jordan. However since Jordan was closer, he became the alien’s choice. The zero issue maintains most of Gardner’s original backstory. He is the son of an abusive father who was a cop. Gardner was also a cop but was kicked off the force. I don’t believe it was ever stated why he was kicked off originally. Tomasi fills in the gaps by having him kicked off the force for an incident that got innocent people killed although guy maintains his innocence. Tomasi also adds in a brother and sister who are also on the force, further ostracizing himself from his father.
Tomasi has Guy getting his ring for the first time, with no mention of Hal Jordan or Abin Sur, when his brother is pinned down by a vicious street gang and Guy arrives to help. Guy has yet to develop his infamous Moe Howard haircut but we eventually see him tackle a dangerous alien during one of his initial missions and earning his graduation honors from Kilowog.
This issue fits the bill of filling in a few gaps in Guy Gardner’s life without completely changing his origin so for me that makes the issue a success. We also get to see where the inspiration for his Green Lantern leather jacket comes from. The art by Pasarin and Hanna has the glossy, energetic look you need in a GL title so no complaints there.
Suicide Squad #0
Written by: Adam Glass
Art by: Fernando Dagnino
Wow…nothing like the Wildstorm Universe getting a big push in the New 52. Not only has it been assimilated into the New DCU, and not only was Deathstroke’s origin retconned to have been part of Team 7, but now the origins of the Suicide Squad and Amanda Waller are also tied to Team 7. This represents the paradox that is the New 52. Some character’s origins are completely changed and others kept the same with only a few new details filled in. What was the impetus for some of these wholesale changes? I can’t figure it out to be honest other than the writers want to have the Wildstorm characters more tied in with the DC characters.
There doesn’t seem to be a good reason to make Waller part of Team 7 nor for turning her from an administrative, behind-the-scenes character to an actual soldier and mercenary. But that’s what writer Adam Glass gives us here as Waller is in Malaysia and has to stop a terrorist group from detonating a nuke in a nearby village. The disastrous outcome leads Waller to develop a new team, a team with personnel who can be considered expendable…The Suicide Squad!
Again, this was all attainable without the changes to Waller’s character. She’s always been a lightning rod has a character who like to sit back and pull the strings without being actively involved. This seems like change for the sake of change. At least Dagnino’s art made it enjoyable to look at…
Demon Knights #0
Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Bernard Chang
So if you know about Etrigan The Demon, created by none other than Jack Kirby back in 1972, you know that the demon was bonded with the human, Jason Blood, by Merlin the wizard. That part has not changed. What Paul Cornell does is fill in some of the events prior to the bonding for both Etrigan and Jason. This is my favorite story of this batch of zero issues.
Etrigan and Jason Blood share a bond even before they were forced to coexist together. Both were servants who disappointed their masters. For Etrigan, it was Lucifer who belittles the rhyming demon’s skills, eventually leading Etrigan to rebel and raise an army against the Lord of Hell. Jason is the aspiring apprentice to Merlin but grows tired of the menial tasks he is given to perform. After a meeting with the precognitive Morgan le Fay who sees Jason’s rage consumes everyone who is close to him, Merlin make a pact with Lucifer to imprison the demon within Blood’s body and as the pair bonded over centuries they began work to fulfill both of their goals.
Hate to sound like a broken record but Cornell again does what all the Zero issues should do…give us new insight into the origins of these characters without making radical changes. Nothing that Cornell throws into the mix ends up causing any need for a retconned origin. Chang’s art was inconsistent with some panels looking bold and well-rendered while others looked rush and sketchy.
Written by: Tom DeFalco
Art by: R.B. Silva, Rob Lean
Superboy is nearly as old as Superman himself. He made his first appearance in More Fun Comics #101 in 1945, less than seven years after Superman’s debut. Answer fan’s demand for even more Superman, DC decided to create Superman and tell the tales of Superman as a teenager in Smallville. Superboy got his own title in 1949 and it ran for nearly 30 years until being canceled in 1977. So this is a character that has been around a LONG time. Perhaps no character has seen as much upheaval with their history than Superboy.
After the events in Crisis on Infinite Earths in the mid-1980s, Superman’s origin was changed so that he didn’t become Superman until he had become an adult, effectively erasing 40 years of history. Of course much maintenance had to be done since Superboy plays a key role in the far future with the Legion of Superheroes. After the Death of Superman at the hands of Doomsday, a new Superboy, a clone of Superman arose. Then there is the Superboy Prime notably of the Infinite Crisis storyline and…well like I said, it’s a tangled mess.
That all brings us to the new Superboy who is a fusion of human and Kryptonian DNA but lies unresponsive in a tube, the subject of experimental testing. As the clone is about to be destroyed its defensive mechanisms kick in in order to preserve its life. Well ok, so far we’ve already seen all of this in the first issue of Superboy. What DeFalco adds is some history of Kryptonians growing clones to essentially work as laborers until the clones revolt, led by their leader, Kon. Their rebellion was squelched but not before it nearly destroyed Krypton. Now, frankly this is one character that simply should have been left off the guest list for the New DCU. His history is convoluted enough already. But…Tom DeFalco is a true pro and one of the best comic writers around. He’s earned my trust. The zero issue doesn’t add much depth to the character, however.