is a company with a lot of history in its comics, what the
average fanperson calls "continuity."
Wildstorm's history is very similar to German history: they'd
really like to forget a decade or so of it. Before better
writers got their hands on books like WildC.A.T.s, Stormwatch,
and a heaping truckload of others, they were mostly "art"
books with very little readable content. Pretty pictures of
breasts and biceps, they had explosions thrown in to break
up the anatomical incorrectness. A lot of pale imitations
of Big Two heroes were created to fill the pages of these
books, usually without an overabundance of characterization
or background. (Ripclaw and Warblade = Wolverine)
Jim Lee created the company as an offshoot of Image Comics,
back in those early years when artists were free and people
thought Leifeld could draw, he probably didn't think he'd
be selling it to DC Comics. But it's a good thing he did,
because it allowed for a lot of very good writers to take
a shot at fixing up some very bad material.
has since become one of the most creative and diverse companies
out there, mixing superhero comics with other genres to critical
acclaim (Sleeper being one that comes to mind). And
since DC has a hand in the publishing arm of the trades, a
bunch of gems have gotten the cardboard spine treatment. One
of those is Mr. Majestic.
is a Superman clone, with equivalent powers, a vaguely alien
origin, and a driving need to help people. What's interesting
is that it manages to do a better impression of a Superman
book than any of the current Superman titles. This comic is
what Superman should be: Big Hero Comics.
where a hero pushed moons around like billiard balls and where
flying into the sun was a nice way to get a tan were the norm
back in the Golden and Silver Ages. Cosmic level menaces and
worldwide cataclysms were all in a day's work for Superman
and his ilk. Nowadays, we don't get too much of that outside
a good team book like JLA or JSA. There was
a shift a long time ago into more personal stories involving
relationships and ensemble casts, which are the reasons Jimmy
Olsen warranted his own trade collection. Superman is more
about the "man" and his many relationships than
about the "super" these days.
in the span of one graphic novel, stops the unraveling of
reality and time as we know it, recaptures a prison-ship's
worth of alien convicts, closes a black hole, and rearranges
the solar system. Writers Joe Casey and Brian Holguin know
how to write extremely exciting "done in one" comic
stories that involve action on a grand scale. Each chapter
is one tale of something fantastic happening, and Majestic
either stopping it, tricking it, or in one case, causing it.
without being lighter-hearted, making the whole thing a farce
that the reader feels possesses no real consequence. Casey
and Holguin write Majestic in the minimal: he speaks curtly,
and does all his moralizing out loud. Most of the dialogue
is given to Majestic's sidekick Desmond, a cybernetic tech-head
don't receive a great amount of characterization, which would
normally turn me off a book, but Casey and Holguin are using
the characters to tell good stories and throw in a surprising
amount of humor. In one chapter, Casey and Holguin use Majestic's
stoic and straight man persona and play it off the manic-depressive
madcap fun of Ladytron, making for a hilarious action sequence
involving robots and a nun. They don't need to make the characters
overly real to me, because the situations are what I'm interested
in because they're of such a grand (and at times just plain
artist Ed McGuinness' style. He's gotten some criticism for
making his heroes too muscled or too bulky (ironically going
from this series to Superman), but his style matches the story
to a tee. McGuinness draws the big cosmic threats as well
as he draws individual figures. Majestic is supposed to be
an icon of a character, and McGuinness draws him like one.
The scenes in space are beautiful and he adds more than a
few visual nods and gag references to Superman.
has some interesting character designs in the form of Desmond,
and some of the aliens Majestic encounters are damn good looking
(the six "Ultravixens" in chapter six look like
a cross between the Legion of Superheroes and a Victoria's
Secret catalog, not a bad thing). The expert inking of Jason
Martin and Richard Friend only add to the goodness.
appropriate that I review this book as this month's Previews
book shows the titular character to be appearing in upcoming
Superman stories, penned and penciled by the same creative
team of Joe Casey and Ed McGuinness. Picking up this collection
will help any readers of Adventures of Superman become
more familiar with Mr. Majestic.
you get six chapters of Mr. Majestic, along with an excellent
back-up story written by Alan Moore and penciled by Carlos
D'Anda, and an odd little section called "Mr. Majestic's
Universe of Science." The Moore story alone should convince
you to pick it up, if everything else hasn't. Go. Buy. Support
my future social security.
always, the opinions expressed by Mr. Sparling are not necessarily
those of Fanboy Planet. However, Michael Goodson did love
this series and wept openly at its cancellation. Yes, like
a little girl.