Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The Other Secret Invasion: Millennium #7
Marvel’s Secret Invasion has entered its seventh month, which means it’s time to look back on DC’s twenty-year-old version of the story.
While this is the penultimate issue of the series, it is in actuality the climax of the story. This is the issue in which the forces of good (the DC superheroes) and the forces of evil (the space android cult) resolve their conflict though a big fight, while the eighth and final issue of Millennium is reserved for the most excruciatingly embarrassing twenty-two pages in DC Comics history, setting up a brand-new super-team composed of brand-new superheroes who will all be ignored and forgotten in a matter of months.
But that’s next issues; let’s look at Millennium #7, once again written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Joe Staton and Ian Gibson, who managed to draw a whole comic book miniseries all by themselves, without needing guest-artists, teams of emergency inkers, or shipping delays. And remember, it was a weekly! They sure knew how to work ahead at DC back in the ‘80s…
The action starts out in outer space, where the Manhunter Kill Krew composed of Superman, Martian Manhunter, The Hawks, a handful of Green Lanterns and the rest are giving Dr. Fate shit for his inability to magically teleport them all back to Earth. The last time we saw this squad, they were almost all dead, their souls being stored within Superman and Hal Jordan, so apparently their situation improved in one of the tie-ins.
The most worried of the heroes is Harbinger, who feels that Earth is still under threat form the Manhunters, even though they had destroyed the Manhunter home world. In an act of desperation, she teleports away, causing Hal Jordan’s teenage girlfriend Arisia to remark, “You never told me she could do that, Hal!”
Dr. Fate, who is not Hal, responds anyway: “The Millennium is a time of evolution for many.”
I know from experience that Dr. Fate speaks the truth. It was between 1999 and 2000 that my hair evolved from thinning to straight-up bald, and it was also around that time that I evolved wisdom teeth.
As it turns out, Harbinger is right! Earth is still in danger from the Manhunters, as the rest of the heroes decided last issue that perhaps the Manhunters have a base in the center of the earth.
They’ve assembled into some kinda crazy bathysphere ship that looks like a giant mine to get there:
The plan is to use this experimental craft of Blue Beetle’s to descend underwater into the Mariana Trench, then into a volcano, then through the bottom of the volcano (Is this geologically sound comic book-scripting?) and then storm the Manhunter HQ.
Blue Beetle and Mr. Miracle banter about whether or not the ship can survive the stresses, which is why it seems so weird to me that Bones is smoking:
I don’t know if it’s outright dangerous to smoke in an experimental submersible craft or not, but, at the very least, it’s gotta be rude, right?
The craft hold together, and our heroes find themselves in some sort of artificial atmosphere, right above a hidden base. Harbinger appears before the heroes, to be given a stupid nickname by Brainwave:
And while they storm Manhunter base, the immortals are teaching their chosen ones tai chi, and they themselves are suddenly aging quite rapidly.
Note Nuklon up there in the upper right corner. JSA fans know that he changed his name to Atom-Smasher and started wearing a full face-mask, presumably to honor his ancestor, The Atom. This is not true at all. He actually changed his name because “Nuklon” is a pretty stupid name, and he covers his face out of shame, for having gone out in public like this for so long:
Tom Kalamaku being one of the chosen has caused quite a rift in his relationship with his family. Over his shoulder, he catches his wife watching him do tai chi and crying, leading to this dramatic exchange:
Back underground, John Stewart shushes his comrades,
and prepares to subtly, stealthily, scope out the situation
by conjuring up a giant, glowing green ear.
What does he hear? Only that the Manhunters have a doomsday device that they’re prepared to detonate as a last resort! If they can’t own the earth, they’ll destroy it completely!
Just then, the heroes are discovered by Manhunter guards, and a battle ensues, sending them crashing through the roof and into the thick of the Manhunters.
Here’s Batman, wearing his special white android ass-kicking left boot:
Among the Manhunter androids are some of their allies, like Booster Gold, who betrayed the heroes, and the android Pan, who had infiltrated the Greek pantheon.
Capturing Pan is Wonder Woman’s assigned task, and she opens with a flying scissor lock:
When Pan tries to bolt, she lassos him with her unbreakable lariat and hangs on tight as he tries to running away, and
she cuts himself in half!
Hardcore, Wonder Woman.
Here’s a whole page of the fight. Note the exciting jumble of panel shapes:
Englehart and company try giving us little snapshots of the characters in each of these panels.
The Mike Grell Green Arrow is kind of ashamed of being a superhero instead of a realistic urban vigilante, but he still finds shooting arrows at robots thrilling, Mr. Miracle is colorful, Aquaman can’t shut up about what percentage of the earth is his own personal property (This is the second time in this very issue he’s noted that), and so on.
On doomsday device guarding duty is Booster Gold, and he and his Manhunter allies face off against some Leaguers and Infinitors, which is what people actually called the member of Infinity Inc.:
Man. How many times has the “out of your league” joke been made in DC comics, in reference to Justice Leaguers, do you think? 250 times? 500?
As the tide seems to turn against the Manhunters, one of them reaches to detonate the doomsday device, only to find that—the traitor Booster Gold is now betraying them?!
That last panel, by the way, is probably my favorite of the entire series.
I love the fact that Jade says. “Want to check?” for no real reason, and the Manhunter responds by screaming “YES!”
What? It’s so random. He wants to check if they’re all humans…? He wants to search them for louses…?
And so the day is saved, and a terrible adjective is coined by Booster Gold,
although his fellow superheroes don’t believe he was a double agent all along just yet.
The conquering heroes, whom Nadia says “have covered themselves in glory,” meet the immortals, the chosen and the returning space heroes outside Hal Jordan’s condo, for the big ceremony that these past seven issues have been building up to.
But we’ll get to that next month, when Millennium ends…not with a bang, but a whimper.
In the meantime, does anyone know if they still make these Striped Chips Ahoy cookies?
These ads are making me crave them, but I can’t remember the last time I saw them in a grocery store…
The Other Secret Invasion: Millennium #1
The Other Secret Invasion: Millennium #2
The Other Secret Invasion: Millennium #3
The Other Secret Invasion: Millennium #4
The Other Secret Invasion: Millennium #5
The Other Secret Invasion: Millennium #6