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The ’90s Revisited: The Phoenix Resurrection – Revelations

90s_revisited

phoenix_resurrection_revelationsRevelations

Writers: Ian Edginton & Dan Abnett
Pencillers: Kevin West, John Royle, Randy Green, Rick Leonardi
Inkers: Tom Wegrzyn, Philip Moy, Rick Ketcham, Jeff Whiting
Letterers: Vickie Williams, Patrick Owsley
Color Design: Mike Tuccinard, Robert Alvord
Interior Color: Malibu Color
Asst. Editor: Scott Bernstein
Editor: Hank Kanalz
Published by: Malibu Comics
Cover Date: December 1995
Cover Price: $3.95

This issue was a bit of a challenge to read. In it, much as I hold very fond memories of the Ultraverse, this really drives home the notion that my fond memories precede the Black September event, that they come from the "original" Ultraverse, before it "rebooted" into a "Marvel-Lite" imprint sorta thing. And just looking at the credits, if only from a 2018 standpoint, this reeks of non-priority to the publisher. I recognize several names that SHOULD have meant this was an excellent issue–especially seeing Dan Abnett‘s name as a writer. But when you have two writers, four different pencillers and 4 different inkers, two different letterers, two different colorists…this screams "piecemeal" and generic incoherence.

Story-wise, we basically have these characters from two different universes spouting off at each other, commiserating generically over stuff (the X-Men recognize Black Knight, for one and he them). But once again, there doesn’t seem to be any real INDIVIDUALITY to any of the characters. Night Man shows up outta nowhere and Wolverine welcomes him as if totally expected…just pieces being moved around the board, so to speak. And then for as big a threat as the Phoenix is supposed to be, everyone winds up just throwing their powers or fists at it to drive it through a portal back into its own (the X-Men’s!) universe, and the problem’s solved? If it’s a threat here, surely it’s a threat there…

We get "big" story beats in stuff like Rex Mundi’s "Alternate"–somehow because he–in this universe–did such a perfect job of cloning himself, the Phoenix–brought into this universe from another–subdivides itself to match. We "see" Mantra, and get a moment of her seeing/thinking she’s been "warned" about Topaz, but why does she get the look she does? But there’s zero explanation as to who/what she is, or the relationship…and if nothing’s going to be expounded on, why include it to begin with?

Probably another problem with this comes with reading it now in 2018, after 15+ years of being conditioned to 6-issue (minimum, mostly) story-arcs and year-long mega-crossover-events and the like. As something spanning two teams from two universes, plus so many ancillary characters from one, with a huge, cosmic, universe-threatening entity…it just seems impossible for anything to be done justice. Something like this really WOULD be fairly justified to have AT LEAST one full issue apiece for each of the Ultraverse titles, a couple "main" issues for everyone, and even an X-Men tie-in or few. Not full 3-4-6-issue arcs per title, but at least a few more full-length issues. Everything crammed into just a couple issues after just a couple pages per title…it’s rushed, and sloppy, and overall just generic and mostly incoherent.

As I’ve read these, I’ve become all the more convinced that the beauty and depth and such of the Ultraverse–the "heart" of the Ultraverse–is definitely in its first couple years, its run of titles when they were actually their own thing, before being wholly given over to Marvel and all that.

I had a hard time getting through this issue–I think it took me at least three times situating myself with it to read to get through the whole thing. Where often that would seem a compliment to a well-done, dense comic proving its 2018 "value" of a $4 cover price, this happened for lack of engagement and interest. Really, I forced myself through the issue simply to have read it (and now typing all this, which is far from my favorite sort of review/write-up!)

The cover-art, and the CONCEPT is sound; and the idea of some crossover between the X-Men and most of the Ultraverse, and their facing the Phoenix Force, and it having counterpart/ties within the Ultraverse isn’t all that bad. But this execution of it all is not much to my liking, and really feels like the sort of thing I’d say one is better off passing on. Of course, if you find it in a 25-cent bin–the whole ‘event’, anyway–it might be worth $1 or so to get all four issues; but I’d encourage one to seek out older Ultraverse stuff if you’re just interested in "trying" an Ultraverse title.

phoenix_resurrection_revelations_blogtrailer

Final Crisis: Revelations #4 [Review]

Final Crisis: Revelations part four

Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Philip Tan
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: Nei Ruffino
Lettering: John J. Hill
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Covers: Tan, Glapion & Ruffino
Publisher: DC Comics

Opening where the previous issue left off, we see a horribly wounded Spectre at Savage/Cain’s mercy, while the spirit of Mercy finds herself unable or unwilling to act, as Montoya and the Huntress seek just to survive this encounter. Retreating to a church to regroup, theology is debated as things spiral downhill for the heroes. The Spectre continues to be a powerful figure at the heart of this story’s conflict, with potentially vast repercussions to come as Savage/Cain makes his move.

I’m not entirely sure what to think on certain points in this issue. I can say that while it can be good to see some stuff brought up here–we don’t see characters discussing actual religion and theology all that often–I personally find a lot of faulty stuff here that–while it may work in context of the DCU–puts me off a bit.

It’s interesting to see the development of Mercy here; I’ve long been aware of and somewhat familiar with the Spectre; seeing a counterpart does make sense based on what I know of the Spectre character. At the same time, given the apparent scope of this story, it feels almost like THIS should have been the core book–this feels much more like some unverse-impacting crisis situation than what I’ve gotten out of the main Final Crisis book.

The art in this issue is quite good….I have no complaint with it. I like the way the Huntress and Question are portrayed here, and all the characters carry a certain detail that works quite well in giving visuals to the story.

All told, this is a nice, solid issue and as with some of the other tie-ins, I found this far more enjoyable and satisfying than the main title. Whether you’re reading Final Crisis itself or not, this is well worth picking up if you’re following the Spectre or Question characters, or have been following this series anyway.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

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