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Generations Shattered Vol 1 #1

Time for another read of the current run of the Legion of Super-Heroes comics. This time out, a blast from the past, and another crisis in the DC Universe. Enjoy! :)






Generations Shattered Vol 1 #1
March, 2021
Writers: Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt and Robert Venditti
Artists:
Pages 1-8: Ivan Reis (pencils) and Joe Prado (inks)
Pages 9-16: Ivan Reis (pencils) and Scott Hanna (inks)
Pages 17-22: Fernando Pasarin (pencils) and Oclair Albert (inks)
Pages 23-27: Aaron Lopresti (pencils) and Matt Ryan (inks)
Pages 28-32: Emanuela Lupacchino (pencils) and Wade Von Grawbadger (inks)
Pages 33-37: Bernard Chang
Pages 38-42: Yanick Paquette
Pages 43-47: Kevin Nowlan
Page 48: Dan Jurgens (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks)
Pages 49-53: Paul Pelletier (pencils) and Sandra Hope (inks)
Pages 54-61: John Romita, Jr. (pencils) and Danny Miki (inks)
Pages 62-67: Doug Braithwaite
Pages 68-73: Rags Morales
Pages 74-77: Dan Jurgens (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks)
Pages 78-80: Mike Perkins
Note: Fernando Pasarin and Oclair Albert; John Romita Jr. and Danny Miki; Rags Morales (Legion related pages only)
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Colourist: Hi-Fi
Cover: Ivan Reis (pencils), Joe Prado (inks) and Hi-Fi (colours)
Variant Cover: Lee Bermejo
Editor: Brian Cunningham and Andrea Shea


Featuring:
Kamandi (Earth-AD), Booster Gold and Skeets (New Earth), Superboy (Earth-One), Steel (New Earth), Doctor Light (New Earth), Starfire (New Earth), Green Lantern Sinestro (New Earth), Batman (Earth-Two)

Mission Monitor Board:
Brainiac 5 (erased), Saturn Girl (erased), Colossal Boy, Superboy, Cosmic Boy, Ultra Boy, Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Chemical King, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Ferro Lad, Invisible Kid (Jacques Foccart), Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg), Karate Kid, Light Lass, Lightning Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Princess Projectra, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, White Witch, Wildfire

Supporting Characters:
Prince Tuftan (Earth-AD; erased), Adam Strange (New Earth) (Erased), Alanna Strange (New Earth), Hector Hammond (New Earth), Superman (New Earth; Erased), New Teen Titans (Changeling, Cyborg, Raven, Robin (Dick Grayson), Terra, Wonder Girl (Donna Troy)) (New Earth), Waverider (Armageddon 2001) (Erased)

Other Characters:
The Time Trapper (pre-Zero Hour); The Fatal Five (The Emerald Empress, Mano, The Persuader, Tharok, Validus (Pre-Zero Hour)

Opposition:
Bat-Men (Earth-AD); Linear Men (Artemis (New Earth), Eradicator (New Earth), Knockout (New Earth), Linear Man (New Earth), Linear Woman (New Earth), Matt Ryder (New Earth), Major Force (New Earth), Nemesis Kid (Pre-Zero Hour), OMAC (Earth-AD), Ultra-Humanite (New Earth)) (All Possessed); Cyborg Superman (New Earth; Erased); Deathstroke the Terminator (New Earth); Dominus


Synopsis:
In Earth's Future, After the Great Disaster, Kamandi and Prince Tuftan are being pursued by mutated Bat-Men, who are out to destroy them because Kamandi is a talking human and because they blame him for the encroaching "Goneness", a Chronal Storm that is wiping out time and space as it spreads. Tuftan is struck by a long spear tossed by one of the creatures, and as he falls (likely dying), he is engulfed by the Goneness and is Erased. Kamandi is rescued by an older version of Booster Gold with a much more sophisticated Skeets on his arm. Before they can leave, the older Booster is shot with a massive arrow by one of the Bat-Men and is killed. Booster tells Kamandi that he was on a mission to form a team and put a stop to the Chronal Storm that is invading all realities, but the job now falls to Kamandi. Skeets transfers himself to Kamandi's arm, and then transports himself and Kamandi into the time stream.

Hourman in the 853rd Century, Per Degaton in 1947, the Reverse-Flash in the 25th Century, The Linear Men at the Vanishing Point, the Time Trapper at Time's End, Rip Hunter in the Present, Abra Kadabra in the 64th Century, and Waverider in the Time Stream all sense the disturbance in time and that Time itself is literally coming apart and dying. Waverider travels to a focal point in Earth' Future, After the Great Disaster, and snatches the older Booster Gold out and into the time stream before the Chronal Storm kills him.

Elsewhen, in a place that seems to be outside of time, the robed villain of the story stands on a rocky plain and comments that he has planned for this for some time and that events are finally coming into focus. He has waited for eternities and exercised patience and manuevered precious seconds from across time to create the Now. In order for him to create Paradise. But to have what he wants, he must turn away from his own universe forever and rather than deal with those powered individuals who could interfere with his work, he has gone to a more suitable place where time works differently, where its defenders are scattered across decades and not yet united as a force and where they are unprepared to deal with him and his plans.

As Kamandi comes to terms with Skeets and travel through the time stream, it becomes clear to him through Skeets why they can't go back. Time is becoming unravelled, and in the process, being destroyed.

Outside of time, at the Vanishing Point, the Linear Men have partially uncovered what is happening and travel to the point where they believe they can learn more. However, they find themselves at the villain's base of operations and are "repurposed" to the villain's side.

In the 31st Century, Brainiac 5 tells the other members of the Legion of Super-Heroes that he's not sure what to make of the current situation, that the readings are bad and that there's some sort of chronal energy wave. Time is not so much deleting itself as devouring itself, being re-written. Before the Legionnaires can ask any more questions, the Chronal Storm arrives. Suddenly, various creatures from the past and future are all present in the 31st Century - a Thanagarian brontodon, Kryptonian thought-beast, Earth tyrannosaurus rex - and Cosmic Boy and the other Legionnaires go into action. As the Legionnaires do their best to save the people and control the animals and creatures, Saturn Girl comments that the emotional upheaval is not one of fighting but of flight. As the Legionnaires continue their rescue efforts, Saturn Girl is left almost paralyzed with being emotionally overwhelmed. She is claimed as the Chronal Storm Erases her. Before he and the rest of the Legionnaires and their time are destroyed, Superboy is snatched into the time stream by Kamandi. However, Skeets tells him that he grabbed the wrong Legionnaire - they needed Brainaic 5 for his technological acumen. However, there is another that they can get for this purpose.

In 1993, Steel is fighting the Cyborg Superman in the streets of Metropolis. Steel tells him that he wiped out Coast City, killing millions, and that he won't let him do to Metroplis what he did there. That's why he's upgraded his hammer. As the two fight, the Chronal Storm strikes Metropolis, destroying the city and the Cyborg Superman. Steel is snatched up by Kamandi into the time stream just in time.

In 1987, Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi is accepting a Nobel Prize when the auditorium is attacked by Hector Hammond, who has come to recruit her for her knowledge of time and space and to help with the chronal energy waves that are wiping out time. She refuses to go with him, saying she has to stay to protect her children. Kamandi arrives and is able to recruit her in her heroic form as Doctor Light. As she leaves with Kamandi, she promises her two children that she will be back. They talk in the time stream about matters, Skeets telling her a little bit, and then head to their next destination to recruit Superman.

They arrive to recruit the Man of Steel, but he is not supportive of their efforts, and goes off to see what he can do against the tide of chronal energy. Kamandi encounters the younger version of Booster Gold and Skeets, and the two do not get along. They witness the arrival of the Chronal Storm and Superman dies in it. Kamandi tells younger Booster that older Booster dispatched him to assemble the team, and they needed someone with the strength, energy of ingenuity and air of command needed to stop the event. Booster assumes he's talking about him, and "recruits" himself to join Kamandi and the others.

In 1983, the New Teen Titans (Changeling, Raven, Robin, Terra, Cyborg, Starfire and Wonder Girl are facing down Deathstroke the Terminator when Kamandi arrives. At first, Kamandi believes he is there to recruit Changeling, because he seems to be a talking animal, but since Skeets told him to take the most powerful of the New Teen Titans, he snatches Starfire from the group and takes her back into the time stream.

On the planet Rann, Adam Strange, Alanna and their allies are fighting a robotic creature called a Crawler that is transporting a null bomb that will destroy the capital city of Ranagar. They cannot harm the creature due to its armour, but the timely arrival of Green Lantern Thaal Sinestro of the planet Korugar allows them to defeat the robotic creature and save the day. As the Chronal Storm destroys the capital city, Kamandi arrives on the scene and snatches Sinestro as another recruit to the time team.

Some time later and in a location set up by older Booster Gold and Skeets, the eight heroes (including the 1939 Batman of Earth-Two) and Kamandi discuss the situation. After some controversial confrontations among their own number, they come to the conclusion with the aid of the two Skeets and Steel that they have a narrow window of time to fix what is wrong with time and return the time stream to normal. Before the heroes are able to discuss who is responsible for the Chronal Storm and the events occurring, they are attacked by the villain influenced and possessed Linear Men.

Seemingly scattered through space and time, the eight heroes and Kamandi are forced to deal with their Linear Men foes as well as some potential opposition in the various time periods they find themselves in. Superboy confronts Nemesis Kid on Krypton, and when he realizes where he is, Nemesis Kid tells him that he seems to have already found the Boy of Steel's weakness. As the time stream continues to fracture and break, Superboy dragging Nemesis Kid through the air and time stream (??) at terrific speed, the eight heroes and Kamandi find themselves at the field of stone floating in timeless space confronting the villain of the piece - who calls himself Dominus.

Dominus tells them they are aberrations, a threat to the very fabric of time: *his* time, and his plans. He says they are easily dealt with, and as time continues to fracture, the heroes and Kamandi once more find themselves split apart into various time periods. The reader and the heroes (??) witness moments and millennia, crashingly discordant, including one that depicts the Justice Society of America battling against the Fatal Five. Finally, the heroes find themselves in different time periods. The Batman finds himself in a futuristic dystopian landscape controlled by someone or something called Mr. Big.

Back at the focal point of the stone spheroid and plain in the timeless void, Dominus tells the possessed Linear Men that they are now free to pursue the eight heroes and destroy them. As they begin to depart, Dominus tells them that who their individual targets are has been pre-chosen and their paths are set. He then doffs his villainous costume for garb reminiscent of the 1950s, and enters the world of his normal family, a dark-haired wife and two children, in a world of black-and-white. The story continues in the next issue.


Commentary:
Okay, first of all, I want to say that the synopsis above does not do the story of Generations Shattered justice by any means, but is merely the best version of the events that occur in the comic that I could interpret and come up with. Second, I want to say that the list above of the various characters in the story is not complete by any means, nor do I intend to make it complete at all. I've just listed the main characters that are featured in the story, the Legionnaires who appear in the story, and a few other odds and bits. You can draw your own conclusions in this regard...or just go out and buy the comic and *read* it.

That said, I will also state here that I have not read any of the Dark Nights: Death Metal titles or series, so have no real grasp of what happened in that stuff or how it directly relates to the Generations Shattered and Generations Forged material. What I do understand from sources on the internet that I've read is that Generations Shattered and Generations Forged will be the readers' big connection to what the new Multiverse looks like and to show us how it's different than any Multiverse or timeline continuity that has come before it. It is to be called the Infinite Frontier, or something along those lines. Tall order that, I say. I will be commenting below only on things relevant to the Legion of Super-Heroes from the material in this series or event comic or whatever the heck it is, with a few observations included as well. So with that out of the way...

This story is another one of those all-encompassing DC Comics end-of-the-universe/Multiverse epics, this one owing bits and pieces to both the original Crisis on Infinite Earths Vol 1 saga and the Zero Hour Vol 1 saga. That said, to be honest, I'm really quite tired of these epics on the part of the DC Comics powers that be, and... There's a lot of talent on the page, but this 80-page behemoth never justifies its existence beyond giving some under-utilized characters their time to shine. The Multiverse is collapsing, our heroes leap through time and space to undo the cosmic threat, all the while a mysterious figure watches from afar. You've read this before. That said, you don't need to be up-to-date on all things Dark Nights: Death Metal to follow the story as it progresses. I never read that stuff myself. A few well-placed expository lines courtesy of Dan Jurgens...or Andy Schmidt...or Robert Venditti give readers what they need to know and nothing more. For all my thoughts above on this and how it all plays out, this story is well done. It's a quicker read than the page count would lead the reader to believe and the inherent repetition within the script actually helps make sense of it all. And that leads me to the Legion sequence.

One of the longer scenes deals with Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes as they attempt to parse their way through giant blasts of energy to figure out exactly what's happening across the Multiverse. But the good part here is that this is the Legion of Super-Heroes from the period of the early- to mid-Baxter classic 1980s or so run of comics. What I find really interesting about this whole business (beside the goodness on display, in view of the current run of the Legion), is the implications that stem from the different members that appear. Ferro Lad is a member of the Legion at the same time as White Witch! And there's Chemical King behind Mon-El and Dawnstar in the top panel on page 17. And there are *both* Invisible Kids (Lyle Norg and Jacques Foccart) in the same panel. Fantastic! Furthermore, in the initial group shot panel on this first page with the Legion, if you look real close you can see Karate Kid and his widow, Sensor Girl! Now, I don't know if these are editorial oversights. Brian Cunningham is listed as the co-editor of this book (with Andrea Shea, whose name I don't know), but this must be Cunningham's final work on the Legion series, so one just has to wonder about this. However, regardless, it's a ton of fun to see all of the various Legionnaires drawn in their classic uniforms. *This* is the Legion book I want to read, for the record. :)

There are also a couple of other treats for Legion fans. First of all, on page 9, among the better known time travellers of the DC Universe who senses the Chronal Crisis is none other than the Time Trapper. While I was sad that it's a one-panel thing and he's not the villain of this piece (though he could have been, easily!), it was fun to see him in the story even in such a minor appearance. He's very well drawn by Ivan Reis and Scott Hanna. On page 62, there's another three panels or so of Legion stuff, this time featuring Superboy confronting Nemesis Kid on Krypton, just as Superbaby is fired off into space in that rocket. Needless to say, neither of the two characters is used correctly in the sequence. Superboy appears to retain his powers under Krypton's red sun, which is of course impossible, and Nemesis Kid appears to actually be beaten by Superboy, which is also clearly not possible. Still, it's a marvellous bit of fun. And finally, on page 72, as Dominus splinters time into various shards, there's a magnificent sequence of the Justice Society of America taking on the Fatal Five! It's a magnificent page of art by Rags Morales, marred only by a couple of colouring issues (see below).

The artwork throughout the issue is stunning for the most part, notably the shattered view of various times on Earth and what's going on in them, which tends to be a bit chaotic and mix-and-match in terms of the events unfolding. I guess that's on a par for what happens when you destroy timelines. :) Fernando Pasarin's pencils and Oclair Albert's inks, along with Hi-Fi's colours, render the Legion segment on pages 17 to 22 stunning and vibrant. Just don't look too carefully, readers, at how Pasarin draws hands! There's a lovely three-quarter panel, two-page spread showing creatures from various eras arriving in the Legion's time that is truly a highlight of the Legion section. The Superboy-Nemesis Kid confrontation with pencils by John Romita, Jr. and inks by Danny Miki isn't as bad as Romita Jr.'s work was in the pages of the Action Comics "House of Kent" series, but I think that's because Danny Miki has good, solid line work that somewhat cleans up Romita, Jr.'s work here. And then there's Rags Morales' work on the JSA-Fatal Five confrontation that is just...stunning. However, it's marred as I noted above by Wonder Woman's chest and Hourman's costume being mis-coloured somewhat, not Morales's fault, of course, but still.

With all of that said, however, this is a marvellous romp through the DC Universe (or at least parts of it). Or the Multiverse, take your pick. What makes it special from a Legion of Super-Heroes point of view is that while the Legion appearance is relatively short in this 80-page story, the entire tale reads like an old, Bronze Age Legion epic with the Multiverse thrown in for good measure. I don't know if Legion readers will consider the issue good value (at $9.99US) but if you're looking for a classic feel epic of DC's glory days, this issue might be just the ticket.

And yes, the story continues in Generations Forged this month, which may or may not include the Legion the readers got to see in this one. I really hope so.


Final Notes:

This story continues in Generations Forged Vol 1 #1, next month...

The Legion of Super-Heroes that is seen in this story is the one from the Baxter series days (Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 3 circa issue #16 perhaps), but there are some interesting variations in this version of the Legion...

The villain of the story, Dominus, is one who first appeared back in Superman Vol 2 #138. This is obviously a new version of said villain in a somewhat...different Multiverse. Maybe.






Next Issue: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #12
Tags: comics hut, legion of super-heroes, legion read, lll, long live the legion!, lsh, review
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