Good Monday Collectors! Today we embark on a quest of understanding the complicated mind of the great Grant Morrison.
Over the past 20 years, this scottish born writer has been concocting amazing tales. Whether writing for DC, Marvel, Image, or any other publishing house, Grant has been know to sow a story together in an unusual way. His recent assignment of putting together a Superman story is an example of non-linear storytelling at its very best (see: http://constantcollectible.com/2015/04/20/why-i-hate-superman-johnnys-massive-review-2-action-comics-bound-trades-1-4-actions-comics-1-18guest-character/).
On this Massive Review, we will be featuring Grant’s team story called “Seven Soldiers”. His odd storytelling habits were once again on par with the best. This team book held characters that never truly interact with one another. So fasten your seat belts as I get you excited for yet another massive amount of story!
A team whose members have and will not meet fighting an evil that is older than time itself. Seven heroes fighting together yet living apart.
WHAT A FUN IDEA!
According to Morrison’s prelude in the bound edition, he wanted a team story, but also saw a huge importance in not making the characters begin fighting the menace together, but each in their own way.
The villain for each hero is the same across the board. Whether seen in ancient camelot, the swamps of gotham city, or the subway in New York, the villain is a race of creatures called the Sheeda who wipe the earth clean of society every few thousand years.
If you like organic books where everything is earned, Seven Soldiers is for you. The best way to get you excited about the book is to introduce you to the characters and their stake in the fight against this transcendental menace.
Each character and the first team have origins or stories that will intrigue you, so I want to give you a feel for the characters and leave the summary out. This four book bound series takes unique approaches to the process of unfolding the tale, so I hope that this summary becomes an incentive to invest in this title!
The First team:
Let’s start by looking at the failed experiment that was the Seven Soldiers of Victory revamp.
Based on the old DC comics property “Seven Soldiers of Victory”, vigilante collects a team of young naive superheroes to hunt down a giant spider in a very western comic situation. This narrative is lead by the granddaughter of the golden age Whip who goes by the same name.
Whip gives a strange “Noir” style to her tale and leads us deeper into the narrative by referring to superhero cliches (even going so far as to sleep with a teammate because it’s just the role she fills).
This group only contained six members as Bulleteer was unable to make their journey. This unlucky group hunted a giant spider who had been attacking small towns, but they found more than they had bargained for. The giant spider was part of this massive invasion dealt with across the series. The team is massacred, and we move on from this team of 6.
This group is unnecessary to include in a list of characters, but they show the first tale tell signs of the immense power of our main antagonists.
Zatana is the daughter of a magician, and a magician herself. Her talent is to use magic when she speaks backward. Her powers availed her to be a superhero, and as a performer, she was able to support herself financially. Zatana is one of my personal favorite superheroes for the simple reason that her super-heroics are her passion, yet she has a quite ingenious way of making money with her powers as well.
We meet Zatana when she has lost her powers and many years after the justice league. Her tale adds a level of problem solving to this story. The tales of Zatana in this arc are also a great encouragement for anyone who thinks they are down and out, but you will need to read this to truly understand how this down and out magician could evoke thise emotions.
A young girl wants to be a knight, so she becomes the squire of Galahad, a knight of King Arthur. In a great battle with the Sheeda, Galahad dies and makes Ystin a knight. What a tragically beautiful scene. From here, we grow more and more familiar with Ystin, the immigrant of time.
If you have ever immigrated to a new country and planned to live there permanently, you know the fear Ystin faces.
If you have dealt with searing loss only to have it lead to worse circumstances. If death and regret haunt you like a spirit...
Grant put Shining knight in this story to inspire you.
Sit Ystin fought her way to the queen of all of the Sheeda race only to fall into the “well of eternity” to be swung thousands of years into the future. In America’s cinderella city does Shining Knight begin her true quest, to defeat the Sheeda for our people.
The Camelot Shining Knight knew exited before all of human civilization as we know it. The camelot of 5,000 years ago was the first of many Human attempts at paradise all led by the once and future King Arthur.
Shining Knight must now deal with the loss of her love, the passing of millenia, and the new culture she must adjust to, all while fighting off this massive force.
A police officer who had to quite the force is pushed into depression. His girlfriend is worried, and life sucks.
Then... he is hired to be the superhero for a local newspaper. The Guardian employs a team of street kids to be its eyes and ears, and sends in our hero to save the day when necessary.
The stories are firsthand, and the heroics are real, and from the ashes of depression rises a character for anyone going through depression. The attention to detail and realism in his life will bring some of you to tears, and the fun superhero action will keep everyone entertained when you find the story focussing on “THe Manhattan Guardian”.
Klarion The Witch Boy:
Beneath the railway pirates the Guardian fights, and far beneath the sewers of New York lies a tribe of puritans who had been corrupted by witchcraft. Klarion is of this tribe and flees his home to find the warmth of the sun, and the warmth of reason.
This Witch boy can cast a curse without a thought, and seems to always be one step ahead of everyone else in the room.
You know the Frankenstein monster? Yes, he is a superhero... you just have to read this. For more awesome Frankenstein action, check out Frankenstein and the agents of S.H.A.D.E. but as for our story, the perfect balance of intentional disbelief and shrugging of the obvious helps bring a very realistic character to the foreground.
This is a new hero Morrison created for this story. Her husband had been researching an organic skin serum because he was a scientist in the DC U, and... why not...
Bulleteer looses her husband upon gaining her powers and has to deal with his loss along with the discovery that he had been obsessed with super hero pornography.
This tale helps us see someone dealing with grief and yet being completely enraged with them.
The High-Father was of the planet New-Genesis and had been in a constant war with his brother, Darkseid the God of Chaos and ruler of Apocalypse the planet.
High-Father and Darkseid brokered a trade of sons to ensure peace. The son of the good God was Mister Miracle.
Mister Miracle received constant torture on Apokalpse and became the ultimate escape artist, even to the point of literally escaping death.
The big so what... HE DID IT!
The seven character find interactions in ways you would never expect and the story approaches people in such various situations, powers, and backgrounds.
Grant did a phenomenal job, and there is a reason we rave about him so much.
If you are looking for a quality read, this series is exactly what you need.
Johnny Savage- Content Enthusiast