"Century 30: Time and Time Again"
Writer/Artist: John Byrne, Alex Sinclair(c)
The final issue of John Byrne's latest Generations series details in a no nonsense fashion the heroes' last battle against Darkseid's Parademons. Lives are lost. Sacrifices are made. The war will be won but at what cost?
Generations really should not have been this good. It's the second sequel. It was hampered by the poorest choice of paperstock I've ever encountered. It was underhyped and pretty much doomed to fail due to its length. This issue exemplifies why Generations succeeded against all those odds.
The terse, functional dialogue emphasizes the seriousness of the situation. The raw, angry emotions on the heroes' faces as they literally cleave through Parademon after Parademon lend authenticity to the idea that they fight for the future of humanity. One would be remiss in failing to credit Alex Sinclair's colors, for his bright plasma greens and intense yellow and orange explosions combined with Byrne's scenes of destruction add so much to the momentous events.
Mr. Byrne in telling his war story does not rely upon cliches or even mostly tradition. He audaciously sets the devastation in the Legion's thirtieth century. Keith Giffin and others first jarred readers with a Legion dystopia controlled by the Dominators, but Mr. Byrne razes the Curt Swan thirtieth century. Batman's invulnerability thanks to a formula he drank in flashback a few issues ago pulls him into the foreground. Byrne shows a green plasma burst bounce off his chest while another reflects off Superman whom Byrne sets to the side. The effects are not identical. Readers are not used to seeing Batman with superpowers, and Byrne through the novelty makes the moment memorable as well as important to the story. Because he does not merely throw out the idea as a diversion and uses the element fully in the plot, the empowered Batman becomes almost as effective as his non-powered incarnation.
The second half of this Generations issue slightly disappoints. Until this last chapter, Mr. Byrne has been writing time travel in a way that made sense out of the speculation. The climax to this final chapter creates a massive paradox, but again, the execution, the drama of the exercise and the brilliant epilogue make this tiny shortcoming easily forgivable.
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