Sep 1, 2008

[Comics] Day of Judgment

Day of JudgmentThe DC Universe has always been pretty distinct in its definition of the realms of magic and science as somewhat distinct. Yes, Marvel Comics has its fair share of magically-inclined superheroes and villains but I've always felt DC was a lot more deliberate in how they designated this segment of their continuity. The DC magical realm had a complete set of heroes, villains and cosmic players all ensuring the continuity of the world of magic as part of the rest of the universe.

The few instances when they choose to focus on the magical side of the DC Universe in their stories in the form of crossovers and limited-edition series, results tend to be mixed. The premises behind the tales are pretty good and yet things often falter in terms of execution. Magic on its own just gets pretty hokey with the nature of the characters and how the "logic" of their tales go. It's okay when this is explored in a more limited sense as a part of a larger story but on its own it tends to be on shaky ground.

The same went for this particular storyline, that also fell into the trap of bringing many DC characters together just to execute a simple continuity adjustment the editors wanted to throw in.

Day of Judgment is a 5-issue mini-series that brought many of the magic users of the DC Universe together to face the spirit of vengeance, The Spectre, who was now bonded to the fallen angel Asmodel due to the craft maneuvering of the demon Etrigan. With his new powers he proceeds to literally freeze Hell, thus freeing many of its denizens into the world and throwing the universe out of its normal balance. Thus the heroes are faced with two challenges - first to stop Asmodel in destroying the world, while also trying to find an alternative host to take on the role as host for the Spectre.

This book reminded me a lot of another supernatural DC mini-series, Underworld Unleashed, which was also a pretty promising storyline given the concept but in terms of execution was a bit wobbly at times. Day of Judgment wasn't nearly as strong and on top of that suffered similar execution woes. Parts of this particular tale just went weird and long-winded, in a way, and I felt the plot lines could have been better managed and the flow of the story from one part to the next better written.

Sentinels of MagicImage via Wikipedia The overall story once again had that singularity of focus, but not quite in a positive way. Instead of the story moving of its own accord to end at an interesting and surprisingly conclusion, it eventually hits a point where there's no question of what they want to happen and the plot then becomes pushed and forced into that one avenue of resolution. In this case, the book served the purpose of furthering the efforts of redeeming Hal Jordan's lost soul (he sacrificed himself in The Final Night, remember?) and offering him as an alternative host for the Spectre.

Oh, and it also tagged the collective body of magical heroes as something called the Sentinels of Magic as a sort of group poised to defend the world against evil's magical incursions. They didn't necessarily demonstrate a strong group dyniamic in the book - they pretty much just worked together towards a common goal but in a somewhat individual manner at that.

Overall, this was just an "okay" book that could have been a lot more but instead ended up as a 5-issue plot device. Still, I suppose this was an essential stepping stone in their quest to get Hal Jordan back on the side of good.


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