Posted by : Wendy B Saturday, 22 October 2011

HALCYONHALCYON by Marc Guggenheim,; Tara Butters; Ryan Bodenheim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

DC's Justice touches slightly on the idea of the bad guys winning, with humanity turning against the heroes because they are incapable from saving the world from the greater threats like starvation, but Halcyon goes deeper, offering a world where all but one superhero becomes redundant. Humanity loses the desire for violence and wrongdoing, which means there is no place for superheroes whose lives were dedicated to the prevention of such, much less supervillains whose lives were dedicated to causing it.

The resulting reactions of the main characters is an interesting, though brief study for all but the two main characters, Zenith and Sabre, who are obviously comparable to Superman and Batman.

Zenith finds the freedom of responsibility pleases her, while Sabre, known for his use of deadly force, has no desire to remain in a world where he has no use. Everyone recognizes that whatever has happened is unnatural, but Sabre is the only one who wants to stop it, resulting in a climactic ending and twist of loyalties.

I've always joked that Gotham is a crime hole because Batman would be bored if it were anything else, and Superman would have nothing to do if he couldn't drop criminals off there. But I'd never truly considered what would happen if superheroes did succeed in defeating the evils of the world. Justice came close to offering this story, but there were still nefarious schemes at the heart of the supervillains, even those putting an end to sickness and starvation. Halcyon addresses the "what do we do now?" question that would be left for superheroes, particularly those who take their jobs too seriously, or know nothing else.
The advantage this story has is that these characters are all new. This isn't a story DC or Marvel could tell without making it occur in an alternate universe with shocking splash pages and cover images, resurrections and fandom backlash. Here, not bound by fandom, Halcyon is able to tell the story without pulling punches, which was a refreshing change.


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I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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