By Koppy McFad
September 12, 2009 - 22:58
Magog, a former soldier-turned-apostle of a mad god, gets his own book and sets off on his own agenda, separate from that of his fellow members in the Justice Society. Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, makes a one-panel cameo in this story but he is basically around to remind us that Magog does things differently from other superheroes.
In this case, Magog goes to places like Sudan and Texas and fights slavers and drug pushers, even killing them if necessary-- or if he feels like it. But he isn't completely brainless. He notices that the bad guys are using unearthly technology and so he starts tracking them-- even if it means going behind his fellow Justice Society members' backs.
This book tries too hard-- to be grim and gritty-- to be clever and witty -- and to be different. So much emphasis is being given to Magog shoving his lance through people's heads, smashing their faces so their teeth go flying-- all to make him look ruthless. At the same time, the dialogue is rather oblique. Like they would use thirty words to say something that could be described in five words. Magog's internal monologue to himself sometimes comes off as too snarky, making him sound like a spoiled child rather than a determined warrior. He may think of himself as being a more pro-active superhero but he seems more self-righteous than heroic.
But there are pleasant surprises as well. Magog shows himself to be smarter than he came off in the pages of the JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA. His way of dealing with a domestic abuser shows he is capable of subtlety and does not just think with his fists. The villains of the story are also presented as being clever and insidiously dangerous and not just over-muscled thugs. Those who were thinking that this book would be one big bloodbath will be disappointed. But they might like discovering that it actually has a rather interesting story behind it all.
The art, aside from the forced emphasis on violence, is rather striking and powerful even if it isn't very realistic. Then again, realism has never been Porter's strong point.
Just two points: First: Magog's powers and capabilities are still a big vague. He can fly now? And he has some sort of technological background? Wasn't he just a Marine? Second: the practice of setting parts of the stories in actual real-life locations (Sudan) can make it seem like DC Comics is trivializing the very real atrocities happening there so this has to be handled with sensitivity and good sense.
Rating: 7 /10