DC's Generations Forged: Too Big to be Ignored, Too Bad to be Forgiven

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Generations Forged #1

DC Comics' Generations Forged is a handsome book. A big book. It's squarebound and demands a ten-dollar premium for the right to own it. And it looks gorgeous, with a Liam Sharp cover. It even looks good on the inside if you flip through the pages to give them a cursory glance. The imagery evokes the greater moments of DC's vast history -- the Crisis, the Zero Hour, and other iconic events.

Stop there. Let yourself believe that's what this book is. Whatever you do, however badly you're tempted, do not read it. And it pains me beyond measure to say this, because it's written by Dan Jurgens, Robert Venditti, and Andy Schmidt, all of whom should know better than to perpetrate the story elements contained in these pages.

Generations Forged spins out of Dark Knights: Death Metal, but its true origins go back much further, back to the 1990s Superman comics and a time-traveling adventure that took Superman through various incarnations of his comic book history. Dominus is the villain, and he's stolen fragments of time here and there to power his own little continuity -- a black and white Pleasantville existence with a wife and two kids. A cynical person might suspect the writers brainstormed this plot while sitting in front of WandaVision, but that can't be the case because the story would have accidentally been better.

The casting of this misadventure includes characters from across the timestream -- Superboy (Clark Kent, not Conner or Jonathan), Doctor Light, Starfire (from her New Teen Titans years), Kamandi, OMAC, Steel, two Booster Golds -- and Batman. The Batman from the 1930s, if you were wondering. That was meant to be one of the cool points of the book, but it somehow got transformed into something less so.

All these characters are thrown across time, chased by villains likewise plucked from across the decades. The heroes are out to stop Dominus, Dominus is out to stop them from stopping him. It's all quite straightfoward enough, even with the whole DC Challenge feel of the chapter structure.

But while the characters are iconic, the writing team seems to have forgotten anything about them. Or, perhaps, have decided to just make up things about them instead.

Take Starfire for instance. Ever since her debut, Koriand'r's glorious form in flight was represented by her fiery main trailing out behind her for yards and yards. We, the readers, knew this was an artistic effect -- a blur, an after-image of the energy used to propel her through the air. It just happened to look like it stretched her hair out. But in this book we find out that, no -- it really is her hair propelling her like a rocket-fueled Rapunzel. Not only that, she sheds it, purposefully, while in flight, leaving chunks of locks behind her as a trail for the bad guys to follow. She's even holding two great handfuls of it when she ends her flight.

This. Is. Stupid.

But it doesn't end there.

When the adventure concludes, the Linear Men and Waverider return everyone to their proper place, Waverider tells Batman a secret about their world. It's the Linearverse -- and in it, everyone lives longer. Decades longer. The implication being that the Batman of the 1930s is the Batman of the 1960s is the Batman of the 1980s is the Batman of today. Because the writers felt compelled to explain how they've managed to publish a character for decades and not reach any sort of conclusion. Yes, we've all been upset by this. It's plagued our minds. I'm so glad they've finally explained it all, because now things make absolute and perfect sense.

Like I said. These writers -- these writers who have written some of my absolute favorite books during my forty-seven years of reading comics...

...they know better.

1.0 / 5.0