Rann-Thanagar War #1 Review

Reviewer: John Babos
Story Title: The Fires of War

Written by: Dave Gibbons
Pencilled by: Ivan Reis
Inked by: Marc Campos
Colored by: John Kalisz
Lettered by: Nick J. Napolitano
Assistant Edited by: Harvey Richards
Edited by: Peter Tomasi and Stephen Wacker
Publisher: DC Comics

NOTE: this review contains spoilers from this week’s Adam Strange #8

DC’s Solicitation

Rocketing out of DC COUNTDOWN and the death-defying conclusion of the ADAM STRANGE miniseries, the space heroes of the DCU take center stage in a galaxy-shattering story written by Dave Gibbons (THE ORIGINALS, WATCHMEN) with art by Ivan Reis & Marc Campos (ACTION COMICS)! This star-spanning 6-issue miniseries will bring worlds to war and citizens to their knees!

Adam Strange, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and a cast of DC’s greatest space adventurers come together to face an evil forged in the depths of Thanagar; an evil that threatens to bring down two planets and countless civilizations!

The Review

Following directly from the critically acclaimed Adam Strange mini-series, the Rann-Thanagar War has begun.

Each worlds’ champion seemingly united to avert a war that they hadn’t realized started. Playing catch-up in this issue, Thanagar’s Hawkman (kinda… this is a loooong story, but suffice it to say that Carter Hall still has some connections to Thanagar) and Rann’s Adam Strange are thrust into a civil war on the planet Rann. The now retroactively reverted to evil Thanagarians, under the influence of a powerful cult, wage war to enslave ran after their world, Thanagar, was destroyed.

You read me right. The planet Thanagar is no more. A world that has endured in the DC Universe for 40 or so years is no more.

As a result of the events of the Adam Strange mini-series, the planet Rann was displaced and popped up in Thanagar’s solar system throwing the cosmic balance out of whack and sending Thanagar into its own sun and certain destruction. While the villain that set this all into motion was in fact a Thanagarian, its the Rannians that are blamed by many Thanagarians for their world’s demise. Turn about is fair play and Rann is now their sought after prize.

This epic cosmic battle also ropes in the L.E.G.I.O.N., the Green Lanterns (Kyle Rayner and Kilowog… for now), the Tamarans (Starfire of the Teen Titans people), and DC’s other rich cosmic tapestry as many of DC’s interstellar aliens are name-dropped throughout the issue.

This issue has it all, but is rooted in the enamouring tri-fecta of action, drama, and science fiction.

Writer Dave Gibbons, yes THAT Dave Gibbons, trades in his pencil for a pen and as the issue’s writer and really delivers a captivating high octane yarn that was missing in DC’s other post-Countdown mini-series.

The OMAC Project #1 was a silent, slow, but dramatic issue.

Day of Vengeance #1 was a sputtering jumble of confusion.

Villains United #1 was a solid and unanticipated mystery.

The action I thought we’d get from Villains United #1, we actually get in the Rann-Thanagar War #1, but amped up tenfold.

Penciller Ivan Reis can’t hold a candle to his writer’s artistic skill, Dave Gibbons is an accomplished and legendary penciller, his fluid and expressive style really evokes the drama and emotion of the script through the issue’s key players. His frenetic battle scenes also portray the confusion, horror, and fast-faced nature of war. Reis ably gives life to Dave Gibbons’ script. The art is good, not great, but ok.

In a week that also saw Adam Strange #8 ship, the prequel-of-sorts to the Rann-Thanagar War #1, Ivan Reis’ flashes of solid pencilling do not fare well to Strange’s penciller’s consistent and gorgeous pencil strokes. I’m not sure why Adam Strange’s Pascal Ferry didn’t get the call to handle the Rann-Thanagar War’s art, but Ivan Reis is capable enough. Gibbon’s story is THE hook of this mini, not the art.