Or – “Cheese!”

FCD1.jpg

Japan is one of those world cultures that has been so thorougly disseminated that most every one of us could tell you what we THINK it’s like in the land of the Rising Sun.  I suspect that there aren’t schoolgirls who appear to be well above 18 on every street corner, nor are there flying cars full of cyborgs or guys with incredibly spiky hair everywhere you turn.  For all the things Japan has given us, (Anime, Sony, every intarweb girl Stephen loves, creepy robot dogs, even a regular love life during my college years) we’re about to get one more import, in the form of the greatest new super-team in the DCU!

FCD2.jpgPreviously, on Final Crisis – Dance:  The Super Young Team!  Japan’s hottest superhuman combine!  Most Excellent Superbat, the leader and public face of the group.  Big Atomic Lantern Boy, the incurable romantic powerhouse.  Shiny Happy Aquazon, the hair-trigger hottie.  Shy Crazy Lolita Canary, miniscule marionette of mirth and might.  Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash, vizier of velocity.  Five young people whose destiny may (or may not) lie in the realm of superheroics.  During Final Crisis, they were key in assisting Sonny Sumo and Mr. Miracle, making sure that the remaining vestiges of the New Gods were in the right positions to finally defeat Darkseid.  Some say that they are themselves echoes of New Genesis, new versions of the gone-and-mostly-forgotten Forever People.  What ever you think they are, their public profile has never been higher, and the 21st century beckons them to greatness.  Suspesion of disbelief: ON!

We open with a little more Jack Kirby worship, as the SYT are introduced to their new satellite headquarter, and their slimy business manager, Justin Hanover.  We’re also given a peek at Most Excellent Superbat’s iPhone, and his Faceyspace page (cleverly concealing the exposition and explanation of who these people are…  Nicely done by writer Joe Casey.)  The team sleaze-monger leads them through a “trophy room,” filled with leftovers of battles they’ve never fought, and Superbat finds himself shamed by it all.  Their claim to fame is beating the biggest of big bads, but already pop culture threatens to pass them by.  As Atomic Lantern Boy moons over Aquazon’s green-haired beauty, they team is shown the tools that they’ll use to make themselves a bigger part of the superhero market.  “Can we get to the part where we actually get to be SUPER-HEROES?” asks Most Excellent SB testily, and is told that it’s not about heroics.  “FORGET the narrow market that spawned you.  It’s time to think GLOBALLY…”  Superbat’s thoughts are shown through little peeks at his “Twitterati” account (another nicely handled bit of character exposition) and ‘MOSEXSBAT’ is very disappointed by his new gig. 

Their first “mission” is a public relations gig, a party held in the satellite, filled with paparazzi and all the beautiful people your stomach can take.  Lolita Canary continually tries to get a drink (though, despite her protestations, her legality to drink is questionable) and moons over her teammate Lightning Flash, while Aquazon gets talked up by a DIFFERENT sleazy promoter.  Most Excellent Superbat removes himself from the party, returning to the ersatz trophy room where he is visited by a ghost of heroes past.  “You’re…  You’re ULTIMON!”  (Note that he did not say Ultraman, and thus no one can sue.)  “I am the ORIGINAL!  I am the spirit of the Master Monster Killer!  I AM ULTIMON ALPHA!!!”  the original Japanese hero dresses him down for ignoring the role of a hero, and Superbat is filled with purpose again.  Ominously, we’re treated to a view of a dvastated Midway City, wreckage of the Final Crisis war, filled with radiation and Anti-Life rhetoric.  I suspect that something might be important here…  (Foreshadowing:  Your key to quality literature.)  Back at the party, the original DC hero from Japan, Rising Sun, arrives to drunkenly berate the kids for their focus on fame.  Worse still, Aquazon’s fame-stalker turns out to be a full-blown super-villain, and Atomic Lantern leaps to her defense.  The Super-Young Team easily defeats the lounge lizard, but leave Aquazon angry that she wasn’t even given a shot at the monster that targeted her.  As we close, a mysterious cabal in a dark room discusses the REAL role of the SYT.  “The world must never know the TRUTH about Japan.  Even our own citizens must not know…”  That’s ominous…

This book is really a lot of fun, with classic Joe Casey writing (reminiscent of the not-really-missed Intimiates title from Image a couple years ago) and Chriscross trying out a new art style to interesting effect.  The roundness and cartoony expressions that I expect from Chris (and that’s NOT an indictment, as I like both his old and new styles) has matured into an angular style with elements of Bill Sienkiewicz and a little Kirby here and there.  The whole “media superteam” angle has been done, in WildGuard, in the aforementioned Intimates, in Morrison’s New X-Men, even in old-school Youngblood, but the characters’ belief that they’re destined for something more makes this issue an interesting study.  I suspect that a true test of heroism is coming for the Fab Five, and I kind of want to see it.  It’s a comic that so trendy (Facespace, the pseudo-rave, the cutting edge pop culture references) it’ll seem dated by Autumn, but it’s still a fun ride, and the best of the Final Crisis Aftermath issues to date.  Final Crisis Aftermath Comes Lunch Dance #1 earns an enthusiastic 3.5 out of 5 stars, a good setup to what could be a defining series for characters with potential.  Definitely worth ignoring the distaste of “Final Crisis” not really being final…  Heck, the realization that Superbat’s red and gold suit isn’t covered with random patterns, but the yellow “fish” that create the negative space of Superman’s logo was worth half a star in and of itself.

35stars.jpg

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

Previous post

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man #133

Next post

Art Appreciation Moment of the Day: Samurai Jack action

8 Comments

  1. duckface
    June 4, 2009 at 2:05 pm — Reply

    Wow, now I actually have a good feeling about this…!

    I must admit it would be nice to see what is essentially a Japanese Teen Titans book become a regular series.

  2. ~wyntermute~
    June 4, 2009 at 3:19 pm — Reply

    ….Okies, I’m normally not the quickest on the uptake, but even _I_ figured out MOSEXBAT’s costume was pastiched-together Kryptonese symbology. Jeez dude, the name gives it away…. “Super”Bat? My favorite bit was the Twitterati instant-updates. He must have something in the helmet that is perfectly-Batlike that enables him to post his thoughts instantly to the intardwubz. What a Most Excellent media-hero!

  3. June 4, 2009 at 7:35 pm — Reply

    I was looking at it and thinking they were little yellow bats on a red background.

    It should, however, be noted that I’m one of those guys who didn’t see the “S” as an S as a kid, rather a couple of gold fish on a red pentagram.

  4. ~wyntermute~
    June 4, 2009 at 10:22 pm — Reply

    Re: Gold Fish….
    Apparently (and I’m guessing you know this already) but that’s how we’re SUPPOSED to see it now, cuz it’s the gold bits that are the kryptonian ‘letterglyphthing’. The “Red S” is earthling ethnocentricity — just because there happens to be an S-form we assume it must BE an English letter. You were WAY ahead of your time, dude! Then you fell into conformity, and it led you to this very simple-but-important mistake. ;) See what happens when you join the herd of sheeple? ;)

  5. Scott Isaacson
    June 4, 2009 at 10:24 pm — Reply

    Yeah, this may seem dated by fall, but Morrison wisely uses the iconography of DC’s major icons to good effect here. I’m sort of wondering if Most Excellent Super Bat isn’t the young Toyman who appeared in early issues of Superman/Batman.

  6. Lifeisaglitch
    June 5, 2009 at 10:23 am — Reply

    @Scott

    Hiro Okumura right?
    Interesting thought, it would make a lot of sense. Rich, Japanese, gadget orientated, Superman and Batman worshipper… He only needs to throw out an innapropriate line regarding Powergirl and we can know its him for sure.

    • staticlinejumper
      September 12, 2009 at 11:37 am — Reply

      That would be a brilliant piece of continuity inside-piece cleverness, son of Isaac.

  7. Scott Isaacson
    June 8, 2009 at 1:27 pm — Reply

    @ Glitch.
    Yeah, that sounds right. I’m thinking Most Excellent SuperBat is gonna get all serious on us what with the visit from Ultimon.
    I was hoping for a visit from some representatives from the Superman and Batman families about shaming the icons, but what with everything going on in those respective titles, SuperBat may have to settle for a visit from Bibbo and BatMite.

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section