Part Two of the second mini series devoted to the seemingly endless Rann-Thanagar War opens with Starman trying to outthink Bizarro. And it doesn’t get much better. “Rann-Thanagar: Holy War” has potential, but needs a goose to get there.
This issue continues to set the table, just as the first issue did. We continue to get little snippets, but not much more than that, of the ever-expanding cast. The story isn’t much of a story as it is a meandering exposition. Beyond that, there doesn’t seem to be much relevance to things that came before, either. Rann recently vanquished Lady Styx, but now they’re worshipping her. The elite guard of Thanagar, the Wingmen, are pirates and looters who simply plunder Rann. Animal Man and Starfire come to the party mainly because DC doesn’t seem to know what to do with either character, but because they were well-received in tandem with Adam Strange during “52”. Strange and his old pal Hawkman lead Starfire and Animal Man and a squad of Rannians into an attack against the Wingmen. One quick dinosaur attack later, the Wingmen are subdued. Doesn’t seem like much of a war to me.
Lim’s art is art from Ron Lim. His style still remains nearly the same as it was in the 1990s. Nothing overly fancy, nothing exceptionally eye-popping. Some strong storytelling and a nice mix of panel sizes and camera angles, but nothing to save this story. Additionally, there’s just something about Lim’s Hawkman that doesn’t quite seem right.
Hawkman is another sticking point. In his recent return, Hawkman was ingrained into a life on Earth. Tearing him out of that scenario is almost painful for the reader, as he isn’t quite the same character. This may just be Starlin trying to put his thumbprint on the character, or it could run deeper, with DC having another go at resetting this character into something “more appealing.” At any rate, he’s a fish out of water in this series, brow-beating himself as he helps to attack a platoon of Wingmen.
“Rann-Thanagar: Holy War” has potential to be something, but I’m not quite sure it knows what it wants to be yet. It’s almost as though DC had some leftovers and threw them at Starlin, saying, “Make us a masterpiece.” Starlin could do that, but he’s going to need to really set this thing cranking in the next issue in order to gain momentum and make a readable story out of this. As Augie alluded to in his column last week, building upon the thoughts of Tom Spurgeon, decisions are going to have to be made soon by consumers between gas and comics, or comics and other requirements. Clocking in at $3.50, this one’s losing that fight for me.