Monday, November 19, 2007

Seven Soldiers Of Victory #1 - III

pp 24-35 Part III: The Victory Of The Seven Soldiers

p 24 In Frankenstein #4 Gloriana had sent soldiers with witch-brands to bring Frank under control. So far they haven’t succeeded, but he admits it’s hard. He’s brought their Queen and their flag ship back and established contact with S.H.A.D.E. He asks for instructions. Should he destroy them all? No. Father Time wants the time machine. Then Klarion shows up. He has a witch-brand and wants to go to “Sheeda-Side.”

p 25 Misty/ Rhiannon is in full emo mode, complaining to Zee that it’s a lose-lose situation. If Gloriana wins, it’s the end of civilization for another ten thousand years. If Rhiannon beats her, however, she will become the Sheeda queen, there’ll be another Harrowing, and we’re all right back where we started. Zee is busy letting Gwydion out. She reminds Rhiannon of the Seven Soldiers prophecy, which Rhiannon apparently told her about offstage. She tells her young apprentice not to let others define who she must be, and that the best part of magic is doing to impossible. “So let’s save the world, you and me, together. Ready?” She gets an interesting response. The reply, “Ready” appears backwards. She is addressing the reader and we’re saying, “Yes! Let’s go save the world!” We get an explosion of card-like panels, each featuring a scene from the series. The good people at Barbelith have identified the panels, but I am going to list the results in a roughly clockwise manner:

1. Unknown. Barbelith thinks it could be from Klarion, but doesn’t say why.
2. The Manhattan Guardian superhero ad from Guardian #1, p7, panel 5.
3. The Kit-Kat wrapper that Ezekiel showed Klarion from Klarion #1, p12, panel 1.
4. Zor attacking in Zatanna #4, p11, panel 2.
5. The Hand summoning the Nebula Man from Bulleteer #2, p13, panel 2.
6. Alix in front of the mirror from Bulleteer #1, p22.
7. Mister Miracle entering the black hole from Mister Miracle #1, p2, panel 5.
8. Spyder in his shades from Seven Soldiers #0, p4, panel 6.
9. The death of Aaron Norman from Mister Miracle #4, p6, panel 4.
10. Zatanna summoning Gwydion from Zatanna #1, p16, panel 3.
11. The founding of the Newsboys of Nowhere street from Guardian #4, p7, panel 2.
12. Gloriana Tenebrae from Shining Knight #4, p3, panel 4.
13. Ibis the Invincible in flames from Zatanna #4, p15, panel 5.
14. Ystin with the Undry Cauldron from Shining Knight #1, p13, panel 3.
15. The train crash from Frankenstein #1, p4, panel 3.
This is what people mean when they describe something as Morrison-esque – that is, if they actually used the word ‘Morrison-esque’. We, the readers, are the only ones who have been seeing all the elements together. Neither the Queen nor any of the soldiers have realized that everything is coming to a head as all the players come together. Now our perception becomes the only perception. And since our perception of events now defines them, the seven are The Seven foretold in prophecy. It’s a paradox, kind of. It’s been a few years since the last philosophy class.

p 26 Carla and her mom swerve to avoid a girl on the road. It’s Zee and from her stance, I think she’s looking a little despondent. I get the impression that this scene happened just prior to the previous one. She had just fallen for the “sidekick-turns-bad twist” and had every reason to fell bad. When we left her, however, she had shaken that off and was back in full superheroic mode. Anyway, Carla’s sudden turn takes her right to Jake, her very own knight in shining armour. Complete with white horse. They’ve been through a lot, but it ends with a kiss.

p 27 Justina’s battle with Gloriana comes to a head. Unlike Rhiannon, this is a win-win situation for Justina. Even if she dies, she gains an honourable death. Something denied her when she fell through time. Gloriana threatens to zombify her, as she did Galahad, but Justina isn’t intimidated. She’s come through a lot to get her chance to revenging Camelot, even if it’s only hacking off a portion of Gloriana’s face. Gloriana shoves her off of the Revolving Castle and we seeing the Shining Knight fall to her death. Maybe.

pp 28-30 Mister Miracle crashes Dark Side’s club and the most troubled of minis gets even more confused. Dark Side tries to dismiss Shilo, but Shilo replies, “You can hide yourself in that man’s body, but you can’t hide from me. I come with God-sight now.” Perhaps there really is a Dark Side, a part from Darkseid. We get a two-fold reply from Dark Side/Darkeid. The club owner continues to tell Shilo to get out, while the New God’s enemy tells him that he offered the Sheeda North America in return for Aurakles, who’d been their captive for “seven score seven years”. That’s nine hundred and eighty. Shilo offers himself up in the place of the original super-hero. This surprises Aurakles, but not Darkseid. This was his plan all along. He offered the Sheeda North America in return for Aurakles, because he knew Mister Miracle would step in and offer himself in his stead. But Shilo isn’t worried. Even as he is shackled, he tells them that he is the world’s greatest escape artist. Dark Side draws a gun and shoots Shilo in the head.

Okay… Three short pages, but lots of stuff. Apparently, Shilo’s real role in all this has been as Darkseid’s motivation in bringing the Sheeda here in the first place. So, this is the third Harrowing we know of and it’s the third time the Sheeda were approached by us first! Do they ever have to hunt, or do they always wait until some prey, too stupid to realize what they are doing, comes to them? Darkseid’s plan is to capture the New Gods avatar of freedom and then hunt the rest down in the wreckage of the Harrowing. While in the black hole, Shilo was not only given ‘god sight’, but met with Aurakles, who told him he was running, but that he could be saved if he was willing to pay with his life. Now he is doing that, though he’s still convinced he can escape. Aurakles doesn’t seem to understand what’s going on. In Mister Miracle #4 we also learned that the Motherbox had somehow merged with Shilo’s soul. Now, as he lies dead on the floor, the Motherbox starts pinging. Is he really dead?

p 31 Two scenes intercut. We see Baby Brain telling the evil Time Tailor, Zor, that they will beat him “Somehow!!!” And we see Ed Stargard remembering his earlier promise and realising he is about to see it come true. The Newsboys of Nowhere Street will be avenged. Just a Camelot has been. Even as Justina falls through the sky, she is prepared to die knowing how low Camelot’s destroyer has been brought down, but, like Jake and Carla, she’s in for a happy reunion as Vanguard swoops in and saves her.

pp 32-35 From her perch above the city, the Queen realizes that Rhiannon is still alive. She gives her new huntsman the same instructions she’d given the last. Kill her. They are returning to Summer’s End. She asks Dalt if he’d found the spear. “I did.” The spear is Alix, whom he targeted in Bulleteer #3. He missed her – in spite of his perfect aim – and was then approached by the Vigilante. The three of them, Alix, Dalt, and Saunders, were, you’ll recall, a part of the previous team of Seven Soldiers. He tells her, “The Seven,” meaning the Unknown Men of Slaughter Swamp, the Time Tailors, “made me unkillable, Lady. They gave me cold blood and perfect aim. They made the perfect hunter to stalk the ultimate game. What kind of prey do you suppose I, Spyder would hunt?” As he brags of his aim, he shoots her through the mouth from the back of the head. She falls from her Castle. “’Pinnacle of natural selection’ my ass.”

Has he turned against his queen, or has he been playing her all along? If you asked him, I suspect he’d say the latter. I get the impression that he’s the sort who revises their life’s story in order to keep everything heading in the direction circumstances have pointed them anyway. The ‘no regrets, I wouldn’t be who I am if --- hadn’t’ sort of person. But we saw him killed when we saw the footage from the night on Miracle Mesa, so we know it is the queen and not the Time Tailors who made him unkillable. From the night he missed his shot at Alix, he’s been rationalizing himself into the new role of Secret Agent Seven Soldier, and now he has made his move. There’s more to this, but I will discuss it further in part four.

Gloriana falls to the streets of New York. She’s not dead, but she realizes now that she has seriously overestimated herself. While she pulls Dalt’s arrow out – of her mouth, through her head – she doesn’t see the spear coming. Alix and Sally are still fighting in the moving car. It hits the heap of stones thrown up by Klarion’s Sapper. The car flies through the air and “prophecy moves in for the kill. The spear thrown by Aurakles 42,000 years before had finally found its mark.” Alix, being invulnerable, has survived the crash. So have her clothes. Jake and Carla are bystanders. Later a cop tells Alix that there were no other survivors and that’s she’s free to go. “You’re free.” “Am I?” Of course, she isn’t and she realizes that now. The role she’s been cast in, no pun intended, is hers whether she wants it or not.

The bottom half of pages 35 and 36 take us back to Slaughter Swamp, but I am going to save that for next time too.

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