Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Good lord, I was going to brush up on Anarky's history at his wikipedia page, and it's friggin' huge. Out of his early appearances, I know I read his debut in Detective Comics, his early run-ins with Tim Drake, and his self-titled limited series. I don't think I read today's book when it came out, though: his short-lived regular series, Anarky #1, "Aberration, part one: Power Play" Written by Alan Grant, pencils by Norm Breyfogle, Anarky's co-creators. (Inks by Joe Rubinstein.)
After the Bat-Quake event, Batman gives Anarky the "Stay out of Gotham" speech. Like Gotham is Bats' personal hunting ground, and other vigilantes need a license from him...Lonnie Machin, the sixteen-year-old known as Anarky, has lost his parents in the quake; and sets up a new base beneath the Washington Monument. (By this point, Lonnie has not only increased his own intelligence; he has a variety of stolen technology, including a Boom Tube.)
While his major "war is against all parasites--from the major politicians who bleed whole countries dry, to street-scum..." Lonnie has discovered, via math proof, an Aberration that could negate the universe's laws of space and time. As Anarky, he gives his information to the JLA, who are skeptical. As abnormal events begin, Lonnie wants to get a big gun like Green Lantern on the case, and follows a battle between Kyle and Fatality. After a ship crashes, Anarky is able to score a power ring, with which he plans to stop the Aberration...which has just manifested physically. (Anarky does take a moment with the ring to toss a statue of Senator "Gerry Mander" into space. The motto on the statue reads "Our divisions should not lead us to anarchy.")
I've enjoyed a lot of Anarky's stories, but he has to be a tough character to write. Moreso even than Batman, his goal is to save the world and improve humanity's lot, but Anarky is more about social action than punching criminals in the face. Well, Anarky does that do. But he's a bit like Dr. Doom; that is, the Doom from the 2099 books under Warren Ellis. Or the Authority, know that I think about it: none of them wanted to leave the world the way they found it, and they had the intelligence, drive, and resources to fix it...and then what? Not only would that suck the drama out of the book, it would make the various other characters in their respective shared universes look like they dropped the ball. Failure is the only option.
(Actually, I could see that as a Batman story: from the crack of dawn, Bruce Wayne uses his vast resources and wealth to fight the roots of crime: improved housing and job opportunities. More funding for drug and family and psychological counseling. More research and development for alternative energy. Even more equipment and staffing for Gotham's police and Batman, Inc. After an eighteen-hour day, Bruce looks out over his city...and there's still crime. Five minutes later, Batman is flat-out knuckle-busting criminals.)