Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"The End" Week: A double-header!

We're going to try something a little different and double up on two cancelled books. Both may have been a little esoteric for the market at the time, and seemed to be taking their protagonists out of play possibly for good: from 1993, Green Lantern: Mosaic #18, "We'll See" Written by Gerard Jones, art by Luke McDonnell; and from 1986, Micronauts #20, "Worldhome!" Written by Peter B. Gillis, art by Kelley Jones and Danny Bulanadi.
From the Micros' wrap party.
We checked in on Micronauts #14 a little while back; and the team, and their Microverse, are still in a tough spot: a psychic wave of pain and anguish, created when Baron Karza killed everyone on Homeworld, still sweeps onward and gains power every inhabited system it destroys. Commander Rann has returned to the team, wearing Baron Karza's armor, to use its power and systems to help stop the wave; and mysterious team member Scion's master plan is revealed: the Micronauts have been transformed into "prime beings," their very cells now bursting with independent life, that can be used to seed new worlds. The hope is the new worlds will turn the tide of the wave of pain; as Rann puts it: "One cannot stop pain--one can only grow out of it."
Yeah, he doesn't seem shifty or anything...
Acroyear, Huntarr, and Bug sacrifice themselves; bringing new life to new worlds. Each gets a few pages to make their peace. Scion is ready to do the same, but can't yet: he was certain of his fate, but Fireflyte tells him death is doubt, and he couldn't go until he had no hope. Meanwhile, monitoring the waves, Rann tells Mari they will cancel each other out, and they don't need to sacrifice themselves. Although she loves Rann, and wants to be with him, she suspects Karza's armor is influencing him. When 'Rann' tells her "Let me live," Marionette knows the truth, and pushes them both in. The Micronauts are gone, but the wave is stopped, and the future holds new worlds...

A sad ending for the characters, that would be more or less ignored when the non-Mego-licensed characters were brought back as the 'Microns.' Bug, Mari, and Rann would appear here and there in the 90's in books like Cable, Captain Marvel, and Universe X. Bug would get a one-shot in 1997; ten years later he would appear in Annihilation: Conquest-Starlord, now full-sized. Rann and Mari have been appearing in the outskirts of the Hulk titles, and were reunited with Bug in the Enigma Force limited. The three have never returned to their height of popularity, but I'm sure Marvel will trot them out again if that planned Micronauts movie ever goes anywhere.

Mosaic I had to research a little, since the last issue doesn't recap the whole thing, and I hadn't read the whole series. At the time, most of the Guardians of the Universe were gone, except for one who, bored and lonely, started pulling cities from the alien worlds he had visited and putting them together as a patchwork world. (Aside: I'm sure that's been done before and since, but it reminded me of the Battleworld from Secret Wars.) Although that was kidnapping on a massive scale, the Guardians decide to allow it and let the Mosaic run as an experiment, and make John Stewart the Green Lantern for that world. Amongst other problems, John is stuck trying to put the various alien communities together into a unified whole; and in the penultimate issue, it was blown up by an "Amazon Hellburner" missile.

Or was it? Nah, John took care of that. And the alien armadas surrounding the Mosaic. And the heroes from earth that didn't agree with the experiment, including Hal and Guy. And then John sends "thousands of me" out to talk with each of the Mosaic's inhabitants, to see what they want. Those who want to go, can split. But those who stay, will see such things.

It's already obvious John is far more powerful than he usually is, but there more weirdness to him as well. Visiting his friends Rose and Toby, John tells a story that would have you calling the cops if it was presented without the imagery; of losses as sacrifices, killing the wise men who see what was but not what is to come, of being the one. Dead Lanterns C'hp and Katma Tui, John's murdered wife, come back to him. Comfortingly, John says he isn't really going anywhere; and when Toby is older he can have a power ring.
If you're not a Hal fan, the look of WTF on his face will make this issue worth a look.
Hal butts in, claiming John's a little free with his power, and asks where it came from. John pretends to think about that for a moment, then removes his ring, and swallows it. He then takes the red robes of a Guardian; and Hal and Kilowog both act like John declared himself Space Pope. John ignores them, flying off to talk to the big floating heads of the Guardians, who knew John's destiny from the start, but had to let him suffer through his trials to become what he needed to be.

Katma is back, although it's open to interpretation how much of her: she may be nothing more than a splinter of John's own soul, a reflection. While John has grown to the point that he doesn't need her the way he did, he's still glad to have her around. The issue ends, after John touches base with some of his brave new world's inhabitants, with John playing piano...

I honestly couldn't tell you the next time John Stewart would be seen in the comics; and I think the Mosaic world was dismantled and everyone shipped home, off-panel, and Katma--who, again, may or may not have been 'real'--may have been killed, again, off-panel! John would pull a tour of duty as a Darkstar before that organization (and comic) fell apart. After he was added to the roster of the Justice League cartoon, he would be quite probably the most visible Green Lantern for several years; but I don't think it would be wrong to say DC editorial has had conflicting ideas what to do with him. Except they seem to agree not to bring up Mosaic.

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