Hurple Hoopla

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bone-Headed Decisions #1

Armageddon 2001

In 1991 DC comics was mostly an also-ran in the "comics wars." Marvel Comics titles far outsold anything DC had, with the exception of Batman. So, in an attempt to shake things up and change the status quo, DC announced a major event, one that would shake the very foundation of their "universe." A massive storyline which they promised would culminate in one of their premier heroes turning evil to become their universe's ultimate villain.

The story was, in summation, this:

In the years between 1991 and 2001, a supervillain named Monarch had subjugated the entire planet, and ruled it with an iron fist. He had managed to wipe out all the other superheroes because he was one of their own, one they all trusted until he betrayed them all. Unfortunately, the true identity of Monarch was unknown, lost to the ravages of history. Into this 'reality,' in the year 2001, a new hero was born, Waverider, who had the power to "surf' the timelines. He decided to travel back to 1991, the time of the "birth" of Monarch, and track down his true identity.

This storyline ran through every title that DC published. Waverider would show up and "mind-meld" with the hero appearing in the book and look into his or her future, to see if he could find Monarch.

So far, that sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?

Well, yeah, it was a cool idea, but as so often happens the execution was not as good as the idea behind it. Most of the stories were a bit, shall we say, silly. But, as silly as the series got, it was the grand finale that was truly a monumental boner.

You see, the identity of Monarch, the big earth-shaking secret of the entire series, slipped out to the press about halfway through the publication of the series. DOH! Monarch was Captain Atom. DC immediately denied it. Then, they went back and re-wrote the second half of the story. Quickly. And badly. Very badly. Then they rushed it to printing, and it showed.

The re-written ending found Monarch chase Waverider back to the past, and putz around for awhile, before deciding it was time to "make himself."

Now, there were two minor DC heroes who had been recently given their own title, the team of hawk and Dove. Originally, Hawk and Dove were brothers. They were granted powers by the "Lords of Order" (Dove) and "Lords of Chaos" (Hawk) and were to act as their "agents" on Earth. Dove was killed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths story back in 1986. The characters were resurrected in the late 80's when the "Lords of Order" found a new Dove, a female, who was not related to Hawk. Okay, here's where it all goes nutty.

The new ending for the story saw Monarch track down Hawk and the new Dove (who had both previously been "cleared" by Waverider) and tell Hawk that HE was Monarch. Hawk proclaimed that could never be true and moved on Monarch... who casually shot and killed Dove before being bludgeoned to death by Hawk.

This, naturally, drove Hawk insane and he became Monarch. And was then chased through time and soundly trounced, in prehistoric times, by... Captain Atom. Huh?

It's enough to make you want to chew your own legs off, isn't it?


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