The Successes and Failures of the Seven Soldiers of Victory.

Introductory notes for Seven Soldiers of Victory.

I think just about any comic book fan will admit that epic crossover events are ultimately paradoxical, as in they manage to be both exciting and wearying.  Yes, it’s exciting to see a story play out over several issues of several series, and to have broad implications to the rest of the fictional universe, but it’s also pretty fatiguing trying to keep up with the main storyline while trying to pick what spin-offs to read.  For instance, when Blackest Night was going on in DC, I was way too into it.  I bought the main eight issue story, plus the issues of Green Lantern leading up to the event, then about ten issues of spin-offs showing other characters dealing with zombies.  While it was going on, it was pretty intense to wait for the next installment, but looking back, I realized I spent way too much, especially considering how the prelude issues weren’t all that necessary, and none of the spin-offs were particularly good.

Back in 2006, Grant Morrison showed that Geoff Johns wasn’t the only guy in DC who could do crossovers.  He created a big event called Seven Soldiers of Victory.  What was nice about this was that it wasn’t your average big epic.  It wasn’t a bunch of characters slowly congregating until they just get in a big fight against the bad guys.  For one thing, none of the flagship characters were involved.  Grant specifically chose seven characters who–at the time–didn’t have their own titles.  Each of the seven was given a short mini-series written by him, and each mini-series fit together.  Then, each different series had a different artist.  Grant has always had a knack for working with great artists.  Volume 1 of Seven Soldiers involves…

Cameron Stewart.

Frazier Irving

J. H. Williams III

Ryan Sook

Simone Bianchi

I would say all of those artists belong somewhere on the top 50 list for artists working with the superhero genre.  Later in the series, Doug Mahnke gets involved and is allowed to draw Frankenstein (if I remember correctly, he got a motorcycle).  Anyone who’s been reading Green Lantern for the last year or so is likely a Mahnke fan by now.

Grant’s series involves Shining Knight, Frankenstein, Guardian, Bulleteer, Klarion, Mister Miracle, and Zatanna.

I haven’t yet read the entire series, but from what I have, I won’t say it’s necessarily perfect.  As is often the case with Morrison’s stories, it’s hard to follow.  Seven Soldiers though is even harder to follow than most of his work because, for much of the series, it’s not particularly clear about how the seven ongoing storylines fit together.

What’s cool and unconventional about the series is that it doesn’t devolve into a huge battle-royale.  During the whole cross-over, the 7 characters never even meet.  So all in all, it’s a crossover event that’s different enough that it’ s fresh.  Plus, to my surprise, the best of the stories involves a character named Klarion the Witch-Boy.

—-If you’re looking for a novel to read, check out my book The Madness of Art: Short Stories, featuring eight tales about the weirder side of art.

Read my review of The Seven Soldiers of Victory Volume 2.

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