REVIEW: DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore
Alan Moore is a god among comic fans and rightfully so. This is a trade that collects all of his miscellaneous DC issues, not including the series he did(Swamp Thing, Watchmen, ect).
DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore
Writer: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Publisher: DC Comics
What is Up: This volume contains 13 separate stories that I feel are some of the best in all comics history.
The book starts off with the Super Man Annual For the Man Who has Everything which I first encountered in cartoon form in either the justice league cartoon or the superman animated show I’m not sure. Even back then it was cool to me, and reading it again now it just blows my mind how interesting Superman can be when someone writes him well. For everyone who says Batman is better because Superman is too boring needs to give this a read because its all about one of Superman’s enemies giving him what he always wanted – a chance to live through life on krypton, yet things aren’t right.
The next story titled The Night Olympics Features Green Arrow and Black Canary. This ones good but not as flat out amazing as the other issues. It has some funny moments and is like most of Moore’s work a commentary on the super hero genre but although effective its doesn’t pack the punch that some of his others do.
Mogo Doesn’t Socialize Is one that sticks out at me for several reasons. For one thing I love the fact that the Lantern Corps has an archive that portrays mythic GL’s for young lanterns to read, and that some of the lanterns are well un-standard. Secondly the reveal that is best not known, but if you’ve read anything current from Green Lantern then you know the reveal. The way its told is still worth seeing.
Father’s Day A Vigilante 2-parter is one of my favorites, and that’s saying something considering I have no other experience with this character. The story opens with a woman calling the D.A. as a man stalks up the apartment steps and busts open the door. Some bad stuff happens. Turns out that this D.A. is actually the super hero Vigilante(who woulda guessed?). He has to team up with a Drug Dealer and a Hooker, exactly the type he would normally arresting, to protect this girl. This story is the perfect grey story, and by that I mean nothing is black and white. It deals with a lot of the themes that Watchmen did, but this is more concentrated where Watchmen is incredibly broad.
The next two, Brief Lives + A Man’s World are strange 4 page story’s from Omega Men. I don’t know what Omega Men is, but from what I read in here I think its an anthology. Like I said they are strange and they unlike most everything else in the volume are not super hero story’s. Instead they make me think of the Twilight Zone provided the Twilight zone dealt with alien species and stuff.
The Jungle Line is said to be a Superman/Swampthing Crossover, but really its a Superman book with a dash of Swampthing. Anyway the book starts like any superman or Smallville episode might, “A meteorite from Krypton lands on earth”. It carries some type of fungus that was deadly back on krypton, of course it doesn’t effect humans so when Clark goes to report on it for the Planet he contracts it. What follow’s I can only describe as Superman going insane.
Tygers and In Blackest Night are both very cool Green Lantern stories that like the previous one has nothing to do with Hal, or any of the other big GL’s. It’s my favorite part of GL, so this stuff really hit to spot.
Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is funny to read now seeing as how the “New 52” just came out last month. They knew that Superman was re-booting and they ended it right, with one of the most beloved Superman stories of all time. Think of it as a series finale to a 20 odd year tv show, but it also being the BEST episode of the series tying up everything in an extremely satisfying and surprising way. Seems like they should have gotten Alan Moore to end Lost. zing. No I actually liked Lost’s finale, but I digress.
Mortal Clay much like The Killing Joke is more about understanding and ultimately sympathy with the villain then with Batman himself. Mortal Clay is the story of a truly insane person looking for love wherever he can find it. The Killing Joke is without spoiling it what leads Barbara on the path to being Oracle. It’s also an origin story of the Joker, and it’s my preferred version because it actually explains why the Joker is so F-ing messed up, not just why his skin is white. I almost wasn’t going to read it for this review because I have read it so many times before, but I read the first few pages and I just couldn’t stop, its that gripping.
Art: The art varies from story to story, but it is generally really good. You have to remember that it is 80’s art though so its not as glossy as modern art.
Bottom Line: If you like stories that defy conventions, and that can make you rethink characters you need to read this book. Hell if the name Alan Moore means anything to you then you need to read this. I’m not talking about the movie versions of his work either, I’m looking at you V-for Vendetta and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It’s also a great place to start reading Moore because this is his less dense work. You might have a hard time going through Watchmen if you start there.