Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: J.H. Williams III, Simone Bianchi, Cameron Stewart, Ryan Sook, Frazer Irving, Mick Gray, Pasqual Ferry, Yanick Paquette, Serge Lapointe, Doug Mahnke, Billy Dallas Patton, Michael Bair, Freddie Williams II
Review by: Bill Jones
Grant Morrison has a growing penchant for revitalizing (or attempting to revitalize) comics history, by reinventing old characters, incorporating classic story bits and trying to revolutionize storytelling in comics. But as often as he strikes gold (All-Star Superman), he also finds a way to alienate casual fans looking for a good story. And Seven Soldiers of Victory is the latest example of just that.
He takes a cadre of C-list characters – Shining Knight, Guardian, Bulleteer, Klarion, Frankenstein, Zatanna and Mister Miracle – and weaves them together in a metaseries, in which each character gets a four-issue mini-series, and two other issues bookend the collection, which is also available in two hardcover or softcover volumes.
The overarching plot is that the Sheeda have been relentlessly attacking humanity. It has been prophesized that a team of seven soldiers would one day end the threat, but the Sheeda know of the prophecy and have gotten smart by electing to surgically attack and kill groups of seven. And so a mysterious power puts in action a plan to have seven soldiers all play a part in saving the world, without meeting one another (at least for awhile).
The problem is, for most of the 30-issue series, we’re getting individual character stories, and all are not created equal. Some – Guardian, Zatanna and Mister Miracle – are much better reads than others – Frankenstein and Bulleteer. The art styles also change, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. The way the series is organized, the first volume brings with it generally better storytelling, while the second volume starts to get tedious and difficult to read through.
In the grand finale, things get a little too artsy. The story does fall together, but somewhat loosely, and not with the revealing impact Morrison might have hoped. The big conclusion is just so-so, and therefore makes a long and tedious read feel like it doesn’t have enough of a payoff. It does a good job of lifting a few of the characters from the depths of DC’s roster, but others might as well have stayed there.
Like many things written by Grant Morrison, there is a clear skill on display in the amount of work and brainpower that went into putting this project together, but it really just feels like there is too much going on and too little of it entertaining to be a fun read for most comics fans. For those steeped in the lore of Seven Soldiers of Victory, Morrison’s work may be especially intriguing, but most everyone else would do well to leave these characters and their stories at the bottom of the barrel.
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Pads & Panels received a copy for the volumes courtesy of DC Comics for review purposes.