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Manifest Eternity #1
posted March 10, 2006
Scott Lobdell, Dustin Nguyen
WildStorm Signature Series, $2.99, 32 pages, August 2006
I wasn't aware that a DC imprint was trying science fiction again, but this seems to be part of at least a few other like-minded series. Manifest Eternity
gives us a noble, older hero and a background of war set against the possibility of a new war. Jammed across it like a crossplank is another hoary narrative concept, that of the magical universe in conflict with a science fiction universe. I could be more specific -- the protagonist is Kyle Bozydej, the main aliens in question are called Trillians -- but the overall scenario is so unimaginative I'm not sure dressing it in details distinguishes it in any way. Although execution can save a lot of science fantasies, the dialogue and caption work from Scott Lobdell reads like generic, clenched-teeth DC superhero dialogue from the mid-1990s.
Look at them cheering him.
Most of them came from races he helped conquer.
They can't help but hate him.
And he, them.
While we're on the subject of hate, I hate that narrator.
The artwork by Dustin Nguyen, whom I remember from WildCATS 3.0
, is splashy and frequently abstract in a way you never get grounded in the reality presented by the book -- imagine Blade Runner
with art direction by Richard Linklater's "Waking Life" animation crew. To top off the book's various troubles, the storytelling depends on occasional switches from tiered splash pages to pages with panels existing next to one another, transitions made so clumsily they make a few sequences almost impossible to read. Manifest Eternity
reads like hackneyed, drug store pulp, but a bit too tired to score on that level, even. It makes me want to skip the next issue, and all other comics in this line. Everyone involved is capable of much better work.