30 March 2016

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part XLIX: Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance

Comic trade paperback, n.pag.
Published 2010 (contents: 2009)

Borrowed from the library
Read August 2015
Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance

Writer: Joe Casey
Pencillers: ChrisCross, André Coelho, Eduardo Pansica
Inkers: Rob Stull, Mick Gray, Wayne Faucher, ChrisCross, André Coelho, Sandro Ribeiro, Marc Deering
Colorists: Snakebite, Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Sal Cipriano

The Super Young Team was one of the more interesting aspects of Final Crisis, a group of Japanese super-teens designed as a contemporary version of Jack Kirby's Forever People, and as a result, Dance was the Final Crisis Aftermath tale that I was looking forward to the most.

Though this came out in 2009, Dance feels like it could sit alongside what Phil Sandifer calls the "New Pop" style of contemporary comics, like Batgirl and Young Avengers. Except that... it's just not as good. There could be some interesting ideas about the boldness of youth, what it means to grow up, how to be a superhero in the era of Twitter, but none of that's actually here. Rather, we watch the Super Young Team be manipulated by hackneyed PR managers for five issues when they suddenly get their crap together and save the day. It's not quite as cliche as it sounds-- I did like that Most Excellent Superbat doesn't decide to give up Twitter, but instead invents a replacement for it that joins people brain-to-brain, and I also liked the reveal of the grave threat facing Japan-- but it didn't really have anything to say.

There are glimpses of big ideas in it, but they don't come to fruition. Both Most Excellent Superbat and Shiny Happy Aquazon ultimately turn down heroes from the previous generation to forge their own paths, but there's no sense of why it's important, of what the younger generation gains by rejecting the older generation's identity and forging its own. Or, what about the fact that the supposed deficiencies of this generation come from the previous one: we're just living in the PR-fueled world our parents created. Nothing like this is really grappled with. The book just becomes generic superheroics without anything to say that you haven't seen before, even if it does occasionally want to try.

I feel like there's potential in these characters, so it's a shame this was it for them, as far as I know; the "New 52" reboot restored the original Forever People in an insta-cancelled series by Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen. All five of them seemed like they could be really interesting given the chance, and I also really liked the sense of a history of Japanese superheroics created by Morrison and Casey, with the JLA-esque Big Science Action, who shout delightful things like "Big Science Emergency"! The appearances of ur-hero Ultimon-Alpha, with his stereotypical doomsaying, was one of my favorite parts of the books. Hopefully someone tries something with the Super Young Team again one day; I really like it when DC takes that very American idea of the superhero and filters it through the sensibilities of other cultures.

Next Week: What will become of the Tattooed Man now that he's turned from villain to hero? Find out in Ink!

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