Thursday, March 8, 2012

52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen Trade Paperback Review

52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen
DC Comics
Softcover Trade Paperback
144 pages
$19.99 (2008)
ISBN 9781401217815

Contributors: Keith Giffen, Pat Olliffe, John Stanisci, Hi-Fi Colour, Pat Brosseau, John Hill, Travis Lanham, and covers by Ethan Van Sciver

Reprints: 52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #1-6 (of 6)

Synopsis: In the wake of the catastrophic events of 52 comes the return of the Four Horsemen (of Apokolips! - couldn't resist).  Bialya has been reduced to ashes after the near-genocidal rampage of Black Adam - who first battled and defeated the Horsemen after they killed the Black Marvel Family.  They're not so easily vanquished and rise from the ashes of the decimated nation. 

Superman vs. zombies?  Now that's 
going to be a quick fight.
Standing in their way are Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman along with the mad scientists of Oolong Island who were responsible for unleashing the Horsemen in the first place.  Now Oolong is led by Dr. Veronica Cale and she wants the Horsemen destroyed, but what are her true motivations?  Are the three returned heroes a match for a quartet of death-gods from Apokolips?

Pros: Great covers by Van Sciver, competent art by Olliffe, Giffen's dialogue has its moments

Cons: Felt like plot was rushed (whatever happened to the Bialyan president?), desperately needed character recaps/histories for lesser known players and Checkmate, Horsemen are generic super-tough baddies, ending was lame

Mike Tells It Straight: This story might as well be 52 weeks 53 and 54 - it's a direct continuation of the story, but this time the Big Three (Bats, Supes, and Wondie were absent from the DCU during 52) have returned.  I usually like Giffen's writing, consider Olliffe to be a competent artist, and dig Van Sciver's detailed art - not so much this time.

Wolfman has nards!?
The plot was a jumbled mess with zero setup to explain what is going on - prerequisite reading is 52, World War III, and the Checkmate series which spun out of Infinite Crisis.  If you don't read these then you'll be completely hosed on this book.  The Horsemen were already beaten by Black Adam during 52 with a much better story behind it.  This confrontation just didn't have the same impact - is there really any doubt Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman will prevail?  None whatsoever. 

Olliffe's art was passable, but somewhat inconsistent - I blame the horrible character designs of the Horsemen.  Same deal for Van Sciver's covers - the Horsemen just don't fit.  They're 100% disposable bad guys.  Even the ending was lame and felt like a cop out.  If you loved 52 and are compelled to read anything related then maybe, maybe buy this book - otherwise it's a forgettable read with no redeeming qualities (except maybe Snapper Carr).

TO BUY and Recommendations: