Wednesday, May 13, 2009

War of Kings: Ascension #2 Review

Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Wellinton Alves

Much like last issue, the best parts of this one are when the main character isn't on screen. Chris Powell, formerly Darkhawk, is one of the least interesting characters I've ever had the misfortune of reading and he sucks the life out of every panel he's in. It's sad when I'm actually glad his armour and body were taken over by a member of an evil fraternity dedicated to sowing chaos and discontent throughout the universe just so I won't have to listen to his whining or put up with his crappy origin story and cliched internal battles with himself nonsense.

Annoyances over the main character aside, this issue is actually much better than the first one. With the reveal that the Fraternity of Raptors and Darkhawk suits are actually evil, Abnett and Lanning have added a nice twist to this storyline and it immediately started paying dividends with the duo of Talon and Darkhawk quickly taking out Catastrophus and claiming his Cosmic Control Rod for themselves.

Why didn't Catastrophus use the rod on the two Raptors? Well, he was actually using it to suppress Annihilus's growth and couldn't use it for himself without allowing Annihilus to awaken. That answers the question of whatever happened to Annihilus after he was reborn at the end of Annihilation. The two Raptors actually leave Annihilus alive as it will only further help their cause in the long run by having someone like Annihilus alive and in their debt.

Once the duo acquired the Cosmic Control Rod, they went on to request an audience with King Blastaar, who had taken up residence in Prison 42. Instead of using the rod themselves, they actually give it to Blastaar in good faith in hopes he'll aid their goals with regards to the War of Kings.

The remainder of the issue was devoted to Chris Powell, who was ousted from his Darkhawk armour and left in a limbo of sorts. DnA attempt to clear up his previous origin, which revolved around the Darkhawk armour being created by intergalactic mobsters and what not, by blaming it on Chris's mind not being able to handle the armour and datasong from the Fraternity and, thus, creating fake memories to help him cope.

I see what they attempted to do by going to the trouble of explaining his origin and retconning parts of it away, but I don't understand why they even bothered since the character is hardly well known or popular and barely qualifies as a Z-lister. For the amount of time they are spending on forcing the character into their storyline, they could have just as easily made a new one up and avoided the clutter and bullshit backstory and inner turmoil nonsense we've been subjected to so far.

Verdict - Check It. If I could gut the middle parts of this story dealing with Chris Powell's origin and innerself nonsense, I'd probably rate this issue an easy Must Read. Those parts are really dragging this miniseries down.

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