OPPOSING PERSPECTIVES AND OTHER CONFLICTS
A CROSSOVER OF SUPERHEROES
Dreamwar is a crossover between DC and Wildstorm characters. This was before the Wildstorm universe properly merged with DCs. A lot has changed in the DC Universe as well as Wildstorm. These changes effectively make Dreamwar a lot like an Elseworlds story. Given that, the story is still worth reading. This is a story of not just a few characters. There are too many to even list. Dozens and dozens! If you include the villains, I think there are more characters than pages!
DC heroes and villains appear. The Justice League, Teen Titans, Justice Society, a large cast of 19 Legion of Super-Heroes, plus villains like Doomsday, Sun Eater, Validus, Flash Rogues Gallery, Royal Flush Gang, Weaponeers of Qward, Joker and many more!
The superheroes of Wildstorm (more than 90% of their heroes!). I remember George Perez well deserved fame for the amazing work he did on Crisis on Infinite Earths. All those characters included on each page. While not as populated as Crisis, Garbett and Scott deserve a round of applause.
Story: Keith Giffen
Art: Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb and Randy Mayor
Letters: Rob Leigh
Published in 2009, reviewing a collection, collecting the complete 6 issue mini-series.
Top notch work by all involved. This is an interesting team. They work well together and I hope, even if it many years after Dreamwar was released, that they find themselves on future projects together.
Two universes collide. DC Comics past, present and future meets Wildstorm’s Wildcats, Authority and Stormwatch. DC’s characters are horrified by the philosophical outlook of the Wildstorm characters. They take such opposition to the Wildstorm characters they are willing to fight to the death (and death does occur). Division cripples the very world we now live in, the story feels different than when I first read it. Opposing views are changing how people think and relate to each other in overwhelmingly negative ways. The heroes from DC determination to stop the Wildstorm characters from influencing their world alters the very well defined personalities, morals and ethics that define them.
This kind of reaction has been played around with in the past. The Avengers / JLA crossover entertained the idea. Dreamwar takes the idea further. No doubt the Wildstorm universe is more militant and dystopian than DC’s. The DC heroes see it as a threat but how they handle the threat is pretty crazy! As the story progresses, DC’s heroes are acting out of character. There is, of course, a reason given towards the end.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
There are surprising deaths that will have some cheering. Likewise, There are surprising deaths that will have some booing.
The cast of characters for the most part is amazing. If you like DC you will like a lot of these characters. If you like Wildstorm…well, everyone is here just about from that period in Wildstorm history!
The story veers towards the Hollywood action film route. Action follows action without let up. Sometimes that is great, other times it’s not. This time it’s both. Ultimately, the story could have been double or even triple in pages. This would have given room for the story to breathe. Then actions have true consequences. More than just a defeat or death to toss aside to prepare more incoming danger. This is, sadly a common problem in comics, not just Dreamwar.
Geffin was part of many great Legion of Super Heroes stories. You might think he overused the team as a result and you would be incorrect. Truth be told, there are just too many characters for anyone to share the spotlight. To be fair, Keith has worked on the vast majority of these characters during his stay at DC (and eventually with Wildstorm!)
Dreamwar has a place in my collection because it includes the Legion, the Justice Society of America, and “Wolfman” era Teen Titans. It’s worth rereading. It also includes a great creative team.
The not-in-continuity death’s are interesting. If one considers them in proper perspective, does give one pause and thought. What is the proper perspective? Could the result of the fight have occurred? Would their differences result in a fight to the death? The answers might be surprising. It is out of continuity, so whoever your favorite character(s) happens to be that appears in Dreamwar, you can reflect on what happens to them with a non-continuity perspective.
If not for how DC used the Wildstorm characters after this story, I really wonder how DC would have handled the Wildstorm characters. Now Dreamwar can be considered an elseworlds story. When DC resets itself, perhaps this story can be revisited? It’s not as if DC hasn’t reset the position that Wildstorm occupies at DC a handful of times 🙂
The choice of Wildstorm for this crossover is interesting. Kieth chose wisely.
Wildstorm is a very interesting universe. I enjoyed Alan Moore, James Robinson, Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis’s take on them quite a lot (What a line up just right there!!). I always kind of felt that Mike Gustovichs Justice Machine and Cobalt Blue really influenced Wildstorm. A strange brew of new ideas, more scifi bent than traditional hero in a warped reality. While not reality (yet), but relatable. Geffin has his own interesting take on them. All of these creators, including Geffin, understand the philosophy and sci-fi nature of Wildstorm.
Interested in purchasing this crossover, visit your local comic book store and check out their backstock! This and many more are waiting for your purchase. Available as a trade paperback or six issue limited series.
JUSTICE MACHINE ANNUAL #1
Thematically, Dreamwar is a great transition to this crossover. If there was a proto-Wildstorm universe I would have to say was Justice Machine. Wildstorm teams are agents of different nations and organizations (such as the United States and the UN). The philosophical differences between DC’s and Wildstorm would also be present in DC’s and Justice Machines. Instead of DC’s heroes and Wildstorm, it is the Justice Machine and the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents.
The T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents, created in 1965, were originally published by Tower Comics. Imagine superheroes serving as an arm for the United Nations ( The Higher United Nations Defence Enforcement Reserves). The team was very much a product of the cold war era. Interestingly, I could see a future where if Thunder Agents failed and the villains they fought (SPIDER) won the day, a Justice Machine-like future unfolding.
While the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents operate as an arm for the U.N., the Justice Machine initially were the enforcement arm of Georwell, a totalitarian government. Think of Georwell as a reference to George Orwell. It is no coincidence!
The whole Texas Comics story is an interesting situation. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. This one comic features a great creative line-up, a good story featuring a team-up with the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents and a backup feature that serves as the first appearances of the Elementals. It is also the first and only comic published by Texas Comics. Based on the potential of this one comic, Texas Comics could have been a contender! In many ways you can consider this a proto-Comico comic.
Depending on your legal standing, the comic is illegal! Texas Comics use of T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents was a violation of copyright law. Not that Texas intentionally infringed. It was commonly believed that the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents were in public domain. It turns out, they were not. This is one of a number of reasons this comic will never be reprinted and unlikely to be collected.
Readers can enjoy a really good comic and if they own it they can even say “I own the entire output of a comic company”. People might not believe you. After all, it is an annual. The average person would assume it is the annual to…something. Yet it would be true.
Writer: Bill Loeb
Penciler: Bill Reinhold
Inker: Jeff Dee
Colorist: Keith Wilson
Letterer: G. Ward
Writer / Pencils: Bill Willingham
Inkers/Color: Bill Anderson
Letterer: Keith Wilson
Undercover operatives for T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents (Kitten, Weed, and others who are part of the 86827 T.H.U.N.D.E.R Squad) discover a Nazi plot to take out the UN. Hammett Dash (benefactor for the Justice Machine) also discovers the plot. Both teams are put into play to take down the Nazi’s.
Sadly, as heroes are most ineffective at communicating before fighting, the two teams mistake each other as the Nazi enemy. In time they realize they’re both on the same side with the same goal and take the fight to the Nazis. The Nazi’s have plenty of soldier fodder and a ubermench male plus Iron Maiden to escalate the battle.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
Even if you don’t know much about the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents or Justice Machine, Justice Machine Annual #1 has a solid standalone story. A familiar story given the premise of the plot. The story has more merit if you already know the characters. There are good moments for each character. But you don’t need to understand past stories with any of the characters to enjoy the story.
I suspect Nazi’s were used in place of S.P.I.D.E.R to make things simpler and bring Iron Maiden in a simple manner.
This is a comic for a comic book sake as opposed to the marketing equations that guide a lot of today’s comic directions. If you collect any of the heroes included in this comic, then this is absolutely a missing piece of your collection that you should own. You’re missing out.
I collect comics because I enjoy reading them and respect them as a fan, published author, former retailer, and so on. I don’t collect them for their monetary value. If I did, this one would be cool to have.
It’s the first appearance of the Elementals. It’s the only comic Texas Comics published. One printing and that’s that. Justice Machine and the Elementals do meet later on, but under the Comico banner.
It is in my collection though due to…every aspect possible. Great creative, good story, great characters. Texas Comics understood the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agent better than DC’s attempt at using the team. The Justice Machine shined. It was their first annual after all. A huge bonus to annual: the back-up story is the first appearance of the Elementals! Who can complain? You! If you happen to not own this comic!
Hopefully one day the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents will return in proper form. Justice Machine has been published by a number of different publishers. Some good, some bad. I hope it can return to it’s creator’s vision. Mike Gustovich presented something wonderful here. Mike’s Cobalt Blue did not appear in the Justice Machine annual, but is equally wonderful. Cobalt Blue also has a same sci-fi bent superhero story that Justice Machine and Wildstorm share in and would also make a wonderful return to comics.
Interested in adding this to your collection? Go down to your local comic book store and check out their back stock. It has never been and likely will never be reprinted or collected. Due to its very unique standing, you might expect to pay a lot of money for Justice Machine Annual #1. You would be wrong. Pricing varies from $5-15 on average.