aaron_bourque (aaron_bourque) wrote,

Instant Karma

DC Universe Presents.

Long ago, comics used to be almost completely anthologies, where many stories would appear in one issue. Nowadays, anthology series are really rare, usually from independent publishers. However, they were a huge part of what made comics popular and successful once upon a time, and so there are several anthologies in the new 52. I talked about one previously, All-Star Western, and DC Universe Presents is another. However, where All-Star is traditionally anthologic (is that a word?) with multiple stories per issue, Presents will be following one story arc and main character for an issue or longer, and then go to a different story and character.

The first arc focuses on Deadman. Deadman is Boston Brand, circus acrobat and big ole jerk who was assassinated during a performance one night. Instead of going off to heaven or hell, or nothing or whatever, his soul was appropriated by the goddess Kama SutraRama Kushna for some sort of cosmic purpose. Boston's soul is given the ability to possess living bodies, and in this way he can control them and try to guide them toward a better afterlife. He doesn't always succeed, and he also originally wanted to solve the mystery of his murder. He did so (it's a long story, and involves his brother, Cleveland--who were his parents, Carmen Sandiego and Indiana Jones? . . . That would be awesome!)

This story, however, adds the wrinkle that the reason Boston is trying to save other souls is because if he does a good enough job, he'll balance his own karma and get a nice eternal reward. However, he's grown distrustful of Rama Kushna, and thinks he's being used for another, secret purpose.

That distrust drives the story, as he tries learning more about the mystical side of the universe (stealing from a fallen angel's library, for instance) so he can confront Rama and get answers about when his soul will be free. And that's where things stand, now. This is a really interesting story. It's nice seeing a character as rough around the edges as Boston, but who's still trying to be a decent guy. Also, the weirder nooks and crannies of the DC universe deserve a spotlight, too.

However, I'm not sure about recommending this one, given its anthology nature. Like any comic book, it'll have good story arcs and bad story arcs, and with it shifting from one character for an arc and then another character for an arc, I would feel better about recommending individual arcs, not the series as a whole. That said, the initial story arc is turning out really good, so read it, for sure.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; I'm sorry about that joke involving Rama Kushna's name, but not that sorry.
Tags: analysis, comic books, essays, the new 52
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