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Majestic #1

Majestic #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 4, 2004

Cover date: October 2004

Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Karl Kerschl

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Mr. Majestic descends from the sky into a local Metropolis diner, walking in and sitting down.

Inside, he orders every breakfast special on the menu, and crushes a pencil into diamonds to pay for it.

Superman walks in and sits down, talking to Majestic. They speak of how he is scaring people and the other heroes, how he needs to tone it down a little, or people will not regard him highly. He counters that the super-heroes of this Universe are too liberal and soft, and that perhaps a stronger hand is needed.

Majestic does note, however, that he's emptied the diner.

He talks with Superman about the device he's building to harness the time storm's residual energies and go home. Superman says that the project is frightening the world, as no one really knows what it is for. He says that he'll have to leave sooner rather than later, then, and leaves.

He does, and the scene pans back to show the JLA on site to deal with Majestic if anything goes wrong, along with a huge police line.

Superman gives Green Lantern his ring back, telling him Majestic wanted to give it back.

Majestic goes to work on his project.

Eradicator arrives, and begins to pummel Majestic. Majestic prepares to finish Eradicator off, but Eradicator puts his armor to use, showing a new system that looks a lot like the "religious fanatic" Eradicator suit over the current Eradicator's design.

Majestic is about to have his ribs broken, so he reroutes the biological circuitry of the Eradicator. Eradicator, knowing he is about to be destroyed, self-destructs, taking Majestic's project with him.

Cut to a flashback scene of Majestic examining a relic of the old wars, far from his Earth. He says that the Daemonites had breeched the dimensional gateway and found a way through the bleed, and like a fool, he re-activated the gate.

He stays to study the device for a few weeks, growing a beard.

A large creature enters through the gateway, grabs Majestic, and pulls him through, noting that he is a Kheran, and thus the enemy.

In Napier Rise, a suburb of Metropolis, two weeks later, a man named Jim McArest, who looks suspiciously like Majestic in a civilian garb, arrives to let a room from a woman with a young son.

5Story - 5: Okay, there's something I'd normally knock a half-point for here, but I won't. Here's my reasoning...

Before I read Abnett and Lanning, I cared about as much for Majestic as I do for, say, Spawn. It's a niche market character that people read if they really like the artist, the writer, or the company, but unless you're a real comics freak, you're not gonna know much about the guy.

And that's still the case, I don't know much about Majestic, other than that I hear he was a homage/rip-off (depending on how you want to put what we in literature call "appropriation", ha-ho!) of Superman and that he has a loyal following.

Truth be told, after reading just five issues with the guy as a part of the Superman story, I want to go and find some Mr. Majestic books.

That says an AWFUL lot for Abnett and Lanning.

This story at hand is a masterful example of that. It's hard to take a character who's just like Superman in so many ways, and in one simple gesture, show him to be more alien and at odds with the world than Superman himself.

The opening scene, in the diner, I've never really seen anything like it, and in comics, that's something else. It reminded me of Common Grounds, which I'm following for Jurgens and some really great storytelling. And the scene with Green Lantern, giving him back his ring casually, you can just picture the scene where Majestic made short work of Rayner.

And then the fight with the Eradicator... amazing. And JUST as it would go down. Majestic's character is established well, thinking in technical terms, he's got a very distinctive character, and he muses correctly, Eradicator would be the only one to attack Majestic, but he also gets Majestic's admiration for being bold.

And hey! This issue has a really big deal in it... the DEATH of the bloody ERADICATOR! He blew up! That's a big moment! And it's a good death, at that... he pushed one too many people once too far with his idolatry and homogenous world-view, and Majestic spanked him.

The thing which loses me in this story is assumed knowledge. We cut from the Eradicator scene to, what? Majestic in the middle of nowhere, working on a dimensional barrier? Okay, I'll give him some time to flesh this out with two, but what about the after-effects of killing Eradicator and losing his project? And the ending? WHOA, left field.

But I'm not docking, because I'm confident with the storytelling we've seen thusfar, all will be resolved. I do wish I knew more about Majestic, though, enough to make a better judgment. We'll see, I have four months...

But heck, after this issue, I have to admit, I'm impressed.

I HIGHLY encourage you to go out and buy this issue instead of simply reading my summary, because though I know that it's easier to do that (and if I hadn't been assigned the review, I might have just done that myself), this is a story that I can tell, just reading issue one, that you will want to read. My summary doesn't do the fantastic dialogue justice. From what I've seen so far, I can promise you if you read Superman you will regret not having this issue.

5Art - 5: It's the fantastic style we had for the four issue Majestic arc across the main books, and it really delivers here. Eradicator is rocking, as are the distinctive feel of each person in this book. The creature adversary is great.there's something about Kerschl that's just really at ease, something you can read without feeling like the artist is trying to show you how cool he is, but leave you with a knowledge that he is, in fact, good at what he does.

My lone complaint is the noses. Crom, look at the noses in this comic. They're funny looking. But not enough to subtract from the rating, it's just something funny I noticed. Every artist has one.

Great work.

5Cover Art - 5: Okay, how contrived is this cover, and how many times have we seen it?

Answer: Who cares? It's a classic, and this time, it works well. I like it. Sometimes, a homage cover comes across as tired, but this is kind of nodding to the fact that Majestic is an homage to Supes, that Supes has a lot to do with this series, and the color scheme, it just really works.

Although to be honest, that UPC right in the middle of the thing kills it for me. I wish they would put the UPC on the back. How many of you really get your comics scanned by UPC anyway? Seriously! How many of you have gotten a comic at a supermarket in the last 5 years?

It's time to remove this blemish on comic art.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2004

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