Monday, December 29, 2008

Review: Reign In Hell #6


With the holiday behind us, it's time to get back to work.

Reign in Hell #6 was released on Christmas Eve, a somewhat ironic shipping date. You may recall that the only reason I am buying this mini is because Linda Danvers plays a part in it. I have little interest and only slight knowledge of the mystical characters in the DCU.

You also may recall that Linda has not appeared since an awkward couple of pages in Reign in Hell #1. So I will be honest, I have read the issues prior to this one but probably not as closely as I should have. I think I have reached the point in this mini-series where I need to pull out all the issues and read them as a whole.

The truth is a lot seems to happen with each issue but it seems a little 'all over the map'. Plus it is difficult to tell who is who much of the time as the armies of Purgatory and Hell both look similar. And frankly, I don't know if I 100% understand the reasoning behind the individual hero's desires to join the fray. All that said, this issue gets a full review ... Linda finally shows up again, albeit in the Doctor Occult back-up story.

As for the main story ... well a lot happens again. Some of it is noteworthy.

First off, Dr. Fate battles Lady Blaze and absolutely fries her, leaving her little more than a skeleton with meager flesh.

Ummm ... since she is on the Purgatory side does that mean Dr. Fate is fighting for Hell? Or should I simply treat this war as a free-for-all? I mean I guess I wouldn't want to be fighting for Neron or Satanus.


In perhaps the most vicious sequence, Zatanna takes on Lobo hoping to avenge the death of Zatara. She pulls no punches having her magic 'flay the skins from his bones' and more succinctly 'bleed'. Lobo never is able to get a hand on her, so he goes after her friends. Lobo goads Zatanna throughout the fight knowing she won't ever use a death spell on him.

Realizing at best this is a stalemate since she won't kill him, Zatanna freezes Lobo and takes off with her friends. Lobo vows revenge saying he will hunt her forever if he needs to. Interesting new dynamic there.


In the mean time, Satanus reveals his grand plan. While he does not state what his true objective is, he does dismiss his initial concept of remaking Hell into a place of redemption as folly.

He knew his troops would be routed by the forces of Hell. But they were only fodder while he pumped the underworld air with a viral mutagen which can revert demon to man (the result of reverse engineering his DMN drug from way back in the Superman comic). Satanus tricks Neron into a one-on-one fight. And when Neron gets close enough, Satanus triggers the virus with the key word 'Shazam' (nice touch there). Satanus knows that Neron's strength is solely based on the powers of the demons under him. When those demons suddenly become powerless men, Neron loses their power as well and reverts to a Gollum looking creature. Satanus declares victory and beheads Neron. Hell is now his!

Like I said, a lot always happens here. Sort of interesting developments here.

But onto the back story.
In the back up feature, Dr. Occult continues his search in Hell for Rose, the female soul which has been bonded with his. His guide is old Superboy villain the Yellow Peri.

Occult finds Rose as a leader in the resistance in Hell. Rose refuses to leave the fight and go with him.

Later, the three of them come across a hooded figure. Peri immediately calls her 'Fallen Angel' because of the smells of sorrow and regret. She does say that the being is not corrupted ... yet.

Of course, Linda had been the receptacle of one of the three Earth Angels in Peter David's Supergirl series. She was the Angel of Justice. She was later stripped of those powers which were given to the being Twilight. And David started a series called Fallen Angel which was purported to be (actually believed to be by me) the continuation of Linda's story. So having Peri call this being Fallen Angel struck a chord a bit.


The figure drops the cloak.

There she is .... Linda Danvers .... fiery angel wings and all!


Dr. Occult immediately calls her Supergirl and Linda answers 'Yes, no .... it's a long story'.

Well this is a far far cry from Didio saying Linda/Matrix was out of continuity earlier in 2008. Someone actually recognizes ... verifies ... that Linda was Supergirl!

I have not hidden the fact that I love the PAD Linda Danvers character. This little exchange thrilled me. It simply meant that those stories now matter in the big scheme of things. (They have always mattered to me.)

Linda seems a bit confused however. While Rose continues to rebuff Occult's pleas to join him, Linda keeps telling them she can help them in their causes.


But why is Linda there anyways? Remember, she was taken to Hell in issue #1 when Lilith culled all her agents on Earth.

Linda tells them that she was brought to Hell by Lilith to fight. But Linda did not know how she could have been one of Lilith's agents and so she simply ran.

Sounds a bit too easy, don't you think? Why would Lilith just let her run unless she wanted her to.

The decision gets made that Occult, Peri, and Linda need to get out of the fray and the best place to hide right then is in Purgatory. Rose leads the way.

I am completely conflicted with how I feel right now.

I love the Linda character. She was tainted by evil in an all too human way but continued to strive to improve herself and help her fellow man. She always tried to do what was truly right even if the results were occasionally disastrous. But she persevered, trying to do what was best only to suffer for it. Even in 'Many Happy Returns' when she is denied her happy life to save the universe, she does it despite the anguish it will cause her. She self-sacrifices. She is a hero.

For a long time I bemoaned the fact that DC wanted to sweep her under the rug. As a character she deserved better than that. But I also had the great fear that if someone else wrote her story they would fail her. That they would cheapen her, or make her have a Punisher-like personality, or (worst of all) make her evil. So while I desperately wanted to read more Linda, I also did not want her to come back either. Better her story remain perfect in my mind than be sullied.

And so now she is back. And for the moment I am happy.

But I have read rumors she is going to become the Queen of Hell. And, for sure, there is potential to make her evil in a less grandiose way. Peri says she hasn't been corrupted 'yet'. And if that happens ... if they make her evil, as a fan, I will be discouraged. And disappointed. And irate.

So let the Linda fans be vocal that a blasphemous fate be spared from her. But for now at least let's be happy that she is back.

Overall grade: C+

12 comments:

TalOs said...

Anj said...
And frankly, I don't know if I 100% understand the reasoning behind the individual hero's desires to join the fray.

I think they're acting as God's "watchmen" in trying to insure that Hell and Purgatory remains under the rule of Neron rather then Satanus and Blaze for I think it all comes down to 'better the Devil you know then the one you don't' in the end here. :/

Linda finally shows up again, albeit in the Doctor Occult back-up story.
She DOES!? YAHOO!!! About time if you ask me! :D

First off, Dr. Fate battles Lady Blaze and absolutely fries her, leaving her little more than a skeleton with meager flesh.
Huh? Does that mean she's dead as in DEAD proper now?! I mean where does one go if they "die" in either Purgatory or Hell itself? :/

As for the latter I believe Dr. Fate is fighting under God's strict instructions to keep Neron as Hell's sole devil in command and NOT being over thrown by Satanus as with Blaze by his side instead really. Y'know what I mean? :/

In the mean time, Satanus reveals his grand plan. While he does not state what his true objective is, he does dismiss his initial concept of remaking Hell into a place of redemption as folly.

He knew his troops would be routed by the forces of Hell. But they were only fodder while he pumped the underworld air with a viral mutagen which can revert demon to man (the result of reverse engineering his DMN drug from way back in the Superman comic). Satanus tricks Neron into a one-on-one fight. And when Neron gets close enough, Satanus triggers the virus with the key word 'Shazam' (nice touch there). Satanus knows that Neron's strength is solely based on the powers of the demons under him. When those demons suddenly become powerless men, Neron loses their power as well and reverts to a Gollum looking creature. Satanus declares victory and beheads Neron. Hell is now his!

*Blinks* Um, ho-kay. Well, so much for "God's watchmen" theory here. lol

Later, the three of them come across a hooded figure. Peri immediately calls her 'Fallen Angel' because of the smells of sorrow and regret. She does say that the being is not corrupted ... yet.

Of course, Linda had been the receptacle of one of the three Earth Angels in Peter David's Supergirl series. She was the Angel of Justice. She was later stripped of those powers which were given to the being Twilight. And David started a series called Fallen Angel which was purported to be (actually believed to be by me) the continuation of Linda's story. So having Peri call this being Fallen Angel struck a chord a bit.
As it has with me now.

The figure drops the cloak.

There she is .... Linda Danvers .... fiery angel wings and all!

Dr. Occult immediately calls her Supergirl and Linda answers 'Yes, no .... it's a long story'.

Well this is a far far cry from Didio saying Linda/Matrix was out of continuity earlier in 2008. Someone actually recognizes ... verifies ... that Linda was Supergirl!

I have not hidden the fact that I love the PAD Linda Danvers character. This little exchange thrilled me. It simply meant that those stories now matter in the big scheme of things. (They have always mattered to me.)

HA! I KNEW IT! I knew that that DC Supergirl and Batgirl exchanging gifts was a clue to Matrix/Linda officially having been the first Supergirl who happened to have ventures with Batgirl BEFORE Kara Zor-El proper reprized her rightful role as Supergirl in accordance to "New Earth" continuity! ;)

Linda seems a bit confused however. While Rose continues to rebuff Occult's pleas to join him, Linda keeps telling them she can help them in their causes.

But why is Linda there anyways? Remember, she was taken to Hell in issue #1 when Lilith culled all her agents on Earth.

Linda tells them that she was brought to Hell by Lilith to fight. But Linda did not know how she could have been one of Lilith's agents and so she simply ran.

Sounds a bit too easy, don't you think? Why would Lilith just let her run unless she wanted her to.

Actually, it doesn't make sense as to WHY Linda would be there full stop what with in accordance to Peter David Linda was officially redeemed for her past sins prior to merging with Matrix and actually ENCOUNTERED as well as BATTLED Lilith HERSELF (as well as Lilith's son) over the right to Linda's other half being Matrix to where Linda won only to have Twilight and Matrix to merge in to one all new Earth born Angel where Twightrix gave the rest of her powers to Linda, remember? So how is it on "New Earth" proper that that isn't being recognized by DC's PTB at all and are now claiming that Linda is a servant to Lilith instead eh? It doesn't make sense!

The decision gets made that Occult, Peri, and Linda need to get out of the fray and the best place to hide right then is in Purgatory.
Maybe they're trying to get back to Earth top side to warn others of what has occurred as of late between the shift of power in Purgatory and Hell with Satanus being the new "Devil" their?

I am completely conflicted with how I feel right now.

I love the Linda character. She was tainted by evil in an all too human way but continued to strive to improve herself and help her fellow man. She always tried to do what was truly right even if the results were occasionally disastrous. But she persevered, trying to do what was best only to suffer for it. Even in 'Many Happy Returns' when she is denied her happy life to save the universe, she does it despite the anguish it will cause her. She self-sacrifices. She is a hero.

I know and I totally feel your pain ah.

For a long time I bemoaned the fact that DC wanted to sweep her under the rug. As a character she deserved better than that.

AMEN to that bortha!

But I also had the great fear that if someone else wrote her story they would fail her. That they would cheapen her, or make her have a Punisher-like personality, or (worst of all) make her evil. So while I desperately wanted to read more Linda, I also did not want her to come back either. Better her story remain perfect in my mind than be sullied.

And so now she is back. And for the moment I am happy.

But with all due respect Anj didn't Mr. Jpeh Loeb do her justice as well as 'Many Happy Returns' E-1 era Supergirl when in Superman/Batman arcs AFTER Kara Zor-El proper had returned to the main DCU they had her joining up with various Supergirls (including Power Girl and Cir-El) in order to rescue Superman at the time? What I'm saying is if some one like Loeb can do that just imagine what say another like Gail Simone or even Geoff Johns could do for her in turn! ;)

But I have read rumors she is going to become the Queen of Hell. And, for sure, there is potential to make her evil in a less grandiose way. Peri says she hasn't been corrupted 'yet'. And if that happens ... if they make her evil, as a fan, I will be discouraged. And disappointed. And irate.

GOD LORD MAN! You WONT be the only one here ah!

So let the Linda fans be vocal that a blasphemous fate be spared from her.

You sure have my vote! :D

But for now at least let's be happy that she is back.

EXACTLY! HEAR, HEAR!

WELCOME BACK LINDA!!! 8D

The Fortress Keeper said...

Linda Danvers as queen of hell would indeed be annoying, especially since her "angel" powers were ultimately stripped away leaving the "normal" TK derived abilities.

And ... um ... Yellow Peri? Is she back in continuity now as a (Kal-El) Superboy friend/foe or is there some new backstory now.

I can't keep track anymore.

The Nerdy Bird said...

Not sure how the who Shazam thing is going to figure in but I actually liked this issue. I also reviewed it as part of my DoubleDCoverage here if you want to check it out"
http://www.girlsentertainmentnetwork.com/doubledcoverage-1217-1224/

Anj said...

Linda Danvers as queen of hell would indeed be annoying, especially since her "angel" powers were ultimately stripped away leaving the "normal" TK derived abilities.

Thanks for the post.

I agree that it makes no sense for Linda to have angel powers given the ending of her series. (Although she did tap into something primal when she killed Xenon.)

My guess is that DC won't go into any significant explanation since it means opening up a can of worms. And the true fans of the PAD Linda will just have to shrug.

But geez ... I hope they don't make as noble a character as Linda into the the Queen of Hell.

Anj said...

Not sure how the who Shazam thing is going to figure in but I actually liked this issue. I also reviewed it as part of my DoubleDCoverage here if you want to check it out

Thanks for the post.

Satanus is the half-demon child of the wizard Shazam, so he used his father's name as the trigger.

And very nice website and blog!

Anonymous said...

Hoo-boy. I can't see Linda becoming the Queen of Hell... That just seems ridiculous to me, what with the making of no sense, and all...

I still don't get how she's supposed to be serving people she's fought against in the past. She actually fought Lilith in PAD's run in her fight to regain her connection to Matrix... Bah! Stupid DC.

Meanwhile, if she becomes evil (which, I admit, is a possibility given the whole "yet" thing and the lack of love in general), or killed, or an utterly inconsequential character for, say, five years again, I will be very much annoyed and angered.

I tell ya, between killing off or ignoring my favourites, bringing back the silver/golden age folks, and killing said favourites to bring back said silver/golden age folks, DC is really pushing their luck with me...

*sigh*

The Nerdy Bird said...

Thanks and you're welcome!

Chance said...

I think I agree with most here when I say their incarnation of Linda Danvers has been an absolute mess.

Perhaps an easy fix would be to have the angel in "Reign In Hell" be Twilight instead. It wouldn't be that hard. After all, in PADs Supergirl the Earth Angels could switch from one form to another, so that would explain her Matrix like appearance. Plus, it would also explain her relationship with Lilith, since Twilight was working for her for a time during the Supergirl series. Who knows all the details of what deals they made? Perhaps Lilith had the right to pull her down to Hell after all.

There is a wrinkle. I know the Shadowpact called her Danvers when they tried to hook up with her in Gotham City, but that could be explained away in a heartbeat. Perhaps she's using the Linda Danvers name as an alias, since Matrix WAS Linda Danvers for a time and I assume she would still know her SSN#. :P

I'm actually hoping for something like that, because I thought the character of Linda Danvers in Supergirl was one of the most thought out, complex, and compelling characters ever to get a serious run in a super hero comic book. I'd hate for Linda's legacy to be tainted by this messy Reign in Hell story.

Anj said...

I'm actually hoping for something like that, because I thought the character of Linda Danvers in Supergirl was one of the most thought out, complex, and compelling characters ever to get a serious run in a super hero comic book. I'd hate for Linda's legacy to be tainted by this messy Reign in Hell story.

Thanks so much for the post. I think most here agree with you that Linda Danvers was such a wonderfully complicated character that you want her to remain unsullied.

I have said before. I want to see more Linda. But I also don;t want to see more Linda. Because her story ended so perfectly for her, to bring her back for something like ... well ... Reign in Hell is awful.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your assessment of the Linda Danvers Supergirl completely. Personally, I despise Kara Zor-El and can't believe DC felt the need to bring that arrogant brat to -inadequately-- fill Linda's shoes. Linda *deserves* to be Supergirl; Kara's just a Kryptonian who happens to wear the costume.

I too will be irate if they try to turn Linda evil. Or, rather, evil for any longer than 3 issues. I expect all heroes to be mind-controlled at some point or other. But if they make her an honest-to-God villain...

Anonymous said...

Wait a sec, Linda got her powers back, but how didn't Twilight have them at the end of the series?

Did she die at some point and have the powers transferred back to Linda?

-ealperin

Anonymous said...

sorry, need to edit

Wait a sec, Linda got her powers back, but how? Didn't Twilight have them at the end of the series?

Did she die at some point and have the powers transferred back to Linda?

-ealperin