Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Vibe #8

Vibe #8 came out last week and represents the last of my 'catch up' reviews from my week away.

And in some ways this is a sad review to write as we all learned recently that Vibe was 'stealth cancelled' by DC. Vibe #10 will be the last issue even though the solicit doesn't call it the finale. I have talked about my love of this title and its old school optimism and young heroism in the past. No need to reiterate it. But sales are sales and the book simply never took off despite what I felt was good word of mouth.

I don't know if writer Sterling Gates knew he only had a couple more issues on the book when this script was submitted because it doesn't read like a creator rushing to the finish line. And I am glad. I would rather read this book as it was intended, with a long term plan in mind. We meet new characters, deepen existing plotlines, and spend a nice side trip on Gemworld. That's all good stuff.

Artists Andres Guinaldo continues to do great art on the book. This title can lend itself to some Shade the Changing Man like surrealism with cracks in reality and peeks into other dimensions always creeping into the stories.

It is a shame this title is going away, another tick off the DC ledger of my monthly books.

Last issue ended with Rupture (Vibe's brother Armando) stabbing him in the chest with a sickle, draining Vibe of his powers. Rupture then grabbed Vibe and Gypsy and headed back to her home dimension.

En route, Armando releases Vibe's body, letting it float between vibrational realms. We get a couple of pages were we get to see Gates and Guinaldo cut loose. We see the Superman from Earth 23 from Morrison's Action Comics run. We hear General Zod from the Man of Steel movie asking if someone (Superman) 'was trained on a farm'. And we see other crazy dimensions.

Bleeding vibrational energy and near death, Vibe's body naturally seeks out someone somewhere who can help him.

That need leads him to Gemworld where Vibe is able to temporarily stabilize himself by draining Amethyst of some of the vibrational energies she has inside that allows her to move from Earth and back. Before things get too far, Breacher shows up to try to settle things a bit.

The Gemworld pages are a treat for me. I would love to read a Gates' Amethyst title because I think he could effectively update the character while keeping the core and sense of the original intact. This Amethyst sounds like Amethyst.

Vibe still sports an open wound spilling vibrational energy. Breacher shows up and slaps some sort of stabilizer on Cisco's chest. And it works, stemming the flow of energy and saving Cisco's life.

I can't help but see Iron Man when I see him sporting that round thing on his chest.

We then get a bit of a recap of Vibe's origins. Cisco and Armando were bathed in vibrational energies.

But that incursion did more than just let Darkseid in. It weakened those dimensional walls. That is why all those creatures in the Circus slipped into our reality.

Cisco's body adapted from that attack. It took a while for him to absorb the vibrational energy.

Armando had them right at the outset. But he was blasted to Gypsy's realm and twisted by Gypsy's mother. We see the absolute devastation that Armando has wrought, destruction and death on a biblical scale.

I really really like this wrinkle that Gates has thrown in. Honoring Armando is the whole reason why Cisco adopted this hero persona to begin with. He wants to help people. So seeing his inspiration as a cold-blooded genocidal maniac is just wonderful grist for the character mill.

What will this do to Cisco and his aspirations? Remember, part of what I love about this character is that optimism, that internal urge to do good. Will this affect him, turning him from the path? Or secure him more as a hero, atoning for his brother's sins?

Arrgghhh! Can't we have more of this book!

But I have also liked the maturation of Vibe over the short time of this book too.

At first he seemed to take everything people would tell him as fact. He believed ARGUS. He believed Gunn. He believed Kid Flash. He believed Gypsy. I won't call him naive ... just trusting. As if he didn't want to believe people would lie to him.

Now maybe he isn't so trusting having been lied to by so many.

In fact he lashes out against Breacher, not wanting to believe his brother could do such things.

This just feels so natural, like character progression rather than action for action's sake or Vibe attacking a hero to be dark. Heck, in Supergirl, Gates had Kara lash out against a lot of folks when the time was right.

And then we end with a wild cliffhanger.

Breacher is Gypsy's father. And he is more vibrationally unstable then Cisco. With his helmet off he is leaking  portals all over the place. So Cisco needs help. And more than that, they need to rescue Gypsy or Mordeth and Rapture will invade Earth.

There is something about him that reminds me of Waverider. I know that was time and this was dimensions.

I get the sense that this arc will end with Cisco more resolute on his mission to be a hero. It is a shame that that will be the end of his story. I wonder just how far in advance Gates had this comic planned.

I refuse to be gloom and doom. I love this book and that's what mattered.


Martin Gray said...

Keep that positive attitude coming, Paco has become a fine hero and hopefully he'll be in the DCU for a long time. Great spot on the movie dialogue, was that Superman 2 or the recent film?

Amethyst did feel like Amethyst, didn't she? I wonder if there's a Citrina these days.

Anj said...

Recent film.

I would love a Gates' written Amethyst

Saranga said...

I've just been reading these and got up to issue 8 last night. I've been very impressed and am very sad to hear that it's been cancelled.

I particularly liked the glimpses into other dimensions, especially the Firefly reference!

Martin Gray said...

If anyone doesn't know, the Circus storyline looks to be getting picked up by Gates in Forever Evil #4 in a few weeks' time.