Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Review: Vibe #10

About a year ago it was announced that Vibe was coming the the New 52 and was going to get his own book. At the time it seemed like an insane decision, another one of Geoff Johns fever visions of a world where people were clamoring for the Detroit JLA. And even if that were true, Vibe?? Wouldn't there be a bigger market for Steel? Or J'Onn?

Flash forward to last week and me lamenting the cancellation of Vibe. That's right, DC stealth canceled the book; Vibe #10 was the last issue. I have written about it before, and echo it with each month's review but it is true. Vibe was a great book and a rare bright spot of optimism in this darker DCnU. Writer Sterling Gates captured the classic 'young hero working hard to be a hero' style book that used to be so rampant in comic books. Here was a kid, inspired by his brother, with a strong set of ethics, working in a cynical world, and reminding more jaded people that goodness exists.

In a universe where almost everything is dark, where evil is relative, where Supergirl is about to be a Red Lantern, couldn't there be a little sunlight? Unfortunately, sales were never great ... maybe a reflection of preconceived notions of Vibe as a character? ... and the plug was pulled.

And with only 20 pages to finish off all plots, Gates sprints to the end. Art is by Derliz Santacruz and is fine standard fare.

Last issue ended with Vibe turned into a living Vibe-bomb by Gypsy's father. This issue starts with Vibe storming into Amanda Waller's office, burying Rupture's scythe into her desk.

This is a different sort of Vibe at first, angry and intimidating (at least trying to be intimidating).

But that internal goodness of Vibe, that sense of right and wrong, can't be overrun by his anger. While initially seeming threatening to Waller, he softens when he hears the jailbreak from A.R.G.U.S. ended with some of the ARGUS troops dead.

It shows how even in this cynical world, even when he is feeling used and enraged, there are parts of him that can't be tarnished.

With the meeting with Waller a bit calmer, Vibe is able to tell her what happened on Piradell.

I am sure that Gates had more to say about the closure of this story but things have to wrap up here.

First off Rupture ends the danger of the Vib-omb by burying his blade into the chest device that had been placed there by Breacher. I suppose this makes sense. Cisco being a bomb was to help Breacher's side of this war. Rupture works for the opposite side.

I do think that Gates does a good job of showing that Armando is slowly breaking through his brainwashing, remembering more and more of his pre-Rupture life. Here he quotes their high school football coach.

It is hard to know how long that Vibe has been on Piradell but with the book ending, we are told some surprising things about this world.

For one, Vibe has been fighting for the oppressed people on this world. It turns out that THERE ARE NO PEOPLE!! I suppose it makes it easier for Gates to let Vibe walk away from this world without feeling remorse. But you would think Vibe would know that by now. And how about the other members of his little rebel force?

Still trying to save his brother, Vibe decides to throw down with Armando, hoping to blast away Mordeth's conditioning.

While retelling his story, Vibe tells Waller that he knows that Earth is the nexus world of many dimensions, a hub to all other worlds. This is why Mordeth wanted to conquer Earth, to use it as a launch point for her interdimensional war. Mordeth just needed to Gypsy's power to break through. Amazingly, Waller already knew this. That is why she imprisoned Gypsy, to keep her from Mordeth.

I do like this explanation as it explains why so many breachers land on Earth.

Anyways, on Piradell, the brawl is a stalemate although it does seal up the open energy wound on Cisco's chest. I suppose it is another easy answer to a problem that needed to be solved.

Mordeth shows up herself and attempts to kill Vibe. Seeing his brother dying breaks through the last mental walls placed in Rupture's mind. He decides to lash out against his mistress, slashing her in two with his sickle.

Looking at her, she is also a Raptor of some sort, made up entirely of nanobots.

This battle in the war is over more quickly than I would have thought. But now the brothers are reunited.

While her humanoid body is destroyed, the Mordeth persona exists and begins to animate the entire nanobot world. The brothers fight together briefly and rescue Gypsy.

In a heroic sacrifice, Rupture ... now free thinking again ... sends Vibe and Gypsy back to Earth. Armando needs to repent for all the death he brought about as Rupture. And the best way to do that is to fight Mordeth, alone, in this dimension.

One of the things I liked about this comic has been Vibe's drive to be a hero, to live up to the inspiration of his brother's sacrifice in saving him back in the Darkseid invasion. Here we see those family ethics, why Armando is hero. It shows why Cisco would be inspired by him.

And so we get the hooks for an ongoing Vibe story for the future. Will it be played out in JLA? Will it never be mentioned again?

Regardless, it shows some of the growth in Cisco's character. He will continue to work for ARGUS, stopping the breachers who get to Earth. But he will only work with Dale Gunn. And, while he works for Waller, she will help figure out the mechanics of Rupture's scythe. When it can be used to head back to Piradell, Vibe wants to head back to rescue Armando!

Vibe's inspiration is now not to live up to Armando's name and actions. It is now to rescue Armando. And on his terms!

It shows that Cisco's naivete may be gone, but his morals aren't. He is still a young hero trying to do what's right.

Cisco thinks he has won with Waller accepting his terms.

But Waller is devious. It turns out she has Dante in her back pocket. He will spy on Cisco ... or else.

I like how Waller is never truly 'defeated'.

So who knows if this will ever be looked into. But at least is out there to be picked up if possible.

What I did very much like was the last page, a sort of nice ending for this title.

Vibe maintains his outlook on life, his desire to do what's right, and his ability to look past the cynicism of the world and be a hero.

This book ended way too soon. Because it is this sort of hero that is desperately needed in the dark DCnU.

Overall grade: B+ (for rushing to end line)


Martin Gray said...

I echo your sadness at the loss of a good book with lots of potential, and am also pleased that Vibe is still around, working for Argus.

I suppose Gates didn't want to end the book with an office scene, but I'm not a fan of cliffhangers being resolved in flashback. We know this is the last issue, so there was a chance for real jeopardy, but with Cisco there and not terribly distraught, we could tell no one has died.

He'd been on Pirandell a few weeks, Waller - who doesn't half have a lot of bases of operations - mentions it at some point.

I like that Armando plans to do some good, but he's hardly responsible for his actions while he was brainwashed by Mordeth.

And while I get that Gypsy was being watched over by Waller, did she have to be in a tube? I'd have gone mental. Amanda Waller, how I hate her.

Overall, Gates did a good job in difficult circumstances, wrapping up plenty of plot. The cosmic elephant in the room, though, is Darkseid's daughter - didn't she escape?

I've enjoyed this series lots; it's run was short but it's given the New 52 one of its few, no-qualms heroes. I'm grateful for that.

Anj said...

Great comments Mart. I also thought it odd but within character that Waller would imprison Gypsy rather than just watch. She most likely thought the Circus was the safest place.

And spot on about the story telling technique tipping the relative safety of everyone. I wonder if Gates wanted to show this 'mature' Cisco right away.

Anyways, I am sure this wasn't easy to write as everything had to be wrapped up so quickly. I will miss this book.

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