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by Robert Greenberger

Seven Soldiers by grant Morrison Omnibus

After grant Morrison shown himself a highly intelligent writer, DC Comics was much more than pleased to indulge his ideas, which often started with editorial head-scratching and ended with company-wide “aaah!”. None may have been much more challenging to comprehend, plan, and execute than this event, resurrecting a relatively minor team. After all, Morrison first proposed the initial thought in 2002 and the final project didn’t see print until 2006. Now, the entire massive project is being collected as seven Soldiers by grant Morrison Omnibus, collecting the title bookends and the seven interlocking miniseries.

What started off as merely an interesting spin-off of his popular JLA title, he reworked it until it became a revival of a different team, the seven Soldiers of Victory, which was national Comics answer to sister company All-American Comics’ successful All-Star Comics featuring the Justice society of America. While the original team consisted of characters across National’s line: green Arrow, Speedy, Crimson Avenger, Shining Knight, Vigilante, Star-Spangled Kid, and Stripesy, Morrison wound up creating new versions of other characters while exploring already recognized heroes.

Seven Soldiers #1

In between seven Soldiers #0 and #1 (both wonderfully illustrated by J.H. Williams III), the seven four-issue miniseries appeared in a staggered order. given that each title had a distinct look courtesy of the artists involved, it was also a challenging read as it told not only a story about the character but also had elements that formed the complete mosaic. Without reading all thirty issues, you couldn’t follow the entire story. To top it off, this was a team in a name only as the seven heroes never met one another or sallied forth into action as a band of champions.

Morrison honors the past in the zero issue as the Vigilante forms a new team with ties to the past: I, Spyder (son of the Spider); Gimmix (daughter of Merry, the girl of a Thousand Gimmicks); a new young boy Blue; Dyno-Mite Dan (T.N.T. and Dan the Dyna-Mite); and, the Whip (granddaughter of the original). and then they’re quickly killed during the Harrowing, just one of several new concepts Morrison added to the DCU through this project.

The major concept was the Sheeda, a race that periodically attacks mankind, destroying many of society but not entirely so man can rebuild. With a prophecy cautioning they will ultimately be stopped by a band of seven heroes, the Sheeda have targeted just such groups as seen before this event in JLA: Classified.

Shining Knight #1

So, after the zero events, we go to the miniseries, starting with the Shining Knight, boasting Simone Bianchi artwork. Sir Justin and his flying steed fight the Sheeda at Camelot before traveling through time to continue the battle today.

Guardian #1

Then there’s the Manhattan Guardian, with art by Cameron Stewart, that sees him explore the subway tunnels below Manhattan where he encounters the foundation Stone, a radioactive gem, that the Sheeda want. and if there’s a Guardian, of course there’s a Morrison take on the Newsboy Legion.

Zatanna #1

Ryan Sook and Mick gray introduce Zatanna to a new sidekick, Misty, as they meet in Cassandra Craft’s magic shop. Zatanna loses her powers just as the Sheeda attack and she needs to regain them while seeking the seven unknown men of Slaughter Swamp (never let it be said Morrison didn’t know his continuity).

Klarion #1

In Limbo town we find Klarion the witch young boy first introduced in Jack Kirby’s Demon and illustrated here by Frazier Irving. He and his cat familiar Teekl have been invited to join the Submissionary purchase but it turns out, he’s not a joiner. Unwilling to take no for an answer, they are pursued to the surface by Mister Melmoth and the Deviant Ones, but Klarion needs to survive so he can caution his home of the Sheeda invasion to come.

Mister miracle #1

Pasqual Ferry helped introduce us to Shiloh Norman, the new Mister Miracle, but bowed out after one issue with bill Dallas Patton and Michael Bair helping Freddie E. Williams III on the second chapter before Williams completed the last two issues. Norman and the mother Box have been performing around the world but Metron arrives to caution them of a coming cosmic war and the arrival of the Living Waveform and the Plastic people confirm that.

Bulleteer #1

Alix Harrower survived an accident that left her encased in a living metal (this is pre-Terry Moore’s fantastic Echo), turning her into a living weapon, taking the name of Bulleteer (which was also a Fawcett hero once upon a time). Yanick Paquette and Michael Bair traces Alix’s journey of self-discovery as she investigates the missing seven Soliders and becomes the target of Spyder.Frankenstein #1

Finally, Doug Mahnke introduces us to Frankenstein, a fresh take on the character first introduced back in the 1970s. This series also introduces the still-extant agency S.H.A.D.E. (Super Human advanced defense Executive) and his Bride, as they all confront an ancient curse.

The soldiers may not team-up, but they all participate in the final battle against the Sheeda Queen in Manhattan (where else?). and in keeping with the prophecies, one of the soldiers will fall before the battle ends. For those keeping track, DC officially states this megaseries occurs in the week prior to the events found in unlimited Crisis.

Only a few were seen after this miniseries and only Zatanna and Frankenstein have been seen because new 52 and Rebirth. will the others turn up eventually? who knows, but they live here and having it all in one very-thick volume will offer a rich reading experience.