Saturday, July 28, 2007

Blogathon 02: Mr. Majestic #1

I remember when I read the first issue of Mr. Majestic in 1999. The series began around that time that Wildstorm was becoming a really amazing publisher. Along with this, you also had Warren Ellis' Authority and Planetary, and the relaunch of Wildcats, which turned to suck until Joe Casey and Sean Phillips took control of it. And then later, a bunch of other great comics popped up.

The title centres around Mr. Majestic, a superstrong alien superhero who was introduced in WildC.A.T.S.. On his home planet, he was a warrior, but now that the war between his planet and another was over, he became earth's protector.

Actually, this series changed Majestic into a Superman proxy, basically. Oh, his personality is different, but this is pure Casey and co-writer Brian Holguin going "I miss the days when Superman could move planets!" So, they wrote a book where Mr. Majestic moves planets.


The first issue begins with Majestic encountering an alien probe at the edge of the solar system, which, after disabling it, he discovers has sent telemetry and other information to a creature that feeds on solar systems. He has to stop it somehow.

Together with his sidekick Desmond (a boy cyborg in a nifty wheelchair), he gathers the top mnds of the world to figure out the physics of disguising the solar system. That means moving Mercury into orbit around Jupiter, solidifying Jupiter, giving Mars rings, moving Earth and turning the sun into a binary star amongst other things not gone into in detail.

But, that's only half the story, as the proces of disguising the solar system takes years, even decades. The issue begins in the early 1970s and doesn't end until semi-recent (it's unclear, but at least by the late 1980s). During this time, things go bad in the world and Majestic feels the pressure of not being able to help, because saving the solar system is a bigger job than stopping Vietnam. Casey and Holguin add some interesting bits with the US government creating distractions to help keep Majestic's mission secret. Things like Nixon resigning, the bicentenniel and the bombing of Lybia are all distractions of some sort.

The style is a fun, lofty kind with third-person narration that attempts to instill that sense of wonder and, er, majesty that comics used to have. Casey and Holguin manage to take Silver Age sensibilities, but filter them through a modern lens.

Ed McGuiness provided the art for the first six issues and his work is gorgeous. It has a very cartoony feel, but is able to depict anything. The facial expressions used for Majestic and Desmond are perfect and let you know what they're thinking.

In the end, the solar system is saved as the massive creature is fooled and the issue ends on a strangely optimistic note:



And, like the next five issues of the series, the team tells a complete and satisfying story in one issue.

I'm left wondering why this series didn't sell better. You would think a high-adventure, lots of fun, told-in-one comic where the hero literally moves planets to save the day would have every fanboy chomping at the bit to get a copy.