Tuesday, January 5, 2016


WRITER: Archie Goodwin
PENCILER: Dan Jurgens
INKER: Dick Giordano
COLORIST: Anthony Tollin
LETTERER: Albert DeGuzman

SYNOPSIS:  In the far off future of 2030, the world is an orderly place.  Everything is efficient and orderly.  Peacemakers patrol the streets to help end threats before they begin.  It is all thanks to Monarch.  Monarch, the man or woman who rose to power in the early 2000s. Monarch, who rules with an iron fist.  Nobody knows who he or she is, but rumors circulate that Monarch was once a hero who fought for good and right.

Enter Matthew Ryder, a scientist who has been growing more and more concerned with the state of the world.  Ryder wants to know who Monarch really is and how to create a world without Monarch's rule.  To this end, Ryder participates in rebellious and forbidden acts. He is arrested, but convinces Monarch to let him become a subject for Monarch's time travel experiments.  Ryder has worked out how Monarch's other subjects have been failing.  Somehow, the experiment works on Ryder, changing him into Waverider.

Waverider travels back to the late 20th century--1991, to be exact. He is there to find out who Monarch is and prevent the rise to power.  He discovers he is able to view a person's "most probable" future timeline by making direct contact with them.  With these powers and motivation, Waverider sets off on his quest to prevent Monarch from existing.

MY THOUGHTS:  Longest origin story ever.  Just kidding.  It does take a while, but only if you are expecting to learn how Matthew Ryder becomes Waverider.  If a reader was brand new to this event it might not feel so long.

Throughout the story we are presented with Matthew's memories of a time before Monarch.  He refers to this as a time of heroes, because after Monarch came to power all superheroes were eliminated.  As a child, Matthew was pulled from some rubble by a hero, but he can't remember who it was.  His mind conjures up various heroes that he can remember clearly and others that are somewhat distorted in his memory.  A mix-up you have to be familiar with the DCU to catch is that he has put the elemental Firestorm into the more traditional Firestorm costume. It looks a bit awkward, to say the least.

Goodwin spins a good tale about the future of the DCU in which Monarch rules.  It takes quite a while before Monarch as a character makes an appearance.  Any other time Monarch is depicted it is either just in reference or as a part of the scenery.  The buildup to how and when Monarch will finally encounter Matthew Ryder in person is a slow burn, but worthwhile.  It helps add to the story and shows that Monarch can not be bothered with low-level threats that his Peacemakers can deal with.  Goodwin's writing style and first person narrative from Ryder's perspective give the reader a clear idea of what is going on and what to expect from future chapters in this ongoing event.

Dan Jurgens on art.  You couldn't ask for much more during the early 90s.  His line work is simply incredible.  I have no complaints whatsoever here.  Jurgens keeps the characters and backgrounds all fresh and the story can easily be followed by looking from panel to panel.  Clear and concise all the way. Giordano's inks help sell this, too.  Nothing is over- or under-shaded.

Tollin's colors are probably best seen on Waverider after the transformation.  Waverider is excessively colorful, so I know he has to be a strain on a colorist.  However, Tollin presents him as vibrant, but does not overload a reader to the point of eyestrain.

In my initial reading of this story many many years ago, this was honestly the last issue I picked up, so I guess I was expecting more from it.  Well, not more because there is plenty.  Just something different, I guess.  Reading it now, keeping in mind that I am not supposed to know anything about these characters or this story, this is actually a pretty good issue.  As I said, the story moves pretty smoothly.  You learn a lot about Monarch's timelime and why Waverider is so determined to stop Monarch from ever rising to power.  It makes very sure that it sets a proper stage for the crossover event that is to follow.


  1. Well shux, I started gushing on this one so much that I maxxed out the comment length limit!

    Comment 1 of 2

    The art, oh man how I love the art is this thing! You picked some great pages to high-light for your recap! Dan Jurgens just knocked it out of the park on this thing! Why oh why couldn't we have gotten a Trading Card set using all of Jurgen's artwork?!?

    As a kid growing up, I was never really sucked into the "Image" or "Marvel" house style of EXTREME proportions that were all the rage then, and have obviously not aged real well since. No I was always much more into the DC books and the mostly "realistic" take the artwork had, especially in the Superman titles. How could you not love the sleek line style of Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Kerry Gammil, and Tom Grummett on the Superman books in the late 1980's and early 1990's. They took what Byrne had laid the groundwork with and ran with it. Superman is my favorite character, and so I will always subconsciously grade the health or stature of the DC Comics Universe on the well-being of the Superman books. So with that in mind, I'm going to make a bold statement, I think Dan Jurgens was the "Artist of the Decade" for the 1990's. Think about it, he was thee guy when Superman reached his highest peak in popularity, Jurgens was writing and drawing the flagship Superman title during the Death of Superman story arc, this was Superman back on top as the premiere DC hero, and he was the one defining that look and house style that others tried to emulate. Not just that, but Jurgens was also writing and drawing Justice League, and was the go-to-guy for the DC Events like Zero Hour, and of course Armageddon 2001! And think about it, while people may have been buying handfuls of copies of every new garbage #1 issue worked on by Liefeld or Larsen at the time, those books haven't aged worth a crap since. How many of those HOT titles have become the whipping boys of the 90's now 20 years later? I tell you whose work hasn't become cannon fodder, Dan Jurgen's stuff. His artwork from the 90's (as well as current stuff I might add) is still looked at as fondly today as it was then, man is it great stuff! So Dan Jurgens for Artist of the Decade for the 1990's! He was really prolific and his work stands the test of time.

    Man I just love this era of DC, and what I was trying to say with my gushing above, is that because of Jurgens' work on the book, I consider Armageddon 2001, along with Zero Hour, to be two of the Universe-defining and seminal stories of the DC Universe in the 1990's. If you love DC Comics from this time, this one just has to absolutely hit you in the nostalgic feel-goods, as does anytime you look at Dan Jurgens' art!

  2. Comment 2 of 2

    Great recap of the issue. It is always funny looking back at previous stories as we grow older and see how our viewpoint changes looking at it through a modern lense. I need to dig this out and give it a re-read tonight to get my latest thoughts on it. Last time I read it I found myself almost having 2 different reactions to the issue. It is a slow burn in the first half of the issue, and gives you everything you need to know to dive into the event and dip your toes into the DCU if you're a new reader. As a someone who has read this story a number of times, you can't help but be chomping at the bit, wanting it to move a little faster to the higher octane moments. This isn't a fault of the pacing of the book or the writing at all, this is just my mileage as a reader. And then you get to the second half where the pace has picked up and your in full tilt, and it's exciting, but at the same time I can't help but catch myself wanting the book to slow down a bit. It's so good, and I don't want it to end, and with each turn of the page, you know that you are getting closer and closer, panel by panel, to the sour ending that hurts this book's reputation. But you get to the final page of the book, with that gorgeous splash page, and you can't help but feel excited for the next installment, which being a Superman tie-in, of course makes me happy. Damn this event is so good, why did they have to screw the pooch on the ending? I can't help but let that thought start to creep into the back of my head in the second half of this first issue, "why did they have to screw with the orginal ending?" But it's still an enjoyable read that always takes me back down memory lane.

    -Kyle Benning

  3. I loved the recap, the pacing was a problem to me too, but in the end the slow burned worked to drag me into the story, by the end of it, I was enraptured with the whole Monarch and Waverider story.

    1. Thanks. Yeah, I've been a Waverider fan for 25+ years because of these stories. No clue exactly why, but he just clicked with me.