I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Threshold #1

Threshold appears to be a collection of stories from the far reaches of space, certainly not, as the title might suggest, from the entryway to your house or apartment. The main story at this point is called The Hunted, which follows a series of space characters who were introduced in Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual #1. The first set of backup stories features Orange Lantern Larfleeze.

Threshold is what I call a magazine-style comic book. It follows different stories, or at least, different back-stories, rather than one central driving story. In my experience with such titles as Men of War, Detective Comics, and All-Star Western, these books are often less than stellar. The only stand-out title that I can think of is Action Comics, and that's because the great and wonderful Grant Morrison writes it. Of course, even that title feels like Morrison crammed five years of story into less than two years of comic books, leaving readers like me yearning for more early social justice Superman stories. Considering the fact that Threshold is written by Keith Giffen and not some rockstar like Morrison, I can safely say it is already my favorite magazine-style comic from the new 52.

The Hunted really has everything going for it. Jediah Caul is a deep-space, abandoned and disgraced, deep-cover Green Lantern who is hunted on a televised reality TV show on the Glimmernet. Already, I can say he's one of the best new characters that DC invented since 2011, probably only behind The Shepherd and the talking cat from Animal Man. There's some depth to this guy, and I'm excited to explore who he is. Caul is one of 27 current fugitives in a Running Man-style battle for survival. I found this interesting because for the sake of safety, one would think that only one "criminal" would be hunted by the public, but one needs only to look to the myriad CSIs and NCISs and Laws and Orders to see why there might be a ratings benefit to having more. Of course, several of the hunted threaten to unite all of the current fugitives in hopes of taking down this corrupt system of "justice," and while this kind of story has been played out through the years I find myself drawn to it.

The writing is top-notch, especially considering that there are no big characters like Superman or Batman to draw readers. The language of the characters, which I would describe as space-British, is comparable to the innovative drawls of many of Joss Whedon's characters in his various television programs, movies and comics. Meanwhile, the story is highly kinetic, every conversation taking place during a chase or a fight. The result: this book is stunning, and highly unexpected.

As for the Larfleeze backup story, it suffices to say that the world's greatest horder gets robbed. I can't imagine anyone who has read Green Lantern in the last few years who wouldn't be interested in seeing what happens when the king of "stuff" loses his.

Threshold #1 is definitely worth reading. If it weren't released the same week as IDW's High Ways, it would have been the best new comic of the week. But don't let that get in the way of your enjoyment. Pick up Threshold today.

I've syndicated this review at Examiner. You can read it here. If you click on it a few times, spend some time there, or navigate to a new page, I might get some money. But I'm only asking that of you if you liked reading the article here and want to show your appreciation.

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