DC/Wildstorm: DreamWar Paperback – Apr 7 2009
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I would give this two and a half stars if I could, but since I have to go with 2 or 3, I'll vote on the side of generosity and give it a '3.'
In DREAMWAR, several DC superhero groups mysteriously pop up in the Wildstorm universe and start attacking everyone, only to slowly realize that they're being manipulated. The survivors of this comic company crossover-clash eventually team up to deal with the genuine threat, a somewhat anti-climatic finale before the abrupt final curtain.
What worked for me was the decent art, and simply the spectacle of seeing several DC and Wildstorm characters together on the same page. Keep in mind this story was written pre-DC Relaunch era, so it wasn't everyday you got to see Stormwatch take on the Legion of Superheroes, or the Teen Titans take on Gen 13. I also liked seeing the resurrected/reborn Jenny Quarx. For me, her presence gave the story a solid reference point in time for the Wildstorm universe characters.
What DIDN'T work for me? The overall story in and of itself should have been a longer piece--perhaps a 12-issue maxi-series, which would have given the writer time to fully explore the many fight possibilities as well as the team-up possibilities. We get very few one-on-one combat scenes; most of the battle is chronicled through splash pages or wide panels of amalgamated and/or aggregated battle scenes. Also, several DC villains are thrown in--most notably Doomsday, but we don't see any Wildstorm villains. The concept of the Sun-Eater (another DC horror) is introduced for the climax, but the way the final sequences play out leave you underwhelmed and yawning. Yes, there's the very real danger that Dreamwar just may make you yawn.
Keith Giffen is generally a decent writer, but this tale falls somewhat short. Could have been way better with maybe 6 more chapters to carry it out fully. If you're a fan of these types of company crossovers, might be worth reading, but it is FAR from the best crossover adventure I've ever read. And considering that the recent DC relaunch has integrated several of the former Wildstorm characters into the DC Universe proper, this book may be quite moot at this point. Last time I looked, someone on Amazon was offering it for $3.50 plus shipping. Willing to gamble a few keyboard clicks and a PalPal disbursement to check it out?
The title Dreamwar works on a couple of levels with this trade. First off, it could refer to "dream" match-ups between the two universes which pits characters against each other that fans have wanted to see. But the later explanation is not as simple as "it's all a dream" because it isn't exactly. However, when Keith Giffen first announced the project, he promised he had found a way to have the heroes from both worlds have a reason to fight each other. And in that, he did deliver.
I have to start by mentioning Lee Garbett's art which was solid throughout the whole series. He was given such a huge toy box of characters to play with and he did a great job with each one. And we do get fights, LOTS of fights in this series. And the level of brutality for some of the fights hit surprising levels. Especially for a fight in issue 3 that lit up the online message boards with its conclusion.
Unfortunately, Dreamwar suffers from the trap that many crossovers do: relevance. There really is no relevance to this story in the grand scheme of things for both universes. And what compounds this further is that Giffen himself in interviews promised it would have lasting effects for the Wildstorm Universe. But I challenge the reader to find what it is.
Dreamwar's ultimate goal is met in that it brings the characters of the DCU and the WSU together in a story. It pairs characters that I'm sure fans always wanted to see paired. Once again, I will remind you that Lee Garbett's art is fantastic in this series and all characters from both universes are given amazing representation by his art. It does have an overall summer movie blockbuster feel where you just grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the special effects without worrying about the story.
A story like this can be a lot of fun. Since it does not 'count' writers can get away with anything. Batman can be impaled on a sword, several Legionnaires can be incinerated and everything will turn out OK. But the fights aren't really that clever. Master sorcerer Dr Fate, for example, is just shot to death. The book is much, much too crowded with dozens of characters fighting and more appearing every issue, no one really stands out. And some of the team-ups only highlight how many of the Wildstorm characters are thinly-veiled homages of their more famous DC counterparts.
The art is fine throughout, and Giffin's dialogue is fine. But other than the thrill of seeing Wildstorm Characters kill DC ones (and even that isn't done too well) there isn't much of a reason to pick this up.