I’m still slowly reading more of these comics. In case you’re not keeping count, this is book four for me. I thought I’d try again with my quest to read about a character I knew very little about even after being terribly unimpressed with Mr. Terrific—who was my first choice for new characters. That book sort of turned me off to reading anything more in the DCnU for a bit, but I’m back. Spoiler warning, as usual.
The story starts by showing Clark in Metropolis watching birds fall from the sky at the same time that the bats in Bruce’s caves begin to drop from their perch and the fish, watched by Aquaman, start going belly up. Over the scene, Alec Holland talks about his childhood helping his florist father and how he can hear flowers screaming. As silly as it sounds, it’s a bit ominous to read. Snyder did a great job of taking most of the cheese out of that.
The standard questions are answered about Holland. We learn who he is, his occupation (both former and current), and we learn a little about why he’s in his current position. Some of those answers led to more questions than answers, though. And then, there are bits of information that we learn that he insists are “dreams” or “memories” that aren’t his.
In a way, I feel that I’m not getting a complete story. Okay, maybe that’s not exactly the right thing to say, but let me explain myself.
I feel this comic is in some way referencing the old Swamp Thing comics with these “memories.” It seems like there’s a little homage to the old source there that will play a big part in this reboot, but it’s presented to new readers, who know nothing to very little about Swamp Thing, in a way that doesn’t confuse us, but that may make previous fans of the series smile a little. It works with the story, adding some mystery to it, rather than working against it.
These former “memories” are just as strange to Holland as they are to the reader. It allows us, the readers, to learn more about these things gradually as Holland learns them. It’s a great way to tell his story if you ask me. Instead of putting in too many unnecessary telling scenes to give the readers new information, it’s shown to us here in fragmented “memories” and “dreams” that need piecing together—that I’m assuming will come together over the course of these comics.
For me, this comic succeeded in a way that Mr. Terrific fell short. Too much information was given about Mr. Terrific at one time. The first few pages covered pretty much everything you needed to know, leaving the writer with a lot of space to fill with a weak story. This story allowed information about Holland to trickle in around the things going on in the comic. However, you still don’t have Holland’s complete story.
My only real complaint is how, even in a reboot, everyone’s stories are so intertwined together. Superman knows exactly who to look for (Holland) to maybe get answers about the birds and fish--or at least, that's the excuse he used for his true motives. It would’ve made for a better story if Superman had actually had to do some research and digging to find out who may be able to help them understand what was going on. Sure, he mentions that he had to search for him because the doctor went missing, but from their exchange, there is obviously a prior history there. And really, the thing with the birds and fish isn't Superman's primary concern.
However, I guess that just makes things easier for the writers rather than going into a history that might end up botched in another few books or by fanfic writers. I've decided that Dr. Holland is who Superman cheated with while pregnant Batman was birthing his baby, and this is how they know one another. And now that I've written that down in words, you can't take that from me. But seriously, other than that, I liked this story. Can’t wait to read #2.