Monday, January 30, 2012

CHRONOS #7 - September 1998


The Killing Rain
Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Paul Guinan (penciler), Denis Rodier & Steve Leialoha (inks), Ken Bruzenak (letters), Mike Danza (colors)

2113: Chronos and Alex attempt to travel back to the 1970s to investigate David Clinton’s connection to Chronos’ parents, but a vague “temporal interference” separates the duo. Chronos lands in 2113’s Seattle, a dingy shadow of the city that’s owned by a telecom corporation (yeah, that’s spot-on soothsaying). Seattle lives in fear of the Justice League Killer, a shapechanger who only kills when taking the form of the Justice League. As luck would have it, Chronos stumbles across him shortly after arriving in the city. His time-traveling powers and temporal displacement suit aren’t working, so he’s forced to run away from the killer. Clearly, Chronos is still far away from attaining “hero” status.

Chronos is sent to a homeless shelter by two transit officers who are too lazy to fill out any paperwork on a mystery man with no DNA on file. The homeless are given “infotainment vidsets” at the shelter, which Chronos describes as “A little video candy to keep the downtrodden pacified. The Romans did it with bread and circuses.” While watching the type of newscast you normally find in a Paul Verhoeven movie, Chronos discovers that Fiorella Della Ravenna, the socialite he met in the Renaissance, is alive and well in this era.

After repairing his costume, Chronos tracks down Fiorella at an art gallery opening, but only learns that she’s in “a long and painful melodrama” and is also stuck in this era. In a yet another wild coincidence, a police officer at the art exhibit they’re attending just happens to be the Justice League Killer in disguise. Morphing into Green Arrow, he nearly kills Chronos again, but this time he’s saved by Fiorella. The police arrest the killer and we discover that his true name is Hayden Glass, with a DNA copyright belonging to Cadmus. He claims that his father was a superhero who abandoned his mother while she was still pregnant. By posing as the Justice League, he claims that he’s exposing heroes for what they are.

Now, I can’t totally dismiss this issue as time killer, as it formally introduces Hayden Glass, the shape-changing villain from the first issue, and leads Chronos and Fiorella a little closer towards their inevitable romance. But…it’s hard not to view this issue as a diversion that largely exists as an excuse to get the Justice League on the cover. And Paul Guinan certainly has a unique take on the Justice League -- I can’t imagine him trying to draw the characters in Howard Porter’s style -- but even that’s a thin excuse for the shapeshifter plot.

Since I’m not overly familiar with DC continuity, I don’t know if the name “Hayden Glass” is supposed to be significant, and nothing in the issue indicates why exactly he’s chosen the twentieth century version of the Justice League to imitate. I do know that Cadmus has a connection to cloning, so perhaps the idea is that the killer has been cloned repeatedly over the past century, but some confirmation in the actual story would be nice. As for the setting of the issue, Moore’s take on the future isn’t particularly novel, either. Essentially, it’s 1984 with an evil corporation instead of an evil government. I suppose the setting alone isn’t enough to hurt the story, but the sheer coincidence of Chronos running into the killer twice is inexcusable, and as the title’s lead, he’s remarkably ineffective throughout the entire issue.

3 comments:

dschonbe said...

I ask the following with almost no knowledge of DC continuity in general and Chronos continuity in particular...

Is Chronos the father of Hayden Glass? Based on your description of the issue G, that would make sense.

G. Kendall said...

It would make sense if JFM was serious about turning this Chronos into a hero. I don't know if that was his ultimate goal, though.

wwk5d said...

Oh Lord, I forgot how bad Porter was on JLA. That was such an ugly looking book.