Superman & Batman: Generations 2
John Byrne, writer & artist
(DC Comics, 2001)

Hollywood has demonstrated time and time again why sequels can be a bad idea. Frank Miller, the genius behind The Dark Knight Returns, is proving it right now with his ill-conceived follow-up, The Dark Knight Strikes Again. If you still require additional evidence, check out John Byrne's Generations 2.

The original story was sterling. Byrne started the Superman and Batman dynasties in 1939, shortly after each hero first donned his tights, and aged them naturally, giving them families and heirs, triumphs and tragedies, in something approaching a normal timeline. Unfortunately, Byrne and DC weren't content with a single masterwork, so they tried to duplicate their success.

Generations 2 is a big disappointment.

Byrne goes back to the almost beginning and fills in the gaps with new stories. But now, instead of picking a few other heroic characters to appear in carefully chosen cameos, Byrne tries to cram as many familiar faces and variations on those themes as he can fit into the pages. The result is a blur, a hasty montage of events that never form a cohesive whole -- nor do we ever really get to know these new characters the way Byrne made new faces into old friends in the original series. And the final chapter, set in 2019, is the biggest pile of cheese I've seen in a long time.

Generations was an excellent addition to the Elseworlds series. Generations 2 is a shame.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 18 August 2002