ISSUE-BY-ISSUE GUIDE TO UNITY 2000!
While I personally hate the fact that Shooter chooses to write these characters like they never advanced past Unity (which is when Shooter stopped writing them back in '92 or so), it was good to see them again. I've always liked multiverses, so the general theme of this series is fine with me -- though I dread the merged universe and this sort of thing (the merging of multiple realities) has become cliche since the Crisis on Infinite Earths series was published by DC Comics back in 1985. The final death of Jack Boniface wasn't quite as touching as I would have liked but overall I'd give this issue a somewhat uncertain thumb's up.
I really enjoyed this one, far more than the sometimes uneven first issue. By focusing more directly on Solar, Shooter avoids the continuity gaffes he made in the first one (and yes, I know -- he's writing heroes from the reality he created. Whatever). Nobody writes Solar like Jim Shooter. I also began to enjoy Shooter's Darque a lot more than before. While he seemed like a generic nut in the first issue, he's far more interesting here. And I love Morningstar! Very good characterization. An enthusiastic thumb's-up.
ISSUE NUMBER THREE (updated 07/27/00): The best issue yet. Gayle is acting very strangely, with a flat affect. Darque points this out at one point and I'm guessing that Solar's "resurrection" has left some nasty after-effects. Solar continues his plan to destroy the multiverse. He travels to an alternate reality where a variant Solar destroyed the world and he tests his new plan -- to create a multiversal 'black hole' that will fold all realities back into the original one. Darque and Morningstar (who's been paid off for his help thanks to Sandria's sexual prowess) watch in horror as Solar successfully destroys the alternate reality he's found. Darque, depressed over Morningstar's reluctance to take an active role against Solar, is somewhat cheered up by Sandria's attentions. Meanwhile, Solar has invited Magnus to stay at his home to serve as Gayle's bodyguard while the Man of the Atom is away. When Darque sends an X-O Manowar variant to kill her, Magnus engages X-O in bloody battle. In the end, he slays X-O but demands that Solar tell him what's going on -- Darque is amused to realize that Solar will have to lie to his friends to retain their aid. In this case, truth is on Darque's side. He tells Sandria that he'll destroy Solar's world and his friends.
The highlight of this issue is the X-O/Magnus fight. While some of X-O's dialogue is off, overall this was very intense. Seeing Magnus slay X-O was awesome -- they're my two favorite Valiant characters and I've always wondered who would win in the end. It's also interesting to point out that this X-O is the post-Birthquake X-O. He's wearing the armor designed by Bart Sears around X-O # 50. Sandria, with this issue, has become a favorite as well. I like her! A very, very enthusiastic thumb's up! Hopefully the next three issues will come out on time!