‘Shattered’ is Full of 90s Comics Vibes

Time is not on their sides.

For $9.99, the Generations Shattered comic really needed to deliver for me to consider it a win – and boy did it ever!

Generations Shattered 1
Written Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt and Robert Venditti
Pencils by Doug Braithwaite, Bernard Chang, Dan Jurgens, Aaron Lopresti, Emmanuela Lupacchino, Rags Morales, Kevin Nowlan, Yanick Paquette, Fernando Pasarin, Paul Pelletier, Mike Perkins, Ivan Reis and John Romita Jr.
Inks by Oclair Albert, Doug Braithwaite, Bernard Chang, Scott Hanna, Sandra Hope, Klaus Janson, Danny Miki, Rags Morales, Kevin Nowlan, Yanick Paquette, Mike Perkins, Joe Prado, Matt Ryan and Wade von Grawbadger
Colors by Hi-Fi

The last year has really been a tumultuous one for DC Comics. Not only did the coronavirus disrupt months worth of comic book sales, but the dismissal of DC Comics co-publisher DAN DIDIO threw a lot of planned events into disarray. Included in that list of confusion – highlighted by the potential shift to a “fifth generation” of heroes that may have become this month’s FUTURE STATE event – is Generations Shattered.

There was a lot of talk about what this book was supposed to represent and how it tied into the move to DC’s fifth generation that all ultimately went nowhere. Now, it’s just the first of two oversized one-shots (with February’s Generations Forged) stuffed with characters spanning decades and tying DC’s multiverse together as the company heads into its INFINITE FRONTIER.

Reading through Generations Shattered last night, I was instantly transported back to the 1990s – easily my favorite decade of comic books – with a story very reminiscent of the 1994 summer event Zero Hour. Having recently included that in my list of my FAVORITE DC COMICS MINISERIES, it was a lot of fun to see all the callbacks to the event in Generations Shattered. Most notably, a white void began eating time and turning complete eras of DC Comics into nothingness while a group of heroes tried to figure out what was happening.

The ties to Zero Hour, shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, since co-writer Dan Jurgens was architect of that series.

The heroes in Shattered are a little more eclectic than what we got in Zero Hour, though. Instead of a collection of the company’s top characters, we get Kamandi, Booster Gold, a young Superman, Steel, Sinestro, Dr. Light and the 1939 version of Batman flipping through time trying to figure out what’s happening. At the very least, the story gives an explanation for the odd line-up, as Kamandi is paired with a future version of Skeets (Booster Gold’s robotic companion) to try and gather heroes and manages to mess up on more than one occasion.

Most of the first issue is focused on gathering the heroes and setting up the premise – that a mysterious cloaked figure is cleansing reality in order to create his own version, a more perfect reality. It’s not unlike what the Batman Who Laughs was trying to do in DEATH METAL, meaning the DC Universe is going through A LOT of upheaval right now. The cloaked figure corrupted the Linear Men (another group of characters I haven’t seen a lot of outside of the 1990s Superman books) along with others to serve him as he looks to complete his goals.

Given how closely Generations Shattered stuck to the Zero Hour plan, I would not have been surprised to see the villain finally revealed as Parallax – the evil alter ego of a despondent Hal Jordan, who used Zero Hour as an opportunity to try and remake reality to save Coast City. Instead, the story went with a completely different 1990s character – one who has been largely forgotten.

Debuting in summer 1998, Dominus was the first major challenge Superman faced after he was returned to his classic form (after a year as a ball of blue energy) in the Superman Forever special. Dominus attempted to manipulate the power of Kismet – his former lover – and changed Superman’s reality to take over his form.

After being defeated in the Superman: King of the World story line, I’m pretty sure Dominus has been put in mothballs and hasn’t been seen since. That means he’s pretty much a clean slate here. Given how few villains DC Comics tends to use from that era, it was a lot of fun to see this one given a featured slot. I assume we’ll have to wait another 22 years before Dominus is used again in comics.

I didn’t expect to like this story so much, but its ties to the 1990s era of DC Comics really elevated it to one of the more fun superhero books I’ve read in a while. Hopefully, Generations Forged can keep the momentum going.