A picture can tell a thousand words, right? So when the start of your mini series has a cover of your heroes looking terrified and in a few cases confused that should be a warning sign. I'm mostly going in blind on this one since I never read this series prior just read up on the basic plot. On the front it has "The Arrival" in bold text but the inside has another title that seems to give better insight to how the creators felt. It conveys a simple message I'm sure many readers wished when reading this series and knowing there were seven more issues to go.
OLDER SPOILERS AHEAD
The first page usually sets the tone and here's what I get from the snapshots. Normal everyday life, DC superheroes, crappy politics and random sleazy sexual encounters. Huh, and people say that stuff only happens in DC comics during the new 52? Good to know what to expect from this series. Right after that all the Manhunters arrive in a massive group that in no way draws attention and gossip over how hard it was to fool all the heroes. If they act this obvious I can see why it was hard for them to keep cover but wonder why the heroes aren't aware yet.
Man in Shadows: You've come quickly, Manhunters--in from the cold of your lies and the eyes which look at you, but never see! Many of you need never return, once you hear the words to be revealed tonight!
...Okay I'm already confused. I had to read this several times as I kept mistaking it for nonsensical lyrics to some retro song. It doesn't help that these people flocked to a place with a stage and a dramatic brightly colored samurai with a funny white mustache. A concert would actually make this less silly. I mean I can ignore some of the wackier visuals but the dialogue can't be taken seriously.
Grandmaster: --And the hour has struck for mass murder!
Would that be twelve or sooner since seven ate nine?
This advance force of ancient beings that have met in "secret" in giant numbers has shockingly been tracked by Hal Jordons' friend Tom Kalmaku. The text boxes remind us of his name, that he has a family and apparently that there was a reason for people calling him "Pieface." That reason isn't really explained but I assume it's because they were being racist. But I still don't know why he'd need to remember it or what it has to do with anything. Except for the vague "pie in the face" text after he gets his ass handed to him by three Manhunters after proclaiming they'd need more to take him on. Which is still kind of a dickish thing for his "friends" to say. BTW aren't Manhunters supposed to be powerful? Why can't one easily defeat him and these ancient immortals are reduced to cheap thugs that gang up on an unarmed man? Really building on the hype of our bad guys here.
The GLs (Arisia, Hal, Kat, John and Kilowog) play in the pool talking about how Kilowog needs to get over the loss of his people. I'm guessing this will play into the book later otherwise this scene is entirely pointless. This story wouldn't introduce that for no reason right? Well, I'll be hopeful for now. A Guardian and a Zamaron appear (she's not blue) and to my amazement they all greet them warmly.
Hal Jordan: We may be on our own now, but I'll always honor the blue men who guided the Green Lantern Corps for so long!
It's funny because it's tragically retconned.
Anyway the Guardian fills them in on the plot of the Chosen people of Earth that need to be protected from the Manhunters. While this is going on the Manhunters decide that while they promised to kill Tom they have a lesser known rule to follow than "No Man Escapes the Manhunters!" That's "The Manhunters are a Myth!" It's less catchy so it never caught on but it gives them the excuse not to murder Tom by hand but instead let him be crushed by a plane. Hey guys...you could have, I don't know, not have changed back into Manhunter form and shot him with a gun. Or even done that in that form since no one would be able to tell who used the gun. Walking around in the open on a landing strip might not be the best way to stay hidden. Just a suggestion for the guys that have been around forever but don't seem to understand how to not attract attention.
With no way to ensure Tom will stay where they left him like chains or one of them actually staying to witness his death, he crawls away on his hands since his legs are broken. The force of the landing still flings him through the air despite escaping his well thought out death trap. Harbinger explains her origins to herself wondering what to do. Her uncomfortable wedgey breaking her somber moment as she searches in vain for the plot.
Oberon: I still don't understand what this is about
Neither do I and I'm reading the story. Well okay I got the basics but I don't get why the plot was written in this way, I don't think this was supposed to be funny. I still haven't gotten the answer to a question that confused me about this whole thing. Are the Manhunters taking over roles from real people in the heroes lives or were they always in these IDs to get close to them? This was one of the reasons the ending of Booster Gold vol. 1 confused me.
JLI show up to talk about the situation with the GLs. What I get from this is that Kilowog dislikes the Red Rockets for some reason, Hal can't remember their not the JLA or that Guys' acting different despite being shocked in JLI that Guy was being so nice.
Dr. Fate: It is the one who transmuted the Aurakle force!
Batman: Halo, we call her!
I bring this up because this exchange took me out of the book since I have no idea what Fate is talking about. It has nothing to do with anything, means nada to me and isn't explained. Batmans' other team the Outsiders all show up to introduce themselves although no one else bothers to do the same. Then more heroes come in and start mingling. I love seeing heroes hang out, and there are some cute moments like Booster explaining his name, but wasn't there a crisis? Three pages of them hanging out would break the tension if the previous pages had given us any. The Guardian and Zamaron explain the problem in a rather unnatural way. It's implied that they were the same species, the Guardians being male while the Zamaron are the females. They stopped getting it on because they didn't need to have new generations but now the numbers have dwindled so they decided that had to change.
If I understand this right it means this mini series is a product of the Guardians getting laid proving nothing good comes from that. But seriously I'm a little lost on this, after the two sexes do it their method of creating new generations is to pick a planet that will produce some immortals. These people are humans that suddenly get powers once their chosen from this vague method? How does that work? I think I need a flow chart for comic sex ed class. I mean this sounds like if Hal had sex with someone then decided Sinstros' planet would have his brood. Is it so they don't have to raise any kids? Does this mean the humans will have alien DNA fused with theirs? How are these people chosen and why them? The Manhunter backstory is given trying to build them up into something frightening. But this kind of fails since we saw them acting like hired goons to take out Tom.
Black Canary: Some of us had a run in with them once!
I can see why the "Manhunters are a myth" rule didn't stick. Especially since they stink at keeping hidden. Even the Zamaron admits some humans have heard of them on Earth which led to them getting followers. The teams start arguing on why Earth was picked with Jade adding the great detail of people with powers liking to feel special. Thanks for that Jade. Wally wonders why the Titans aren't there which leads to another face palm worthy moment. Terra is one of the chosen and they planned to talk to her alone. Except that she died. You'd think that they would have known that since they picked her or the fact she was a villain. This is hand waved away as them being too far removed to know about the former and wanting to get along with the plot. The heroes argue more until Superman speaks up. He gives a speech and everyone instantly agrees with him.
Blue Beetle: Hand the man a rubber chicken and send him on a political circuit!
Well that made as much sense as anything else in this.
After they leave the Manhunters reveal themselves to the heroes and add more confusion to whether their agents or the actual things.
Overall: This was corny and had more holes than Swiss cheese but enjoyed it. I thought I'd find it boring but the over the top nonsensical story actually makes this pretty entertaining. Most of the scenes seem pointless and undercut any suspense that could be built. The concept is flawed right from the start since even the Guardian and Zamaron don't seem to know what their doing when they picked their Chosen. Why can't they just give the power to new people? Who knows, it's one of the many questions I have that I doubt will be answered. The bad guys just come off as morons, despite the good guys trying to build them up as threats their actions prove otherwise.
This was confusing and at times random. That made it even funnier although what I found humorous wasn't intentionally done by the writer. Lately I've been irritated by bad comics but this one was one of those "it's so bad that it's good." I hope the rest of the series reads like this.
Did you notice?: Black Lightning was riding a creepy hang glider with a face. It's actually Metamorpho but since that's not explained I could see this freaking out readers that don't realize it. I only know it because I figured it out.
However there is a disturbing vibe when the Guardians and Zamarons are discussed. It feels sexist but it's not given enough focus for it to be too noticeable. The guys are the brainy ones while the women are the fighters. This really stuck out when the Zamaron claimed the Manhunters took after the Oan women.
Questions Raised?: Why does a Zamaron look like a female Spartan? Weren't they worried people would think they were Amazons?