16th (or so) Century Europe. Little Spring, on the outskirts of Alba Sarum. Dinosaur "dragons" were set upon a bar/inn where a group of extraordinary individuals had been gathered by fate. Among the defenders was Vandal Savage: "Excellent! I haven't eaten one of these in centuries!" As he used one dinosaur's corpse to beat another, he demanded "Die, tasty rare creatures--! DIEEE!"
Al Jabr introduced himself to Madame Xanadu while using sword and sorcery against the "True dragons, not heraldic ones! They're incredibly rare, I've never seen one." Xanadu just repeatedly told him to shut up while defending herself. The Shining Knight criticized the slight armor of the amazonian Exoristos, who relied on the old saw of using her sexuality against male opponents. The Demon Etrigan sprouted wings and roasted a dinosaur from the inside. Vandal Savage made another barely in-character joke, because they're easy and go over well with fanboys.
Back at their mobile palace, Mordru and the Questing Queen got annoyed over their dragons being killed and plotted like every other evil duo in a generic fantasy setting.
The Horsewoman rode into town to warn everyone to flee the coming hoard, then rode back out again. That might have been remotely useful before the dinosaur attack. Eh, she got her first full appearance and name out of it.
The Shining Knight dropped a hint about designs on the queen. Savage revealed that he'd once worked with the hoard while eating dinosaur. Has this joke been fully digested and evacuated yet?
The Demon tried to fly away with Xanadu, but they were attacked by barbarians riding pterodactyls, making this book seem even more like Fire and Ice without the ice or very much fire.
Mechanical dragons showed up. Why not lead with mechanical dragons? No easy jokes for Vandal Savage. Al Jabr used the advanced technology eventually dubbed "telescope" to detect them. He doesn't believe in magic, seeing it only as "knowledge we don't understand." Arthur C. Clarke was a medieval scholar?
The Shining Knight said "Magic, priest!" I first misread this as "Magic Priest," and thought "he" was announcing another new character, or at least as reading soundtrack selection from the Ronnie James Dio discography. Disappointment. Then "he" hopped on the pegasus Vanguard to battle the pterodactyl riders.
Mordru created some enormous fireball deal to immolate the entire village. Exoristos said "Oh, dung."
"They Shall Not Pass" was by Paul Cornell, Diógenes Neves and Oclair Albert. It was a collection of things I hate. Smug, "hip" dialogue that dry humps tropes while posturing at being above them. A collection of corporate IPs seemingly thrown together for no greater purpose than maintaining copyrights. Unique characters mangled into archtypes to suit a team book dynamic. A plot that would be thin for a single issue stretched out over an arc. A string of action set pieces without any dramatic heft or even cheap spectacle. Pretty much the entirety of Tolkien quest fantasy as a genre. Dung indeed, getting by on nostalgia, modest charm, and reasonable Top Cow style artwork.
DCnÜ Year's Wildstormin' Eve
- Captain Atom: Armageddon #9 (August, 2006) @ Power of the Atom
- Justice League #1 (October, 2011) @ Justice League Detroit
- DC/WS DreamWar #6 (November, 2008) @ DC Bloodlines