Inheritance

June 16, 2006 at 7:04 am Leave a comment

BATMAN. GREEN ARROW. AQUAMAN.

NIGHTWING. ARSENAL. TEMPEST.

A gunshot shatters the Gotham night as Slade Wilson, the superhuman killer-for-hire Deathstroke, fails to assassinate the young son of a visiting Quarac dignitary. Now three legendary crime fighters, Batman, Green Arrow, and Aquaman-and the three conflicted heroes who had once been their loyal sidekicks-join forces to stop Slade and those who hired him. But as the hunt stretches across continents, opening lost memories and old wounds, it turns into a desperate race against time: for Deathstroke is but one player in a plot to destroy all of Gotham…

Hmm.  I take issue with the plot to destroy Gotham part of the blurb, but to
be honest the mystery/plot took such a huge backseat to the characters in the
book that it doesn't even matter.

I picked up and read Inheritance by Devin Grayson last week and really
enjoyed it.  I usually try to take a peek at the comic book novelizations
every once in a while and the cover with Batman, Green Arrow and Aquaman
caught my eye this time.  When I flipped the book over and found out that
their old sidekicks were in the book as well, I was intrigued, but not
expecting much.  Sidekicks usually get shafted in these kinds of
novelizations and generally aren't given much to do.  Instead I was
surprised to find out that the book is mostly about the histories of the
three former sidekicks and their dysfunctional relationships with their
mentors.

After an assassination attempt in Gotham goes wrong and Batman calls a bored
and vacationing Green Arrow looking for Arsenal, GA decides to form a team
of heroes to "help" Batman solve the case.   The men split into three
groups: Batman and Arsenal go to Quarac to question Cheshire, a terrorist
and Arsenal's (mostly) ex-flame, Green Arrow and Nightwing hunt for
Deathstroke and Aquaman and Tempest are set to guard the Quarac president
and his son (who were on a boat, of course).

The thing that I loved about this book is the way that it flipped between
the current investigation and the history of the younger heroes.  The first
part told Arsenal's story of how he first met Green Arrow and became Speedy,
his addiction to heroin and how he got involved with Cheshire.  Nightwing
was next with a retelling of his origin as the original Robin but goes past
that and into his training and devotion to Batman and their eventual
parting.  Tempest got the least amount of time as the story of Aqualad
started more than two thirds of the way into the book which also had to make
room for the resolution of the main plot.  See?  He even gets less of a
mention here.  :)

Oddly enough, it wasn’t Nightwing’s part that I enjoyed the most (he swung a
bit too much between competent leader/detective and a wide-eyed “gosh can I
help” attitude for me, I think).  It was Arsenal’s story that really grabbed
me.  I knew most of his background, but I didn’t read many Teen Titans
comics during the original team’s run.  I started collecting it three
incarnations ago, when Arsenal reformed the team and that’s when I began
picking up bits and pieces of everyone’s history.  So now instead of just
knowing he’s a recovering heroin addict, I have a better idea of why he
started using in the first place.  I thought it was a very well told and
touching story.  Also?  Green Arrow is an ass.

And yes, poor Tempest who got shafted.  I had even less knowledge of his
background, and while I knew he wasn’t Aquaman’s son, I was never quite sure
of what their relationship actually was.  Apparently there was also an
Aqualass in his past who he was in love with that I only had the vaguest
memories of.  (I should crack open my DC encyclopedia a little more often)

Of course the thread pulling these three young men together isn’t just the
former sidekick thing and their part in founding the Teen Titans, but also
that their foster parents all really sucked at their jobs.  They’re all so
emotionally screwed up… :)

Anyway, it was a fun read and I’m glad I bought it.  It’d be lovely if the
DC Universe books could include one of the youngest generation of heroes
(that would be the last group of Teen Titans – Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl,
etc.) but I’m not holding my breath for that.  It looks like the next one
will be Helltown by Dennis O'Neil in November.

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Entry filed under: books, comics.

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