JLA Presents: Aztek, the Ultimate Man
Writer: Grant Morrison, Mark Millar; Pencils: N. Steven Harris; Inks: Keith Champagne; Lettering: Chris Eliopoulos, Clem Robins; Cover: N. Steven Harris, Keith Champagne
I’m one of the many people who missed Aztek the Ultimate Man when it was first published and so quickly cancelled. But I’ve heard no end of talk about the comic’s greatness, about how DC were idiots to cancel such genius, about how Grant Morrison’s too-quickly-ended grandest-superhero-of-them-all could have singlehandedly changed the face of mainstream comics. Based on the reading the entire series, I’m not sure that its cancellation was undeserved.
Towards the final few issues, the story begins to show some complexity. Aztek becomes more than just an overpowered idiot punching the villain du jour. He has a web of deceitful corporations and secret organizations influencing his life and the lives of those around him. We and Aztek are left wondering what exactly is real in this world and who can be trusted. The last two or three issues offer promise of a meaningful, worthwhile storyline.
But, slogging through the first half of the series is a real chore to get to the good stuff at the end. The early issues’ dialogue is painfully bad. Aztek’s secret identity is a complete joke, as no sensible reader would buy him passing himself off as a qualified, well-trained doctor. And the villains are right out of the worst of DC’s Compendium of Terribly Ridiculous Rascals. It’s no wonder that so few people bought into the series.
Aztek the Ultimate Man is worth checking out, but don’t get your hopes up for finding the new Watchmen.