Faw Down and Go Clang the Seven Soldiers of Victory Way!

by John Holbo on November 15, 2007

The most entertaining cape-and-tights comic of the past several years might be Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory[amazon]. It’s getting to be a bit of a cliché, admittedly: toss a bunch of mismatched B-list heroes in the pot and mix it for has-been, coulda-been, struggling actor-syndrome support-group ‘well, how did I get here?’ irony. But the Klarion the Witch Boy [read the first four pages here] and Newsboy Army subplots are just so damn brilliant. Belle wants a Klarion T-shirt or, possibly, coffee mug for Thanksgiving. (Seasonally speaking, he is a Halloween-to-Thanksgiving sort of Goth-pilgrim hero.) I think it should say either "Mother, this is no time for hysteria," or, possibly, "I’ll send a monster made of 250 children to your aid."

Of course, knowing me, I’m reading vol. 1[amazon] of the Golden Age, original Seven Soldiers of Victory.The original seven were: the Vigilante; Green Arrow and Speedy (the only ones who hit the big-time); The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy (unusual duo, the adult is the sidekick); The Crimson Avenger and Wing (a ‘thank you velly much’ sidekick); and the Shining Knight and his flying horse, Winged Victory. There are six soldiers on the cover and either five (counting sidekicks out) or eight in the book (if you count them in, excepting horses); nine if you include the horse. In fact, the answer is: Winged Victory doesn’t count because he’s a horse, and Wing doesn’t count because he’s Chinese. (I’m not kidding. He never gets to attend any meetings either.) So there are Seven Soldiers of Victory. Their ‘slogan’: "Woe to all workers of evil!"

Why read this sort of thing? [Moves pipe to other corner of mouth.] Because in every one of these Golden Age collections, the quintessentially Young Visiteerish quality of plot and dialogue …


… the opaque, anti-goldbuggery of it … eventually yields up a single, pristine panel; a perfect pitch existential lament for the ‘faw down’ cruelty of existence. Beckett never wrote anything half so good:


This reminds me – can’t lay hands on it – of a little strip Art Spiegelman did. He gave his little kid some Peanuts strips and asked him whether the characters seemed ‘real’, or some other question the kid was too young to answer. The kid answered: ‘Lucy. She’s mean.’

The following is nice for its proper use of unnecessary quotation marks (you can click all these for larger images) and flower pot in the corner ambience. (Don’t go over to the flower pot, professor!)


There is one pretty good villain – the Dummy! An apple-cheeked, wooden-jawed kidnapper! His henchmen argue among themselves: "One of us four must be the Dummy! Otherwise how could that doll talk?" "Yeah – one of us is a ventriloquist. But who?" "Not me." "Me neither." The fools! I also like the Hopper: a guy on a pogo stick. There are some odd crime schemes.


There’s Wing! In short, this book is definitely not worth getting. You should read the Grant Morrison Seven Soldiers instead.



fardels bear 11.15.07 at 5:33 pm

If you go here:


You can download Captain Marvel, Jr. fighting his archenemy: Captain Nazi!


ed bowlinger 11.15.07 at 6:16 pm

I just finished working my way through the trades of the Morrison SSV, and I have to admit that I was completely baffled by the ending. It didn’t make a lick of sense to me. I feel a certain amount of shame in being 30 years old and unable to figure out a comic book. Visiting Wikipedia and looking there for illumination would only redouble my misery.


Will 11.15.07 at 7:34 pm

Klarion The Witch Boy is a Jack Kirby Kreation. He’s a foe of The Demon one of JK’s characters he credted for DC Comics in the 1970s. Apparently Klarion is still a little shit.


Rich B. 11.15.07 at 8:58 pm

You can download Captain Marvel, Jr. fighting his archenemy: Captain Nazi!

You laugh, but Captain Nazi completely took down Wonder Woman in her comic book yesterday. It wasn’t even close. Apparently, he’s trying to take over Canada now.


Seth Finkelstein 11.15.07 at 9:56 pm

If you can have “Captain American”, why not “Captain Nazi”? (though I think he would probably call himself “Fuhrer Reich” or “The Aryan” or something like that).


Flippanter 11.15.07 at 10:36 pm

SSofV seemed like a case of imaginative, clever character invention outrunning the works’ putative themes.


Timothy Burke 11.16.07 at 2:31 am

Let’s put it this way: if Seven Soldiers of Victory was tough, get ready for interpretative agonies while reading Alan Moore’s Black Dossier.


Doug M. 11.16.07 at 5:47 am

I’ve read most of the Morrison SSOVs, though not the end-cap.

Klarion: F&$k yeah. That four-issue miniseries contained, what, nine different moments of awesome?

“…cake made of light…”

“I’m modernizing. You’d look great in a bikini.”

But, you know? Although it’s seriously, seriously flawed, I still thing _Mr. Miracle_ was the best series of the seven.

Okay, you have to know the Kirby Fourth World mythos. But come on: at the end, Shiloh is eating an /Easter Sundae/.

More comics blogging, please.

Doug M.


Wrye 11.16.07 at 7:05 am

My understanding is that Morrison’s finale was forced to be significantly shorter in terms of page count than he had originally planned, so I think that blunted his ability to pull everything together in a satisfying way. I can’t remember the original source for the info, though. Intertrons? any ideas?


ajay 11.16.07 at 2:49 pm

And the surrealism of the Dummy is actually brilliant. It’s sort of “who is Keyser Soze?” avant la lettre.


hilker 11.16.07 at 5:50 pm

Worth noting that the prelude to Morrison’s SSOV involving Qwewq/Neh-Buh-Loh is now available in a trade paperback, JLA: Ultramarine Corps.


Paul Currion 11.19.07 at 6:49 pm

I have to admit that I was disappointed with Seven Soldiers by the time I came to the end of Issue 1 (which is, of course, the final issue). It was about a hundred times more interesting than anything else on the shelves at the time, and a couple of the miniseries were flat out brilliant (Klarion being the obvious one).

However it failed singularly to do what Morrison had explicitly proposed it would do. The various strands were either too separated from the main narrative to weave back properly at the end, or too tied into the main narrative to stand as satisfying stories on their own. At least it failed because it was too ambitious though…

Comments on this entry are closed.