Threshold: The Hunted #2 – The Zoo Crew Revue!

Not only does Blue Beetle join the party, but so do Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! Sort of!

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Longtime DC Comics fans should start getting excited about Threshold, the Keith Giffen cosmic series, because it looks to be made up of some of the stuff that made him famous – namely, the comedy version of the Justice League International, and the creation of ridiculousness like Lobo and Ambush Bug. When you tell stories about space aliens all the time, you tend to have license to get crazy-go-nuts, and Giffen's taking full advantage of that by introducing Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew into the main New 52.

Full disclosure – I came to DC later in the game, so I missed most of that seminal Booster Gold/Blue Beetle/Guy Gardner run of JLI he did with J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire, although I did read and enjoy the Super Buddies era stuff in Formerly Known As The Justice League – enough so that I sympathized mightily when that era was mercilessly raped and murdered in that nauseating Identity Crisis event. Also, I've never really read the old Captain Carrot stuff, either, so it took me a while to recognize them in Threshold Presents The Hunted #2, written by Giffen and illustrated by Tom Raney. Eventually, though, it dawned on me that a rabbit-headed guy named K-Rot who insists on calling himself Captain had to be more than just a bad pun.

To get you up to speed on what the main story is actually about – in Green Lantern New Guardians Annual #1, we were introduced to Deep Cover Green Lantern Jediah Caul, who reluctantly helped Star Sapphire Carol Ferris pull some shenanigans to escape her sentencing to a live-action game show called The Hunted. The concept of this reality show is as follows:  "Ladies and gentlemen, this here is a jerk. We invite anyone and everyone to try to hunt and kill this jerk, and we will televise it to the entire sector of bloodthirsty bastards. If you do kill this jerk, you win fabulous cash and prizes." Carol was one of The Hunted, but thanks to some help from Caul, she got away. And Caul had to take her place. Threshold #1 gave us his further adventures in scrambling away from hunters.

Now, in Threshold #2, Jaime Reyes is dropped in as the Jerk Du Jour fresh off the cancellation of Blue Beetle (any number of jerks can be hunted at any given time – Reyes makes the third we know about, besides Caul and a nifty invisible-girl named Stealth). That's right, Giffen is writing the Blue Beetle again. Sure, the teenager with the creepy alien scarab stuck in his spine that occasionally turns him into a Reach Warrior traditionally known for mass murder is a smidge different than doughy inventor Ted Kord with his flying bugship, but chances are Giffen will do some good things with the Beetle nonetheless. It also bears mentioning that Giffen was the lead writer of Marvel's Annihilation event, which featured the Guardians of the Galaxy and Rocket Raccoon. In this issue, the introduction of Captain K-Rot, his burly simpleton oinker Pig-Iron and the sexy raccoon-lady (a phrase I didn't think I would ever write in my lifetime) Sleen stand every chance of being as integral to future DC plans as the Guardians currently are to Marvel.

Anyway – Space Ranger and Stealth make a purple-bloody escape from a crack team of Crimson Thrust commandos, while K-Rot and his zoo-influenced crew, his cybernetic leg and his glass eye are on the hunt for Reyes – in particular, they want to harvest his scarab and sell it for big bucks. That hunt leads them to cross paths with Caul, who's trying to find something to take down a savage Reach beast now that his GL ring is out of juice. Things go pear-shaped from there, once they knock out Reyes and the Reach-suit takes full control. Giffen's dialogue is amusing, and I'm starting to get a sense of the fun, adventurous tone he's bringing to all this cosmic malarkey.

That's even more evident with his backup story, focusing on the great robbery of Larfleeze, the Orange Lantern of Avarice. His Larfleeze is paranoid and angry, but also silly and dim-witted, and his suffering pseudo-sidekick Stargrave is reluctantly along for the quest to get back all of his stuff what was taken. He tries to hire the smugglers called Star Rovers to track down the criminals, although he clearly does not understand the concept of 'hiring.' Suddenly, orange manifestations attack the lot of them. Including Larfleeze. Even though they're coming from his ring. Whoever stole his Orange Power Lantern is pulling some shenanigans. Also, considering that the Star Rovers were in the GLNG Annual and the reason Carol Ferris was mixed up in things in the first place, there's a very good chance the backup story will collide with the main story soon.

Now that I can see a general direction, tone and intention for Giffen's Threshold, a sort of cosmic realm that's much like his Annihilation stuff (techincally part of the main continuity, but separate enough from it that those who aren't all that thrilled with the New 52 in general have a place to go within DC to enjoy comics), I'm warming to it more than I did with the first issue, where I couldn't stop hating on the name Jediah Caul. A slight mental adjustment, and I think Threshold is going to be an engaging place to spend some funnybook time.