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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:18:02 pm 
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei

Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:12:40 am
Posts: 21
Location: USA
Valiant fan since: 1993
Favorite character: Antonius Axia
Favorite title: Britannia
Favorite writer: Jeff Lemire
Favorite artist: Cary Nord
First time posting here but I come bearing gifts. I read Deathmate last night for the first time and I'm 99% certain I've solved the mystery of the reading order. Trying to find a definitive order anywhere online is like a needle in a haystack. I even searched these boards but there are so many posts it was hard to see if anyone had come up with the same conclusions I have. With a very critical eye, I read them in what I think is the order they were supposed to be published in (Green, Pink, Prologue, Yellow, Blue, Black, Red, Epilogue) and the story made no sense but I could tell there was a solid narrative underneath it at all. They just needed to be pieced together. I thought long and hard about everything after finishing it and thumbed through them again. There are spoilers below so if you've never read the book just look at my suggested reading order that's next then stop. Without further ado, 24 years later: The Suggested Deathmate Reading Order.

1. Prologue
2. Green (previews)
3. Red
4. Pink/Orange (advance comics previews)
5. Yellow
6. Blue
7. Black
8. Epilogue

Here's my explanation:

1. Prologue - kicks of the entire event in terms of story. Solar and Void mate and that causes the alternate universes to collide. Prophet and the Geomancer sense things aren't what they should be and go gathering help.
2. Green - Prophet has connected with a different Solar and they stop Erica Pierce from bringing about Unity. Prophet says the worst is still to come.
3. Red (I know, I know) - Prophet is taken captive by Knightstrike. It's established that Harada is the ruthless power figure in this new universe. Knighstrike's mission is to stop Harada and they convince Prophet to join. Prophet merely wants to try to reach out to someone in Youngblood (who are Harada's personal bodyguards), preferably Shaft, to see if anyone else can be convinced that things aren't right with the world. In the ensuing battle everyone dies except Prophet. He mourns the dead and his story pretty much ends.
4. Pink/Orange - Grifter (working for Hardcats) tracks down Harbinger who is attempting to kill Shadowman.
5. Yellow - Archer & Armstrong story is mostly meaningless time travel. They meet up with Lord Emp in ancient Rome and eventually discover the universe appears to be collapsing. This story is never revisited. The rest of Yellow tells of more attempts on Harada's life and what becomes of the characters that try it. Zealot makes an attempt and is stopped by Ninjak. Hardcats also make an attempt on Harada's life but they're mostly all killed, along with Zealot who had escaped Ninjak off-page. Grifter convinces Shadowman to let him take Harbinger. The story is never revisited and is sort of meaningless in the whole thing. Master Darque summons Eclipse and they make "plans."
6. Blue - Magnus and Battlestone fight in the future but are interrupted by the Geomancer trying to find heroes to rally to his aide to prevent the universe from ending. He essentially wills himself backwards through time and contacts an amalgam team known as Secret Forces and tells them they have to talk to Harada to set things right with the universe. For whatever reason they believe him and it's established that Harada's telepathy is the key. They invade Harada's fortress and pretty much everyone dies aside from Harada's personal bodyguard Ninjak and Geomancer. Geomancer convinces Harada of the two universes colliding and collapsing in on themselves so Harada calls on Solar. Harada relays everything to Solar and tells him he has to go back and stop his other self from mating with Void. Solar recruits Supreme to help him and they are met by Darque and Eclipse, who convince them to let them tag along as they'll be needed to contain the energy released by the destruction.
7. Black - This story is a little trickier to place but I feel it goes best here. Everything above has been established so you know what the stakes are and this little interruption builds the suspense. At a glance the story is completely irrelevant and feels like it has absolutely nothing to do with anything else but that's not true. The entire thing is a long (too long) build up to ultimately releasing Union from captivity. He's aware of the Deathmate and everything it caused so once he's freed he journeys to intervene. There's a lot more to it but honestly the only thing that's important is Union getting free to go join the finale. This is also the first appearance of Gen 13. There's also another Lord Emp that's not in Ancient Rome. I assume it's the same guy and he's a time traveler. Nevertheless, he dies.
8. Epilogue - It goes without saying why this comes last. A lot of back and forth happens but essentially Darque and Eclipse were going to double cross Solar and Supreme (surprise!) but Union is there to prevent their success. He convinces Solar to basically create a blackhole to absorb the other Solar and Void and the universe they create after touching. Everything goes back to how it was before the Deathmate happened. We learn in the final few panels that the Geomancer still remembers everything.

In my opinion this is the only reading order that makes sense. Prologue starts it, Green continues Prophet's quest to gather allies but he doesn't actually know what exactly has happened so that's why he doesn't inform Solar. Red has to come next because Harada is still seen as a villain here and it resolves Prophet's part in everything without interruption. Pink leads to Yellow due to the Grifter story connection. Yellow has to come after Red because they're making attempts on Harada's life in Yellow but his personal security force Youngblood is nowhere to be seen, assuming because they were killed earlier on in Red. Yellow has Darque and Eclipse scheming which is then continued in Blue. Blue really plays the most pivotal role in everything because it's where Geomancer connects with Harada who then sort of isn't a villain anymore because connects with Solar to set things right and all of that leads to everything being resolved in the Epilogue. Black could honestly be placed anywhere after the Prologue but for the sake of letting the story be established I feel it's best here. If you put it too early then you don't know why Union is so concerned with the Deathmate convergence as the reader hasn't seen anything yet. It would completely interrupt the flow if you placed it in the middle of the Prophet stories or in the middle of the characters trying to kill Harada stories (Yellow and Blue). You could place it between them if you wanted (between Red and Pink) but at that point you still don't have a full scope of the bigger picture and what's at stake. Placing it after Blue and before the Epilogue shows you a place that feels like the distant future of this new reality and it functions as a brief break while Solar, Supreme, Darque, and Eclipse journey to the alternate dimension where the Deathmate takes place. You have Union fresh on your mind when he shows up again in the next chapter, Epilogue.

Deathmate has a pretty bad reputation but I honestly enjoyed it. It was the first time I'd ever read it and I was determined to make sense of it. There are a lot of plot threads left dangling that felt like they were just shoehorning characters into the story for the sake of having more characters in the crossover. The dangling plot threads are also completely meaningless in the overall story. You get mentions of Grifter in the Zealot story but that's it. No mention of Archer and Armstrong again. No mention of Magnus and Battlestone again, they were just used as a device to have Geomancer meet more characters before whatever time travel thing he does.

So, there you have it. Mystery solved. If anyone out there still has a copy of all of the issues maybe try giving it a read on a rainy day with this guideline and see if it makes more sense for you. Maybe even see if you find yourself actually enjoying it because it's not as much of a jumbled mess. It's still sloppy and not a wholly original concept and it has no lasting consequences but I have to admit I had fun reading it, trying to decipher the color coded numerical nonsense. The fact that it was released in the order it was released in is mindboggling to me. I know the publishers both said that you could read the colors in any order and it would all make sense but we all know that isn't true. It's sort of like a ‘choose your own adventure’ book except if you make any choice at all other than the one that the publishers deny exists, then your adventure is a borderline incoherent head-scratcher that almost singlehandedly brings down the juggernaut of the 90s comic boom.

I've recently gotten into bookbinding and I'm strongly considering having a Deathmate hardcover made using this order that I've come up with when I send in my next batch. It was considered uncollectable due to the incoherent method of numbering and delayed release dates but I feel like this is as good as it can get. If anyone reads it any time soon please chime in and let me know if there are any glaring flaws in my logic regarding the issue order.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:26:28 pm 
Honey, it's time to spawn!
Honey, it's time to spawn!
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Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:16:51 pm
Posts: 3923
Location: Kansas City, MO
Valiant fan since: 2012
Favorite character: X-O Manowar
Favorite title: X-O Manowar
Favorite writer: Venditti and Dysart
Hell of a first post! :thumb: Welcome to the boards. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:14:38 am 
I would hang a left...
I would hang a left...
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Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 10:41:48 am
Posts: 8429
Location: Stockholm
mkb28 wrote:
Hell of a first post! :thumb: Welcome to the boards. :)


+1

/Magnus


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:43:45 pm 
Mmm, I was drooling over Cooshie tonight.
Mmm, I was drooling over Cooshie tonight.
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Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:41:10 pm
Posts: 10436
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA!
Nice contribution. :thumb:

Welcome to the board! :clap:


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:01:20 pm 
A toast to the return of Valiant!
A toast to the return of Valiant!
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Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:33:38 pm
Posts: 37974
Great first post. Too bad it's about Deathmate......jk.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:26:58 pm 
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei

Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:12:40 am
Posts: 21
Location: USA
Valiant fan since: 1993
Favorite character: Antonius Axia
Favorite title: Britannia
Favorite writer: Jeff Lemire
Favorite artist: Cary Nord
Haha thanks. Yes the infamous Deathmate. I haven’t been reading a lot of modern comics lately so my childhood nostalgia has pulled me back to the 90s. Deathmate was the big one I never read back then so it was long overdue.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:39:54 pm 
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei
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Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:01:57 am
Posts: 32
Location: Ohio, US
Deathmate is always going to interest me purely because each issue (excluding red) has merits as individual comics, but as a whole they're kind of a mess. And the prologue and epilogue issues are both utterly GORGEOUS.

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Manga, comics, who cares? They're pretty much the same thing.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:05:30 pm 
scratch 1 for the coog guys
scratch 1 for the coog guys
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:27:32 am
Posts: 23252
Location: phx az (east valley)
deathmate where comics go to die in image boxes


welcome aboard well written post


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:08:43 pm 
I bought my first comics at Kwik-E-Mart
I bought my first comics at Kwik-E-Mart
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Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:12:20 am
Posts: 8876
Location: Calizona Sector, North Am
Welcome to the board.

If you're binding, what about the Deathmate Tourbook?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:10:36 pm 
I bought my first comics at Kwik-E-Mart
I bought my first comics at Kwik-E-Mart
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Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:12:20 am
Posts: 8876
Location: Calizona Sector, North Am
Also there are the Deathmate trading cards. Not sure if there is any text in the cards that contribute to the story.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:04:52 pm 
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei

Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:12:40 am
Posts: 21
Location: USA
Valiant fan since: 1993
Favorite character: Antonius Axia
Favorite title: Britannia
Favorite writer: Jeff Lemire
Favorite artist: Cary Nord
I’m thinking the tourbook will go at the end as sort of a bonus thing. I don’t have the cards but I saw where an entire set is available on eBay for couple bucks. Not sure how they could be bound but I might get them just for laughs.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:17:33 pm 
I had the 1,000,000th post on this board and all I got was this lousy custom ranking.
I had the 1,000,000th post on this board and all I got was this lousy custom ranking.
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:35:29 pm
Posts: 952
Location: Alabama
Valiant fan since: 1992
Favorite writer: Joshua Dysart
I’ll stick up for the prologue and epilogue all day long.


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