Jeff Jensen
May 23, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

EW lists 5 reasons we love ”Seven Soldiers”

1 Grant Morrison is best known for trippy takes on iconic superheroes like X-Men. But with Seven Soldiers, comicdom’s mad genius is tackling a collection of third-tier characters in the DC Comics canon. The result is top-shelf. ”You can do anything you want with characters nobody cares about,” says the brash 45-year-old Scottish scribe.

2 Comprising seven four-issue miniseries, Soldiers impressively assays an array of escapist genres. Shining Knight is revisionist Arthurian myth, while Zatanna is a dark (and darkly comic) fantasy. Three titles have yet to debut, including Mister Miracle, about a David Blaine-meets-Puff Daddy escape artist.

3 Each book is powerfully grounded in emotion, humor, and accessible characters. The best: The Manhattan Guardian, about a haunted ex-cop hired by a newspaper to play superhero.

4 Each series, published monthly, stands alone, but they interlock to form a larger whole. Morrison hints that Klarion the Witch Boy is pivotal to the big picture.

5 Morrison stuffs each issue — each page — with myriad wild ideas, a long-evolving style he calls ”compression.” It reaches maturity in Soldiers. ”Most comics spread a story too thin,” says Morrison. ”I’m throwing down the gauntlet. I’m saying ‘Pick up your game.”’

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