Writer: Chuck Dixon
Penciller: Jon Bogdanove
Inker: Kevin Nolan
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Superman and Orion charge in. Superman tells Orion to stop wasting his energy on broodlings when they need to find the Alien queen. Orion tells Superman that he will waste his energy as he pleases.
Orion tells Superman that he's thinking of taking Darkseid out. The Aliens are only a symptom to the cause. He rambles, leaving Superman behind. Superman is overwhelmed, and Orion comes to his rescue, realizing that Superman has less power on Apokolips.
Darkseid watches as the men approach. Kalibak criticizes him, telling him that he should not let them come, he should kill them directly, not utilize creatures. Darkseid takes his hands and puts Kalibak in his place, at his feet.
Highfather watches the battle rage on New Genesis with regret. He looks on, as Barda struggles with the horde.
Barda, meanwhile, is taking Forager's advice and rising to the top of a great chasm. Forager suggests that the Aliens have only one way up from underground, and this chasm is it. It is time to unleash their final option.
In the hive beneath Apokolips, Superman realizes he has less strength than he needs to fly. Orion too is near succumbing to the power of the Alien in his chest. Superman tells him that they need to bring the Alien queen to Highfather. He then jokes, telling Orion that they make a great couple of heroes, sick as they are. Orion laughs a bit too hard.
Forager takes out his final option, a trilling whistle, and calls hordes of man-sized bugs to their aid. They coat the chasm with a slick fluid that prevents them from climbing, and Jugundus, from nowhere, returns with a large rock, dropping it on the horde.
Superman and Orion confront and attack the queen. The queen takes Orion and prepares to devour him. Orion shouts out the irony that though he will die, the queen will kill one of its own. Omega blasts scream from the corridor, and the queen is no more.
Darkseid, showing his face, tells Orion that though they are enemies, Orion is still his son. He uses his Omega Beams to neutralize the Alien in Orion. Darkseid opens a boom tube to send them home.
On New Genesis, Superman and Orion are hailed as heroes.
On Apokolips, Darkseid explains his strategy to Desaad. Planting a seed of love in the mind of Orion, that he, Darkseid, may be a paternal influence, could lessen his loyalty to Highfather. For this, and this alone, he orchestrated this whole scheme. But as a contingency, he shows Desaad suspended animation of Aliens, just in case he ever needs to unleash his weapon on New Genesis again.
Story - 2: Disappointing ending, to say the least. There is something to be said for orchestrating an entire miniseries simply to plant a seed of characterization for Orion, especially given the masterful war plans of Darkseid that are plotted in slow and small increments that never come to fruition (a la Luthor, to keep the readers reading), but still, I find it a little callous even for Darkseid to kill countless millions for one shred of doubt. All of that aside, we were built up for three issues towards this final confrontation, and with one blast the queen is gone, with one blast the threat to Orion gone, and Superman and Orion leave the situation without even TRYING to seek justice with Darkseid, which is completely out of character. And on New Genesis, an entire Alien horde is turned back by slick bugs and a rock? Maybe in the He-Man Universe, but not on New Genesis. This series was a big smash up, but there were a lot of subplots that were wasted. There was no want for action, but there was no reward for story, either. All in all, a quick, but explosive read that for this part, unfortunately, was wasted. And very, very late, I will point out. Though this issue and the series was fairly well done for the most part and interesting, I found myself treating it like the Dark Knight Returns. Its continual lateness and unpredictability made me forget when it came out, made me apathetic of when it came out, and made me forget what the story was about without reading the previous issues over again. Also, it made me file this review late because I forgot it, and that just drives me nuts. I can't blame them for that one, but I can say that if it were one time, I would have had it, and this would have been on time.
Art - 5: What can I say? It's Bog. Story notwithstanding, the action was amazing, the queen (for the few seconds she was allowed to stick around) sizzled, and the components of Apokolips and New Genesis were spot-on. Barda is right on, Superman is the Superman I grew up with, and the New Gods are his territory. I loved the art. I'm not too keen on the opening page always having a huge, explosive opening, but he sure made the most of it in this series. The opener in this issue was the worst, but still, it was a nice way to grab the reader.
Cover Art - 2: A bit dark, and rather similar to the rest of the series. Superman fighting lots and lots of Aliens. Well, yeah, we got that point, and we also got that they're massive. That was the last three covers. How about something new, now? At least it shows off the queen, that's kind of nice. But the darkness and repetition wipe a lot of what makes the issue's cover a worthy mention away.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2003.