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Justice League: Gods and Monsters [Blu-ray]
In an alternative history Zod is Superman's father, Batman is a vampiric Man-Bat, and Wonder Woman is the child of Ares, God of War. When these dark heroes form an alliance, the question everyone asks is will they save the world, or rule it?
Also available on DVD.
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Cover date: February 2004
Writer: Chuck Austen
Penciller: Teddy Kristiansen
Inker: Teddy Kristiansen and Ashley Wood
"You Are Now Leaving the City of Tomorrow"
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
Lena explains that they are hiding in a subroutine, where the pleasant things like elevator music used to be. Jimmy asks what they can do to stop Killgrave.
Killgrave, meanwhile, has Superman in a metal fist with Creeper on top, taunting him. Superman tells him to get off, meaning get to safety.
Killgrave flicks Creeper off with another big fist while he's trying to help Superman. Creeper falls downward, screaming.
Superman asks what Killgrave meant by killing everyone in the city, and Killgrave tells him that he is, at that moment, taking over the city, and we see it.
Creeper, on the ground, sees a legion of human faces attached to spider bot parts come after him. He stands up. "This is a job for Superman!" He says, and starts running.
Superman strains, and Killgrave tells him to listen carefully and hear everyone in Metropolis dying.
Jimmy, meanwhile, has learned that Lena has started growing them new bodies where she grew her first body.
Jimmy decides to risk them and make a message through every television set in Metropolis. He asks the man who manipulated the tech in the park to contact them.
The man responds, the man with the toy he created to manipulate the tech for children. Jimmy asks him to meet him at the park area north of Star Labs. Killgrave locks onto Olsen. Superman tries to dissuade Killgrave by melting his neon eye, but Killgrave tells Superman that he's not there, he's all over town killing people.
He proves it by letting off explosions all around himself and Superman in a large double spread page.
Meanwhile, the man meets Olsen's voice coming from the tech. Jimmy tells the man to use the device to change Sledge into something small and harmless when he says to. The man is dubious.
Inside the tech, Jimmy tells Lena to drug Killgrave, give him a virus. Killgrave arrives and stabs Jimmy. Jimmy, losing strength, tells her to hell with the Emerald City, and that he loves Lena.
Killgrave calls it a shame that he can only kill Jimmy once (irony, kids, because he killed him a few issues back), and then begins to feel suddenly sick. Lena looms over him, smiling.
The huge building Killgrave starts falling over, and Superman escapes. The man reworks Killgrave into something small, and the building collapses.
Killgrave, now a small bunny, tries to focus to gather more energy. Superman squishes the bunny with his foot.
The tech stops functioning, totally.
Killgrave, meanwhile, can no longer move and is imprisoned in his own (real) body.
Perry wants words on the story, meanwhile, in the Planet, and Lois and Clark suggest they allow Olsen to write his own copy with their supervision. Perry considers.
In the vats, a bald Jimmy and Lena emerge and kiss.
Outside, later, Jimmy has hair and Lena remains bald. They walk the streets where the tech has lost all root. The only thing remaining is the rail whale, which still needs to be cleaned and breaks down.
They hold hands and walk into the future.
Story - 5: Well, now we know what happened to the city, and why Lena is sick, to a degree, in the recent issues of Superman. The timestorm rid us of B13 tech, so how can she exist? That's a problem that's not being directly addressed in the issues we have before us (the Majestic run) but at very least it is alluded to. Which means, at least to me, continuity. For instance, back in the day of the early nineties, though a plot was unresolved or needed immediate resolution, there would be a typical nod from the editor or a light scene to indicate it was coming up, and that's exactly what Lena and Jimmy in the new issue are doing for me, and I like it.
Now, as for this issue, I had a really great time. I did.
From the opening with the ramifications of a necessary murder, to the middle with Jimmy dying again in the tech with superb irony, to Killgrave taunting Superman and killing people, to the end of the tech, a HUGE deal, to the creative solution using yet another character I would have decried earlier in the series as a waste of time coming back to have meaningful contribution. I was just so used to the other books I didn't expect Austen.
So now, officially, thanks to this great series, probably the best since Our Worlds at War (at least, the really good parts), I'm dying to see what Austen can do with the Man of Steel. That means, right now, two of the five Superman writers are proven to me right now, Loeb and Austen. We have more to come, but I'm not informed enough to judge yet, to a degree, how Superman is handled.
I do have to apologize for a goof in these reviews. I had no idea Ryder was Creeper. I looked up the character, and he's been around for a LONG time, I'd just never heard of him. He even had his own series. I figured he was just a thrown-in character, but turns out he's a mainstay. Though just what his role is in this story other than comic relief and seeding madness was, I don't know. It's the lone week point. But look at the strong points:
While Loeb's Hush was marvelous in every way, many people said, "Nah, not the Riddler! He couldn't do that." I wasn't one of those people, myself. But with this series, Killgrave was always ruthless, he seemed like a crummy, worthless villain, then he turned out to be a real, viable, human threat, killing and attacking, and incapacitating Superman.
It just goes to prove my theory that writing Superman isn't hard. You just have to realize it's less about Superman (though you have to have a good sense of the man) and more the threats he is up against and how he responds to them. Then again, DC doesn't send me a paycheck, but I have been reading for 11 years now.
Lena is a GREAT new character. That's the thing that will last from this series. A Data, if you will, for the DC Universe, and they need one. Already I'm picturing ways this could be written into the plot. The Eradicator became less of a machine, and we lost our "your human ways are strange" guy, and it's good to have something to fill the gap.
To hell with the Emerald City, Jimmy says.
I live in Tacoma, Washington, which is about 40 minutes south of Seattle, the "Emerald City", where everyone I know thinks Tacoma is a cesspool of crime, villainy, stink, and bad people. Well, I agree with Jimmy. To hell with the Emerald City. I'll live in Tacoma, what they call the "City of Destiny", simply because real, human people suit my purpose better than Metrosexuals and the moderately middle class. Besides, the less people the better for me. Besides, stuff is cheaper here.
Oh, he meant the color of the tech... hee hee... now I look stupid. Alas. Point made.
I think the best thing about this story is that Superman was in it, but he didn't have to use his powers to save the world. Jimmy did. That's a big deal.
And another big deal is that in the midst of the crappiest run of Superman comics I've ever seen (save moments with Kelly, to be honest), we had this gem and Superman/Batman, making the storm weather-able in a very cool way.
Go Rucka, and for the love of God, paint a similar picture in the future, because this one is indelibly etched in my memory as a story forever.
Only one lingering question... does anyone care what happened to poor Rebecca Muldoon? I mean, she was a mean old witch, but is she dead, alive somewhere in the tech? Other than that, bank.
Art - 5: There are those who hate this art.
I don't get it. It's such good art. I mean, it's not clean, and Superman is usually all about the clean, the colorful, but this is Jimmy's story. Our story. It's really quite gritty and dark in the real world, and it makes sense.
And open up to that double spread and tell me this isn't a great set-up the artist's been doing? I mean, look at the flick of the Creeper. How hard is that to do, as an artist, and here it's done flawlessly!
And the building Killgrave? How consistently cool was that?
I'm impressed. Despite the artist change mid-stream, this story kept it together, and I WILL be buying the trade if it's issued. How did this story sell so poorly? I know. Because people buy the things with the best cover instead of the things which seem to have the most ramifications.
Cover Art - 3: Okay, so the covers have been out there a lot of late.
Big words, at least relevant to the issue.
But hey, there's SO MUCH cool stuff in this issue they could have mined... going subtle is sweet, but really, I like big, broad, sweeping, relevant and dynamic covers. A big black Superman shadow profile doesn't do that for me, though it is well drawn.
Also, Lena has hair. That's a little off.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2004.