Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics [Blu-ray]
THE JOKER, LEX LUTHOR, CATWOMAN, DOOMSDAY, BANE. What makes them so thrillingly watchable? So terribly wonderful? So extremely vital to our super heroes and their worlds? This new feature-length documentary explores these questions across seven decades of DC Comics' hallowed Rogues' Gallery of infamous evildoers.
Cover date: Early April 2008
Writter: Roger Stern
Penciller: John Byrne
Inker: Mark Farmer
Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
The Atom uses his size control powers to surprise Titus, but only reveals the fact that he didn't disappear in their previous encounter but merely shrank. Titus hits the Atom with something that disrupts his abilities but before he can do any more damage Batman attacks. The assault only serves to annoy Titus, who goes to kill the Dark Knight but finds only a trap that Batman had set to allow Superman and Wonder Woman to get free. The two heroes very nearly defeat the would-be god but he manages to once again to break free and fight back.
With the helps of J'onn and John the Flash finds his way home. Using his somewhat out of control speed, which was enhanced by Titus the Flash revives J'onn and Batman, the Flash, the Atom, Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter all discusses their options. With J'onn's mental help Batman reveals Titus' identity to Superman and Wonder Woman, who remembers a prophecy revealed to her by the oracle Menalippe, which stated that a god from beyond the stars would one day come to Earth and be opposed by mortal whose powers are liken unto the gods.
The League attacks in force and with a little psyching out on the part of the Flash Superman finally knocks Titus out of the Watchtower and into space. After a quick patch job on the hole created during the climatic moment the League discovers that Titus still lives and is rushing back towards them. Wonder Woman reveals another part of Mealippe's prophecy, which states that twice the mortals shall battle the anti-god and in the end their foe will achieve oneness over all.
Story - 5: There comes a time in any action packed six part story where you have to have a chapter that is chock full of said action. It's just how these things go. I mean a Justice League story (or an Avengers story if you are more inclined to Marvel) should have character development, a solid plot, good dialogue and more than a few fight scenes. I know it kind of takes the fun out of things to boil a story arc into a formula but it's hard to ignore after reading more than five of them.
Roger Stern delivers the big bust up in this issue and does it well. I like the fact that the chapters are switching from one time period to another and then back again. It really spices things up and is different than a lot of the arcs that this title has seen in its history.
All of the characters got a chance to shine. Superman was given his opportunity to bring the ruckus. Batman was appropriately Batman. Wonder Woman was allowed to not only have her own moments of ruckus but move the story along with her knowledge of the prophecy. John and J'onn got to work together...sort of. Stern's handling of the Flash was my favorite part of this issue. I thought he did some neat things with the dialogue and the fact that it had the whole, "My name is Wally West. I'm the fastest man alive," intro made it even better.
It was interesting to see J'onn act somewhat cavalier about Superman's supposed killing of Titus. I don't know if any other writer (and artist) would have this sort of thing happen, but considering Stern came into Superman right after he executed (and rightly so) the Phantom Zone villains, a story written and drawn by John Byrne, this makes a lot of sense. The fact that he didn't kill Titus is kind of beyond the point. To me this made the story more interesting and brought up something to debate and discuss.
Gotta love that.
The ending was a lot of fun too. The League beats the monster back and just when it looks like they may have won and then here comes Titus, running across the lunar landscape with Wonder Woman revealing more of the prophecy.
Now that's a cliffhanger.
Hey, did the Atom mention the Power Company? I thought I was the only one who remembered them.
Art - 5: Still digging the art.
Still REALLY digging the art.
In fact, I think the art had more to do with my enjoyment of this issue than the writing. No, that's not a dig against Roger Stern, but I think Byrne really opened up with this chapter. The two page spread of the Flash going all over the place as he attempted regain composure was neat but I loved the very Buck Rogers style falling though time and space thing he did on the first page. I thought this was very cool. Most of the art in this issue centered on the action and Byrne does action very well, so this worked out nicely. There were also some trippy moments, like the Flash finding his way home.
Byrne and Farmer continue to be a fantastic art team. I wish we could see more from them.
Cover Art - 4: I have nothing much to say about this cover, either positively or negatively. It's just kind of there for me. It doesn't get me excited. It doesn't repulse me. Not bad, but not all that good either.
What a terrible way to feel.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.