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Superman: Earth One Vol. 3
The follow-up to the NEW YORK TIMES #1 bestselling graphic novels SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE VOL. 1 and 2 is here! Written by J. Michael Straczynski with art by Ardian Syaf, SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE VOL. 3 follows a young Clark Kent as he continues his journey toward becoming the World's Greatest Super Hero.
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Cover date: August 27, 2008
Main Story: "That Was a Sonic Boom"
Main Story Writer: Kurt Busiek
Main Story Penciller: Mark Bagley
Main Story Inker: Art Thibert
Back-Up Story: "Drop the Coffin and Surrender"
Back-Up Writers: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Pencillers: Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher
Back-Up Inker: Allen Passalaqua
Cover Art: Andy Kubert
Superman single-handedly defeats Ultra Man and Super Woman. Enigma is worried that he's upsetting the planet's balance. Despero and Morgaine are suspicious of Enigma's motives for wanting to attack the trinity while they're on the antimatter Earth.
Enigma calls for a "S.P.H.E.R.E." and says "Infernatui" and he's taken aboard a head-shaped space ship in the antimatter universe. Though it's never outright said, Enigma appears to be a resident of the antimatter universe.
Superman tricks Ultra Man into revealing that the machine they tied the CSA big three to was a device intended to strand the JLA in an inter-dimensional void outside of reality. Superman activates the machine and sends Ultra Man, Super Woman, and Owl-Man into the void without conferring with Wonder Woman or Batman.
The heroes regroup. Suddenly they realize the people of the antimatter universe are rioting over the news that the CSA has finally been defeated.
To be continued...
The heroes on Earth are trying to stop the mystical thefts. Oracle tells them the villains are taking one item each from each hero's pool of allies, their rogues, and their creation or debut. They realize the next theft will relate to a Wonder Woman rogue.
Hawkman and Gangbuster are guarding the coffin of Maxwell Lord when the villains attack. The villains are faced with an army of heroes including the Birds of Prey, Supergirl, the Bat-Family, Titans, and Outsiders. The fight causes the sun-creature's tattoo cage to rip open and the sun inside him is about to be released.
To be continued...
Main Story - 3: I'm not real keen on having to review two comic books in the same week that feature Crime Syndicate member Ultra Man. I've got this book and "Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D" to review and the evil Superman factors into both stories. This is once again DC's continuing problem with editors who don't appear to do anything or recognize their turf is part of a bigger whole to the readers. If Ultra-Man is the punch-line to an issue - as he is in the "FC" crossover - that punch-line becomes diluted by the character's simultaneous appearance here.
Nonetheless, the story itself is gaining steam so I'm not going to lose my mind over the continuing-to-obsolescence concept of continuity. Really. I'm. Not.
The story remains far, far, far, and, oh ya, far from perfect. There's the very strange B plot with John Stewart morphing into a metal man. Superman's still prattling on about the emotional cross-over - though his actions this issue are much more reflective of someone with a touch of character personality cross-over disorder (hereinafter known to all as C.P.C.D.). By the time Superman single-handedly decides to strand the CSA big three, it's clear that he's crossed a line. It's similar to the animated "Justice League Unlimited" episode where the original Leaguers single-handedly decide to dispatch Doomsday by stranding him in the Phantom Zone.
Enigma as an antimatter amalgamation himself? He's clearly got a touch of the Riddler. And the looks of Two-Face. But he's living up to his name for the first time and finally becoming interesting.
Main Art - 5: The artwork this issue is stunning. The best work isn't reserved for large splash panels. It's reserved for one special panel where Superman is tricking Ultra-Man into spilling the beans about their dimensional trap. The close-up image of Superman's face looks like it was ripped right out of a 1970's Curt Swan rendered comic book. Given the very retro-manner in which Superman tricks the bad guys (the 'I'll use their own vanity against them' defense), the artistic choice seems thoughtful and considered. And really well-done.
Back-Up Story - 4: The story's simplicity scores points with me. Lots of heroes get screen time. It's like a hero-filled episode of "JLU" where the large roster is only called out to emphasize the sense of danger. It's simple and straight-forward and a fast read. The only clunker, dialogue-wise, is the nonsense about Hawkman taking all of this personally. Gangbuster's the one with a vested interest - his missing friend Tarot. I'm not sure what the Hawk's beef is about.
Back-Up Art - 4: The art's pretty good this time out but it's only foreplay to the climactic full-page splash of the assemblage of heroes, all of whom have, either individually or through team affiliation, a strong connection to one or more of the Big Three. Nice.
Cover Art - 3: The cover art scores points this time out for featuring more than just one of the Big Three. The art is a bit of a spoiler spiller, in that it's clear the CSA's story isn't over since Ultra Man and Owl-Man are presumably showcasing the next two covers with Batman and Superman.
The triptych thing is definitely getting old. It limits creativity rather than adds to it. I'd have loved to have seen an army of the DCU protecting the Big Three like we get in the back-up story but it seems like it'd spoil the splash image of one hero per cover.
Main Story - 1: So, Superman goes bonkers, commits villains to the interdimensional void (which sounds a lot like hell or non-existence), sends a world into anarchy, and Enigma gets in his ship to go do something about it.
All the while, names in dialogue, thought captions, and we're STILL with the JLA fighting the CSA endlessly with nothing novel or character-driven to speak of. I feel like I'm reading JLA 100 again.
I'm assuming Superman will realize what he's done after his consciousness is returned to normal, remove the villains from the void, and bring all the people killed in worldwide anarchy back to life, right?
Still boring, still crap.
Main Art - 4: The faces still irk me, but the backgrounds and the actions scenes don't let up, even if the subject matter doesn't excite me. The work is actually picking up again and getting better.
Back-Up Story - 1: "Emergency override access code 01-666, authenticated Batman 334334! - Activate Justice League Multi-Doors now!"
(A commonly heard cry when Sun-Chained-In-Hamburgers is on a rampage with Swashbuckler, who knows his own name, and a gorilla wearing lipstick. This, of course, after many pages with Oracle explaining the plot instead of the author showing it. And why the hell is Hawkman angry?)
Well, mostly fail. Sun-Chained-In-Hamburgers blew up. That's cool.
Back-Up Art - 4: Pretty good art, actually. Strong, with good fight scenes. Even Sun looks interesting.
Cover Art - 3: Decent detail, decent image, but not amazing, and undermined by Bats under the Supes logo. The real annoying part is that the idea here, while awesome, also never happens in this story. And imagine this image spreading up over where the garish logo is. Lost potential.
Main Story - 2: Idol-head?
To say nothing of the fact that you have to believe someone, anyone, is SO full of themselves as to make a ship in the shape of their own head (Brainiac notwithstanding), to have them then call it "IDOL-HEAD"?
Only in Busiek-land, folks.
So Superman implies Diana is arrogant and can't (or won't) control the influence Batman and Wonder Woman are apparently having on his psyche, but the influence Superman is having on Bruce and Diana is apparently so minimal none of them bothers to try to stop him from his rash actions and only momentarily chide him over it after the fact. Hogwash.
And the ending also makes no sense in the way that Busiek can't seem to make up his mind what the CSA's earth is like. If it's the opposite of earth, then isn't there violence and people killing each other there as common as walking to the corner to get a newspaper? Why would people kill each other over the CSA being gone more than they should ALREADY be killing each other? We just saw an issue or two ago that girl scouts were killing each other over COOKIES. So why would it be a surprise that people were killing each other if the CSA is gone? They were doing it already! What the hell is going on?!
And if the people of the CSA's earth are only subjugated, then they'd be happy the CSA was gone and... not kill each other. So... either way it makes absolutely zero sense which, at this point, should come as a surprise to exactly no one.
Main Art - 3: Just when I thought the art was starting to grow on me a little, there are two things in this issue that really turned me off of it.
Bottom of page 5: Superman punches Ultraman in the face with his left hand. Which connects. UPSIDE-DOWN.
WHY IS HIS FIST UPSIDE-DOWN?! Try putting your arm in that position... it's pretty uncomfortable to just hold your arm there like that, let alone HIT someone like that. I guess since everything is reversed on the CSA's earth people punch upside-down!
Which brings me to my second complaint... the last page of this story. The world is in ruins but this city, wherever it is, is apparently perfectly fine except for the violence just erupting there now. I can't see Busiek writing in the script that this city was somehow untouched by the previously mentioned, and shown, global destruction, so it's an art/continuity editor mistake, and a rather ridiculous one.
People also once again seem to have no idea exactly how "opposite" the CSA earth is as there's a swastika on one of the buildings.
One presumes this was put there to shock people into saying "Oh my, this place is evil!" until you realize that the swastika was a symbol of good luck and victory long before the Nazis appropriated it. And it's only truly an "evil" symbol in regards to what was done under it during World War II, which brings up the same problem as Hitler's face on the CSA's version of Mt. Rushmore. Wouldn't there have to be good people with a good symbol to appropriate to use for evil for it to be considered an "evil symbol" that they'd put on buildings there?
You need to set the opposite-rules before you go tossing things into opposite-land for shock value, because if you don't you get nonsense like this.
Back-Up Story - 2: We need Max Lord's body! You can't have it! We're taking it! Boom!
A whole lotta nothin'.
Back-Up Art - 4: That splash with all the heroes arriving was really nice, but should have been the last page of the issue. It would have ended on a marginally exciting note, compared to "oh no, badly-named-person-I-don't-care-about is exploding".
Cover Art - 5: Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.
PS - see how in the background the world is DESTROYED? At least SOMEONE is paying attention.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.