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: January 2009
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Fernando Pasarin
Inker: Mick Gray, Jack Purcell, Norm Rapmund, Fernando Pasarin
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
Sandman seeks a missing boy, and finds only his body. Despite the fact that he's been cured of his insomnia, he's upset, because now he has relief, but he's not pushed to his extremes, which helps him save people. Doctor Mid-Nite shares a similar problem, being unable to use his super-senses. Outside, people have come to ask him how to get to Gog.
Damage goes on television to tell everyone about Gog, and why they should believe in him. Stargirl, watching, goes to stop him.
Starman goes to the employment office and learns that he's got his job as a gravedigger on the night shift.
Stargirl confronts Damage, and tells him not to represent the JSA as he is, in public, making pronouncements. In response, Damage gets angry and blasts her. Atom Smasher appears, and fights Damage.
Kingdom Come Superman takes a moment to speak with Diana about her role in his history.
Atom Smasher wakes Damage up in Damage's father's house, trying to reason with him. Damage grows even more upset, blowing up his father's house and all of his memories.
The rest of the JSA arrives to take Damage back, but Magog appears and shepherds him away.
Sandman journeys into the earth and realizes that it's crying out. He returns, telling Michael that the world will end if Gog is on it after seven days.
Gog rises, after a day of rest, and tells all of the heroes to worship him and give thanks... on their knees.
Story - 5: The trap swings shut, and finally we learn the catch to having a benevolent god in the style of the old Jewish patriarch... the command to worship.
Here come the letters, whee, but one of the chief reasons why I'm an atheist is because I think that any god who would allow the degree of evil that I see on a daily basis is not the kind of deity I could worship. More to the point of the story, I would have trouble deferring even to a beneficent god as Gog seems to be, given that individuality is more important to me than my own comfort, which I think is a pretty American point of view. Freedom over security. And beyond that, it's probably a worldwide view, I just draw that identity from my understanding of the country I grew up in and its laws and pragmatism.
So here I see Gog, a great character, realized in the form of good deeds that seem to be going bad, and a beneficence that is tearing characters apart. Be careful what you wish for, and this book is just a diabolically clever extension of that.
JSA has long been a favorite book. This is, hands down, one of my favorite comic stories of all time so far.
My lone objection is one phrase, which I think does a character a disservice. Kingdom Superman spoke to Wonder Woman about a man she "murdered." Max Lord. I think to portray her as a murderer (as many have in the wake of Sacrifice) utterly misses the point of the Sophie's Choice. She's NOT a murderer. Diana had to choose between two certain death scenarios. Many normal people, at the hands of Superman, or Maxwell Lord, at her own hands. Unlike Superman, Diana DOES kill in self-defense, and sensibly, as a warrior, so that was not murder, in my opinion.
BUT, it got the requisite Superman from Kingdom Come meeting Diana thing in there, which is why it seemed so jaunted, I would think.
But the rest of the story overwhelmingly, with its pathos and problems, makes up for that lone issue.
And hey, how about that gravedigger? Geoff Johns needs Black Lanterns.
Art - 5: Gog is just plain creepy, and this story makes him seem all the more so. Fine work with Atom Smasher, Damage, Stargirl, Starman, and particularly Sandman. This book still pops, and I hope Pasarin stays on it for some time.
Cover Art - 3: Another great Alex Ross image, blunted by an odd light source.
Cover Art (Alternate) - 4: Great image of both actors in combat, and directly reflective of one of the central conflicts.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.