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Cover date: June 2009
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: George Perez
Inker: Scott Koblish
Cover Art: George Perez & Tom Smith/George Perez & Hi-Fi
Reviewed by: Barry Freiman
Back to the future, the battle rages on as Legion headquarters crackles with energy. The returned Kid Flash fights Superboy-Prime. He reunites with his cousin Sparx. At Legion headquarters, Brainy explains that they reconstituted a part of Bart Allen. The reason they had to go to the 21st Century (in the Action Comics arc a few months back) was to ensure they only got Bart's youth and not the part of him that was always artificially aging.
Sodam Yat, the last Green Lantern, comes back to Earth with Mon-El and Shadow Lass. Yat attacks Prime.
Suddenly a cosmic hand appears and plucks Superman, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl out of time, bringing them to the Time Trapper and his home at the end of time. Trapper explains that he has spent an eternity trying to remove Superman's existence from the timeline and now he's decided to replace Superman's existence in the timeline with Prime. Trapper attacks them all with cosmic power.
Prime kills Kinetix. Mordru gains her magical energies.
Meanwhile, Sun Boy - stunned by the death of one of his doppelgangers - fights his fears of coming into the light.
Element Lad transforms rocks into Kryptonite and, to Prime's surprise, the Kryptonite affects him. He flies upward burning green. Cosmic King turns the Kryptonite in Prime's body into yellow sun energy.
At the Fortress of Solitude, the Brainiacs meet the time bubble returning from Superboy's time with Dawnstar, Polar Boy, and Wildfire and a strand of Lex Luthor's hair.
Prime races to the Fortress with heroes in pursuit.
Brainy unearths the Kryptonian Chrysalis which had been used previously to resurrect the Man of Steel after he was "left for dead by Doomsday." The Chrysalis has been occupied for over one thousand years waiting for human D.N.A. to finish the process. Once the hair's been added, the Kryptonian computer asks for the selection of the right crystal from the main board to finish the process - though nobody knows which is the right crystal to take.
Prime arrives at the Fortress. Polar Boy fights him and is just about to be killed when Sun Boy appears and saves him.
Meanwhile, Dawnstar's tracking powers make her realize the one who will choose the right crystal is Wildfire. They touch the crystal together and the process completes.
Conner Kent, Superboy, has returned! He attacks Prime with the Legions, Sodom Yat, and Kid Flash not far behind.
At the end of time, Superman sees Conner's return and, emboldened by his clone's resurrection, attacks the Time Trapper head on and rips off his hood revealing that the Time Trapper is... Superboy-Prime!
To be continued...
Story - 4: Didio did it to us again.
DC released the previous issue of this series on February 4, 2009, almost three months ago. The idea was to focus all attention on getting Final Crisis out on time because the regular titles would begin to reflect the mini's arc before it ended were it late. In hindsight, I'd have preferred DC to focus on getting this series out on time to keep the momentum going. Because, if there's one thing Geoff Johns does so well, it's keeping momentum going from issue to issue. Instead, what we have here is a really well written and exciting book in a continuing mini-series that's somewhat less exciting because nothing could live up to a three month wait.
Conner's return, the big revelation of the issue, was spoiled by the last page of Adventure Comics #0. From the second Starman began digging up "Mr. Kent" at the beginning of the issue, the Legion's plan became obvious and the success of their plan foreshadowed and outright revealed for months.
If any book deserves the Crisis moniker, however, it is this title and not Final Crisis. Beyond the cosmic adventure and George Perez art, this story is all about resolving issues from Infinite Crisis, the DC Crisis version of "The Empire Strikes Back", in the trilogy of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, and now Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Words. The return of Kid Flash and Superboy/Conner Kent, both disposed of in Infinite Crisis, makes that clear.
Bart's and Conner's returns aren't all there is to this story though. Their returns are part of a bigger story, a simple story of good and evil that makes sense (take that Grant Morrison). It's not a perfect story but it's pretty darn close. I thought the touch-the-right-crystal thing was a bit overkill and contrived. Adding the human D.N.A. reactivated the machine - touching the right crystal is just superfluous. It's lazy writing that comes from Johns being the most overworked guy at DC - it's like the new status quo on Gold Kryptonite of 15 seconds powerless completely independent of the extent of radiation exposure: a made-up arbitrary countdown for dramatic effect. And the main reason I give this issue a four instead of a five.
Art - 5: No one other than George Perez could draw a story this big and with this many characters. To borrow a line from singer Carly Simon, nobody does it better.
Cover Art (Brainiac) - 5: Colu rocks! That is one iconic Brainy.
Cover Art (Sliver Cover) - 2: This series stands on its own independent of Final Crisis and it should have been given its own trade dress.
I was never a fan of the Final Crisis sliver-dress and I'm even less of a fan now that the main series has been over for months. As if the lateness of this book wasn't annoying enough, the trade-dress, which is only partly morphed to what it looked like by the end of Final Crisis, screams the book's tardiness.
The trade-dress sliver cover is so wrong for this book in so many ways. Why cover 2/3rd of the cover space when you have a cover artist with the talent and attention to detail of Perez?
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.