Cover date: Early February 2009
"Maelstrom" - Part 3
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Penciller: Phil Noto
Inker: Phil Noto
Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
Back on Apokolips Darkseid has Maelstrom brought to his quarters and tries to dissuade her from perusing him. He makes her a deal, though; if she can bring him the body of Kara she can be his personal slave and if she fails she will be banished from Apokolips forever.
Meanwhile, Kal and Kara start a new day only to be attacked by yet another creature. Kal falls into a river and hits a rock so hard it breaks his arm. Kara dives in and saves him only to be injured herself. She manages to get her cousin to shore and they see more inhabitants of the planet though these beings ignore them.
Maelstrom is outfitted by Granny Goodness and is sent back to Earth with the Female Furies as her "escorts". Kal and Kara make their way to the ship only to find the giants tearing it apart. Kara throws a rock to get one of the creature's attention and is rewarded for her efforts by one of them shooting a dart that hits Kal in the chest. Kara cradles her cousin as he informs his cousin that he thinks he has been poisoned.
Story - 2: Ah the middle chapter. In just about any story the middle chapter is either incredibly interesting and propels the story forward in engaging ways or it just drags the story to a halt and feels like the writer is clocking time until the big finish.
In the case of this series it is definitely the latter.
One thing of consequence happened in this issue. One. Clark got hit with a poison dart at the end. That's the sole moment in this issue that was "new" to the story. Oh wait, he also broke his arm. I nearly forgot. Beyond that? The bulk of this chapter had Kal and Kara arguing, which happened last issue and Maelstrom talking to Darkseid and Granny Goodness, which also happened last issue. Anything that transpired in this issue could have easily been done in the previous one. Kara really didn't learn anything new. Maelstrom is still totally devoted to Darkseid. No character progression. No exciting developments and no Kal breaking his arm doesn't count and getting hit with poison doesn't count because they weren't terribly dramatic.
My point is that this is a five issue mini-series that is one issue too long. This installment has more padding than George Reeves' costume on the ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. There was no point to it at all. Sure some of the character moments were interesting but they are repetitive. I got nothing out of reading this issue than I did on the last one and that's kind of annoying, especially at three bucks a pop. Frankly I would think in the current economic climate publishers would want to get more bang for their buck. If they are going to charge us three to four dollars an issue EVERY issue should count and this one didn't. Even if taken as a whole this part of the story wouldn't have any use because it just slows everything to a crawl.
Why did they release this book? Seriously. What purpose does it serve besides getting a story out of the drawer? If you're going to do that why not give us the Krypto story that had been promised on more than one occasion. With everything going on in the Superman titles right now this series feels out of place. If they had released it a year ago I could see where it might have some value. In the here and now, though? Not so much.
Two more issues. That's what I keep telling myself. Two more issues.
Art - 4: Despite not liking the story the art is growing on me. Noto puts a lot of emotion into his art, especially with Maelstrom. The look of supreme satisfaction on her face when Darkseid grabs her is chilling but only because it was done so well. Good stuff. Wish I liked the story better.
Cover Art - 4: I liked this cover. It's very dynamic and has a lot of heft to it. Kara especially looks good, like she is saying, "You did not just spit that green @#$% on me!" This is the strongest cover thus far.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.