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: November 5, 2008
Main Story: "What Paris Should Be Like"
Back-Up Writers: Kurt Busiek
Back-Up Pencillers: Mark Bagley
Back-Up Inker: Pete Pantazis
Back-Up Story: "The Easiest Path"
Main Story Writer: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Main Story Penciller: Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher
Main Story Inker: Allen Passalaqua
In Washington, Black Adam is attacking war-beasts who work for Ares but he's not sure why. There was an energy spike right before Adam arrived. The Flash is part of the "League" and the JSI want to know what the League has to do with this attack. Flash says he's there to do what the League always does - help.
Meanwhile, the two beings who comprise Firestorm are still separated and somehow visual manifestations of their memories are seen by Brainwave and Carter Hall. They see the Trinity and their allies but don't recognize them. Brainwave tells Hall that they believe they are not on an alternate timeline but that the world around them is the problem. Brainwave allows them to merge into Firestorm and Firestorm mumbles to himself that, without something to fill the Trinity's void, the world itself is trying to fill their place. Hall believes it's all a plot by the League.
Gangbuster and Tarot arrive in NY. Gangbuster agrees to deliver the scroll to Carter Hall while Tarot goes off on another path - to Opal City.
Meanwhile, after Tomorrow Woman defeats the Ultra Humanite, she returns to her secret identity at WGBS in Metropolis and everyone there seems to know her as if she's always been there. But she's being watched by Starfire who reports that Tommie doesn't have a secret identity but as she's reporting it her memories are filling with knowledge of Clara Kendall, the GBS anchorwoman who is secretly Tomorrow Woman.
Suddenly, Hall is informed that they've lost all contact with Europe. The last data came in from France where Geo-Force, Jack O'Lantern, and Crimson Fox convened. Paris is in flames and a gigantic Morgaine le Fey stands over the city.
To be continued...
John Stewart is outside the Earth's solar system trying to get the metallic parasite under control. Instead, it seems to take more control of him and creates a huge explosion. Stewart can hear voices inside him laughing. The metallic armor is from Qward. John momentarily thinks of home and the parasite creates a wormhole that would bring John home - it's taunting him, making it easy to return but John knows he can't return if he can't guarantee he won't hurt anyone.
Meanwhile, Kanjar Ro is escaping Earth in a spaceship as he recalls how he managed to substitute himself for Despero. He sees the wormhole and enters it thinking it may get him to Despero's territory quicker.
Four days prior, the real Despero plots revenge on Kanjar Ro and launches his strike force to Earth. Despero and his army, Kanjar Ro, and John Stewart all converge at the worm hole. Panning out, we see that the godly glowing Krona is holding the wormhole in his cosmic hands and says "Well, this is ... interesting."
To be continued...
Main Story - 1: There's no logic to the constant changes in the world. At a minimum, if we are to believe Earth is itself somehow re-creating the void left by an absent Trinity, then shouldn't those rebirths and erasures and rebirths and erasures make some sense - at least momentarily - and at least to the readers?
I can't even begin to follow any sense of congruity to the constant reality-morphing. Why is the Flash still the Flash? If the JSI never retired and Jay Garrick became a government agent, who was the Flash's role model to become a super-hero? Why is Tomorrow Woman here at all? What undid her sacrifice for the Justice League? Why does Tarot go all the way to New York and all the way to JSI headquarters with Gangbuster just to grab a cab to the Port Authority for a long bus ride to Opal City? Should Starfire even be on Earth without there having been a Robin in the Teen Titans?
I have lots of questions and no answers. I'm pretty sure Kurt Busiek won't ever give us all the answers. He simply doesn't have the writing chops of, say, Grant Morrison, who would give us a morphing reality that had some logic, at least to himself if no one else.
Main Art - 4: Bagley's art is very strong this issue. While story-wise the JSI headquarters building shaped like a flame on top of the U.N. Building makes no sense, it's a fascinating sight and, with the lame-o story, fascinating sights are the best we can hope for.
Back-Up Story - 1: Krona and I have very different views on what constitutes 'interesting'. What he calls interesting I call nonsense. Despero conked on the head by Kanjar Ro? I buy that as much as I'd buy beach property on the Moon. More of the ridiculous parasitic armor that seems so totally arbitrary even still? John Stewart deserves better. We all do.
Back-Up Art - 3: While the final page is a mesmerizing rendering, there's nothing all too complicated that we haven't seen in comics before. Giant cosmic being. Outer space. Worm hole/black hole. Space ships. And a green line representing a Green Lantern. Pretty sans substance.
Cover Art - 3: Oh I get it. With Superman and Batman missing, the past two parts of this triptych cover feature similar counterparts. Batman and Robin become Green Arrow and Speedy. But Superman becomes Black Adam? Captain Marvel sought out Black Adam to fight several issues back. It's the World's Mightiest Mortal, not his dark counterpart, who'd step in for Superman. He's been absent from "Trinity" since he sought out Black Adam a few issues back. Given the long history of real-world litigation rivalry between Superman and Captain Marvel that ultimately led to the Cap becoming DC property, I'd have much preferred Billy Batson's alter ego on this cover.
Main Story - 1: It's taken approximately four issues, if I recall correctly, just to set the scene, but like many of the Countdown tie-ins I read, the scene has no real intrigue or seeming relevance to the larger plot. What I see here as a reader is just an excuse to show strange situations with little seeming relevance to the larger whole. I'm sure these are the characters that will, in two or three (or six or eight) issues fight the two deities. Or maybe they'll just be wiped away in a wave, with one remaining behind to join the larger DCU and either never be used again or randomly inserted into stories.
But that's not the larger point.
The larger point is that a character that appeared last issue who was obviously Lois has no intrigue for me. Morgan Le Fay as a giant snake attacking France holds no interest for me. A fascist Justice Society holds little intrigue for me, as by their very nature heroes are a fascist entity to begin with. They enforce their morality with violence and govern.
Alfred as a main character holds no intrigue for me. Where Jose and Tarot are going holds no intrigue for me.
The only thing that ever interested me in this book was the three main characters, who are not in this story beyond yet another scene where a character says, "Hey! Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman once existed!"
And that is, by my unscientific count, the five millionth time they've said that in this series so far. WE. GET. IT.
This is a book that reads like it's designed for ten-year-olds. It over-extrapolates, focuses internally on its own novelty, characterizes through dialogue. Problem being, even a ten-year-old can see through that. It's why I stopped reading a ton of comics when I was a kid.
Main Art - 3: There was nothing really insanely good that stuck out in this issue, though I can find no fault in the art. There was just no real scene that made me come out of my seat, though I realize the Morgan scene was an attempt that failed.
Back-Up Story - 2: More Green Lantern struggling with the technology, more Kanjar Ro extrapolating through dialogue, more Despero. Up a point for the odd confluence of three major conflicts, but I'm not gonna go more than that unless next issue is a full bore and sensible fight between Kanjar, Despero, Green Lantern, and Krona. The odds of it ending in some instant senseless diversion? High.
I can't count the number of reviews that I have read where the book gets a pass (even as recently as this week) with the words: "Finally! It seems to be going somewhere!"
Here's a clue. When you end a comic book, it's supposed to be on a moment of RISING ACTION. For instance, Superman wakes up, he turns left, and sees that Brainiac has speared Lois Lane and has Perry White by the throat.
First page, second issue, if it is Trinity: "Oh my god! What an awful dream!"
First page, second issue, book I enjoy? Superman has to pull his wife's seemingly lifeless corpse away from Brainiac and fight for Perry's life despite the face that he wakes up with no powers. IE, increased dilemma, not reductive dilemma.
In other words, what I'm saying here, is that "Seeming to go somewhere!" is damned easy. Actually going somewhere is difficult and rare. And I firmly believe that the reason we pay for fifty-two issues of crap (first Countdown and now this) is because we don't cognitively face and demand a better, more character-based conflict and conceit.
Back-Up Art - 4: Not bad, not bad at all. Very detailed, strong, each character is distinctive, and the coloring and inking work very well for me.
Cover Art - 2: It's a decent image, but nothing I can really bring myself to care about. It was also something only tangentially relevant in the story as I understand it, and something strange that was seemingly thrown in.
Main Story - 1: The JSI building has a floating top.
BECAUSE IT'S AN ALTERNATE REALITY, MAN! SEE HOW ALTERNATE? BUILDING TOPS... FLOAT! AND THEY'RE ALL... FLAME-SHAPED! You can't handle the truth!
So Green Arrow was erased from Gotham and moved to Star City. He believes it's always been that way. So do all records on the planet. But not, you know, the people who run the JSI. For no reason whatsoever.
Clearly, no, I cannot handle the "truth". Since, here, the "truth" is pure and utter nonsense.
The world is trying to heal itself and make up for no Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman?? Seriously? THAT is the story?
And a character (hell if I can tell, remember, or care who) says, and I quote:
"Absurd. Patent nonsense. Nothing to back it up - nothing but the ravings of a madman!"
That's Kurt Busiek for you, folks. He's just told you exactly what this story is, through his own words.
Well, good. I can be spared the pain and Busiek can review his own book from now on.
Main Art - 3: I have nothing at all more to say about this than I ever have.
Oh wait, I do. Those JSI field uniforms are pretty bland and generic. The end.
Back-Up Story - 1: Quote from the first page:
"It feels like I'm vomiting my skeleton."
Yep, Busiek's reviewing his own work now.
Back-Up Art - 4: Actually, I kind of dug it. Still a bit nostalgic, but something about it strikes me as far more interesting than in issues past.
Cover Art - 2: Black Adam, who appears in... two panels inside. Fighting a bunch of Minotaurs? Who are... attacking at the behest of Ares?
Show me Diana or all of the trinity battling Ares, you'll have my attention. Show me Black Adam fighting Minotaurs on the cover of TRINITY and I shall yawn extensively.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.