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Adventures of Superman #649

Adventures of Superman #649

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 1, 2006

Cover date: April 2006

Writer: Joe Kelly
Artists: Ed Benes & Mariah Benes, Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher, Karl Kerschl, Duncan Rouleau, Dale Eaglesham & Geraci, and Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines

"Superman This Is Your Life: Part Three"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Click to enlarge

The two Supermen continue to battle, and every time they contact each is given a glimpse into the other's life.

As E2 Superman lives his counterpart's life, his Justice League destroys any villain that tries to threaten the world. Together, they gather villains and sentence them to life in the Phantom Zone. Working with Batman and Lex Luthor he's made the world a safe place. Elsewhere though, Max Lord watches the League and prepares to take the League on, with Wonder Woman and the amazons on his side.

As E1 Superman lives on Earth Two, he patrols his perfect world. Power Girl flies with him, commenting how boring it is, but he tells her that it's better this way. The JSA has retired, and with him around there has been no reason for any other heroes to rise up and take their place. When a crisis threatens, he tells Kara to stay and tell everyone else to be ready. As he flies off, Kara mutters that there is no one else.

Back on Earth-One, the League faces the Amazons. Diana tells him that he's lost touch with mankind, and he needs to stop. Superman suddenly wonders who she's working with. Up on the satellite, Luthor tells Max Lord that he truly was impressed with Superman, but he won't be a peon, as he opens the Phantom Zone.

On Earth-Two, Superman faces the Anti-Monitor, confident that he will defeat this threat like all the others. But the Anti-Monitor smashes him into the moon and stomps on him with ease.

On Earth-One, the League battles the Amazons and hordes of OMAC enhanced villains. Superman swears that he'll put them all back, when Hawkman yells that something is happening to Doctor Polaris. The ensuing explosion is huge. The battle continues to wage across the world. Luthor kills both Max Lord and Blue Beetle, villains destroy the rest of the heroes, and Superman fights to stop it all. Finally, after a week, the planet is completely dead, and Superman accepts that there was nothing he could have done.

On Earth-Two, Power Girl holds the broken body of her cousin Superman. He created a world of stagnation that can't fight back against the doom coming now.

Done living lifetimes in an instant, both Supermen return to the present and continue their fight. Neither will allow the other's world to be the one to survive. Each prays that they are doing the right thing as they fight on.

5Story - 5: The entire 'This is your life' storyline has been fantastic, and in my opinion this was the best of the three. We finally get to see the result of each Superman living the other's life, and both end in disaster. Seeing 'our' Superman live on Earth-Two wasn't extremely exciting, basically proving that Superman needs a challenging world or he'll turn the world into a utopia that doesn't know how to progress. But E2 Superman living on 'our' Earth was fantastic. I'm still not crazy about Joe Kelly's use of his JL Elite, but that aside I love the different view on DCU events under the other Superman. Allying himself with Luthor and sending villains to the phantom zone was nice, but little touches like Luthor killing both Beetle and Max Lord were the real great points of this issue. And anyone else notice a Parallax Sinestro killing Hal Jordan? Fantastic stuff.

The best part about this issue though, is how well it compliments Infinite Crisis #5. Like I said in my review for that issue, I was disappointed in how little attention the Superman fight got. While these three issues didn't show a lot of the actual battle, we got to see what happened during it, and it also gave us some insight into both of the Supermen.

I've been critical of Kelly's work in the past, and rightfully so in my opinion, as I think it's been quite a while since he wrote a good DC book (Our World at War comes to mind, what was that, summer of 2001?). But he's written a fantastic story here that I not only really enjoyed, but also honored a lot of Superman history while tying into Crisis very well.

The only other thing I'd like to mention is the cancellation of the title. After this issue, we will see only two Superman titles a month, as Action Comics continues and Superman resumes its original (and proper) numbering that it abandoned back in 1987. The numbering switch I'm very happy for, but I am sad to see another Superman book go. One of the great things about reading Superman when I was younger was that a book came out every week. First Man of Steel got the axe, and now Adventures does too. And while it may allow for better quality to be put into the books, I'm really disappointed that we'll only get Superman two weeks a month. After all, the first comic I ever bought myself was Adventures of Superman #501, and now that title doesn't exist anymore. In a time when DC is launching book after book, do they really need to decrease the titles of their flagship character?

4Art - 4: As I said a few weeks ago, I love the idea of having tons of past Superman artists work on this book. It really adds to the 'this is your life' theme. So why a four you ask? Two words: Duncan Rouleau. I hated when he was on Action years ago and I'm not happy to have him back, even if it's only for a few pages. That aside though, a lot of great art here. I can't wait for Justice League of America to get started so we can see more of Benes' great work.

5Cover Art - 5: This cover is a fantastic image by Reis. Everything looks great, from Superman's pose, to the lighting to Alex opening up the portal. And given the importance of E2 Superman, Lois, Superboy Prime, and Alex to Infinite Crisis, I think this cover is very appropriate. The addition of 'Last' to the title was another nice touch. I think I probably would have preferred a shot of Superman flying off into the sky, given the 'last' nature of this book (the fantastic Superman #77 springs to mind), but this really is a close second. Reis continues to impress me with his work, and I'm glad that DC's got him.

Good work.

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