Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials Comic Books
Superman: Space Age #3Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 21, 2023
Cover date: April 2023
"Superman: Space Age - Book Three"
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Mike Allred
Cover: Michael Allred and Laura Allred
Variant Covers: Joe Quinones and Nick Derington
Reviewed by: Marc Lax
Click to enlarge
We begin with the Superman of Universe 832654-Z contemplating his Earth's destruction only to transition to 1982 with Clark and Pariah at the Seagull bar discussing the impending destruction of that Earth. We switch to the new Hall of Justice built with funding by Wayne Enterprises. Superman discusses his conversation with Pariah and that the end is imminent. After Green Lantern explains how the Anti Monitor works destroying universe after universe, Superman meets with several versions of Brainiac who offer "help". They tell him that they will not destroy Earth but regardless the Anti Monitor will. So they are gathering resources to create a Universe. Universe 177389-F otherwise known as the Matterverse. They will gather enough strength to open a portal. There they plan on defeating the Anti Monitor. The portal that will open, though small, will allow one being to pass through. Superman. Superman then asks if an Earth exists in that Universe. Brainiac tells him, yes Earth 832654-Z.
We then go to the Metropolis Correctional Facility for Men where we visit with Lex Luthor who's sitting pretty thanks to blackmailing the Warden. He's visiting with some Lexcorp executives who explain that many of the products they manufacture are failing. He only cares about getting out of prison. He then introduces his new Lawyer.
We go to Smallville where Clark talks with Pa Kent about what he would do if he knew the world was going to end. He tells him he wouldn't do anything different then any other day. With his wife and son in his life he has everything he ever needed. Later after having a snowball fight at the Fortress (with hologramps Jor-El!) Clark is woken up during the night by a call from Martha. Pa Kent died of a heart attack. After saying goodbye to his father at his gravesite Clark makes some important decisions. He will do whatever he can to give humanity a chance for survival, and to accomplish this mission he resigns from the Justice League.
Meanwhile, two years later in 1984 Batman tries to up his game in fighting crime in Gotham only to be blindsided by a certain homicidal clown. At the Daily Planet Perry gives Lois a new assignment. Cover the appeal of Lex Luthor. Suffice to say with some "legal" trickery Lex's appeal is vacated. He walks a free man. At Lexcorp Lex's executives try to figure out ways for Lex to destroy Superman including using Kryptonite. But what Lex really wants is a takeover of Wayne Enterprises. While Luthor's bid falls through, people are wondering what happened to Superman? After two years Superman holds a press conference to discuss Project Humanity. Superman can now take anyone's DNA and cure any person's disease or even diseases that haven't happened yet. Superman wants to truly heal the world. And as the world heals Luthor starts to turn Superman's plan against him.
Interlude: So far this has been a powerful issue. Everything set up in Book 1 and 2 is really coming together and you're beginning to understand certain characters and why they are so important to this story. We can see where this issue is headed but we're excited to see the finish. Again the relationship between Lois and Clark is done well as is Superman and the Justice League. Russell and Allred have such a good handle on these characters. They are quite a team.
We now go to Smallville to see how Martha has been since the death of Jonathan. Lois wants her to move with them to the Fortress but Martha seems reluctant. As this is being discussed Clark (in overalls) and Jon have a real existential conversation about death on the porch. Meanwhile in Gotham the Joker has kidnapped seven children of Wayne Enterprises executives. Batman is stumped trying to find out who this person is without success. He then gets a call from the Joker who tells him a story about a little girl who's father was a part time clown. One night he came home to see his apartment building on fire. He rushes to save his daughter but just gets badly burned. His daughter perishes. It was Wayne Towers. The Batman is able to track the signal to a phone booth. But it's a set up. The man in the booth is holding the phone to a device that's transmitting the Jokers call. The booth explodes. Batman searches for the Joker night after night without success. He eventually gets a call from Joker demanding a million dollars for the kids release. Bruce Wayne is told to bring the money to abandoned building but when he gets there he's confronted by the Joker wearing a mask of Bruce Wayne. The Joker burns the money telling Bruce he was only trying to make a point about how money is it's own religion. The cops have them in there sights. The Joker puts his Bruce mask on and tells the real one he's going to hold to the kids for now. ButBruce Wayne has something up his sleeve. He knows the cops will shoot once they get their eyes on the Joker. So Bruce puts on a clown mask. He jumps the Joker. The cops shoot. In the end both Bruce Wayne and the Joker are dead.
It's 1985. Clark meets Pariah at the bar. He tells him today is the day it all ends. Meanwhile Lex taking advantage of Bruce's death swoops in and takes over Wayne Enterprises. As Lex Gloats the world starts coming to an end. Superman is making a last ditch effort to save humanity using all the DNA samples he has and putting them into a crystal. The Justice League do their best in helping people during this crises but really to know avail. Superman in the Fortress is trying to download his files into the crystal but there isn't enough power. Jor-El seeing his sons dilemma deletes his holographic image to give him the power that he needs. Superman is devastated. But in his last moments his father praises him and tells him that as Superman he's done for his world what Jor-El couldn't. Superman using the coordinates that Brainiac gave him for the portal throws the crystals with all the people of Earths DNA through the portal which is caught by the Superman of Earth 832654-Z. He finds Superman's journal that has been telling this story all along. He takes the crystal to the Fortress and activates it. Back on his Earth Superman embraced by by his family waits for the end. Back on Earth 832654-Z the world is populated again giving it and the people new to this world a fresh start.
Story - 5: This was a phenomenal ending. This book gave the thrill I used to get thirty or forty years ago when I picked up a Superman comic. Whether it was a comic that was coming out at the time or some silver or Bronze Age comic I bought at a Flea Market picking up that Superman comic made me happy. Made me smile. And that's what this comic book series did. I wasn't sure where it was going. Each new page was a surprise. While we knew that the crises was coming and we may see the end of this world the journey was well worth it. The versions of these characters were spot on. But Russell and Allred also gave us something new. These are the characters we love but they were just different enough, unique in their own way that they felt fresh. I loved this series! Almost 240 pages that I will reread many times. I know my synopsis gave away most of the story but if you're just reading the review and haven't read the book for some reason the synopsis just doesn't do it justice. Read these books and I hope you get the same thrill I did reading and reviewing this epic.
Art - 5: This goes without saying Allred's art is fantastic. His pencils give the characters great facial expressions. There are subtle differences between his two versions of Superman. Other than the black background his Superman 832654-Z has an older sadder look and the main Superman looking majestic to the end. The art has been fabulous throughout the three books. I would love to see him working on Superman in the future.
Cover Art - 5: Allred draws a harrowing picture of what is to come. The characters look exhausted and you can almost see the doom in their eyes. Very striking.
1:50 Variant Cover Art - 5: I love this homage to "Superman III". It's altered slightly but close enough to be nostalgic. Terrific.
1:25 Variant Cover Art - 4: This is a good image of Superman but to me it's nothing spectacular.
Mild Mannered Reviews
2023Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.
- The Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #17
- Action Comics #1049
- Superman: Kal-El Returns Special #1 (One Shot)
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #9
- Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #6
- Dark Crisis: Young Justice #6
- DC vs. Vampires #11
- Multiversity: Teen Justice #6
- Dark Knights of Steel #8
- DC: Mech #5
- Young Justice: Targets #5
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #18
- Action Comics #1050
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #10
- Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7
- DC vs. Vampires #12
- DC: Mech #6
- Young Justice: Targets #6
- Action Comics #1051
- Lazarus Planet: Alpha #1 (One Shot)
- Lazarus Planet: Assault on Krypton #1 (One Shot)
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #11
- Dark Knights of Steel #9
- Superman #1
- Action Comics #1052
- Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent #1
- Superman: Lost #1
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest #12
- Superman: Space Age #3 [Final Issue]
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