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I totally spaced on doing this review last month! So double-feature reviews today. This post will be #3, and #4 will follow shortly. I’ll be reviewing this will my initial thoughts, trying not to bring in my knowledge of what happens in #4, so I can remain unbiased in all regards.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars, yet again. This was a solid issue, introducing a third storyline featuring Superman that was really interesting and something that I want to follow. A few nitpicks in the Batman and League story lines, and League was mostly exposition, but it’s all shaping up to be pretty good. I don’t really like the cover art, but it isn’t all bad.
As always, full review is under the cut, and SPOILERS ABOUND
We start the book off with Superman Beyond #1, a new feature revolving around, well, Supes in the future. This is, surprisingly, my favorite feature in the book, if only because it does so much right. I have minor quibbles about the other features, but the Superman story is fantastic.
Right off the bat, we get the sort of thesis of this feature. That being that Clark has watched most of his loved ones age and pass away, and he’s feeling more and more lonely. The world isn’t interested in his legacy anymore, and he has little to do but reflect on the golden years. He is afraid that he has become a relic of the past. This is… so fascinating to me. DC had struggled to keep Superman relevant, so I’m interested in seeing him as an older man, facing the feeling of being irrelevant that comes with age. Deep stuff.
We cut to a young woman in an electronics store. She gives the clerk there some attitude, then narrates that she applied for a job there, but was turned down, as she always is. She plants some sort of black-out device in the store and completely knocks out every piece of technology in there. She immediately makes me think of Max - that she could be a foil to Max, an example of how badly Max could have turned out.
We quickly learn that her mother died 3 years ago, leaving behind a mountain of debt, and that she is being hounded by debt collectors. She is informed by one of these collectors that her mother left her a safety deposit box, and that they don’t know what is in it.
We then see Superman getting involved in a gun fight down at the piers. He’s handling the situation well enough, but then these guys come in. They explain that they are “Super Cops”, given power suits by the Metropolis PD to become an elite crime-fighting task force. They treat Superman with warmth and respect, pointing out that they are still human and can’t do everything he can, and he treats them kindly in return. It’s obvious that he’s feeling outdating, though.
Clark visits Lois’s grave, and we learn that she was his rock. She was always the strong one in the relationship, even if he was Superman. He feels lost without her. It’s sad that she’s been killed off, but this is a touching scene and fits with what we learned about Clark in the BB cartoon. He’s lost most of what connects him to Earth, which is why his costume is more Kryptonian.
The girl we saw earlier, Lucinda, gets a disc from the safety deposit box and goes to an abandoned building. She starts the disc up, and is greeted by a hologram of Lex Luthor, who informs her that he is her father. I don’t really have anything to say about this, just that I’m curious to see where this goes.
We switch back over the the Batman story, to find the Russians from the previous issue are making a run for it with Mad Stan’s dog, and Terry is trying to calm Stan down. He offers to work with Stan to get the dog back, but fails, and Stan makes a break for it.
We cut to a scene a little later of Max and Terry talking. Max is once again trying to get Terry’s input on her not-so-legal activities with the hacker collective Undercloud, but before she can work up the nerve to explain it, Dana shows up. I have… mixed feelings about her showing up here. The first thing she says is “Terry, I need you”, which… ugh. I dunno, that just makes her seem way too dependent on him, which she’s never really been before. But it does make some sense - her brother Doug has put her father in the hospital, and she’s clearly terrified. She hasn’t come to Terry to make up, she’s come because she’s scared and needs help, even asking him to use his connections with Bruce.
Terry leaves, and calls Bruce, telling him to drop everything and focus on Dana’s brother, who is a former Joker and might be connected to all the gangs. Bruce steps in as a voice of reason, telling Terry that they still have little information about the Joker thing, and that Mad Stan is the bigger priority.
He tells Terry that he’ll have to make a choice - help his girlfriend, or save the city from the immediate threat. It’s a good emotional conflict, one I hope to see explored more.
Thus ends the Batman story for this issue, and we head over into the League story. We find that Kobra has stolen a… thingy… which they have presented to their ‘queen’. This is something that has always bugged me about Kobra - and before you say I’m just nitpicking the comics, this is an issue I had with the cartoon as well - in that their organization and goals are all over the fuckin place. They keep changing who is in charge and what they are planning to do, and that bugs me.
Back with the League, we find out that Micron didn’t really betray the League. He, and Amanda Waller, were captured by Kobra and brainwashed with the help of Spellbinder (hooray, cameo!) into using their connections and skills to steal this… thingy… for Kobra. We get a little bit of info about Waller for Terry’s sake, since he doesn’t know her, and she alludes to how much she knows about the entire team. Most of it is just sort of general and shows that she respects them, but I’d like to point out this:
I know I was going to keep my knowledge of the next issue out of this, but… just keep this wording in mind. Rex’s parents were a “happy couple”.
We get some exposition about what it is the Kobra is trying to do - they are trying to awaken an ancient snake creature, the Ouroboros, to destroy the world and bring it back in a reborn state. We get some indication of what the Ouroboros is capable of, including this:
If you’re not sure what just happened here, Aquaman and his army were just killed. In the span of 3 panels (I cut out the middle one because it’s pretty much just a drawing of a wave). This annoys me, because this a very sudden and major death, and it’s just… glossed over. I don’t like it. This should have been a heroic last stand, but instead it’s rendered almost comedic.
We learn that the thingy Kobra stole is a device that allows for travel between parallel worlds, and that they’ve been testing out their monster on various planets, including some shout-outs to various elseworlds. They planned on attacking New Genesis.
The team wants to rush to New Genesis, but travel between the worlds is forbidden and blocked. Terry mentions that Bruce may have something to help them there, and we end the issue.