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Ooooh comic revieeeew~ Double Feature~ Kobra will release a creature~ See Russians fighting Stan and Terry~ Wa-ah-ah-oooooo at the late night… double feature… revieeeew
Rating: 2 out of 5, unfortunately. To begin with, there is just too much going on in these books. This issue clocks in at 4 features, cutting down room for everything, and the order of the features in the book has changed from what it was in every other book, which was jarring. Plot holes abound, and there’s what feels like pandering going on. Superman Beyond is still awesome, though. If I were reviewing each feature individually, that would get 4 out of 5, but since I review the book as a whole, it gets dragged down by everything else.
Full review under the cut, SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS ROCKIN E’RYWHERE
We start off with Terry getting patched up by Bruce in the Batcave, and receiving a lecture on being more careful with the Batsuit. It took me a while to figure out which story I was reading, because there hasn’t been anything to indicate that Terry’s been injured. I checked back in every issue, and there wasn’t any physical damage to the suit that would lead to this scene. Eventually I determined that this was the League feature, but… yeah, like I said, Terry hasn’t gotten injured. Not to mention, at the end of the last issue, there seemed to be a sense of urgency to get another device to travel through worlds. This seems like a waste of time. Also, Terry has done far worse to the suit before, and never gotten chewed out about it. The suit isn’t really that fragile, and is even 20 years behind the times.
I’m gonna be honest here, I think it was just an excuse to get Terry into a suit that looks more like the classic Batman one. I don’t have any scans of a good look at it, but while it looks nice, there’s really no reason for this. At all.
Anyways, Terry gets the device that he came for, and Clark apparently tagged along. We see Bruce tell Terry that if this operation goes tits up, to get back to Gotham first, and worry about the rest of the League second. This is a good moment, showing how much Bruce has distanced himself from the League, and is in character with his dealings with the League in “The Call.”
The League regroups and heads out to New Genesis, and we get what I think is a cameo of Jimmy Olsen watching over Waller and Micron while the team is away.
I think this is kinda sweet. Lookit Jimmy with his bowtie!
The League gets to New Genesis, to find it completely destroy. Um. What.
They meet up with a guy called Orion (don’t ask me to explain who he is, I know very very little about New Genesis and Apokolips), who explains that the Ouroboros attacked the planet, and the leader of New Genesis went to Darkseid for help. Darkseid agreed, in exchange for the anti-life equation (again, I don’t really know). The two planets team up, and all fight to almost the last man. Barda’s husband, Scott Free, lead the charge and was the first to die.
Now, I don’t know these characters, but this angers me. Mostly because this is all told through exposition speak and montage. Show, don’t tell. Also, it just really rubs me the wrong way when writers kill off mass amounts of important characters off screen just to make it seem like the stakes are higher. It doesn’t work - seeing a slaughter is horrible, but it would be more horrifying to watch these characters fight and die in heroic manors, showing that even with all their strength, they cannot best this attack.
Moving on, this Orion guy brings them to Darkseid, but is actually Darkseid? I think? I’m not sure what’s going on here.
We then move on to the newest feature in the book, “Beyond Origins”, this one giving the origin story for Warhawk. He gives a quick run down of John Stewart and Hawkgirl’s relationship, then says that… some guys… were using Earth to attack some other guys… and Hawkgirl betrayed the League and… I don’t know. I have no idea who the Thanagarians or the Gordanians are. So this means nothing to me. Also, this art kind of hurts me to look at. Eschergirls spines and noodle arms abound.
Hawkgirl eventually comes back to help the League, but is seen as a traitor by both sides and leaves. John picks up a new relationship with the superhero Vixen, who I only know a little bit about.
We are given a brief explanation of the events of “The Once and Future Thing”, and told that after meeting his son, John felt like his fate with Hawkgirl was sealed, but that he decided to stay with Vixen and let whatever happens happen naturally instead of being forced into it. We then see him out on a date with Vixen, and about to propose.
…Aaaand she gets fridged. She gets fridged, essentially to make him free to have a kid with Hawkgirl, instead of just breaking things off in a normal way. I do not like this.
Oh, and when she’s dying? We see these panels:
Yes, take great care in showing off a dying woman’s legs. Fuckin’ classy.
So, John is pissed and Hawkgirl is also pissed and they decide to investigate and Adam Strange shows up.
I’d just like to bring your attention back to this panel from the last issue:
They don’t look like a happy couple to me, Amanda.
Anyways, this feature didn’t sit well with me. It’s not consistent with the other features, it has a fridging of a female character (AND a woman of color, at that) and gross sexualization of a dying woman.
Moving along to the Batman feature, we find the Russian arms dealers trying to make a deal with Stan. Stan has an important detonator that could do some serious damage, but doesn’t seem interested in it. That is, until the Russians start talking about it in Russian, and we learn that Stan is at least bilingual. He tells them that he’s not stupid - and I like this detail. Stan is an unstable conspiracy theorist, but sometimes conspiracy theorists are very well educated and knowledgeable. This elevates Stan beyond the status of a dumb brute and I like it.
The Russians try to hand over his dog before he uses the detonator, trying to appeal to his sense of self preservation. Turns out he really doesn’t have one - he swore that he would kill himself and his dog before he ever compromised his values. He’s about to push the detonator when Batman shows up, fighting ensues.
Terry is quite competent in this fight, getting the explosives away from anyone right after Stan pushes the trigger. They explode, but with no big property damage or anyone getting hurt or killed. A good day for Terry. He mentions that now he can focus on this Joker thing… with no hints of the moral choice Bruce presented him with in the last issue. I continue to be disappointed by the lack of character building in this feature. Also, this feature was really, really short. Most of it was fight scenes. Again. This is my main problem with this feature.
Last thing we see in this issue is a pin-stripe suited man visiting Stan in jail. He’s just bringing Stan his dog, but we don’t see his face, implying that there’s something sinister going on here. Perhaps someone keeping an eye out on Gotham’s rogues. I hope this comes back up in future issues.
Onwards, to the Superman feature. We get a bit of background on Lucinda, mainly expositing on how she’s always felt sort of listless, and like somehow she had a fate waiting for her. She talks to the Luthor hologram, and we get some really good characterization of him. He talks about how he was always doing what he thought would better the world, and that he views Superman as the villain in this story. It’s a good touch, and a thoughtful approach to villains that is rarely seen. No one thinks they are evil; everyone is the hero of their own story.
We see Clark as a civilian talking to an elderly hot dog vendor, discussing how they are both becoming obsolete, but neither is shown to be overly bitter. They are just two old men that are having to make way for the new generation. It’s a good, quiet scene that gives you a good idea about who Clark is.
We learn a bit more about those Super Cops from the previous issue, seeing that they are rapidly becomes popular with the citizens of Metropolis. We see what I assume are the people running the gig, who… seem a bit shady and militant.
But, if they are villains, they’re being handled with the same thoughtful treatment as Luthor. They believe in what they are doing, and are the heroes of their own story.
We go back to Lucinda, who as been going through Luthor’s files on Superman, and seems ready to finish her father’s work, though this seems a bit sudden. Why would anyone immediately jump on board a plan to kill the world’s greatest superhero? Hopefully this is addressed.
Lucinda recognizes that she can’t fight Superman with his own tactics, and needs to outwit him. Luthor-hologram reveals that he was figuring out ways to bring massive amounts of Kryptonite to Earth, and that she can “bury him under a mountain of rock from his home world”.
Lots of question are raised, but they are interesting ones, and I get the feeling they will be explained in due time.
I hate to say it, but I don’t recommend buying this book - at least, not the whole thing. I highly recommend the Superman story, and the Batman story is decent. If you must buy, buy those two stories on comixology (each story costs 99 cents for download) instead of the entire book.