Hello, my friends. A reign has befallen upon the New 52 Animated Universe, but there’s a small bit of post-mortem to take care of before we get there. As such, welcome back to another entry of…
The famed storyline known as “The Death & Return Of Superman” has been revisited in a more expansive way. While I do intend on covering its second part, there’s some extra goodies that are in need of my attention before I can close the book on Part 1. With that in mind, it’s time for us to delve into the titular prequel comic known as…
Originally released on a weekly basis between August 1 and October 17, 2018, this digital-only release consists of 12 issues with three four-part stories as veteran comic book writer Louise Simonson serves as our main storyteller for this particular tale. For pencil work, Cat Staggs (Issues 1-4 & 12), Joel Ojeda (Issues 5-8), Laura Braga (Issue 9), Jesus Merino (Issue 10) & Jon Bogdanove (Issue 11) are up for the task. For inking duties, Staggs (Issues 1-4 & 12), Jose Marzan, Jr. (Issues 5-8), Braga (Issue 9), Andy Owens (Issue 10) and Bogdanove (Issue 11) have been assigned to this particular job. So, what has the Man of Tomorrow been up to in between his run-in with the Teen Titans and his grand fight against a near-unstoppable monster? Let’s dive in and find out.
We begin with a four-part tale called “Power” as we delve into our opening chapter: “Blowing Hot & Cold”. It turns out that this particular story opens during the events of the film as the Justice League managed to protect the Eastern Coast from a massive wave cause by the unsuspecting “meteor” before Superman manages to save Terri Henshaw up in space and get her safely back to Earth. Upon dropping her off in medical care, he states that couldn’t find her husband Hank and thus assumes that he perished.
Just as Superman is about it investigate the meteor, he hears a distress call from an army base located near the Texas border. Over in the general area, General Sam Lane is driven out to see his soldiers place Jim Corben a.k.a. Metallo into custody. However, he breaks out of his shackles and attacks the approaching jeep as he orders the general to surrender or else he’ll harm the troops. As Sam tries to calm him down, we learn that Corben used to be a soldier under Lane’s command. With John under a fatal sign, Lane got in touch with Luthor. As a result, Corben was given a cyborg body in order to become “a new kind of hero”.
However, Metallo hates how he’s been reduced to a militarized and mechanized test subject. Sam tells him that it was a good idea at the time since several lives were affected by war. Unfortunately, he was unaware that John couldn’t resist the temptation of power. As such, Metallo preps to kill Gen. Lane and stop his sadistic, mechanized practice. Just then, Superman flies in as John fires a Kryptonite-powered concussive blast at him. Despite the lethal strikes, Kal-El manages to save Sam and fly him to a safe distance.
Despite initially collapsing form the Kryptonite poisoning, Superman is able to regain his strength thanks to the sunlight. However, Metallo catches up and looks to atomized Gen. Lane. Fortunately, Superman flies up to a safe distance and proceeds to use his Heat Vision to turn the surrounding land into molten lava.
Despite John informing him that his cyborg body is resistant, Kal-El keeps up his attack. As Corben sinks into the molten lava, he says that he can live without the consumption of food & drink and doesn’t need constant oxygen to survive, not to mention that he has a retractable dome in his skull that protects his brain. As Metallo sinks into his molten prison, he swears that he’ll eventually break out while also wondering how our hero is able to have all of this power “without going mad”. As he imprisons Corben within hardened rock with his Freeze Breath, Superman says that he was able to learn throughout his life as he hopes that Metallo uses his jail time to learn as well.
Afterwards, he tells Sam that this will serve as a temporary cell before John’s Kryptonite Heart can fully power him up again. As such, it’ll give Gen. Lane’s men some much-needed time to build a properly fortified cell. Sam the says that John used to be a good soldier before asking if he can be saved, to which Kal-El tells him: “There’s always hope”. After being thanks, Issue 1 ends with Superman’s super-hearing picking up another nearby disaster, which turns out to be Belle Reve Penitentiary having an internal crisis courtesy of Parasite. Knowing that our hero can hear him, he say that he’s feasting on everyone in the facility as he challenges Superman to stop him.
Issue 2 opens within Belle Reve as we delve into what led to a lack of “Containment!”. It turns out that a pair of guards were watching a newscast about Superman’s defeat over Metallo. However, they were standing too close to a cell containing Joshua Michael Allen a.k.a. Parasite. As such, he reaches through the bars and grabs the custodians in order to absorb their energy. As he storms out of his cell, he proceeds to yell for Superman to come to him so that he can feast on the Kryptonian lifeform.
By the time Kal-El arrives, two more guards have been captured. With Parasite daring him, Superman takes a risk and flies in fast to save the officials. However, Joshua managed to hold on. From there, he tosses one of the guards away and grabs Kal-El’s face in order to take in his super energy.
Suddenly, an added side-effect kicks in for Parasite. Because he was absorbing a meta-human’s essence, he also gained their power for a certain amount of time. As such, he starts getting overwhelmed by the various super-visions while Superman manages to save the two guards. As Joshua fires off an uncontrollable blast of Heat Vision, Kal-El warns the officials that their foe is still dangerous.
Unbeknownst to Parasite as he slowly loses his newfound abilities, Superman starts to regain his energy with the yellow sunlight. Afterwards, he carries out a plan. While under the appearance of looking weakened, he’ll have Parasite chase him. At just the right moment, Kal-El proceeds to fly towards a nearby train, pick up a box car and dump its shrapnel onto his foe.
Parasite uses his Heat Vision to melt the contents, but he unintentionally uses up his stolen power as the melted shrapnel fall onto him before Superman uses his Freeze Breath to trap his foe.
After letting the guards know that Joshua is still alive, they proceed to haul their prisoner away as Superman prepares to fly back to Metropolis. However, Issue 2 ends with his super-hearing picking up his mother’s scream in the distance.
Issue 3 (“The Harder They Fall”) opens on a rainy day in Metropolis as Martha Kent is in town looking to finally get Clark’s childhood toy fixed. However, the owner is currently on a lunch break. As she decides to wait, she’s suddenly approached by a giant robot as she avoids getting crushed. Superman flies in and instantly recognizes it as “Blastfyre” before he swoops down to save Ma in time before it fires its disintegration beams.
After being flown to a safe distance, Martha also recognizes the giant automaton as Blastfyre, a toy Clark had as a child before the family cow unintentionally broke it. From there, Superman engages the towering robot as it continues it hunt for Bruno Mannheim. Although Kal-El is able to withstand the Disintegration Beams, it’s able to deflect his Heat Vision. Weirdly enough, it calls out to him saying that it won’t be stopped “again”.
Kal-El then proceeds to lure his automated foe towards Centennial Park in order to to keep civilians out of harm’s way. he then tries to trip up Blastfyre by using a Freeze Breath on a puddle right before it steps onto it. From there, he proceeds to ram right into the robot. Unfortunately, it’s able to maintain its ground due to its auto-gyro as Superman is forced to dodge the oncoming Disintegration Beams.
Just then, he decides to re-enact the same fateful event from his childhood as he picks up Blastfyre by its leg before dropping it onto the ground. With its head getting damaged upon impact, Kal-El then notices some movement within as he discovers that it was piloted by Toymaster before demanding an explanation behind this destruction.
Toymaster says that his father was a toymaker who borrowed some money from Bruno in order to properly finance his operation. Unfortunately, Mannheim used the toy factory to launder money and he ended up throwing Toymaster’s dad under the bus when the FBI finally caught up. As such, Bruno was able to evade the law while the father lost his life during his time behind bars. As a result, the eventual Toymaster bounced around to different foster homes with him being shunned by the outside world. As such, his plan was to build Blastfyre in order to destroy Mannheim’s numerous hideouts and operations in order to get revenge for his childhood being taken away.
Martha then sees the fine print on Clark’s own toy and notices that it was made by Mannheim & Schott (most likely Winslow Schott a.k.a. Toyman) before Superman deduces that the father ultimately gave birth to his son in order to carry out his vengeance. Ma then explains that she found his old toy up in the attic and wanted to get it fixed in order to surprise him & Lois. From there, Issue 3 ends with Superman seeing Lobo flying across the sky as he looks to take care of a rising situation.
Issue 4 (“Slugfest”) opens with Kal-El flying after his target as he narrates about his own super-strength being too much for Earth’s civilians. Fortunately, his adversary is a Czanian and is more than durable enough to withstand the pounding. Kal-El uses his super-vision to notice a lone kid out on a harbor that Lobo is heading towards. Just as the alien bounty hunter is about to fire upon the young boy, Superman kicks him off his flying motorbike.
They proceed to tussle as Lobo exclaims that his target isn’t a kid, but a shape-shifter that recently sunk several ships. Kal-El doesn’t believe him, so Lobo proves him wrong by throwing him towards the boy. The lad ends up showing its true form as it shape-shifts into a monstrous alien and proceeds to eat Superman.
Kal-El narrates that he looked for a way out of the lifeform’s acid-laced innards, but its tough hide is able to withstand his powerful strikes. Fortunately, he escapes by forcibly flying out the same way he went in. Afterwards, Lobo tells him that it was a sea creature from the Redonka System that’s capable of storing itself within a different dimension. Not only that, but it’s been contaminating various oceans on multiple worlds, devour lifeforms and excrete poison as waste.
From there, Superman helps out by using his Freeze Breath on the creature before Lobo fires a particular beam that shrinks it down enough for containment. Superman lets the alien bounty hunter head out with his prize before flying off to prep for “JLA Combat Practice” before heading back to the Daily Planet in order to continue his personal struggle with letting Lois know about his secret identity.
Little does he know as Issue 4 ends that he ends up flying past a particularly submerged meteor that contains an emerging Doomsday before he arrives back at the Hall of Justice.
Issue 5 kicks off a four-part tale called “Proof” as we find out what can be found once one accepts a “Pitch”. We being at the Daily Planet as Editor-In-Chief Perry White approaches photographer Jimmy Olsen in order to praise him for his recent picture on a recent rescue. Despite his good work, Olsen is unable to get a raise.
Just then, Greta comes in and tells them that the mayor has been kidnapped over at City Hall. Perry quickly learns that Lois is covering a dock fire before looking for Clark. Despite being in the scene from the beginning, he subtly sneaked out to take care of the crisis as Superman. As such, White tells Jimmy to get at the scene in order to not only acquire photos but also learn about the situation there as well. From there, Olsen heads out.
Later on, he arrives at City Hall as he oversees Superman taking down Intergang. He manages to take his pictures covering the tussle before Kal-El is met upon by Bibbo who lets our hero know that he now owns his own restaurant before Jimmy takes their picture. After Bibbo takes his leave, Flash and Cyborg arrive as Olsen takes their picture. Victor explains that Intergang was wearing mechsuits made out of Apokoliptian metal as Jimmy overhears this.
After Superman takes his leave, Olsen proceeds to ask Lt. Dan Turpin & Det. Maggie Sawyer (both of whom are wearing slightly different colored outfits, with Sawyer also sporting red hair instead of blonde) about the high-tech weapons used by Intergang. Maggie tells him that the devious group was looking to exchange the mayor & his wife in order to have several imprisoned members released from jail. Afterwards, she and Dan take their leave promising to give an official briefing upon further investigation. Jimmy then narrates his disappointment in that he didn’t get much out of the scene and that Lois would have gotten more out of this with ease. As he prepares to take the subway back to the office, he realizes that Lane would pay attention to the details and follow up. Discovering that the Apokoliptian Tech seemed somewhat out of sorts to him, he decides to go there as his starting point.
After getting back to the Daily Planet, he pitches what he got to Perry. However, White tells him that Lois will be the one who’ll write the article, despite comforting Olsen with the fact that he’ll get a shared byline.
After getting back to his desk, Jimmy prints out his pictures before noticing something in a picture showing the captured Intergang members. He discovers that it’s a book of matches with the Ace O’ Clubs logo on it. He realizes that it didn’t come from Bibbo since he only got as far as the police lines, not to mention that he didn’t show up yet. Deciding that one of the Intergang members has possibly eaten there prior to the incident, he prints out the key pictures as Issue 5 ends with him confronting Perry about his need to follow up on the recent story with a matchbook serving as his starting point.
Issue 6 opens with Olsen taking his “Shots” as he gives a pitch to White on Intergang using Apokoliptian weaponry. Perry explains that they acquired their tech following the failed invasion, but Jimmy thinks that Darkseid is secretly supplying them with the otherworldly armor. Clark overhears all of this as Jimmy displays his evidence of an Ace O’ Clubs matchbook laying near the captured goons. However, Perry doesn’t buy it and thinks that Bibbo may have accidentally dropped it at the crime scene as he brushes it all off due to lack of evidence.
Just then, he notices Kent as he tells Olsen to share his possible story with him. Jimmy tells Clark about his investigation on a hidden connection between Apokolips and Intergang. However, Clark fears for his safety and wants him to discuss this with Lois, just as she returns to her desk. Olsen says that she’s working on the recent dock fire story, but promises to talk with her following lunch. From there, he heads out the give Bibbo his Superman picture.
During his subway ride, he narrates about asking the restaurateur some questions since Lois told him to not only trust his instincts, but also be persistent. As such, he arrives at the Ace O’ Clubs pub and begins to share his pictures with Bibbo before asking him about a familiar matchbook that was found near the captured members of Intergang. Bibbowski explains that he did overhear a few “toughs” talking about a certain “caper”, but didn’t think much of it. After being pointed towards the thugs, Jimmy decides to follow them.
He would follow the two goons throughout Suicide Slums before they arrived at a rundown building. Olsen proceeds to climb up the fire escape before peeking into the thug’s office. After taking their leave, he proceeds to sneak in and snoop around the desk before he ultimately comes across a high-tech gun in a drawer.
As he takes a picture of it, he also notices another photo within it showing a Parademon wielding the otherworldly weapon. He also discovers a gadget within the desk (most likely the disabled Mother Box). As he takes another picture, he starts to believe that Darkseid is possibly supplying Intergang. Just then, the thugs burst in with their high-tech guns as Issue 6 ends with them prepping to execute the young photographer.
Issue 7 (“Into The Fire”) opens with Jimmy looking to bluff his way out of his situation by claiming that he was looking to buy some drugs. However, the Intergang thugs don’t believe him as they search his pockets and discover two things: his cell phone containing a Superman wallpaper and his photographer’s pass within his wallet.
Just then, one of the goons gets a call and learns that Bruno Mannheim (a.k.a. “The Boss”) has been denied bail. However, they now have Jimmy as their hostage in order to trick Superman into getting their leader out of jail. Olsen tells them that he’ll gladly summon Supes knowing that his foes will be easily defeated. However, he gets stopped since they “ain’t quite ready”.
Later on in the building’s storage room, Jimmy is tied to a chair as the thugs aim a powerful cannon at him as they look towards blasting Superman out of existence with the mighty beam. When they order Olsen to yell for help, he narrates about what Lois would do in this situation. Fortunately, he begins to stall for time as he looks to learn about their scheme. This pays off as he kicks the thug in the groin and starts to fight his way out.
However, he notices his cell phone slide across the floor. Even though he’s still tied (despite the smashed-up chair), he’s able to run for the door. Just then, the head goon returns as he mentions about a “monster” that’s currently beating up the Justice League. After he notices our cub reporter, the newly-untied Olsen makes a dash for his cell phone as the chaotic sounds outside grows.
Just then, a school bus gets thrown into the building as Jimmy dodges in time. Having just recovered his cell phone, he finds out that he’s the only one here that survived before he notices the nearby carnage. Suddenly, Doomsday jumps in as Olsen scoots back towards the highly-advanced cannon. He manages to reach the remote as he uses the otherworldly device to blast the rampaging beast. Unfortunately, Issue 7 ends with Doomsday surviving the hit before going after Jimmy.
Issue 8 (“Focus”) opens with Olsen who’s moments away from feeling Doomsday’s wrath. Despite that, he still manages to take a few more pictures of the overwhelming beast on his cell phone. Just as Doomsday is about to finish him off, it’s suddenly attacked by some explosive Batarangs as Batman arrives to continue the tussle that started over in Carlin Heights. While Jimmy proceeds to take more pictures, the Dark Knight continues to throw more Batarangs while constantly dodging Doomsday’s strikes.
As he worries for Batman’s safety, Olsen’s cell phone starts to run low on power. Just then, he’s stunned to see Wonder Woman fly in as she uses her Lasso of Truth to toss Doomsday into the air. From there, she and Batman chase after the lethal beast. Afterwards, Jimmy narrates on how this is a major battle that he needs to to stick with, but he has to first get in contact with Perry and send him his pictures.
As such, White gets the call and the digital snapshots while Olsen attempts to keep up with the action. Perry tells him that Intergang’s possession of Apokoliptian weaponry should no longer be his focus as he wants the cub reporter to cover the growing rampage alongside Lois. However, White learns that she’s currently out with Clark on a lunch break. As such, he tells Jimmy to contact Lane while he sends out a helicopter to pick him up. Olsen agrees and asks for his camera to be on board, to which Perry agrees and assures him that he’ll get a guaranteed pay raise upon completing the assignment.
After a helicopter arrives and picks him up, Jimmy calls up Lois over at the Ace O’Clubs (who had just learned that Clark Kent & Superman are the same person) and informs her about Doomsday’s rampage throughout Metropolis while he’s en route to pick her up. He manages to shoot some footage of Wonder Woman’s fight against the fierce beast before he wonders about the rest of the Justice League. Just then, he sees Superman taking off to engage the violent monster as Issue 8 ends with the helicopter touching down to pick up a stunned Lois.
Issue 9 kicks off our final four-part tale called “The Wake” as our familiar group of heroes are about to begin “Picking Up The Pieces”. We open at least six months following the climatic battle that saw Superman defeating Doosmday, but at the cost of his life. Several members of the Justice League have gathered at the shattered remains of the Hall of Justice as they notice a copy of Newstime Magazine flowing by them in the wind as they see that it’s covering the four current Supermen. Several members share their opinion on the present issue before Wonder Woman lifts up a fallen support beam to recover some past photos as she tells Shazam that Flash took these shots of her and Superman prior to the events of “Justice League: War”. When there was a Parademon attack, she and Kal-El were the only heroes around to engage the otherworldly army.
We then proceed into a flashback as they proceed to fight the Parademons, but it ended up causing some problems since the monstrous minions that were defeated ended up falling out of the sky and onto the streets, thus putting the civilians in danger.
While she observes the aerial chaos, Lois tells Perry about the creatures dropping onto the ground before she manages to save Jimmy from a falling Parademon. Despite the lethal plummet and crash-landing, they’re able to get up and threaten the citizens.
Fortunately, they get crushed by the fallen debris as Lois picks up their gun and starts firing back at the opposing beings. Several Parademons hear the shots from above as they proceed to swoop down towards her as Jimmy is able to take their pictures. Lois fires back, but there proves to be too many for her to engage as she and Olsen find themselves surrounded.
Fortunately, Superman notices as he flies down to intervene as Wonder Woman narrates about him slowly growing fondly over Lois as he rescues her. Despite that, Diana is able to fend off the Parademons before a Boom Tube opens and sucks the remaining armada back inside as the invasion comes to an end. From there, Issue 9 ends with Diana telling Shazam that while it was a fun time, she and Superman were better off as friends. Nowadays, she feels like she lost her “best friend”.
Issue 10 (“Flashback”) opens in the remains of the Hall of Justice as the Justice League continues to look through the rubble. Suddenly, Cyborg discovers a trophy that has a likeness to Superman’s other-dimensional foe named Mr. Mxyzptlk. Flash tells him that he won that trophy in a race against Superman that the imp had set up. After Victor exclaims that he never heard of it, Barry proceeds to explain that it all started when Mxy argued with King Brpxz over who was faster. As such, both Metropolis and Central City (along with its citizens) were teleported to another dimension with Flash & Superman forced into engaging each other in a foot race. Both heroes refuse to accept the challenge, but Mxy tells them that their cities will stay here if they don’t comply or run off the pre-selected path. As Barry and Kal look over the race course, Brpxz tells them that the winner will get to wish for anything they want.
With the imp king betting on the Flash to win while Mxy takes Superman’s side, our heroes begin the race as they run upon the “Yellow Trick Road”. Part way into the contest, the two imps give them their first challenge where they must run under “heavy gravity”. As they dash through the straining pull, Superman and Flash exclaim to each other that they must come up with a plan in order to save their respective cities.
Afterwards, they complete the first test as Brpxz unleashes the second challenge by sprinkling Superman with some Kryptonite dust. From there, both he and the Flash are forced to run upon an icy path. Fortunately, Kal-El recovers and uses his Heat Vision to melt the ice away so that both he & Barry can safely run again.
Afterwards, they find themselves thrown into “Absolute Darkness” as Brpxz grows confident due to Superman’s weakened state, but Mxy says that Flash will be unable to see where he needs to go. Fortunately, our heroes manage to reach the final “Trick Brick” as they head into the last challenge. Unfortunately, it sees them trapped in gigantic diamonds as Brpxz expects to see Barry vibrate out of his predicament.
While the Flash does proceed to do so, Kal-El is also freed from his hardened cell as the Scarlet Speedster ends up winning the race. Mxy is furious that Barry didn’t simply “phase” as the Flash explains that Superman had told him to use all of his powers. He goes on to explain that he vibrated “out of phase”, which created a pulse that shattered both diamond prisons. After being rewarded with a trophy from Brpxz, Barry wishes for both cities to be put back exactly as they were, have the citizens forget about their other-dimensional trip and for both imps to leave. Mxy proceeds to fulfill the request before he and Brpxz take their leave.
From there, the flashback ends as the Flash says that Superman assured him of his victory even under regular circumstances. However, Issue 10 ends with him saying that they’ll never be able to find out as Barry exclaims that he’ll remember Kal-El as someone who was decent and generous, while Cyborg adds onto the fact that Supes “always told the truth”.
Issue 11 (“Clyde”) opens with the Justice League doing some clean-up work within the Hall of Justice. Suddenly, Aquaman hears a telepathic distress call as he and Martian Manhunter discover that it was a mollusk. Arthur realizes that it’s Clyde as J’onn is puzzled at the fact that Superman had his own aquatic creature. Aquaman says that it actually saved Kal-El during an incident in the Gulf of Mexico as we flashback to our featured crisis. A group of gigantic squid are attacking an oil-drilling platform as Arthur tells Superman to refrain from using his Heat Vision in order to not ignite the leaking lubricate. From there, they proceed to rescue the workers and place them onto a nearby supply ship. Aquaman is able to make the recovery process run smoothly by telepathically ordering the squids away and even threatening to stab them with his trident.
After the workers are rescued, Kal-El uses his Freeze Breath to entrap the giant squids. Our heroes then search for any remaining survivors as Arthur picks up a cry for help. However, it’s not a person that’s in need of assistance but a mollusk. As Superman uses his Heat Vision to warm the cephalopod up (and even learn its name, Clyde), Aquaman from it that this entire incident was caused by his half-brother Orm a.k.a. Ocean Master.
From there, Clyde proceeds to guide our heroes to where it last saw their foe. Suddenly, they spot another group of giant squids attacking a cruise ship before finally coming across Ocean Master. He then summons several gigantic sea-life as Aquaman demands to know about his half-brother’s plan (while also trying to gain mental control over the transformed creatures).
Orm explains that he’ll use the monstrous sea-beings to attack the humans in order to blame Arthur for it and get him removed from the Atlantean throne so that he can rule the undersea kingdom. He even says that he’s aware of Superman’s weakness to magic as he shoots a powerful spell form his trident towards Kal-El. Fortunately, Clyde is able to swim in the way and takes the hit as it gets magically bigger.
Orm panics and tries to respond, but Superman manages to distract him and even take his trident away before Aquaman delivers the knockout punch.
Afterwards, the flashback ends as Arthur tells Martian Manhunter that Clyde would eventually revert back to its original size as the spell wears off, he banished the giant sea creatures to “the deepest ocean” and had Orm imprisoned within Atlantis. While it waited for Ocean Master’s incantation to subside, Superman kept it within an aquarium inside the Hall of Justice. With Kal-El gone and Clyde having been returned to its original size, Issue 11 ends with Aquaman taking the mollusk back to its home as he narrates about Superman being more of a brother “to us all”.
Issue 12 (“Show Me”) begins with Batman discovering a lead box as he reveals to his teammates that it contains Kryptonite. He says that Superman gave it to him just in case he ever loses control. Bruce exclaims that Kal-El came close to doing just that as we flashback to Lex Luthor talking to his assistant Mercy Graves about his numerous war-suits that he made for the U.S. military. With his desire to have Superman “discredited” and “destroyed”, he unveils a new war-suit that he intends to test for “a very specific purpose”.
Over at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent overhears Jimmy Olsen mentioning about some developing cracks on the West River Bridge as he uses his super-speed to head out and take care of the situation. A short time later, Superman flies in and tells a pair of officials to remove the vehicular traffic while he holds the crumbling piece of the bridge.
However, he struggles to hold up the collapsing structure as the citizens are forced to abandon their cars just to escape in time. Lex shows up within his war-suit as he effortlessly holds ups the deteriorating bridge. As he announces to the public that Superman has failed them and that it’s time for humanity to fend for itself, Kal-El wearily falls into the water. Thankfully, some nearby citizens manage to pull him out as they inform him that Luthor’s construction company is going to handle the repairs since the structure had been “crumbling for months”. Superman then discovers some Kryptonite dust on his hands as he discovers that it was spread along the bridge’s underside and Lex even had a Kryptonite Crystal placed within his war-suit’s chest plate. After the situation is taken care of, Luthor flies back to his company.
Just then, Kal-El confronts and accuses him of discreetly damaging the bridge and setting it up to make our hero look bad. Lex nonchalantly dismisses the claim as he demands for proof. As such, Superman uses his Heat Vision to dislodge the Kryptonite Crystal from Luthor’s war-suit as it plunges into the river. Afterwards, Kal-El tells Lex that the next time he puts Metropolis in danger, he swears to not hold back. We then cut to “a few days later” as Superman shows up with the Kryptonite inside a lead box as he tells Batman that he felt like obliterating Luthor, but thankfully didn’t. Worried that he’ll be unable to control himself some day, he decides to give Bruce the radioactive rock as a safety precaution. From there, the flashback ends as Batman exclaims that he never had to use it since Kal-El kept himself under control with Cyborg agreeing with him in that their deceased friend showed “what it means to be human”. Just then, they’re met upon by Cyborg Superman who offers to help rebuild the Hall of Justice. However, our heroes politely decline as he proceeds to fly off. And so, the league members wonder why this new Superman is rubbing them the wrong way as the series ends with Batman admitting that he considered exposing the guy to the Kryptonite before wondering if it would affect any of the other Supermen as well.
Overall, this is a mainly well-told series of events despite a couple of hiccups. Superman’s four-part tale makes the most sense within the context of the film. After all, there’s a space between him confronting Lex on possibly supplying Intergang with Apokoliptian tech and him training alongside Wonder Woman. This episodic format allows him to confront certain members of his rogues gallery while also allowing them to be a part of this universe. Not only that, but it was unexpectedly nice that Toymaster (a minor foe from the Teen Titans’ first appearance in the series) got some development to justify his existence and even (most likely) tie him in to another familiar adversary. His foes are able to make it tough for him, but he’s ultimately able to defeat them with his ingenuity, or in the case of Lobo, find some common ground in order to take out the real enemy. With some good pacing, consistent art work and some nice action throughout, the opening arc is the most rock-solid of the bunch. Jimmy Olsen’s tale is interesting since it interweaves throughout the majority of the movie. In the animated feature, he shows up to take Superman and Bibbo’s picture and then doesn’t show up again until Doomsday is within striking distance of Metropolis. Here, he gets to prove himself to us by demonstrating some detective work and display his skills beyond a camera. He struggles with his superiors constantly overlooking him due to his youthful age (despite Perry White wanting to place some faith in him, yet he can’t because of higher authority) as he risks himself to find some connection with Intergang’s acquisition of otherworldly weapons and even handles himself fairly well when he’s captured & used as bait for Superman. However, his struggles against the nefarious group gets dropped when Doomsday comes into the picture. I wish that Jimmy could have completed his own assignment so that he could have gotten the respect that he deserves. It could have also had its own way of transitioning into the film’s climactic tussle in order to signify the completion of his arc, instead of dropping it altogether to get us back into the movie’s narrative. Also, this has an artistic snafu that it partly shares with the final arc. I mentioned it when Sawyer and Turpin were colored differently that what they ultimately looked like in the film, but Wonder Woman is also apart of this. Here, she more resembles her final New 52 outfit instead of what she regularly wore throughout the animated movie series series, which also had thigh-high boots, long sleeves and a collar that helped cover her cleavage. There’s also some minor color differences in certain clothes, but that’s on the small-end of the complaint spectrum. In the end, Olsen’s tale is fairly decent since it gives the Daily Planet’s signature photographer something to do in this overall universe, but it would have felt more complete had his initial investigation had a sense of resolution. Finally, we have the last tale where certain Justice League members reminisce about Superman and his past heroics. Flash was the best in displaying Kal-El’s ingenuity within heroism while Aquaman’s tale showed some nice heroics with an unexpected ally. Batman’s tale doesn’t have too much of Superman boarding with his dark side due to the length of the final issue, since it’s not really exploring that outside of Luthor taunting him with his plan of looking better that our hero. This concept would have worked much more significantly had this been in a series that allowed it to flourish and building on Kal-El’s inner evil. As for Wonder Woman’s tale, her story is probably the most problematic. This is mainly because it conflicts with the events of “War”, since within this continuity, she first meets Superman while they were saving the President and the First Lady when Air Force One gets attacked by Parademons. This was also when Darkseid began his invasion, which is why Diana’s statement of pictures of her & Kal-El that were taken “a few days before the sky ripped open” is at odds with what went down in that film. Not only that, but it shows that Superman began a budding relationship with Lois after saving her from the Parademons. However, he and Wondey were still dating in “Throne Of Atlantis” and in “Justice League Vs. Teen Titans”, so the retroactive discovery that she makes there is problematic in hindsight. While Jimmy’s tale flirted with the continuity of its movie and didn’t raise too many eyebrows since it mainly told its story within the timeline of events, Diana’s tale is bound to cause some head scratching for anyone who’s been following this string of films since the beginning. Despite that problematic issue, the overall package is still worth reading since Louise Simonson mainly manages to weave three satisfying tales over 12 issues and the different art styles never severely clash with each other. Because of the short length of each issue, it makes for a somewhat quick read that leaves the patron with a mostly satisfying compliment to its movie counterpart. While it’s not a prequel comic in the traditional sense (in that it tells a tale that helps in setting up proper elements from the film), it’s still a companion piece that’s worthy of exploring so that one can get an added taste to the life & death of Big Blue himself.
Superman (created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) and all related characters are owned by DC Comics.