Greg Pak, Jae Lee, Ben Oliver
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
The finale of the first big story arc has finally reached the stands, and just like the premiere issue and the two that followed it, writer Greg Pak and artists Jae Lee and Ben Oliver completely deliver. This storyline might as well have been titled “New 52 Crisis on Multiple Earths,” what with the premise being simply that Kaiyo the Trickster Goddess from Apokolips forces a meeting between the Superman and Batman of Earth 1 with the Superman and Batman of Earth 2. And the victor, as we learn in these pages, is not really going to be as lucky as we are led to believe they would be. Whomever wins, loses. And for those of you who are familiar with the story going on in the pages of the Earth 2 comic book, Superman and Batman (and Wonder Woman, for that matter) of the alternate universe don’t do so well when they face off against Kaiyo’s lord and master, Darkseid. (Spoiler from a year and a half ago: They die.)
The issue is fairly straight-forward, much like the first three parts. The Supermen and Batmen square off against one another for the amusement of the trickster, who has been hopping from universe to universe and planet to planet in search of a world to hide from her master. When the reality-altering crystal begins to break pretty much everything, the younger pair decide to team up and try to use it to scare off Darkseid when he reaches their planet, while the older team let wisdom prevail and destroy it before it can tear reality apart. All of this is happening while Lois and Catwoman launch some nuclear missiles at Kaiyo, who just happens to be fighting Wonder Woman of Earth 2. But all’s well that ends well, because the trickster decides that she’s going to erase everyone’s memories and let Darkseid take over Earth 2, hiding out with the more dangerous and unpredictable versions of the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader, in hopes of picking the world that can finally defeat her captor.
The biggest strength of this issue is the seamless transition that kept the first issue from being a perfect 5-star comic. This time, when the art changes from Lee to Oliver, it actually makes sense and doesn’t throw the reader. It’s nice to see the epilogue from a different, yet equally talented artist. And it makes the ending that much more bittersweet. We know what is coming, but the heroes of both Earths have no idea. It was a perfect start to what will undoubtedly be one of the continually strong DC New 52 titles. The cover was amazing, the script was brilliant, and the artwork is incomparable. This is, by far, my pick for book of the week. It was incredible for a lifelong DC fan like myself to see such rich character development and masterful world-building. This series is starting to prove that comics really are an art form, not just a way to tell a quick soap opera with men and women in costumes. Good work, sirs. This was an excellent read.
My Rating: 5/5