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Sunday January 25, 2009 9:11 pm

Superman Beyond




Posted by Todd Matthy Categories: Reviews, DC Comics,

Superman

After months of waiting, the second installment of Superman Beyond has arrived. For those that don’t read the series or forgot what happened in the previous issue, during “Final Crisis” Lois Lane was caught in an explosion and is dying. The only way Superman can save her is by embarking on an epic quest to obtain an elixir of bleed (think: elixir of life). On his fantastic voyage through the multiverse Superman encounters alternate versions of himself - the Earth-S Captain Marvel, A Nazi Superman, Captain Adam (Doctor Manhattan), and Ultraman - saves “Comic Book Limbo”, and does battle with Mandrakk the Dark Monitor. Whew, did I miss anything?

Anyway, this issue begins with Comic Book Limbo under siege and Superman rallying forgotten heroes like Merryman to its defense. Once that is finished it’s time for Superman to enter the world of the Monitors and defeat Mandrakk to obtain the elixir.

Superman Beyond is as Grant Morrison a Grant Morrison book as they come. (Does that make sense?) It plays with one of his favorite themes, fictional characters becoming self-aware, previously used ideas like Comic Book Limbo from Animal Man, and alternate realities with The Bleed from the Authority. All of these concepts take a lot of time to explain so wiki them. (Grant is wikipedia’s best friend).  What’s fun about the wacky ideas is the way Morrison handles them. The Monitor’s World and point of view is confusing but it’s meant to be because they are beyond human understanding. It’s why the 3D works so well within the context of the story. We are seeing the story the way a Monitor sees the world during these scenes, and it makes sense within the story’s context, and it’s fun. But the strength of the story is not Morrison’s crazy ideas, it is his fundamental understanding of Superman.

Despite the Morrisonian sci-fi tapestry, “Superman Beyond” is a Superman story that utilizes all tools that make Superman great. The unwavering confidence and positive attitude of Superman shines throughout this story, be it rallying the troops in Comic Book Limbo, to his 3D slugfest with Mandrakk, Superman’s attitude remains the same; calm, cool, and confident. And it ends with a Superman trademark.

My main problem with “Superman Beyond” is that it’s a “Final Crisis” tie-in and I don’t know what it has to do with “Final Crisis” other then using that series as a jumping off point. As for its relation to “Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds” who knows? Final Crisis 7 is next week, so hopefully we’ll find out then.

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