By: Adam Basciano
“In the wake of the unspeakable tragedy he unwittingly helped to trigger, Superman faces his greatest loss and his most challenging moral decision ever. Everything is about to pivot on the choice he makes; it could change the course of the world–and the lives of all the super heroes–forever. Green Arrow is featured in a solo adventure. Fearful of Superman’s vengeance, the archer is put in charge of protecting the Joker’s crazed accomplice, Harley Quinn. Finding somewhere to hide Harley isn’t the challenge–keeping his sanity during prolonged contact with her is. But who will be the first one to drive the other crazy? Still reeling from the destruction of Metropolis, news from a war-torn country creates a tipping point for the Man of Steel. He decides it’s time for him to take a more proactive role in stopping man’s inhumanity to man. But does the sudden appearance of Wonder Woman mean he’s created a new enemy or converted an ally to his cause?” (DC Comics)
Two out of the three books deal with the fallout of the Joker’s heinous crimes, while the middle issue is a humorous but still heartfelt interlude that lightens the mood. Issues 4 & 6 show Superman going through stages of grief and anger. The scene with Superman holding a deceased Lois Lane in his arms in the middle of the detonation zone was such a quietly haunting moment, that lingers long after you’ve read the story. There’s an incredible exchange between Batman and the Joker that calls to mind “The Killing Joke” and “The Dark Knight” When Joker explains that he did what he did, because it would be fun to see how Superman would react proves that Tom Taylor has grasped Joker’s chaos and sick mentality. Issues #4 & 6 really set up Superman’s status quo hinted at in the game. Superman kills Joker in such a way that is so shocking, at least to this Superman fan. The death of his wife, the fact that he broke one of his cardinal rules, and add that to what he’s witnessing in a war-torn country, and Superman decides to be more forceful! After revealing his identity, he puts the world on notice that he won’t allow the loss of anymore innocent lives. Killing and getting involved in wars, foreign or domestic, are against type for Superman but given what he’s been through, completely understandable. Even though this book is a video game tie-in, none of these reactions feel forced to line up with the game. These occurrences progress very naturally. Issue #5 was a nice change of pace. It was mostly Green Arrow babysitting Harley Quinn, a.k.a. keeping her hidden from Superman. The result is an exchange between Harley and Oliver, where Tom Taylor reminds fans that at one point in comics history, Green Arrow was a cheap Batman knockoff. In the midst of the humor, Mr. Taylor manages to remind readers that a hero who is not afraid to go over the edge for justice, and a homicidal maniac are still people with emotions and a need for human comfort.
There are so many great images in these three issues. Seriously, the scene with Batman & The Joker looks so much like the “The Dark Knight”, especially Batman. The scene where Superman kills Joker will leave you speechless. It’s quite the jarring imagery. Likewise, the previously mentioned image of Superman cradling Lois’ lifeless body will send shivers through your body. Mike Miller does great work in issues #4 & 6. Bruno Redondo draws issue #5 and treats fans to a look at vintage Oliver Queen, while giving Harley Quinn a more dangerous yet sexy updated look. The only thing I didn’t like was the Arrow car. Looks ridiculous to me. Jheremy Raapack creates a stunning depiction of a Batman vs Superman confrontation for the cover! Seeing as these are my two favourite characters, this cover leaves me captivated yet conflicted.
The creative team continues to create a book that I continually want to read. It firmly makes my top 3 “must read” list. Since it feels like there is so much more to come, it could easily find itself standing at the very top of that list before too long!
Overall Grade: 9.5/10