Sunday, July 12, 2015

Justice League: Gods and Monsters - Superman #3 Review

Written by: J.M. DeMatteis and Bruce Timm
Art by: Moritat
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: July 6, 2015

Dark Beginning

I knew it would happen and it did, the daily release of Justice League: Gods and Monsters got to me and I now find myself way behind in my reviews.  That has nothing to do with the quality of the series which has been so good.  No, it's all about my pile of books to review, a podcast to record and edit (that you can listen to HERE) and my eternal struggle with extreme laziness.  That ends now.  I am going to try to catch up with the series this week, starting with this issue...Justice League: Gods and Monsters - Superman #3.  The first two issues of this alt Superman origin story haven't been as dark as the preceding Batman story, but they are making up ground quick and I have liked this story even more than the first.  Does this finale continue the trend?  Let's find out...

While this three part story has been all about Hernan and his steps towards becoming his world's Superman, J.M. DeMatteis continues the excellent move of having it narrated by his sister, Valentina.  She is the one thing that Hernan loves and she in turn, really focuses on the good in her brother.  Unfortunately, he hasn't been good.  The issue opens showing Hernan as a man looking for something...he's traveled the world and yet he hasn't been able to find himself or a purpose.  That all changes when he witnesses a school blowing up in Mexico.

The man responsible, Juan Carlos Fuentes, is a piece of trash drug lord who made one big mistake...he kidnapped a bunch of children, including a girl that reminded Hernan of his sister.  It's not as hokey as I make it seem, but instead a great scene that shakes Hernan out of his selfish stupor.  He finally has a purpose and wants to do good in a way that he knows how...kicking ass.

The only thing missing from the first two issues of this origin story has been full out action, but DeMatteis rectifies that here.  We get to see Hernan display a full range of super abilities including heat vision and bullet proof skin and I loved it.  I also loved what saving the children finally made him do...go home.

DeMatteis doesn't give us sunshine, lollipops and rainbows here.  I'm glad because it would've felt off, but it was still sad to see Hernan head home after all this time.  However, his sister again proves to be the shining light in his life (and the true hero of this origin story, if you ask me) and the inspiration for everything that follows.  That includes the ending of this issue where Hernan pays a visit to Juan Carlos Fuentes and begins his new life as Superman.

I really enjoyed this origin story of Superman.  While the Batman origin that preceded it seemed to be based more on supernatural shock value, this story felt real.  Sure, it's still Superman, but the progression from happy little boy, to dark and brooding teenager to a hero ready to make things right was so well done.  I haven't read the Wonder Woman origin yet, but it's going to take something really special to top this story.

Moritat's art will be hard to beat as well.  I loved the look of his other Superman books, but he saved the best for last.  It was a dark issue and the art and color work fit it like a glove.  I wish he was on more issues because it was nice to fall in love with his art all over again.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue ends the awesome Superman origin story in a dark and fitting way.  J.M. DeMatteis used the first two issues to set up Hernan as a conflicted character and it pays off big time here.  The pain and scars he bears make this Superman feels so real even as bullets bounce off his chest.  Mortitat's art helps tell the story and make this book a joy to look at.  Overall, this was another great issue in a series that hasn't let me down yet.  Bring on Wonder Woman!


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