Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Superman: Space Age #3 Review



Written by: Mark Russell
Art by: Michael Allred
Colors by: Laura Allred
Letters by: Dave Sharpe
Cover art by: Michael Allred (cover A)
Cover price: $9.99
Release date: February 21, 2023

Superman: Space Age #3 ends the mini-series with Superman's quest to find a way to make life worth living once Pariah confirms the Anti-Monitor's path of destruction is unstoppable.

Is It Good?

Superman: Space Age #3 has its moments, but this finale is a long, tedious, overpriced bore to get through. Suppose there's one talent Mark Russell can claim with absolute certainty. In that case, the ability to take what should be a straightforward adventure and twist it into weird social commentary is as exciting as watching grass grow in the Mojave Desert.

When last we left off with Superman and the newly formed Justice League (after a five-month hiatus between issues), the world had experienced the Dawn of Justice. Now, the expanding Justice League assembles to discuss Pariah's prophecy about the coming apocalypse at the hands of the Anti-Monitor and what to do about it. What's their collective plan? Do nothing but live as they have.

After experiencing the loss of his father from a heart attack, Superman decides to take a break from public display of heroics to salvage humanity the only way he can - by building a DNA ark with the help of Kryptonian technology.

That sounds like an exciting story filled with tragedy but with the potential for hope. Admittedly, those moments are here, but all the nonsense in the middle makes this issue a chore. We get a Joker origin story that turns him into the product of grief at the hands of Wayne Enterprise's slumlords, a child kidnapping that goes horribly awry, and a Bruce Wayne who accepts his responsibility for the Joker's creation by committing suicide by cop.

Intermixed with all these bizarre versions of known characters are Mark Russell's patented social commentary about the evils of capitalism, the pharmaceutical industry, the court system, and police corruption.

"Wait," you wonder. "What does any of that have to do with Superman trying to save the world?"

Not a blessed thing, my friend. Not a blessed thing, and therein lies the problem. Superman's final miracle bookends many poorly told morality tales involving Batman and Joker that don't have a single thing to do with Superman's quest. This issue is three times longer than necessary for a collection of entirely unnecessary vignettes.

Regarding art, it's more palatable in this issue than in issue #2. Nothing in this issue remotely resembles the "awkward pimp fight" (see the review for issue #2 to read all about that one) or the oddly mannequin-like facial expression of the characters. Allred's style is still an acquired taste, but this issue's art is much improved and the best possible representation of Allred's style.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Superman: Space Age #3 ends the bizarre mini-series with Superman doing what he does best - making a miracle happen. Unfortunately, Superman's best moments take up the beginning and the end. At the same time, most of the middle is composed of poorly constructed social commentary, a series of Batman v. Joker vignettes that have nothing to do with Superman's quest, and a bizarre death scene that doesn't make a lick of sense. This mini-series had the seed of a good idea, but the creators and the editors failed to realize its potential.


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