Thursday, August 28, 2008

Did anyone else think Final Crisis: Superman Beyond was awesome?

I sure did. I mean, I was really excited for it, so I wasn't sure it would live up to my expectations, but it did. I've read it twice now (and no, I'm still not totally sure about everything that's going on) and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

For those who don't know: this is a comic book from Grant Morrison and Doug Mahnke that is partially 3D (with glasses included!) about Superman traveling through the multiverse to fight off some cosmic evil so he can obtain the elixir of life and save Lois from a fatal injury (sustained in Final Crisis #2). Boiled down, what we have is: Morrison writes Superman traversing the multiverse in 3D.

How could this not be amazing?!

(Spoilers will follow!)

I really enjoyed the fact that this book brought up a lot of previous Morrisonian concepts, such as Limbo (where forgotten characters go to die) and a heavy dose of meta-fiction (although I'm not entirely sure what Superman Beyond has to say about that topic yet). It's got a killer existence-spanning plot that involves the Monitors as they investigate the poison known as "stories" (what did I say about meta-fiction?), and apparently some Dark Monitor who wants to erase all of that from life. Yeah, it sounds f*cking crazy, and it is. That's the beauty of it.

There could hardly be a better creative team for this book. Doug Mahnke's kinda-weird art is fantastic in two dimensions (he's one of my favorites, truth be told) so adding a third could only make it cooler, and you know how I feel about Grant Morrison. Somehow he manages to bring back the fantastical nature of silver-age stories, the joy of reading something completely out-there, yet he grounds it in a modern (post-modern?) sensibility, with sharp dialog and a truly suspenseful plot. This is a watermark of much of Morrison's work (I'm thinking All-Star Superman) and I'm glad it carried over to Superman Beyond, which will surely go down as one of my favorite comics this year.

It is a little dense, yeah... a little tough to breach, especially on the first read-through. But as I said before, I really don't find that to be a good point of criticism against a comic... I actually think it enhances the reading experience by giving you something to work for, something to find in the text. Couple that with the pure joy of a 3D Superman battling for the life of his beloved Lois... recipe for success, my friends.

Rating: * * * * *

As a side note, you know what else is awesome? Runaways. The third volume launched yesterday and I really dug the first issue. I'm a little bummed that more people don't read this one. Check it out, guys.

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