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Superman Beyond #2 Review

Doug Mahnke gives us all a good sign of what we can look forward to next week in the final issue of Final Crisis with some outstanding artwork of what is one of the more straightforward issues of Final Crisis by Grant Morrison (outside, of course, of that ultra straightforward one-shot about Black Lightning and The Tattooed Man). The result is a delightful comic book adventure.

One of the more interesting aspects of this comic is how simple most of it is, while still, of course, throwing in some intriguing not-so-easily-explained ideas, as well.

This two-part series was originally intended to work as a giant-sized one-shot following #3, and it really would have worked better that way, I imagine (it also would help since this issue explains why Lois is healthy for issue #6), but even as a two-part story, this is a rollicking action issue that allows Superman to be pretty much the pinnacle of superherodom, while working in plenty of nice character moments for the other characters who went along with Superman on this journey.

Between this issue’s usage of Billy Batson and Final Crisis #6’s usage of Talky Tawny, it is almost like Morrison is directly countering any argument that the “silly” aspects of the Marvel Family cannot work in this day and age, because the child reporter and the talking tiger both had great, serious moments in the last two weeks.

I loved the dualities set-up in this issue (Superman fighting for life against Mandrakk and anti-life, plus a bunch of other uses of dualities that I care not to spoil for those who haven’t read the book yet), and I particularly loved the way that Ultraman and Superman were able to achieve their anti-matter explosion, via Ultraman’s age of blind rage mixing with Superman’s selfless act – that was beautiful.

I am thoroughly intrigued at the idea of who ARE the Monitors supposed to represent? Morrison certainly seems to be making a meta-fictional piece of writing with regards to the Monitors, but I’ll be damned if I could tell you who they are supposed to represent. Either writers or fans are the most likely choices (both use the power of their imaginations and both have a deep connection to the worlds that they follow, almost to the point of being like the “vampires” that the Monitors are), but I am unsure if either one follows all the way through, analogy-wise.

The 3-D portions of this issue made a lot more sense than #1, but I’ll be honest, I’d have just preferred to see the Mahnke art on its own rather than in murky 3-D.

The way Superman decided to carry the elixir was touching and awe-inspiring at the same time – this comic sure does spend a lot of time showing us how awesome Superman is!

I like the casual reference that all the fighting going on on the “main” Earth may, in fact, be currently echoed on the other 51 Earths, in that they are all may be having a “Crisis” at the same time.

I totally dug having to figure out which non-DC-owned Superman analogues Morrison was referring to earlier in the story (Supremo, Guardsman, etc.) and it was nice to see Icon mentioned.

Anyhow, I sure did love seeing the first (and possibly greatest) superhero fighting a bad guy with not just his fists, but with inspiration for stories written about Superman – I enjoyed the spotlighting of the importance of Superman.

In the end, this seems like a nice set-up for Mandrakk and Ultraman’s ultimate return to the series in the last issue. All these plot tie-ins do make me think that editorial notes might have actually worked well here (and in Final Crisis #6 and likely #7 where this story will intersect and affect the main Final Crisis series).

This comic may have been worth it just for seeing all the denizens of Limbo stand up for themselves!! What a cool scene.

This book is filled with cool comic book moments. Like Superman’s tombstone – awesome.

Definitely Recommended.

13 Comments

The artist goes way over the top with cross hatching sometimes, more often than not on Supermans face and neck (its all I could look at on the final page of FC 6, so very distracting!) Apart from that, good stuff.

I really loved this issue.
Superman as the guardian of all fiction: that’s an amazing idea.

On a related note, I know this is just wishful thinking, Brian, but can you get rid of the guy that does CBR’s Buy Pile? Every freaking week he puts down every Morrison comic that comes out saying its uncomprehensible: Batman, Final Crisis and now Superman Beyond.

It’s like he hates awesomeness!!

“Hate crime, meet selfless act”

Amazing issue. AMAZING. The nature of the Ultraman/Superman relationship has never been quite so poignant, and the way each character fulfilled their roles was just lovely.

It was just an incredible little story.

Genuinely touched by this, which I really wasn’t expecting after the first issue.

I’m desperate to love this, but i didn’t understand any of the finer points until reading them online. and it still confuses me a bit. it’s odd, because i love morrison’s Animal Man run.

Excellent issue. Comics as they should be. it was full of action, drama and high concept at the same time.

@The Dude: I agree about the buy pile. i understand that its just one man’s opinion, but that opinion seems terribly biased against anything that Morrison does. I admit that i’m a morrison fan, but i don’t love all of his work (e.g. Batman R.I.P.). But i do appreciate it when a writer does something unique and refreshing. Its not becoming of a reviewer to bash anyone’s work just because he/she cannot understand it.

Okay… Can someone fill me in now?
How does Superman’s story unfold through Final Crisis? Have I got this right?:

FC#1-3.
Then Superman Beyond 3D #1&2. T
HEN Final Crisis: Legon of Three Worlds #1-5,
THEN FC#6 (and presuambly #7?)

Or what?

As for “The Buy Pile”, even though I agree and disagree on a pretty much 50/50 basis with his choices, I stil read it every week. I think it helps to hear a different viewpoint sometimes. Though I am amazed that he’s actually allowed to read all these comics in-store… (That could actually be why he doesn’t like Morrison – you really can’t skim-read it…) Sometimes The Buy Pile helps swing me one way or another, depending on his review…

I’m not reading the Legion stuff and I’m doing fine.

[…] Superman Beyond #2 Review Comic Book Resources ,January 25, 2009 I loved the dualities set-up in this issue (Superman fighting for life against Mandrakk and anti-life, plus a bunch of other uses of dualities that I care … […]

Yeah, the Legion stuff seems 100% optional, and thank god. The only people who could possibly love that series are long-time Legion fans.

Omar Karindu, back from an Internet Thogal ritual

January 26, 2009 at 1:32 pm

I liked much of what went on and what was played with in Superman Beyond, but lord, I pity any poor fool trying to read just FC #1-7 thinking they’re getting a complete story.

I have been sucked into the FC vortex trying to figure all of this crap out (I’ve burned through FC, SB3D, Requiem, Resist, Legion of 3 Worlds, Revelations, and Secret Files)—but without reservation Superman Beyond 3D 1 and 2 are the most imaginative, coherent, poetically written, and artistically focused series of the FC canon.

I can’t help but think that FC are the books Morrison was obligated to write and SB3D 1 and 2 are the books he wanted to write!

“Two syllables, then the lightning. Repeat after me…”

Gives me chills every time.

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