WTF?  Seriously, WTF?

Yes, this image makes no sense, just like this issue

I’ve let grant morrison run amok in the DC Universe for over a year now without condemning him as a mad man. I’ve questioned his methods, his writing, and his message, but never thought of calling the men in the white coats to haul him away for a serious examination of his head. After reading Superman Beyond 3D #2, I’m looking for a nut house that has an opening.

supermanbeyond2cover.jpgRemember Countdown Arena, that spin-off mini-series spewed forth from the Countdown series, that pitted the Multiverse’s greatest heroes against one another?  Remember how there was a promise that somehow the events of that mini-series would tie back into Countdown to help answer many of the questions?  Remember how it really didn’t?  That’s exactly what Superman Beyond 3D is all about; the promise of something that never really delivers, or contributes to the greater Final Crisis story.  It’s more of a side jaunt, that scenic tour promised by the Highway Department that leads you way off track with nothing to show but an engraved stone by the side of the road.

This story takes place before Dark Side takes over Earth, and seeing as how there is only one issue left, it would really suck to have Mandrakk (a vampire Monitor) be revealed as the big bad.  It will be a terrible waste, and will cause the majority of readers to throw up their hands in disgust.  Vampire Monitors?  Vampire Ultraman?  Mecha Superman fighting a giant vampire who gets defeated, only to return a few pages later as the all powerful vampire monitor once again?  Gimme a break.  You would have thought DC would have seen the writing on the wall months ago when Batman & Superman tried to take on Vampires and Werewolves.  I hope to Jeebus the vampire thing isn’t the direction DC is moving to over the next year.

Comics should be fun, not a college lecture on the duality of man.  morrison is neither Jung or Buddha, so trying to interject the Yin-Yang symbolism as Doctor Manhattan Captain Adam smashes Ultraman and Superman into one another to send them to a higher level, is going to go way over most readers heads.  I appreciate that morrison is trying to elevate the DC heroes to the level of gods, but he’s really doing it in a way that smacks of those college freshman who try to impress their instructors with their wealth of knowledge by only citing Wikipedia.  Yeah, we get it, you’re trying to be cleaver – whoop d’freaking do!

Is there a story there?

Kind of.

Superman does find a way to bring the cure to the injured Lois Lane, and does it in a way that hearkens back to the days of Superman flying into the Sun to clean his uniform.  If readers are hoping this ties back into Superman’s appearance in the far future as seen in Final Crisis #6, you’re going to have to wait until the end of Legion of Three Worlds to see if all the Final Crisis issues do actually tie in with one another.

Certainly, that 3D stuff rocks, right?

Oh god no.

3D was introduced to the movies at at time when the movie industry was struggling under the competition from television.  Studios tried to come up with all sorts of gimmicks to get people back into the theaters and paint television as the inferior product.  Granted, anamorphic, Cinemascope, and surround sound came from these desperate times, but 3D was nothing but hokum.

Years later, when television faced the same crisis, as videotape made inroads into the home, stations began airing 3D movies in an attempt to get people to turn on the boob tube to enjoy commercial filled dreck that used to run in the theaters.  Watching comics bring this gimmick back (again), only shows how desperate companies are becoming in order to attract readers.

Some of you may be old enough to remember Count Floyd from SCTV.  He would host cheesy horror movies on Monster Chiller Horror Theater and would throw popcorn at the screen or move his fingers to and from the camera saying “oh, look at these special effects!”  I swear that is the first thought that popped into my head when the issue flipped to the 3D gimmick as Mecha-Superman reaches out to the readers.

I know the creators of this mini-series are trying to use 3D as a way of showing the hyper-realism of the monitor’s world, but it comes off as pure cheese.

Is there anything that is actually good in this issue?


I like how morrison is pulling in characters that originated with other companies before being bought out by DC (Doctor Manhattan Captain Adam inspired by Captain Atom, which was a Charlton Comics creations, Captain Marvel originally owned by Fawcett Comics, and so on) as it serves as an homage to those companies that came before and that have contributed so much to DC’s current status.

The moment where the Overman comes to grips with his role in Nazi Germany winning World War II, again shows the inner struggle between the hero and the villain very much like the criticism Jung faced during the 30’s and 40’s as he befriended both Jews and Nazis during the war.

I really liked what Superman engraved on his tombstone.  Here, readers know that no matter what happens in morrison’s world, the tales we love will always go on, with a new story waiting us next time.

Do you need to read this two-issue mini in order to appreciate Final Crisis? god I hope not.  Everything that we have seen released thus far doesn’t indicate it is important, which is why this may be one of the better morrison DC stories of the year.  Floating in limbo (literally), morrison is able to stretch his legs and experiment with different ideas and conflicts, while playing with DC’s legendary character (and all the characters inspired by him).  The 3D gimmick doesn’t work here, and the Final Crisis banner is about as accurate as Countdown Arena.  All in all, this is probably a good morrison mini-series, but in light of all the other promises tossed nonchalantly our way, this series fails on so many levels.  There’s going to be a whole lot of head scratching going on, and a lot of “WTFs?”, which ultimately leads me to give Superman Beyond 3D #2 a 1 Star Rating.



The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. Randallw
    January 23, 2009 at 5:36 am — Reply

    I actually got Arena. It was the series that gave me a lesson that just because I started to get an interesting sounding series didn’t mean I had to keep getting it. I realised after it finished though and I’d sell the damn things if I thought anyone had the slightest interest in having them.

    Now I’ve been getting Final Crisis and the other day my box had part 1 of this 3D extravaganza. I had no idea about it but my friend behind the counter pointed out ‘look it’s great the Dr Manhattan expy is a drug addict’. Well it also had Uberman so why not I thought. I take my comics home, I don’t read them much until I have sat down comfortably, and went through them. The 3D stuff was different I’ll admit, my nephew told me to take off the funny glasses as I’m the only family member beside him who doesn’t wear any, but once I’d read it I thought ‘what a piece of crap’. I was wondering if it was worth bothering with the second issue. Thanks for the review, I won’t.

  2. Ricco
    January 23, 2009 at 9:16 am — Reply

    The worst part is that it DOES link to Final Crisis (not too much thank God), the monitor with Metron was cast out because the evil monitor saw him as a threat. So at least that is finally explained… otherwhise it looked like a bad acid trip.

    I liked arena if only for the Bruce Wayne Green Lantern.

  3. David
    January 23, 2009 at 9:34 am — Reply

    Wow…. I really don’t understand the apparent embracing of the Screw Continuity concept by DC. I still have some vague hope that this and Final Crisis will have some point to it and I’ll be able to ooooh/ahhhhh like a Wheel of Fortune audience, but…yeah. It’s not going to happen, is it?

  4. January 23, 2009 at 10:49 am — Reply

    A waste of money if you were looking for a real Final Crisis tie-in. Agree with the review that Morrison was trying waaaay too hard with this one. Was this story just a way to take Supes off the table during Final Crisis (so others could step up/get the spotlight)?

  5. Graciela
    January 23, 2009 at 11:40 am — Reply

    I bought the first issue of SB and after this review and countless of confused threads on the DC boards, I am staying far away from issue 2. I hated the 3-D effects from the first issue and as much as I don’t like FC proper and find it confusing, it isn’t the massive acid trip that SB is. I bought it because people kept telling me that it was a real tie-in like Submit and Resist. But this far into the series, I have to say that it seems like all the tie-ins have nothing to do with FC proper because the events in them are never addressed (millions of OMACs activated, so where are they?). Not in any compelling way.

    And regardless of what GM fans and apologists say about the series, I agree with you in that it should be fun, not some college thesis that requires a complete encyclopedia knowledge of philosophy and the DCU. Maybe GM wants to change the way comics are written the way Moore and Miller did, but I think a good number of people go to comics because it’s smart AND fun. Maybe those apologists get off on feeling smarter than everyone else but who wants to go into James Joyce territory when dealing with an alien from Krypton and the world going to heck with a few words and mathematical symbols? Oh yes, and VAMPIRES!!!

  6. ~wyntermute~
    January 23, 2009 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    “And regardless of what GM fans and apologists say about the series, I agree with you in that it should be fun, not some college thesis that requires a complete encyclopedia knowledge of philosophy and the DCU.”

    DING! You win a cookie. I have a B.A. in English and Psychology (I’m not trying to brag, but rather say that I’m “his audience”), and if I wanted to use it, I would pick up some heavily ponderous tome with few illustrations and fantastic amounts of symbolism and symbology and symbiosis and all sorts of words starting with “sym-“. BUT I WANT FUN WHEN I READ MY COMICS!!!! Some things CAN be smart and fun, but it is a tricky balance. G-Mo seems to lean too heavily on all his “eccentric background knowledge”, and expects us to go “ooooh! ain’t he one o’ dem smert fellas!”. Sorry G-Mo. I put down my dollars for “entertainment”. I already have a massive student loan that I devoted to “education”.

    P.S.: Countdown Arena hurt my very soul, that’s how bad I thought it was.

  7. RichT
    January 24, 2009 at 11:43 am — Reply

    Wow! I am so surprised by this review and the comments that followed it…

    This was a great book.

    How did anyone miss back in Final Crisis proper why Nix was framed and removed as a Monitor? Did he not see Omaga talking to someone informing them that he had and that things were in motion?

    This issue answered the plot threads opened in the 1st issue and some that are going on in FC. It also helps set up issue #7 of FC. Nice work I thought. The ART was great! I love Mahnke’s ART!

    I don’t have a B.A. in English and Psychology (just one in Finance and international business relations) and have been able to follow FC and FC: SB just fine. In fact my 15 and 17 year old sons are following it without a hitch and loving it. They are new to comic books; they started collecting this past spring when we discovered an LCS in our area (Joe’s comics in Geneseo, NY). If they didn’t know a character they consult the DC Universe encyclopedia or Wikipedia. Neither was interested in Secret Invasion both looked at in but found that it lacked what interests them.

    For the fist 3 issues of FC we spiraled down emotionally and hit rock bottom with #4 like we were supposed to. Issue #5 saw the first real lights of hope and #6 saw the climactic battle and dramatic wounding (or semi-death, look up Omega Sanction on Wiki if you don’t know what I am talking about) of a legendary Hero. This is a real crisis on the level of COIE, which got me into really collecting comics. This and FC have been very entertaining reads!

  8. ~wyntermute~
    January 24, 2009 at 3:45 pm — Reply

    I seriously hope that “B.A.” thing was not a personal shot. I dunno, maybe I’m just being sensitive, but you could have explained your educational background without citing mine. *shrug* Meh. I am glad you are enjoying this, and so are your kids. Just remember that not everybody is the same, and we are _all_ entitled to our opinions. What you see as “great and entertaining” some of us do not. As the expression goes, “your mileage may vary”. After all, “I can’t understand why Hollywood blockbusters make money”, but that’s just my opinion and I am entitled to voice it without being shouted down as a moron, no? Again, you may find it entertaining, but we are not all you. So, like, don’t get all “How did anyone miss [whatever]? WTF is wrong with you?” It borders on insulting and/or demeaning. :) You too are entitled to your opinion, but there are better ways to state it than the one you seem to have adopted.

  9. RichT
    January 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm — Reply

    ~wyntermute~ the B. A. thing was not a personal shot. I don’t know you and would not use a post to take personal shots on people. Just a little bit of humor. Anyone, regardless of education is in Grant Morrison’s audience. He doesn’t write them just for the college educated. This was turely my point in bringing up that my sons are reading and enjoying the series and tie-ins.

    You are correct that we are all entitled to our opinions. That is why we post, so we can express our opinion. This series has generated a wide range of opinions and if one finds a statement that they don’t agree with then some may be compelled to counter it by stating theirs as I did with mine here.

    My statement of incredulity over people missing the stuff in FC#1 dealing with Nix, was me expressing my frustration and not ment to insult those that missed it. If you or anyone else takes it as an insult that is your opinion of my presentation and you are entitled to it but again that was not my intention.

    I suggest to everyone who has invested money and time in this event to re-read issues 1-6 before #7 comes out. Heck if you have the tie-in’s I would read submit, resist, SB1 and SB2 before #7 comes out too. This series demands multiple reads, which to me (my opinion) isn’t a bad thing. I feel that I am getting my monies worth with every re-read I find something new or just a clarification of something that happened and might not have understood the first time.

    Again no personal shot to anyone just an expression of an opinion.

  10. RichT
    January 24, 2009 at 5:04 pm — Reply

    No edit button, the statement below is the edited version of the fifth sentence that I wrote above.

    This was turely my point in bringing up our education level and that my sons are reading and enjoying the series and tie-ins.

  11. Ricco
    January 24, 2009 at 6:40 pm — Reply

    @RichT: if you read as much comics has I do (and I’m guessing most other who post on the site) you’d feel the whole “F continuity” that has been attached to almost everything having to do with Final Crisis or the DCU in general(Marvel events may be crap but they follow contuinity). Which makes this issue that has even MORE continuity problems (and is filled with “who?”, “what? and “WTF?) then the main thing impossible to be enjoyable by the regular readers.

    And as my post 5 spots above your’s prooves I got the whole monitor getting cast out thing, but it adds background story to something that really didn’t need it.

    But you enjoy it and that’s great! Heck, someone had to. I loved Batman: Hush, were no one else seemed to. How does the saying goes? When it comes to tastes and colors there are no rules… or something like that.

  12. RichT
    January 24, 2009 at 8:05 pm — Reply


    Ya got me there. I read Hush in trade and thought it was just a little thin but not as awful as it was made out to be.

    How many would I have to read monthly to catch continuity errors?
    What continuity issues am I missing?

    I wouldn’t buy crap just because the continuity was spot on. That makes no sense to me. Story is key

    It’s like coke vs pepsi or mc donalds vs burger king.. DC vs Marvel. Fanboy wars. In the end you read what you like and you eat/drink what you like.

  13. ~wyntermute~
    January 24, 2009 at 10:10 pm — Reply

    As a friend of mine would say, ’tis all good in the hood, blood. B-)

  14. Patrick
    January 25, 2009 at 11:53 pm — Reply

    OMG…3D House of Beef from SCTV!

    Thank you for reminding me of that. :P

  15. Patrick
    January 25, 2009 at 11:59 pm — Reply

    Also, love Morrison and loved Seven Soldiers. I am hoping for the same payoff (and re-reading) from Final Crisis.

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