Review: Superman Beyond 3D #2

by

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?

Yes.

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.

1stars.jpg

02/02