Well, that final sequence sure whetted everyone’s appetite for a full issue of Doug Mahnke, no?
Another great issue, although the art could certainly be better (and it will be next issue – woohoo!).
Throughout the series, Morrison has been using what I’ve been calling a “pointillist” style, where he shows a quick scene here, a quick scene there, all so you get an overlying sense of universal dread. In this issue, he picks up the shifts quickly, forming an almost staccato storytelling rhythm.
This is particularly noted by the artist changes – Carlos Pacheco and Marco Rudy are clearly pressed for time on their pages, so they are not all that great, but the major scenes in the issue are done extremely well, art-wise, like the JG Jones fight scenes between Talky Tawny and Kalibak and the Supergirl/Mary Marvel fight. Plus, of course, the aforementioned dramatically awesome ending to the issue as Superman shows up too late for the big Batman/Darkseid confrontation.
Greg already wrote about the awesome Batman/Darkseid fight, but suffice to say, it is, you know, awesome. What’s especially neat is that JG Jones and Morrison made an explicit point of showing Batman putting the bullet that killed Orion into his belt, so it makes sense that he’d have access to it (Morrison, in a surprising piece of “hitting us over the head with it,” even mentioned the bullet again in the Last Rites story). So yeah, Batman going past his vow never to use a gun to kill someone to shoot Darkseid? That’s a damn cool comic book moment. Speaking of setting up future stories, I love how Morrison used the Omega Sanction already in Mister Miracle during the Seven Soldiers storyline, so he has already set up Batman’s return – it just won’t be for quite a time, I’m sure. I like that he’s not seriously telling the reader that Batman is dead – although Superman, et al don’t KNOW about the Omega Sanction, so they think he IS dead. That’s clever. Since Darkseid died before the Omega Sanction hit Batman, I presume that’s why Batman has a body (usually the Omega Sanction would not leave a body) for everyone to mourn – ANOTHER reason why they won’t expect his return from the Omega Sanction (how many times am I going to say Omega Sanction? Who knows?!?).
I loved the little bits with the Japanese heroes (“Ask her out before the final battle” “Ask him out if we survive the final battle” – that was a cute scene) and Amazing Super-Bat’s power is great.
So, to recap…
– A lot of exposition, but delivered in a dramatic way, so it doesn’t read too much like straightforward exposition
– A lot of great fight scenes
– An amazing final confrontation between two of the most popular DC characters
– A staccato storytelling style leading towards the (I’m sure it will be) crazy finale next issue
– Superman showing up in a rage to find Batman’s “dead body.”