Your enjoyment of “The Great Ten” #3 will largely rest on how interested you are in seeing a Chinese combination of Superman and Captain Marvel. The characterization of Thundermind is not original, nor is it meant to be taken as such. Quite clearly modeled on Superman, the narration on the first page even says, “He is China’s own Superman, and yet he, too, knows that he is not unique…” But, does this level of awareness make the unoriginality of Thundermind more palatable or entertaining? Again, that depends on how amusing you find it.
Like the previous two issues, this one continues the plot of a group of Chinese deities returning to reassert their influence after an incident in Tibet and coming up against the Great Ten. Spotlighting Thundermind here is smart as he hasn’t been in the conflict to date, which means he hasn’t fallen on either side yet as some members of the Great Ten have defected and sided with the gods. Thundermind, however, sticks with his Superman role and defends Beijing (his Metropolis) from an attack by Kuan Ti, the god of war. What ensues is fairly standard, but competent fight between the two as Thundermind runs through his array of superpowers in an effort to stop the violent god.
Thundermind’s patterning on Superman is evident throughout, from his alter-ego’s love triangle with a woman and his super-powered self, his goal being to protect and inspire others to aspire to be more than they are, his humility, and his acquiescence to the status quo. His transformation occurs by saying a magical phrase in one of the more absurd and stupefying aspects of the character (apparently, the phrase brings enlightenment automatically and, yet, he never tells anyone else it). Even the end of the issue is patterned on Superman’s adventures in the most obvious of ways.
The advancement of the larger plot here is minimal, but the pacing is effective since Bedard’s technique of shifting the focus from character to character each issue gives the impression of more happening that what actually transpires. The only blatant stalling effect in this issue is Thundermind learning the true nature of the gods and, then, not saying what it is.
Using thick, blocky, minimalist lines, Scott McDaniel’s art gives off both a dynamic energy and a sense of lazy incompleteness. Pages look like they were drawn as quickly as possible with the only concern being that the essential information of each panel be communicated with little regard for how the drawing actually looks aesthetically. Characters look incomplete and rushed, crammed together in places, and not entirely dissimilar. However, that adherence to simplicity also makes this is very understandable and easy to read comic. At no point is the art confusing or misleading and the action flows quite strongly.
For some, “The Great Ten” #3 will seem like a ‘fun’ comic thanks to its purposeful patterning of Thundermind on Superman in virtually every detail (even the choice of occupation as a school teacher suggests numerous similarities to a journalist), but it is too purposeful to be anything except cute and somewhat misguided.