If you've read any DC Comics this week, or even flipped through a DC comic, but didn't "read" it, you know what happens here. Pretty crappy move on DC's part in my opinion. What if I read "Brightest Day" before this issue? This issue would have been spoiled. Luckily, that wasn't the reading order I selected, and I was rewarded with a shocker in this issue.
Everything changes right here. Superman, Supergirl, Zod, Ursa, and Non -- everyone's life changes.
The opening salvo in the "100 Minute War" is a loud one. This issue is billed as #1 of four, but the story began in the Free Comic Book Day #0 issue (although argument could be made that it started even earlier than that). As such, this issue is extremely dense, with much of the action already set in motion. Robinson and Gates are writing a story bigger than an issue, and they succeed in making this issue feel big.
The interplay between Alura and Supergirl seems a bit severe and heavy-handed, moreso once the entire issue is read. The four silent pages of Superman searching for -- and finding -- his cousin are touching and smartly concocted, especially since the impetus for those pages is beyond words.
Jamal Igle is a natural for the corner of the DC Universe that belongs to Superman and family. His heroes are heroic without being unbelievable while his backgrounds and environments are cleanly rendered with a high level of detail. Blond contributes a vibrant color palette overtop Igle's and Sibal's artwork (the tandem, more than once, achieve a style that is reminiscent of Jerry Ordway) that is made more stunning in the power discharge from Reactron.
While I enjoyed this issue quite a bit more than the Free Comic Book Day issue, I am concerned that readers attempting to buy into this book with issue #1 might feel jilted once they realize that this story attempts to move forward with no set-up whatsoever. Still, I'm interested to see where this story goes from here. The odds aren't exactly in Superman's favor, but based on this issue, it appears as though Robinson and Gates intend to deliver a few surprises as the "100 Minute War" proceeds apace.
I would like to applaud DC's decision to make this title a $2.99 comic, in a day and age when it seems as though the event books can garner $4 or even $5 per copy. True, that doesn't make the story any more decipherable, but it does give readers a stronger chance to be able to afford a complete miniseries.