[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Geoff Johns
Illustrator: Gary Frank
Colors: Brad Anderson
While walking on the surface of Mars, Dr. Manhattan contemplates the changes to the DC timeline that he’s made as well as his mysterious vision of his upcoming confrontation with Superman.
Superman and Batman are injured and out of commission for the time being from the confrontation that occurred in Russia with Firestorm. Superman’s actions in Russia have been misinterpreted by many and anti-Superman sentiment has begun to rise. This causes political pressure in the White House and Russia to condemn metas across the world.
Half the DC Universe begin leaving Earth. Black Adam pays close attention as the news calls it a mass exodus. In reality, the meta-humans leaving Earth has nothing to do with politics. They are tracking the potential villain they believe was behind the attack in Russia.
When they arrive on Mars, they all come face-to-face with Dr. Manhattan, who shows very little concern for their presence.
Guy Gardner has had enough waiting and starts talking trash to before ultimately attacking Dr. Manhattan. But Dr. Manhattan’s response is fast and easy and triggers an all-out assault by the rest of the metas that are present.
As the battle rages on Mars, Wonder Woman is still on Earth and is set to speak to the United Nations about the worldwide political unrest. However, her speech is cut short when unexpected guests arrive.
There is quite a lot going on in this issue and all of it is fantastic.
To start Gary Frank’s artwork just gets better with every issue. The panels of the metas leaving Earth is stunning and epic in scope. When the action kicks in, Frank sticks to the nine-panel template but still manages to craft a fantastic battle scene on Mars without the use of large panels or a 2-page spread.
Once the characters land on Mars, Guy Gardner steals the show with both his banter with Jessica Cruz and his confrontation with Dr. Manhattan.
Geoff Johns doesn’t hold anything back in terms of homages either. One panel stood out in particular. Captain Atom takes the lead to attack and behind him is The Question. Captain Atom tells Question to “Get Beetle and get clear.” Anyone that know the history of Watchmen will be able to tell you that Captain Atom, The Question and Blue Beetle are the characters that were originally intended to be used in the Watchmen story. However, DC Comics was unwilling to let Alan Moore use them in a story that edgy, so Moore created Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach and Nite Owl accordingly.
I can honestly say I have nothing negative to say about this issue. Even the long wait for it was worth it. This issue has me salivating for the final three issues.
While the delays for this series have been unfortunate, I would rather those delays paired with a book of this quality over anything less and released on-time. This title and this particular issue is why I continue to collect comic books. It not only does fan-service with little Easter eggs such as Captain Atom confronting Dr. Manhattan, but it also gives us all something new and exciting.
When it’s all said and done, I believe this will be considered one of the best limited series of the last ten years. I cannot wait to see how it all ends and how the ending affects the entire DC Universe going forward. I feel when Rebirth came out it was such a great feeling as a comic reader, then for some reason it seems as if DC has abandoned any of the goals set forth by Rebirth and have steered many characters in an unappealing direction. I’m hoping that this is all intentional and the ending of this series is designed to make everything right again, especially for Superman and Wally West… and who doesn’t want to see the return of the Justice Society?
For as long as I have been reviewing comics, I don’t believe I have not given a perfect score. I’m reluctant to do it since everything can be improved to some degree. But I’m happy to say, I feel like I have to give this issue a perfect score, it was excellent.