Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Bullet Review: Death Metal Last Stories Of The DC Universe

You know that DC has kind of lost me when I have had no interest in the latest Crisis-level event redefining the universe.

Redefining the DC Universe ... again. Hard to imagine but I think this is the 4th reboot (or Rebirth) since the beginning of this site! Insanity.

What's worse is this all started out as a trippy big story in Scott Snyder's Justice League. I actually liked the early issues of that title as it was like truly cosmic ideas impacting the Earth. These were monumental ideas, almost too big for my wee mind to comprehend. But because it was so insane, I actually liked the ride.

Three years later, we are adding even more inscrutable into a dizzier mess. Toss in The Batman who Laughs (so wonderfully called The Batman Who Bores by friend Mart Gray) and it became a massive disaster. When the big payoff turned out to be a rope-a-dope lead-in to Death Metal, I dropped the book.

Seriously, I felt like I had been sold a bill of goods. There was never going to be a conclusion in JLA. So my allowing the story elements to wash over me, thinking I would get answers, turned out to be DC soaking me.

So here we are, Death Metal seems to be interminable. But now we are getting all these one shots as the universe dies. Why is it dying? How is dying? Do people on Earth know its dying? It seems so because we hear half the world is in anarchy, the other half hunkered down with loved ones. 

Anyways, the heroes are off on a suicide mission, one that sounds definitively suicidal. So what does Superman do on his last day? Let's say that Mark Waid and Francis Manapul give us a great story which once again defines who Superman is.

The mission is starting soon and Superman wonders whether he should be spending time with his family or if he should be helping humanity as a whole.

He decides to do both. Using Kryptonian tech and pieces of Jon's smashed time bubble, he creates a device that lets him go back in time one hour. 

But if he can use it once, why not more than once. He keeps replaying this one hour, in theory making countless versions of himself acting in those 60 minutes.

At last he can truly be everywhere at once.

And we see him helping, writ both big and small.

Giving wealth to the poor and setting up a field of solar power collectors.

Saving people from falling bridges.

But also comforting those alone and dying.

I mean, this is the epitome of Superman. He is there to help.

Here, like in All Star Superman, we see him stopping someone from killing themselves. Such a powerful last panel, this man looking incredibly at Superman as if he can't believe that a hero would stop to save him. 

And we get this tender moment of his saying goodbye to Supergirl. You can only see half of Supergirl's face but Manapul shows us her anguish.

As always, this story would have felt wrong if we didn't see Supergirl. She is his family too. He should take the time to find her and say goodbye.

We also see him say goodbye to Jimmy and Perry. Nice touch there too.

Superman repeats that hour thousands of time. People need hope.

I remember way back in Alan Moore's Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, Superman's arrival to places was described as a blur of purple, the red and blue of his costume blending from the speed.

Here we see that played out. There are so many iterations of this Superman in this hour, that the world is a purple blur. Brilliant coloring choices by Manapul who did both pencils and colors.

Finally the time machine breaks. This is truly his last hour. And so he spends it with his family making the most of the time they have left.

Nice insets of those who also help others, even in this time of Crisis.

The whole thing is a wonderful love letter to Superman who has to carry the burden of looking after everyone while caring for himself. He inspires. 

But no surprise. Waid gets Superman.

I hope he gets to write on ongoing Superman book soon. 

I've always been a fan of Manapul. He does a great job here. I am used to his more loose, breathy pencil style than this more inked style. And the expressive work is top notch.

And I know I see things I shouldn't. This Manapul panel is just Superman flying up but it reminded me of this Bill Sienkiewicz cover of History of the DC Universe. That is a good thing.

Overall grade for story: A

1 comment:

arw1985 said...

I'm getting the event (most of it anyway) and I'm waiting for it to end. I did want to read this issue though. Good stuff on Superman and the Titans. That Green Arrow/Black Canary story was sweet too.