Faith. As the late George Michael sang, you got to have it. Superman has it is spades. Faith is probably Superman’s greatest power. The faith he has in his colleagues, his Trinity and the faith he inspires in everyone else. It may also be a bigger weakness than Kryptonite.
The Leaguers are way out of their depth. Having fought battle upon battle against Barbatos only to lose, debilitating their spirits, Wonder Woman manages to rescue Superman allowing him to witness the dark infested world. It is no big surprise that Superman decides to take the battle to Gotham, which may not have been the best idea. Still, if you have been following the one-shot books, you will not be surprised how he is again rescued. From there its “exposition explanation time” as the group regroups in an alternative pocket dimension with Kendra, Mister Terrific, Doctor Fate and the Plastic Man egg along with the Gotham resistance. It is from here that the question of faith starts to germinate, with Superman firmly believing in Bruce setting up the next course of action for the last remaining heroes of Earth.
Scott Snyder’s writing is as wordy as ever, But somehow, it is exactly what this event needs. The first two issues were effectively setup; if you include the preludes we have had four such issues. The tie-in’s act as battles in a war, with the one-shots being origins of the dark Batman / pick-a-hero creations of the dark multiverse. This then leaves the main book to focus on the main thrust of the story. This issue acts as the start of the transition, where the heroes start their fight back. Snyder shows some great nuance in this book, including a Batman ’66 nod.
For all the pomp and circumstances in the book, it was a panel with Superman and Robin that showed how great Snyder can be and also how much I miss a true Batman and Robin book. With that said, there is still curious happenstances; Deathstroke appearing being the main culprit. I have gone back and looked for the corresponding tie-in and haven’t managed to find it yet. Its one thing using the same method for getting the heroes together, but to just assume that the reader will just know how he got there somehow discredits the rest of the tie-in setups.
Greg Capullo seems to be having fun, at least in the opening act of this book. The concert is a well choreographed piece that brings smiles to a story that has been sorely lacking some fun. That however doesn’t last long before we are back in the dark upon dark nightmare world. To me, this story caters to a Capullo that is recognisable from his Spawn days. That’s not a bad thing; there are loads of people who love that book. I also think, that through this book we get to see how Capullo’s art has changed. There are some solid action pieces, demon and more demons and the talking piece that he will have developed during his New 52 in on Batman, resisting the urge to make everything action orientated. Camera angles and panel design show a true appreciation of what his writing foil in Snyder, is trying to achieve. The colors provided by FCB Plascencia are perfect, from the terrible dark cities to the tavern, everything works. Also on top form is letterer Steve Wands who has a lot to contend with various voices throughout.
This issue is something of a return to form, after the debacle that is Batmanium. It seems that all of us, not just Superman, needs to have faith. This issue may well be that start of having that faith repaid.
Writing – 4 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Letters – 5 Stars
Written by; Scott Snyder
Art by; Greg Capullo with Jonathan Glapion
Colors by; FCB Plascencia
Letters by; Steve Wands
Published by; DC Comics