Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Superman Beyond #2 Recap/Review/Theories
* Prepare to be assaulted by epicness to your brain.
** Partial recap, also part review, opinions and theories, feel free to comment on your ideas.
Now this lives up to it's name and the hype. This is the real Final Crisis.
All that mindfuck ultra-epicness of ninja proportions unimaginable is in this book.
I don't get it(not the issue). Final Crisis is so small and rushed yet these two issues, especially this one is so fucking massive. I probably am completely wrong about what happened in this issue but what I get from it is that like Grant Morrison said, the DC Universe or DC Multiverse is alive and lives off the stories written by DC writers. It's very metatextual.
I believe what Morrison gets at is there is a universe where the multiverse exists and in that multiverse are further universes - 52 of them.
In this universe, or multiverse - where there is good, there is evil. And in this specific multiverse there is ultimate good - Superman and there is ultimate evil - Mandrakk. This idea that everything was born from Superman(metatextually the DCU, since Action #1 essentially created the DCU) is still in place. And even more I think(I may be wrong) but within the story Superman was 'created' for this very moment. To save the multiverse and reality. Either specifically this moment, or just be the ultimate hero.
The story itself begins in Limbo with Ultraman having the infinite book and discovering there is an ultimate evil threat. Mandrakk. Superman being the ultimate tough hero there is, sees it as a challenge. I think Mandrakk woke because Ultraman saw him, sort of wishing him into existence in this universe where the monitors live where anything is possible.
Zillo Valla the monitor has has grabbed this team of Superman from across the multiverse helps Billy Batson remember the word. In this scene Overman - the Nazi superman says she's a vampire and he doesn't want her to deceive them any further and she must be killed.
In Limbo a MASSIVE war is happening between the forgotten and the phantom armies who "are yet to be". Captain Atom starts discovering things such as the fact they are so small but they matter greatly. Superman doesn't care, he;ll do anything, he just wants to save Lois.
Ultraman wants to take the Monitor's ship "the Ultima Thule" and use it to let everyone else in the multiverse learn about it. Superman of course says he'll have to go through him first and if they touch, they annihilate each other.
Captain Marvel returns, the Fawcett Marvel. He mentions how the story they saw in the book showed that the monitors had a weapon against Mandrakk. Superman tries to get Captain Atom to help and he starts becoming 'self aware', enlightened to imagination and suddenly he can replicate himself infinitely. He starts to learn that the weapon is a thought robot that activates with massive energy caused by a collison of symmetries. Superman and Ultraman in this case.
All Superman needs is a single drop of refined bleed from the monitor world for Lois and he doesn't care what it takes.
Captain Marvel says how the book said "ultimate evil is ultimate good" "the most despised will save the most beloved" which leads to a cool moment of a giant Captain Atom saying "Hate crime, meet selfless act" and clashing both Ultraman and Superman together. Which leads to a massive unimaginbale big bang type explosion with energy that we couldn't comprehend with only Atom holding the power under control.
It's hard describing this story literally because it comes across as 'metaphysical science fiction poetry'. The weapon is unleashed and it's Superman with the Orrary armor. When Superman wakes, it's epic, it's almost spiritual. He's in another world. A place beyond, space, time, reality. it kind of looks like Gondor and Rivendell from The Lord of the Rings movies mixed together. With a light sand brown hue.
A monitor I believe being Zillo Valla explains that one of the monitors named Dax novu left a living weapon. A thought robot capable of adapting to any threat. A sentinel suit designed to fight the ultimate enemy.
Reading the next parts is fucking my brain. But it is awesome. Superman says he wakens in a body of pure thought. The way it's drawn, it's similar to when Neo becomes one with the Matrix at the end of the movie, like he's ascended to a higher plane. You can hear the electronic synth music as if it were a film. It looks amazing. He looks amazing. The rusty, mechanical almost steam punk look of Superman's sentinel suit. Epic, beautiful stuff. Mahnke is going to be a superstar.
Superman and Weeja Dell walk though a cemetary into a courtyard. This double splash page is a double splash page of awesomeness. Remember in The Two Towers when it shows the future scenes of Arwen mourning the loss of Aragorn. That architecture with the wind and leaves blowing. Similar to that. Fuck, I don't even know how to explain this. Superman talks about how he saw the monitors at the end of the book, the book which holds every book written. Basically this is the final chapter.
Superman says the Monitors were numberless and faceless until exposure to the struggles of human life changed their nature. Superman now massive says poetically about the Monitors "Until narratives formed around them, like crystals in solution. Incredible. I'm walking among primal forms in a fundamental world."
Fuck, this is epic. Everthing I used to imagination about Revelations and how it just wasn't big enough, this takes the cake, this is huge. It's also 'out there'.
The Monitors realize they fucked up, Weeja says how they exiled Nix unfairly. A monitor mentions "how can our judgment be wrong?" Basically nothing makes sense anymore. They realize somehing afoul is afoot. Superman sees bleed is being siphoned towards a monument. "I feel a chill as the story grows into place around me."
The doors open and Superman sees the Orrary of worlds...in a shattered jar. Dying.
Shown on panel are what look like zombie Monitors. One of them mentions how they shunned 'him'. Because he showed their true faces.
It's there where Superman realizes that the entire multiverse is prey to celestial parasites. "Vampire Gods!". A panel shows a monitor with a vampire face upside down holding onto one of the planets in the orrary, they look the same as normal monitors, just with campire like fangs and faces that look like they're on crack. This upside down fuck mentions how they took Nix out of the picture who was the one who could stop them and now his brother(Mandrakk for the stupid) wakes.
The coloring here is beautiful, in fact the whole thing is beautiful but these pages where Superman wears the suit. Amazing.
Superman's dialogue in this is mythic. Lord of the Rings esque, fittingly if it's the Lord of the Rings of the DCU. "This is it. The first outcast rises from reeking shadows of neglect, self-loathing and rage, speaking my name as I speak his" "Mandrakk".
In a full splash page. Mandrakk. A mix between a Monitor, a Vampire and a Giger alien. About the same size as Superman. He is holding the elixir of bleed which superman wants to save Lois. But apparently only monitors can use it. He says all he has to do is take it from him. Of course Superman being the hero he is tells the monitors to get out of there and he'll deal with Mandrakk. It shows again why Superman is the ultimate mythic superhero, why he's beyond Hercules, Jesus or anyone in myth. Because he just doesn't give up and here he is taking on the end of everything, because his wife is in danger and people's lives are in danger. Even if he didn't have the suit, he'd still fight. He has no fear. The way it's drawn, written, I think this New Earth characterization of Superman that Morrison writes is even better than the All Star Superman he writes.
They fight. And I mean they really fight. But Grant Morrison style. In caption Superman yells how he's in a self-assembling hyper story. Yes, the Morrison elements are at their ultimate here. The fight itself is epic, amazingly drawn. Both fight with Energy powers, Supes with his heat vision, Mandrakk with lightning from his hands and white lightning from his eyes. I can't get over how it's drawn, the lightning around Mandrakk with Superman in front of him.
The fight continues with Superman falling to the ground but of course not giving up. It's here that Zillo Valla says that Mandrakk is using them to believe him into existence. But in one of the best most mythic things i've heard in comics, she says that deep within the germworlds(the multiverse worlds) she found a "better story; one created to be unstoppable, indestructible! The story of a child rocketed to Earth from a doomed planet..." Mandrakk destroys her when he starts to realize, that he killed Zillo Valla, his lover. So Zillo Valla was using the Superman to set free or create Mandrakk but then she pulls this idea of the eternal story of Superman. So I don't really get what was happening. But it does hit you how this is metatextual that within this Universe Superman cannot be beaten, his story is myth and unstoppable because that's how it is in our world.
Superman screams at Mandrakk and they fight, Mandrakk blaming Superman. In a panel we see white light(the fight between Superman) basically engulfing the monitor city. The Monitor world or universe is like a place of dreams, where everything from imagination; art, architecture are part of the city.
Supes and Mandrakk continue to fight, destroying everything around them. The stronger Mandrakk gets, the stronger Hulk gets...I mean Superman. Mandrakk tries to get past Superman to destroy the Orrarry but Supes doesn't let him pass. He is more determined about stopping him than anything he's ever done, as if he was meant for this.
Superman starts beating Mandrakk with heat vision when he says that he knows that he is "part of monitor(no grammar error) that felt contaminated by the multiverse". He is Dax Novu, the greatest of the monitors. Supes shoots him off a ledge into white nothingness. It suddenly starts to get into this idea that everything is Monitor, and with Mandrakk thrown off the ledge Monitor forgets Mandrakk.
With Superman victorious, he stands in front of his tombstone, a referential one that may be his one day. A dream of sorts. He incribes his epitah on it. A monitor tells him that the elixir cannot be taken out of their world but Supes says he'll find a way.
Superman seperates from Ultraman and they both fall through the multiverse back into the void where Mandrakk's Destroyer is. And Supes, Overman and Captain marvel set about destroying it's missiles. Sounds simple but I can't even explain how the dialogue works or how it's set. This is some of the most mindfuck shit i've read.
Ultraman plummets into a void with Mandrakk, who promptly corrupts him, turning him into a "Terror Knight" a "vampire superman".
Mandrakk in Gigerish form says the whole of existence is in a book and when he returns, Superman will be at his weakest, and when all hope is lost. He will come, with armies of millions. So what we can take from this is that everything is manipulated and not even Darkseid knows what's coming, at the end of things, mandrakk will show up to completely fuck everyone over.
Back in Metropolis, Superman reappears at the hospital and mentions how they said nothing can hold bleed, but they were wrong. Superman can. he kisses Lois and she's back to normal. She says she had a dream where she saw things, in a deep dark place and saw his tombstone. Where she read the inscription and knew everything was going to be alright. She asks for a pen and paper to write down the dream, Clark promptly goes and gets it, happy that everything's alright.
The final page. The tombstone with the inscription "TO BE CONTINUED".
I wish Grant Morrison wrote the bible, or retconned it. This is much more tighter in ideas and FAAARRR more Epic than that silly Christianity nonsense. A Christian tells you how this will happen in Revelations and that it will be things you can't imagine. Hand them both copies of Superman Beyond and tell them, this is far more epic than your bullshit.
It was fucking hard describing what happens because it will only make sense with the visuals though i'm pretty sure the majority of people will close the book and say "....what?" anyway. The Visuals itself remind me or arty music videos, videos of worlds and images that don't exist. Blown away.
The 3D adds to the scenes where Supes becomes a godlike being with the super suit. It's amazing. I don't understand why this wasn't part of Final Crisis or the story itself, this is even bigger than infinite crisis or COIE, remember that feeling where the scope up to issue 4 was so huge in Infinite Crisis. This is even bigger. In a world where the Ideas of the DCu become real, and rules like Superman being the most important hero of the DCU, the nexus, becomes reality. Amaizng stuff.
I don't know if this clarifies the stuff in Final Crisis, because this seems more 'Crisis' whereas the actual Final Crisis is more about the New Gods. This is the whole reality, multiverse smashing, existensialism we all thought we were going to get. Maybe this didn't have much editorial raping? Either way, this has ideas that seem like they were thought by Alan Moore on drugs that don't exist, whilst having sex with a space goddess in a dimension made of chocalate art.
Also there is no lead in to Legion of 3 worlds. So I assume once Lois is better which happens as Final Crisis is underway, he gets pulled into the 31st century. Poor guy, imagine how tired he is.
Read the whole issue with the glasses, even if only half of it is actual 3D, the colouring and inks jump at you.
I loved this issue. Fucking loved it. Everyone needs to buy it. I can't wait to hear theories, especially the metatextual ones. Doug Mahnke is the next big thing. You just watch.
Big Mandrakk the Dark Monitor.