Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting
Brubaker and Epting crank the dial up to 11 in this issue. To be honest, I'm not even sure where to begin, there was just so much going on here.
I think the biggest development was with Dr Faustus betraying the Red Skull. While it makes perfect sense, what with his recent string of 'failures' (or, at least, Skull blaming him for everything), but it still felt a little rushed.
Just how bad did Faustus screw the Skull over? Royally would be one way to describe it. Not only did he skip town on the Skull, but he gave Sharon Carter her SHIELD gps tracking device, contacted SHIELD, left without reprogramming the Grand Director and screwed all of the Skull's plans. I see a Luger in his future with the Skull on pulling the trigger for this betrayal. That is, if the Skull gets away unscathed.
Speaking of the Grand Director, it appears he went on the lamb post-Bucky beat down and both Bucky and Falcon had been trailing him for the past while. The issue opened up with the two having a hilarious game of cards where Bucky demands he pay him in Euros, what with the US economy and all.
The duo then followed some AIM goons, who were sent to and, surprisingly, succeeded in capturing the fake Cap. This lead them to meet up with the Black Widow and some SHIELD agents, where they are then filled in on the Dr Faustus betrayal.
On the Skull side of things, Arnim Zola has been working diligently on what appears to be Dr Doom's time platform, but to what end has yet to be revealed. It seems the Lukin and Skull minds can't hold up in the one mind anymore and it's driving both insane, prompting me to believe the time machine will pluck a body, maybe Cap's or maybe the Skull's from the past and they'll be able to separate them that way. It also seems like Sharon's baby was going to play some part in this, but it's not revealed why it was important.
Speaking of which, it is also revealed Sharon Carter's baby is really dead, but there's enough wiggle room for a resurrection / reveal that it's still alive if they decide to return to it. I think it's poor form on Brubaker's part to use the whole 'dead baby' twist to drum up tension, but the story isn't over yet and there's still lots of time to redeem that part of the story.
The issue ended with a kickass scene of Bucky stopping Sin from assassinating one of the political candidates and shouting he's Captain America that had me giddy and was a great way to solidify Bucky as Captain America in my eyes.
Verdict - Must Read. Amazing issue and one of the strongest for Captain America in months. It looks like this arc will end with a bang next month, but this issue definitely put the ultimate in penultimate.
FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by George Pérez and Scott Koblish
Can an issue both disappoint and have you chomping at the bit for the next installment at the same time? Because that's exactly how I feel after reading this issue.
The disappointment arises from the fact this is a trumped up Wikipedia article with pretty pictures from George Perez. In fact, the use of the Superman museum and the Jimmy Olsen hologram was even worse than reading a simple Wikipedia article and it went on and on for the entire issue as it framed everything the Legion and Superboy Prime did.
I realize Johns has to setup dozens of characters, re-introduce people to this new Legion and its alternate future - all while setting up the actual story for this arc - but this is not how a story should be told and it comes off very similar to the exposition filled nonsense from the recent Batgirl mini-series, which is far from a good thing.
To be honest, the only thing really noteworthy from this first issue was seeing Superboy Prime assault the prison world and free the Legion of Super Villains. There was also a shock killing of some longtime Legion supporting character, but I didn't even know who it was at the time and the moment was lost on me, making me wonder why this was such a big deal.
Basically, all you need to know about this issue is:
- the Time Trapper is the bad guy and brought Superboy Prime to the future
- the Legion of Super-Heroes is on the verge of being disbanded due to the events of the recent Action Comics arc
- Superboy Prime destroyed the prison planet and freed the entire Legion of Super Villains
- Superman was called to the future and Brainiac reveals they will enlist the other two Legions from the three different Legion continuities
Regarding the artwork, I'm not a big fan of George Perez (well, I used to be a fan, but his art has kind of stagnated and seems to be just going through the motions in recent years), but I think this is some of his best work in years and I was surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did.
Now, with my disappointment over this issue handled, how is it I'm still pumped for the rest of this arc? Well, all the boring introductions and setup seems to be out of the way and seeing Prime's handiwork, that of slaughtering over 20,000 guards and searing a giant, flaming Superman S-emblem into the prison planet, and the promise of the other Legions being called in for the next issue is more than enought to make up for this lackluster and disappointing Wikipedia entry.
Verdict - Check It. To be fair, I think you could skip this issue, read this review or random spoilers and be able to jump right into the next issue without missing a beat. This was the equivilent of a Secret Files one-shot or some other character profile book with the exception it was narrated instead of just static images and text profiles. To me, that's not good storytelling and I don't like paying $3.99 for it. However, what little that does happen is great and the setup for the rest of the story is taken care of, leaving us with nothing but, hopefully, action packed, balls to the wall action for the rest of the series.