Written by Geoff Johns
Art by George Pérez and Scott Koblish
No, you're eyes do not deceive you. This is, indeed, a Final Crisis tie-in. Yes, the same Final Crisis that ended back in January and recently released its hardcover. As you can probably guess, Legion of 3 Worlds has been delayed quite a bit, so I'm going to do a quick recap. Superboy-Prime went to the future (you don't want or need to know how he got there, but it was something to do with Countdown, punching stuff and 'killing people to death'), formed his own Legion of Super Villains and started trashing the future.
The current Legion summoned Superman to fix things for them. When it wasn't enough to stop Prime, they called in two other iterations of Legions from the various reboots and retcons throughout the years, who are now available due to the Multiverse.
Everyone fought, there were shock deaths, Superboy Prime dared someone's dare and Kid Flash and Superboy were brought back to life through unexplained time travel. Oh, and Superboy-Prime was revealed to be the calculating, intelligent and longtime Legion villain, the Time Trapper. Don't worry, no one else understood how that works and it's retconned away by the end of this anyways.
With that all said, let's dive right in to this issue.
Of note, Fire-in-a-Bottle Lad didn't die from that, despite nuking half the North Pole when his suit ruptured. A quick bandaid and it was all better. The fight sequences throughout most of the start of this issue were much like this with one shocking death or non-death after another, random Superboy-Prime one-liners and flip-flopping between Prime and his Time Trapper future self. If you like Perez's art, this is all done with the Secret Invasion widescreen, zoomed out macro view of the fights where we're given the odd zoom in to a random fight, but no real resolution or context for how the battle goes between the dozens of different characters.
Sure, the Legionnaires show up in almost every panel of the comic, but, outside of the odd Brainiac scene, they are completely inconsequential to the story or its outcome. Even the "epic" battle taking place away from the two Superboy-Primes gets resolved in a handful of panels (not pages, panels) with some random Legionnaire draining Mordru's power and then taking out half of the super villains, which we were told through narration and not even shown. Why even bother with the huge cast of characters and having Superboy-Prime recruit the villains if they serve no purpose and Prime is the only actual threat worth showing on screen?
Getting back to Superboy-Prime, Geoff Johns pulls his best (or worst, depending on your viewpoint) impression of Grant Morrison by imitating an Animal Man issue with a fourth wall breaking conclusion to Superboy-Prime's story. No, this isn't some fan made conclusion you see above. This was actually published in a comic. There's more, but, first, a brief intermission.
This is the only panel Starman appears in. He bought some fast food. Mmm, orange drink. Now, back to the Prime discussion!
Oh, yes, Superboy-Prime, the comic book representation of internet fandom, is back on the new Earth-Prime and is living in his parents' basement, collecting comic books and posting on the DCU messageboards. And, yes, the thread he's posting in is real. You can view it in all its glory here.
I'm not sure what to think of all this. It's either the greatest thing ever in an insane, Frank Miller All Star Batman sort of way with the perfect put down to comic fans everywhere from subtle-as-a-bag-of-hammers Geoff Johns or it's the worst ending to a book I've ever read and something I can't believe saw print. I read it one time and I laugh and shake my head, unable to comprehend the enormity of what I just bought and read while another time I'm hollaring to my mother to make me a grilled cheese sandwich before I start writing a snarky review (ohhh, I'm getting meta here, must think of ways to insult my readers before continuing, will include random Legion jokes for images and not properly name characters before posting).
However, indecision over whether to like or hate this ending aside, I really, really, can't see how this was green lit from the start as the actual conclusion to any comic, Geoff Johns writing it or not. You can't just write a comic, have it delayed as much as this was and featuring an obvious, but humourous, jab at the people buying the comic and then go beyond all references to pure mockery of said fans. While I'm not going to lose sleep over this outright insult to fans and critics alike, I've lost a bit of respect for Johns, as a writer, for doing something as shallow as this. The ending, whether you enjoyed it or not, is Johns's interpretation of you, the fan, reading the comic and had no bearing on the actual Legion of 3 Worlds story or miniseries. The only conclusion I can come to, as Prime was written out of the story prior to it, is that it is there for no other purpose than a blatant last attempt at driving home his contempt for whomever was reading the issue at the time.
Verdict - Avoid It. Whether Johns actually meant the Superboy-Prime conclusion to come off this way or not, this is about the least professional thing I've ever seen and I honestly thought I was being pranked by some fake copy my LCS spliced together before finally letting it sink in that I just spent more than $20 and about a year's worth of time on a series only to be treated as the butt of a joke by the writer and DC. This isn't a "I'm never buying DC or Geoff Johns comics again!", but there's a definite lack of respect for both after reading this and I can't, in good faith, recommend something like that to anyone.