Following on from the Secret Society Villain’s Month issue, Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis fill us in even more on the strange, backwards world of Earth-3, in particular the life of Ultraman, and it’s very entertaining indeed to see how fucked-up his world is compared to ours.
We begin with Krypton about to explode, with people trying to escape, but then Jor-Il and his wife Lara kill them all, because they want their son, Kal-Il to be the only survivor. They send him to Earth, because he will be able to rule over them, and it’s clear that the House Of Il is nowhere near as nice as the House Of El. All throughout Kal-Il’s journey through space, he is told Fascistic messages about how weakness must be destroyed, and about how strength is the only way. It’s dark, twisted stuff, and it’s just great fun to see this funhouse version of the familiar DCU in far greater detail than ever before. Kal-Il of course crash-lands on the Kent Farm, but even Ma and Pa Kent are bad on Earth-3, Martha is a junkie and Jonathan a wife beater, again, it’s fucked-up. Baby Kal crashes down, and in a great, disconcerting scene, he lasers off Jonathan’s hand, and, even though he’s a baby, he can speak, and he tells the Kents that they are his parents now. But really, they are more like his prisoners. They try and escape when he’s 7, so he kills them and burns down the farm.
Johns then quickly shows us some more scenes from Earth-3’s past, like Ultraman killing President Lee Harvey Oswald (What the heck?), Hal Jordan being given the Power Ring, evil Superwoman Lois Lane seducing Ultraman, and finally, the arrival of whatever it is that destroyed the Crime Syndicate’s world. From the Secret Society issue, I thought it was the Anti-Monitor, but now it looks like it was Darkseid.
From here, the story moves to the ‘real’ world, and Ultraman’s musings about how our world coddles the weak, and how that goes against nature. I think it’s interesting that Johns seems to be indicating that the CSA believe they are doing the right thing somehow, that they are trying to toughen up this world so that when Darkseid comes back, it will be ready. It’s an interesting twist, and it manages to make this story less, as Ultraman says, about good and evil, and more about strength and weakness. The Grid gives Ultraman on overview of what’s going on, and Johns helpfully throws in a tidbit about how Ultraman will have to keep moving the Moon to keep the eclipse going. There were a lot of nitpicks about that moment in Forever Evil #1, so it’s cool to see it addressed.
Ultraman is supposed to go to Kahndaq to investigate an anomaly, but instead, he drops in on the Daily Planet, to see his our versions of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are comparable to his. It turns out they obviously aren’t. Earth-3 Lois is obviously the evil Superwoman, and Earth-3 Jimmy was some kind of pornographer who took pictures of Lois. Ultraman intimidates the Planet staff, and is about the attack Lois (he’s long wanted to rip apart his version of her, but can’t because she’s equally strong), when the Kahndaqi problem he was supposed to check out comes to him. Yes, it’s Ultraman Vs Black Adam! That is going to be an epic fight next issue I can tell. We’ve seen Superman and Shazam have some awesome battles, but now we’ve got 2 evil doppelgangers (well, Black Adam isn’t really evil, but you know what I mean) set to go at it, it should be brutal.
This was another good issue of the Forever Evil crossover, it gave us plenty of cool insight into the incredibly messed-up Earth-3, and even developed The Grid as a character. Ivan Reis’ artwork was another big plus-point, because he’s drawn Superman and the other Justice Leaguers so often over the years, seeing him draw evil versions has a lot of impact. I may be alone, but I am enjoying this crossover. It’s not as good as Infinity, but not much is, this is Johns at his best, and it’s a far better event than most of his previous efforts.