FCBD 2010: War of the Supermen #0
- Words: James Robinson & Sterling Gates
- Art: Eddy Barrows
- Inks: J.P. Mayer
- Colors: Rod Reis
- Story Title: Prologue
- Publisher: DC Comics
- Price: Free
- Release Date: May 1, 2010
Posted by Noel Bartocci on May 5, 2010
War of The Supermen #0 is a prologue to DC Comics' big Superman event that begins this week. It's a timely release and is a well-plotted little opener. Herein lies the problem, though. Even with a back up story, this issue comes nowhere close to resembling or feeling like a complete story. It’s an extended or deleted scene that is supposed to connect two locations together. It feels more like filler than story. Maybe I expect too much from my free books.
Last year, DC offered Blackest Night #0 as their FCBD title, which was also a prologue to a then-upcoming story. It featured Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Flash Barry Allen discussing the nature of death and had some good old-fashioned foreshadowing, giving us glimpses of events taking place all over the DCU. Even though it too could be considered an extended prologue or deleted scene, it had an arc of knowledge for its characters. They started the issue in one location, mentally and emotionally, and then ended somewhere else. There was the feeling of forward motion, which is what makes a story tick and progress. It’s an impression that's missed in War of the Supermen #0.
The entire main story of the issue is an angry Superman confronting the manipulative and evil General Zod in a war room on New Krypton. Clark is angry, Zod waxes poetic about his master plan (adding in details from the last year of stories, recapping it for us), they pin Superman down, he says something all fist-pump worthy, and then Zod says he already gave the order for war. It ends with a shot of thousands of soldier Kryptonians barreling towards Earth. It sounds like I've spoiled something, but what, really? Save for the last splash page, the whole issue happens in one room and is very text heavy. There is a lot of information dumped on the readers. It's as if the writers wanted us to know that this was the plan the whole time, but it comes off almost defensively, as if we wouldn't believe them.
The second story features even more exposition as Lois Lane types up a story about the last year and all the events that have gotten us to this point. There is even a point towards the end where she says something to the effect of, "this story doesn't have an ending yet." Really? You just told us, in so many words, that what we just read didn't really matter, but might eventually. It takes the wind out of one's sails when trying to enjoy escapist, sequential storytelling.
All members of the creative team have been responsible for works of fiction that I've thoroughly enjoyed. Robinson has always been a go to storyteller (Starman) and Sterling Gates' stock has risen quickly as a writer, with some great work scattered all over the DCU in the form of one shots, co-features, and fill-ins (I haven't been reading Supergirl, but I hear he does a great job). The art by Eddy Barrows is dynamic and expressive, even if it is a little over inked in spots. It still gets the job done and then some. With all these pluses, why does the issue remain wanting?
Perhaps in the greater context of the War of the Supermen event, this issue will resonate more. But, as a prologue, it did very little to entice anticipation, teach me new things about the characters and story, or make me want to read what comes next. Here's hoping that this will be proven to just be the mediocre hiccup before an epic and action filled Superman Family milestone.
I'll even settle for something in between, as long as it's fun.
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Bart Croonenborghs May 6, 2010 at 2:47am
DC constantly ignores the fact that FCBD is intended to bring in readers new to comics. By providing such a continuity heave tale, they are most likely to be more flabbergasted than intrigued and therefore more likely to check out ... Marvel Comics. DC + FCBD = Fail.
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