Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3-D #1


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Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3-D #1


  • Words: Grant Morrison
  • Art: Doug Mahnke
  • Inks: Christian Alamy, Doug Mahnke, et. al.
  • Colors: David Baron
  • Story Title: Superman Beyond
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $4.50
  • Release Date: Aug 27, 2008

Clark Kent is given one chance to save Lois Lane’s life but to do it he must save the cosmos itself.

Writer Grant Morrison uses this two-issue mini-series to again explore some of his favorite themes – the nature of fiction, mythology, archetypes, and metatextualism. With only half the story told here, however, it is a little difficult to tell if he will succeed in getting his message across. In the end, one almost always has to wait until the end to see if what Morrison creates makes any sense.

Lois Lane’s body is battered and the only thing keeping her alive is the powers of her husband. Despite those powers, though, there is nothing Clark Kent can do to heal her. Into all of this steps a mysterious woman who promises to give Clark what he needs to fully heal and restore Lois but in return he must join with other versions of himself from other universes in order to save her and her people; for if they die then all the Multiverse will collapse!

Reviewing a Grant Morrison penned comic is never easy. For one thing, you can read and re-read the comic and still spend hours pondering the language, the verbal symbolism, and the art. Here Morrison is again working towards attempting to say something about fiction as a living thing – and something that has a palpable impact on humanity whether we acknowledge it or not. There is also a sly commentary about old characters that are forgotten and fade away into "limbo." He explores his themes of mythology and how they relate to the character of Superman as well as Superman as an archetype (seen here in not only the various Multiverse versions of Superman but also the emphasis of the classic Greek Pantheon of gods invoked by Captain Marvel). Then there is a discussion of evil complete with vampiric imagery – and much, much more.

Speaking of the art… In a move that is either calculated or kitschy (or maybe both) sections of this comic have been printed with 3-D art – complete with 3-D glasses (although, in the text, Morrison refers to it as "4-D vision"). The 3-D sections are interesting but I’m not convinced that they actually add anything to the story beyond a bit of novelty. Additionally, being unused to the 3-D format, I found some of the text hard to read with the glasses and found some of the art looked fuzzy. For the portions without the 3-D effect, Doug Mahnke delivers his usual, solid style. Having worked with Morrison before he proves more than capable of delivering the wild, otherworldly visuals that the story calls for. However, with his usual inking partner, Tom Nguyen, being only one of a number of inkers on the title, Mahnke’s distinctive look is a little bit softened.

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3-D definitely has the feel of Morrison working towards some form of surrealistic epiphany on the nature of comic books and superheroes but only time, and the second issue, will tell if the whole thing comes together as a multi-layered whole or not. In the meantime, readers can sit down with the title, peel away the onion-like layers, and ponder the questions of the Multiverse.

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