This series is actually starting to pick up as it winds down. I am going to make this short and get right to it. As usual, here we have plenty of….
Superman Prime (the former Superboy of Earth-Prime) has totally lost it at this point. He kills without mercy and even gets in a bit of torture when he believes it will help him achieve his aim. That is, sadly, his return to the ‘perfect’ Earth that at this point possibly only exists in his mind. In issue #23, we find that he has captured Mr. Mxyzptlk (pronounced, according the imp himself as “Mix-yez-pittle-ik”), and with the unwilling aid of an alternative world’s Zatanna/Annataz is attempting to gain some fifth-dimensional magic for himself. We also learn from Mr. M that he may actually be more than what we thought. He claims he is, in fact, the Joker God who takes on many forms in various cultures (Coyote, Loki, Anasi, etc.). Not sure, I buy it, but writer Paul Dini does toss that idea out there for us to consider. Of course, we are talking about a mischievous little guy who might not be telling the whole truth. In the end, aided by a finally defiant Annataz, Mr. M escapes as Superman Prime destroys his fortress along the Source Wall.
Tom Derenick drew the main story with inks by Wayne Faucher, as with the other artists working on the series they do a nice job with all the characters, plus keep Mary’s butt covered in her brief appearance. There’s also a cute two-page ‘origin’ of the imp by writer Scott Beatty and artist Kyle Baker, which is a light-hearted ending to a rather brutal issue. Speaking of Dark Mary Marvel we get to see her and Eclipso, plus a bunch of Dominators, get blowed up pretty good by Lord Havoc and Monarch’s space fleet.
Unfortunately, we weren’t surprised in issue #22 (since we didn’t see the bodies last issue) to find that MM and Eclipso are still alive. Here we have artists Carlos Magno & Rodney Ramos to thank for an opening page butt shot of Mary, followed by a few more panels of ‘up-the-skirt’ fan service. Mary gets to use the grown up word ‘whore’ and then finally figures out that Eclipso has been using her. An epic battle of two-panels takes place and we now have Dark Mary in possession of the black diamond. We yawn in fear at the prospects. After a nice turn the previous issue, things move along but I’m not as impressed here with the writing by Paul Dini.
We do drop back in on Jimmy Olsen back on Apokolips, where he gets slapped around and whipped before being rescued (up to a point) by Scott “Mister Miracle” Free. Jimmy gives Scott a quick recap of how he got where he is, but the hero is naturally distracted by his own search for his missing wife, Big Barda. Meanwhile, back on our Earth, Trickster and Pied Piper are still making gay jokes until Deadshot shows up and things turn very deadly. That may be in a literal sense for one character at the end of the issue. Wrapping up the issue we have a two-page origin for Deadshot, a character who I find myself going back and forth about, depending on who is writing him on any particular title. Here writer Scott Beatty and Freddie E. Williams II do a decent job giving us an overview of this hero/villain from his first appearance to his current gig with Suicide Squad.
While I've got your attention I wanted to add that, thanks to a sale at Nuclear Comics this past weekend and somebody donating a stack of graphic novels to the Library book sale, I've been able to pick up some DC titles that will help me catch up a bit on where things stand. I'll write a bit more about them in a few days, after I have a chance to read some more.