DC: World War III

January 11, 2009

wwiii-1DC: World War III can be summed up in these words: absolutely the worst reason for a comic collection in recent memory. Never mind that the DC universe has already met a few apparent and professed World War IIIs: even if you discount, for example, the big DC crises and the Worlds at War crossover, wasn’t there a JLA: World War III a few years back too? But the real problem here is not the unoriginal title (or that DC can’t count beyond 3) but the utter incompetence in writing a decent narrative and the appalling arrogance that celebrates it. Be warned: if you are reading in sequence the excellent 52 storyline, which tells the weekly adventures of some erstwhile 2nd-tier superheroes for a whole year, skip this one at the appropriate point no matter how tempting dipping in is. Reading it will not clarify anything; it will not supply you with plot details that you cannot find elsewhere. It will only confuse you further.

For the price of such an ultra-slim volume, you’re better off buying Volume 4 of 52, which, on its own, still promises more continuity. World War III carries 4 chapters by Keith Champagne and John Ostrander that lead into 52‘s explosive Week 50. The two men’s separate writings have been great elsewhere; together here, they are a recipe for complete disaster. This non-story follows the big event of Week 45: Black Adam’s loss of his happy family when his wife Isis and dumb brother-in-law Osiris are brutally murdered by the 4 Horsemen of Apocalypse (oo-ok, so it’s Apokolips). Mad with grief, the Marvel lays waste the whole country of Bialya in pursuit of these scary killers, and then he beats everyone up from Egypt to China, slaughtering countless millions. That, my friends, is pretty much all there is. You won’t get special appearances from the 4 Horsemen as they are saving themselves for another trade paperback called — you wouldn’t have guessed — The 4 Horsemen. You’d find more plot by stringing random BBC World reports of violence in Gaza than by reading this. And you’d love me more for pointing you to JSA: The Return of Hawkman for a proper Black Adam story. In fact, the only bits that make cow sense here are the opening prose summary of earlier events and the closing chapter, which is the whole Week 50 issue from 52. Now, that’s tragic.

This volume is really worth 1 rupiah.


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