Here we are at Volume 3! A lot’s been going on in the series, and the individual storylines are finally starting to tie together. They still exist as separate vignettes, but they’re beginning to relate to one another to help paint a full picture of what’s been going on in the DC world at this time. Turns out, it’s a whole heck of a lot.
1. The Black Adam family is trying really, really hard to fit into the world, but everyone still views them as villians (good job, Adam). Osiris is taking the animosity especially hard, as he had hoped to become a member of the Teen Titans. The family seems to be making real efforts to stay on the “hero” side, but after being attacked and goaded, Osiris tears an opponent in two, a move which is seen across the world, and at least for now effectively labels the entire Black Adam family as “evil” in the eyes of the public.
2. Batman, apparently, is no more. In one of the best issues in the trade, Nightwing and Robin comment on how Bruce seems to have finally broken, seemingly hoping to groom one of them to take over the title of Batman. He seems to have completely given up that side of him, and with an elaborate and drama-filled move, Bruce seems to have rid himself of Batman forever. Obviously I doubt this is really forever, but I’ll be curious to see if we get an interim Batman while he’s out finding himself. As long as whoever they get is better than Azrael, I’ll accept it.
3. In a fierce space battle, poor Animal Man, dear old Buddy Baker, is killed. Kory and Adam Strange mourn him but leave his body on a rock, fearing he may be contaminated with a deadly virus or poison. As soon as the ship departs though, we see Buddy miraculously wake up and beg them not to leave him It’s too late though, and as his story arc closes in the comic we see him being greeted by two alien beings who comment, “And so it begins.” Cryptic much? At least Buddy isn’t dead, so yay for that!
4. Continuing in the “hey look who’s not dead” category, we get a two-for-one deal when it’s revealed that not only is Booster Gold still alive, but he’s really Supernova!! I’m way happier than I ever thought I’d be that Booster is alive, because I just couldn’t bear to see so many of my beloved Justice League International heroes dying off. The fact that he’s Supernova was an unexpected twist, and I love that he’s getting help defeating Skeets from good old Rip Hunter. Bonus: the fact that all of the seemingly random, innocuous comics and characters from “the shelf” (I’m looking at you, Time Masters) are finally paying off makes for a very happy Jess.
5. Lex Luthor continues to prove that he’s a total douche by staging a rather elaborate and gruesome New Year’s, as he pushes a button at the stroke of midnight, causing all of his engineered meta-humans to lose their powers at the same time. Many were flying in a New Year’s parade at the time, and so we see them all plummet to their deaths. It’s over the top and so completely Luthor, and it reminds everyone that there’s not a kind bone in his body. Everything he does is done to help further his own agenda, even if it means killing countless innocent people. Seriously, what a dick.
6. And then there’s the little old ending in which Luthor finally gets his own engineered superpowers. Nursing a serious case of cape envy, Luthor labels himself Superman and clearly has some pretty dastardly plans in mind for his new powers. With the real Superman out of commission for the time being, I wonder who will be forced to square off against him?
(Side note: Can we bring back the word “dastardly” into common use? It’s so fun to say).
7. With The Question suffering agonizing pain as his cancer spreads throughout his body, Montoya makes the decision to bring him back to Nanda Parbat in the hope that it will help save his life. She traverses snow-covered mountains with nothing guiding her but her own resolve, not wanting to lose another partner and friend. She fails, but not before Question instills a last bit of wisdom. We last see her outside of Nanda Parbat, with no clear sign of what will become of her, though it’s obvious her story isn’t over yet.
As with the previous trades, Volume 3 doesn’t disappoint. the storylines are richly imagined, with plenty of surprises and unexpected twists that undoubtedly kept readers coming back week after week. Booster’s reappearance was the biggest shock for me in this trade, but it was brilliantly executed, with plenty of hints along the way as to Supernova’s identity. It’s also nice to see that he figured out Skeets’s villainy and managed to keep it a secret for so long, proving that Booster isn’t the incompetent numskull he’s so often believed to be. With only one trade left in the series, I can’t wait to see how it all ties together, and what it’ll mean for the DC universe as a whole.