I write comic book reviews that NOBODY has ever asked for!
I might be in the minority here, but I really enjoyed DC's Flashpoint event. Once they rebooted everything into the New 52 I thought that it was sort of a shame that they didn't continue a few of the titles as a sort of anthology title in a side universe remnant of the cataclysmic events that led to the formation of DC's "new" universe. . .but hey, I don't make the comic books. I just read them. Just saying I really liked the whole "Elseworlds" feel of the Flashpoint books and it feels like DC sort of wasted an opportunity.
FLASHPOINT: PROJECT SUPERMAN
This first issue flashes back and forth in time, starting 30 years before the "present" (The present being the Flashpoint timeline) when Lt. Neil Sinclair volunteers to be Subject Zero in a top secret project to build a superhero by splicing alien DNA into his own.
As Sinclair's powers increase through the years, his sanity begins to fray, leading to a debacle during his first real mission, where he kills everyone, including his own team.
At the end of the issue, Metropolis is hit with a meteor storm and we see the familiar Kryptonian super-baby in his ship.
I really liked this issue. It read less like a Superman story and more like a Captain America gone wrong tale of a good man slowly being driven mad. The art was also really good. All in all, an outstanding introduction.
In this second issue, most of the story takes place between 10 and 20 years before the "present", and is once again narrated by Subject Zero - Lt. Neil SInclair, the government's failed first attempt at building a "superman".
Kal-El, who we only saw as a baby at the end of the first issue, is now also a captive in the same Project Superman laboratory where Subject Zero is being held. What their captors don't know is that Subject Zero can communicate by telepathic means with Kal-El and he manipulates him into helping him escape.
Kal is willing to help until Subject Zero starts killing, and finally stands up to his "friend" when he tries to kill a young Lois Lane. Using the distraction, her father (Gen. Sam Lane) uses a device that sends both himself and Subject Zero to the Phantom Zone.
At the end, Kal is recaptured and the project comes under the control of a cold scientist determined to draw every secret he can from the alien boy.
I didn't like this issue as much as the first one. That's not to say it's bad at all. It's good. I just liked the "What if Captain America had gone bad?" tone in the first one better. I DO like how Kal-El in this timeline is a timid, scrawny wretch instead of the robust Kansas farmboy we all know and love.
All in all, even though I liked the first issue better, this was still a pretty good story. I really like the darker sci-fi take on this familiar character.
A lot of what is going on in this issue is tied in with other Flashpoint mini's as well as the main series, so it feels a bit disjointed and disconnected from the first two issues, which stood on their own quite nicely.
Most of the action here takes place in London, under Amazon occupation and with Lois Lane as an adult in the resistance, Kal-El grown and out of the lab (but still a skinny, pale wretch), and General Lane and Subject Zero accidentally released from the Phantom Zone by the Flash and his team he's been assembling. Most of this isn't explained at all. . .it's just assumed you've read the other books these things happen in.
Most of this issue is the final confrontation between Kal-El and Subject Zero (now more alien than man and almost completely insane) in the streets of London. It's a pretty spectacular fight, and in the process, Kal learns that he must become the hero that Earth needs from Lois Lanes dying words before a very nice homage to Supergirl's death on the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7.
All in all, this didn't feel so much like the conclusion to this mini so much as a tie-in to Flashpoint in general. That's not to say it's bad. It's not bad. . .it's just not as good as it could have been.
Overall, for an event tie-in (and pretty much a throwaway one at that), I really liked Project Superman a lot. . .especially the first two issues. The third issue was really more of a tie-in than the other two. In particular, I liked the first issue the best, and feel that it could have stood alone as a one-shot story of science gone wrong in the name of patriotism. I liked that the villain of this mini was a good man driven mad through no fault of his own. . .through the hubris of the government trying to create something they had no business trying to create, and then trying to hide it once things went wrong. If you look past the crossover ties, there's a really good, really dark story here.
Up next. . .
Anybody remember when the Joker had a bushy hobo beard and was openly gay? That time Deadshot took a bullet to the face from a rando villain? And then Alfred and Bruce Wayne had a short discussion about the Bat-? Welcome to the wonderful world of Kevin Smith. . .
Batman: Cacophony. Be there or be square!
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