Jun 6, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 468: Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D #1, October 2008


Oh, it's nice to be back. A break is good, but I missed reading and writing about a comic to start off my day.

I cite a scene from the second issue of this series in the opening of my Master's thesis, a document of which I'm inordinately proud. It seems to be that Morrison was composing not only Final Crisis and Batman, but also All-Star Superman pretty much coevally, and the three present reflections of one another. If you're interested in the metatext that is, in some ways, missing from All-Star, you can find it in Superman Beyond.

Also, please note that in my title, I've retained the 3D part. The GCD does not keep it, but, given that the tale takes Superman beyond the fictional three dimensions of his reality, and that the material nature of the comic takes the comic itself beyond the two-dimensional nature of the medium, I think the 3D is an intrinsic part of the title, and thus of the identification of the story. I talk a lot about titles with my classes when we come to reading poetry, about how a title (much like a name) can define a work (or a person).

We last saw Superman in the main series being approached by a mysterious figure who knew his secret identity, and offered a chance to save Lois' life. This comic picks up immediately at that moment (and it is only a moment, the entire story taking place between beats of Lois Lane's heart), and propels Superman into another Crisis. Surely, you say, the manifestation of the dark New Gods and the anti-Life equation on Earth is enough crisis for one series, and you're right. But Superman Beyond becomes commentary on this Crisis, reveals the fundamental source of the DCU Crisis and the crises that are besetting all of the 52 worlds. And, fittingly, it is a team of Supermen who are called together to stop this primal crisis, each an echo of the primal Superman, our focal character.

Which is, admittedly, a lot to take in over one's first cup of coffee in the morning. But such a push can often be profitable, can shift one's perspective as readily as the red and blue glasses I wore to read today's comic. Tomorrow's continuation of the series will take us deeper into that other place that is all places, shift our perspective even further. Let's see what comes of that.


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