Whew. Let me start by saying that this is probably the hardest comic to read and especially to write a review for. But I love it for that! It’s one of the most intelligent comics I’ve ever read. I have to give major props for any book that makes me want to read it 3 or 4 times the first day I get it.
The book opens with a splash page of a bunch of kids in front of a club. The bouncer says “Stop! You must be supercool to proceed! Your life depends on it!” I think in addition to a comment on youth culture, this is a humorous way of Grant telling us that we need to be on our A-game to read this book. Also, one of the kids is wearing a Killing Joke shirt with a Robin bag. That’s hilarious! I want to say that I love J.G. Jones’ art and he is doing a fantastic job on this book. I love his detail.
Inside there is an old Japanese hero of sorts complaining about the youth. The kids don’t like this guy. They want to be superheroes themselves and one even expresses her want of being a gimmick, “the transformation of man into merchandising”. That’s hilarious. One of the kid’s idols enters the scene. He rips out a man’s heart and puts it into a glass. The kids love this guy and want his autograph. I believe this is Morrison commenting on today’s youth. Of course there is plot to this too. Mr. Miracle recruits him for his team. So the New Genesis guys are fighting back, cool.
We next get a look at Uotan, that monitor who was banished last issue. He’s working in a fast food place and is going through words in the dictionary looking for “the magic word that’ll take me home”. He is also drawing pictures of what kind of look like Superman, when he thought he was Darkseid’s son, to me.
We next see Turpin, who is beating the hell out of the Mad Hatter. This is because he feels he is responsible for controlling the children. This is weird because when we last saw Turpin, he pretty much was given an explanation to why the children were the way they were, and the Darkseid figure told the children to “show him what you’ve learned about anti-life”. Turpin buys a ticket to Bludhaven for some reason. The title of this issue is Ticket to Bludhaven.
We then see Martian Manhunter’s funeral on Mars. It looks like the whole league is there. Superman is giving the eulogy. He says “We’ll miss him. And pray for a resurrection”. I actually laughed out loud when I read that. Is Grant commenting on the silliness of comic characters coming back from the dead? Seems like it.
We take a look at an abandoned strip bar where Libra and all the baddies are at. He asks if everyone is satisfied with Martian Manhunter’s death. Luthor isn’t and would have preferred if something happened to Superman. Clayface makes a silly comment, but I’m sure in Morrison’s hands it will end up being foreshadowing. Luthor feels that he has to form an alliance against Libra, that this is all too good to be true. Smart man. He asks if Vandal Savage is in and he declines. He feels that if Libra can offer him an end to boredom that he’ll take it. I feel that this is Morrison commenting on the situation of a wise and ancient man making a stupid decision when he should have all the right answers. The much younger Luthor seems to be the smarter one. When no one but the Human Flame and Libra are around, Libra says that he answers to a higher power. Also, he feels Luthor will turn when he sees what happens next. Also, the Human Flame seems to owe Libra something big for killing Martian Manhunter.
The JLA are still investigating Orion’s body. Batman feels that he was shot with a bullet. An Alpha Lantern comes in and disagrees. It seems like she is taking over the situation against the league’s wishes.
John Stewart is analyzing the crime scene. A GL (sorry don’t know his name) enters the scene. John says he has found a bullet that seems to have been buried for fifty years. John’s ring starts to go haywire and his lantern buddy construct spikes him against the wall. He even makes a hilarious construct of a guardian with cymbals. John Stewart then says “My God. It’s you!” Oh, and his lantern buddy heard something right before he went nuts.
The Alpha Lanterns and the GL we just saw show up in Hal Jordan’s bedroom and arrest him for murdering Orion and the attempted murder of John Stewart. Well, last issue when John Stewart got the deicide call, Hal didn’t respond, but seeing as how the guy that just threw spikes into John Stewart is also arresting Hal, it seems he is innocent.
The Alpha Lantern and Batman are alone back at the place they are keeping Orion. She messes up Batman and it seems that this is Granny Goodness.
We next see Turpin in I guess Bludhaven, and he sees the strangest thing. He sees two knights riding dogs. Did anyone understand this? Did parademons ride dogs on Apokolips? Is that what this is supposed to be? I guess so. Turpin runs into reverend Good. This is the guy you’ve been seeing on T.V. talking about cleaning up Bludhaven. So I guess Bludhaven is new Apokolips. The reverend starts talking to Turpin like he is Darkseid and makes comments about “your son, Kalibak the Cruel”. Turpin’s ear is also bleeding. The lantern guy that turned earlier said he heard something right before he went nuts so perhaps how the New Gods, or at least the Apokolips people, enter your body is through the ears? Turpin sees that Batman is being held in this place and something is being done to Batman.
We next check out the Daily Planet. Lois, Mr. White, Clark, and Jimmy Olsen are all present. Lois give Jimmy something on the missing children case. Clark says “I thought I just saw Jimmy down there on the-“. We then see it isn’t Jimmy Olsen in the elevator but Clayface, see it was foreshadowing. The entire floor of the Daily Planet blows up. We see Superman looking at a hand with a wedding ring under the rubble screaming “Lois!”
Lastly, we see Wally West and Jay Garrick checking out the old strip bar that Libra and the baddies were at earlier. They know that this is where Martian Manhunter died. Wally talks about a concept of a time bullet that Batman came up with, the concept that is, not the bullet. About a bullet being fired backwards through time and that is why when John Stewart found the bullet earlier he said it had been buried for fifty years. The chair that looks like Metron’s that Dr. Light and Mirror Master got Libra last issue is still there and it begins to light up. The issue ends with a splash page of Barry Allen running from two objects. One is some kind of tube thingy. The second is the more sinister looking Black Racer character that we saw last issue in two panels hovering behind Turpin.
Man that was a lot to cover. Sorry for the long review, but hopefully it helped some of you notice or figure out some things. I’ve read this issue and the last one three times so I think I noticed a lot. I’m sure there is a lot I missed or misunderstood. Hopefully Morrison will give another commentary like he did on the last one. Please let me know if I helped you guys understand anything. Or if I missed something. Or if you think I misunderstood something. Man I love this comic so much. I can’t wait till it’s all over and a hardcover of this stuff comes out. I’m going to buy it on the first day and will probably need to read it four times. I love your genious Morrison!