Wow! This issue just blew me away. I find it interesting that so many people hate this comic because they “don’t get it”. Whereas others like me, love it. I can understand the complaints a little. Superman Beyond is a lot to take in. Heck, even the visuals (Does anyone else’s vision get weird after wearing the 3D glasses?) can be jarring. But I for one adore this book.
First off, just look at that art. It’s truly stunning. Mahnke produces the best work of his career. Morrison challenges him for sure, but he hits the right notes every step of the way. In a fantastic voyage (It even has a yellow submarine) such as this, the art is crucial. Mahnke captures both the epic (And boy are they epic) battles and the tender scenes beautifully. Even the 3D works better here. I read the 2D art with my normal vision and the 3D art with my funky (Can they seriously change the design of these things already) glasses. In the first issue, I had to constantly switch between the two, but here the first several pages were normal, then 3D, and then back to normal for the conclusion. It was more of a pleasant read and damn those 3D pages were awesome!
As for the story itself, it’s just packed with goodies. Some of the more subtle stuff (Although I don’t think it’s that subtle sorry) may be missed. But I would think that if nothing else this is a psychedelic journey about the original superhero trying to save his dying wife. This is the spiritual sequel to All Star Superman. Both portray Superman as the quintessential hero in new ways that don’t come off as cheesy.
Now, I’ll try to delve beneath the surface without spoiling anything. I love that the citizens of Limbo (Where forgotten characters go to rot. A concept that’s not only awesome, but also fits the book’s theme) fight the “yet to be”. I love that Morrison explains why these Supermen were chosen. Morrison acknowledges all the Supermen (Majestic, Icon, etc.) and even here he uses Captain Adam (Based on Captain Atom from Charlton Comics) and Captain Marvel (From Fawcett Comics). Hell, even Overman (The German word for Superman) comes from Friedrich Nietzsche’s original influence on Superman. I love the fact that Superman Beyond is a study of the story itself. It’s all about the pros and cons that stories bring to our society. I love that the villains are Vampire Gods. Vampires and Gods are two fictional (If God doesn’t exist. Just think of the Roman Gods. Please don’t hate me) creations that will outlast us all, much like Superman. And finally, I absolutely love the last page of this comic. Seriously, it’s the best last page in recent memory.