Comic Book Review: DC Universe #0

DC Universe #0 is supposed to give the reader a sneak peak at the upcoming events in Action Comics, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Final Crisis. Needless to say, this should be an interesting read. I’m curious to see if DC can rebound from the dismal failure known as Countdown to Final Crisis and manage to get readers excited about Final Crisis. Let’s go ahead and do this review for DC Universe #0.

Creative Team
Writer: Grant Morrison & Geoff Johns
Pencils: George Perez, Tony Daniel, J.G. Jones, Aaron Lopresti, Ivan Reis, Philip Tan, & Carlos Pacheco
Inks: Scott Koblish, Christian Alamy, Tony Daniel, Oclair Albert, Matt Ryan, Jeff De Los Santos, Ed Benes, Jesus Merino & J.G. Jones

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with this issue being narrated by someone off panel. We see the universe and the voice says that this is everything. We see a small lightning bolt streaking through the universe. The voice says that this is him. We cut to a shot of the classic Justice League of America with Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Hal). Then we see Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Elongated Man and Zatanna. The voice says that these are his protectors.

We then cut to the Earth. The voice says that the Earth is the foundation stone for the Multiverse. The voice then recounts the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. Then recounts the events of Infinite Crisis. Then the voice says that the final chapter in the saga of the multiple Earths is the Final Crisis. We see Darkseid’s fiery eyes.

We cut to Superman beating the hell out of Tyr. Tyr says that Superman-Prime has assured them of the victory over Superman’s Legion. The voice then mentions how Superman always told him to call him “Clark.” Superman contacts Brainiac 5 and says that he needs help. We see Brainiac 5 with the White Witch performing a spell in an attempt to gather help for Superman.

We then cut to Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes from the Action Comics story arc battling an army of shadows.

We shift to Batman visiting Joker in Arkham Asylum. Batman notices that Joker is playing card games in an attempt to deliver to Batman some cryptic message. Batman asks Joker if he knows who is the Black Glove. The Joker’s cards tell Batman that someone is after the Batman. That this person wants the Batman dead. That the person will hurt Batman so bad that he will never recover.

Batman tells Joker that if he was scared then he wouldn’t be Batman. That whoever they are that the Joker can tell them to bring it on.

We slide over to Wonder Woman brawling with a Minotaur. We cut to Professor Ivo and the Red Volcano doing the work of some unknown person who tells Ivo that if he wants to halt his disfiguration that Ivo should do what he says. Then we see Doctor Poison also working for the same mysterious person. They are helping on working to create something that will kill Wonder Woman.

We cut to two shadowy figures watching Wonder Woman from their secret cave hideout. We know that one of the figures is Apollo. The two figures say that Wonder Woman has failed. That there is still war and hate. That Athena’s champion has failed. Apollo says that their fate cannot be left to Wonder Woman and the Amazons. That changing the world cannot be left to women. That it is a job for men. We then see an army of Spartan warriors standing in the mouth of the cave.

We shift to Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) investigating the smoldering burnt corpse from a prison transport that was carrying Black Hand. Hal then orders his ring to track Black Hand. The power ring answers “Error. Unable to process request.”

We cut to Black Hand on the planet where the black power battery is located. Black Hand spits up blood and walks toward the black power battery. Black Hand stands in front of the power batter and says “I hear you.” We see the various colored Lantern Corps assembling their ranks. The voice narrating the story says that he is no longer everything. That he is now a shaft of light split through a prism.

We cut the Spectre turning a murderer into a decomposed pile of flesh eaten by maggots. The voice narrates that in times of crisis that the Spectre is capable of so much more. That he has not found the good within what he has become. The voice says that he prays that someone does. That he hopes someone answers his prayers. That he is somebody.

We shift to a flaming body falling through the multiverse. The voice says there is the light and there is the shadow. That he is the only one who can see the shadow. The giant shadow that is cast across the multiverse. I’m the only one who knows there was a war in heaven and that evil won. That the multiverse takes a single breath like a runner posed on the line…and it’s my breath.

We cut to a meeting of a collection of villains. Libra is at the head of the table. Libra called this meeting to say that he is now starting up a new Secret Society of Super Villains. Libra says that there is a new god in whose name the bad men can offer up their prayers and he will answer. Libra shows the villains the Crime Bible. Libra says that he is the prophet.

We shift to the burning figure closing his hand into fist. The voice says that there is a sound. A sound like the crack of doom. Like a starter’s pistol…and this is me. The narration box is now all red with yellow lettering.

We cut a giant lightning bolt crashing down over a strip club. The voice says “And now I remember.” The narration box is now all red with yellow lettering and has the Flash’s symbol next to it. (Geekgasm.) End of issue.

Comments
The Good: All I have to say are two words: Barry. Allen. Damn straight. Barry fucking Allen, baby! I cannot believe it. It feels like I have been waiting my entire life for Barry Allen to come back. Oh wait; I have been waiting my entire life. Twenty-two long years and finally my patience has been rewarded.

Obviously, being a huge Barry Allen fan, I completely enjoyed DC Universe #0. I know that many people were less than pleased to pay 50 cents for what they considered to be an advertisement. I actually had no qualms with paying 50 cents for DC Universe #0. I thought this was a neat little teaser issue for the various big named titles as well as a little something to whet the reader’s appetite for the upcoming Final Crisis.

Johns and Morrison deliver a well constructed issue as they are able to use Barry’s narration as the spine that connects all the different story arcs. The writers make sure to immediately give just enough background information on the two previous Crises in order to get newer readers properly acclimated.

The first teaser was for the upcoming Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds mini-series. It is no secret that I was summarily unimpressed with how Johns wrote the Legion in the last story arc in Action Comics. And I certainly dread that this mini-series is going to be nothing but a kill-fest for Johns to butcher Legionnaires like he did Teen Titans during Infinite Crisis.

Having said all that, this was still a cool teaser. It certainly conveys the grand scale of this event dealing with the three different versions of the Legion of Super Heroes. If nothing else, we should get some quality action and some beautiful George Perez artwork.

The Batman teaser was my second favorite one. I thought this was a beautifully written scene. Morrison does such a wonderful job with both Batman’s character and Joker’s character. The reader gets to see Batman exude more emotion than his typical stoic persona. Morrison also does a nice job showing what a ballsy bad-ass Batman is as he makes it clear to Joker that he fears no man.

Morrison’s Joker is fantastic. He is wonderfully byzantine, complex and demented. I dig that Joker doles out his hints to using a deck of playing cards. This was a bizarre teaser scene that got me excited about the upcoming Batman: RIP story arc. I am confident that Morrison has something impressive in store for us.

Of course, I enjoyed the Green Lantern teaser. But, since The Revolution loved the Sinestro War story arc and is already psyched for the Blackest Night story arc, I didn’t really need this teaser to convince me to buy this title. Johns does give us some new information as we learn that Black Hand has been recruited by the black power battery to be a member of the new Black Lantern Corps. I love all the different Green lantern Corps and I like seeing the different characters that are getting recruited for the various Corps.

Of course, my favorite of all the teaser scenes was the one for Final Crisis. Morrison delivers some lyrical and beautifully written narration. The narration had such an enjoyable flow to it and did a fine job connecting the various unrelated teaser scene into one seamless read.

I also liked the neat touch that the narration boxes in the beginning of the issues were black with yellow lettering. Then as the issue progressed, the narration boxes slowly turned red so that by the end of the issue the narration boxes were completely red. And with the last three narration boxes we finally see the Flash symbol appear.

I am certainly curious to learn more about Libra and the new Secret Society of Super Villains that he is attempting to form. We see the Crime Bible sitting on the table in front of Libra as he talks about the evil god that he is asking the fellow villains to swear allegiance to. I dig that Morrison is taking the Crime Bible from 52 and is going to use it in Final Crisis. The new Secret Society of Super Villains should serve the role as quality foot soldiers in the upcoming Final Crisis.

Now let’s get back to the big reason why I adored DC Universe #0: the return of Barry Allen. I know that many fans will be howling over this move by DC to bring back Barry Allen. Some fans view Barry’s death as one of the few “perfect” heroic deaths and to bring him back would be an affront to the comic book industry.

I respect that viewpoint, but I simply don’t buy into that line of thinking. I don’t believe that there are rules as to what characters a writer should be allowed to bring back to life. I could care less what character a comic book publisher brings back from the dead. All that matters is if I am going to get a good story out of the return of that character.

Bucky is an excellent example of this concept. Tenzil and I were hanging out here in the Bunker when he made an interesting comment that perhaps Bucky played a role in Barry Allen’s return. It was an unwritten rule that the only character that stays dead is Barry Allen. It was like Marvel’s rule the only character that stays dead is Bucky.

Then Marvel did what was unthinkable and broke that rule when they allowed Brubaker to bring back Bucky. And at the time, there were plenty of fans who bitched and moaned that this ruined the integrity of comic books. I could have cared less. All I wanted was for Brubaker to give me a great story. And he did. In spades.

Brubaker had a plan for bringing back Bucky. Brubaker didn’t bring back Bucky just to get some cheap hype. Brubaker brought Bucky back because Brubaker had one hell of a story to tell. And since bringing back Bucky, Brubaker has treated readers to one of the best runs that we have ever gotten on Captain America.

It is possible that DC is simply following Marvel’s lead and is breaking their rule about Barry Allen. And my only hope is that DC decided to go this route because Morrison or Johns came to DC with one hell of a story to tell and that is why they asked DC to bring back Barry. Personally, I cannot wait to see what Morrison has in store for us with Barry over in Final Crisis.

Now, of course, we don’t know if Barry is truly back. This may just be a temporary return for the events of Final Crisis and then he will go away again. There is also the chance that Barry will be brought back in a totally different form. Maybe Barry won’t be a Flash. Maybe Morrison will make Barry into a New God of the Fifth World. Or maybe Barry will return in his normal form. Who knows? And that is what is making this so much fun. In the end, I have faith in Morrison to deliver a good story.

Since DC Universe #0 is a teaser issue for various titles, it is understandable that we get artwork by committee. And I have no problem with that. Especially since we get treated to the artwork by numerous fine artists.

The Bad: The Wonder Woman teaser was solid, but it just did nothing for me. To be fair, I have never really been all that interested in Wonder Woman’s character aside from the obvious prurient appeal that she presents. And as a general rule, any story arc that centers on a battle of the sexes presents zero appeal to me. Still, the teaser was well written and certainly should hook some readers into giving Wonder Woman a try.

The teaser for Final Crisis: Revelations failed to hook me. Of course, a large reason for that is that I have never gotten into Spectre’s character. And we didn’t really get shown much that would get me want to purchase this Final Crisis spin-off title.

Overall: DC Universe #0 did its job with me. The purpose of this issue was to get the reader excited about various titles and upcoming story arcs. And, for the most part, DC has piqued my interest about the various story arcs headed our way. And most importantly, DC got me psyched for Final Crisis. And that was necessary since Countdown to Final Crisis pretty much killed much of my interest in Morrison’s grand event.

I would certainly recommend DC Universe #0 to any readers who are curious about the various Final Crisis tie-in events as well as the upcoming story arcs on Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. The teasers may be enough to prompt you to give a new title a try.

14 Comments

  1. You nailed it, buddy! And so did DC! This is the way to hook a fan!DC Universe #0 gives just enough to whet the appetite (and for four bits!). And unlike Countdown, you already have a feeling this is BIG and thatthe events will means something.
    Oh, yeah and Barry Allen? Welcome Back, my friend! I have waited a long time to see the Flash of my childhood back and I am pumped!
    As bad a taste as Countdown left in my gut, this is pure sweetness and is going down good!

  2. Wasn’t Bucky a bad guy of sorts when he came back? I thought he came back as Winter Soldier, an assassin.

    I wonder if Barry’s return will be the cause of the crisis and ultimately he will have to choose to stop doing something he wants or desires to save the world.

    Through that sacrifice, he becomes something other then the flash but in the long run it will be for the better. Like Bucky becoming more then just a side kick.

  3. I’m of two minds about the Allen thing in a lot of ways. I absolutely understand why people who grew up with him want their Flash black; at the same time, I was born about a year after he kicked the bucket in COIE, so if this is permanent my Flash is either going to end up dead or marginalized to make room; more broadly, it exemplifies the current Rossist trend at DC that obviously has little appeal to people who weren’t around back then.

    For a preview book, this worked quite well. Speaking as the local WW advocate, the story content was already discussed in interviews for the most part, but I liked the preview of Aaron Lopresti as the regular artist; he did a lot of great work over at Marvel on things like Incredible Hulk and Ms. Marvel, and when he moved over to DC I was worried he would end up on something I wasn’t reading, so it was great when I heard he was drawing this.

    The Batman teaser was also pretty good, although every time Morrison’s Joker appears it highlights how absolutely no one else is using the current mute/lipless incarnation we’re seeing in Batman (even the one in Detective Comics has absolutely no relation).

  4. In the end, the REAL Countdown to Final Crisis was a single issue that cost 50 cents.Lovely. I am very interested in this in spite of myself. I still think that FC is going to be jam-packed with the set-up and the resolution , but they just wasted 52 weeks of our time , so , whatever, It seems to me that FC will spring more out of 52 , that is probably a good thing. 52 had a lot of ideas to play with floating around.I also think this should have been the Free Comic Book Day issue.Talk about a gateway drug!!

  5. Rokk, this was a good preview, for only 50 cents, what a deal! But I may be clueless, but what exactly indicates the narrator was Barry Allen? I may have missed this in DC Universe Zero.

  6. Growing up, I was a Marvel only fan that didn’t pay much attention to the Barry Allen/DC thing. In fact, I didn’t quite even realize he was so important to be dead up until this Final Crisis thing started to come out.

    Growing older, I’ve come to move away from Marvel towards DC for the fact that DC is a more mature subject area (where when I was younger I thought Marvel was).

    While many of you hated Trials of Shazam, after reading the whole shooting match myself, I have to say that I greatly appreciate the direction Winnick went in and I greatly appreciate that the Marvels are finally something a little bit more than 2D cutout characters (which is what they were before Trials).

    The expansion of the Lanterns into all colors is something that has completely drawn me into Green Lantern again, so I am damn interested in seeing what goes on with that.

    Batman? Batman? I’m interested to see if someone else is Batman, assuming Bruce Wayne is finally done… I don’t hate Bruce Wayne but he is the one thing preventing the DC Universe from being completely feasible.

    As for Supes and WW… I don’t care for either of them, so I don’t care what happens in Final Crisis to them. Superman is invincible as long as he has access to the sun… too omnipotent.

    Wonder Woman… she’s Amazon, not American, so why is she dressed in an American flag? This has always bothered me.

    DC Universe 0 was worth 4 times what I paid for it. And on top of that, I got it during Free Comic Book day, the first one I’ve actually made it to ON TIME! (I’m always late).

    I hope Final Crisis doesn’t disappoint.

  7. Wonder Woman… she’s Amazon, not American, so why is she dressed in an American flag? This has always bothered me.

    The costume is modelled on the flag (which the Amazons took for a coat-of-arms) on the uniform on Diana’s namesake, Diana Trevor, a 40s USAF pilot who crashed on Themyscira.

  8. Thank you, islandliberal! I actually did not know any of that.

    I do, however, like Stan Lee’s look for Wonder Woman (with the gold and white combo) rather than the one she’s sporting now.

    Personal preference, I guess.

  9. I absolutely freaking loved how they are apparently bringing Barry back, and the way it is apparently being done, even though I’ve always been more of a Wally kind of guy. It’s as if he is running BACK FROM THE AFTERLIFE to warn the heroes of what is going to happen. Did anyone else get that feeling from it?

    Final Crisis is gonna be so sick and awesome.

  10. just a note, in some of the advertising I’ve previously seen for both final crisis and legion of three worlds, brainiac 5 can be seen holding a short metal rod

  11. Not to be too single-minded in the face of apparent awesomeness, but…any mention at all of Conner?

  12. I’m still a little wary of Morrison’s Final Crisis but am hopeful. What is disappointing about DCU 0 is that DC just couldn’t go that extra step and make it free for FCBD. Not that I minded paying .50 for it, just that DC seems to cut corners by doing things like giving a reprint of All-Star Superman 1 (or last year LSH #1). How cheap they are! I may not have liked last years Brand New Day Spiderman issue from Marvel and haven’t yet read my X-men issue I got today. But you know what, I at least respect that Marvel is about giving away a comic that not only leads into a series they want to hype but also is an original story on its own. DC doesn’t seem to care about its readers (e.g. Countdown should have been 12 issues and DCU should have been free).

  13. Hey, I just got mine yesterday and I had a few thoughts…

    It seems to me that it has to be Barry coming back. The narrative seems to be too indicative of him. I think this really shows if you have read the Crisis on Infinite Earths novel. The entire book was from Barry’s point of view and many of the flashback (ha! “flashback!”) elements seemed to come from that point of view.

    Anyway, I am jazzed to see Barry back! (I freely admit that Barry was always may favorite Flash).

  14. Barry Allen?
    Doesn’t the burning figure look more like one of the newgods? Light Ray? Orion?

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