World War III is such a large event that DC felt that they needed to supplement 52 with these four World War III issues. Now, are these World War III issues going to be pure fluff designed simply to bilk the fan of more money? Well, it wouldn’t be a shocker if that was the true motivation behind these extra issues to supplement the storyline in 52. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for World War III Part One: A Call To Arms.
Writer: Keith Champagne
Pencils: Pat Oliffe
Inks: Drew Geraci
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Week 45, Day 5: We begin in Bialya. Black Adam surveyed the carnage of his rampage. A small girl approaches him and says that only a select few were responsible for Black Adam’s loss and yet millions have paid the price. The little girl suddenly attacks Black Adam. The little girl transforms into Martian Manhunter.
Martian Manhunter tells Black Adam that he is in full control of his body’s motor functions. Black Adam continues to fight and says the word “Shazam”. The magical lightning bolt blasts Martian Manhunter. Black Adam says “Shazam” once more and a bolt of lightning blasts Martian Manhunter for a second time.
Black Adam tells Martian Manhunter that he wants to know what is inside of his mind. That Black Adam will give him all the memories of everyone that he is killed today. All of the emotions overwhelm Martian Manhunter and he streaks off into space, crying and screaming.
Week 50, Day 1: We see various scenes from across the globe as chaos has erupted in every city with Black Adam’s rampage on the world. We see Black Adam taking: the American military. The father time appears with silent majority. Black Adam kills all the bodies of Silent Majority and then rips Father Time’s face off. Black Adam then picks up the aircraft here and throws it toward America.
We shift to New York City where a bunch of criminals has stolen a ton of money from a bank. Suddenly, Jason Todd dressed up in a Nightwing costume appears on the scene. Jason brutally takes down the criminals. The criminals beg for their lives and offer to give Jason the money. Jason decides to take the money and kill the criminals.
We see Firehawk meeting with Jason. Jason merges with Firehawk and transforms into Firestorm. We see the aircraft carrier about to fall on top of New York City. Firestorm springs into action and transforms the aircraft carrier into snow. Jason and Firehawk separate from each other. Firehawk tells Jason that she heard how Martin Stein managed to unfuse him and Cyborg. That Martin used the JLA transport to separate the two heroes and after that Martin disappeared.
We then see various scenes across the globe of the chaos that has occurred because of the Black Adam’s rampage. We see all the thoughts of the people in terror and fight pouring from the earth and straight into Martian Manhunter’s mind. We see Martian Manhunter in space outside of Earth curled up in a fetal position crying out no as he is bombarded with all the emotions from Earth. End of issue.
The Good: World War III Part One was a solid read. It wasn’t spectacular, but it did the job of setting the table for the next three issues. This issue was nicely paced and moved along quickly.
Champagne crafted some solid dialogue. I also like how Champagne weaved all the various scenes together in a pleasing and naturally flowing fashion. Each scene transitioned pleasantly into the next one.
Champagne did a nice job conveying to the reader the massive scope of the chaos and destruction wrought by Black Adam on the globe. World War III Part One certainly reinforced the global and cataclysmic feeling of the events of World War III. Champagne did a sound job of creating plenty of tension in the reader. The stage has been set for the impending showdown between Black Adam and our heroes.
We did get plenty of good action as we continue to watch Black Adam rampage across the DC Universe. I am a huge Black Adam fan and I love watching him kick ass. There are very few monster characters like Black Adam who provide such brutal action. Black Adam combines the nasty attitude of a Wolverine with the power of Superman. That is one scary combination. Black Adam’s intensity and his indomitable will that enabled him to break free from Martian Manhunter’s psychic control was wicked cool.
Champagne also gives the reader some insight into what happened with Jason Todd and Firestorm between the end of Infinite Crisis and the beginning of the One Year Later storylines.
It also appears that the World War III issues are going to be framed around the experiences of Martian Manhunter. I honestly wasn’t expecting Martian Manhunter to take center stage in these World War III issues. I imagine that we will finally learn what caused Martian Manhunter to change into the version of J’onn that we got in his recent mini-series.
Oliffe provides some solid artwork. It isn’t anything great, but it is better than average and does a good enough job of bringing Champagne’s story to life.
The Bad: I found World War III Part One to be a bit lacking in substance. This issue clearly relies on violence and brawling to carry the issue. Maybe it is my own fault for building up my expectation for this World War III storyline. I should have probably lowered my expectations for the World War III storyline, but that would have been hard to do with all the hype that DC put behind the oncoming World War III.
I found the scene with Jason Todd to be rather useless. The main reason because it is a dead plotline. Since DC decided at the last minute to not kill off Dick Grayson, it placed Jason Todd in an awkward position. Jason was supposed to assume the mantle of Nightwing after Dick’s death.
Now that Dick is alive, Jason lost any purpose he had. Also, the notion of Jason running around as Nightwing lost its impact with Dick alive and was dealt with in a spectacularly boring fashion over on Nightwing’s own title. Therefore, this scene didn’t really add any depth of interest to this quickly aborted plotline.
I also wasn’t that interested in the scenes with Firehawk and Firestorm. I have always found both characters to be boring so I had little interest in whatever is going on with these two characters.
Now, this isn’t a negative, but it isn’t a positive so I’ll put it here. What is up with the violence in this new DC Universe? Ever since DC stated that readers would be getting a shiny happier DCU after the events of Infinite Crisis, what we have gotten is an alarmingly more graphically violent DCU.
I don’t mind graphic violence. I am just curious as to why DC would make such a decided effort to crank up the intensity of the graphic violence on their titles after making such a statement at the end of Infinite Crisis.
Overall: World War III Part One was an entertaining issue, but certainly not as good as what I was expecting. Having said that, I think Champagne did a good job setting the table for the next three issues. I do think that World War III will pick up steam and that the next three issues will be stronger reads.