Comic Book Review: World War III Part Three: Hell Is For Heroes

World War III Part 2 was an exciting read. It was nice to finally find out what happened to Aquaman. It appears that the rest of this series is going to focus on Martian Manhunter and the transformation that takes place with him between Infinite Crisis and the beginning of his mini-series that just ended. World War III Part 3: Hell Is For Heroes should have plenty of action as our heroes try and stop Black Adam. Let’s do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: John Ostrander
Pencils: Tom Derenick
Inks: Norm Rapmund

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Week 50, Day 5: We begin with Martian Manhunter in Pisa, Italy to survey the Romans from Black Adam’s attack. Suddenly, the Justice Society of America appears on the scene. Martian Manhunter then reaches out and searches for the current location of Black Adam.

We cut to Greece, where Black Adam is battling the Teen Titans outside the Parthenon. Black Adam easily takes down the various Teen Titans. Young Frankenstein grabs Black Adam in a big bear hug. Black Adam then rips both of Young Frankenstein’s arms off. Black Adam then flies off and tells the Teen Titans not to cross his path again. Beast Boy then orders the Teen Titans to their jet in order to follow Black Adam.

Credit DC Comics

We see Booster Gold will quickly appear and Wonder Woman’s invisible jet and comments that this is still not the right time. Booster Gold then disappears again. Martian Manhunter surveys the carnage outside the Parthenon. Martian Manhunter eases the mind of Young Frankenstein as he dies.

We shift to Sasha Bordeaux and Faraday discussing how they should have killed Black Adam when they had the chance. Sasha says that Amanda Waller is now the White Queen because no one trusted her on her own. Like when she had her Suicide Squad. Martian Manhunter thinks about how Amanda Waller is so comfortable doing good with evil hands.

We shift to Detroit, where Ben Turner is greeted by Amanda Waller at his apartment. Amanda wants Ben Turner to lead a new suicide squad for her. Amanda tells Ben that Rick Flag is still alive and that it’s time they brought him home.

Week 50, Day 6: We zip over to the Himalayas, where Black Adam is once again kicking the Teen Titans’ asses. Black Adam comments that the Titans never accepted Osiris. And that they would pay for their actions. Terra squares off against Black Adam. Black Adam punches his fist through Terra’s chest, killing her.

Black Adam takes off and Raven and Beast Boy tend to the injured Titans and go to retrieve Terra’s body.

We shift to Martian Manhunter flying into Director Bones’s D.E.O. inner sanctum. Bones tells Kate Spencer, otherwise known as the new Manhunter, that he will take care of her problem with the Feds immediately. Martian Manhunter then flies over to where Kate Spencer is having her meeting with Federal Prosecutor Andrew Bates.

Bates and stop firing Damon Matthews for stealing evidence. Kate tells Bates that he’s an idiot to fire Damon and Kate tells Bates that she is going to quit. We see payment and Kate leaving the building. Kate tells Damon that they are going to form their own law firm. That Bones is setting them up and has already cleaned Damon’s record from being fired and accused of stealing evidence.

Kate tells Damon that being defense attorneys will let them work for justice from a different angle. Kate tells Damon that they need to have a long talk. That she has been doing some moonlighting. Martian Manhunter thinks about how people carry out lies and deceit all in the name of justice. Martian Manhunter thinks how that is not the Martian way. It is not his way. Or is it?

Martian Manhunter goes to the precinct in Denver, Colorado, where his lie was born. This is where he took over the life of the deceased and contacted John Jones. Martian Manhunter walks into the precinct and is greeted by his old partner, Peter Santorelli.

Credit DC Comics

Martian Manhunter sheds his façade as John Jones and reveals his true Martian form. Martian Manhunter tells Peter that he is always been a Martian. And that he wanted Peter to know who he truly was. And that he will never manipulate the truth again about his identity.

Martian Manhunter then flies to the Terrel building which was his base of operations when he became a private investigator and partnered up with Diane Meade. Martian Manhunter thinks about how he failed her and she died. Martian Manhunter says that everywhere he looks he only sees lies.

Martian Manhunter begins to blast the building with his heat vision. We see the entire building explode in flames and crumble to the ground. Martian Manhunter for flies out of the explosion and says that the time has come for an ending. End of issue.

The Good: World War III Part Three was another well-paced and plotted issue in this series. I like the continued use of Martian Manhunter to frame the story. Ostrander does an excellent job with J’onn’s inner monologue that runs throughout this issue. It is well crafted and fits with J’onn’s character. Ostrander has a great grasp of J’onn’s character and does capture his personality.

World War III Part Three continues J’onn’s struggle to come to terms with humans and his role on Earth. Ostrander uses this issue to further flesh out J’onn’s struggle with humans and his place on Earth that we see in his mini-series. Ostrander does an excellent job bridging J’onn’s personality and outlook on the world prior to Infinite Crisis and to the version of J’onn that we get in his mini-series.

I really didn’t expect World War III to focus so much on J’onn’s evolution. Having said that, it has been very interesting to read. I’m glad that DC has taken this opportunity to grow J’onn’s character and to place him in a more prominent position in this new DC Universe.

Credit DC Comics

Ostrander continues DC’s commitment to establishing the JSA as a major player in this new DCU. I love this concerted effort to get the JSA over with the readers. Removing Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman as well as disbanding the JLA provides DC the perfect opportunity to place the JSA into a vitally important and central role within the DCU. It is great to see the JSA taking center stage in this conflict.

Ostrander also makes a point of having Martian Manhunter emphatically comment on how brave and heroic the members of the JSA are. That the JSA embodies all the positive aspects of humankind. The JSA continues to be a source of inspiration for all the others heroes in the DCU.

Ostrander also supplies the reader with plenty of just sick and nasty Black Adam action. Nobody kicks ass like Black Adam and this issue is definitely no exception. Black Adam brutally kills two Teen Titans in Young Frankenstein and Terra. And how many times has Terra been killed off already!? Those were some intense and quite graphic scenes. I commented before about the sharp increase of graphic violence in this new DCU and here is further proof of that.

Of course, you had to figure that DC would kill off some “cannon fodder” characters during the events of World War III just like they whipped through cannon fodder characters in Infinite Crisis. After the events of both Infinite Crisis and World War III, it is certainly obvious that it isn’t safe to be a Teen Titan. I thought Black Adam was already a monster villain on par with Superboy. I think with this issue, Black Adam surpasses Superboy as the biggest monster villain in the DCU.

Credit DC Comics

Ostrander does a nice job handling Amanda Waller’s deceitful and sneaky character. Waller is certainly one person that you don’t want to mess with. Ostrander performs an interesting comparison of how Waller uses evil actions and massive black lies in order to achieve good with Kate Spencer who uses small white lies and deceit in the name of justice.

Those two scenes provide the proper springboard for J’onn to realize that he is just like humankind. That he also has employed deceit and lies in his effort to bring peace and justice to Earth. Ostrander delivers a rather dramatic ending with J’onn going back to his roots where he first assumed the identity of John Jones. J’onn’s realization that he has acted just as duplicitous as the rest of the humans around him causes him to reveal his true identity to his old police partner.

And then we see J’onn at the building where he had his private detective agency. This is the pivotal moment where J’onn realizes that his entire life on Earth has been built upon nothing but lies. J’onn destroys the building in a symbolic gesture of him destroying his past on Earth. This is a fantastic scene that shows J’onn making a life-changing decision to end his old life and start a new one either here on Earth or somewhere else. This plays nicely into the beginning of J’onn’s mini-series.

Tom Derenick supplies dependable artwork for this issue. It isn’t incredible, but it is a nice journeyman’s effort that gets the job done.

The Bad: I have no complaints about this issue.

Overall: World War III Part Three was another good issue. Ostrander keeps the ball rolling in this title as we head to the dramatic conclusion with the next issue. This issue offered up an excellent mix of action and character development. I equally enjoy watching Black Adam kick ass as I do watch J’onn’s character grow and evolve.