While spending time with his long time friend Pete Ross, who is now the Vice President of the US. Clark Kent is ambushed at the White House by the Master Jailer and Neutron. After dispatching the two villains as Superman, Clark receives a message from Lex Luthor saying, "You're faster than a speeding bullet." Thinking little of it, more people close to Clark are being attacked. Superman realizes that either Luthor or someone else has figured out his secret and they're going after everyone close to Clark. -summary
Taking place across eight issues, Superman: Ending Battle reprints Superman 186 - 187, Adventures of Superman 608 - 609, Superman: Man of Steel 130 -131, and Action Comics 795 - 796. The stories are written by Geoff Johns, Mark Schultz, Joe Casey, and Joe Kelly. It's one of the more interesting stories in the Superman mythos, as it runs the Man of Steel through a gauntlet of villains being manipulated by some unknown force. The villains are targeting everyone close to Kent; parents, dentist, football coach, Lois Lane, the whole ball of wax. Eventually the battle involves Metropolis, which results in one big showdown between Superman and some serious heavy hitters.
Despite the Knightfall-ish feel, Ending Battle really cannot be described as anything less than epic when looking at it from the perspective of your basic superhero comic. The writing is splendid in capturing what Superman is all about; strong both physically and mentally, brave, determined, and most of all, bound by his moral code never to kill. Once the story finally establishes a solid plot, it's full throttle from there.
The writers definitely brought their A game and I can't thank them enough. One of Superman's problems throughout the years was his rogues gallery. He never really had THAT many interesting villains, and it shows here in the beginning. However, the writers manage to integrate these minor league characters into the story, and they play their small roles into the bigger picture; which is to keep Superman guessing and wear him down for the main event.
Later, the writing team reaches into the pages of Green Lantern, and pits Superman against the energy wielding threat Evilstar. This results in a real good battle between the two, and as good as this battle is, it's nothing more than the appetizer before the real meal. As the story continues, Superman comes into another interesting villain named the Puzzler, who battles by breaking her body up into pieces using a jigsaw puzzle effect to trip him up. However, this is nothing when Supes finds himself having to take on Mongul, and a sane Bizzaro,who almost double team him into oblivion. One thing is for sure, this book is no slouch in the action department.
Although the action is the major selling point, there's also a side story taking place in the form of a hilarious debate on the program called "Fastball", which discusses the dangers meta-humans represent. This break during the action doesn't hamper the pacing at all to me, since it happens to play a small role in the story later on. There's a great amount of suspense and memorable character interactions as well.
Behind the pencils are Derec Aucoin, Brandon Badeaux, Pascual Perry, and Duncan Rouleau. The artwork is fairly consistent, and far above average despite the many artist, with crisp character designs and nice backgrounds. It's rare to get this kind of visual treatment through crossovers. The action is very intense with Superman putting opponents into orbit with a single blow, and the fight with Bizarro and Mongul is awesome as well.
Ending Battle couldn't have been a better name for this story arc, which the reader will soon realize by the time the last page is read. The ending was definitely a great way to cap things off, and bring some closure to this madness. I particularly enjoyed the closing pages, as it reveals once again, that outside of the red and blue uniform, and when the fist are done flying, Superman is just as human as anyone else, and all he wants is to live his life in peace whenever possible.
Superman: Ending Battle is one of those great stories that slipped pass the comic reading community due to poor hype, and it's a shame too, since it's such a damn good read. I'm glad this story received the TPB treatment, because it no doubt deserved it. I highly recommend this to fans of the character.
-Loads of action
-Well use of rogues gallery
-Really small dull moments in beginning
What did you think of this review?