Superman has left the scene of the previous battle at the Arkham Base, and the remaining Wonders may have a chance to collect themselves before launching a counterattack.  They are interrupted, however, by hordes of Parademons bearing down on them from the sky.  The majority of the action in “The Dark Ages, Part 3” takes place elsewhere, though I would have loved to have seen some action between the World’s Army and a foe that they’re better equipped to take on than Superman.

Batman, Aquawoman, Red Tornado Lois (should I keep calling her that?), Jimmy Olsen, and Major Sonia Sato exploring the deepest levels of Arkham Base after Jimmy discovers the existence of “an alien” being held by Terry Sloan.  Surely, this is the last piece of the prophecy spoken of by Doctor Fate, seeing as how most of the other players have been brought to light.  There’s some cool action with Aquawoman, who seems like a highly powerful and unstable Wonder with a righteous vendetta against the rest of the world. 

Spoiler
Apparently, Earth 2 Atlantis was either wiped out or destroyed in some way before she was frozen by the World’s Army.

There’s so much to pack into this one review that I’m going to miss whole sections of the book, but I highly suggest everyone read it.  There’s some fast-paced fighting, a few epic panels that showcase the talents of the entire art team, and even a few laughs, which have sorely been missing from this series recently.  I really loved how the World’s Army treated “the alien,” as if he was a friend and not a powerful threat.

There’s a touching scene with the soldiers guarding him, and it showed that even the most irrelevant characters in these comics do have feelings and souls.  It’s something that goes missing from most comics; we spend so much time focusing on the gods and legends that the writers tend to forget that these heroes live in a world populated with billions of people, each with their own feelings, sympathies, prejudices, and personalities.  It’s these moments, when the “common people” interact with the most powerful beings in the universe, do we have truly candid moments that showcase the strength and compassion of the common person.  I’d love to see more of it, not just in Earth 2, but in all of comics.

The other sequence that Tom Taylor focuses on is that of Superman, who’s making his return to Earth 2 after being “dead” for five years.  Following his battle with the Wonders, he travels with Flash, Mr. Terrific, and Terry Sloan, and the plans of Apokolips are set into motion. 

Spoiler
Bedlam meets Sloan and Mr. Terrific, and will most likely use his mind-control powers to have them work for Apokolips.
I’m going to end the issue summary here, because there is just so much packed into one book.

Robson Rocha and Oclair Albert are brought on to the artist team to support Nikola and Trevor Scott, but I can’t help but wonder about the reason behind such a move.  It’s not like this was a particular long issue, nor were the Scotts producing sub-par work in my opinion.  Perhaps it was just a chance to let Rocha and Albert show their stuff, or simply work alongside an already-established team of artists.  The artwork doesn’t necessarily suffer for the change, but it was noticeably different.  The faces of the Wonders seem like masks at times, and Batman and Superman look boxier than they have in past issues.

I breathe both a sigh of exhaustion and a sigh of relief as I get through “The Dark Ages, Part 3.”  A sigh of exhaustion because this is an issue of Earth 2, and therefore there must be a new Wonder added to the roster.  Let’s go through the list, shall we? We’ve got: Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, The Atom, Mr. Terrific, Sandman, Doctor Fate, Captain Steel, Red Arrow, Red Tornado Lois, Batman, Aquawoman, Jimmy Olsen, and [Redacted].  That’s fourteen individual Wonders introduced in the first nineteen issues of Earth 2.  I challenge anyone to tell me that that’s not too many.  Seriously, I don’t even care about almost half of them.  But with the introduction of this latest Wonder, I have faith that he will indeed be the final one for a while.

Spoiler

  • The Alien is a Kryptonian named Val, who has apparently been locked in some room since he was found by Terry Sloan.
  • Val seems like a pretty chill guy, making Batman tea and everything.  His face still looked like a mask.
  • Batman is carrying Kryptonite around with him.  Was he planning for Kal to return?  Or is it just that Bat-paranoia-preparation.
  • Green Lantern is alive again! Called it.
  • Angel in the Slaughter is indeed Hawkgirl, and boy, did she look awesome.
  • This issue felt especially epic to me, namely with Hawkgirl dive-bombing into action in order to rescue Batman, Aquawoman, and Sato.  Everything just felt different in this issue than the previous ones.  It was a good change.
  • Superman destroys the Washington Monument and the White House.  What’s with all the villains in Earth 2 immediately going after Washington, DC?  You couldn’t, like, attack the Eifel Tower, Big Ben, or even the Golden Gate Bridge (if you felt like still going after America).
  • So Jimmy has to be blindfolded so that he doesn’t see the carnage going on because he has photographic memory.  Even though he’s a super-powered Wonder it’s nice to see that the adults are looking out for the kids.

Favorite Quote: “Most of your body is water and I can pull every molecule of it out of you with my mind.” – Aquawoman

Recommended If…

  • You’ve been trying to figure out Doctor Fate’s prophecy.
  • You love hero team-up fights.

Overall:

It seems like the Wonders are ready to battle Superman and the forces of Apokolips.  I look forward to seeing who survives and who falls during the battle for Earth 2.  Also, what are Apokolips’ plans for Earth, and what about Darkseid??

SCORE: 8/10