One of the fun parts of the New 52 is seeing how things have changed or evolved in the new continuity. It also allows the chance to establish the backstory or history for 'newer' characters. With the Crime Syndicate now in the DCU, we're getting a chance to visit the New 52 version of Earth 3.
It's no secret that everyone is (or was) pretty much a big jerk on Earth 3. In this issue, we get to travel back to see how Krypton compares along with Ultraman's origin. What we see is a testament to what these characters mean to us (or at least to me). It's almost heart-breaking to see the citizens of Krypton moments before the destruction of the planet. Jor-Il is, surprise, a big jerk. And wait until you see the Earth 3 versions of Ma and Pa. It all feels so completely wrong. And that's the point. The Earth 3 versions are the complete opposite of what we're used to. Geoff Johns does a great job in completely twisting what the characters are supposed to be about in order to show us these alternate versions.
It's not just about Ultraman's backstory. We also see him pay a visit to the Daily Planet where Lois and Jimmy are. If you've read the recently re-released JLA: EARTH 2 Deluxe HC, you'll have an idea what the Earth 3 versions of them are supposed to be like. It's a frightening idea to have Ultraman confront our versions of these characters. We also get a nice lead-in to FOREVER EVIL #3.
How about that artwork? Ivan Reis's pencils and Rod Reis' colors make these unbearable scenes glorious. The issue mainly tells Ultraman's origin but seeing it depicted with this art pushes it over the top. Despite being a darker story, there are some great moments where the colors really pop off the page.
It's pretty much just a retelling of Ultraman's origin with an extremely dark twist. You'll probably have an idea how things will go but there are some surprises and we get a great presentation. This issue does serve to set up FOREVER EVIL #3. It may not be absolutely crucial reading for the arc but it was a blast to read.
We know everyone from Earth 3 are big jerks but leave it to Geoff Johns to really drive the point home. Seeing the characters we know in these dark and twisted forms is really disturbing and the more we see, the more threatening the Crime Syndicate appears. This issue acts as a bridge between the previous and next issue of FOREVER EVIL but seeing Ivan Reis' art and Rod Reis' colors will leave you staring in awe. This is a fun ride in seeing the dark versions and you'll be on the edge of your seat as Ultraman traipse around Superman's neighborhood. And the ending is bound to make you hunger for the next issue.