28 April 2014

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part XIX: Superman: Sacrifice

Comic trade paperback, n.pag.
Published 2006 (contents: 2005)
Borrowed from the library
Read April 2014
Superman: Sacrifice

Writers: Greg Rucka, Mark Verheiden, Gail Simone
Pencillers: Ed Benes, John Byrne, Karl Kerschl, Rags Morales, David Lopez, Ron Randall, Derec Donovan, Georges Jeanty, Tom Derenick, Tony Daniel
Inkers:  Alex Lei, Rob Lea, Mariah Benes, Nelson DeCastro, Karl Kerschl, Bit, Mark Propst, Dexter Vines, Rob Petrecca, Cam Smith, Sean Parsons, Marlo Alquiza
Colorists: Rod Reis, Guy Major, Tanya & Richard Horie
Letterers: Todd Klein, Rob Leigh, Nick Napolitano, Jared K. Fletcher

When planning out my "Infinite Crisis" reading project, I almost skipped over this one, but it turns out to be somewhat less tangential than I imagined. It starts with a story called "Power," where Superman overreacts to a villain's threat. Poor guy, between this story, For Tomorrow, and Day of Vengeance, he is not having a good time this year.

We then jump ahead to "Sacrifice," which takes place between the pages of The OMAC Project. Here, we learn that Maxwell Lord has been undermining Superman, slowly conditioning him into a weapon he can activate at command. Much of this was covered in a text recap page in The OMAC Project, and I'm not sure it really benefits from being fully dramatized here; the story is pretty repetitive: first Superman imagines Brainiac is controlling Lois, then Darkseid. At least John Byrne is there to draw (some of) the pictures! The best part of the story is definitely the final one, already reprinted in The OMAC Project, where Wonder Woman resolves to do what she has to do to put an end to all this.

Then there are three followup stories, one ("Affirmative Defense") where Wonder Woman tries to decide if she did the right thing, all while handling the next crisis, and another ("Fragmentation") where Superman remembers everything you just read in "Sacrifice," though this time he imagines it was Doomsday going after Lois. Again, the Wonder Woman one is the more interesting: I think I just don't care about the "dilemma" posed by this strand of Superman stories, an examination of whether or not Superman is too dangerous/powerful to even exist. It's just totally a false dilemma: Superman is not the danger, Maxwell Lord is. If Superman didn't exist, the threat posed by Max would be no less potent. Finally, in "Home," Superman and Superboy team up to save Steel from an OMAC at the North Pole. It's perfunctory and not very interesting.

Though Sacrifice promises fascinating repercussions (we'll see if these actually happen), it's just not a very interesting story on its own, I think. I like what I saw of it in The OMAC Project, but what we see here is mostly the set-up, not the pay-off.

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