There are two covers to this issue, one featuring the villain Libra, the other, Wonder Woman. I prefer the Libra one, not just because I like Frank Quitely’s image more than that of Richard Friend and Randy Mayor, but because it shows a character actually featured in the issue. There’s no real reason for Wonder Woman fans to buy this book, as she shows up only in flashback group scenes, and doesn’t get so much as a line. It’s all very odd.
The actual comic isn’t bad. There’s a look at Libra’s origins, showing that he’s been involved with Darkseid longer than we knew and giving him Golden Age connections not possible when he appeared pre-Crisis. It answers some questions I had and is thoroughly competent, but eminently missable; the greatest pleasure it gave me was seeing Libra’s creator, Len Wein, credited as scripter.
Well, that and laughing at Libra’s original costume again. Darkseid gives him a cover-up cloak and new boots – who knew the dark Lord of Apokolips had taste?
That first story, nicely drawn by one Tony Shasteen, takes up most of the issue. The rest is feature pages – Grant Morrison shows up with a thoroughly confusing history of the Anti-Life Equation (do we really need anything beyond ‘it’s a mystical maths concept that turns people into Darkseid’s drones’?).
Greg Rucka, Steve Lieber and Eric S Trautmann give us The Words of Lilith, a page from the Crime Bible, but as with the similar offerings in DC’s CB mini series, I tried to plough through it, but couldn’t be bothered to finish. Cod-biblical prose written in semi-script, red on orange, with a colour-hold underlay, doesn’t make for an easy read. Hasn’t DC heard of ‘over-designed’?
I did enjoy Morrison and JG Jones’ Secret Files Sketchbook, which looks at the Justifiers, dark Mary Marvel and various other FC-related types. The most intriguing inclusion is a slightly tweaked classic Aquaman, hinting that Arthur Curry will be back among the DCU mainstays soon (click for a close-up).
All in all, this is a decent way to spend half an hour, but eminently missable.