Starro has come to Earth 3 and they’re on a recruitment drive. First to sign up, if not willingly, is the world’s super-dictator, Ultraman. And the mission he’s been given by the neurological nobbling alien starfish is, bring Superwoman into the fold.
She’s not having it.
Elsewhere, Owlman is being rather melodramatic.
Still, he’s getting the job done with the usual Wayne efficiency. The name is Wayne, but it’s Thomas Wayne, not yet a member of the evil Justice League because they don’t yet exist. This first story in the six-issue mini-series is the Crime Syndicate’s version of The Brave and the Bold #28, in which a batch of brave super-beings came together against Starro the Conqueror. The metahumans here are brave, and indeed, bold, but I doubt they’ll save the day with a few sacks of lime – it’s going to be a lot messier.
Before we get there, there’s this issue, which is bags of fun, as Starro-adjacent Clark Kent tackles Appalling Amazon Donna Troy who, it turns out, isn’t entirely unfamiliar with space starfish. We also meet more metahumans beyond the earlier introduced Emerald Knight, Atomica and Johnny Quick – well, see rather than meet, as while it’s obvious who they are, they’re not named – and get to delight in the goateed greatness that is President Oliver Queen.
Andy Schmidt’s story is relentlessly entertaining, with the chapter nicely paced and the dialogue snappier than Snapper Carr. The art by penciller Kieran McKeown, inker Dexter Vines and colourist Steve Oliff is even better than last month’s excellent offering. I especially like the Dave Gibbons vibe they give Owlman, evoking the Watchmen look without slavishly following it. And Starro has never looked so good, in a disgusting way. The letters by Rob Leigh complement the rest of the art, the styles and colour choices always sympathetic and adding to the impact of the instalment.
Schmidt and Leigh return for a four-page origin of Owlman, along with artist Bryan Hitch and colourist Alex Sinclair. It turns out that on Earth 3, the Waynes – Thomas Sr, Martha and Bruce – weren’t killed by Joe Chill.
Introducing us to the protagonists outside the main story is a smart move, and like last issue’s Ultraman origin, the creators do justice to Owlman’s beginning (and his probable end). Hitch is getting better with age, and this tight offering is a great showcase for his skills.
Add in a splendidly vertiginous cover from Jim Cheung and Romulo Fajardo Jr and you have an excellent issue of a limited series that needs to be promoted to ongoing, pronto. Read it and tell me I’m wrong.