Superman & Batman: Generations III #4 Review

Reviewer: John Babos
Story Title: Return of the Warrior

Written by: John Byrne
Pencilled by: John Byrne
Inked by: John Byrne
Colored by: Alex Sinclair
Lettered by: John Byrne
Editor: Mike Carlin
Publisher: DC Comics

If you haven’t read any of this Generations series or its predecessors, but you’d like to get the 411 on what’s gone on before, a recap has been provided for you. Look for the bolded heading RECAP: in the body of this review, under which you’ll get a brief history of almost 300 years of John Byrne’s Generations series spanning the current maxi-series and the previous two mini-series.

CURRENT ISSUE: Issue 4: The year 2225.

Issue 4 of this series opens in 2225 with Supergirls Blue and Red taking the dying Wonder Woman, Princess Stephanie, back to her home on Paradise Land, also known as Themyscira. They are greeted by Stephanie’s mother, the Queen of the Amazons, Diana, the original Wonder Woman. After her daughter’s condition is stabilized, Diana assumes the Wonder Woman mantle and battles alongside Earth’s army of OMACs against the resurfaced Parademons. The Parademon army is destroyed, leaving only four to vanish and travel back in time. Wonder Woman and Batman renew their generations-spanning friendship and are left wondering about the purpose behind the Parademon’s time-jumping.

Readers also discover that New Genesis, their New Gods inhabitants, and Superman have not been destroyed, but are trapped in a pocket-universe. Superman is haunted by dreams of the 1925 Parademon alien invasion, but is comforted by his love interest Beautiful Dreamer of the New Gods’ super-team the Forever People. The issue ends with Superman gaining more clues, with the help of the New Gods, as to the real reason behind Saturn Girl’s travel back to 1925.

All in all, this is a continuity-heavy thrill ride from the mad genius of controversial comic great John Byrne. His inking and lettering have something to be desired, but his plotting and pencils are typically solid. A familiarity with the DC Universe would be helpful to readers. Beware: this is not a good jump-on point for new readers. However, it is a fun read that I recommend to anyone who simply likes to be entertained.

Everything that fans love or critics hate about John Byrne continues to be exemplified through his Generations saga.

RECAP: If you’re new to John Byrne’s Generations saga, a recap is provided below.

Generations, building on the previous two mini-series, chronicles a story about how Superman and Batman interact in a DC Universe, where they have aged in “real time” from their respective introductions in comicdom in 1938 and 1939. They grow older; have kids, some of whom become heroes, heroines, villains, etc. Like the previous two series, this Generations 3 (G3) maxi-series will span various time frames. It is expected that, for the most part, G3 will jump ahead 100 years every issue. The last issue, #12, is expected to have readers arrive in the 30th Century world of the Legion of Super-Heroes .

Here’s what you should know about John Byrne’s Generations saga prior to G3:

Superman married Lois Lane, and had two kids, Joel in 1950, and Kara in 1953. Bruce Wayne, the original Batman, retired from crime fighting in the late 1940s. He married, and had a son, Bruce Wayne Jr. We don’t know whom he married or who Bruce Wayne Jr.’s mother is. Superman’s son Joel was corrupted by Superman arch-villain Lex Luthor and killed his sister Kara on her wedding day to Bruce Wayne Jr. We don’t know if Bruce Jr. had any kids, however, a corrupted Joel did have a son, Clark, who would be raised by Bruce Wayne Jr. Clark eventually becomes the hero Knightwing and sires twin daughters Lara and Lois, Supergirl Blue and Supergirl Red respectively. The original Batman, rejuvenated by Ra’s Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pit in 1999, becomes an immortal and returns to crime fighting after his son Bruce Wayne Jr. retires. Jr. appears to be an immortal, which gives a clue about whom his mother may be – possibly an immortal herself.

Here’s what you should know about what’s happened in the previous issues of G3:

The key villains, so far, appear to be more sophisticated Parademons from a future planet Apokolips. They believe that they can successfully alter the future, and prevent a war, the farther back in the past they go.

1925 – A mortally-wounded Saturn Girl, from the Legion of Super-Heroes, travels back in time to warn Superboy about the “destruction” of Earth in 2025. She is followed through time by Parademons. A young, pre-Batman, Bruce Wayne uses his wits to help Superboy save the day in a battle with the Parademons. Prior to her supposed death, Saturn Girl wipes the minds of everyone (including Superboy and Bruce Wayne) within a thousand miles so that the “alien invasion” of the Parademons is forgotten.

2025 – Superman and Batman recall parts of the “invasion” in 1925 despite Saturn Girl’s mind wipe. As such, Superman travels to New Genesis, the sister Planet to Apokolips, to find out about these Parademons. New Genesis and Superman are seemingly destroyed as a result of the detonation of an Apokolips “doomsday” device. On Earth, an OMAC orb or Brother Eye, the source of the hero OMAC’s power, is detonated by the futuristic Parademons and the mechanically animated brain of arch Superman villain Lex Luthor. The explosion “blacks out” all of Earth rendering all technology useless.

2125 – Superman and New Genesis are still missing. Knightwing assumes his grandfather’s mantle and dons a modified Superman costume. On an Earth recovering from the technology blackout in 2025, vagabond low-tech “Morlocks” live aboveground, while the “Eloi” live underground in an emerging-technology world, where Batman and the “new” Superman reside. The Morlock Kamandi buries his differences with the Eloi and Batman, and commits to helping recreate Project OMAC.