Reviewed by: Mathan “The Figure of Controversy” Erhardt
Story Title: Poison
Written by: Joe Kelly
Penciled by: Doug Mahnke
Inked by: Tom Nguyen
Colored by: David Baron
Lettered by: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Mike Carlin
Publisher: DC Comics
The issue opens with the death of Clark Kent during a grocery story. Abruptly, reality shatters. From there, we see the after effects of last issue; Coldcast bleeding on the floor, Al Sheikh performing an autopsy, Green Arrow and Major Disaster mourning Manitou Raven.
Jumping backwards in time, we see a young Kal El’s ship being found by a tank which fires upon it. Again reality shatters. Then, it is back to the present where Batman and Hawkgirl are discussing her injuries. We see Vera trying to save Flash before Manchester takes over her body again.
We glimpse the future and see destruction, presumable at the hand of Superman who curses Manchester Black. Reality shatters once more.
We then see how Al Sheikh’s autopsy is progressing when he finds a bit of DNA evidence that should implicate the killer. Meanwhile, the Flash is in a state of distress. Apparently he tried to save as many of Aftermath’s addicts as he could which caused him to overexert himself. Batman, J’onn and John monitor his progress.
Oliver consoles Dawn with the loss of her husband. Major Disaster then interrupts and suggests that all three played a role in Manitou’s death. We then find Batgirl/Kasumi caring for an injured Coldcast, as they reside within a shadow dimension from Shadow Thief’s belt.
Then Al Sheikh calls the Watchtower and gets a visit from Superman, as Ollie tries to get in contact with the rest of the Elite before Wally reveals that Vera and Manchester are one and the same. Meanwhile Major Disaster decides to commit suicide.
Under attack from the beasts that dwell in the shadow realm Coldcast and Batgirl exit, only to be confronted by the JLA and some of the Elite. Coldcast is immediately placed under arrest for the murder of Don Qua Bhat, from the Elite’s initial mission. To be continued.
Kelly does a find job of juggling a great deal of characters and virtually no stone is unturned. We check in with Hawkgirl and Dawn, we get to see reactions to Manitou’s death. We get an autopsy and we see what Manchester’s ultimate goal is. While I’m saddened that Coldcast is the killer, I’m sure that Kelly has more tricks up his sleeve.
Art-wise this issue is on par with the series thus far. The look at other ways Superman’s life could have gone were handled very well, as was their ultimate ending. Bhat’s corpse is a pretty disturbing image, and so is Dawn’s pain, but in a different way. The image of Flash in distress perfectly illustrates the concept, which is pretty abstract. The final image of Coldcast is a tough one to look at, but it makes you want to read next issue that much more.