Quick warning, this is a LONG review!
War of the Supermen #4: Writers: James Robinson & Sterling Gates. Pencils: Eddy Barrows, Cafu & Eduardo Pansica.
Last Issue: 9 1/2 out of 10.
Review: This issue kicks off with several different panels showing us what the major players were up to, with Supergirl fighting Ursa at the White House, the heroes of Metropolis(led by Natasha Irons)flying towards Gen. Lane's secret base, Lane ordering his men to kill any Kryptonian they capture, and Superman facing off against Gen. Zod in the heart of Metropolis. Supes is able to hold off most of Zod's men, but Zod himself is another story, as he drops an aircraft carrier on top of the Man of Steel, killing hundreds of innocent civilians in the process. Back at the White House, Ursa is getting the upper hand against Supergirl until she is assisted by Krypto, Superboy, Guardian and Steel, and before long Ursa is locked up in some Gold Kryptonite shackles(remember, Gold Kryptonite removes super-powers from Kryptonians). Superboy sends Krypto to the Fortress of Solitude to retrieve something, while Superman emerges from the destroyed aircraft carrier in Metropolis and renews his attack on Zod. Zod reveals to Supes that he had sent Non to deal with the Justice League, and a quick scene shifts reveals that Non is doing just that. Before Non can kill anybody though, Krypto and Superboy arrive on the scene and Superboy blasts Non with the Phantom Zone projector, pulling the Kryptonian strongman into the vast nothingness that is the Phantom Zone. While Superboy and Krypto are heading around the world putting Kryptonians into the Phantom Zone, the rest of the Metropolis heroes are launching an all-out attack on Gen. Lane's secret bunker headquarters. The heroes make quick work of Lane's forces, including Atlas and Superwoman, while Guardian finally meets and beats the man responsible for the death of the original Guardian, Codename: Assassin. Upon hearing Gen. Lane barking orders, Supergirl leaves the rest of the heroes and heads towards the man responsible for destroying New Krypton. Back in Metropolis, Zod has his men pin Supes down, while he pulls out a knife made of Green Kryptonite. Before Zod can drive the knife into Superman's chest, Superboy and Krypto arrive on the scene and save Big Blue. Superboy blasts Zod's men with the Phantom Zone projector, sending them away, which infuriates Zod, causing him to throw the knife towards the distracted Superboy. Before the knife can impale SB, Krypto dives in the way and takes the knife straight through the chest(!). Back at Lane's base, Supergirl finds the General and begins to give him a thrashing before grabbing Gen. Lane by the throat. She then begins to strangle the life out of him, but is halted by Lois Lane, who begs SG not to sink to her father's level. SG relents, and allows Gen. Lane to fall to the floor, while Lois tells SG that her father would pay for his crimes in an international court. Gen Lane has other ideas and proceeds to put his handgun in his mouth and pulls the trigger(!!!), guaranteeing that he wouldn't be going to any war crimes trial. Superman attacks Zod anew in Metropolis, and tells SB to take Krypto into direct sunlight so that the dog's Kryptonian healing abilities would save it. With SB out of the picture, Superman grabs the Phantom Zone projector and fires it at both himself and Zod, deciding that he was more then willing to head into the Phantom Zone with Zod to guarantee Zod never escapes again. As the two adversaries were being pulled into the Phantom Zone, Chris Kent(Nightwing)arrives on the scene and tells Supes that humankind needed Superman, and that he'd go back to the Phantom Zone to watch over Zod. Chris tosses Supes out of the Zone and destroys the Phantom Zone projector, making sure that he'd be trapped with Zod forever, while Supes loses his adopted son to Zod yet again... And that's the end of the main part of this story as we head to a few epilogues. Lois visits the grave of her father and leaves it with no emotions. Supergirl leaves a single Kryptonian flower on some of the rubble where New Krypton used to be, while Guardian, his daughter and his niece leave Metropolis, but not before Guardian's niece reveals she was pregnant with the child of Mon-El. Mon-El locates Chris Kent in the Phantom Zone and is shocked to see that Chris had reverted back to his original age(probably about 7 years old or so). Chris tells Mon that he was slowly forgetting his time as Nightwing, and the two decide to travel to the unknown reaches of the Phantom Zone together. Finally, we close things out with Supes and Lois standing together while Supes mourns the death of his people again.
What I Thought: Fantastic! That's what I thought! This mini-series did SO much right that I could easily type up a 10 page essay detailing just how awesome it was. Sure, there were a few things that I didn't like(like Chris Kent being sent back to the Phantom Zone and de-aged, and um... that was it I guess!), but overall this was probably one of my favorite mini-series in a LONG time. After reading this I think I'm now a firm believer that NO comic book mini-series or x-over should go longer then 4 issues. There wasn't a single dead spot in this story, much like Siege(which also ran 4 issues), as opposed to the snooze-fests that Cry for Justice(7 issues)and Blackest Night(8 issues)were. James and Sterling proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that an excellent story CAN be told in 4 issues. Oh, and one more thing, each issue of this mini was only $2.99, so thank you for that DC. As for the Superman world, everything is back to the status quo. New Krypton is gone, allowing Supes to go back to Metropolis, Lex Luthor was given control of his company back by Gen. Lane for helping him out, Gen. Lane(and his paranoia)is dead, Mon-El is gone, as are Nightwing, Flamebird and Guardian. Although I really enjoyed Mon's Superman run and Nightwing and Flamebird's run in Action Comics, I think most DC fans have been eagerly awaiting Superman to retake his spot in both of those series(although it seems like Lex Luthor will be starring in Action now). Supergirl's comic should be VERY interesting in the upcoming months, as she has to deal with the loss of her mother and her people, while Supes will have to deal with similar loss, as he has the dual loss of his people and his adopted son(again). Before I end this review, I will say one more thing... This mini helped me remember why I was such a fan of James Robinson's writing. After the disgrace that was Cry for Justice, I seriously thought he'd lost his writing skills, but thankfully it seems that Cry was just a horrible aberration. Here's hoping the good James is back from now on!
Score: 10 out of 10. A well deserved perfect score for a magnificent mini-series.Goodbye Gen. Lane...