Yeah, we know, but it’s Wednesday….

DC planned 52 as a stand-alone series that would explain how their Universe moved from the end of Infinite Crisis to their current continuity.

Somewhere along the line, they decided to add a four-issue crossover mini-series that answers several of the significant questions.

Title: World War III #1-4

Writers: Keith Champagne, John Ostrander.

Artists: Tom Derenick, Drew Geraci , Jack Jadson, Pat Olliffe., Andy Smith, et al.

Premise:

Black Adam declares war against the world.

High Point

The Manhunter’s personal struggles are the most interesting thing in this series, and they might have been handled better as a plot of 52.

The final fate of Black Adam recalls but does not in any way imitate the defeat of the original character back in 1945. It’s quite a… Oh, wait. This actually happens in 52 #50.

Low Point

This feels like a cheat. The reason I preferred 52 over certain other Event Comic Books (apart from the weekly format) is that it was supposed to be self-contained and tell a definite set of related stories. Sure, readers would need to know the DC Universe to get all of the references, but we wouldn’t have to buy an assortment of other crossover comics to follow the plot. None of this, “y’wanna find out what happened between pages # 7 and 8 of Infinite Secret Civil Wars? You better pick up ish #36 of Captain Spandex.”

Not only does World War III break that expectation while depicting a few key events that easily could have been part of the regular 52 run, but it ends with a teaser for the Next Big Event Series. The conclusion of World War III, of course, appears in 52 #50.

The Scores

Originality: 3/6.

Artwork: 5/6. The artwork is generally more consistent than in 52, and fairly good. Of course, they consistently use the comic-book convention of having a mob of metahumans attack one target and arrive at roughly the same time, despite vastly different abilities. Somehow, only a few expendable superheroes actually die.

It’s also a fairly bloody outing.

Story: 3/6. The story has some good moments, but it’s basically a series of violent fights which start in another comic, carry over four (fairly fragmented) issues (lots of quick guest appearances), and finish in 52.

Characterization: 3/6.

Emotional response: 3/6. If you desire lots of superhero fights, this should satiate you.

Flow 4/6. Despite the story’s fragmented nature, Manhunter has been used effectively to maintain a sense of cohesiveness

Overall: 4/6.

In total, World War III receives a score of 25/42.