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Superman - Action Comics Vol. 3: At The End of Days (The New 52)

Action Comics, Vol. 3: At the End of Days - Grant Morrison Unfortunately, worst fears realized. This storyline is incoherent, abrupt and downright confusing in all the same ways that made me dislike the trade collection of Final Crisis. Utterly devoid of character development, Morrison again relies on impressing the reader with his complex management of multiple stories happening at multiple times and in multiple realities in a sort of LSD-driven misinterpretation of quantum mechanics and basic physics that tries really hard to come together in the final panels to make some sense and succeeds only fractionally with a magical wave of the hand and a sudden twist to throw you off the fact that not a single line of storytelling in the weave had any real standalone value. Maybe the thing makes sense in his brain, and it's true that the core of the idea has some intriguing possibilities, but I feel like Morrison executes very, very poorly sometimes. He's so bipolar for me - either pure unadulterated and inspired genius or sheerly ludicrous mediocrity. The dialogue isn't half bad and there are some touching moments with Krypto and a coming together of the Kents made possible by the mad bundling of timelines caused by Vyndktvx in his misdirected attempt to revenge himself upon Myxlplyx by punishing "his greatest trick," Superman himself. I actually enjoyed the role reversal and the recasting of Myxlplyx. Moreover, Vyndktvx's plan to kill Superman at multiple points in time is pretty inspired and imaginative - but again, I just can't get over how poorly the panels fit together. With the flip of a page you lose all sense of orientation in time. Maybe that's artistic intent, to make the reader feel the disorientation Clark is feeling and add to the narrative, but I found it incredibly annoying. If my review for Final Crisis is anything by which to judge the reaction I'm going to receive, I'm sure I'm going to get about a hundred comments telling me how I'm just not smart enough to understand what Morrison is trying to do, but I'm at wits end with this guy. He's got a phenomenal character and a chance to deepen his development in the face of the overwhelming popular criticism that the Man of Steel is a one-dimensional goody-goody and with the opportunity to reinvent the character he settles for trying to dazzle with plotting. Poor decision.

As a bonus annoyance, the scientific verbiage, particularly the physics is thrown about without the slightest attempt to ground halfway in reality. There is no way "unified field theory" contributes in any way shape or form to the action in the context in which it is used and even more technical language is used to paper over explanations for things that make not even slightest bit of sense at all. Yes, it's a comic book - I know. And yes, the average reader is not pursuing a graduate degree in physics either, but would it kill you to Wikipedia something before you throw it in the text?

In short, after a promising start, this series unravels quite quickly. I'm kind of glad that this volume ends Morrison's run. I'm looking forward to what other authors, specifically Scott Snyder can do with Clark. I'll definitely be looking out for Superman: Unchained when it's finally collected.