By Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis
In Justice League #23.4, Owlman and the Outsider’s backstory is revealed. Now this issue focuses on Ultraman’s origin and motivations. Geoff Johns is slowly shedding some light on these new characters.
Johns’ origin story for Ultraman is fairly predictable. His upbringing is basically the inverse of Earth-One’s Clark Kent /Superman. His Kryptonian parents were driven by Darwinism to the extreme. They wanted him to rule over the humans, not aid them. He had the Kent’s living in fear and made them subservient to him; you should start to get the picture. Although this backstory isn’t necessarily groundbreaking it is still thought-provoking. Geoff’s most notable moment in this book is when Ultraman says that what differentiates this world from Earth-Three is not good and evil, but how strength and weakness are viewed. This is was a fascinating concept that he introduces and also allows the reader to have a better understanding/perspective on Ultraman’s actions and ambitions. In just two sentences, Johns is able to convey so much and elevate the story. This is what makes him one the best comic book writers today.
There is a lot content that is covered in this book, so it’s understandable why several pages have compressed panels. Ivan Reis understood that to show all that Geoff Johns had written and not lose the impact and scope of the material he had to do this. His layouts were well designed and executed, the work he did on Ultraman’s origin story exemplifies this. Being the veteran that he is, Reis knows how to pack a punch in his art. When Ulltraman is attacked by a surprise foe, the action is shown in a double full-page shot, which then leads into the splash page at the end of the issue. Just an awesome ending! There were some intensely emotional moments in this book and Ivan’s skill in facial expression imparts the desired effect to the reader. Jimmy Olsen is shown going through fear, despair and anger in one sequence and each sentiment hits home.
This was a very satisfying issue! More insight is given on the Crime Syndicate and another New 52 origin is unveiled. Geoff and Ivan continue to make a great creative team!