Alex Ross’ art is so iconic that it is impossible to miss. Imagine my surprise when I picked up his newest work and found out that he didn’t actually draw it. Braithwaite, selected for his talent, but also for his similarity to Ross’ style, did the pencils and then Ross painted over them. The result is a nice blending that seems almost indistinguishable from Ross’ previous work, at least to my eyes. The story, written by both Ross and Krueger, is also reminiscent of Ross’ previous work, especially Marvels and Kingdom Come.
All over the world supervillians start to have terrible dreams, dreams of fire and death and destruction. Lex Luther decides that it is time for humanity to reclaim the right to protect the world, a right he feels has been given up to the superheroes. In a daring plan, he organizes the supervillian community in a two-pronged assault. On one front supervillians begin using their gifts to better the world: Poison Ivy grows planets in barren villiage, the Toyman provides prosthetics for amputees in Third World countries. On another front, the coalition of supervillians begins systematically taking out superheroes to prevent them from interfering in the process of saving the human race.
As he’s done before, Ross, along with Krueger, takes apart the superhero mythos and reexamines it in a new light. As Krueger explains in his introduction, everyone is the protagonist of their own story and every villain of a story, to be a good villain, must believe himself to be the hero. That’s a great point to make, even though it is hard to imagine Luther as a hero. As this is the first book of a trilogy, it is mostly set up for what it to come. The story begins with the disaster to come and then goes back to follow a multitude of characters in a series of spread out plotlines that slowly begin to move toward each other. Recommended for most libraries, though you might want to wait until all the volumes are released later in 2007.