Day of Judgment #2 (1999)

Day of Judgment #2 (November, 1999)
“Lost Souls”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Penciller – Matt Smith
Inker – Steve Mitchell
Letters – Comicraft
Colorist – James Sinclair
Editor – Dan Raspler
Cover Price: $2.50

Before we hop into Chapter Two of Day of Judgment, I wanna take a minute to celebrate the announced return of Superman’s trunks!  What a silly thing to be happy about… but, here we are!

Of course, we’ve got a Bendis story in the issue it goes down, so I’m already bracing myself for a dozen “casual” mentions that Superman’s “red underwear” is back… but ya take the good with the bad.

Apropos of nothing, I think “red underwear” instead of trunks might be up there with “floppies” instead of single issues on my list of things that annoy me about the industry.

Anyhoo… hip hip hooray, the trunks are back… now, let’s get back into the Day of Judgment.

We pick up right where we left off… with an incredulous Asmodel-Spectre thinking these Sentinels of Magic are pretty adorable in their trespass.  Well, c’mon now… you might’ve just turned Superman into a pillar of salt, but there’s no reason to get cocky.  Madame Xanadu xanazaps him with her crystal ball… which robs him of all his Spectre-y power.  Whoops.

No sooner is his power sapped than everything he’d done to the heroes is undone.  Wow, that was anticlimactic… and feels kind of rushed.  It was a silly idea anyway, so I guess we’ll allow it.

Etrigan grabs Asmodel and they flee… however the demons of Hell still haunt the Earth.  The heroes plan their next move… considering that Asmodel is still bonded to the Spectre, they know they’re going to need to find a better vessel.  Who betta then ol’ Jim Corrigan himself, right?  Zauriel claims to have an “in” in Heaven… so the crew splits into three teams.  One to venture into Heaven, one to go to Hell (which has been frozen over… how did I miss that?)… and a third to protect the Earth from those pesky demons.

Zauriel is joined by Supergirl (who was a fallen angel around this time), Mister Miracle (who wanted to see where miracles are made), Wonder Woman, Alan Scott (to grease the wheels with Corrigan), and… Raven?  One of these things… not like the other.

The Hell crew will be led by Zatanna and Superman… who are joined by Green Lantern, Faust, Firestorm, and Deadman (using the body of Enchantress).

Up in Heaven, the group is greeted by the angel Michael… and Raven is sent packin’.  Can’t have the daughter of Trigon stompin’ around the pearly gates.  Once she’s gone, Alan is greeted by a few of his former teammates and friends… Hourman, the Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite, and Mr. Terrific.

Finally… Jim Corrigan arrives.  Alan pleads the case for Jim to reclaim his mantle.  Corrigan declines… stating that his time has finally passed, and he’s ready for his eternal rest.  The heroes decide to respect that, and don’t put up much of a fight… and leave.  Since they are currently Raven-less, it’s going to be a much longer trek… with a stop in Purgatory, but we’ll get there.

In Hell, things get wonky.  Deadman is evicted from the Enchantress… Superman’s cape starts attacking him… it gets weird.  As they struggle, they find themselves stood before the three-headed dog itself, Cerberus!

Who… isn’t as impressive as you might imagine.  The heroes take Cerberus out in a single page.

Topside, the heroes fight off the demons while Etrigan and Asmodel plot to destroy Madame Xanadu’s crystal.

Back in Hell, Superman and the gang come across a… dilapidated boat!  Well, it’s actually Charon’s Ferry… and it’s been left unattended since the River Styx has frozen over.  The heroes load into the craft, and Superman, like a Kryptonian George Washington powers it across the frozen river.

We wrap up in Purgatory… toldja we’d get there… where the heroes are greeted by Sargon, Adrian Chase, and Rick Flag.  Wonder Woman asks for help… which only stirs up the many, many lost souls.  They all reach out, hopeful that they’ll be taken back with the heroes.

One soul in particular steps forward… one the heroes never expected.  He’s the man who saved the world from freezing…

… and he’d love the opportunity to now save it from burning!

Wow, I’m glad I stuck with this for another issue!

After reading the opening chapter… I was rather underwhelmed.  Felt like it started kinda poorly, but this was a lot more like it!  I have no problem admitting I’m wrong about something… especially when it results in getting an enjoyable story.

As I mentioned in the preamble, ya take the good with the bad… so, let’s get the bad out of the way first.  Madame Xanadu dispatching the Spectre so quickly/early on?  Ehh… I feel like that was a bit much.  I mean, if they were planning on a Xanadu/Sentinels series spinning out of this, I’d get it… but they’re not.

I guess it facilitated making Superman less salty… ahem, but that kinda begs the question… why turn him into salt in the first place if it was just going to be undone a page or two later?  I get going for a cliffhanger, but if you’re reading this in collected edition… it’s literally a couple of pages.  Hell… even as a cliffhanger, it’s pretty weak.  The only Superman book that even tied into this was Superman: The Man of Tomorrow… and that doesn’t come out until Week Five.  I don’t think anyone’s heart skipped a beat when Superman was “salted”.

Speaking of “quick dispatches”… why they gotta “job out” ol’ Cerberus like that?  I mean, he barely gets a page before getting taken out… pretty poor showing from the Hound of Hell.

Anyhoo… with that out of the way, let’s talk the good.  I’m a sucker for these kinda “splitting of forces” stories… when they’re done right.  I thought it was cool to follow the heroes into Heaven and Hell.  It was especially neat to have Alan Scott greeted by some of his Golden Age pals.

Jim Corrigan deciding to accept his “eternal reward” is fine.  I don’t have any problem with that… especially since he’d been bonded to the Spectre for…ever.  Hell, I know if I had the chance to get away from the Spectre, I’d accept just about any “out”!  I also appreciate the fact that the heroes respected his decision… and didn’t hassle or attempt to guilt-trip him.

Which took them to Purgatory.  This was a really well-done bit… I love the fact that the heroes found themselves surrounded by lost souls… all of whom begged to be taken back with them.  So cool!  Even cooler was the appearance of… Mister Hal Jordan.

I dug through my collection of Diamond Previews (knew I kept those around for some reason) to see if Hal’s return had been solicited.  I was pretty surprised to see that Hal Jordan gets zero mention in any of the solicits!  Hell, they don’t even include the cover of Day of Judgment #5 here!  Man, I miss the days before internet comics “journalism”… I miss being surprised… I miss a time before internet jokers literally trip over one another in hopes that they spoil things “first”.

Anyhoo… I really enjoyed this… and would even go so far as to amend my lack of recommendation for the first issue.  I think this story is a pretty good read so far… and, barring me changing my mind again… I think you’ll get plenty of fun from it.

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