Day of Judgment #3 (1999)

Day of Judgment #3 (November, 1999)
“Choosing Sides”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Penciller – Matt Smith
Breakdowns – Christopher Jones
Inker – Steve Mitchell
Colors – James Sinclair
Separations – Jamison
Letters – Comicraft
Associate Editor – Tony Bedard
Editor – Dan Raspler
Special Thanks – Kevin Dooley
Cover Price: $2.50

Hmm… that credits list seems to be getting longer and longer, doesn’t it?

The only reason I know it’s not a contemporary Marvel book is because the list isn’t twice as long and consisting mostly of “editors”… and, of course, skatey-eight hundred variant cover artists.

Anyhoo… let’s bust on through the halfway point!

We open on Earth, where Batman and the Topsiders continue to do battle with the hellions.  Meanwhile, the Spectre brainstorms on how he might reclaim his power from Xanadu’s crystal.  We also learn that Captain Marvel, at the urging of the Phantom Stranger, is leading a crew into space to fetch the Spear of Destiny… which must be the right plan, because Asmodel responds to it by… zapping the Stranger’s face off!

Up in space, we join Cap, who is flanked by Star(fire) and S.T.R.I.P.E.  They locate the Spear lodged in some “space junk”, however as they make their approach… they find that they’re not alone.  Enter, Soviet Cosmonaut Zombies! 

Back to Purgatory, where Hal Jordan is pleading his case to return to “home” to help out his pals.  Alan Scott considers it for a moment… and agrees that Hal’s the only other person he knows (besides Jim Corrigan) with enough willpower to control the Spectre.  Hal’s pleased… but will not return as Parallax.  He changes into his Green Lantern duds for the trek home.  Just then… the hordes of Purgatory attack!  They’d already claimed Hal as one of their’s… and aren’t hip to the jive of letting him go.

Meanwhile, in Hell… the heroes are in the River Styx.  I think I neglected to mention yesterday that Charon’s Ferry capsized… so, uh… the ferry capsized.  While in the drink, the heroes are haunted by their worst fears… and thankfully this only goes on for a couple of pages.  I feel like they’d have tried to get a couple of issues out of such a thing nowadays!

Topside… in Manhattan, the heroes continue to fight off the hordes, while protecting Xanadu’s crystal.  We get a strange bit where it’s revealed that Dr. Occult is really his partner Rose… in disguise?  Feels kinda random… it also really feels like they’re just dying to spin-off a Sentinels of Magic series.

We shift scenes to Salam, where Jay Garrick leads a team set on tracking down Dr. Fate… annnnnnnd, they find him.  That’s about it.

Back in Purgatory, the heroes (flanked by some “old friends”) are able to hold off the hordes, and with the aid of Supergirl’s flaming angel wings, Zauriel is able to use his holy blade to cut through the very fabric of the place to send them home.

In Hell, the heroes finally arrive at the City of Dis.  Once inside, they are greeted by the demon Nebiros… who appears to really want their souls… but that’s a battle we won’t see until later.

In Manhattan, Etrigan finally decides to stop watching… and get involved.  He rushes Madame Xanadu who… just gives him her crystal?!  Is she under mind-control?  Is she enchanted?  Well, no… she’s “seen the future” and knows that a savior is on the way.  Her holding onto the Spectre’s “essence” no longer matters.

In space… Cap’s team takes out the dead Russians innnnn… two panels.  More like a panel and a half… really, so pointless.  Anyhoo, Starfire yanks the Spear of Destiny out of the space junk… and that’s it.

Back on Earth, Asmodel is repowered… and promises that today is Earth’s Day of Judgment (hey, that’s the name of this book!).  The heroes all look to Xanadu like “What the hell–?”  At that moment, the Purgatory Pals arrive… with the Earth’s savior… Hal Jordan!  There’s a sense of relief… from everyone except Batman, naturally.

And so, Hal heads right to Asmodel… and socks him in the face!  This proves to be a rather stupid move, as it turns his fist into a sort of glass…

… which spreads, turning his entire body into glass… which, hits the ground and shatters!  Whoops…

Now… as much as I’m coming around to this series… I can’t shake the feeling that it didn’t need to be a series!  This could have just as easily been told in a done-in-one over-sized special… and would have flowed so much better.

This issue is loaded with these rapid-fire scenes that either barely move the plot forward, or take giant leaps over it!  The heroes in Hell make it… what, ten feet?  They pull themselves out of the River Styx, and then get taunted by Nebiros.

Jay Garrick’s team spends a page searching for Dr. Fate… and they find him?  What’s the point?  This could’ve been handled in a single line of dialogue… just have Batman say “Garrick just reported in that they found Dr. Fate!”  Bingo-bango…

Captain Marvel’s team… we get a couple of pages of them looking at space junk… two panels of fighting zombies… then they nab the Spear of Destiny.  Another bloated (and wasted) scene in my opinion.  Another one-liner… Batman could now say “Captain Marvel has located the Spear of Destiny!”

The Purgatory bits were pretty neat.  I like the idea of the other lost-soul heroes (Rick Flag, Adrian Chase, etc.) helping their friends fight off the hordes… even if the fight scene itself felt like a complete afterthought.

We get an… interesting cliffhanger… enough to ensure many of us come back for the next issue… but again, this feels so bloated.  This certainly doesn’t need the 100+ pages it gets to tell this story.  This feels like a 48-pager at best… and the editorial/creative musical chairs definitely makes it feel as though it wasn’t a top priority for DC either way.

Overall… despite everything I just said, I found more to like than to dislike, and would recommend giving it a flip-through.

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