Day of Judgment #4 (1999)

Day of Judgment #4 (November, 1999)
“The End of the World as We Know it”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Penciller – Matt Smith
Breakdowns – Christopher Jones
Inker – Steve Mitchell
Colorist – James Sinclair
Separations – Jamison
Letters – Comicraft
Associate Editor – Tony Bedard
Editor – Dan Raspler
Special Thanks – Kevin Dooley
Cover Price: $2.50

Penultimate Judgment!

All around the world, heroes are taking the fight to the demons… including, in a rare post-Vertigo appearance, Animal Man!  In Manhattan, the Spectre looms large… and looks to be belting out quite the chorus, while Alan Scott is knelt before the shards of Hal Jordan.

If you recall, yesterday… Hal returned to the mortal plane, and in his first move… he socked the Asmodel-Spectre in the jaw, only to be turned into glass… which shattered when it hit the ground.  You might also remember a few days back where Asmodel-Spectre turned Superman into a pillar of salt.  Well… this cliffhanger pays off similarly… which is to say, Hal Jordan is okay again!

Thanks to Doctor Fate!  So that’s why we were in Salem, eh?

Alan tells Hal that he can’t do this alone… and suggests he settle his tea kettle, and stay focused.  And so, Hal decides to strategize… sending some construct fighter jets to take on the Spectre’s pestilence bugs.  Unfortunately, it’s been quite some time since Hal’s last charged his ring… and purgatory-apparition or not, rules are rules.

And so, the Sentinels of Magic combine their powers to give Hal a proper recharge.  Hal then assembles a very familiar army… the Green Lantern Corps!

Meanwhile in Space… Starfire has the Spear of Destiny, and has gone rather mad with the power.  This threat lasts exactly one panel… S.T.R.I.P.E. nails her with some electric blasts, and Captain Marvel reclaims the relic.

In Hell faced with the threat of Nebiros, Faust empties out that bag of bones he’d been carrying around.  The skeleton begins to reanimate, and comes together as… Blue Devil!

Topside, the construct Corps are pounding away at the Spectre, and in a neat bit… Hal tries to apologize to Kilowog.  The big lug doesn’t wanna hear it… they’ve got a job to do.  At the same time, Captain Marvel and the gang returns with the Spear of Destiny.

Back in Hell, Blue Devil easily bests Nebiros… and the heroes jump to the task of reigniting the fires of frozen-over Hell.  Faust notes that his good deed in vanquishing Nebiros has released his soul… for the first time in who knows how long, he is complete!  We’ve still got a problem in that the hellfires refuse to light!

Faust realizes that the only way to spark it is to perform an act of true evil… and so, he slits the throat of the Enchantress!  Wow, that’s pretty hardcore.  Whatever works though!

Topside… the battle continues to rage.  After a brief skirmish with Etrigan, Captain Marvel plunges the Spear of Destiny into the Spectre’s chest.

With Asmodel weakened… it’s time for Hal to, in the words of Kilowog, “take his medicine”.

At the same time, Superman and the Hell-lighters return.  Kyle is pretty taken aback… thinking he’d just seen Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps (there’s a book waiting to be… oh.)  Anyhoo, Superman is acting weird… he kayos Batman and Kyle, and approaches the Spectre claiming that he will take the power.  Well, that’s right responsible of him!  Oh… waitasec, he also wants all of the heroes’ souls.  Whoops.

Some really neat scenes here… but still can’t help but to feel that this is going on too long.  I keep imagining this as a nice over-sized special… or maybe a prestige-format dealie.  I think it would’ve read so much better that way.  Perhaps I’m doing it (and myself) a disservice by insisting that I read these one at a time.  Maybe if I just powered through, I’d receive it a bit better.  Buuuuut, that’s the cross we bear here at the Infinite Earths.

Let’s start with the cliffhanger resolved… Hal goes to pieces, and suddenly he’s back.  I feel like this is kind of lazy… same with the Superman-as-salt cliffhanger.  It’s like, okay… how do we end this one?  Oh, I know… we’ll kill Superman.  Cool… how do we walk that back?  Well, next issue he just won’t be dead anymore!

I guess when we’re working with magic… it’s easy enough a fix, but still… kinda lazy.  Kinda feels like a cheat.  Hal’s just “okay” again.  Another point for this to be a one-and-done… there’d be no need for these cheaty cliffhangers.

Now the cliffhanger going forward… Superman turned heel!  Never having read this before,  I can’t pretend to know how this works itself out, but it stands to reason to guess that it will be resolved within the first couple of pages of the next issue.  It’s hard to get excited when we’ve already had a couple of cop-out resolutions.

Onto the awesome scenes!  It was really cool seeing the Green Lantern Corps… especially since they weren’t exactly “constructs”.  In Hal chatting up Kilowog, we can see that he had a “soul” or “consciousness” about him.  It gave Hal the opportunity to (attempt to) make amends… which was something I really wanted to see.  I do wish Kyle was able to get a better look at the Corps in action though.

The scene in Hell was… hit or miss.  The Nebiros fight felt a bit like a throwaway… but it was necessary for what followed.  Faust is a character I have very little investment in, so his soul returning didn’t do all that much for me.  Can’t really hold that against it though… that’s just me.  His killing the Enchantress was interesting… I guess I dug it because I really can’t stand the Enchantress.  The character always annoyed me.

The Spear of Destiny bit… again, such an oddly-paced scene.  I mean, we get Starfire overcome with the power… and she’s zapped in the very next panel.  Why even bother?  Just get the damn Spear…

Overall… I’m gonna ride the fence here.  I do think this is an important story… and there’s a lot to like about it, but… the pacing here is a bit off-putting.  I know I’m coming across like a broken record here, but… this didn’t need five issues, and would have been better served as an over-sized one-shot… or maybe between Spectre and Demon Annuals or something.  Anyhoo… we’ll wrap this bugger up tomorrow.

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