The Oracular Beard presents…so you wanna be a comic book nerd
Love it or hate it, there was a “Batman v Superman” movie that came out recently. As for Batman-Superman comics, though many have come before, and just as many will come after, 1991’s “Superman Annual No. 3” ranks as one of my all-time favorites.
It was my first hey-day into comics foray, and there was something about the DC characters that just drew me to them. There was a simplicity that I’d gleaned years previous with a few coverless 1960s “Superman” issues of my father’s that he had handed down. Something about the ridiculousness of what the characters to get up to and how they’d get out of the situations they’d been written into. What appealed to me most about the line was the “Armageddon 2001” event.
“Armageddon 2001” was a future story of the DC Universe focusing on scientist Matthew Ryder. Living in the year 2030, he was preoccupied with the entity Monarch, a Big Brother-type figure who once was a hero – that is, until he killed off all the other heroes. Ryder connives his way into a science project and his body is transformed into a being of temporal energy.
The DC summer event takes place over 12 annuals and two bookend issues, all which concern Ryder – now going by the heroic name of Waverider – as he seeks out the perpetrator who has corrupted the government and perverted justice. Over these 12 annuals, Waverider follows heroes’ future possible timelines to see who has it in them to be the dystopian despot.
While most of these are great, there’s an interesting thing happening where Superman has three opportunities to be scanned by Waverider, as Batman gets two. As two of the company’s most powerful heroes, it’s nice to see them cross paths in “Superman Annual 3.” With all Superman can do, he still can’t rid the world of crime. When a nuclear weapon goes off in Metropolis, Supes goes off the deep end.
Superman has made is his duty to rid the world of nuclear weapons, but the United States government finds the hero’s reach to be a little too far. If there’s anyone that can stop The Man of Steel, it has to be Batman, right?
Superman slips up, accidently killing a few seamen while ridding a submarine of their weapons. Superman inadvertently sends the Martian Manhunter to his death. Superman starts talking about Superman in the third person.
Though not nearly as long as the movie, Batman and Superman duke it out on the streets of Gotham with disastrous results. Does Superman die? Is this really what the future holds? Perhaps future installments in the Superman or Batman titles will tell us.
“The Oracular Beard,” aka Jared A. Conti, resides in the upper echelon of nerd-dom, meditating on comics and the like for sustenance.
He currently is at work on a post-apocalyptic young adult novel series set in central Pennsylvania, as well as a superhero short story collection. His alter-ego is a barista at Avenue 209 Coffee House in Lock Haven. “The Oracular Beard … So you wanna be a comic book nerd” typically runs the first Thursday of each month in the Showcase.