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Our Worlds at War, a multiseries, Superman-centered crossover event from DC Comics, released in the summer of 2001. I have read a number of these gigantic cross-over events, and this one seems to be absolutely standard fare. The plot of the book involves a crisis that threatens to destroy not just the world, but the entire universe. If this seems an odd subject for standard fare, you probably don't read many comics.

The story line chronicles the attempt of Imperiex, an alien entity bent on destruction to...um, well, destroy. Brainiac 13 wants to gather Imperiex' power of destruction to...destroy. Of course, this upsets some people and a coalition of various super-heroes and other cosmic figures shows up to stop it, including the villain Darkseid. There are some cosmic explosions, lots of punching, lots of full and double paged spreads, lots of pictures of straining muscles and emotional faces, some more cosmic explosions, and finally a clever plan that wraps up the plot neatly. A few characters die in the story, but I think more or less all of them return, in a year or two.

One interesting feature that could be used to good effect is that several issues are undercut with famous speeches from US History: The Gettysburg Address, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech to congress requesting they declare war, JFK's inauguration speech, and Douglas MacArthur's "Old Soldiers" speech. All of which verge on being emotional and meaningful, until I realized that they are being used to buff up a comic book story, and not even a good one. It just adds to the series overwrought atmosphere.

One of the things I noticed about the series is that Batman, one of DC's premier characters, is almost totally absent from the action, a curious omission. I think that it just doesn't make sense to put a character as smart as Batman into a story as stupid as this. When Grant Morrison would write these type of over-the-top JLA-saves-the-world stories, Batman is always a crucial and exciting element, being the first to figure out that the enemy were really White Martians or the like. The plot-twists in those stories were both more interesting and more believable.

But even if the editors at DC had written a much better story, it might not have worked, because like many comic book fans, I often suffer apocalypse fatigue. If every story arc is about the end of the universe, readers quickly become bored with the premise.

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