Things are really shifting in the DC Universe after the invasion by the Crime Syndicate from Earth 3, but in this issue we learn more about that world and the destruction that caused these vicious super beings to flee to the “main” DC Universe.  Nightwing has played a central role… mostly as a hostage, whose cover was blown by these villains.  Batman, Catwoman, Lex Luthor and Bizarro located him, but it turns out that Nightwing was planted as a trap, with his heart attached to a bomb.  The only way to diffuse the bomb was to stop his heart… which Luthor did.  In this issue, once the bomb is disarmed, Luthor revives Nightwing, ‘Pulp Fiction’ style.

Also last issue, we discovered that the Syndicate’s secret prisoner was their Earth’s version of Alexander Luthor, blessed with the power of “Mazahs!” (“Shazam!” backward.)  But it turns out that this Luthor has almost an Amazo-like ability in that he absorbs the powers of anyone he kills, making him potentially the most powerful being on any world.

The free heroes go to rescue the captured Justice League who were imprisoned inside of Firestorm, while it falls upon Luthor and his allies, Captain Cold, Black Manta, Bizarro, Sinestro and Black Adam to actually take the fight to the Syndicate and Alexander Luthor.  Obviously, not everyone walks out of this battle alive, and not to spoil it but it’s really no shocker, after a hard-fought battle, the good –er, better?– guys triumph.

The rest of the issue leads into ‘Justice League’ #30, with Luthor seemingly turning over a new leaf.  Some of the Syndicate are unaccounted for by the issue’s end, which will obviously lead to future problems.

And many fans will be delighted to find that a certain, formerly deceased hero is alive and well in the New 52.  For a hint, reread the beginning of ‘Forever Evil’ #1.  This should help you stop feeling so blue.

This issue was EPIC!  It got delayed but the payoff makes it worth it!  For longtime readers, there are loads and loads of reference to pre-New 52 DC history.  A lot of older readers walked away from DC after the New 52 relaunch, feeling betrayed at the wholesale dismissal of so much of the past.  But IF you hung in there, this issue brings it!  There are so many references to the past, but with clever new twists.

Lex Luthor has long been one of the most compelling villain in comics and this series really threw him into the spotlight and we see him grow and develop in a most startling manner, deepening him even further.

The three-way battle between Luthor’s forces, the Earth 3 Luthor and the Syndicate is thrilling and in places quite clever.  The attack on Ultraman is particularly cool.

There is also a kink in the burgeoning romanic relationship between Catwoman and Batman, who were thrown together at the beginning of this saga.  The pair seemed to be growing closer and closer, but in a last ditch effort to save the Justice League, something… complicates things.  And could further complicate things in the DCU as a whole.

DC is launching a number of weekly comics, all of which come to a conclusion in April 2015– the 30th anniversary of ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ the massive major “game changer” in DC Comics and the most sweeping in comic book history until The New 52.  DC revised its entire history, doing away with the multiverse and streamlining its history.  Let’s just say, this issue features many references to that storyline.  Does DC have plans to revisit the ‘Crisis’ next spring?  Certainly looks that way.

This book was great!  Definitely worth the wait!  David Finch’s pencils are excellent and really deliver the massive battle sequences.  The story is riddled with references to past DC history and clues about where its headed, which should be even bigger!  I certainly dislike a LOT of the New 52, which is why the number of books I read has steadily dwindled.  But big things are coming up.  I may have to delve back in and start reading more.

Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils by David Finch
Cover by David Finch, Richard Friend and Sonia Oback