An average story concludes with an ending that raises too many problems.
It’s been a very strange trip back to Apokolips. After Lex Luthor is kidnapped by Apokoliptians, Superman and his family are transported to the planet as well. While Superman is left with Lex, Lois ends up joining the Female Furies, evil warriors who served Darkseid faithfully. When the two protectors of Metropolis are about to be killed by Kalibak, the Furies swoop in to defend them, creating a divide in Apokolips’ forces. If this doesn’t feel like a civil war yet, an unexpected ally comes to help Superman and Lois: their son, Jon, with a pack of Hunger Dogs. How will this all end?
Two sides of Apokolips enter a war over the new lord of Apokolips, Lex Luthor, and the Kents are stuck in the center. This Apokoliptian civil war could have been an amazing story arc, but since it has been packed into this one issue, it’s confusing. You don’t know where which Apokoliptian stands as they each take turns attacking the Kents. By the end, you feel it’s less of a war with weight on whoever wins and more of your run of the mill comic fight. This doesn’t mean it’s terrible, but it ends up being underwhelming.
The characters have grown to act like themselves since the beginning of the arc and it shows here. Superman returns to acting like the beacon of hope, Lois stays a badass, and Lex is self-indulgent. It feels right to see the characters act like themselves after this journey. There is one character, however, that did act out of character. A character more important than even Superman: Apokolips itself.
The problematic ending:
While the storyline itself has had several downsides, the ending the story provides is impossible considering the history of Apokolips. Superman has the more dubious Apokoliptians, such as Granny Goodness and Kalibak, imprisoned before proceeding to release the slaves and having doctors begin to support them. As Superman leaves, it’s implied that Apokolips will enter an age of hope and prosperity. The problem is that we have seen this promise before in different stories and it NEVER HAPPENS. Apokolips is meant to be this dark place that can never be changed, despite the motives.
An example of this is seen in Superman: The Animated Series in the third season episode “Legacy” in the year 2000. The episode involves a battle between Superman and Darkseid, which the Man of Steel wins. He tells the slaves of Apokolips they are free, but they go and tend to Darkseid’s wounds as their master. Despite being free, they choose to be enslaved. The reason for this is because the Apokoliptians are used to the darkness of their world. The people of Apokolips will always go back to the way things are.
The art itself was actually pretty well done, but it had that same fault it has had since the first chapter. That’s right, the weird faces are back! While not as distracting as when they first appeared, there are still some bizarre facial expressions. The rest of the characters’ appearances were well done, with creative looks for Lois’ Fury armor and the Hunger Dogs.
While not as bad as it could have been, the ending to the Imperius Lex storyline ends up failing to create a sense of change to the DC Universe. It feels as if DC just wanted the story of Lex becoming Lord of Apokolips to go away, but couldn’t think of a more epic way to accomplish it. Not the worst, but not the best, this story ends as it began: average.